Nordic bird tattoo

Nordic bird tattoo DEFAULT

Vikings were raiders and warriors who marked the majority of the middle age. They raided from the North into England and France and, besides their warrior glory and strength, they also yielded rich culture, symbolism, and mythology. That’s why there are a lot of Viking symbols nowadays that are gladly tattooed, especially because Vikings were also inking their bodies throughout history.

Sleeve tattoos are some of the trendiest tattoo creations for a long time, and with such a rich symbolism in the history of Vikings, it doesn’t surprise us that many people opt to ink Viking symbols on their bodies, especially if those symbols are associated with Norse Gods and myths that described them.

However, the inspiration for the best Viking sleeve tattoo idea is not so easy to find, especially if you’re competing to make the most unique design you can find with your tattoo artist. Don’t worry, we wrote this article to help everyone who is hooked to get the Viking sleeve tattoo. We’ll look into the Viking symbolism and list the best tattoo designs for the Viking sleeve tattoo, below.

Vikings And Tattoos

Vikings And Tattoos

In the last decade, there have been a couple of TV shows and movies that glorified and told the tales of Vikings. Not surprisingly, all those Vikings and the Norsemen particularly practiced getting tattooed, especially as the story progressed. That hinted that the Norsemen associated inking their body to the part of their culture as they aged and made various life accomplishments that they wanted to mark on their body.

However, there’s hardly any evidence that promises that Vikings were tattooing themselves for real, and if they did, what was the ink made of? Understandably, the remains of the Vikings that were exhumed throughout history can’t hint of tattoos, as the skin will decompose over some time, giving absolutely no hint about the ink Vikings used.

However, two historical events could hint that the Vikings wore tattoos and paint over themselves, which likely inspired the pop culture to use tattoo on Viking warriors in their TV series and movies.

Throughout the history, it was believed that the Vikings wore their runes over their arms and legs, as well as faces. They’d tattoo themselves, as they’d engage in the explorative raids from the Scandinavia, to England, Iceland, and even further.

One of the key pieces of evidence that offer insight into the tattooing culture of the Vikings is the Arab traveler and scholar, Ahmad Ibn Fadlan. He was sent by the Caliphate to conduct a diplomatic venture in the Middle Volga area that now belongs to Russia.

As a traveling, he came across the Norse warriors that he believed were Vikings in the 10th Century. They sailed downwards the river Volga to make trades with the Arabs. Fadlan was the first and last person who wrote that the tattoos on Vikings were real. The tattoos that flattered the Vikings were much more detailed and widespread across the Vikings than the pop culture displays it today. He wrote they were tattooed from head to toe.

He also claimed that the tattoos that covered even the fingertips and their necks were colored green and blue, which gives a hint that the tattoo ink used was made out of the tree ash.

Unfortunately, Fadlan was the last person who reported on the sighting of Vikings as tattooed individuals. Also, we can’t confirm for sure that the Vikings were in great numbers. Perhaps, he has only seen a few individuals that were tattooed, and not all of them were. Additionally, that group of Vikings was believed to be called the Rus Vikings, how he also called them.

He also wrote that they behaved like savages. He noted that they were dirty, even though they washed their hands, face, and head. However, they did it in a “savage way.”

Although Fadlan is the only person who wrote about the sighting of inked Vikings, there’s another hint that could suggest that Vikings had tattoos.

One clue from Siberia can provide a potential hint about how Viking tattoos came into existence. Archeologists exhumed a body of a Scythian chieftain who was buried for thousands of years. It is believed that he was buried in 500 BC, and his body was covered in tattoos, which could hint that the Norsemen took over the tradition.

Some sources believe that the descendants of these civilizations taught the future Vikings how to ink their body and also practice it.

What Nordic Symbols Should You Put On Your Viking Tattoo Sleeve?

What Nordic Symbols Should You Put On Your Viking Tattoo Sleeve

Whether the Vikings wore tattoos or not, there are a plethora of symbols in Norse mythology and all of them make great independent tattoos. Making a sleeve tattoo, however, often includes combines different symbols and designs to get the final product.

In this section, we’ll talk about the designs that you can combine to get the better results for your Viking tattoo slave.

On most occasions, tattoo artists receive different rune designs and symbols to tattoo on the Viking fans. However, some significant symbols made their name in Nordic history and it’s worth listing them down below.

Vegvisir: Vegsivir is certainly the most popular tattoo design that comes from the Vikings. It’s a symbolic Viking compass filled with Nordic runes that helped the Viking raiders find the right way. Vegsivir means “That which shows the way” in the Icelandic language.

Vegvisir Sleeve Tattoo

While not entirely of Viking origin, given that it was discovered in the 17th century, it hints at the Nordic culture that has likely brought the symbol to the Icelandic grounds when exploring it. More importantly, Vegvisir is a symbol of guarding and protection, especially among people who travel and sailors. It also gives protection to people who have gone through different struggles.

Some Nordic beliefs hint that the supreme god in the Norse mythology, Odin used this Nordic compass on his ventures as he’d always find the way and never get lost.

Yggdrasil: Yggdrasil represents the tree of life and is believed to be sacred in Norse mythology. Additionally, it’s a loved symbol asked for tattooing. It was initially mentioned in the 13th century and described as a tall ash tree that is located at the center of everything. It was believed that its branches could reach the skies and heavens. Norsemen believed in Yggdrasil to be the representation of life, stability, empathy, balance, and existence. If you’re looking for a tattoo that has deep and symbolic meanings, you should definitely choose Yggdrasil.

Yggdrasil Tattoo

Valknut: If you’re looking for a tattoo sleeve with a simple and humble design, Valknut could be the right choice. This triple knot is used to commemorate slain warriors who have died honorably and are ready to join Odin and other Gods in Valhalla.

If you want your tattoo sleeve to be more discrete and not stand out too much, adding Valknut to your design could be meaningful. When it comes to the meanings, Valknut represents honor, courage, fearlessness, and acceptance.

