Rune Tattoo Symbols

Runes are an ancient alphabet used by Germanic peoples in northern Europe, Britain, Scandinavia, and Iceland from about the 3rd to 17th centuries. There are different runic alphabets which are similar but not identical, used at different times by different peoples. For the most part, runes are used in tattoos in order to spell things. As you look at the single rune tattoos linked above, you’ll be able to discover their meanings and also their sounds (in case you want to spell something).

Below is a special case of rune tattoos – the bind rune tattoo design.

The bind rune tattoo is essentially a special and customized combination of individual runes where the runes are written directly on top of one another. Even if the bind rune is a word, the letters are not arranged from left to right, as would normally be done, or as is done today in most western languages. Instead, each successive letter or rune is simply written over the previous, which ultimately creates one dense and complicated rune as a final product. That single image captures, concentrates, and intensifies the meaning of the runes, more so than if they had simply been written out in normal fashion.

Let’s spell “Greg” for a bind rune tattoo!

Gebo, Raido, Eihwaz, and Gebo spells “Greg.”

The name Greg spelled with runes.As a bind rune tattoo design, they might appear as below:

Four drawn as one in a bind rune.The image above shows the four runes for gebo, raido, and eihwaz (and gebo again) superimposed on one another for a bind rune tattoo that stands for “Greg.” For extra added fun, gebo stands for “gift”, raido stands for “raid, riding, or a journey”, and eihwaz stands for “the yew tree and defense.” So, not only does the bind rune spell out “Greg”, we might also interpret it as the “gift of a journey of defense.”

The version below shows the superposition of three elements (the gebo rune, used twice for the two G’s in Greg’s name, overlays itself in this version) by using different colors and line thicknesses. It’s for illustration purposes only.

The bind rune that spells Greg done in color.


Rune Tattoo Symbols — 5 Comments

  1. I was married in Iceland in 2010 and was planning to get the strength symbol tattoo. However after seeing the Bind Rune I would love to have my last name. (Lewis)
    Can someone send me the bind Rune for it?

    • Hi Karrie, Maybe someone stopping by will be able to do that. As for me, my simple example illustrates what they are but I wouldn’t consider myself a rune translator. It might be a matter of obtaining some books on the topic and then playing with the overall design for something that looks nice. I’ve heard Iceland is awesome and I think a bind rune would be a great tattoo!

  2. I will see look into finding some books to help with his. I don’t think I could ever be satisfied with anything else after seeing the illustration.

    • I don’t have any of my rune research material handy but this nice conversion tool at NOVA will convert your name for you. Just hit the button that says “Launch Interactive.” Best of luck!

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