Today we’re exploring the fascinating world of Norse tattoos, where ancient Viking symbols are brought to life by modern tattoo artists.
From the Viking Age to present day, Viking Symbol tattoos have been a powerful expression of identity, spirituality, and cultural heritage.
With their intricate designs and rich symbolism, Norse tattoos are much more than just a fashion statement – they can be a deeply meaningful way to connect with the past, express one’s innermost beliefs, and tap into the wisdom of the ages.
In this post, we’ll showcase 39 stunning Viking symbol tattoo designs and explore their powerful meanings.
Whether you’re a seasoned tattoo enthusiast or a curious newcomer to the world of Norse tattoos, you’ll find plenty of inspiration and knowledge in the ideas below.
From the meanings of each of the 24 Viking runes, to powerful symbols like Thor’s Hammer to the Helm of Awe, from the Tree of Life to Odin’s Knot, each Viking tattoo idea has a unique story to tell and a wealth of spiritual wisdom to impart.
So sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey through the fascinating world of Viking tattoos, fascinating mythological figures and ancient norse symbols.
Whether you’re looking to get a new tattoo or simply curious about the cultural and spiritual significance of Viking symbols, we hope this post will inspire and enlighten you. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 24 Rune Tattoos and Meanings
- Valknut Tattoo
- Thor’s Hammer Tattoo
- Helm of Awe Tattoo
- Aegishjalmur Tattoo
- Triskele Tattoo
- Odin Tattoos
- Viking Compass
- Symbol of Yggdrasil Tattoo
- Web of Wyrd Tattoo
- Ouroboros Tattoo
- Gungnir Tattoo
- Freyja’s Cats Tattoo
- Huginn and Muninn Tattoo
- Viking Ship Tattoo
- More Tattoo Symbols, Design Ideas and Meanings
24 Rune Tattoos and Meanings
Runes are the ancient letters of the Norse alphabet, used by the Vikings and other Germanic people, and each rune has its own unique meaning. A tattoo of a specific rune can represent its associated meaning, such as strength, courage, or protection.
The runic alphabet, known as the Futhark, consists of 24 letters, each with its own specific meaning, symbolism and significance. These runes were used for everything from inscriptions on stone and metal objects to divination and magical purposes. The meanings of each rune range from concepts like wealth, strength, and protection to more abstract ideas like creativity, wisdom, and spiritual awakening. Some runes have multiple interpretations, and the context in which they are used can also affect their meaning.
These are the 24 runes of the elder futhark, along with their simple meanings. A tattoo of each of these viking runes, or a combination of the runic shapes, makes a striking minimalist viking tattoo
Fehu: This rune represents wealth, abundance, and material success.
Uruz: This rune symbolizes strength, vitality, and the power of transformation.
Thurisaz: This rune represents chaos, conflict, and defense.
Ansuz: This rune is associated with communication, wisdom, and divine inspiration.
Raidho: This rune symbolizes travel, journey, and personal growth.
Kenaz: This rune represents knowledge, creativity, and illumination.
Gebo: This rune is associated with partnerships, gifts, and exchanges.
Wunjo: This rune symbolizes joy, harmony, and emotional well-being.
Hagalaz: This rune represents disruption, change, and transformation.
Nauthiz: This rune symbolizes resistance, endurance, and survival.
Isa: This rune represents stillness, patience, and inner strength.
Jera: This rune symbolizes harvest, abundance, and the cyclical nature of time.
Eihwaz: This rune is associated with endurance, perseverance, and the power of transformation. This rune is associated with the Yew Tree.
Perthro: This rune represents the unknown, the mysteries of fate, and the power of chance.
Algiz: This rune is associated with protection, defense, and spiritual awakening.
Sowilo: This rune represents success, victory, and the power of the sun.
Tiwaz represents honor, justice, and victory in battle.
Berkano symbolizes fertility, growth, and new beginnings.
Ehwaz represents movement, progress, and partnership.
Mannaz represents humanity, social order, and the power of the mind.
