Fantasy style is widespread all over the modern world. In this regard, a lot of tattoo lovers ink heroes of this genre, such as mermaids, elves, wizards, witches, as well as other fictional characters. The meaning of such tattoos is usually dual. This concerns elves too. Elf tattoos are not so common but still, they carry a lot of symbolism and weight in the tattoo world and in the tattoo culture.
- The origins of elves: Are they real?
An elf is a type of human-shaped supernatural being in Germanic mythology, as well as folklore. In medieval Germanic-speaking cultures, the elves generally seem to have been thought of as being that have magical powers, as well as supernatural beauty, ambivalent towards everyday people and having the capacity to help or hinder them. But, the details of these beliefs varied considerably over space and time, and have blossomed in both pre-Christian and Christian cultures.
The word elf was wound through the Germanic languages, and it seems to originally have meant ‘white being.’ Reconstructing the early concepts about elves depends largely on texts which were written by Christians, in the Old and Middle English, medieval German, as well as Old Norse. They associate the elves with the gods of Norse mythology, with causing illness, possessing magical powers and with beauty, as well as seduction.
After the medieval period, this word became less common throughout the Germanic languages, losing out to alternative native terms such as zwerc or ‘dwarf’ in German and huldra or ‘hidden being’ in Scandinavian languages. Still, beliefs in these creatures persisted in the early modern period, especially in Scandinavia and Scotland, where the elves were believed to be magically powerful people that usually live invisible, alongside everyday human communities. They kept being associated with causing illness or sexual threats.
With the urbanization and industrialization in the 19th and 20th century, beliefs in elves declined rapidly. But, from the early modern period onwards, elves started to be quite prominent in the literature and art of educated elites. For example, these literal elves were imagines as small, as well as impish beings, with the “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” of William Shakespeare being the key development of the idea.
Nowadays, elves are a prominent feature of fantasy books and games.
- Elves used in tattoo art: meaning and symbolism.
The elf, which is a small and airy creature both enchanting and mischievous, originates from Norse. Even though later it was incorporated into works of fiction as ethereal, as well as beautiful and benevolent, the elf would originally dance in meadows at night, to woo mortals to their deaths. As such, it is the symbol of powers of darkness, and any desire that inhabits self-control and judgment.
These mythical heroes appeared a long time ago, and the meaning they have become distorted over time. With the occurrence of books of Tolkien, the admirers of this trilogy started to ink tattoos of elves in the style of heroes. The ancient meaning is entirely different from the one of nowadays.
Initially, elves of fairies were presented as some small and winged creatures that lived in dense thickets and forests. This image actually came from the Scandinavian forests of Europe. These glowing little men, such as butterflies, lured random travelers to their kingdom to the Fairy Queen. When she got bored with the young knight, he was returned to the world.
Elves are considered neither dark nor bright creatures. A lot of people or wizards were friends with these creatures and used their help, which elves rarely provided. Later, people started associating fairies with good.
Elf tattoos may be traced to the historical existence of these creatures. They can be cooperative, granting favors, helping the work of humans when they are asleep, and watching children and animals. But, when provoked, they can be destructive, as well as violent, snatching people away, and causing damages with a symbol of uncontrollable, mysterious wellbeing in existence.
Referring to German myths, the elf is a kind of fairy that dwells in the forest, air, and sea. For their major part in history, a lot of people can confirm their existence when they are asked if they believe in elves. They live longer than a human being does, but no precise record have been brought so far.
Tattoo lovers want to have elf tattoos embodied on their bodies because of their mystical symbolism as something used for protection from bad spirits. Some of the well-known elves that inhabited our planet include the black elves that actually come from the so-called Glenar forest, the Gaelic elves of the woodland nations, as well as the Savaen elves in the forest of Aerona, each of them living and having their own story to tell.
The images of elves have later been crafted in tattoo designs as exciting and fascinating imagery. These elves are the major part of legends, as well as myths, but they were also considered real by the people of ancient Europe.
Some people even believe that elves are the spirits of the departed ones, and others believe that they may even be older than humanity. Elves were also recognized as servants of gods, as well as bearers of light for mankind. This is a reason plus why a lot of people choose to wear elf tattoos as symbols of a sense of humor, peace, and light in the darkness.