Paganism and pagan themes lend themselves very easily to body art. Let’s talk about the term ‘pagan’ for a bit. The freshly converted-to-Christianity ancient Romans used the word in a derogatory sense to refer to the village dwellers or the people who still worshiped older gods and goddesses. Pagan practices usually included a lot of different forms of sacrifice to these gods and goddesses. After reading a couple of old mythic legends you’ll learn that human sacrifice was also pretty common. Like, the deletion of a human being in order to please a made-up concept! Damn! Not cool, ancient human people, not cool at all. Nevertheless, the sheer amount of material and artwork that exists when one explores pagan themes can provide you with endless ideas for a sick AF tattoo.
So what’s considered pagan? Nordic, Slavic people i.e The Vikings, and their spiritual system. Then you have ancient Greek and Roman gods (almost a complete rip-off of Greek gods). Occult themes. Hindu gods are also considered pagan in some western circles (like that one episode of Supernatural, where Lord Ganesha makes an appearance in an episode about pagan gods). So basically, any non-Christian faiths or faiths other than the main and most widely known religions of the world can be considered pagan. It’s a good idea to do a reasonable amount of your own research too when getting a pagan tattoo.
Meaning of Pagan Tattoo Designs
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Since there are an endless number of pagan gods and goddesses, the meaning of these tattoos will differ from each other significantly and frequently.
This here is a Tarot card-looking artwork where-in the dainty hand approaches the planet Saturn, which is the father of all ancient (i.e pagan) Roman gods.
These are some moon maps depicting the phases of the moon. A lot of pagan cultures depended upon the lunar cycle to get their agricultural activities aligned perfectly.
Ideas For Pagan Tattoo Designs
Alright, folks! let’s look at some trippy ancient symbols and stuff!
Check out these hair-raising occult symbols and pieces of art. These are sure to add a lot of mystery to your personality, that is, if your best friend already hasn’t gotten one. Then you’ll look like a complete numpty. Don’t look like a complete numpty, find another tattoo idea!
The Celts or Celtic peoples are a collection of Indo-European peoples in Europe and Anatolia, identified by their use of Celtic languages and other cultural similarities. These knots are great to have as a tattoo if you’re into Celtic culture. The symmetric themes are great for a chest or shoulder tattoo for men.
The Pentagram, the symbols for Earth, fire, water, and air, other ancient runes, and the pagan lady. All great ideas for a tattoo. Thank you, Zazzle!
Some witchy snakes. If you have a bit of a snake fetish or are into snakes for some odd reason… A friend of mine hates snakes and really lay into me about my fascination with them. I was thinking of getting one as a pet, not in the near future.. dear god no! but sorta like a dream pet. He talked me out of it though, probably for the best.
A detailed list of pagan symbols with their names, you can find the one you want after a bit of your own research but this will help you get started in that direction.
A really cool tree, with its roots intertwining with the branches. I believe this is a Nordic symbol. If you’re an earthy person, this design will represent that quality appropriately.
Some more Nordic symbols. If you ask me, these are some of the best tattoo ideas. I would love to get some, but with me, that’s the thing, I love art so much, I can’t just have one tattoo for the rest of my life. It’s too permanent for me, I’d love an 8 or 9-month deal, sorta like the way we change our cell phone’s wallpaper not more than once or twice a year.
Where Should You Get Pagan Tattoo Designs
The back of the neck. The middle of the chest. or wherever it makes the most sense to you, but here are some proposed ideas.
- Finger Spaces
- Shoulder Blades
- Behind the Ears
List of Pagan Tattoo Designs & Meanings
- A Witchy Witchy Back
The wearer has a pentagram on the back of her neck. The full moon and two crescents. The full moon has a triquetra inside it and then there’s another weird symbol on her lower back. So witchy! it doesn’t help that I’m listening to pioneering synthesizer player Mort Garson’s 1971 album ‘Black Mass Lucifer” as I’m writing this. Such a good album, seriously go check it out now. It syncs up perfectly with the pagan vibe we’re going for here. One more thing, I really dig the hip-hop-style bandana she’s wearing. Heavy vibes for sure.
- The Goat
The tattoo here represented on the hand is Cernunous, the stag-horned Celtic god of the forest. The stag horns, the serpent, and the torq (the elements on his right hand) are all symbols of Cernunous.
- The Phases
The phases of the moon and an enlightened hand, I mean the hand looks like it knows something, doesn’t it? Pagan yet not too scary, more mystic and wondrous than scary I’d say.
- The Nordic Chest and Arm
A very intricate design, with many Nordic themes and elements woven beautifully into a very coherent chest, shoulder, and arm art piece. Check out the Nordic symbols we discussed before.
- The Nordic Sea-Horse Snake
A back piece. With Nordic writing on the body of the sea-horse snake-like creature.
- Bonzo’s Rune
This is from my 2016 Goa vacation, a temporary tattoo artist walking around on Calangute beach approached me and I said “what the hey! let’s get one.” Almost immediately I knew that I wanted Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham’s ancient rune symbol. The artist messed up and did the symbol upside down, I had a rather cheeky joke about that too, but I’ll leave that to when we meet in person.
