Runic symbols have been used for centuries by Germanic and Nordic cultures, and have gained popularity as tattoo designs in recent years. Runes were originally used as a form of writing, but they also have deep spiritual and magical meanings, making them a meaningful choice for tattoos. Here are some ideas for rune tattoos and their meanings:


Fehu represents wealth, prosperity, and material possessions. It can also signify the ability to move forward and achieve success. A tattoo of Fehu can serve as a reminder of one’s goals and aspirations.


Isa represents stillness, patience, and self-discipline. It is the rune of winter and symbolizes the power of concentration and focus. A tattoo of Isa can serve as a reminder to slow down and take the time to focus on what is important.


Algiz represents protection, defense, and the connection between the physical and spiritual realms. It can also symbolize personal growth and progress. A tattoo of Algiz can serve as a symbol of strength and protection.


Ansuz represents communication, inspiration, and divine guidance. It is associated with the Norse god Odin, who was known for his wisdom and knowledge. A tattoo of Ansuz can serve as a reminder to listen to one’s intuition and seek guidance from a higher source.

Whether you choose to incorporate a single rune or combine several into a design, rune tattoos can be a powerful and meaningful way to connect to ancient traditions and imbue your body with spiritual significance.

Popular Symbols

Thor’s Hammer (Mjolnir)

One of the most recognizable symbols in Norse mythology, Thor’s hammer (Mjolnir) is a popular choice for a rune tattoo. Depicting strength, courage, and protection, this symbol is often inked in black or grey with intricate design work.


The Valknut, also known as Odin’s knot or Hrungnir’s heart, was a Viking symbol associated with death and the afterlife. It has three interlocking triangles, representing the three aspects of Odin: warrior, wanderer, and magician. Many people choose to get this symbol tattooed as a sign of their own journey through life.

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Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, is a powerful Norse symbol that represents the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. Often depicted as a large ash tree, it is said to have roots that extend to different worlds, connecting all beings. Getting a Yggdrasil tattoo can signify a connection to nature and the desire for spiritual growth.


Of course, no list of popular Norse symbols would be complete without mentioning the runes themselves. These ancient characters have been used in divination, writing, and even magic for centuries. Getting a tattoo of one or more runes can represent a desire for wisdom, knowledge, and protection.

  • Other popular symbols include:
    • Huginn and Muninn (Odin’s ravens)
    • Fenrir (the wolf)
    • Jormungandr (the World Serpent)

Rune Lettering Styles

Elder Futhark

Elder Futhark is the oldest form of runic alphabet. This lettering style is the most commonly used style in modern rune tattoos. It consists of twenty-four characters and is characterized by straight lines with few curves. This style is simple and bold.

Younger Futhark

The Younger Futhark is a modification of the Elder Futhark and is more angular than its predecessor. It has fewer letters and is commonly used in Viking-era inscriptions. This style gives a more geometric and minimalist look.

Anglo-Saxon Runes

Anglo-Saxon runes are a specialized form of the Futhorc runes used in the Anglo-Saxon era. This style is more ornate and curvy than the Elder and Younger Futhark styles. This style has a more decorative look, making it a perfect option for those who want a more intricate and detailed tattoo.

Celtic Runes

Celtic runes are a variation of the Ogham alphabet used by Celtic people in the early Middle Ages. This style has a combination of curves and straight lines. It conveys a strong connection to nature and spirituality. This lettering style is perfect for a Rune tattoo that represents nature or spirituality.

Medieval Runes

Medieval Runes are also known as “the secret runes.” They are associated with magic and were used by medieval Icelandic magicians. This lettering style is characterized by a lot of curves and angles, and it’s perfect for those seeking a magic or mystical vibe in their rune tattoo.

