Throughout history, the snake has been a prominent character in art, literature and the imaginations of people all over the world. Across cultures, the snake carries with it much meaning and symbolism, representing both positive and negative characteristics.
This makes it a popular tattoo design for both men and women. Whether you’re considering a traditional snake tattoo, or something more contemporary, read on to discover the different symbolism and cultural meanings that the snake represents.
What Does a Snake Tattoo Symbolize?
Snakes are notoriously misunderstood creatures, and whether they are regarded as good or evil, they can represent a variety of meanings and symbolism.
Power and strength
Whether good or evil, there is no doubt that the snake is a powerful symbol and reptile that has evolved since the age of dinosaurs, or if religious, from the very Garden of Eden itself.
Some snakes possess venom. Others are downright apex predators, making them dangerous and powerful symbols.
Rebirth and healing
The ability of a snake to shed its own skin means that it can be interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, change, transformation, or healing.
According to the Christian Bible story of Adam and Eve, a snake tempted Eve with a forbidden apple, which led to the birth of original sin. For this reason, snakes can represent temptation and sin.
Historically across many cultures, the snake is a symbol of fertility and creative life force, due in part to the snake’s phallic shape.
The Ouroboros (an image of a snake eating its own tail) is an ancient symbol that can represent the circle of life and death and rebirth. This symbol, which originated in Europe, can also represent the changing seasons of life.
Knowledge and Wisdom
In some ancient mythology, the snake is seen as a symbol of knowledge and wisdom.
Snake Tattoo Symbolism in Different Cultures
In Native American and African cultures, the rattlesnake is considered sacred and is linked to rain and lightning. These cultures believed that snakes had a role in creating the planets.
A Japanese snake tattoo can be a symbol of protection against illness or bad luck. It can also symbolize good luck, wisdom, strength and change.
The Uraeus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of a reared cobra snake that is found throughout ancient Egyptian art. The symbol is often seen on the front of the crowns of the Pharaohs and is a symbol of the protective deity Wadjet.
Who Can Get a Snake Tattoo?
The snake is not an explicitly masculine nor feminine symbol, making it a great option that can be adorned by both men or women alike.
Snake Tattoo Ideas
If you’re struggling for inspiration, here are a few of the more popular snake tattoos:
- Snake Ring Tattoo
- This small snake tattoo wraps around the finger in a ring-like way. If you’re considering a large tattoo, a snake tattoo can also look awesome wrapper around your wrist, arm or leg.
- Japanese Snake Tattoo
- The Japanese pit viper is a beautiful looking snake with a circle pattern in the scale on its back. It also has an intricate mosaic-like pattern on its belly.
- Traditional Snake Tattoo
- The snake is a staple in traditional tattoos and can look incredible whether black and white or in full color.
- Snake and Skull Tattoo
- Snakes and skull tattoos are a popular motif in tattoo art. Add some vibrant color to give this tattoo a more cool and contemporary edge.
In Toronto or Vancouver and Ready to Explore Snake Tattoos Further?
The snake is a timeless symbol of rebirth, temptation, fertility, power and more. It is also a symbol that can be integrated into a great many other designs, with the ability to wrap or coil around any other object you desire.
If you’re in Downtown Toronto, Mississauga, or Vancouver make sure to drop by Chronic Ink. Our team of skilled and passionate tattoo artists can help you find the perfect design for your next set of ink.
From small snake tattoos, to bold full arm wraps, the possibilities are endless, and limited only by the talent of your tattoo artist and imagination.
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