nordic tattoos

Looking to pay homage to your Scandinavian heritage? Or are you just fascinated by Nordic mythology? Nordic tattoos are one of the most popular tattoos today. Read on to know everything about Nordic tattoos, including the different types of designs that are quite famous among ink enthusiasts.

What Are Nordic Tattoos?


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Nordic tattoos are symbols that denote Viking descent. Most designs of these tattoos have deep-rooted meaning in Nordic culture, religious beliefs, and tradition. Vikings were covered in tattoos from their necks down to their fingers, their bodies adorned with various signs and symbols.

Although there isn’t enough Nordic literature to confirm this, other cultures that came across the Vikings described them in great detail. For example, Ibn Fadlan was a Baghdadi scholar who described the tattoos as looking like dark green symbols and trees. It is also possible, however, that these “trees” were some other knotwork patterns that the Vikings were known to love.

What Do They Mean?

Tattoos in Nordic culture are essentially a combination of rune alphabets. The rune alphabet is the language of the Scandinavian (German and Welsh) folk. They also include mythological elements, weapons, animals, etc.

These tattoos could symbolize one’s beliefs, traditions, and heritage. You could also get them if you’re interested in the rich history of the Vikings.

7 Different Kinds of Nordic Tattoos

Here is a list of the different kinds of Nordic tattoos along with their meanings.

#1. The Helm of Awe Tattoo

Helm of Awe

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The Helm of Awe, also known as the Viking compass, is an oft-mentioned part of Norse legend. It is perceived both physically and metaphorically. The earliest mention of the Helm of Awe is from the Poetic Edda, a collection of ancient Nordic poems.

According to Norse mythology, the Helm of Awe was first possessed by Fafnir the dragon. Legend says that whoever possesses the Helm is invincible. `

Vikings going into battle wore the Helm as a symbol on their foreheads as they believed that the Helm gave them the strength of Fafnir the dragon. It was also said that warriors wearing the Helm on their brows struck terror in the hearts of their enemies.

#2. Valknut Tattoo

Valknut Tattoo

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One of the most fascinating Norse symbols, a Valknut in Norwegian culture symbolizes a slain warrior. It is the symbol of Odin, the Norse God of war and death.

The symbol is frequently used to honor soldiers who died in battle. Valknut is also interpreted in many ways. The three interlocked triangles of the Valknut are said to represent different dimensions that are connected. It is also said to signify the reincarnation of fallen heroes.

Being a rather simple design, this tattoo is a great fit for those who want smaller tattoos that do not take a lot of time or money. It is a great way to have a piece of Nordic culture on you.

#3. Yggdrasil Tattoo

Yggdrasil Tattoo

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The Yggdrasil, according to Norse mythology, is a cosmic tree that connects the entire universe and its beings. It is also known as the world tree or the tree of life. It has nine branches signifying the nine worlds in Norse mythology.

The Yggdrasil represents a spiritual connection between all living beings of the universe. So, people who want to get in touch with their spiritual side often get the Yggdrasil tattoo.

Recently, a multitude of pop culture references in movies from Marvel Studios and the popular video game franchise God of War have made Yggdrasil tattoos extremely popular among young people.

#4. Thor Hammer Tattoo

Thor Hammer Tattoo

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Thor needs no introduction. The character played by Chris Hemsworth in a series of Marvel movies is widely popular. Thor’s hammer, named Mjölnir, has been his most trusted weapon throughout the movies.

Thor is the Norse god of thunder. According to Norwegian folk tales, Thor uses his hammer to control thunder and use its power as per his will.

Thor’s hammer is a symbol of strength and power. Legend says it was forged by dwarves from an indestructible metal and that it can only be wielded by Thor. Apart from the symbolism, it is also a very cool idea for a tattoo.

#5. Huginn And Muninn

Huginn And Muninn

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Huginn and Muninn are the two ravens of Odin, the God of War. They are usually depicted as a couple perched on Odin’s shoulder. In the ancient Norse language, Huginn means “thought” and Muninn means “memory.”

Although not much is known about the powers of these ravens, Huginn and Muninn are deeply revered in Norse mythology. They delivered information to Odin across the nine realms. It is believed that the ravens signify the presence of Odin.

#6. Ouroboros Tattoo

Ouroboros Tattoo

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The Ouroboros — the symbol of a snake eating its own tail — is not unique to Norse mythology. It can be found in numerous civilizations throughout the world, with the snake sometimes being replaced by a dragon or a lizard.

The Ouroboros was first discovered in Egypt, in the tomb of Tutankhamun. It has also been found in various Roman, Greek, and Norse depictions. In Norse mythology, the ouroboros is depicted as the serpent Jörmungandr that has its tail in its mouth while it encircles the world.

It symbolizes the never-ending cycle of life. It celebrates life and its three stages of birth, death, and revival. Interestingly, the mathematical symbol for infinity is derived from Ouroboros.

#7. Troll Cross Tattoo

Troll Cross Tattoo

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The word “troll cross” is derived from the Swedish word “trollkors,” which refers to iron bent to be worn as an amulet to ward off evil magic.

Interestingly, this is one of the many symbols that historians have not yet confirmed as a Norse symbol. Kari Erlands’ jewelry of the troll cross design, which she made in the 1990s, is the first record of this symbol.

A tattoo of the troll cross is supposed to protect you from malevolent spirits and the effect of dangerous elements like dark magic and the evil eye.

A Few Parting Words

The Vikings were a benevolent lot. Despite being brazen in their ways of life, they were also incredible warriors who protected their beloved.

You can get Nordic tattoos to tap into your Nordic ancestry and sport a mean design on your body!

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