We all have heard of the fearless Vikings. The word “Viking” is of Old Norse (Scandinavian) origin, with its closest meaning being a “pirate raid.” During their estimated existence between the late eighth to the early eleventh century, the Vikings were mainly known for the raids and pillaging they carried across Northwestern Europe. They would eventually take over and settle in those areas.
Odin tattoos are especially popular for men, but he’s someone any gender can engage with if they feel a special attachment to him. Vikings have always had a mystical appeal in pop culture.
There are many popular figures emanating from the Vikings. Yet, one of the most well-known ones from Norse culture and mythology is ‘Odin’, the “king of Gods.” Today, Odin’s mystical appeal in pop culture has come about owing to his image as an honorable commander and leader on the battlefront. His incredible values have led many tattoo enthusiasts to become fans of Odin, Norse heritage, and Norse mythology as a whole and consider getting inked with an Odin tattoo or symbol.
Ask any professional tattoo artist, and you’ll get an instant confirmation that Viking and Norse mythology tattoos have always been popular. Their popularity saw the biggest revival and upsurge after the popular TV series Vikings and the release of the four Marvel blockbuster movies in the Thor franchise.
Through Odin’s role of developing the Norse Universe and becoming known as the “Giver of Life”, he became associated with many traits. These were traits characterizing his values and personality. A few among these are royalty, wisdom, healing, the gallows, and death. Further, the recognition of his fearless, noble, and honorable role as leader uphold his traits of being knowledgeable; war, battle, and victory savvy; a sorcerer; and a poet.
37 Amazing Collection of Odin Tattoos
Being of the most commonly known Norse Gods, Odin’s fighting method was considered raw, ferocious, and berserk. His demeanor was aggressive. Known as the master of beasts, animals like wolves and bears often accompanied Odin in his battles. Odin had pronounced wisdom, the biggest portrayal of which is the tattoos below that depict him with an empty eye socket. He sacrificed an eye for wisdom. Today, tattoos of Odin are popular mainly among men; however, it’s not uncommon for women fans to have them as well.
Without further ado, here are 37 stunning Odin tattoos that will leave your jaw dropped:
1. Realistic Odin Tattoos
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Realistic tattoos are commonly inked in black and grey, yet there are some good color options as well. The photograph-like imagery of Odin in the tattoos below shows a striking vintage portrayal of Odin. Experienced tattoo artists that are knowledgeable about Norse heritage and mythology would be the go-to people to consult for getting such photorealism inked on your body.
2. Odin’s Raven Tattoos
Odin owes some of his wisdom to his two raven companions, Huginn and Muninn, who bring him messages from around the world. Ravens are incredibly intelligent birds, a natural match for our wise friend.
Odin’s raven tattoos may symbolize a deep connection to nature. They may also be well suited for someone with a global mindset who learns through travel. In many cultures, Ravens are considered to be the messengers of the passed away, so this may also make a nice memorial tattoo.
3. Stylized Odin Tattoos
These tattoos are not realistic, like the ones above. However, they do create an impressive, impactful illusion of Odin that looks stunning as a tattoo.
- Black-work Tattoo
Instead of creating a realistic depth by diluting black ink to come up with a real photo-image portrayal using shades of grey, black-work tattoos use negative space to create the image. This is a more stylized form of tattoo art. The artist contrasts the negative spaces (skin breaks) with deep, widespread areas of black ink. This technique is more long-lasting. The ink won’t fade easily, and the effect you get will be artistic while maintaining the look you’d expect from Odin’s persona.
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- Dot-work Tattoo
The illusion of a complete image of Odin is spot on through this tattoo piece utilizing the dot-work technique. In dot-work tattooing, artists can achieve a technical and highly accurate impressionist-like result by tactfully placing thousands of unique dots. This style works wonders for characters traced to history or mythology.
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4. Wolves of Odin Tattoos
As a holistic figure, Odin is flanked not only by birds but also by two wolves named Freki and Geri. These wolves will eagerly feed on anyone who lies to Odin or deceives him in any way, so make sure you get your Odin tattoo with pure and respectful intentions!
As such, the wolves of Odin tattoo may be a protective symbol, or a symbol that you’re more perceptive than the average person and can’t be swayed.
5. Tattoos of Odin with His Companions
A tattoo artist that is sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced in Norse mythology should be able to help you with imagery that is more in-depth to the Norse Universe. For instance, instead of the usual black and grey portraits of Odin, you can go for tattoo designs with Odin’s popular companions like his wolves, ravens, and horse.
- Odin’s Wolves Tattoos
As per Norse mythology, The God Odin’s two wolves Freki and Geri accompany him. The meaning of their names in Old Norse is “ravenous” or “greedy one.” These ferocious wolves feed on all those that lie to or deceive Odin. The tattoos of Odin and his wolves symbolize protection more than anything else.
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- Odin’s Ravens Tattoos
Odin has two ravens, named Huginn and Muninn, that accompany him everywhere. They sit on his shoulders and whisper into his ears about all the news based on what they see and hear. As intelligent birds, they offer the perfect companionship to Odin, who’s also incredibly wise and intelligent. Odin tattoo designs that show ravens represent a connection to nature and a global mindset.
