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Heathen Tattoos

VioletVortex

Well-Known Member
What do you think of the many Heathens (or sometimes atheists) walking around bearing tattoos of Odinic symbols?

I don't like it when people who don't have any Germanic ancestry (or have a minute fraction of it) run around flaunting their "Nordicness" when they have very little to back it up on. They do stuff like get Mjölnir and Valknut tattoos. That's just plain dishonest. It's one thing to understand, respect, and appreciate Germanic values (which are consistent across most of Europe anyways), but if you aren't of such ancestry, and you pretend to be, then **** you.

Second, there are many people who may or may not have Germanic ancestry (let's remove that from the equation for now) who get Mjölnir tattoos because it's trendy in their misconstrued version of the world. Also, there is an even bigger problem with the Valknut tattoo. This is a very meaningful symbol belonging to Odin, not something to be thrown around in the form of t-shirts, tattoos, and jewelry. In modern times, it could be used to honor someone of Heathen faith who has done a very noble deed, such as risking his life to protect others. It could be applicable to a soldier who has survived or died in a firefight, for example. Maybe a better example could be someone stopping a shooter on a killing spree, that's probably more understandable to most than the military example I gave. Most people, including myself, are far from worthy of bearing this symbol. The same goes for the Mjölnir. I'm not going to wear one until I have achieved various goals I have set for myself involving both mental and physical strength, as the Mjölnir is symbolic of strength. Why would I be so dishonest as to wear it without actually being strong? That defeats the purpose of wearing symbols relating to see religion where utmost value is placed on Honour.

Share your thoughts on Heathen tattoos and jewelry.
 

lovesong

:D
Premium Member
What if they follow the faith? Or do you think that people can only be a member of a faith that originated in a place where they have ancestry? To me that idea sounds ridiculous, if someone holds the faith then they can represent themselves as such. As long as someone believed in the gods and understood the meaning of the symbol I don't see what's wrong with them expressing their beliefs with it. Hell, I wear a Mjolnir all the time!
 

Unveiled Artist

Veteran Member
What do you think of the many Heathens (or sometimes atheists) walking around bearing tattoos of Odinic symbols?

I don't like it when people who don't have any Germanic ancestry (or have a minute fraction of it) run around flaunting their "Nordicness" when they have very little to back it up on. They do stuff like get Mjölnir and Valknut tattoos. That's just plain dishonest. It's one thing to understand, respect, and appreciate Germanic values (which are consistent across most of Europe anyways), but if you aren't of such ancestry, and you pretend to be, then **** you.

Second, there are many people who may or may not have Germanic ancestry (let's remove that from the equation for now) who get Mjölnir tattoos because it's trendy in their misconstrued version of the world. Also, there is an even bigger problem with the Valknut tattoo. This is a very meaningful symbol belonging to Odin, not something to be thrown around in the form of t-shirts, tattoos, and jewelry. In modern times, it could be used to honor someone of Heathen faith who has done a very noble deed, such as risking his life to protect others. It could be applicable to a soldier who has survived or died in a firefight, for example. Maybe a better example could be someone stopping a shooter on a killing spree, that's probably more understandable to most than the military example I gave. Most people, including myself, are far from worthy of bearing this symbol. The same goes for the Mjölnir. I'm not going to wear one until I have achieved various goals I have set for myself involving both mental and physical strength, as the Mjölnir is symbolic of strength. Why would I be so dishonest as to wear it without actually being strong? That defeats the purpose of wearing symbols relating to see religion where utmost value is placed on Honour.

Share your thoughts on Heathen tattoos and jewelry.

I understand what you mean given a lot of Pagan faiths are not like Christianity where you can say "I believe" and automatically, you're christian. That's why I don't claim any African relate faith even though I relate because of that.

However, if someone is called to a specific heathen faith, would they need to be of that ancestry to follow it in your opinion?​

In my opinion, I'd say yes but it's not like back when. I liken it to other cultural faiths where initiation, acceptance, or some kind of community acceptance is a must. Wearing symbols would be a part of that.
 

The Kilted Heathen

Crow FreyjasmaðR
I agree with you on Valknut tattoos, as well as certain sigils being used as tattoos. I do not agree with your possessiveness of both Mjölnir and Heathenry in general.

Mjölnir has become (again) a symbol of Heathen faith, regardless of nationality. If the Gods call to someone in Mexico, and they honor the Norse culture and traditions in practice of their faith, then that is between them and the Gods. The Norse themselves were a diverse group of people, welcoming other cultures and accepting other cultures when they traveled abroad.