Laguz represents flow, water, and emotions.
Inguz: This rune symbolizes fertility, growth, and new beginnings. It is often associated with the god Ing, who represents fertility and prosperity.
Dagaz represents new beginnings, breakthroughs, and awakening.
Othala represents ancestral property, inheritance, and spiritual heritage.
You might see tattoos of two or more Viking runes combined together, these are sometimes called Bindrunes and this is a magical practise not really used in Viking ages but has developed since and is a deep way to combine meanings and create something even more personal.
The tattoo below has arrow symbols combined with Inguz.
You can also combine one rune into a more detailed design like these, showing fehu and mannaz
Since each rune is associated to a letter sound, you can also use the runic alphabet to spell out other words for your viking tattoo if you prefer, to create something longer for an inner arm tattoo, spine tattoo and so on.
The below spells out Ygddrasil, the tree of life of great tree, which will come on to in a minute.
The Valknut is a symbol made of three interlocking triangles, and it is often associated with the god Odin. A tattoo of the Valknut symbol can symbolize power, strength, and protection.
The word valknut actually means the knot of those fallen in battle or knot of the slain warrior, so it also has an association with death, and it’s also known as Odin’s knot.
Odin’s Knot, or the Valknut, is a symbol of interconnectedness and the afterlife. A tattoo of Odin’s Knot can represent the interconnectedness of all things, as well as the journey through life and into the afterlife.
Thor’s Hammer Tattoo
Thor’s Hammer, also known as Mjolnir, is one of the most well-known symbols in Norse mythology. A tattoo of Thor’s Hammer can represent strength, courage, and protection
The powerful weapon of the Hammer of Thor is the most recognisable symbol of Thor and as well as being a powerful symbol of strength in norse culture, this tattoo may also be chosen by Marvel fans.
In Nordic mythology, Thor is the god of Thunder and the son of Odin.
Each of these mythological symbols can be combined with other imagery to deepen the meaning and create something beautiful and personal.
Above is a floral Thor hammer tattoo and below the hammer design is combined with runes and the word Valhalla which refers to the afterlife.
Helm of Awe Tattoo
The Helm of Awe is a symbol of protection that was used by Viking warriors.
A tattoo of the Helm of Awe can represent strength, courage, and protection in the face of adversity.
Aegishjalmur is another name for the Helm of Awe, a symbol of protection that was used by Viking warriors. A tattoo of Aegishjalmur can represent strength, courage, and protection in the face of danger.
The Viking Triskele symbol is also known as the horn of Odin, and can be considered a symbol of Odin. The ancient symbol of the Viking triskele or the horn triskelion has some similarities to the Celtic triskele symbol.
Odin is the chief god in Norse mythology, and the most famous of the norse gods. He is associated with wisdom, knowledge, and power, although best known for this role of God of war.
A tattoo of Odin can represent these qualities, as well as his other attributes, such as battle, death, and magic.
Odin was also associated with the concept of “berserkergang,” a state of ecstatic rage that some Viking warriors entered in battle, allowing them to fight with superhuman strength and endurance.
The Viking Compass, also known as the Vegvisir, is a symbol of guidance and protection. A tattoo of the Viking Compass can represent finding one’s way through life’s challenges, as well as protection from harm.
The Vegvisir, also known as the Viking Compass, is a symbol of guidance and protection. A Vegvisir tattoo can represent finding one’s way through life’s challenges, as well as protection from harm.
Symbol of Yggdrasil Tattoo
The Tree of Life, or the Great Tree, is a symbol that appears in many different mythologies and cultures throughout the world, including in Norse mythology. In Norse mythology, the Great Tree is called Yggdrasil, and it is considered the axis of the world, connecting the nine realms of Norse cosmology.
Yggdrasil is the World Tree in Norse mythology, and it is said to connect all of the Nine Realms. A tattoo of the Symbol of Yggdrasil can represent the interconnectedness of all things, as well as the idea of growth and renewal.