Valknut Sleeve Tattoo

It’s no secret that armband tattoos are often used to honor someone who has died, the Valknut tattoo can be used in the same way, especially if you combine it with other symbols from Norse mythology.

Thor’s Hammer: Thor’s hammer is one of the most important weapons in Norse mythology. When yielded by the Son of Odin, Thor, the God of war and Thunder, he was unstoppable. It was believed that Thor’s hammer was responsible for a variety of natural disasters including restless sea, thunderstorms, earthquakes, and more.

Thor’s Hammer Tattoo

In sense of tattoos, Thor’s hammer can represent one’s willpower, strength, power, courage, and much more. It’s a great addition to the meaningful Nordic symbols.

Helm of Awe: When talking about the Helm of Awe, it’s important to make a difference between it and the aforementioned symbol Vegvisir. While the latter was the symbol of sailing, traveling, and exploration, this one is the symbol of courage and fearlessness.

Helm of Awe Tattoo Sleeve

It was believed that the helm of awe was worn by the Viking warriors as protection and courage empowerment in battles and guidance. It was also believed that it can scare enemies. That said, if you need protection from the bad luck or the evil eye, this tattoo is a great choice. The only challenge that comes with it is fitting it into the sleeve tattoo, as it is a larger design compared to the others.

Best Viking Tattoo Sleeve Ideas

Now after we listed the most popular Viking symbols used in tattoos, let’s take a look at all the different tattoo designs that used the Viking symbols for the sleeve tattoos. In combination with the aforementioned symbols, we’re sure that you’ll get inspiration for your next sleeve design.

Female Viking Sleeve

Female Viking Sleeve
Gray white Female Viking Sleeve

It’s no secret that Viking women were fierce warriors who stood side by side with their husbands and brothers on the battlefields. Viking women were treated much differently than the women in Christian countries, who often felt like less, and didn’t have the access to things that the Viking women did.

This particular tattoo looks stylish, attractive, and detailed. Undoubtedly, it took some time to make, but the quality of the ink looks unprecedented. Even the female Viking warrior can be seen having body paint and tattoo, giving a hint that the belief that Vikings had tattoos themselves is quite popular.

Also Read: 60 Sleeve Tattoos Design Ideas for Women (2021 Updated)

Viking Shieldmaiden Sleeve

Viking Shieldmaiden Sleeve
no hair Viking Shieldmaiden Sleeve

As mentioned earlier, Viking shieldmaiden were some of the best warriors in the North, who could fight side by side with men but also be on par with them. This shieldmaiden is inked to the smallest details, with hair braided into small braids, as was popular in the Nordic countries in the past.

She also wears a helmet made out of bones, which gives a hint that she is battle-ready. She also wears face paint, both on lips and under the eyes, that were made as detailed as possible. Women Viking warriors in tattoos can mean both fierceness, courage, and delicacy.

Fenrir Sleeve Tattoo

Fenrir Sleeve Tattoo
Flower and dog Fenrir Sleeve Tattoo

Fenrir is the mythological wolf in Norse Mythology who was destined to take revenge on the supreme God Odin. He’s also considered the son of Loki. Wolves usually don’t have the positive symbolism, especially because Fenrir is often associated with vengeance, wrath, and other negative traits. However, revenge was meant to be his destiny which also makes his actions just. There are various symbolisms for the colossal Nordic wolf. But, one of them is justice, which is what attracts many people to put him on the sleeve tattoo.

Black Ink Sleeve

Black Ink Sleeve
geometry Black Ink Sleeve

This interesting black ink sleeve that continues itself on the shoulder and chest includes various Nordic symbols. One of them is Vegsivir, the Viking compass carried by Odin on his ventures. We described it above, but this tattoo is much larger, fitting greatly together with other symbols in the tattoo. Many of these symbols are mainly knots, which are popular both in the Nordic and Celtic civilizations.

Odin Tattoo Sleeve

Odin Tattoo Sleeve

Odin is the supreme god in the Norse mythology, and we believe it’s exactly him in this tattoo design. It’s dark and mysterious, just as Odin does, but it also comes carrying great power. Odin is represented through war, wisdom, and even death, and is feared by the other Gods and enemies of the Norsemen. This tattoo is quite detail-oriented, especially given that Odin is a one-eyed God.

History Vikings Sleeve

History Vikings Sleeve

History Vikings is one of the most popular TV shows starring the vicious Norsemen. This tattoo sleeve shows some of the main characters including Ragnar Lothbrok, his best friend Floki the boat builder, and Ragnar’s Son Bjorn who passed on Ragnar’s legacy. The tattoo also includes more Nordic symbols such as raven which marks Odin, Vegvisir, and various Norse runes of different meanings. We like how detailed the characters are, and it looks great even after healing.

Storm Viking Sleeve

Storm Viking Sleeve
Storm Viking Sleeve with a boat

Storms in the Nordic culture and mythology is quite important because it represents the presence of the Gods, such as Odin, the supreme God, as well as Thor, who yielded his hammer that could shoot the lighting. For a lot of Vikings, storms could either sense trouble, hint that the Gods are angry, or indicate a bad omen. It also represented the challenge for sailors who struggled to get through the storms to reach their goals. This tattoo looks absolutely fab, and it also adds some runes, in addition to the Viking God and what seem to be dragon scales.  The tattoo also features runes, which is quite cool.

Wolf And Viking Sleeve

Wolf And Viking Sleeve

This is another Viking Sleeve tattoo that includes the Just and furious Fenrir in the picture. However, it also includes other entities such as Odin, hinting that Fenrir is drawn to conduct his vengeance on the supreme God. There are other symbols in the tattoo, including the lighting bolts, clouds, dragons, crows, and Vegvisir, which was often carried by Odin himself. We like how Fenrir was made to be above the other symbols in the tattoo, and his anger was perfectly drawn through various details. According to the author of the image, this tattoo is supposed to represent Ragnarok, or what’s considered the end of the world in Norse mythology.

