Origin and symbols of the snake tattoo


Symbolic omnipresent in many religions and civilizations, the snake is also a subject of predilection of many myths, its representation conveys very strong symbolic.

The snake is a spirit of the Earth that keeps its treasures, but also waters. He occupies the dark worlds, the subterranean, he goes in the shadow as close to our inner being, closer to his treasures. Karl Jung even makes it the symbol of the human psyche.

Eminently ambivalent and polymorphic, the serpent according to the characteristics attributed to it has positive or negative connotations and according to the symbols to which it is associated, it will translate various meanings.

The tattoos of snakes are very codified, and the tattoo that we choose will characterize a well-defined message.


I- The positive and negative symbols:

The positive symbolism of the snake tattoo:

The snake is the bearer of wisdom and the knowledge that the human soul acquires over its many lives on Earth.

woman snake tattoo
  • Derived from the Asian symbolism, the Ouroboros is the representation of a snake in the form of a ring that eats its own tail. This ancient Asian symbol represents the cycle of life, from birth to death. The Ouroboros is a tattoo that represents the cycle of life, birth, death and rebirth. With this idea, the snake brings new life and hope. Any novelty does not go without an abandonment of the past, so the snake teaches it by abandoning its moult when it becomes too narrow. This moulting is therefore very charged with the symbolism of rebirth. The snake is released from its old skin to be reborn in a new, larger, more evolved form.


Tatouage Ouroboros
   Ouroboros tattoo
  • The tattoo of royal cobra is considered a sacred symbol meaning the nobility which represents, as a tattoo drawing, nobility and wealth. This snake tattoo was also intended to protect snake charmers from their attacks and injuries.
  •  Rattlesnake: Honored by the Aztecs, Mayans and native tribes of Central America, the rattlesnake, in the form of a tattoo drawing, represents the hidden strength and immortal spirit of the loser.

The negative symbolism of the snake tattoo

The snake also carries a message of death, aggression and anger, to convey this message through your tattoo choose in this case snake hooks and language clearly visible.
In Christian iconography, the serpent is an ambiguous symbol. He can be a savior animal, but also a cursed beast, he appears in the illustrations of the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve where he symbolizes the tempter, evil, sin and the advent of death.


II- The meaning of tattoos of snakes in association

  • The caduceus: wand intertwined with serpents, the upper part forming an arch being surmounted by two fins. It was given to Mercury (Hermes for the Greeks) by Apollo in exchange for his seven-string lyre. The two serpents of the caduceus proceed from the symbolism of the serpent and their double aspect adds to it the notion of androgyny. The caduceus, surrounded by a single serpent wound in eight and biting its tail, represents the notion of the cycle and the infinite repetition of this cycle.
  • Dragon and snake: represented together symbolize balance. While dragons represent ferocity and passion, snakes symbolize calmness and fragility.
  • Eagle and snake: this tattoo design represents the conflict between passion and wisdom The snake is the sexual passion while the eagle, the nobility and morality.
  • In association with a tattoo, the rose and the snake: symbolize Temptation but also the loss of innocence.
Tatouage rose serpent
Pink tattoo snake skull
  • Skull and snake: The tattoo depicting a skull and a snake is the symbol of human mortality and decay.


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