Fight against injustice or incorrect usage if you must, but zealously clinging to these things as yours and no one else's makes it not your faith, but your possession.
 
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VioletVortex

Well-Known Member
What if they follow the faith? Or do you think that people can only be a member of a faith that originated in a place where they have ancestry? To me that idea sounds ridiculous, if someone holds the faith then they can represent themselves as such. As long as someone believed in the gods and understood the meaning of the symbol I don't see what's wrong with them expressing their beliefs with it. Hell, I wear a Mjolnir all the time!

Most Pagan faiths are ancestral, meaning they are generally seem by their adherents as something that should remain within the blood so to speak. In a way, it's like a family name. Sure, I have close friends, but I think they'd rather go by their own family name as to preserve their identity, just as I do the same. Heathenry and Hellenic polytheism aren't very different in theology and morals, they are just different "languages", or more accurately, etymological systems that pertain to the deities. For someone of Greek descent, it would be more fitting for them to be Hellenic polytheists than Heathens. Being primarily of Germanic heritage, I find myself most drawn to Heathenry, though Slavic and Celtic paths do interest me as well, and I have smaller amounts of those heritages. This is mainly a beaten to death topic for another thread though.

The Ragin Pagan; the Mjölnir is to Thor as the Valknut is to Odin. Maybe the Mjölnir has been more mainstreamized as a general symbol of Odinism, so it is more acceptable for mundane uses. I personally think that a scrawny, weak minded person has no business wearing a Mjölnir, as it is a symbol of Thor's strength. I think that sigils are a badge of honor. If you can deadlift 400 pounds and curl 50s, but you are weak minded, you have no business wearing a Mjölnir, either. Balance is extremely important in all aspects of life.

I understand the Odinists want to symbolize their faith and beliefs, and as long as you are genuine in your beliefs, I think you can wear the Mjölnir if you want to. The Valknut is broadly interpreted as much more serious, so that is different. I just want to pledge to myself not to wear the Mjölnir until I meet the goals I have set for myself. That makes the symbol much more meaningful to me. I'm considering getting a tattoo of it on one shoulder, and a Sunwheel on the other.

Part of what I wanted to ask with this thread was what the Heathen community thinks of tattoos, especially those with spiritual meaning. I apologize for going of on the authoritarian tangent I did.

I don't see anything wrong with tattoos as long as they are tasteful and aren't too copious.
 

Saint Frankenstein

Wanderer From Afar
Premium Member
Most Pagan faiths are ancestral, meaning they are generally seem by their adherents as something that should remain within the blood so to speak. In a way, it's like a family name. Sure, I have close friends, but I think they'd rather go by their own family name as to preserve their identity, just as I do the same. Heathenry and Hellenic polytheism aren't very different in theology and morals, they are just different "languages", or more accurately, etymological systems that pertain to the deities. For someone of Greek descent, it would be more fitting for them to be Hellenic polytheists than Heathens. Being primarily of Germanic heritage, I find myself most drawn to Heathenry, though Slavic and Celtic paths do interest me as well, and I have smaller amounts of those heritages. This is mainly a beaten to death topic for another thread though.
That's a modern view to take. There's no evidence that the ancients felt the same. The Greeks, for example, had contact with cultures from all over the known world - Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Northern Europe, etc. They incorporated all of those cultures into their own. They were syncretists par excellence. I myself am not of Greek descent, but I've loved the Greek Gods and Heroes longer than any other religious figures. I have a special attachment to the Goddess Athena, in particular. I may end up being Her priest. So if it's about "blood", then why would I have this attachment? Are you saying my religious orientation is "lesser" than someone of Greek descent?

If you want, this can be moved to another thread, but I can't just let it go unanswered.
 

The Kilted Heathen

Crow FreyjasmaðR
the Mjölnir is to Thor as the Valknut is to Odin.
No, not really.

While Mjölnir is the weapon and tool of Þórr, there is a reason that it has become the symbol of modern Heathenry. In the Viking Age, it was common for all people practicing native faith to wear Mjölnir pendants - cast of silver, bronze, brass or iron - as both a symbol of open rebellion against Christianity and allegiance to their Gods, and as an amulet of protection; calling the guardianship and protection of Þórr. He is the God of the People, defender of all Miðgarðr, not just those who can deadlift 400 lbs.

