Skull Symbolism & Meanings

Skull Symbolism

More and more people are getting tattoos everyday. Some new designs are coming into the mainstream, but one design that has always been popular is the skull. Why do people get skull tattoos in the first place? Is it because they are trying to look tough? Are they trying to be scary?

Or, do they just think that the design is cool? No matter why someone has a skull tattoo, or why they are thinking about getting a skull tattoo, it’s always interesting to know the symbolism behind it. There is symbolism inside of everything, even an inanimate skull. The symbolism of the skull is a little spooky, but it also has some rather interesting positive symbolism as well.


Skull Symbolic Meanings

Let’s get the more obvious and spooky symbolism out of the way first. It is obvious that the skull would freak some people out. It’s inside your body; it isn’t really meant to be seen.

The only way to see it is for a dead body to decompose. It’s hard not to think automatically of death when you see a skull. The “death” aspect of the skull is probably the symbol behind the skull.

Death is highly important when we think of the skull. In most paintings and other depictions of the Grim Reaper, or of Death itself, we see a skeleton. While a skull is only part of a whole skeleton, it still carries the thought of death wherever it is seen. This fact makes us think of our death at times. This helps to symbolize not only death, but life and mortality as well.

The Grim Reaper, or the personification of Death, also symbolizes wisdom above humans. Death knows when we are going to die, and how it is going to happen. There is nothing that we can do to prevent it. Death is always wiser than us, making the skull a symbol for both divine wisdom and general intelligence.

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The skull symbol has other meanings besides death, but these meanings are also closely related to our mortality. If you’ve ever seen a pirate movie, or an older war docudrama, then you may have seen a skeleton or a set of skulls on the outskirts of a village to warn passersby. This isn’t some scare tactic that Hollywood made up. Things like this happened in real life. Of course, it rarely happens today, but it was vastly used as a way to warn people hundreds of years ago.

Villages and cities would hang up their enemies dead. This would warn them that if they came into their territory that their fate would be the same, if not worse. This was a clear message, and probably made many people wary of entering strange new places. Because of this trick in history, the skull was related to the symbol of warning.

However, this very same message was also a symbol for protection. The planted skulls worked in two ways, to keep out people who could be killed by the villagers, but to also keep out these same people so that the villagers wouldn’t be killed by them. The dual nature of the skulls not only stood for warning, as already stated, but also for protection. Even though a person doesn’t usually think of protection when they see a skull, it is still a symbol for it nonetheless.

No matter why you have a skull tattoo, or why you are thinking about getting one, it is always interesting to know about the skull symbolism. The skull is not just some spooky thing, but instead a symbol for wisdom and protection. If nothing else, knowing the symbolism behind your tattoo will make a great story. If you want to learn more about tattoo design symbolism, or symbolism in general, then you can read more articles like this one here on!

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