Witches got a bad rep hundreds of years ago, so things didn’t go so well for them if they were found out. They would be tortured, burned at the stake, or worse. Thankfully, we’re much more accepti...

Spellbinding: Witchy Tattoos and What They Mean

Witches got a bad rep hundreds of years ago, so things didn’t go so well for them if they were found out. They would be tortured, burned at the stake, or worse. Thankfully, we’re much more accepting of Wiccans and witchy culture these days; repping your witchy ways is more trendy than ever.

The symbols associated with witchcraft have a lot more meaning than you might think, so we gathered some of our favorites to look into. Whether you’re a practicing Wiccan or a fan of all things witchy, these tattoo designs are guaranteed to get you in the mood for some magic.

Runes

Rib and Hips Rune Tattoo on a Woman

Ancient runes are an entire alphabet, with each of the 25 symbols taking on a specific meaning. Most of these symbols can be reversed for an alternate meaning as well, so be careful about your intentions when you’re taking on a rune tattoo.

Viking Runes Sheet

The 25 symbols in the rune alphabet have the following meanings:

Mannaz = the self
Gebo = partnership
Ansuz = signals
Othila = separation
Uruz = strength
Perth = initiation
Nauthiz = constraint
Inguz = fertility
Eihwaz = defense
Algiz = protection
Fehu = possessions
Wunjo = joy
Jera = harvest
Kano = opening
Teiwaz = warrior
Berkana = growth
Ehwaz = movement
Laguz = flow
Hagalaz = disruption
Raido = journey
Thurisaz = gateway
Dagaz = breakthrough
Isa = standstill
Sowelu = wholeness
Odin (blank rune) = unknowable

These symbols are used in spells and conjurings by practicing Wiccans, and have been since before the Middle Ages. These symbols are great tattoos for witches who want to have meaningful intention behind their ink.

Moon Phases

Moon Phases Tattoo

The phases of the moon are extremely important to witchcraft, so it’s important that you know the difference if you’re planning to dabble in some magic. There are 5 major moon phases: new moon, waxing moon, full moon, waning moon, and dark moon. Each of these phases comes with a specific kind of energy, so if you’re waiting to conjure or cast a certain spell, different phases of the moon will help when you do that. They go as follows:

New moon = new beginnings, hope, fresh starts, and positivity
Waxing moon = creating, accomplishing, growing, positive change, and strength
Full moon = wish-fulfillment, protection, achieving dreams, abundance, and harvest
Waning moon = cleansing, releasing, undoing, and problem solving
Dark moon = peace, rest, closing the books on something, wisdom, and divination

Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve or what intention you want to set, which moon phase you do it under makes a big impact on whether or not you’ll be successful.

Planchette

Planchette Tattoo Design

A planchette is a tool used in witchcraft and divination. It’s used to facilitate automatic writing, which is where words are produced without conscious thought about what’s being written. They’re most recognizable when paired with a Ouija board. There’s no specific design to them traditionally, so there’s a lot of room for creativity when designing a planchette tattoo. These tools are clear signs that someone is a fan of witchcraft.

Spells

Casting a Happiness Spell Tattoo

Casting spells requires more than just chanting words and phrases – a lot of times they require the use of different concoctions, hence the term ‘witch’s brew’. Combining certain elements and saying specific phrases are the best ways to cast a spell, but be sure that you know what you’re doing before jumping in.

The combination above of a crystal, sprigs of rosemary and marjoram, and a waxing crescent moon are essential tools for casting a happiness spell. Someone who has a tattoo of what looks like a random assortment of nature’s items tied together is probably repping a spell tattoo.

Broomstick

Witches Broom Tattoo

A broomstick is a dead giveaway of a witch tattoo; there’s little question that a broomstick signifies something to do with a witch. Witches and broomsticks are synonymous with one another, but why? We looked into it, and it turns out, it’s not pretty.

