13 Ancient Symbol Tattoos And Their Meanings

Discover a world of ancient runes and pagan symbols with these 13 meaningful symbol tattoos!

If you're like me and interested in the spiritual meanings behind numbers, symbols and images, you'll love this article.


I've picked 13 symbol tattoos to share with you, along with a short description of what they represent.

Symbols can have multiple meanings and a vast history that spans across thousands of years, and hundreds of different countries and cultures. What a symbol means to one individual, might be completely contrasting to what it means to another.

Many of the tattoos below are ancient pagan, celtic and Wiccan symbols, including one on my own body!

The meanings of symbols can change over time, as images and icons are used by different societies, cultures, religions and political groups. When getting a symbol tattoo you've got to be sure that you're happy with the meaning, and what your tattoo might represent to others, and come to represent in the future.

Once you've decided which symbol you want as a tattoo, you can either go simple with the design, or incorporate that symbol into a larger tattoo piece with additional imagery.

For me, symbols are the most powerful tattoos. They can be so small and simple yet hold an unbelievably strong force for the wearer.
This symbol transposes many different cultures, from Christianity to Celtic and Pagan, it is also known as the Triquetra (Latin for 'three corners'). The three loops are all joined together and so the symbol can mean everlasting love, protection, and the unity of combined forces (for example, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost).
The Wiccan / Pagan 'Triple Moon' symbol, also known as the 'Goddess'. The triple moon represents the coming together of three female powers: intuition, creativity and knowledge.
Runes are the Ancient Germanic language and the oldest runes date back to 150AD. This one brings together two rune letters in a cross, and stands for 'Good Luck'.
This beautiful tattoo by John Hansen represents the 4 Pagan elements (Earth - green, Water - blue, Fire - Red, Air - Orange). Each element has a specific triangle shape and colour, and they are all brought together to create this epic, watercolour tattoo. In the middle - the spirit, or the individual. These four elements are important as they represent everything the world is made-up of and they are the four elements that Pagans and Wiccans worship as part of their celebrations and rituals.
I have the four elements tattooed (as mentioned above) on my four fingers. In the middle, one of the most famous symbols, the Pentacle, which brings together those four elemental triangles in a circle.
A Wiccan / Pagan symbol, the pentacle represents 5 points (the four elements and the self, or the four corners of North, South, East and West, and the self). The circle combines everything together, meaning this symbol stands for unity and the circle of life... everything is connected, in both rituals and in everyday life.
Pentacle tattoos are striking when added into a bigger design. This pentacle is within a larger dagger tattoo with lots of detail and colour.
This Protection Rune is called 'Vegvísir', or 'Runic Compass'. It is a Nordic symbol that is local to Iceland, and the Icelandic word Vegvísir literally means ‘guidepost’ or ‘direction sign’ and might help the wearer be guided down a particular path or direction in their life.
This is the Othala Rune, meaning 'homeland'. You might wear this to pay homage to your ancestors or something you have inherited.
A variety of Pagan symbols on these fingers. On the little fingers, two element triangles, on the inner forefingers, the sun and moon.
The 'Thurisaz' Rune, also known as 'Thor' or 'Thorn', represents strong resistance, power, strength and force.
A Triskele tattoo is a Celtic and Pre-Celtic triple spiral. The three interlocking spirals can mean many different things as this symbol is so widely used - an example is life, death and birth.
The left rune is 'Mannaz' meaning man, human or life. The right rune is 'Agliz', a powerful rune representing the universe, or the sun.