A tattoo is a symbolic, decorative and meaningful drawing that is made on the skin. To get a tattoo is to represent certain aspects of oneself in a drawing. It is as if the person who gets the tattoo wants to show an aspect of his character, of what he feels inside.
However, each tattoo has its own particular meaning. Most often, the tattoo that highlights a particular animal is the most common as a tattoo of lion, eagle, snake.
This article focuses on snake tattoos, an animal that has been very symbolic since the beginning of mankind and all this time in different civilizations. Each snake has a particular meaning and each tattoo represents a very particular symbol.
The combination of the snake and the tattoo is therefore of great significance, that is to say, to get a snake tattoo on the body is to illustrate a very particular symbolism and it will be the variation of this symbolism according to the particularity of the snake tattoo that we will address in this article.
1. The Meanings of Snake Tattoos
A snake tattoo is mostly combined with another tattoo like a rose, a dagger, a skull. So its meaning does not depend on the reptile alone but on its combination with these other elements but it can also represent by itself many meanings among those discussed earlier.
A. Meanings of Royal Cobra Tattoos
The Cobra is a snake found in many countries from Egypt to India. In these countries, it is considered a sacred emblem of divinity. The royal cobra is used by snake charmers to perform tricks in the streets and impress passersby in India.
According to the legend, these charmers are tattooed with inks that contain venom of this reptile and these royal cobra tattoos would protect the charmers from the attacks of these snakes that they charm. Thus, these royal cobra tattoos represent a protection, a sign of healing because they protect these tattooed people from the attacks of royal cobras. Moreover, these tattoos symbolize their connection with the divine and also represent symbols of wealth, nobility and social status.
B. Meanings of Snake and Eagle Tattoos
The eagle is a bird reserved for individuals with nobility and impeccable morals. The snake is both a symbol of sexual passion and also of temptation. Snake and Eagle Tattoo The eagle and the snake evoke the struggle between a person’s honorable intentions and their vindictive and savage nature. They evoke a fight, a struggle that a person experiences as a war between the devil and God. The eagle tattoo associated with a snake especially shows this war. And every time God wins hence, in some variations of the tattoo, the eagle is more highlighted as the victor against the snake.
Indeed, an eagle is a sign of victory. In this context, the tattoo of the eagle and snake signifies a war between good and evil, the conflict between God and the Devil, the disputes between sexual passion and temptation versus nobility and honor.
C. Meanings of Snake and Rose Tattoos
Many people rather like a tattoo that combines the snake and a flower especially the rose. These tattoos of snakes with a rose around them represent the ultimate symbol of temptation, but it also symbolizes the loss of beauty and innocence.
As it is very well known that a rose represents love and affection, its association with a snake have several other meanings. A black snake and a red rose, is one of the most loved and popular choices. There is a presence of a degree of realism. Women love the darker tattoos of snake with a rose. Thus the tattoo signifies a charm towards women, an affection of love and tenderness.
These tattoos are the most requested because the meanings it brings are very symbolic and very convincing. Getting a tattoo of a rose with a snake wrapped around it is a good way to represent affection, love, to show people those you feel at the time of action.
D. Meanings of Snake and Skull Tattoos
The snake and skull tattoo design is a symbol of death and decay. Getting a tattoo of this symbol is to highlight that the tattooed person is not afraid of death, he is not afraid to die. In other words, those who tattoo a snake and a skull together always tend to play with their lives without having to fear the consequences.
Moreover, being a powerful force of nature, snakes symbolize the primal instincts and desires of man but also an obstacle to spirituality. Skull and snake tattoos are indeed very popular motifs in tattoo art. They represent reminders of man’s mortality.
This form of tattoo shows by this representation that man is mortal, that man’s life may have an end one day. Death is inevitable for humans, immortality is not applied in man’s life.
Some cultures consider the snake as a symbol of rebirth and healing. Together in a tattoo, the skull and the snake represent the cycle of rebirth and death
E. Meanings of Snake and Moon Tattoos
The association of the moon and a snake in a tattoo is very popular in the gothic counterculture. It represents an association between the reptile and the night.
Indeed, most snakes are all nocturnal or diurnal animals. By nocturnal animal, some snakes only come out at night but during the day they hide in their holes. These nocturnal species only hunt at night. By diurnal animal, these species are both very active during the day and night. Hunting does not have a break when digestion is not active, in other words, these diurnal reptiles do not stop hunting except during digestion.
