Unlike most bird tattoos, raven tattoos have both positive and negative meanings. Intelligent, tricky, and sometimes bad luck are some of the raven tattoo meanings.
The most requested raven tattoos are the raven and flower tattoos which are trendy among ladies. The Odin and the Celtic raven tattoo is the most popular among guys for their fierce look. These also double as my favorite.
From wild Vikings and Celtic art ravens to more subtle flower raven tattoos, here are 75+ raven tattoo images, with the raven tattoo meaning.
The raven is known to be mischievous, mysterious, sleek, and ominous. It's also known to be a bearer of bad news in tragic situations. In some ancient mythology, the raven symbolizes the angel of death in flight. It can also mean protection, light, prophecy, intelligence, and wisdom.
Due to their awesome characteristics and symbolism, ravens or crows became a very popular tattoo art among humans that helps tell the story of the wearer.
Raven tattoos can come in variations and styles, such as a watercolor or fine line tattoo. In addition, the raven can be portrayed with various symbols representing death, such as the skull.
In Vikings or Norse mythology, the raven is seen as a magical creature. They are said to have direct communication with the Norse gods. The god Odin in Norse mythology was referred to as the raven god because he was always seen with two ravens perched on his shoulders. (Some say that his daughters could also transform into ravens). Odin's ravens were known as Hugin and Munin. Hugin is an old Norse word for thought, while Munin stands for memory.
It is believed that his raven flew to different parts of the earth, gathering magic they whisper to Odin, to make him stronger. This is why the raven tattoo is sometimes seen as a symbol of protection and magic.
In Greek mythology, ravens were seen as a powerful animal. Wisdom, knowledge, tricks, and deception are some of the common associations used to describe the raven. The raven was also known to be a talkative that could not keep a secret.
In these mythologies, the white raven was used by Apollo (the god of prophecy) as his personal messenger due to their intelligence and ferocity. But since they could not keep a secret, they were cursed by Apollo to become black, this made ravens black and seen as a symbol of darkness. Athena (goddess of war) also replaced her ravens with owls due to their talkativeness.
In Native American culture, the ravens were seen as a symbol of balance since they are associated with both good and bad.
Most Native Americans believed that the birds travel far and wild, and this gave them so much wisdom. They also believed that the raven brought light to the earth and to adventurers when they are lost in the dark and in need of some direction.
A popular Inuit legend has it that it was a raven that maneuvered the giant sea monster with its wisdom, saving hundreds with the act. This is why the raven's body serves as the Alaskan mainland.
The raven was the first bird mentioned in the bible. It teaches Cain how to bury the dead. This is why some people draw the raven and skull tattoos together.
Also, when Noah led people and animals into the boat, he released ravens after the flood to check if the water had receded. Due to the role that ravens played in Christian history, it is forbidden to eat ravens, a law in the book of Moses.
In ancient Celtic culture, ravens were dreaded and seen as a symbol of death. This is due to the fact that, like vultures, ravens are also seen feeding on the carcass of the dead.
Their hoarse voice and black color also gave the Celtic raven an association with the spirit world. It is believed that since they are usually spotted in places with lots of dead bodies, they are messengers who are sent with information from the afterlife.
There's no limit to the kind of tattoos that can be done on the forearm, from dark to colorful and realistic designs. Most tattoo lovers get the realistic black raven sitting on a tree branch.
Others like to add color to the tattoo image of the birds to add an amazing look to the meaningful tattoo design.
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The tattoo designs of these extremely intelligent creatures look awesome on the arms.
If you get your body art done by an experienced tattoo artist, you're sure to get a design that will transform your whole demeanor and look.
Most people decide on a simple or common raven tattoo with the bird resting on a branch. Others choose a more sophisticated design that features the black bird in its natural habitat. They do this by adding images of trees, rocks, or the moon to express a deeply symbolic significance.
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The back tattoo of a Raven is a symbol of protection. This symbol roots in the ancient belief that the black birds carried powerful secrets and messages strong enough to protect one from evil forces when necessary.
Since the back is very spacious, most people take advantage of that to create a large image that encompasses this whole space.
The black birds on the back are depicted in their most natural and fierce state of rage and power.
This is not exclusive, since others get a smaller tattoo that doesn't cover the entire back, to allow the black color or realistic image of the bird to stand out.
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When done with a flower, ravens represent hope. It can also represent the duality of existence, where the flowers represent life and the birds represent death.
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Skull and raven tattoos are commonly done together. The tattoo image is usually done with black ink, depicting the raven eating the remains of opponents and fallen soldiers or fighters. This made the tattoo a symbol of death and bad luck.
In recent times, it is done by most people for its fierce appearance and how it translates as a badass tattoo. You can make the eyes a different color to depict the magical powers of the crow.
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Tattoos done on the thigh are intimate and sexy. They also depict the image and intelligence of the birds in a great way. Most people get the thigh tattoo for aesthetic purposes, but you can give your own meaning to the tattoo to help express your personality.
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Most people who opt for chest raven tattoo designs get realistic raven tattoos. It makes sense since you'll want to get the best tattoo art done on a body part you see daily, like the chest.
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The Viking compass raven tattoo derived its name from an Icelandic manuscript called revisit which became known as a "signpost". This signpost is used to guide Vikings through treacherous weather and terrain without getting lost in the wilderness.
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Sometimes less is more, and these astounding small raven tattoo images solidify that saying. The small raven tattoo work is another favorite for me since due to their size, they are less painful and inexpensive when compared to the larger designs.
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Odin is most times referred to as the raven god. The God Odin was always accompanied by two ravens whose names meant thought and mind. The ravens were the trusted allies of Odin, the wisest and wiliest Viking god.
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The raven tattoo on the shoulder is another body art people get for aesthetic reasons. It is popular among bodybuilders and weightlifters.
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The neck is probably the rarest place to get the elegant bird tattoo, and I keep wondering why, due to how stunning it looks here. The black ink used to create the image looks really good, but adding a touch of color is a better way to make the design stand out.
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The raven tattoo design can be placed on any part of the body. Many ancient cultures believed that the raven tattoo was a symbol of wisdom, thus it was usually placed on the arm and forearm where this representation could be easily seen and read.
But in recent times, there's really no limit to where you can place your raven tattoo. It all depends on your preference and what you would like the black raven to mean.
I usually recommend the shoulder and chest region for men, especially those who work out and have their chests and biceps on display. The neck is also a great spot, especially when the personal meaning behind it is extremely deep.
For the ladies, the thigh is a great spot because you get to rock a meaningful tattoo that is also gorgeous and sexy.
A crow tattoo symbolizes:
Raven and wolf tattoos stem from the similarities and relationships between ravens and wolves.
Ravens and wolves have a mutual relationship. The black raven is usually seen hovering over wolves so they can feed on the remains of the animal's prey. In return, the black raven alerts them of any danger lurking ahead.
Also, unlike most birds, ravens do not live in flocks; rather they stay with a mate. This gives them a similarity with wolves, since despite living in packs, they usually have a mate they are committed to.
These are some reasons why wolf and raven images are tattooed together.