Are you looking for an exciting and inspirational tattoo design? Then why not consider getting a raven tattoo – dramatic and symbolic!
If you’re ready to get inked, you may be looking for inspiration to find the perfect design for you.
Why not consider getting a crow or a raven tattoo?
Not only are crows and ravens stunningly beautiful, but they are also highly symbolic, with many references in mythology, literature, and culture.
There are also many ways that raven tattoos can be executed. From a flying raven tattoo that is perfect for a large back piece to a minimalist raven tattoo that is an ideal small adornment for a wrist or ankle, you’re sure to find raven tattoo ideas here to inspire and impress.
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Table of Contents
What Does A Raven Tattoo Design Symbolize?
Raven and crow tattoos can have many meanings, so it’s no surprise that they are so popular with all kinds of people.
Ravens are especially prevalent in mythologies from all over the world, from Japan to Celtic cultures.
Due to their black plumage, carrion diet, and croaking call, it isn’t too surprising that the raven has often been associated with ill omens and loss, however, their symbolism is actually surprisingly complex.
In myths, legends, and in literature, they often connect the spiritual and material worlds together, acting as a mediator between death and life.
As far back as Greek mythology, ravens have been associated with the gods – in their case with the god of prophecy, Apollo.
Said to be a bad luck omen, they were messengers for the god in the human world.
The legend says that Apollo sent a white crow or raven to watch his lover and when the raven returned, reporting that she had been unfaithful, his feathers were scorched by Apollo’s fury, turning them black forever.
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In Islamic culture, ravens were mentioned as the creatures who taught Cain the way to bury Abel, his dead brother.
In The Qu’ran, Cain didn’t know what to do with his brother’s body after murdering him, but then he watched a raven burying its dead mate in the ground and copied his example.
In Norse mythology, Odin, the king of the gods, was associated with ravens and had two of his own who would appear on his shoulders.
They were named Muninn (memory) and Huginn (thought), serving as his ears and eyes and bringing him news from the world.
Ravens were often used in Viking culture, including on Ragnar Lothbrok’s banner which was embroidered with the image of a raven. The legend said that if the banner fluttered in the breeze, victory was assured.
Anyone who has ever been to the Tower of London in England will know the legend that says the kingdom will fall if the last raven ever leaves the tower.
Meanwhile, in Hinduism, crows are believed to be ancestors, and during the Sraddha festival, food is offered to them. A Hindu deity known as Shani is also often represented as riding a giant black crow or raven.
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In the mythologies of the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, the raven is not only the world’s creator but is also a trickster god. The story goes that the Great Spirit kept everything that would make up the world in cedar boxes.
He gave those boxes to the animals who then opened them up to bring the world into being. The seagull was given the box containing all of the world’s light, but he refused to open it up. The raven was asked to persuade the seagull to release the light from the box but, no matter what he tried, it didn’t work.
So, the raven became frustrated and pushed a thorn into the seagull’s foot. In pain, the seagull dropped the box and the stars, moon and sun came out and began the first day.
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In literature and popular culture, the raven and crow have also made an appearance. Most people are aware of the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, in which the raven is a supernatural messenger and from which the famous line is derived “quoth the raven, nevermore”.
Many people will also be aware of the 1994 movie The Crow, a superhero movie starring Brandon Lee based on a comic book about a rock musician named Eric Draven who is brought back from the dead to avenge his fiancee’s rape and murder.
The movie is especially famous for the fact that Lee was wounded accidentally on set and later died as a result, and it has a powerful cult following who are keen to get crow tattoos as a commemorative touch., Native American mythology etc.
Why Get A Crow Or Raven Tattoo?
If you’re wondering whether to get a simple crow tattoo or a realistic raven tattoo, you’ll need to know the meaning of a crow tattoo to answer the questions of others.
Although there are many negative symbols associated with crows and ravens, in fact these birds also represent many positive attributes.
They symbolize wisdom and intelligence as well as magic, protection, secrets, future, inner-self, prophecy, thought and light and shadow.
A tribal crow tattoo or raven arm tattoo can mean whatever you want it to mean. Perhaps you simply want to show your love of birds, or your fascination with legends and myths?
Or perhaps you’re a fan of The Crow movie and want to testify to your passions? Maybe you’re looking for a tattoo that is dramatic and bold, speaking volumes about your personality?
Whatever the reason for wanting a traditional raven tattoo, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting the right design for you.
Raven Tattoo Ideas
There are countless different ways to depict ravens or crows in tattoo format. One of the best things about these birds is that they can be scaled up or down to suit your design.
You can opt for a small design for a raven hand tattoo or something much larger for a crow tattoo sleeve. You can opt for a simple black line drawn design or a beautiful watercolor raven tattoo that brings a more feminine touch to the design.
Crows and ravens can be depicted perching, which looks especially good in a raven shoulder tattoo or crow shoulder tattoo. Alternatively, they can be shown in flight, which is especially aesthetically pleasing on a crow back tattoo.
Tattoo designs that incorporate crows and ravens are often portrayed alongside other symbols. A crow hand tattoo may, for example, have runes surrounding it to emphasize a Norse theme.
Or a raven forearm tattoo may be portrayed alongside blood, skulls or weaponry. Or a crow neck tattoo could take on a tribal art style, linking into Celtic ideas of magic and war.
How To Care For Your Raven or Crow Tattoo
Once you’ve had your beautiful new tattoo inked on your body you’ll need to know how to take good care of it, not only so its beauty can be preserved in the long-term but also so that you can avoid a painful infection.
When you return home after getting you tattoo, you’ll have a bandage covering the area. Leave the bandage in place for 24 hours then remove the bandage and wash the area thoroughly with antimicrobial soap and water.
Never use very hot water as this can fade the color. Don’t re-apply a bandage but take care to wash your tattoo at least twice each day with soap and water before applying an antibacterial cream.
Don’t expose your skin to strong sunlight or go swimming for a couple of weeks – this will help to avoid infection and will also ensure that your body art doesn’t fade.
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You may notice that scabs start to form. This is normal, but don’t pick them off or scratch them as it could cause infection and could also damage the final appearance of your tattoo.