The Valknut, on the other hand, is the "Knot of the Slain." It designates those who have died in glorious and heroic ways, and calls the attention of Óðinn to them as significant among the fallen. If anything, this would be more fitting for a grave marker than the Mjölnir. Thus, why I agree with you here that the Valknut is not the best idea for a tattoo; it is basically branding oneself as dead. We may all be fated to die one day, but that's jumping the gun.

Maybe the Mjölnir has been more mainstreamized as a general symbol of Odinism,
No, actually that's the Oþala rune with "wings" on the lower branches.

If you have your own goals before wearing a Mjölnir, that is fine, and your business. Personally I find no need, I just prefer it to be worn by Heathens (ref: metal fans). If you're looking to get tattoos that are Heathen related, I have some advice:

  • Avoid the Valknut.
  • The Ægishjálmur (Helm of Protection) was generally worn on the brow. However, being a bindrune of Algis runes, it is a powerful protection rune, and is fine for a tattoo.
  • The Vegvísir is intended to be carved into oak, and serves as a ward against adverse weather. While not dangerous or irrational to use as a tattoo, it is also not the most practical tattoo.
  • Unless you are using them as an alphabet, avoid runes. Unless:
  • Know which runes you are using, and for what purpose. Vikings would have more commonly used the Younger Futhark, so I would personally advise learning and using those.
  • Know the difference between a sunwheel such as the Kolovrat, and those of the fylfot, swastika, or "Black Cross". While they do have use outside Nazism, they have more or less been tainted by those groups. The Kolovrat may raise some brows, but is different enough that there is little social problem.
 
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VioletVortex

Well-Known Member
Most Swastika like symbols had nothing to do with Nazism until the late 1930s. The were originally symbols used within the Odinist religion. The symbol is meaningful to me as it represents the cyclical nature of existence in general. Adolf Hitler took the symbol and modified it to look more political. (Interesting fact: the lightning bolts on German uniforms commonly labeled as "SS symbols" are symbolic of Thor.) Yeah, Sunwheels and other similar symbols have gained association with National Socialism, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't wear them if they are meaningful to me. I'm not concerned with offending people.

Odinsim is a quest to be like the gods, to be the best mortal incarnation of them you can be, to allow them to "live through you" so to speak. Unless I have approximated that, I wouldn't feel right wearing their sigils.

In reply to Saint Frankenstien, no, that does not make your religious views lesser. However, if you have more Germanic ancestry, it would be more honest to use the Germanic nomenclature. Most forms of European Paganism are very relatable to each other. I have an attachment to Hellenic Paganism, however, not only is it subordinate to my attachment to Heathenry; it would be dishonest for me to call myself "Hellenic". I still have a lot of interest in Greek culture and religion, as well as great respect to it, but it isn't my own.
 

Saint Frankenstein

Wanderer From Afar
Premium Member
In reply to Saint Frankenstien, no, that does not make your religious views lesser. However, if you have more Germanic ancestry, it would be more honest to use the Germanic nomenclature. Most forms of European Paganism are very relatable to each other. I have an attachment to Hellenic Paganism, however, not only is it subordinate to my attachment to Heathenry; it would be dishonest for me to call myself "Hellenic". I still have a lot of interest in Greek culture and religion, as well as great respect to it, but it isn't my own.
Honestly, lately I have been more attracted to Germanic religion lately. I do think you can practice an indigenous religion without being of that "blood". But Hellenic religion is more of a cosmopolitan religion, especially in its later stages. I don't know, I'm just trying to myself in that regard but I know where the wind seems to be blowing me at the moment.
 

VioletVortex

Well-Known Member
I find people wearing symbols that have nothing to do with their culture to be quite odd. Far-right groups in Canada commonly use appropriated Asatru symbols. Unfortunate really.

Also things like dream catchers and Chinese symbols are things that westerners really need to stop getting tattoo'd on them.

That one really pisses me off. It's pretty hilarious too, thinking about the likelihood that their tattoos of "prosperity" and "peace" are actually vulgar terms.

I understand the relation that one could create between Nordic symbols and ethno-nationalism (they are cultural symbols that often pertain to strength), however, not all of those groups are worthy of using those symbols. Some of those groups are good, others are just blatantly violent.
 