Also Read: 30+ Wolf Tattoo Design Ideas (And The Meaning Behind Them)

Nordic Sleeve

Nordic Sleeve


If you’re looking for a super-detailed Viking sleeve for your new tattoo, this one is among the best we found. That’s because all the combined symbols are associated with Vikings and the Norsemen.

They combine a female Viking Warrior, staring back while surrounded by the Nordic signature axes, the tree of life tattooed into her face, as well as the raging thunderstorm, the seer of the death, and the Valknut symbol of three overlapping triangles, which can mark the death or a fallen warrior that has deserved their entrance into Valhalla. It looks super-detailed and will serve as an inspiration to someone looking for a tattoo with mixed symbols.

Huginn and Muninn

Huginn and Muninn
The sun and bird

Huginn and Muninn are twin crows that belong to Odin and serve him. For him, they’d fly over the world to learn more about what’s going on in it and then report it back to the Supreme God. Although this tattoo doesn’t entirely cover the sleeve, it can be a great idea to use in your future sleeve tattoo. We also like how the artist drew the crows, with special details in the beak, eyes, and the wings that are being spread out to fly. It’s as if the crows are making the sound out of the tattoo. It’s a great tattoo that would look even better with the addition of other symbols.

Storm Sleeve

Storm Sleeve
Storm Sleeve for big arm

This tattoo looks into the adventurous spirit of Vikings, as well as their ventures when raiding the sea and looking for the fertile land. More often than not, Vikings would embar on Journeys with their boats and ship, and those journeys would be filled with raging storms that would make the sea rage. This tattoo is detailed because it shows both the sea and the raging skies. Also, it shows that the boat belongs to Norsemen. There’s also a Vegvisir on the shoulder, which is the perfect representation of the compass of life and that no matter what you go through, Odin is there to protect and guide you.

Viking Warrior Sleeve

Viking Warrior Sleeve
Viking Warrior Sleeve for big arm

This is another Viking sleeve tattoo that is rich in details, and also fits a great number of elements connected to the Nordic tradition and culture. The Viking warrior with a horned helmet and armor is in a fight, but also surrounded with the symbols like Vegvisir, boat, thunderstorm, other dead warriors, and others. We also like the brushed design that hints at mystery and combines so many known Viking symbols.

Jormungandr Tattoo

Jormungandr Tattoo
dark Jormungandr Tattoo
snake Jormungandr Tattoo
wolf Jormungandr Tattoo

The last tattoo sleeve hints at a mythical creature that Thor fought with his hammer, the Midgard serpent known as Jormungandr. It also adds other symbols like the restless sea, Huginn and Muninn, and the famous Viking compass that we mentioned throughout the article. This is among the top three tattoos that we displayed in this article, as it’s dark yet bright, and also rich in accurate and sleek details.

This tattoo is of impeccable design and perfectly laid out on the entirety of the arm. It’s also worth mentioning that not many people ink the Midgard Serpent, even though there are a lot of Serpent tattoos out there.

Frequently Asked Questions About Viking Tattoo Sleeves

Here you can find answers to the most popular questions regarding the Viking Tattoo sleeve tattoo ideas. Make sure to check them out. Perhaps, you’ll find an answer to the question you’ve been asking yourself for a long time.

Q: What are the most popular Viking sleeve tattoos?

A: Most Viking sleeve tattoos combine different symbols such as the Nordic Gods, symbols like the Thor’s Hammer, crows, Vegivisir, Valknut, and others. More often than not, there could be inspirations for the popular characters from the TV show Vikings, as well as some other symbols like boats, as Vikings raided and traveled a lot.

Q: Did Vikings have tattoos?

A: The most accurate evidence of Vikings having tattoos are the records from an Arab scholar who traveled the Volga and encountered the so-called Rus Vikings who were said to be tattooed from head to toe. Most of the tattooed Vikings beliefs derive from the pop culture and TV shows that depict Viking warriors as tattooed.

Q: What is the meaning behind the Viking and Nordic Tattoos?

A: Most popular tattoo meanings that are connected to Vikings are the symbols of power, strength, courage, and the timeless respect and ode to the Nordic Gods that Vikings worshipped and believed in. They fought in their names and also died in their name in the process. That’s why a lot of Viking sleeve tattoos either depict Thor or Odin, who are the most popular Gods in Norse mythology.

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Top 57 Odin’s Ravens Tattoo Ideas [2021 Inspiration Guide]

Rooted deep in ancient Norse mythology, the ravens Huginn and Muninnn are a powerful tattoo choice for the thoughtful and wise.

These godly birds capture the mystique and brilliance of the old viking gods and give your ink a clever connotation.

Ravens are a deeply symbolic animal across many cultures, both ancient and modern. As some of the most intelligent avians in the world, ravens stand for wit, self-reliance and skill. As powerful black birds of carrion they stand for death, rebirth and survival. The two ravens Huginn and Muninn, however, stand in a class above and lend a strong symbology to your next tattoo piece.

For over a thousand years, these ravens have stood out as special in human memory. Their names mean ‘thought’ and ‘mind’ and together they were the trusted allies and friends of Odin, the wisest and wiliest of the viking gods. The legends tell of these beautiful black birds leaving Odin’s shoulders every morning to fly around the world, gathering all the knowledge and wisdom there was to be found in the day. Every night they would return to him and whisper in his ears all the information they’d gathered, adding to his power and reinforcing his reputation as the all-knowing all-father.

Ancient viking warriors respected and revered this legend in their clothing and jewelry, adorning armor, weapons and banners with fierce images of flying ravens, displaying honor to Odin, chief of gods. Pay tribute to Norse heritage, wisdom and viking myth with a tattoo of these legendary birds.

Odin’s Ravens Tattoo Ideas

Amazing Mens Odins Ravens Tattoo Designs

Odin’s ravens tattoo, Huginn and Muninn, in deep dark multiple shades of black on this stunning chest piece hovering on an Yggdrasil, the evergreen ash tree in Norse mythology, illustrated right at the center, unshaded, creating a perfect background for these two elegant creatures. These ravens are rendered in black ink, deeply saturated and shaded in different tones of black with flecks of highlights for texture in the feather details.

