The snake is a traditional tattoo that we’ve seen quite a bit of over the past century. They range in style from simple black-and-white images to complex color designs depicting the reptile with things like skulls or roses. The image of the snake is often used as a symbol of strength, power, and wisdom.
Snake Tattoo Meaning
What is the meaning of a snake tattoo? It’s notoriously tied to evil, temptation, sexuality, and danger, but it is also looked up to by many cultures as a symbol of rebirth, healing, and wisdom.
Whether used to represent good or evil, their image is often used to show a deeper meaning.
In general, the snake has had many meanings throughout history and snake tattoo meanings can vary depending on cultural and individual interpretations.
1. Temptation, Sexuality, and Danger
In the Bible’s story of Adam and Eve, the snake uses an apple to tempt Eve. This results in the birth of sin. You’ll often see the snake as a symbol of sin and temptation.
In nature, several snakes like rattlesnakes use deadly venom as a form of protection. They are apex predators that are both dangerous and powerful.
2. Rebirth, Transformation, and Power
The snake is connected to the symbolism of being reborn and transformed. It relates to the snakes’ ability to grow new skin after shedding the old one.
In Asia, where there is a large Buddhist and Hindu population, the snake is called Naga. It symbolizes rebirth, mortality, death, and deity.
In America, the indigenous people saw the snake as a symbol of life and rebirth, similar to Buddhists and Hindus.
A snake eating its own tail is an ancient symbol that originated in Europe. It’s known as the Ouroboros. The Ouroboros symbolizes the circle of life, death, and rebirth. It can also be used in a tattoo to represent the changing seasons of life.
3. Health and Protection
In ancient Greece, snakes represent health. You have probably seen the universal symbol of medical organizations worldwide that shows a snake. The symbol of the snake is used in hospitals, healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical entities, universities, and many other health-related practices.
4. Wisdom and Knowledge
In Africa, snakes symbolize wisdom and knowledge. Africans hold snakes dear to them because they symbolize protection. Snakes are the sacred guardians of temples and thus the people. Snakes are regarded as powerful protectors of the Gods.
Snake Tattoo Meanings in Different Designs
1. Snake Tattoo Meaning on a Woman
The meaning of a snake tattoo on a woman can also vary depending on the individual’s interpretation. In general, however, a snake tattoo on a woman can represent strength, independence, and transformation.
Snakes shed their skin, which can symbolize the shedding of old habits or past trauma and emerging as a new, stronger version of oneself.
In some cultures, snakes are also associated with feminine energy and the goddess, making a snake tattoo on a woman a powerful symbol of femininity and power.
2. Snake Tattoo Meaning on a Man
The snake symbolizes power and strength and represents transformation because it sheds its skin. These are typically seen as masculine qualities when used in a man’s tattoo, often symbolizing the male’s new beginning or a fresh start.
3. Snake and Dagger Tattoo Meaning
A snake and dagger tattoo typically symbolizes danger, mortality, and the duality of life. The snake represents death and rebirth, while the dagger signifies the inevitability of mortality. The combination of the two images can also represent the struggle between good and evil or the balance between life and death.
Additionally, in some contexts, the snake and dagger can represent secret knowledge, temptation, or the danger of betrayal.
Overall, the meaning of a snake and dagger tattoo is complex and often open to interpretation, but it generally conveys a sense of danger and mortality.
4. Snake and Rose Tattoo Meaning
A snake and rose tattoo is a popular design that can represent the duality of life, with the snake symbolizing death and the rose representing life and beauty.
This tattoo can also symbolize transformation, as the snake sheds its skin and the rose blooms anew. In some cultures, the snake and rose can represent temptation and passion or the balance between good and evil.
This tattoo can also be a symbol of renewal, healing, and growth. Overall, the meaning of a snake and rose tattoo is complex and can be interpreted in many ways, but it generally conveys the idea of transformation and the duality of life.
5. Japanese Snake Tattoo Meaning
In Japanese culture, the snake is a popular tattoo motif that symbolizes protection, good fortune, and strength.
The snake is also associated with the Shinto god of thunder and lightning, which is believed to protect against natural disasters and evil spirits.
In traditional Japanese tattooing, the snake is often depicted as a fierce and powerful creature, coiled around a sword or other symbol of strength.