A tree of life tattoo remains a powerful and meaningful symbol in modern times, with many people incorporating it into their spiritual practices and tattoos as a representation of the unity and interconnectedness of all things.
Web of Wyrd Tattoo
The Web of Wyrd, also known as the Skuld’s Net or the Matrix of Fate, is a concept in Norse mythology that represents the interconnectedness of all things and the cyclical nature of time.
According to legend, the Web of Wyrd is woven by the Norns, three female beings who control the destinies of all living things. The Web is made up of countless strands, each representing the actions and decisions of individuals, which are woven together to create the tapestry of fate.
The Web of Wyrd is often depicted as a spider’s web, with each intersection of the strands representing a moment in time or a point of connection between different individuals or events.
The Ouroboros is a symbol of the cyclical nature of life and death, and it is often depicted as a snake eating its own tail.
A tattoo of the Ouroboros can represent the idea of eternity, as well as the idea of life and death being intertwined.
This can also be referred to as a Jormungadr tattoo. Jormungandr is a sea serpent in Norse mythology that is said to encircle the world.
So, like the ourobos, a tattoo of Jormungandr can represent the idea of the interconnectedness of all things, as well as the power of the natural world.
Gungnir is the spear of Odin, and it is said to never miss its mark.
A tattoo of Gungnir can represent precision, focus, and strength.
Both of these tattoos are combined with further symbols to deepen the meaning and add beauty.
Freyja’s Cats Tattoo
Freyja is the goddess of love, fertility, and war, and she is often depicted with her two cats. A tattoo of Freyja’s cats can represent the balance of different aspects of life, such as love and war, and the importance of finding harmony.
Huginn and Muninn Tattoo
Huginn and Muninn are Odin’s two ravens, and they are said to represent thought and memory. A tattoo of Huginn and Muninn can represent the importance of learning from the past and using wisdom to make decisions for the future.
Viking Ship Tattoo
A Viking ship tattoo is a powerful and meaningful symbol of the Viking culture and its seafaring heritage. These tattoos often feature intricate depictions of Viking longships, with their iconic dragon-head prow and curved hull. In Viking culture, ships were a symbol of power, exploration, and conquest. A Viking ship tattoo may represent the idea of setting sail on a new adventure, or the importance of strength and resilience in the face of challenges. It may also be a tribute to the Viking ancestors who sailed the seas, discovering new lands and spreading their influence throughout the world.
This can be done as minimalist or as detailed and hyper realistic as you like, depending on your preference
We hope these ideas for nordic tattoos and viking tattoos helped to give you some inspiration, and a starting point to jump off from when planning out your next tattoo. Each of these different symbols has different meanings, and you should work with your tattoo artist to design and depict something that really represents the concept you are looking for.
Viking tattoo designs can be made into full color detailed large works of art, like a full back tattoo or full sleeve with bright colors or you may prefer a simple minimalist Viking rune tattoo with black ink.
Traditional Viking tattoos and their symbols are a fascinating way to explore the rich history and mythology of the Viking culture. From the powerful symbols of the gods, to the protection and guidance offered by runic inscriptions, these tattoos offer a glimpse into the values and beliefs that were so important to the Vikings.
By learning about the stories behind these symbols, we gain insight into the worldview and way of life of this ancient culture. Whether you’re drawn to the tales of Odin and Thor, or the idea of tapping into the power of the runes, these tattoos can be a powerful way to connect with the past and express your own identity and beliefs.
While the traditional Viking tattoos have been around for centuries, they remain a popular choice for people today, as they carry with them a sense of mystery, strength and spirituality. Whether you’re inspired by the complex mythology and culture of the Vikings, or simply love the intricate designs and meaningful symbols of these tattoos, exploring the world of Norse mythology and traditional Viking tattoos can be a rich and rewarding journey.
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Share these ideas with friends, post on social media or pin to your Pinterest board. You can send this blog post to your tattoo artist for inspiration and to collaborate to come up with your own unique design.
Good luck and happy inking!
Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.