Artistic Male Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas

Another chest piece for inspiration of these birds, larger in size and minimalist in design. The ravens are darkly outlined for contrast and longevity of the tattoo. It is important when choosing the concept and style to consider ageing. Tattoo artists in general, believe that if it doesn’t last then it’s not a tattoo.

Awesome Odins Ravens Tattoos For Men

These two powerful creatures, the eyes and ears of the great god Odin the Allfather, are out and about performing the task for their master. He would let the ravens fly out in the morning to monitor on the nine worlds.  And when the night came, they would come back to Odin whispering into his ears what they had seen during the day. This is another dark ink creation of these birds, delicately drawn on the shoulder area which actually a smart take on carrying a bird on one of the shoulders.

Cool Male Odins Ravens Tattoo Designs

Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s servant ravens, tattooed on a gentleman’s upper back in highly saturated black ink. The edges are thickly outlined with added details of Celtic symbols on the inside, gracefully organized and to fit the shape of the negative space provided for each bird. These pair represent the human mind. Huginn symbolizes thought, while Muninn represents memory.

Cool Odins Ravens Tattoo Design Ideas For Male

A surrealism style tattoo of this mysterious creature resting on a wooden ledge adorned with Celtic symbols which mimics the roots of Yggdrasil, the evergreen ash tree in Norse mythology. This lone raven is illustrated in extra fine lines, and darkly shaded in different shades of black and a few highlights of varying shades of gray to produce a more realistic raven with textured feathers and well detailed claw which is set against the contrast of the smooth finish of the ledge. The Odin’s raven on the right side is, Muninn who represents memory.

Creative Odins Ravens Tattoos For Men

The Allfather, Odin, in Norse mythology with this raven Huginn on his left known to symbolize, “thought”. A gorgeous black and gray realism portrait of the two powerful symbols of wisdom. This is an almost picture-perfect creation, inked in light feather strokes, shaded and blended for definition and depth instead of being outlined. The light coming in from above, adds sheen and ethereal look into this piece giving the raven much needed highlights, like being soaked under the sun. The sharp contrast from the raven to Odin’s stark white hair to his skin in mid-tones nestled in thick white scruffy beard provides perfect contrast against the shiny helmet adorned with Celtic symbols.

Distinctive Male Odins Ravens Tattoo Designs

Huginn and Muninn tattoo faceoff on this chest piece in blackwork. The design is simple and minimalist with a few added details on top of ravens. These are troll cross symbols use as an amulet by the Scandinavian people for protection from black magic and trolls.

Gentleman With Odins Ravens Tattoo

The Viking warrior donning the raven symbols on his arm, in black and gray tribal tattoo. Ravens are often thought of Odin’s extension of himself, such that to have them also meant that the Allfather is also present.

Gentlemens Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas

Huginn and Muninn tattoo in a tribal inspired design on a masculine back, inked in traditional black and gray. These favorite companions of Odin are shaded in complementary opposites depicting that they fulfill two separate roles for the Allfather.

Guys Huginn And Muninn Odins Ravens Tattoos

An elegant design for an arm tattoo of Odin’s ravens perched on a branch with delicate white flowers for contrast. This looks like a freehand illustration of the birds, custom made for the arm of this human canvas. The shading and blending are masterfully done to create a realistic bird with intricately drawn feathers highlighted in lightest shade of gray for contrast.

Guys Odins Ravens Huginn And Muninn Tattoo Design Ideas

The Odin’s ravens tattoo presented in two contrasting concepts, complementary opposites to introduce the interpretation of the scholars of Norse mythology that these two powerful creatures, Huginn and Muninn, represent two harmonizing meaning. Huginn symbolizes thought which is the more objective and sensible side, while Muninn embodies desire, will, passion and enthusiasm. The logical side occupies the left side of the brain while the artistic and passionate side occupies the other.

Guys Odins Ravens Tattoo Huginn And Muninn

This is a great illustrative piece in full vibrant colors with each component shaded delicately in varying tones. The composition is well balanced from top to bottom as the red leaves along with the stylized leaf inspired border on one side frames the two ravens at the center. This design maximizes the space provided with respect to the placement of the tattoo. Huginn and Muninn are captured in motion which makes this piece dynamic because of it tells a story.

Guys Tattoo Ideas Odins Ravens Designs

A blackwork ink of the two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, soaring the nine realms of Midgard in a speed of light. This arm tattoo is one of a kind, unique in design and its composition, featuring the silhouette of these powerful birds who perform important tasks for Odin.

Guys Tattoos With Odins Ravens Design

This Odin’s ravens tattoo on the upper arm is a stunning piece of surreal art work.  The eye at the center is such a symbolic component of this creation as a tribute to these two creatures as the source of information of the Allfather on a daily basis. The color combination is refreshing as the birds are not cloaked in black. This design will definitely appeal to the younger set who are always on the lookout for fresh ideas.

Guy With Odins Ravens Tattoo Design

Huginn and Muninn inked in black and gray on a trash polka influenced tattoo, combining illustration and abstract styles. What is important in this style of tattooing is the story telling aspect of the art work, which may be subjective depending on whose perspective, but must be definitely be present in the composition.

Huginn And Muninn Guys Odins Ravens Tattoo Designs

A black and gray chest piece of these two majestic and mysterious creatures, Huginn and Muninn illustrated in bold and dark outlines to ensure sharp contrast against the skin of the owner. The birds’ details are shaded and blended in rustic, dotted strokes to create texture. Same strokes are seen on the center of the infinity symbol which is a derivative of the shape of the tree of life eternal circle connecting the three elements of life, death and rebirth.

