8 Norse Tattoos To Avoid

norse tattoos to avoid 4 SYMBOLS

With the popularity of Norse Mythology and Viking culture on the rise, it’s no wonder that more and more people are getting Norse tattoos.

Tattoos are a great way to express your personality and show your Norse pride.

While tattoos can be beautiful and meaningful, some can also be associated with negative connotations.

In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the more popular Norse tattoos and their negative associations so that you can make an informed decision before getting inked up.


Key Takeaways:

  • Some Norse tattoo symbols like the swastika, valknut, sonnenrad, Odin’s ravens, Thor’s hammer, Fenrir wolf, and Celtic cross have been appropriated by hate groups or have negative connotations. It’s best to avoid them.
  • Do thorough research before getting a Norse tattoo to ensure you understand the symbolism and history behind it. Some symbols have multiple meanings depending on the context.
  • While some believe Norse tattoos are disrespectful, most think they are fine as long as you appreciate the meaning behind the symbol. Don’t get one just for aesthetic reasons.
  • If getting a symbol, be prepared to explain its meaning when asked. It shows respect for the culture to know the history.
  • Make sure you are comfortable with the design. A tattoo is permanent, so choose something meaningful to you.

Are there Norse tattoos to avoid?

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve put together a list of 8 Norse tattoos you should avoid, or at least make some search before getting inked up.


The swastika is a symbol that has been used by many cultures and religions throughout history.

Unfortunately, In the West, it is most commonly associated with the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II. The Nazis used the swastika as their symbol, and it has since been associated with racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy.

If you have a swastika tattoo, it can be seen as a sign of support for these hateful ideologies.

Additionally, the tattoo can be deeply offensive to those who have been affected by the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities. It is best to avoid this symbol altogether to avoid any potential hurt or offense.

If you live in Western countries or Europe, this is definitely a tattoo you should avoid at all costs.


The Valknut, which translated means “knot of the slain warrior,” is an old Norse symbol that was frequently used in carvings and sculptures to depict the hereafter. It is frequently associated with the god Odin.

Some white supremacists, notably racist Odinists, have stolen the Valknut for racial purposes. They frequently use it as a symbol of their willingness to offer their lives to Odin, usually in combat.

Nonracist pagans may also use this sign, therefore rather than assuming that specific use of the symbol is racist, one should carefully study it in context.

The Valknut is a symbol of death. It is said that if you wear this tattoo, you are inviting death into your life.

Valknut is also one of those symbols that the Nazis appropriated, and to this day it is associated with neo-Nazi groups in Germany.

norse tattoos Valknut


Sonnenrad, also called sunwheel, sun wheel or “Black Sun” is a pagan symbol that has been appropriated by the Nazis and white supremacists. The sunwheel is a symbol of the sun and its rays, and was used by the ancient Germanic and Celtic peoples as a symbol of fertility, luck, and power. The Nazis co-opted the sunwheel as a symbol of their Aryan ideology, and it has been used by white supremacists ever since.

sunwheel symbol

The sunwheel is a deeply problematic symbol for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is inextricably linked with the Nazis and white supremacy. Any time the sunwheel is displayed, it is a reminder of the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. It also serves as a rallying cry for white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

in addition, the sunwheel is a deeply offensive symbol to Jewish people. The Nazis used the sunwheel as a way to mock and degrade the Jewish people, and it remains a potent symbol of anti-Semitism.

The sonnenrad has lately gained international notice as part of a now-defunct emblem of Ukraine’s Azov unit. The Azov Battalion was affiliated with White supremacists and neo-Nazi philosophy and insignia during its heyday as an independent militia.

Given all of these reasons, it is clear that the sunwheel is a symbol that should be avoided. If you are considering getting a tattoo, do your research to make sure that the symbol you choose is not associated with far-right groups.


Odin Symbol

Odin is a god associated with wisdom, war, death, and magic. He is often depicted with an eye patch and 2 ravens on his shoulder. He is also sometimes shown carrying a spear, called Gungnir

Odin is a popular mythological figure and has been the subject of many works of art over the centuries.

He is also a popular choice for tattoos.

However, there are a few reasons why you might want to avoid getting an Odin symbol tattoo.

First, the meaning of the Odin symbol can be interpreted in a number of ways.

While some people see it as a symbol of wisdom and strength, others see it as a symbol of death and destruction and associate him with outlaws.

This can make it a controversial tattoo choice.

Second, Odin is often associated with the dark side of Norse mythology, runes, and magic.

He is the god of war and death, and is often associated with darkness and violence.

This can make an Odin tattoo a bit too dark and menacing for some people.

Odin is often associated with animals such as ravens and wolves. While these animals can be seen as symbols of strength and power, they can also be seen as symbols of darkness and death.

Overall, there are a few reasons why you might want to avoid getting an Odin symbol tattoo. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide whether or not this tattoo is right for you.