This style of tattoo reflects the character of a person who does everything against the grain, those who do not feel comfortable in everyday life. These individuals want to express by this tattoo the difference of life, a contradiction with reality.
Indeed, they live rather at night, in other words, they want to stand out from the life of a normal individual who leads a life that makes them uncomfortable. In this context, the snake tattoo associated with the moon symbolizes the difference, the contradiction with normality, and shows a desire to stand out from everything normal.
F. A woman with a snake tattoo
The snake is linked to the woman since the beginning, it was the one who tempted Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. As a result, Eve and Adam committed sin and it was this temptation brought by the snake that was the beginning of the descendants of the human being.
Referring to this story, the snake tattoo on the skin of a woman is a symbol of fertility because if the snake had not tempted the first woman then she would not have had descendants.
Tattoo Snake woman
For a very feminine tattoo, often the snake is associated with a rose. These tattoos on a woman are usually smaller. In general, the snake tattoo on a woman means more positive views. The snake inspires positive vibes for a woman. It often refers to life, love, fertility and giving birth to a child.
G. A man with a snake tattoo
Unlike the connotations of a snake tattoo on a woman’s body which is rather positive, the reflections of a snake tattoo on a man is rather negative. By getting a snake tattoo, the man is rather looking to show power, fight, power and also an assurance of his ability to protect his loved ones against any possible enemy.
The Greco-Roman ideologies consider the snake as the protector of the underworld but also the protector of many mysteries that man tries to understand. These two points of view explain the choice of men to get a snake tattoo.
Being considered animals with magical and ornamental personalities, snakes are very unpredictable. A snake tattoo symbolizes some pretty amazing values. It offers healing, personal renewal and purification.
In many civilizations and some tribes, the snake brings a symbol of healing so its tattoo also symbolizes healing. The snake also inspires changes, transitions in personal life, and even personal renewal i.e. a change in personality, a transition to a whole new person.
Most men as well as women like to get a tattoo in all parts of the body such as the shoulder blade, the left arm, the ankle, the thigh, the torso, the nape of the neck quite rare because this part of the body is sensitive.
H. Meanings of Tribal Snake Tattoos
Tribes are indigenous societies that have remained within their traditions and have not openly connected with the outside world. The natives represent their history and culture through designs that are unique to each native tribe. These unique designs have quite particular representations and most of the time they are related to the elements of nature and the spiritual world. Among these designs are the snakes, which are among the oldest religious symbols in human history.
Some cultures associate snakes with folklore deity figures. Tattooing of these snake related designs which can also be called tribal tattoos represent a strong connection with an indigenous heritage of the society, with the spirituality of the person who is tattooed with them, with natural events. They allow them to express their thoughts to the outside world. These tattoos show the importance of the traditions of his or her tribe for the person who wears them.
I. Meanings of Japanese Snake Tattoos
The snake has many meanings in traditional Japanese culture. It also has important functions. This animal symbolizes illness, bad luck and disaster.
The tattoos associated with this animal have the same meanings that protect their owners from these bad representations that the snake represents. The Japanese snake tattoo represents a symbolism of protection against bad luck or disease.
Sometimes this Japanese style is also considered a symbol of wisdom, luck, change and strength. But, in Japanese cultures, snake tattoos also have other meanings such as protection against bad outcomes and bad decisions.
In this context, the animal is seen as a totem that protects from evil that tries to come to the life of the person who has it tattooed. This tattoo can also be interpreted as a sign of good health and good will. Thus, snake tattoos have positive meanings in Japanese culture, these meanings mainly revolve around success, health, behavior, change, wisdom and strength.
J. Meanings of Snake Tattoos around a Dagger
The image of the snake around a dagger is representative of the Greek god of healing and medicine, Asclepius. It is known as the Caduceus. The snake is associated with fertility and rebirth in pagan symbolism.
Indeed, snake tattoos around a dagger symbolize transformation and renewal through battle. In other words, the person who gets this tattoo undergoes a transformation, a renewal in his or her life as a result of a fight. This renewal is often positive, like a new innovative character, a new vision of the world.
In addition, snakes and daggers are both lethal, meaning they can kill. They are considered the symbol of paganism, rebirth and fertility universally, which is why snake tattoos associated with daggers represent a symbolism of transformation and renewal. As already discussed in the first section that the snake is a symbol of healing, it is especially so in many parts of the world.
This is marked by the universal symbol of healing and medicine which is composed of a snake and a knife, dagger, swords. Thus, we can deduce that the tattoo of a snake associated with a knife, dagger, sword or dagger symbolizes healing.