Huginn And Muninn Remarkable Odins Ravens Tattoos For Males

The two ravens drawn in one intriguing piece wherein its symbolic meaning is highly subjective according to the point of view either of the artist or that of the owner. One thing is undeniable though, this is an incredible ink work executing a cool concept. The contrast of the shades of black and gray against the skin of the canvas is very striking and adds a haunting appeal to this piece. The intricate feather details from the head down to the body, further down to its stunning wings are admirable and well executed.

Incredible Odins Ravens Tattoos For Men

These birds are indeed a visual feast, Odin himself would have been greatly pleased of how his favorite companions are perceived then interpreted in ink work. The intricate line work on how the birds are shaded all throughout is truly amazing. It’s skillfully and consistently filled in, blended and contoured in the process to add definition and texture.

Male Cool Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas

Huginn and Muninn tattoo with Thor’s powerful hammer also called as the Mjölnir. Thor, one of the most popular figures in all of Norse mythology is the son of Odin and Fyorgyn, the god of thunder and war.  The ravens are also known to accompany the Viking warriors in the battlefield as the Allfather’s eyes and ears, and as the projection of Odin himself. This black and gray tattoo of the three Viking popular symbols is perfect for the man who seeks power, strength and wisdom as a concept for his ink work.

Male Odins Ravens Tattoo

These two ravens are featured on a black and gray tattoo inked on the inner arm of the wearer for its aesthetic appeal and symbolic meaning. This illustration of these two creatures is given a modern approach with the use of extra fine lines for outlines, filled and blended for contour and shadow, while shades of washed out gray are used for highlights so as to bring texture to the feathers. 

Male Odins Ravens Tattoo Design Inspiration

This is one of the more popular designs and placement of Huginn and Muninn adorned with Celtic shapes and patterns on the shoulder blades of the owner, in tribute to their roles and how they are documented in Norse mythology, lovingly perched on the shoulders of Odin.

Male Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas

The armored arm of the Viking warrior with the tribal symbols of the raven along with the Odin associated symbol such as the interwoven knot which is derivative of the Yggdrasil’s circle of life represented in three elements of life, death and rebirth continuous cycle. It is also in this tree where Odin, hid his eye so he can drink a sip of Mimir’s water, the second root, a well that is the source of wisdom and intelligence. This warrior’s tattoo in black and gray carries with him symbols and patterns of the sacred ancient mythology for protection and strength, to invoke wisdom and intelligence, to honor the brave and courageous warriors who died before him and seek their blessing as they go into battle. This modern-day warrior is battle ready.

Male Tattoo With Odins Ravens Design

Odin’s endearing companions, Huginn and Muninn, tattooed on a shoulder of this gentleman. These two creatures are shaded and filled in shades of black with intricate gray highlights along the edges of the feather for added texture of the illustration.

Male With Cool Odins Ravens Tattoo Design

Odin’s powerful and sacred servants: his eyes and ears, Huginn and Muninn; and a Valkyrie a host of female figures who choose those who may die, in one spectacular tattoo.  The contrast and transition of the dark to light is smart and aesthetically appealing. It is refreshing to see these powerful ravens with an important figure in Norse mythology. The artist presented this winged maiden in shades of soft shades of gray with occasional black for contour. Her wings, arms and sword make her look like a fierce warrior of the Allfather.

Manly Odins Ravens Tattoo Design Ideas For Men

Odin’s ravens featured on an arm tattoo in monochromatic tones of black and gray. At the center is a spear which is similar to Odin’s Gungnir, a symbol of power, protection, and authority. The first weapon thrown in a conflict is a spear in honor of Odin, who would hurl Gungnir to strike terror into the hearts of his enemies, “Odin knew how to act so that his foes in battle became blind or deaf or panic-stricken and their weapons pierced no more than wands” (Davidson, Gods and Myths, 63). Huginn and Muninn, delicately drawn on an arm outlined in black integrated with Odin’s knot which symbolizes the power Odin to bind and unbind.

Masculine Odins Ravens Tattoos For Men

Huginn and Muninn with the Mjölnir, more popularly known as Thor’s mighty hammer, a magical weapon which always return to the hand of the god of thunder and war. The hammer is invoked not only for Thor’s protection but also as a fertility emblem used in weddings and marital homes. The two ravens shaded in pitch black, mysteriously perched on this powerful weapon of the son of Odin.

Mens Cool Odins Ravens Tattoo Design Inspiration

Odin’s ravens, Huginn symbolizes thought and Muninn represents memory, hovering around a powerful symbol in the Norse mythology known as Valknut may depict the cyclical path between life and death that these warriors experience. It is most commonly believed to be the symbol of these slain warriors since its direct translation could be the knot of the killed warrior. Nowadays, this symbol is usually worn as a protective amulet against the evil eye in order to keep evil spirits.

Mens Cool Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas

Huginn and Muninn, in a minimalist illustrative tattoo along with the Triskele symbol, drawn at the center of this piece. The triskele or triple horns is a Viking symbol made of three interlocking drinking horns which is a symbol of the Nordic god, Odin. It also referred as a symbol of wisdom. These ravens being the eyes and ears of the Allfather himself, is often thought as the projection of Odin’s consciousness. 

Mens Manly Odins Ravens Tattoo Designs

The two magical ravens of Odin in blackwork tattoo, deeply saturated for contrast and saturation. At the center is a modernized interpretation of the magical Runes which is the Norse alphabet, interconnected to form one pattern. This pattern invokes two letters from the alphabet Othala and Tiwaz. At the top most is Othala, the rune of ancestral property. Most of the time, this rune letter revolved around family and home. It also resembles the Troll Cross, a useful amulet to protect troll,s evil elves, and dark magic. When Vikings worn this symbol with themselves, they believed that chances of falling into danger significantly decreased.

