Rune tattoos: their history, meaning and inspiration

If you’re looking for a meaningful yet simple tattoo, runes are an original way of portraying your favorite word or quote on your body. My designs, however, are inspired by runes, especially the original Discreet Tattoos.

But what are runes, where do they come from and how do they represent letters and words? Let’s dive into a little bit of history, so you can give your future tattoo even more meaning!


Rune tattoo futhark

From the Vikings to us

When we think of Vikings, we often picture big, strong, bearded men, with weapons, boats, the whole package. We don’t picture them sitting down writing poetry, or carving lines to their loved ones in a wall, for that matter. But, like any civilization that had some form of writing, even the Vikings used words — just in a different alphabet than the one we know.

They wrote in enigmatic symbols better known as runes. These symbols were not only used to write with. They believed they held some sort of power, to tell fortunes, cast spells and protect them. Yes, really. Runic inscriptions have been left all across Northern Europe. The earliest runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD.


Double meaning

The runic alphabet is also called Futhark. That name comes from the first six sounds: f, u, th, a, r, and k. If you think that’s strange, may I remind you of where the word alphabet gets its shape from: Alpha, and Beta. The first two letters. Oh, simpler times.

Every rune has a phonetic sound, but according to the early users, also a connection to Norse mythology.

Now, why is that interesting when getting a tattoo? Because of the double meaning, and the versatility of the letters. Nobody can read runes nowadays, which allows you to create tattoos that barely anyone understands but yourself.


Rune tattoos

Discreet Tattoos: inspired by runes

You can either choose for a traditional rune tattoo, or go for something like a Discreet Tattoo, which is inspired by runes but gives it a whole new life: you can spell out anything, without it being too obvious that it is actually a word or sentence. You write your own mythology, so to speak.

The first ever Discreet Tattoos were based on this way of writing, and today Rune is one of the two styles of tattoos I offer.

Let’s check it out

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