Runic Alphabet Tattoos

The runic alphabet is made up of angular letters. These runic shapes can be gun tattooed, and are also ideal for stick and poke tattoos. In fact, for some people, having Nordic symbols tattooed in a style as old as the runes themselves is an important part of the ritual.

Three main versions of the runic alphabet exist and are known as the futhark, which gets its name from the first six letters (f, u, th, a, r, and k) of the 24-character alphabet. It was used for the writing of Germanic languages by peoples speaking these languages, such as Scandinavians.

Runic letters of the elder futhark alphabet

Runic letters of the elder futhark alphabet by
ClaesWallin on WikiCommons

Combining several runes create a charm such as the Vegvisir (Guidepost) or Aegishjalmur (Helm of Awe).

Vegvisir Tattoo

The Vegvisir is a magic rune attributed to the Icelanders of the 17th century or thereabouts. Its signification is relate to the word vegur that means route or path and to the word visir that means “to guide”. The wearers of the Vegvisir believed it had special powers. It could help someone to find the safe way home regardless of the environment. Beside, the Vegvisir symbol often adorned ships to give them security on their return.

The Vegvisir is more than a ship compass. It was also important for Nordic shamans because it was used as magical rune to guide one’s decisions.

Vegvisir by Saectar on WikiCommons

Aegishjalmur Tattoo

The Aegishjalmur goes way back before the Vegvisir. Often painted on shields or carved into the forehead, this rune charm represents the horns of the elk which is responsible for warding off danger.


Aegishjàlmr or Helm of awe, icelandic magical stave by Dbh2ppa on WikiCommons

It’s a common symbol of might and protection and makes a seriously cool forearm tattoo. It is also said to make its wearer courageous. This is not particular to Nordic tattoos since Thai Magic Tattoos are also linked to this kind of belief.

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