Mens Odins Ravens Tattoo

This is a shoulder tattoo of Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s twin ravens perched on Thor’s hammer with the symbol of the Valknut, in between these two ravens. This is a black and gray creation of these two powerful creatures, presented in shades of black with touches of gray for the highlights of the feathers,

Mens Odins Ravens Tattoo Design Ideas

This is a modern minimalist design of the twin ravens of Odin, who look like they are just about to leave the Asgard to go about their daily duties for the Allfather. Huginn and Muninn represent two complementing elements of the mind. One delivers sensible and logical thinking, the other embodies desire, will, passion and enthusiasm. One cannot exist with the other. I like to think that we all have two invisible ravens, one on each shoulder. And it is our duty to keep them both well fed and healthy. If one of them starves, it will fly away. This means that while we need to stay sensible and thoughtful of our life choices, we also need passion, desire and dreams for the future.

Mens Odins Ravens Tattoo Design Inspiration

The two elegant ravens on striking chest piece drawn as identical twins, intersecting with overlapping patterns, A black and gray creation of this ravens, Huginn and Muninn, eyes and ears of Odin, believe to represent Odin himself. 

Mens Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas

The ravens in trash polka style of tattooing in classic black and gray. Its main theme if freedom as expressed at the center of the piece. The birds look faded but realistically filled and shaded, blended and contoured to add definition and dimension. This is custom made for this canvas and drawn freehand most of time.

Mens Tattoo Ideas With Odins Ravens Design

A rich black small rendition of Odin’s ravens on an arm inked in black with only the eyes spots were allocated for negative. These twin birds look strikingly haunting and mysterious against the pale skin of the human canvas. The feathers are intricately detailed with micro scallop shapes and fine lines, for texture.

Mens Tattoo Odins Ravens Design

Thor’s Mjölnir, a magic hammer of unequalled quality, of formidable power, never missing its target and always coming back into the hands of its owner after being launched This symbol is carried around and worn to invoke the god of thunder and war’s protection from all evil. These two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, being the Allfather’s source of information would fly all over Midgard, the comeback by the end of the day. These ravens ultimately represent Odin himself. A stunning tattoo of the twin ravens, Mjölnir and the ash tree. 

Mens Tattoo With Odins Ravens Design

Huginn and Muninn tattooed on a shoulder, these ravens are drawn darkly against a background of Celtic knot symbols in shades of gray. These twin ravens seem to be paying attention at the same sequence but with two different reactions. One is calm and collected, the other is emotional and passionate. The shades of black on their feathers are stunningly blended while the dash of highlight is cleverly done to add texture into the illustration.

Odins Ravens Guys Tattoo Ideas

Odin’s tattoo with his ravens in a classic and timeless piece of black and gray. This is such a stunning creation of the Allfather, in a realistic portrait with his raven covering his left eye dripping in blood. This is a deeply emotional piece since it’s his wolf and ravens who are comforting the hurt god.

Odins Ravens Guys Tattoos

Huginn and Muninn are the twin ravens of the god of wisdom, Odin, delicately perched on the chest of this gentleman. Every morning they left to see what was happening all over the world, and at sunset they flew back to Odin to rest on his shoulders, whispering in his ears all that they had seen. On this account they also symbolize secret knowledge.

Odins Ravens Huginn And Muninn Guys Tattoo Designs

This chest piece is comprised of Odin’s two beautiful ravens, Huginn and Muninn, I like to think that we all have two invisible ravens, one on each shoulder. And it is our duty to keep them both well fed and healthy. If one of them starves, the other will fade. This means that while we need to stay sensible and thoughtful of our life choices, we also need passion, desire and dreams for the future. Both Huginn and Muninn whisper in our ears, and we need to listen to them both.

Odins Ravens Male Tattoo Designs

One of the best examples of trash polka using the Odin’s ravens as the concept. That these two angels can travel to Midgard to scout the mankind and update the Allfather of the day to day events, good or bad. The raven is an iconic and magical creature in the Viking world.

Odins Ravens Male Tattoos

Odins Ravens Mens Tattoo Designs

Odins Ravens Mens Tattoo Ideas

Odins Ravens Tattoo Design Ideas For Males

Odins Ravens Tattoo Design On Man

Odins Ravens Tattoo Designs For Guys

Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas For Gentlemen

Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas For Males

Odins Ravens Tattoo Ideas On Guys

Odins Ravens Tattoo On Men

Odins Ravens Tattoos For Gentlemen

Odins Ravens Tattoos Guys

Odins Ravens Tattoos Male

Odins Ravens Tattoos Men

Sharp Odins Ravens Male Tattoo Ideas

Unique Mens Odins Ravens Tattoos

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Raven Tattoo Meanings, Designs, and Ideas

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

The raven is a dark, elegant bird that translates nicely into a tattoo. Like most animal designs, the raven is usually deeply symbolic to the wearer. It can be designed in many different ways to convey your personal meaning and suit your personality.

In this article, I will discuss raven tattoo designs and their symbolism. In the end, I hope that you are able to find ideas and inspiration for your next tattoo.

The History of Raven Symbolism in Various Cultures

  • The raven is a common fixture in ancient and modern literature. In most books, the raven was a dark character and often linked to death.
  • Many ancient cultures believed that the magical raven carried powerful secrets. In some mythologies, this bird is thought to be a creature that can't keep a secret.
  • The raven is the first bird mentioned in the Bible. Later, Noah releases a raven after the flood to see if the waters have receded. According to the Law of Moses, it is forbidden to eat ravens.
  • In the Quran's story of Cain and Abel, it is a raven who teaches Cain how to bury his brother.
  • The raven is also associated to the Celtic culture. This is one reason why you will see raven tattoos in Celtic art. The Celts were no strangers to war and saw ravens eating the dead on the battlefield. They viewed the raven as a symbol of war and death.
  • However, the Celtic raven tattoo also represents protection, magic, and prophecy. This is primarily because they believed that this bird had magical powers.
  • Native Americans believed that the raven brought light to the earth and that it was a symbol of balance, of the dance between good and bad.
  • In Greek and Roman mythology, the raven is linked to Apollo and Athena. Since it flies high in the sky, it has attributes of the sun and wisdom.
  • In Viking or Norse mythology, Odin is referred to as the "raven-god" because of his association with Huginn (an Old Norse word for "thought") and Muninn ("memory"), the two ravens that perch on his shoulders. These two fly around the world and bring information back to whisper in his ear.
  • Odin also had two wolf familiars, Geri and Freki. Ravens are often called Wolf-Birds because they often form friendly symbiotic relationships with wolves. Many old stories of the Tlingit and Inuit, two Native American groups in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, told about wily ravens who played tricks on both wolves and humans.