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- Odin’s Horse Tattoo
The name of Odin’s eight-legged horse that he rides on to battle is Sleipnir. Sleipnir, meaning “sliding one,” refers to the ability to slide between worlds. This horse (or steed) is born to Loki, with a special ability to traverse the Norse cosmos’ nine worlds. Getting inked with a tattoo of Odin riding his horse symbolizes strength, speed, assurance of eternal life, perception, travel, and supremacy.
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#4. Odin’s Symbols Tattoos
There are various symbols associated with Odin. Here are some of them:
- Odin and Fenrir Fighting Tattoos
Fenrir is a gigantic beast-like wolf from Norse mythology. He’s the son of the trickster Loki and Angrboða, who ultimately gets chained by the dwarf-created Gleipnir thread chain. Eventually, Fenrir gets released at Ragnarok, after which he eats the god, Odin. At the turn of events, he is killed by Odin’s son Vidar. Tattoos featuring Odin and Fenrir represent strength and loyalty. Most designs with this violent beast will show him breaking free from the chains and out to kill Odin and the Asgard gods.
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- Odin’s Spear Tattoos
The spear of the god Odin is called Gungnir, meaning “swaying one” or “tremble.” It is also known as “The Spear of Heaven.” It’s a magical weapon that always hits targets. This weapon, crafted out of sunlight by dwarfs, can always be trusted by Odin to offer him protection in both the spiritual as well as the physical worlds. Thus, there’s good reasoning in favor of why a tattoo with the spear is incredibly sought after.
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- Horn Triskelion Tattoos
The horn triskelion or triple Horn of Odin is symbolic of wisdom and poetic inspiration. This tattoo is an incredible choice for anyone that operates with a consistent quest to gain more and more knowledge and wisdom. It is often also perceived to represent a devotion to God Odin.
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- Odin & Viking Compass Tattoos
Tattoos of Odin with a Viking compass are among the most popular Odin featured tattoos. As Odin represents the ultimate wisdom and knowledge, tattoos with Odin and a Viking compass signify the intellectual journey many of us aspire to go along. More specifically, this Viking compass called Vegvisir, through its nine points represents the nine worlds. Its symbolism is “direction” and “protection.”
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6. Other Stunning Odin Tattoo Ideas
There are many other Odin tattoo ideas. You could have an entire sleeve area tattooed in black and grey with an Odin-inspired tattoo. Alternatively, using the sketching technique of tattooing, the artist can ink a visually attractive Norse mythology scene with Odin, among other elements. Yet, another incredible idea is an Odin tattoo with his one missing eye highlighted for its great significance. Similarly, there are Odin tattoos that are small, simple, and meant for different body placements, including the entire back, front, feet, hands, etc.
- Odin Black & Grey Sleeve Tattoo
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- Odin’s Eyepatch Tattoo
- Leg-piece Odin Tattoo
- Upper Arm Odin Tattoo
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- Back of Neck Odin Tattoo
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- Odin’s Eye Sacrifice Tattoo
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Odin Tattoos Symbolism
Odin was extremely dedicated to gaining wisdom and learning. When we look at Odin’s missing eye, it should remind us a great deal about his significance as a God. He sacrificed his eye in order to drink from Mimir’s well so that he could gain optimal wisdom. Hence, his inner knowledge would guide him to see the world more than his eyes. The implication here is of significance since our eyes can often deceive us.
Odin is a god of wisdom but not limited to just that. He’s also the god of war, battle, victory, healing, sorcery, and poetry. His possession of the attributes of generosity and deceptiveness are contradictory, which is why he’s considered a fascinating yet complex character. You can count on him to heal you. At the same time, he would be equally delighted in taking lives in the war zone. It’s safe to say he possessed a pure Viking mind that wouldn’t hesitate to kill to acquire territory for the well-being of his people.
His sheer determination, power, and wisdom are the key elements that make him a popular Norse Viking and mythological legend. The tattoos of Odin and his symbols come in various shapes and sizes and look astonishing anywhere on the body.
Odin Tattoo Meanings
Generally speaking, Odin tattoos are a sign of wisdom and knowledge. When considering Odin’s significance as a deity, it’s important to look to his eye. Odin sacrificed his eye to drink from Mimir’s well- a drink that would allow him to acquire even more wisdom than he already had.
Without question, he gouged out his eye and sacrificed it to the well. This shows that Odin’s dedication to wisdom and learning was greater than anything else and that he wanted to “see” with his inner knowledge rather than with his eyes, which can be deceptive.
Because of this Odin is, naturally, a god of wisdom. But that’s not all. He’s also the god of healing, poetry, victory, dissension, sorcery… basically, he’s a busy guy. To understand Odin is to understand that he is from a polytheistic symbolism, where there is less black and white in terms of “good” and “evil.”
Odin can be just as generous as he is deceitful, he can heal you or take delight in your failures. He is a complicated and endlessly fascinating figure.
As evident from most of the Odin Tattoo, people prefer tattoos of him in rich black and grey portraits. Yet, there are no hard or fast rules on how exactly Odin should be portrayed. Pop culture and rising innovation within the tattoo industry have given artists great flexibility in molding their craft and being more creative. Many tattoo designs have only Odin, yet quite a few others have combined other imagery to give a more holistic effect.