K. Meanings of Snake Tattoos
Associated with a Lion On the one hand, lions represent masculine symbols of power and primal strength like dragons. Being the king of the jungle, the lion’s roar is very impressive and gives fear to all who hear it.
Snake tattoos associated with a lion
On the other hand, the snake is considered the thinker of nature. This reptile is already playing a game of chess mind while some animals are still in the beginning of learning this game. The lion tattoo is therefore a personification between the rational and animal side of the person.
In other words, the tattoo represents both the strength and power of the lion and the knowledge of the snake. The lion occupies the animal side of the character personification while the snake is the rational one.
The combination of strength, power and knowledge amounts to having a well-defined character as a being of the male gender. He must have strength and power to be able to lead his life but also knowledge to be able to succeed in his life. The person who gets this tattoo wants to highlight this character at the same time rational and animal where he wants to show his strength, his power and his knowledge.
L. Significance of the Snake Coiled as Infinity Sign Tattoos
ssociated with the infinity symbol, a snake is dangerous and ready to unleash its fury. In this context, it shows that outward appearance is often deceiving. What one can see from the outside does not always appear to be what it wants to be. Under its calm and innocent appearance, the snake is able to surprise and attack in a short time.
Indeed, the snake is an animal that masters very well the art of surprise. So, the infinity tattoo shows that the tattooed person has a deadly personality buried under a calm and quiet appearance. The symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake that bites its tail, is a sign of the life-death cycle, immortality.
By its shape which makes a circle, it shows that nothing ever ends and that life in the Universe is a vicious circle of life followed by death and death followed by life and so on. This exposes that the Universe has an eternal aspect. Thus, this symbol is a beautiful tattoo with a very deep meaning.
M. Meanings of Snake Wrap Tattoos around the Wrist or Arm
Many people get a thin snake tattoo that is wrapped around the wrist or bicep. This makes the tattoo look like a bracelet or armband.
This tattoo is considered to be one of the most intricate snake tattoo designs and it is mostly women who get this kind of style tattooed. It is often quite small and it wraps around the arm, forearm or wrist.
If the snake in the tattoo wraps around once, you can see that the snake is biting its own tail and this symbol is the snake biting its own tail or Ouroboros. Thus, the tattoo represents the symbol of the snake tattoo associated with the infinity symbol as seen previously. So it symbolizes a mortal personality buried under a calm and quiet appearance.
N. Meanings of Snake Tattoos on the Hand
In the 1800s, the depiction of the association between a hand and a snake was very popular. This association represents loyalty, friendship and inner peace. These three characters are highly valued at that time and even to this day. This relationship that a snake has with a hand represents a sign of solidarity. So the snake tattoo on the hand is significant of friendship, inner peace and loyalty or in a word solidarity.
Among the variations of this snake tattoo associated with a hand, we can find the snake handshake tattoo. This ironic design symbolizes the exact opposite of what we just mentioned before. It shows that trust is difficult to give and it means that no one can be trusted and every person can turn out to be a traitor. The tattoo inspires distrust, the fear of being betrayed.
2. Meanings of a Snake
The snake is an animal with bipolar representation, that is, it can represent two opposite symbols, good and evil. However, the interest here is not to compare the symbol of good or the symbol of evil that the snake represents but it is mainly on all the meanings of a snake.
A. The Snake: a Totem Animal
The snake totem animal has a symbolism strongly linked to primal energy and life force. In some cultures, it is seen as a very powerful totem as it represents the source of life. The appearance of the snake totem in one’s life means that there are opportunities for change and one must be prepared for an increase in energy level and a major transition. Having the snake as a totem animal usually means:
- Transformation, life changes
- An opportunity for healing
- Listening to a spirit guide
- The spirit of the snake is linked to the life force and primal energy
– The snake as a spiritual guide
The Snake can represent spiritual guidance. When this totem is present in your life, it signifies opportunities to promote your personal development and that you are facing a time of transition.
– A symbol of healing
The snake often symbolizes the energy of the earth or more specifically the life force. It is an animal that has many primal instincts as despite the evolution of species, many have legs, it has remained in its primal form and this does not prevent it from surviving for millennia and there are several species of snakes listed today. It is with this life force that we recognize that this animal symbolizes healing.
If a person has a snake as his totem animal, he is sensitive to his healing abilities towards himself or others. It is necessary to explore its sources of support and energy, especially those of the earth, of nature.
Moreover, in the ancient traditions that are still present today, snakes symbolize the power of healing.
