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Raven Tattoo Meaning with 75+ Amazing Images to Choose From

by Sherri Owens

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.

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Raven Tattoo Meanings and Raven Symbolism

Raven Tattoo Symbolism

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.

Norse Mythology

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.

Greek and Roman Mythology

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.

Native Americans

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 Bible

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.

Celts Culture

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.

Unique Raven Tattoo Designs For You

The Forearm Raven Tattoo

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.

Cawing Raven Forearm Tattoo

Image by @nordicarttattooofficial via Instagram

Raven Sketch Tattoo

Image by @markdiehl via Instagram

Staring Raven Forearm Tattoo

Image by @sin66tattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Cawing Raven Tattoo

Image by @samclaw via Instagram

Ravenous Apple Forearm Tattoo

Image by @felipexsanto via Instagram

Sketchy Raven Design Tattoo

Image by @johnb.designs via Instagram

Raven Sitting on a Branch Tattoo

Image by @gara_tattooer via Instagram

Raven and Geometric Space Forearm Tattoo

Image by @circletattoostudio via Instagram

Black Raven on a Branch with a Spark Forearm Tattoo

Image by @niza_tattoo via Instagram

Black Raven with Feathers Tattoo

Image by @inler__ via Instagram

Furious Raven Forearm Tattoo

Image by @sieebs via Instagram

Black and Grey Feathered Raven Tattoo

Image by @threekingstattoo via Instagram

Raven Painting Forearm Coverup Tattoo

Image by @nickwallintattoos via Instagram

Black Raven Flying Tattoo

Image by @marina_daniluc via Instagram

Open Wings Raven Tattoo

Image by @acetattooandpiercing via Instagram

Back Pose of a Raven Tattoo

Image by @darkwindowdesign via Instagram

Cawing Crow on a Branch Tattoo Piece

Image by @prada.art via Instagram

The Raven Tattoo on the Arm

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.

Walking Crow Arm Tattoo

Image by @davidboterhoek via Instagram

Raven and Juniper Arm Tattoo

Image by @the.blood.vvitch via Instagram

Raven and Mushroom Tattoo

Image by @tattoos_by_josh via Instagram

Twin Raven Arm Tattoo

Image by @skinshaman via Instagram

Raven Skull Arm Tattoo

Image by @chris_ink_illustration via Instagram

Raven Standing on a Branch Arm Tattoo

Image by @noir.tattoo.berlin via Instagram

Raven Night Scene Arm Tattoo

Image by @monkiwarrior via Instagram

Open Mouth Black Raven Tattoo

Image by @alice_kasper via Instagram

Raven and Moon Arm Tattoo

Image by @joel.graytattoos via Instagram

Raven and Geometrical Shapes Tattoo

Image by @mikegtattoo via Instagram

Flying Raven Arm Tattoo

Image by @ek_tattoos via Instagram

Raven and Rose Tattoo

Image by @cattooer via Instagram

The Raven Tattoo on the Back

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.

Wide Wings Raven Back Tattoo

Image by @davebewicktattoo via Instagram

Angry Raven Back Tattoo

Image by @1.0 via Instagram

Flying Raven Tattoo on the Back

Image by @tibitattoo_ via Instagram

Raven with Open Wings Back Tattoo

Image by @ola.kaya via Instagram

Black and Grey Raven on a Branch Tattoo

Image by @utakytattoo via Instagram

Raven and Floral Deco Back Tattoo

Image by @twobirdstattoo via Instagram

Flower and Raven Tattoo Meaning

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.

A Perched Raven and Flowers Tattoo

Image by @ashleynicoletattoos via Instagram

Raven with Flowers and Moon Tattoo

Image by @angela_houde via Instagram

Raven and Forsythia Flower Tattoo

Image by @shewolftattoo via Instagram

Raven Resting On Flowers Tattoo Art

Image by @olivetattoos via Instagram

Black Raven and Blue Flowers Tattoo

Image by @swan_tattooer via Instagram

Raven with Flowers, Moon and Sparks

Image by @marinalatre via Instagram

Kill the Messenger Theme Raven Tattoo

Image by @jimskytattoo via Instagram

Raven and Yellow Flowers Forearm Tattoo

Image by @samreadtattoos via Instagram

Raven and Purple Flowers Tattoo

Image by @beccamartin_tattoo via Instagram

Raven with Bunch of Flowers Tattoo

Image by @cassiecrimson via Instagram

The Raven and Skull Tattoo Meaning

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.

