There are probably several things you don’t want to see in your bedroom at night. If you have any idea what the wendigo is, that beast would be on top of the list.
You wouldn’t want to imagine it due to its horrifying representation.
However, this intriguing mythical creature has come to represent a unique type of art, with many choosing to have a wendigo tattoo for an edgy and unique tattoo design.
A simple wendigo tattoo can be an attention-grabber, depending on which part of your body it is placed.
Moreover, if you are a lover of dark fantasies, folklore, and mythical beings with spooky aura, then a wendigo tattoo is probably on your to-have tattoos list.
But what is a wendigo tattoo? What are its origins? And how did we come up with the designs we have now?
This article seeks to provide you with the relevant answers to decide on getting your preferred wendigo tattoo.
What is a wendigo tattoo?
The wendigo is increasingly gaining popularity in the tattoo world. Most people believe that its continuous appearance in pop culture influences its growing fame.
Today, a wendigo design usually showcases a fierce and large mythical creature with large antlers resting on a cow-shaped skull.
What’s more, tattoo artists usually depict it as ghoulishly skinny and tall, with its bony frame well outlined underneath its lean and hungry-looking skin to make it more intimidating.
Some tattoo artists also choose to add a bloody effect to this tattoo, indicating that the creature just fed on its recent victim, reiterating its insatiable desire to satisfy its hunger.
Despite its rather gruesome, wolf-like, spooky, and intimidating appearance, the wendigo tattoo is something that leaves many tattoo lovers intrigued.
But, before you decide to visit your tattoo artist, you might want to know the origin of this creature.
What is the origin story behind wendigo?
The wendigo is sometimes spelled windigo or weendigo in the original Algonquian dialect and is believed to symbolize winter and selfishness.
The idea of this creature comes from Native American folklore and has strong ties with the Algonquian people.
The Algonquians are considered as one of the most widespread and populous native American groups, originating from the South Atlantic Coast in the Great Lakes region.
They use the idea of a wendigo in their native culture in different ways, depending on which tribe is concerned.
But one thing that cuts across all the tribes is that this creature appears in the form of a spirit human, with the power to overtake and possess humans, causing their victims to perform evil acts.
A person becomes vulnerable to wendigo possession when they exhibit greed.
As mentioned earlier, the creature was linked mainly with the colder months, which was a time for supplies and rationing.
Since people tended to be greedy during this period, the idea was to discourage hoarding of supplies out of greed.
Typical wendigo tattoo designs now are not necessarily what the original idea looked like.
Although each tribe described what this creature looked like, the description has taken on considerable changes as stories passed by word of mouth through generations.
Therefore, the actual wendigo image may not be the same in mainstream pop culture.
The symbolism of the wendigo tattoo
Now that you know what a wendigo tattoo is and its origin, you need to know what the tattoo symbolizes. Knowing the meaning behind the tattoo makes it easy to explain and defend its popularity.
However, you can’t do that if you’re aware of what it stands for. That said, here are some symbolisms to note
- Greed: this tattoo still symbolizes greed and insatiable hunger, flowing from the original meaning.
- Community and generosity: Wendigo has also been linked to a spirit or desire for communal values. The idea here is that you can avoid becoming a greedy person by showing generosity to those around you and live for the community instead of yourself.
- Cannibalism: The tattoo design is also used to symbolize cannibalism in some cases. Again, this flows from the original idea behind the wendigo creature.
The creature craves human flesh and is constantly starving for it, and this is indicated by the creature’s lean and wiry frame.
According to these myths, when a person engages in cannibalism, the creature takes over their bodies and develops an insatiable desire or hunger in them to commit the act. Again, the idea was used as a way of discouraging the despicable act.
The tattoo also symbolizes a weird propensity to murder those who fall under its strong influence. In most beliefs, the creature grows in size each time it consumes a victim.
Wendigo tattoo design ideas
Fortunately, you’re at liberty to make your meaning out of the wendigo tattoo you choose, just like any other tattoo design.
The modern concept of this tattoo seems to have changed significantly from the original meaning – which was to discourage people from greed in tough times.
It’s fine to create your meaning for the tattoo design you choose, but it’s better to have a good idea of its original meaning.
So, what wendigo tattoo idea should you go for? Well, you can go for whichever version justifies your reason for having it.
Just make sure you’re not greedy about it – you know, with the whole possession thing and all. As long as you know what your design stands for, the choice is pretty much yours to leverage.
Thankfully, there are several design ideas on online platforms to choose from. From simple silhouette-like designs to really striking use of colors and scary details, your options are vast.
What’s more, some prefer their designs to look more human, while others choose to go full-spooky with it. But no matter what your creature looks like, don’t forget the antlers!