Some snakes are also poisonous, and sometimes this venom is deadly, most snakes that attack by biting are poisonous. But the venom of some of these reptiles is used to make medicines, so this property will mean that the snake is as much a healer as a killer.
B. From the biblical point of view
The snake is the most cunning animal that was designed by God. It deceived Eve, who is the first woman conceived by God, and led her to eat the forbidden fruit. In this context, the animal represents the Temptation.
In the Old Testament, in the book of “Numbers 21”, the children of Israel complained to God and to Moses about the road on which Moses led them in the desert and about the food. As a result of these complaints, God sent fiery serpents that killed many people, and terrorized everyone.
Hence the symbol of terror brought by the serpent. The people begged Moses to ask God to forgive them and remove the snakes that He sent. God ordered him to make a snake out of copper and put it on a tree. All those who were bitten by the fiery serpents and looked at the copper snake were healed. From this we can see that the snake also refers to a God-given symbol of healing.
The serpent is also a sign of lying. God called the liars as descendants of the snake that deceived Eve.
The snake is also a representation of Satan and the latter is the guide of all demons, hence it is the sign of evil.
C. Snake: Symbolism of danger
It is undeniable that snakes are dangerous animals, unpredictable reptiles. Indeed, there are many species of snake that bite and inject a venom. The bitten victim can die if an anti-venom serum is not administered if it is a venomous snake such as the rattlesnake, the viper, the mamba, the brown snake, the cobra, the snake. These snakes are an emblem of danger because their venom is toxic and is a real poison for humans.
However, there are also those that represent a great danger by their size: the length as well as the size. Just by seeing them, our fear can make us tremble. We can mention some of them like the boa constrictor, the python, the anaconda. These species are not venomous but they kill by suffocating their prey by rolling them up with their body.
D. God the Creator
In some countries, this animal appears in their mythologies as among the Dogons of Mali and the Australian aborigines, where it protected the fire from the floods of the goddess of rain. The snake represents a deity. This is information of unquestionable veracity and not a myth.
E. Symbol of Knowledge
It brings to men knowledge, the key to the mysteries of nature, wisdom as a messenger of the Earth and becomes the symbol of science.
F. Symbol of Evil
As we have just seen, the serpent is considered as the symbol of knowledge, by this symbolism, it has become the tempter of men who are in search of wisdom, knowledge and who advance more and more towards science.
It is said that Satan metamorphosed into a snake and that he is responsible for Eve’s sin by pushing her to eat the fruit of the tree of life which led to the fall of man.
G. Symbol of the earth
As the snake has its body stuck to the ground while crawling, devoid of legs and living underground, hence its consideration as the symbol of Mother Earth.
H. Symbol of water
There are snakes that do not live on land but rather in water, aquatic creatures, so it sometimes represents the spirit of Water. In Celtic mythology, the vouivre is an aquatic snake-woman.
I. Symbol of immortality and rebirth
Since this reptile lives underground most of the time, it moves in and out of its habitat. By sinking into the earth like the dead who are buried and emerging from the earth, the snake is a symbol of rebirth.
Indeed, rebirth is the return from among the dead, after being buried they live again and emerge from the earth as the snakes do and this symbolizes immortality.
J. Symbol of evolutionary cycle
The Ouroboros is a snake that bites its own tail. Thus, it symbolizes the cycle of evolution. This representation of the snake biting its own tail signifies self-fertilization, continuity. Indeed, self-fertilization refers to the assurance of the continuity of the species and especially to a cycle of evolution. In some representations, this snake is half white and half black signifying the union of two opposite principles such as good and evil, heaven and earth, day and night, Yang and Yin, and all the values that are opposite. It represents both evil and good.
In short, all these meanings of the snake tattoo are all generalities and the tattoos mentioned are all those that are very common.
However, everyone can customize their tattoo to their liking and can give the meaning they want to their tattoo. And this is also true for snake tattoos, the owner is the only one who can really give the meaning of the tattoo on his body and the reason why he got the design tattooed because the tattoo is a way to express what the owner is experiencing or desires, nevertheless, the meanings revolve around the ones that have been discussed in this article. Snake tattoos are among the most beautiful tattoos.
Certainly snake tattoos have many meanings but snakes also occupy a very large place in the Bible and this since the beginning of human history. It is very interesting to discuss the place of the snake and the meaning of the snake according to the bible. The snake is also of the lethal kind, which is the case of several species and each species has its own characteristics that make it so dangerous. A topic on the most dangerous snakes in the world would make for a very interesting article.
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