Black Raven Standing on Skull Tattoo

Image by @el.arthuro and inkfactory.studio via Instagram

Pencil Sketched Raven and Skull Tattoo

Image by @rachaelmorticiantattoo via Instagram

Crow Pulling the Eye of the Skull Tattoo

Image by @theunknowntattooist via Instagram

Gothic Theme Ravens and Skull Back Tattoo

Image by @demiurgtattoo via Instagram

Spooky Forearm Tattoo Piece with Raven

Image by @krissydiane_tattoos via Instagram

Twin Head Raven on the Skull Tattoo

Image by @samsaracustomtattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Raven and Skull Tattoo

Image by @tfshea via Instagram

Skull and Raven Mashup Tattoo Piece

Image by @bryanhumphries_ via Instagram

Colorful Raven and Skull Forearm Tattoo

Image by @chen.tattooer via Instagram

Raven Tattoo on The Thigh

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.

Crow and Dagger Tattoo

Image by @zach_crisp via Instagram

Crow and Maple Leaf Knee Tattoo

Image by @kelpiebat via Instagram

Raven and Tarot Card Tattoo

Image by @sjtattoos via Instagram

Twin Raven Birds Thigh Piece

Image by @inkdfmly via Instagram

The Raven Tattoo on the Chest

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.

Injured Raven Chest Tattoo

Image by @lonewolf_gd via Instagram

Two Fighting Ravens Tattoo on Chest

Image by @gara_tattooer via Instagram

Purple Inked Raven Tattoo

Image by @punk.ink via Instagram

Black Feather Raven Tattoo on Chest

Image by @marvoy_tattoo via Instagram

Raven Head Tattoo

Image by @cameronroachtattoos via Instagram

Black and Grey Raven Chest Tattoo

Image by @martin_lucky7 via Instagram

The Viking's Compass Raven Tattoo

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.

Viking Compass and Raven Mashup Tattoo

Image by @wildflower.ink via Instagram

Viking Raven Forearm Tattoo

Image by @radurusu and atelierfour via Instagram

Viking Compass and Raven Hand Tattoo

Image by @skinfuelempirekvadrat via Instagram

Viking Compass Raven Shoulder Tattoo Piece

Image by @christinaelaineart via Instagram

Adjoined Raven Birds and Viking Compass Back Tattoo

Image by @ruby_tattoostudio via Instagram

The Small Raven Tattoo

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.

Small Raven Bird With Abstract Touch Tattoo

Image by @stuffie.ink via Instagram

Small Flying Raven Tattoo

Image by @__fresh1 via Instagram

Raven and Shapes Tattoo

Image by @the_roanoke_raven via Instagram

Odin's Raven's Tattoo

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.

Odin's Raven Forearm Tattoo

Image by @pauline.lasink via Instagram

The God Odin Raven Tattoo

Image by @emellotattoo via Instagram

The Raven Tattoo on the Shoulder

The raven tattoo on the shoulder is another body art people get for aesthetic reasons. It is popular among bodybuilders and weightlifters.

Raven Tattoo on the Shoulder

Image by @stevenbossler via Instagram

Raven Tattoo Design on the Neck

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.

Raven Tattoo Design on the Neck

Image by @dianaabitetattoo via Instagram

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do You Put a Raven Tattoo?

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.

What Does a Crow Tattoo Mean?

A crow tattoo symbolizes:

  • Protection: Because the birds watch over everything occurring in their environment.
  • Shadows: Due to their black color and how they glide easily in the dark without being seen.
  • Inner self: A dark part of our life that we sometimes avoid.
  • Memory: Because they represent death and the loved ones we've lost.
  • War: They are usually seen in battle or battlefield and thus represent the souls of lost warriors.

What is the Meaning of a Wolf and Raven Tattoo?

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.

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