- The Witches’ Pentagram
Man, this is giving me the heebie-jeebies. I associate broomsticks with Harry Potter (like, any other kid born in the mid-90s would) but here, laid out in a way so as to form a pentagram, my imagination is starting to take off a little. Meanwhile, the album has changed to “ATARAXIA The Unexplained” another witchy presentation from Mort Garson. Go check it out, it’s on YouTube.
- The Celtic Pagan Lord
This artwork is made from knot-like themes we saw in the Celtic knots section earlier in this article. Done on the neck and upper back, it’s a little on the intense side. The figure has another pagan symbol in the center, possibly its heart.
- The Nordic Arc
These simple symbols have such an inexplicable eerie quality about them, They bring images from times gone by to mind. The placement is a nice neat spot tucked away behind the ears. A great tattoo to add some mystery to your personality or better- To express your mystique in a subtle, shrouded manner.
- The Moon Lady
A naked woman sprouting from the earth, surrounded by flowers and shrubbery. Praying to the moon, eyes covered with a blindfold, arms outstretched, hands directing the flow of her energy. Pagan perfection! if you ask me.
- The Essential Three
A triquetra, a pentagram, and that full moon and two crescents we’ve seen so many times today. Done in colors, red and black. Strong, powerful, and very very witchy. In other news, The eighth track on ATARAXIA is an absolute banger!
- The Shard Woman
A symmetric back piece. The woman is made from lines and curves like those in a how-to-draw book surrounded by shards of glass or feathers, is it? The lines make it a concept tattoo, and I really dig concept stuff.
- The Dragon
Dragons are considered pagan gods in a way, they used to be worshiped by the Chinese. This person has got a dragon tattooed on her belly and I’ve gotta say, It’s quite a visual treat. The album has now changed to 1986’s ‘Green’ by Hiroshi Yoshimura, a new-age and ambient genius.
- The Nordic Shrub
A shrub-like artwork made out of Nordic writing and symbols. A great forearm tattoo. The line-only method and the symmetry make it a very artful tattoo to have.
- The Devil Himself
A goat’s skull, a serpent wrapped around him, This Devil is not kidding around. I am going to have to brush off this imagery somehow before I sleep because this is too intense! This Devil does not have breasts. Maybe the wearer didn’t prefer his devil to have breasts. Inaccurate, but to each their own.
- The Moon Thing
The moon thing. This time with a pentagram inside the full moon and other pagan symbols by the crescents. I like how this tattoo is small, intricate yet not too detailed.
- Thin Line Triquetra
The extremely thin lines used to draw this triquetra make this tattoo look very subtle and understated yet pretty. 10/10 recommend.
- Totem Pole
Totem poles are also a pagan concept. They are monumental carvings, a type of Northwest Coast art, consisting of poles, posts, or pillars, carved with symbols or figures. They are usually made from large trees, mostly western red cedar, by First Nations and Indigenous Peoples of The Pacific Northwest Coast. This tattoo is beautiful! I’ve always been fascinated with totems. I even made a small replica as a kid.
- The Ascending Man
A pagan ritual coming to fruition. This back piece is awesome. Check out the third eye or the eye of enlightenment on the neck. You can see that the artist was in a bit of a hurry whilst doing the hands but apart from that this tattoo bangs.
- The Henge
Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. Love the henge! This artwork is kinda extra though.
- A Pagan Forearm
We’ve seen these symbols around quite a bit now. The smoked-out circle is a first I think. A witchy forearm tattoo idea.
- Russian Mafia-esque Hand Piece
A skull, some feathers and shards, three pagan symbols on the fingers, and what looks like the word ‘nope’ written across the fingers. haha, nope! but I’m sure I have this all wrong. wait! it doesn’t say ‘hope’ does it? I’ll leave you to figure it out.
- The Eagle
Amazing eagle tattoo, a line of pagan symbols extends from the center, very geometric.
- The Pentagram in Color
Colorful flames emanate from a centrally placed pentagram. A great idea for a back tattoo.
- The Sun Split
The Sun splits up to reveal a sleeping moon. A very calming effect this tattoo has.
- A Pagan Skull
This is my girlfriend’s left forearm tattoo. She has an actual human skull on her side-table (not of a recently deceased human of course) and can’t possibly get over skulls and flames.
- Another Pentagram
This side torso piece has a crescent moon with the dark side of the moon shown. The dark side houses a pentagram in the center. Done in red, this is a very powerful tattoo because of its simplicity and monochromatic theme.
- The Three Witches
The crescent theme, the phases of the moon diagram, and three witches hugging each other and performing an ancient pagan ritual. The fact that the women’s faces are turned away from us adds a lot of mystery to this tattoo. The stars and dots adorning the piece adds a lot of wonder to it.
- Sparse and Minimal
The minimal themes and lines, with a pentagram at the center, make this tattoo a very artful piece. A perfect tattoo for the back.
That brings us to the end of our article here because the list of pagan tattoos is endless, these are just the beginning. Read up on your favorite legends and pagan cultures, make a rough design of what you would like, and show it to your tattoo artist. Let her/him work their magic.