Odin poses with his two wolves, Geri and Freki, and his two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, while holding his spear Gungnir.

Thor’s Hammer

The hammer of Thor is one of the most widely recognized symbols of Nordic mythology. It has been popularized by modern superhero movies and adaptations of Nordic mythological stories.

Unfortunately, these days Thor’s hammer is a symbol sometimes used by outlaw biker gangs and white supremacist groups in Europe, North America, and elsewhere because of its significance and symbolism.

We have included the hammer of thor in the list, more to let readers know that this Viking symbol has been taken to use by some hate groups. However, we remain of the opinion that such an important Viking Symbol should not be ruined by extremist groups and you should feel free to wear it proudly as a tattoo.

Norse tattoos mjolnir


Fenrir wolf

The Fenrir symbol is a popular tattoo design among Norse mythology enthusiasts. It is the symbol of the monstrous wolf that is said to kill Odin during the Ragnarök. While the story behind the Fenrir symbol is certainly interesting, it is not something that you should get tattooed on your body.

fenrir WOLF norse mythology


Here are 3 reasons why you should avoid getting the Fenrir symbol tattooed on you:

  • It is a reminder of death. The story of the Fenrir symbol is one of death. The wolf is said to kill Odin during the Ragnarök, which is the end of the world in Norse mythology. This is not a happy story, and it is not something that you should want to remind yourself of every time you look at your tattoo.
  • It is associated with hate and bigotry. Unfortunately, the Fenrir symbol has been co-opted by hate groups and bigots. The neo-Nazi group, The Order, used the symbol as their logo. This is not a group that you want to be associated with, and getting a tattoo of their logo is not a good idea.
  • It is not a positive symbol. The Fenrir symbol is not a positive symbol. It is a reminder of death, hate, bigotry, and betrayal. These are not things that you want to be reminded of every time you look at your tattoo. If you are looking for a tattoo that has a positive meaning, you should avoid the Fenrir symbol.



Triskelion is a Celtic and Norse symbol consisting of three interlocking spirals. The triple spiral motif is a Neolithic symbol in Western Europe.

It is found on artifacts from the Atlantic seaboard of Europe from the El Argar culture in south-eastern Spain to as far north as Galicia in north-west Spain and Ireland.

By the Bronze Age, it had also spread to the British Isles, Ireland and the Atlantic Isles off the coast of Europe. The name Triskelion comes from the Greek words for “three” and “spiral”.

The Triskelion symbol has been found in a wide variety of cultures and contexts, including Celtic, Norse, and Buddhist.

In Celtic mythology, the Triskelion is often associated with the triple goddess, or the threefold goddess. In Norse mythology, the Triskelion is associated with the giant Ymir, who was the first being in the universe.

In Buddhism, the Triskelion is a symbol of the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

The Triskelion is also a popular tattoo design, and has been associated with the punk and metal scenes. However, there is a dark side to the Triskelion symbol that has been linked to neo-Nazism and white supremacy.

The neo-Nazi group National Action used the Triskelion as their symbol, and it has been found on racist graffiti and graffiti promoting violence against minorities. In 2017, a man in the United Kingdom was convicted of terrorism offenses after he was found to have a large collection of neo-Nazi and white supremacist literature, including a book with a chapter on the “Tattoos of Hate”, which featured the Triskelion.

The Triskelion is also used by the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan, and has been found on KKK graffiti and fliers.

There is no place for the Triskelion symbol in a civilized society. It is a symbol of hate and bigotry, and should be avoided.

mosaic of 4 different necklace styles

Celtic Cross

The Celtic cross is a symbol of the Christian faith, but it has its origins in paganism. The cross was originally a pagan symbol of the sun god, Baal.

The Celts would sacrifice humans and animals to Baal, and they would often carve the symbol of the cross into their victims’ flesh.

The Celtic cross was later adopted by the Christians as a symbol of their faith.

However, the cross still retained its pagan associations. During the Crusades, Christian soldiers would often carve the Celtic cross into the flesh of Muslim prisoners.

The Celtic cross is also associated with the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan used the Celtic cross as a symbol of their hatred for black people, Jews, and other minorities.

The Celtic Cross is a symbol that was used by the Nazis too. It is a cross with a circle around it. The circle represents the sun, and the cross represents the four quarters of the earth. The Celtic Cross was used as a symbol of the Nazi party, and it was also used as a symbol of the Aryan race. It was used to represent the Nazi ideology of racial purity.

Neo-nazi Celtic cross flag

white pride

White supremacy groups using sacred cultural symbols

Given its dark history, the Celtic cross is a symbol that should be avoided. It is a reminder of the violence and bigotry that has been committed in the name of Christianity.

Is it disrespectful to get a Norse Tattoo?

