The Meaning of the 10 Most Popular Gothic Tattoos
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For many years, the general public was quite prejudiced against tattoos - they had to be covered up until work and for the most part, people thought that having a tattoo meant you were a really shady character. As with most alternative styles and trends, once they became popular with the alternative scene, the mainstream soon caught up and now tattoos are seen as a symbol of expression and art.
The alternative and goth scene was one of the first adopters of tattoo culture (after sailors and bikers!), so it makes sense that some of the most popular tattoo styles are, in fact, gothic tattoos. You can probably think of some gothic tattoos of the top of your head , but what is the meaning behind some of these iconic gothic tattoo designs?
If you're thinking about getting your first gothic tattoo or just have a thirst for all things tattoo knowledge, read on to discover the meaning behind the 19 most popular gothic tattoos !
1. Day of the Dead Tattoo
In South America, the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos is a great annual tradition in which they celebrate the lives of deceased parents. They often keep the skulls of the dead in their homes as a reminder that death is inevitable, but in countries like Mexico, Day of the Dead tattoos are a more permanent reminder.
Large, colorful and detailed Day of the Dead tattoos are designed to capture the spirit of Dia de Los Muertos and are often colored in the following shades that have personal meaning for the individual:
Rose - joy and celebration at the death of the deceased, usually an enemy.
Purple - grief over the pain of the loss of a loved one
White - hope and purity of spirit, usually a parent, who passed on
Orange – to represent the rising sun and life after loss
2. Sugar Skull Tattoo
Similar to the Day of the Dead tattoo, a sugar skull tattoo has deep roots in Mexican culture; the main difference is that instead of depicting a person's head and shoulders painted to simply resemble the skeletal versions of themselves, sugar skulls are simply the skull which is then embellished with the same decorations.
The stripped-down version of the skull symbolizes the acceptance of death and its finality , but that doesn't mean they have to be as plain or gray as standard tattoos! One of the key symbols of Dia de Los Muertos celebrations, the sugar skull tattoo comes from the tradition of making skulls out of candy and decorating them with flowers and bright colors. Candy skull tattoos not only show an acceptance of death but that the dead are happy in life after death.
3. Raven tattoo
Ravens strike an intimidating figure - considered a bad omen in many countries , ravens are quite symbolic of the dark side, making them a popular choice for gothic tattooing. Whether announcing death, warning of bad luck, or delivering bad news, crows have a bad reputation in most cultures, which would not make them the first choice of tattoo for many.
However, ravens can also symbolize wisdom and knowledge and can be seen as spiritual guides who can help you through times of change. If you are interested in a crow tattoo for the dark connotations or positive symbolism , you will also need to consider how many crows you choose as the number can have a huge impact on the meaning:
A crow - bad luck
Two crows - good luck
Three crows - health
Four crows - wealth
Five crows - illness
Six crows - death
4. Kraken Tattoo
The mighty Kraken is a mythical creature of the sea with a reputation for sinking the largest ships on the high seas. Although it has its origins in Norse mythology , the Kraken has appeared in hundreds of stories over the years among sailors, pirates and fishermen . An octopus of unimaginable size, mythology lovers have long been fascinated by the Kraken. Representing the creature's power and regenerative traits, Kraken tattoos are most popular with those who have shown their inner strength and overcome personal trauma in order to grow back stronger.
5. Black Rose Tattoo
One of the most gothic tattoos that made it into the mainstream, black rose tattoos may look pretty, sure, but did you know that a black rose tattoo symbolizes super gothic things like death, pain and pain ? If those gothic overtones don't do it for you, perhaps the story of the black rose symbolizing rebellion will ignite a spark in those with a punk spirit!
6. Yggdrasil Tattoo
In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil was known as the Great Tree . Holding nine worlds and connecting everything in the universe, the Yggdrasil was an ash tree that held great meaning to the Vikings . Not to be taken lightly – a Yggdrasil tattoo is not only a neat Scandinavian symbol , it represents incredible power, wisdom and mysticism .
7. Steampunk Tattoo
Rather than having any special meaning, getting a Steampunk tattoo shows your dedication to the sci-fi subculture that has won the hearts of many in the alternative scene. Inspired by the industrial aesthetic of the Victorian era, Steampunk combines futuristic industrial machinery with macabre Victorian style for a completely unique look. Fans of Steampunk culture are more likely to invest in a Steampunk tattoo, but we've seen them on sci-fi fans and engineers!
8. Ouroboros Tattoo
The ancient symbol of the ouroboros depicts either a serpent or a dragon eating its own tail . The idea behind it is that it represents infinity - a constant capacity to recreate oneself and the cycle of life. An age-old symbol, the ouroboros has been adopted by all kinds of groups, from alchemists to philosophers, and appears in mythologies around the world, from ancient Greek magical tradition to ancient Egyptian iconography. Wherever it appears, the meaning is the same: infinity and integrity.
9. Bat tattoo
Depending on where you are in the world, a bat tattoo can take on a different meaning. In the Western world, bat tattoos represent mystery and the occult and have an overall negative connotation, while in the Eastern world the bat symbol can mean good fortune and longevity . The bat is almost always associated with vampires or Dracula in pop culture, making bat tattoos a popular choice with fans of alternative and goth culture as well as those looking for a meaningful tattoo!
10. Sun and Moon Tattoo
They say that opposites attract , and nothing symbolizes this feeling quite like a sun and moon tattoo. Holding a multitude of meanings, the union of two conflicting personalities is the main meaning behind a sun and moon tattoo and is often seen as a development of classic yin and yang symbolism. Framed by a circle which represents the circle of life, the sun symbolizes strength and power while the moon symbolizes feminine power.
Whatever gothic tattoo you choose, be sure to invest in gothic clothing for women that helps showcase your tattoos to their best advantage!