The raven is a symbol of intelligence and wisdom. This tattoo can represent both the good and bad in its wearer.

What Do Raven Tattoos Represent?

Common associations with ravens are:

  • Protection (because they watch over events)
  • Magic (usually dark, Pagan, or otherworldly)
  • Future (their bird's-eye-view gives them a kind of omniscience)
  • Secrets (for the same reason they can see the future)
  • Death (not as a cause of death, but perhaps as an omen)
  • Light (Native Americans believed they brought light to earth)
  • Shadows (literally and psychologically; ravens represent the unconscious, unknown side of a personality)
  • Inner Self (Jung associated ravens with the parts of our psyches that we refuse to see)
  • War (they arrive to help clean up the battlefield)
  • Prophecy (because of their all-seeing vantage)
  • Memory (they represent the shadows of all the people and events of the past)
  • Misery or Pain (perhaps because of their association with war and death)
  • Intelligence or Wisdom (of course, ravens are extremely intelligent creatures)
  • Thought (they draw our attention to unconscious thoughts, memories, and desires)

A group of ravens is called a "conspiracy" or an "unkindness."

Why Are Ravens Called Wolf-Birds?

Ravens are called Wolf-Birds because they often form friendly symbiotic relationships with wolves.

  • Ravens don't usually move in flocks; instead, they live with a mate. Conversely, the "lone wolf" would prefer to belong to a pack. Despite these differences, these two species form close relationships.
  • Ravens follow wolves so that they can scavenge the leftovers of the hunt.
  • In return, the ravens alert wolves to dangers and lead them to prey.
  • In the wild, ravens and wolves are often seen together and sometimes they play. The ravens tease the wolves and the wolf pups chase the ravens playfully.

Why Are Ravens Associated With Death?

Many people think of death when they think about the raven, as this bird has been a longtime symbol of darkness, death, and mystery. Where does the association between the raven and death originate?

As a carrion bird, one who scavenges instead of hunts, they are associated with death. Also, in towns in medieval times, ravaged by plague and war and littered with bodies, it was not uncommon to see these creatures scavenging on the decaying bodies. Therefore, they became associated with death.

The funny thing about associations is that we confuse them with causation. In other words, because the birds would show up to help clean up the battlefield, so to speak, mourning and traumatized people began to believe that the presence of ravens caused the battle, not the other way around.

Despite this, the raven can also represent some extremely positive attributes.

Raven Tattoo Designs

On its own, this bird can make an extraordinary design. The raven can be portrayed in various postures, like flying with its wings open or crouched on a perch. There's no wrong way to do it. But of course, pairing the raven with other objects helps underline and convey its meaning.

  • If a tattoo represents death, it might be combined with a skull, a clock or timepiece, or a bloody arrow. It is not uncommon to see raven tattoo designs with blood.
  • If meant to signify the death of a loved one, that person's name or the date they died might be inked, as well.
  • They can also be done in Celtic or tribal style. Although tribal tattoos have little symbolic significance, the Celtic raven is associated with war, magic, and misery.
  • The bird from Edgar Allan Poe's classic epic horror poem, "The Raven," is a common design. The poet's face or the word "nevermore" might be incorporated, on a banner or on book's spine.
  • To accentuate the wisdom and prescience of the symbolism, the raven might be paired with an open eyeball, crystal balls, or a full moon.

Which Birds Are Mistaken for Ravens?

Ravens are often mistaken for other types of black birds including grackles, starlings, and blackbirds, but they're most often confused with crows.

What's the Difference Between a Raven and a Crow Tattoo?

Although these two birds are often mistaken for one another, there are many visible differences between crows and ravens, and you'll want to make sure you get these details right in your design.

  • Beak: A crow's beak is shorter; a raven's beak is longer and slightly bent or curved. They both have bristles at the base of their beaks, but the raven's are longer and thicker.
  • Neck feathers: The crow's are smooth, the raven's are shaggy.
  • Tail feathers: A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, and the raven's is wedge-shaped.
  • Wings: Crows have short primary wing feathers, and ravens have long ones. This means raven's wings should be inked with longer "fingers."

Raven or Crow Feather Tattoos

Instead of inking the entire creature, many opt for a single black feather as a tattoo design. The single raven feather represents the same things the raven does, so if you want a simpler design, consider getting a feather tattoo.

Where Is the Ideal Spot for a Raven Tattoo?

Because of the amount of detail that can be put into a single feather, detailed raven tattoos are usually placed on larger areas: the back, chest, shoulder, sleeve, arm, or forearm.

Smaller, less detailed ravens might be placed anywhere.

Of course, it's most common for ravens to be inked in black ink (and lots of it), but variations abound, including shades of blue and purple.

If a Raven Could Talk, What Would It Say?

"Nevermore" isn't the only thing a raven can say. They can learn to talk, even better than a parrot can. Not only can they imitate voices, both male and female, but they can accurately imitate a number of other sounds including sirens, screams, flushing toilets, and barking dogs. Although ravensong sounds more like croaking, ravens are classified as the largest songbird.


Toms on February 23, 2020:

My first tattoo is Raven this really helped me out with research

Tony on June 27, 2019:

Excellent article! Waaaay better than the zodiac web search ones...

MavericK on May 07, 2019:

....very informative.

WereSloth on May 04, 2017:

Thank you

Ron Burgundy on December 10, 2012:

Great Odin's Raven!

