118 JAWDROPPING GRIM REAPER TATTOOS: Meanings, Tattoo Ideas & Tattoo Designs


The Soul Collector, The Pale Rider, The Hooded One, La Muerte, Death, The Angel of Death, and so on. These are a few of the titles that the Grim Reaper has been called throughout the ages. In some folk stories, the Grim Reaper is the personification of Death, the final visitor that came to reap the souls of the soon-to-be deceased.

The appearance of the Grim Reaper is most commonly noticed in folk stories as a skeleton covered in a hooded robe, usually holding a scythe in its hands. Sometimes it may appear as having the image of a deceased dear one, visiting you to start your final journey.

People started to get Grim Reaper Tattoos as a reminder that life is short and at any time you could get an ominous visitor knocking at your door. Some just pick the Grim Reaper tattoos just because they look cool, while others had a passing brush with death in the past and decided to get such a tattoo as a reminder of that moment. Whatever the reason, we want to find out why such grim reaper tattoos are picked by people as their future tattoos.

Grim Reaper Tattoos Meaning

So what is the origin of the Grim Reaper? We know that the presence of an entity serving Death or the Afterlife has been present throughout the ages, through various types of forms.

The Ancient Greeks had a God called Thanatos, which was the personification of the Angel of Death. He was hated by both mortals and gods alike because he was a constant reminder that everything will die. Thanatos was the brother of Hypnos – God of Sleep, and son of Goddess of the Night, Nyx who was one of the Primordial Gods, which appeared at the dawn of creation. Later on, Thanatos was often replaced in the lore by Hades, ruler of the Underworld.

The Chinese Mythology tells us of YAMA, who was the one who judged the souls of the deceased. Meanwhile in Japan Yama was known as King Enma, ruler of Jigoku, known as Hell in modern culture.

The Norse Mythology has the daughter of Loki, Hel, as the Goddess of Death and ruler of the realm with the same name.

Since the Middle Ages in Europe, Death has been personified as a walking skeleton wielding a scythe. In some countries, Death was portrayed as being a male, while in other countries it was not uncommon for Death to be a female.

Meanwhile, in Christianity, Death is still considered as being one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He is the Rider of the Pale Horse, the last rider that follows the start of the Apocalypse. In the hit series Supernatural, Death was portrayed as an old man, gloomy in nature, saying that he is as old as time, maybe even older than God. Death was a being capable of taking the breath away from a mortal with a simple brush of a hand. Talk about a grim ending!

So different cultures had different manifestations of Death, but what most of these cultures tend to agree upon is that the Reaper is the final visitor in all cases.

Despite these things, people still tend to celebrate Death and its Emissaries. Whether you are young, or you’re old, the Reaper comes for your soul either way. It’s no way escaping. Might as well make the most of this life and try to accomplish all of the things you set in your mind.

Most people getting Grim Reaper Tattoos are choosing to recognize that sooner or later they will breathe their last breath, and be greeted by the Reaper. This tattoo serves as lasting evidence that nothing in this life is forever, and that we will all die one day.

Even if the Grim Reaper has a ghastly appearance, it does not mean that he is an evil creature. Rather he’s a neutral being, taking the souls of the deceased not out of malice, or as an act of greater good. He just keeps nature balanced and in check.

The Grim Reaper can be considered as a kind of renewal and a part of the change, one that just helps serve the cycle of life and death. This can be a good motif for people to consider getting some Grim Reaper tattoos, signifying that the bad days are left behind, and that good times are ahead of the one getting such a tattoo.

Grim Reaper Tattoo Ideas

The Grim Reaper is considered a creature of the night, and of the Underworld. As such the Grim Reaper tattoos can have various elements often associated with the occult: Ravens, skulls, skeletons, full moon, and various other dark elements. Usually, such tattoos are often done in black and white, accentuating the menacing aura of the Grim Reaper.

Various Grim Reaper Tattoos often have a clock element inked alongside the Reaper, be it an hourglass, or a watch showing the hour of an important event, while the hourglass signifies the fleeting moments in life, and to be set as a reminder that all things will eventually pass.

Another important element that often accompanies the Grim Reaper tattoos is the scythe, for example, the scythe that the Reaper always carries, meant to reap the connection between the soul and the body of the deceased.

A medieval image of the Grim Reaper can be with him holding a sword or spear, while a more modern approach can be with the Grim Reaper holding one or two guns in his hands. This is a nice way to put a creative mind to work, and a great tattoo artist will definitely come up with a clever element for the Reaper.

You can work around with the idea of wings coming from the back of the Grim Reaper, resulting from the title of Angel of Death. This symbolizes the connection of the body and soul with the divine and gives it a rather more holy aspect to the final journey in life, which is Death.

Before you get the tattoo, you need to decide on a few things. Mainly the first step is choosing the location on the body where you’ll get the tattoo. We recommend that you either pick the back, because the Grim Reaper Tattoos on the back will always shine and bring out the most details in a tattoo, or the arm area, where you can give a vertical position of such a tattoo, giving it a more menacing look.

After that comes the design, and the style of it. Do you want a more realistic portrait of the grim reaper? Or maybe you prefer a more cartoonish style for your next grim reaper tattoo. Maybe you want a neo-traditional tattoo, or you just want blackwork with a modern look? Maybe you’re feeling a bit ecstatic, and you want to give it a neon-looking vibe.

Well, whatever style you end up picking, we recommend that you get inspired by as many folklore sources as you can, and by as many other tattoo creations as possible, but always discuss things with your tattoo artist, and try and create a unique piece for your next tattoo. An original piece will always impress the crowd, rather than a copied piece where 100 other people all have the same tattoo.

Grim Reaper Tattoo Design

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