The Kilted Heathen

Crow FreyjasmaðR
Most Swastika like symbols had nothing to do with Nazism until the late 1930s. The were originally symbols used within the Odinist religion.
True (although, as a lingo tip, "Odinist/ism" these days refers to the racists and supremacists). However sadly enough, any use of the swastika in America (I've even seen Hindus having to avoid it,) is strongly frowned upon as being Nazi-affiliated. Even though the Nazi emblem is strictly a black swastika on it's corner, in a white circle on a red field.

I very much agree with you on the fylfot's meaning, and what it represents. However for the "SS" logo, those are Sowelo runes, literally meaning "SS". The swastika was more a minor symbol of Thor, representing a ball of lightning.
 

VioletVortex

Well-Known Member
True (although, as a lingo tip, "Odinist/ism" these days refers to the racists and supremacists). However sadly enough, any use of the swastika in America (I've even seen Hindus having to avoid it,) is strongly frowned upon as being Nazi-affiliated. Even though the Nazi emblem is strictly a black swastika on it's corner, in a white circle on a red field.

I very much agree with you on the fylfot's meaning, and what it represents. However for the "SS" logo, those are Sowelo runes, literally meaning "SS". The swastika was more a minor symbol of Thor, representing a ball of lightning.

The lightning meaning was probably an alternate attached later. Maybe Hitler associated that with power or something.

Nazi Heathens tend to refer to themselves as "Wotanists", and Odinism is associated with more acceptable forms of nationalism. I am a National Socialist, in the sense that I have nationalistic views coupled with socialistic ones, however, I'm not a Nazi, in that I can't say I agree with a lot of what Hitler did during WWII. Nazism is just one subset of National Socialism, and a flawed one in my opinion. Again, I'm not too interested in whether or not something is frowned upon. If someone has an adverse reaction to what I say, then it's their duty to refrain from listening, not mine to refrain from saying it. Sure, I don't think it's right for someone to put messages on another's car, or scream in their face, that's just wrong, but in a public space, any speech is okay.

Let's just say I wouldn't get a tattoo of the Swastika popularized by Hitler. It is a cool looking angular symbol, and it has some Pagan significance, but it would be blatantly offensive; against the grain for no other reason. I would, however, get a Sunwheel tattoo, because that probably wouldn't cost me friends, and it would be a bit more tasteful.

I'm thinking of getting a few non-pagan related tattoos as well. I want the GG Allin phrase "Life Sucks-Scum ****" on my chest, and a few other music related tattoos on my body. Nothing too visually distracting though, I don't want to be covered in tattoos or anything. I'm thinking about doing them myself because I like the look of hand done tattoos, though shoulders are hard to reach. I think it's really cool when someone has some distinctive, original tattoo style. GG Allin, as well as the vocalist from Horna for example. I don't like the whole "sleeve" thing, that's just too cliche for my tastes.
 

VioletVortex

Well-Known Member
Nazism is National Socialism. "Nazism" is just shorthand for it.

National Socialism is exactly what it implies-a political philosophy that combines nationalism and socialism. Nazism was the form mainstreamized by Hitler, which involved eugenics. I think it's a German acronym.

There are various forms of nationalism. Fiscal (economic) nationalism, civic nationalism (citizens are citizens, no more may enter), and ethno-nationalism, which is basically the defining of a nation by it's native ethnicity. I am neither of those. I agree with parts of all, but I prefer not to identify with any particular sect. My views are strictly my own.
 

Saint Frankenstein

Wanderer From Afar
Premium Member
National Socialism is exactly what it implies-a political philosophy that combines nationalism and socialism. Nazism was the form mainstreamized by Hitler, which involved eugenics. I think it's a German acronym.

There are various forms of nationalism. Fiscal (economic) nationalism, civic nationalism (citizens are citizens, no more may enter), and ethno-nationalism, which is basically the defining of a nation by it's native ethnicity. I am neither of those. I agree with parts of all, but I prefer not to identify with any particular sect. My views are strictly my own.
I know what National Socialism is. It's the same thing as Nazism. Nazism is just the shorthand for it. I don't know why you're trying to make it so difficult. As for you, you come off as just a white nationalist.
 

VioletVortex

Well-Known Member
I know what National Socialism is. It's the same thing as Nazism. Nazism is just the shorthand for it. I don't know why you're trying to make it so difficult. As for you, you come off as just a white nationalist.

I am White, and I'm a Nationalist, so I see where one could draw such a conclusion from. I'm not really an ethno-nationalist, though. Just a general one.
 
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