Though always a popular design amongst enthusiasts, the popularity of skull tattoos has risen. Prior to this rise in fame, the symbolism was highly misunderstood as being something profoundly dark, sinister and rebellious. However, there are many positive connotations to be had from this design. The skull is often seen less as a signifier of death, and more as a signifier of life. Or, rather, the understanding and acceptance of all things that come with living — even death.
Although there are many positive implications, there are, of course, some negative ones as well. However, some people choose to use these designs as a symbol of toughness or endurance. One of the most recognizable symbols is the skull and crossbones. This symbol is often used to indicate poisonous material.
Skull tattoos have also long been a symbol for bikers and pirates. Biker tattoos usually depict a skull that is flaming, covered in barbed wire, or with red eyes. They may also show a snake coiling in one eye socket and out of the other. Though this symbol can seem tough, it may also be seen in a positive light. For instance, in some cultures the snake is seen as a sign of knowledge, thus indicating that the knowledge and understanding of death may indicate power. Pirate skull tattoos, though, are often very clear about their meaning. They usually represent everything to do with pirate culture; a crossbones style skull with blades instead of bones, a pirate hat and a menacing stare, are all quite common.
Some people also like to balance out the ominous appearance with something a little lighter. For instance, flowers growing around or in the eye sockets of a skull shows a balance of light and dark, life and death. Skull tattoos may also have significance for those in the medical field, or those who have suffered and survived accident or illness. These tattoos may include many features that or important to the wearer and are often very realistic in appearance.
There are many reason to get a skull tattoo, but weather it is a symbol of life or a symbol of death, you will be certain to create a stir with this popular and misunderstood design.