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Gothic tattoos are an important part of the Goth look – representing that special brand of subculture that developed simultaneously in both Europe and the United States in the late 1970s. Contrary to what some people think, Goths are not morbidly fascinated with death or the occult – but they do tend to be highly creative, artistic people with a strong intellectual bent. Gothic tattoos and tattoo designs reflect this tendency. Though many different designs could be – and are – considered Goth, it is certainly true that Gothic tattoos form a category all their own. A certain style of body modification – instantly recognizable when you see it – complements that Goth style of dress. Tattoos are only one part of this; multiple piercings are just as characteristic.
Goth Tattoo Designs
What types of tattoo designs are typical for Gothic tattoos? Here’s where it gets complicated. People who are part of Goth culture have very eclectic and imaginative tastes and interests, a fact that is fully reflected in their tattoos. One category of Gothic tattoos, therefore, are fantasy images (dragons and the like). Interest in the medieval is one offshoot of Goth culture, and the imagery of that time is strongly represented in the tattoo images. The images tend to be fantastical, as much of the mythology of the time was – a nod to the older religions and belief systems, perhaps, or maybe an affiliation with a fairy-tale world. That’s not to say that this fantasy world is always benign, though – as the dragon images show, fairy tale life had its own set of dangers!
A second category of Gothic tattoos deals with what we might term the occult – images relating to Wicca (white witchcraft), the Tarot, the Viking Runes, or other mystic crafts or oracles. Wiccan images include the pentacle, a five-pointed star; the ‘athame’, a double edged blade used in Wiccan rituals, or symbols related to the four elements – earth, air, fire and water. Keep in mind that none of these occult crafts is evil; they have nothing to do with Satanism, for example. These are ancient religions that were practiced before Christianity, and then they had to go underground. Gothic tattoo designs actively seek out and celebrate these images.
Gothic tattoos are extremely varied, because they reflect the various interests of people who see themselves as part of the Goth culture and lifestyle. Some Goth tattoos may be more socially acceptable than others, but most of them make for engaging conversation pieces!
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