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on September 05, 2012:

Eric, thanks for your comment and adding to this page. Your right. The raven was actually very symbolic in Norse myths and legend. I actually saved the story for my Viking tattoo article, but it is certainly associated to Norse mythology. Appreciate the addition.

Eric on September 02, 2012:

One thing that wasn't mentioned in the article was the raven in norse mythology. Odin, leader of the Norse gods, owned two pet ravens named hugin and munin who were his eyes in the mortal realm and as a result, ravens were seen by Vikings as a reminder that Odin was watching over and protecting them, as well as a symbol of divine wisdom.

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on August 05, 2012:








Thank you all for taking the time to comment, vote, and for your kind words. I knew the Raven could talk a little, but they are truly intelligent birds. The symbolism dates back centuries, very cool to research on this one. Appreciate all of you reading it.

BeyondMax from Sydney, Australia on August 03, 2012:

Love these creepy guys, even if they are giving me chills. LOL =)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 01, 2012:

Beautiful artistic work..

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on August 01, 2012:

Have always been fascinated by ravens. Great tattoos.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on July 31, 2012:

Love these raven tattoos and the pictures were beautiful ! The Raven is one of my favorite Poe Story .

Vote up and more !!!

kjforce from Florida on July 30, 2012:

thelyricwriter...enjoyed this hub..basically I am a fan of Poe...and his famous writes...

My uncle had a pet Raven..whose tongue was split so he learned to speak..he was.very attached to my uncle, followed him everywhere..nice photos..and research..kudos..

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 30, 2012:

Interesting that a lot of animal tattoo have cartoon variants, but not the raven. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 30, 2012:

I would never get a tattoo, but some of these are very striking.

Ideas for viking tattoos: Get inspiration for your Nordic ink

Viking tattoos are other Norse-inspired ink are extremely popular right now. If you're considering getting one, here's some visual inspiration. Enjoy!

Despite their origins more than 1,000 years ago, both the Viking Age and Norse mythology have a massive cultural impact today.

A tattooed Viking man

From the growing popularity of viking names to the reenactment societies all across the world and major movies and TV shows, Norse history is everywhere.

Viking tattoo inspiration

The mystique surrounding Viking culture and what we know about how they lived still remains relevant today. Many people of Norwegian heritage choose to get a tattoo to show their pride.

To demonstrate that pride, many people do a lot more than wearing short-sleeved tops! They take to Instagram and Pinterest to show off their ink. But, the best designs can be hard to find.

So, on this page, we've gathered together some inspiring photographs of real Viking tattoos from people all over the world. If you're planning on getting inked, this is the post for you!

Did Vikings have tattoos?

There's no hard evidence that tattoos were commonplace in the Viking age. Because skin is so fragile, it almost never survives in burials.

We do know from Arabic observer that the Rus, a Swedish Viking tribe that are believed to be the ancestors of East Slavic people, had tattoos. He wrote:

Each man has an axe, a sword, and a knife and keeps each by him at all times. The swords are broad and grooved, of Frankish sort. Every man is tattooed from finger nails to neck with dark green (or green or blue-black) trees, figures, etc.

Norse futhark pattern

So while there isn't hard proof, it does seem likely that artwork on the arm was a common feature.

Did the Vikings have coloured tattoos?

Some recent Danish archaeological research has revealed the colour palettes used by the Vikings, which range from rich reds and bright yellows to more earthy colours like greens and browns.

Colour symbolised power and wealth in the era, and it's interesting to note that things were probably a lot more colourful than we first thought.

Viking tattoo ideas

Right, let's get to it! We've scoured the internet to bring you some of the best and most interesting ink out there.

Who knew there was so many tattoos showed off on Instagram!? It's the perfect place to grab some inspiration from days gone by:

And how about this impressive one? Recognise the face? It's of course based on American actor Travis Fimmel from the hit TV show Vikings. He plays the part of Ragnar Lothbrok, someone whose very existence is widely debated.

Katherine Holman, writing in 2003, expressed this common opinion: “Although his sons are historical figures, there is no evidence that Ragnar himself ever lived, and he seems to be an amalgam of several different historical figures and pure literary invention.”

Norse mythology lends itself perfectly to Viking-inspired tattoos. Animals, monsters and other Norse creatures feature prominently on Instagram. I've seen many based on Odin's ravens, for example.

Rune tattoos

Norse and other Germanic peoples began to write by using runic alphabets, which have come to symbolise Norse culture and heritage.

A body with rune tattoos

The runes functioned as letters, but they were much more than that. Each rune was a representation of some cosmic principle or power.

Of course, care should be taken when trying to spell modern words in runes. There were many different variations of Runic alphabets used in different parts of northern Europe and during different time periods, and there is rarely a 1:1 match with modern letters.

An example Viking runes alphabet

Runes were carved into stone, wood, bone, or metal, rather than drawn with ink. This helps to explains their sharp, angular shapes, which were well-suited to being carved onto hard surfaces.

Viking tattoos for women

Although many women stayed in the villages and on the farms, some sources suggest that some women may have been warriors. A woman who chose to fight as a warrior was called a shieldmaiden.

Another popular female image from Norse mythology is the valkyrie, a female figure that decided who made it to Valhalla after battle.

Viking ship artwork

Instantly recognisable, viking ships are a popular choice for tattoos. The longship's design evolved over many centuries but were characterized as graceful, long, and narrow.

They were all made out of wood, with cloth sails (woven wool) and had numerous details and carvings on the hull. The shallow-draft hull was designed for speed and allowed for sailing in shallow waters and beach landings.

Choosing a Viking ship design also makes it easier to adapt and extend the tattoo later. For example, with the wide ocean, birds, land, or even a battle.

The Oseberg ship is an especially popular icon, and not just for body art. The famous curly carved decoration on the bow has recently been used as the inspiration for the branding of new startup airline Norse Atlantic Airways.

Do you have a viking tattoo? Which is your favourite design? If this article has inspired you, why not share it on Pinterest? We've got just the pin for that. Just hit those social sharing buttons.

Categories Viking Blog

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.


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