In society there are many forms of expression; tattoos have become one of the most popular. With tattoos you can express everything from light to dark. Grim Reaper tattoos are one of the darker pieces people like to use. This idea is not surprising, not only for its sinister connotations, but its history. This symbol was initially used in tattoo art primarily by prison inmates and bikers. Since then, many people have adopted the symbol as an expression of the many changes in life, and as an embracement of their own mortality.
Though some people believe Grim Reaper tattoos promote evil, some contend that the Grim Reaper isn’t evil at all, but rather just another symbol of the cycle of life. This effect can easily be achieved by countering the traditional archetype of death with things that symbolize life or even rebirth, such as the ouroboros (a snake biting its own tail), or a tribal ‘circle of life’ design.
Many people, however, choose to get tattoos of the Grim Reaper either alone or as part of a scene that is more fitting to the nature of the symbol. The Grim Reaper is classically known as a skeletal figure swathed beneath a dark cloak and wielding a large scythe. However, the figure beneath the cloak doesn’t necessarily have to stop at a skeleton. It has also been seen as a blurred and pale face, or a face with no noticeable features at all.
Although it is common for Grim Reaper tattoos to depict a scythe, there are also legends of the menacing cloaked figure separating soul from body with a touch of his fingers. This slightly less common depiction can add a bit of drama to your tattoo.
Though Grim Reaper tattoos are generally seen in black and grey shades, some people like to incorporate rich colors. Reds can be used as blood or on a rose (which was once a symbol of survival from prosecution, but is now commonly associate with love), purple can be used as smoke, and yellow and orange as flames.
Some tattoos of the Grim Reaper also include him riding a horse. This can either be a light horse — as “Death” was describe in the Christian Bible as the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse who carried a scythe and rode a light horse — or a black horse, which represents decay and death.
The Grim Reaper often represents something that many people would like to avoid even thinking of. It is even seen by some as an agent of the devil. But to many of those who choose to use the Grim Reaper as a part of their tattoo, he is seen less as something wicked and more as a guide, showing souls to their final destination, and simply represents a natural part of living.