From pentagrams to dragons and symbols of goddesses, there are plenty of beautiful designs to choose from when it comes to pagan and Wiccan tattoos.
Getting a pagan or Wiccan symbol tattooed is a permanent way to honor your spirituality and belief system. While the symbols associated with these two sects of theology are striking, it’s important – as with any tattoo – to know the meanings behind the image before getting inked.
First, paganism and Wicca are not one in the same. Wicca is a newer part of paganism, but there are many different sects of paganism, also known as polytheism.
Paganism Vs Wicca
The term “pagan” was first used to describe people who followed polytheism as their religion, which means the worship of multiple gods, thousands of years ago.
While this form of religion is old and has taken many different practices throughout history and cultures, different factions of paganism have been gaining popularity in the last few decades.
Learn Religions has highlighted some of the most common branches of paganism that have resurfaced, including Egyptian Paganism,
“Typically these traditions, sometimes referred to as Kemetic Paganism or Kemetic reconstruction, follow basic principles of Egyptian spirituality such as honoring the Neteru, or deities, and finding a balance between man’s needs and the natural world.”
If the ancient Egyptian culture and religion fascinates you, click here for more on tattoos inspired by ancient Egypt.
The importance of nature, its impact on all of our lives, and how we coexist with the natural world around us is a popular thread that runs through many pagan beliefs.
Druidism, a modern spiritual movement that has its roots in pre-Christian Celtic culture, generally promotes harmony and connection with the natural world.
Another branch of spirituality that is on the pagan tree is Wicca.
Wicca, like Druidism, is a nature-based form of paganism.
As History explains,
“Rituals in Wicca often include holidays centered around phases of the moon; solar equinoxes and solstices; elements such as fire, water, earth and air; and initiation ceremonies.”
The pagan world is steeped in tradition and history, and as such there are many incredible symbols, with equally incredible meanings, that are woven through these belief systems.
One of the most common Wiccan tattoos to get is the pentagram, as it represents the Wiccan belief system.
As Learn Religions explains,
“The pentacle is a five-pointed star, or pentagram, contained within a circle. The five points of the star represent the four classical elements [earth, air, fire, and water], along with a fifth element, which is typically either spirit or self, depending on your tradition.”
The circle around the pentagram represents protection and the circle of life.
It’s not only wiccans that take the pentagram as an important symbol – Satanists refer to it as the Sigil of Baphomet and it represents carnality and earthy principles.
The key difference to the two symbols is placement – one point is facing up in the Wiccan symbol, whereas two points are facing up in the Satanic symbol. So, make sure you get your tattoo situated correctly for what you want it to represent.
The Triquetra – meaning triangle and depicts three interlaced arcs – is one of the oldest symbols in Celtic history, dating back to as early as 500 BC, according to Ancient Symbols.
While it was originally used to symbolize the triple goddess of the maiden, the mother, and the crone, it has since evolved to represent many three-pronged situations, from Christianity’s the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to the three fundamental elements of air, water, and earth.
“In modern times, the triquetra symbol has become a favorite design element in knot-work, jewelry, emblems, logos etc. as a symbol of anything three-fold e.g. the cycle of life (life-death-rebirth), the promise of a husband to his wife (love-honor-protect), the family (father-mother-child), the passage of time (past-present-future) and many more. The circle that is often interlaced with the triquetra represents the bond between the three elements,”Ancient Symbols
The Triple Goddess
Another Wiccan symbol that represents the maiden, the mother, and the crone is the triple goddess, seen as the three phases of the moon – waxing, waning, and full. This symbolizes the important phases in a woman’s life as well as the divine feminine.
Norse Rune Symbols
If you’re a fan of small tattoos, and Norse paganism is your particular cup of spiritual tea, rune symbols could be the collection of tattoos for you.
As explained on Norse Mythology for Smart People, it was Odin himself who, after undergoing an intense ordeal, brought the ruins to mankind.
“Presumably, then, after Odin discovered the runes by ritually sacrificing himself to himself and fasting for nine days while staring into the waters of the Well of Urd, it was he who imparted the runes to the first human runemasters.”
While the runes are the first writing systems developed and used by the Norse and other Germanic populations, there could also be a magical connotation to them.
As explained on the National Museum of Denmark,
“According to the sagas, runic inscriptions held magical powers. With the aid of inscriptions, you could predict the future, protect a person against misfortune, imbue objects with different qualities, or you could write down conjurations, curses, and spells.”
This collection of symbols makes for amazing hand and finger tattoos. For more about what to consider before getting a finger tattoo, click here.
Dragons have captured the imaginations of people and have been woven through the fabric of many cultures and religions for thousands of years – from Saint George slaying a dragon, to being one of the 12 zodiac signs and representing luck in China.
There is also a sect of Wicca that practices dragon magic.
In this belief system, the Wiccan can call upon a dragon that can help with a certain situation, as explained by Byrdie.
“Similar to calling upon the aide of gods and goddesses, Dragon Magick evokes the power of any one of different dragon personalities that number in the hundreds; the choice of one depends on the desired result.”
For more on the symbolism and meaning of dragon tattoos, click here.
If you want to add some ancient spirituality and magic to your skin with a tattoo, there are many pagan symbols to choose from. Do your research and find the one that most resonates with your beliefs.