When it comes to tattoos, there are a lot of different designs and symbols that you can choose from. And, of course, there are a lot of different opinions on what is and isn’t respectful when it comes to getting inked.

So, when it comes to Norse tattoos, is it disrespectful to get one?

The short answer is NO, it is not disrespectful to get one.

There are many people who think that getting a Norse tattoo is a great way to show respect for the Norse culture.

In fact, many people choose to get themed tattoos because they appreciate the culture and history behind the design.

Nordic culture is a very proud culture, and their tattoos reflect this. Getting a tattoo of their symbols is a way of showing that you are proud of your heritage and that you are willing to stand up for it.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about getting a tattoo.

First of all, make sure that you do your research and pick a design that you’re comfortable with. There are a lot of different Nordic symbols and designs, so you want to make sure that you choose one that has meaning to you.

Secondly, be aware that some people may not understand the meaning of your tattoo. If you’re getting a tattoo of a symbol, be prepared to explain what it means to people who ask.

There is nothing worst to have something inked on your skin and not knowing the history and meaning behind it.

And finally, don’t get a tattoo that you’re not comfortable with. If you’re not sure about a design, don’t get it. Remember, a tattoo is for life, so you want to make sure that you’re happy with your choice.

However, there are also some people who believe that getting a Norse tattoo is disrespectful.

They believe that the Nordic culture is a culture that should be respected and that getting a tattoo of their symbols, for no reason, is a way of disrespecting it.

There are a few motives why people might think this.

The Norse culture is a very war-like culture. They were people who were constantly at war, and their symbols and tattoos reflect this.

Some people might think that getting a tattoo of a war-like culture is a way of disrespecting that culture.

In conclusion, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether or not it is disrespectful to get a Norse tattoo. It is a personal decision and one that should be made based on your own opinion.

Simplicity is Key with Norse Tattoos

When it comes to Norse tattoo designs, simplicity is often best. While ornate designs may seem appealing, they can blur meaning and require frequent touch ups.

Clean, minimalist black ink Norse tattoos not only emphasize key symbols and lines, but they age well. They can last a lifetime with proper care. Placement also matters.

Areas like the arms, shoulders and calves nicely accentuate Nordic motifs. Large back pieces can beautifully capture stories like Yggdrasil. But smaller wrist or ankle designs have their merits too.

Ultimately, carefully research the symbols and stories you are interested in. Then find a style and placement that speaks to you. And if in doubt, give it more time. A meaningful tattoo you still love years later is far better than impulsive ink you later regret.


Norse Tattoos To Avoid – FAQs

What are some safe Norse tattoo designs I can get?

A: Safe Norse tattoo designs include runes, Yggdrasil, Vegvisir, Valkyrie, Drakkars, and Nordic compass designs. Stick to historical designs over modern interpretations.

Is it okay for women to get Norse tattoos?

Yes, it is absolutely fine for women to get Norse tattoos. Many Norse designs like the Valkyrie and shieldmaiden are especially popular amongst women. Focus on designs that empower women.

Do I have to be Norse to get a Norse tattoo?

You do not have to be of Norse descent to appreciate and get a Norse tattoo. Just make sure you educate yourself on the meaning and history first out of respect.

What is the meaning behind Yggdrasil?

Yggdrasil represents the Tree of Life in Norse mythology. Its branches extend into different worlds and its roots connect it to the underworld. It symbolizes life, destiny, and Norse cosmology.

What are some small Norse tattoo ideas?

Small Norse tattoo ideas include minimalist Vegvisir, Mjolnir, runes, Valknut, axe, wolf paw print, Odin’s ravens, and Nordic geometric designs. Size down larger motifs.

Is it bad luck to get a Norse tattoo?

There are no Norse legends that say Norse tattoos bring bad luck. However, some specific symbols like the Helm of Awe are said to offer protection, so research the meaning behind your design choice.

What is a good first Norse tattoo?

Good first Norse tattoos include Vegvisir, Runes, Yggdrasil, and Valknut. Opt for simple black ink minimalist designs. Also consider placement like arms, calf or back for a first tattoo.

What do Norse knots represent?

Norse knot designs represent the concept of eternity and cyclical nature of life. Popular knots include the Valknut and Celtic knots which symbolize Odin and Celtic heritage.

Is it okay to mix Norse with other cultural tattoos?

It’s best to avoid mixing Norse designs with other cultures. Appreciate each for their unique symbols and meanings. If mixing, ensure they complement and have related meanings.


It is very disappointing that some extremist groups have tainted numerous significant symbols of what is now known as Nordic culture.

If you are looking for a tattoo that is both meaningful and stylish, then you should definitely consider getting a Norse tattoo, no matter what others may think. Your body, your choice.

As long as you avoid the Swastika, the Sonnenrad, the Valknut, and the Celtic Cross which have been associated with white supremacy, you are fine.

Just make sure to do your research first and choose a design that you will be happy with for years to come.

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