During the Middle Ages, and for decades after, bread was made with rye plants and grain, which were susceptible to a fungus called Ergot. When ingested in certain ways, the fungus caused hallucinations, euphoria, and the desire to dance, or “fly”. Eating the fungus would make people sick, so they had to get creative in order to get the high they were after. This is where the broomstick comes in. The stick was used as an…applicator of sorts. In order for the fungus to get into the body and absorbed to get these desired effects, it had to be inserted rectally, hence the use of the broomstick end.

Ya, we told you it wasn’t pretty. Women who were seen as “devious” or suspected of witchcraft were the most frequent users of the broomstick/ergot combo, which is where we get the association.

Animal Skulls

Animal Skull Tattoo

Animal bones and skulls are widely associated with witches and witchcraft, and that’s for good reason. Animal bones are used for a variety of things in witchcraft, from divination and spell casting, to offering sacrifices, to simply enjoying the aesthetic value of having bones for decoration.

Pentacle

Pentacle Tattoo on Palm of Hand

You may think that the pentacle is a pentagram and is associated with evil, but you would be wrong on both counts! A pentacle is not a tool for dark magic, but rather, it’s the opposite; it’s a symbol that’s used for protection and fending off evil. It’s a five-pointed star encased in a circle – four points represent the four elements, and the fifth represents one’s self.

Triple Goddess

Triple Goddess Tattoo

Chances are you’ve seen the triple goddess in tattoos before, but don’t know the meaning behind it. It’s an icon as far as Wiccan symbols go – it represents 3 phases of the moon, and the 3 phases that women go through in their lifespan: the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.

It’s largely associated with femininity, and mystery. Each life phase is represented by a Greek goddess. The Maiden is linked to Persephone, the goddess of purity and new beginnings. The Mother is linked with Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, bringing life and giving. The Crone is representative of the goddess Hecate, symbolizing wisdom, fulfillment, and power. Hecate also happens to be the goddess of witchcraft.

All of these representations of female power and life can be symbolized with the triple Goddess symbol tattoo.

Elemental Symbols

Elemental Tattoo on an Arm

Nature and the elements are extremely important to witchcraft, so it’s fitting that fans of magic would use these symbols to design meaningful tattoos. The four elements are earth, water, air and fire, and each has a different meaning and energy for witchcraft.

The symbol for earth is an upside down triangle with a horizontal line through it near the bottom point. It signifies Mother Earth, and can be used to promote prosperity, fertility, and abundance.

Air is signified by a upright triangle with a horizontal line through it near the top. Air is necessary for life, so it makes sense that it symbolizes the soul and life itself.

The simple triangle means so much more than just a sturdy shape when applied to witchcraft. This is the elemental symbol for fire, which signifies strength, manliness, change and aid to one’s life.

Water is purifying, and this is one of the powers behind the elemental symbol for it. The symbol itself is an upside down triangle, and it’s called on for carrying away negativity and to promote healing.

When all four elements are combined, it symbolizes as above, so below. This means that what is real and happening on this plane of reality (below), is also happening in other realities (above) harmoniously.

Tarot Cards

Tarot Cards in a hand Tattoo

Tarot cards have been around since the mid-15th century, but they weren’t always used to witchy purposes. They were used as simple playing cards, until one woman used them to dabble in the occult.

These decks of cards are believed to hold knowledge of the future, so if you see a psychic, you might be in for a tarot reading. Each card means something different, and the combination of certain cards takes on a whole new meaning, and it takes a practiced eye to know what it all translates to. Some wiccans who practice divination or claim psychic abilities will rep their art through tarot card tattoos.

Witchcraft and wiccanism is an ancient art form, and many people still practice it today. There’s no shortage of mystical symbols that you could use to celebrate your love of witchcraft through tattoos. Keep in mind that these symbols represent certain kinds of energies and intentions, so if you believe in that kind of thing, be careful which symbols you’re using for what!

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