In addition, the snake can represent transformation and rebirth, as it sheds its skin and emerges anew. Overall, the meaning of a Japanese snake tattoo is multifaceted and can vary depending on the individual’s interpretation and the specific design.
6. Red Snake Tattoo Meaning
A red snake tattoo can hold different meanings depending on the cultural and personal context. The color red is associated with passion, love, and danger, which can enhance the symbolism of the snake as a powerful and potentially dangerous creature.
In some cultures, a red snake tattoo can represent the Kundalini, a powerful spiritual energy believed to lie dormant at the base of the spine, waiting to be awakened.
Additionally, red can symbolize vitality and life force, making the red snake tattoo a symbol of energy, strength, and vitality.
7. Snake and Sword Tattoo Meaning
This image has two combined meanings. It represents defense because snakes won’t bother you unless you mess with them, similar to a warrior guarding his land. It also shows transformation and healing, with the sword as a symbol of protection and strength.
8. Eagle and Snake Tattoo Meaning
The eagle and snake tattoo is a popular design that has a long history in several cultures. In general, the eagle symbolizes power, freedom, and strength, while the snake represents knowledge, transformation, and duality.
Together, the eagle and snake tattoo can represent the balance between good and evil or the struggle between higher and lower instincts.
In some cultures, the eagle and snake can also symbolize the conquest of knowledge or the integration of the conscious and subconscious mind.
The eagle and snake tattoo is a popular design among people who want to convey a sense of power, wisdom, and balance.
9. Snake and Skull Tattoo Meaning
A snake and skull tattoo is a design that typically symbolizes mortality, transformation, and the cycle of life and death. The snake represents death and rebirth, while the skull represents mortality and the impermanence of life.
Together, the snake and skull can symbolize the transformative power of death, as old beliefs and habits are shed and replaced with new ones.
Moreover, the snake and skull tattoo can represent danger, evil, and temptation.
In some cultures, snakes are also associated with knowledge and wisdom, which can add another layer of symbolism to the tattoo.
Overall, the meaning of a snake and skull tattoo is complex and can be interpreted in several ways, but it generally conveys a sense of mortality and transformation.
10. Snake and Butterfly Tattoo Meaning
The snake is clever and transforms as it sheds its skin. The butterfly is a symbol of beauty and freedom that emerges from a cacoon. Together, they represent someone who has shed their old identity and come out as a new version of themselves.
11. Snake and Moon Tattoo Meaning
In general, the moon symbolizes cycles, time, and femininity, while the snake represents transformation, rebirth, and duality. Together, the snake and moon tattoo can represent the cyclical nature of life, the transformative power of time, or the balance between opposing forces.
In some cultures, the snake and moon tattoo can also symbolize fertility, growth, and wisdom. The moon is associated with the goddess in many cultures, while the snake is often associated with knowledge and wisdom. The combination of the two can create a powerful symbol of feminine energy, power, and transformation.
Overall, a snake and moon tattoo generally conveys a sense of transformation, cycles, and the balance between opposing forces.
12. Snake Eating Itself Tattoo Meaning
The snake eating itself tattoo, also known as the Ouroboros, is an ancient symbol that has been used by several cultures throughout history. The snake eating its tail represents the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth, and the eternal nature of existence.
The Ouroboros can also represent self-reflexivity, introspection, and the unity of opposites.
In some cultures, the Ouroboros is also associated with alchemy, which emphasizes transformation and change. The Ouroboros can represent the transformation of matter and the cyclical process of death and rebirth that is necessary for transformation to occur.
Additionally, the Ouroboros can represent the unity of opposing forces, such as light and dark or good and evil.
Overall, a snake eating itself tattoo generally conveys a sense of the cyclical nature of life and the transformative power of change.
13. Two-Headed Snake Tattoo Meaning
The two-headed snake is seen in Aztec tattoos as a symbol of intelligence. More commonly, this snake represents rebirth, renewal, and transformation. The double heads suggest a snake can multiply itself, meaning a rebirth of mind and body.
14. Tiger and Snake Tattoo Meaning
These are both dangerous animals. They are depicted in tattoos as fighting each other or with the snake wrapped around the tiger. This represents control over one’s feelings and emotions. It’s also seen as protection against evil.