Mixing Runes with Other Designs

Combining Runes with Symbols

One creative way to mix runes with other designs is by combining them with different symbols that complement their meaning. For example, you could include the triquetra symbol with the Algiz rune, which represents protection, to create a powerful protective charm. Or, you could mix the Tiwaz rune, which symbolizes victory and justice, with an arrow to create a design that represents going in the right direction to achieve success. There are endless combinations you can try to create a tattoo that not only looks great but also has deep personal significance.

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Adding Runes to Other Tattoo Designs

Another way to mix runes with other designs is by incorporating them into preexisting tattoo designs. For example, if you already have a tree tattoo, including the Sowilo rune, which represents the sun and enlightenment, can add a new layer of meaning to your ink. You could also place the Ansuz rune, which represents wisdom and communication, within a larger design that includes a quote or message that’s important to you.

Working with Different Textures and Patterns

Rune tattoos don’t have to be limited to simple black ink on skin. Adding different textures and patterns can amplify the design and make it more unique. You could incorporate elements like watercolor or stippling to give your tattoo a more artistic vibe. Or, you could mix geometric patterns with runes for a more contemporary look. Experimenting with color and texture can help you create a tattoo that stands out and visually represents your personality.

Final Thoughts

Overall, mixing runes with other designs can add a new dimension of meaning and depth to your tattoo. Whether you’re adding symbols, incorporating runes into other designs, or playing with different textures and patterns, there’s no limit to your creative potential. Remember to work with a skilled tattoo artist who can help you bring your vision to life and create a piece of art that you’ll be proud to wear for years to come.

Choosing the Right Placement

Consider the Importance of the Rune

When choosing the placement for your rune tattoo, it’s important to consider the meaning of the rune you’ve chosen. Some runes hold more significance than others, and you may want to choose a placement that emphasizes the importance of the rune. For example, if you’ve chosen a rune that represents strength, placing it on a visible location like the bicep or forearm can serve as a reminder of the strength you possess.

Think About Comfort

Another important consideration when choosing the placement of a rune tattoo is comfort. Some placements, particularly those on bony areas like the ankles or collarbone, can be more uncomfortable than others. Additionally, tattoos in areas that receive a lot of movement or rubbing, like the feet or hands, may be prone to fading or wearing down over time. Consider your pain tolerance and the longevity of your tattoo when choosing a placement.

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Research Common Placements

It can be helpful to research common placements for rune tattoos to give you an idea of what other people have done. Some popular placements for runes include the upper arm, back of the neck, wrist, and inner bicep. Take a look at tattoo inspiration sites or consult with a tattoo artist to get an idea of the best placement for your specific rune and design.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Finally, it’s important to choose a placement that works with your lifestyle. If you work in a profession that prohibits visible tattoos, you may want to consider a placement that can be easily covered. Likewise, if you’re a frequent gym-goer, you may want to avoid placements that receive a lot of friction or sweat. Make sure to choose a placement that aligns with your personal and professional life.

Questions and Answers:

What are some popular rune tattoo designs?

Some popular rune tattoo designs include the Elder Futhark, which is the oldest known runic alphabet and features 24 characters. Other popular designs include the Vegvisir, a Viking symbol that is said to provide guidance and protection; the Helm of Awe, which represents strength and protection; and the Valknut, which is associated with the god Odin and is often seen as a symbol of honor, loyalty, and bravery.

What is the meaning behind the Algiz rune tattoo?

The Algiz rune, also known as the Elhaz rune, represents protection, defense, and connection to the divine. It is often associated with Heimdall, the Norse god of protection, who is said to hold the rune in his hand. Those who get an Algiz rune tattoo may be seeking protection or guidance from a higher power, or may simply appreciate the aesthetic of the symbol.

What is the significance of the bind rune tattoo?

A bind rune is created by combining two or more runes into one symbol. This can create a unique design that holds special meaning for the person getting the tattoo. For example, the combination of the Algiz and Sowilo runes can create a bind rune that represents protection and victory. These tattoos can be highly personal, as the individual meanings of each rune can be combined to create a symbol that holds deep meaning for the wearer.