It doesn’t get much more primal than the wolf. Known and feared, both far and wide, this animal has long been a symbol that everyone recognizes. In order to better understand what the wolf skull means or what it CAN mean, we’re going to answer a few popular questions on the subject to give you an idea of it’s potential.
It’s a powerful and flexible subject-matter in the world of skin art, so let’s explore the wolf skull tattoo symbolism, meanings, and more. It’s an ancient option that’s well-recognized even in the modern day and for good reason – read on to find out why!
What is the History of Wolf Skull Tattoos?
Wolves are found in North America, Asia, Europe, and even in North Africa – meaning that these animals are not only well known, but have a whole lot of mythos behind them as a result.
Where there are wolves, there will certainly be wolf skulls, and these animals were popular choices for Viking, Celt, and Greco-Roman cultures so while we don’t have an early example of these, it’s not a huge leap in logic to say that there’s over 2000 years of history behind them.
Our relationship with wolves is an interesting one. While it is believed that the first domesticated dogs happened ‘by accident’ from wolves trailing humans to steal their food, we’ve also had a long history with them trying to steal our lives.
As such, they have a primal appeal that makes them a very popular choice when it comes to tattoos and there are quite a few uses that you can make of the symbolism.
What Do Wolf Skull Tattoos Symbolize?
As one of the animals that occasionally still hunts us, Wolve have long captured our imagination and as a consequence, invaded some of our nightmares throughout time. The wolf skull can represent the triumph of the man against the beast, in a literal fashion or even as a representation of defeating the beast within.
So, primarily, the skull of the beast represents it’s defeat, though art has a way of outgrowing traditional symbology depending on how it is depicted and so a wolf skull tattoo is certainly not a limited symbolism at all. Like anything, it’s all going to boil down on what it’s with and how it’s depicted.
What Do Wolf Skull Tattoos Mean?
A black wolf skull is more like a badge than a depiction of a slain predator and most likely worn as a way to warn the world that the owner is not one to be trifled with. When depicted realistically, it could indicate that the wearer is stronger and fiercer than this powerful predator, but could also represent repressed violence.
By ‘killing the wolf’ and displaying its skull, the owner might be saying that they have changed their ways, but that the wolf is still a part of their nature that could be resurrected at any time. If the wolf skull has a complete, ‘animated’ skeleton, then this means that the ‘beast nature’ is still there and ready to fight!
Depicted in a ‘wasteland’, a wolf skull lying alone could represent foes or life’s fiercest problems, quickly slain and left behind to turn into dust, though a painted wolf skull could show that the owner practices or embodies Native American shamanic beliefs – where the wolf represents loyalty, strength, courage, and power!
Where Do Wolf Skull Tattoos Usually Go?
It really depends on the intent of the owner. As it is most commonly a symbol of fierceness, them displaying it where it is most visible in places such as the forearm and shoulder are an advertisement to the world that they’d better watch out.
Even more so for bolder places, such as the hand or on the neck. For one who deeply embraces the lore of the wolf, an ornate design placed on the chest or the back is also another common choice. This gives enough skin and space to produce a work that is rich in color and deeply personalized to the wearer.
The ankle and the hip are also popular choices for those who wish to hide their ‘wolf’ or ‘wolf-defeating nature’ from all but those who are intimate enough with them to get to see the tattoos. It gives the owner a way to warn those who get close to them that fierceness is a thing integral to their nature.
Characteristics and Styles of Wolf Skull Tattoos
The characteristics of the wolf skull are important to the meaning of the piece. Extra detail showing how aged and cracked the skull is could represent that the physical or existential ‘foe’ was defeating or mastered a very long time ago.
A newer, sleeker wolf skull could be more like a victory tally or even a ‘badge of honor’ for one with a warrior bent. Painted, the piece will have Native American overtones that have more to do with the spirit of the animal rather than it’s death.
There is definitely no shortage of styles either… while some love the realistic-style depictions, a New School wolf skull might ultimately be even more fierce and terrifying by its exaggerated depiction – some have even added eyes!
A wolf skull in geometric style, however, might indicate a particularly cunning and meticulously ordered mind and for something shamanic, watercolor stylings could make for the boldest colors, especially if the skull itself has a contrast of realistic tones to contrast the vibrant color choices.
There’s simply too much you can do to list in the space that we have available today, but you get the idea!
Some closing words on wolf skull tattoos
As you can see, with wolves geographical placement, it’s roots in our mythology, and overall predator reputation, the wolf skull is indeed one of the most powerful symbols around. It can represent the defeat of ancient foes or obstacles or show the prowess of its owner in the form of a warning.
The wolf skull symbolism and meanings have a whole lot more to them than meets the eye. As a species, we’ve hunted them and been hunted by them, but the sheer time behind this relationship makes the symbolism even more rich than that.
It makes the wolf skull something personal and that kind of symbolism is what it takes to make a truly epic tattoo!