There are many reasons why people get Norse tattoos; in general, though, these designs are thought to express a certain amount of strength and dignity, and – depending on the type that you get – they can represent a myriad of mystical qualities. They are also sometimes used to show pride in heritage amongst those with northern European roots.
When many people think of Norse tattoos, the first things that come to mind are often runes. These symbols are widely considered to be quite powerful, so you may find it beneficial to do a good deal of research prior to committing to any of these pieces. This style frequently consists of the runic alphabet. This alphabet can make up an entire name, initials, or whole quotes, and may be made up in the design of the Elder Futhark or Anglo-Saxon runes; however, they may also be done in a Bindrune fashion, which shows one or more of the runes running together in a flowing manner. Runic charms are also quite popular for this particular style. Unlike the similar-looking Celtic patterns, runic charms tend to be more asymmetrical, and they may appear in a variety of hues, but are most commonly done in either basic black or red ink. Some of the more popular of the charm-like Norse tattoos include the “helm of awe” or Aegishjalmur – which is said to inspire power and protection in the wearer – and the Vegvisir, or runic compass, which is thought to help guide the wearer through life.
Although they are slightly less common, you might also see Norse pieces that use long, decorative bands that are similar in appearance to Celtic knots, and you may also see art that depicts Viking warriors. Many of the Viking pieces done are considered historically inaccurate, and show the warriors in exceptionally violent poses, with ornate weapons, and horned or winged helmets. Although this style is thought to be inaccurate, many people prefer them, as they make for a more spectacular image. While the knot-work designs are usually more modest, and may consist of simple patterns, or more ornate work like the “gripping beast,” which depicts at least two animals that are thoroughly entwined.
Though it is advisable to be mindful when it comes to Norse tattoos, you will find that whatever you choose, you are certain to have something that is both beautiful, and practically radiating with strength and tradition.