Greek goddesses are a never-ending source of inspiration to artists.
Look at any comic book or even soap opera, and you’ll find traces of these larger than life characters with their superpowers and dramatic story-lines.
Greek goddesses are so embedded in pop culture, they’re familiar symbols to many.
Perhaps that’s why goddess tattoos are so popular.
When people of all genders start thinking about tattoo ideas, beautiful women naturally come to mind.
And if you’re already going to get some beautiful female imagery tattooed on you, why not choose a magical female?
Of the Greek goddesses to choose from, Athena is a popular choice.
She is poised between nurturing female energy and stern masculine energy.
She has a lot of wild stories and a couple of cool animal companions.
It’s no wonder his goddess is such a popular muse even thousands of years later!
Who is Athena and Where Does She Come From?
If you’re going to get a tattoo of someone, it’s only natural you should learn a little bit about them!
Athena, like many Greek goddesses, has a very interesting backstory.
Athena is the daughter of Zeus and the titan Metis.
Zeus, being one of the friskier gods on Mount Olympus, was eager to lay with Metis. But he was also afraid.
Metis had been prophesied to give birth to very powerful children and Zeus did not want any god or goddess to take his place.
When Metis became pregnant, Zeus panicked and swallowed her whole. Talk about an overreaction.
Metis wasn’t discouraged by this setback though.
Being the strong titan she was, she set to work making a suit of armor for her unborn child.
So she would sit inside Zeus’s belly all day, hammering away at sheets of metal.
All that hammering gave Zeus a headache, and eventually, he enlisted the help of Hephaestus the blacksmith, who split open Zeus’s head with his trusty ax.
From Zeus’s head sprang the goddess Athena, clad in brilliant armor, and ready to fight.
What Does Athena Symbolize?
Athena is a goddess of war and wisdom.
It is often noted that she is a virgin because she was never distracted by sex or love.
In Tarot readings, Athena is often associated with the “Justice” card.
She is neither good not evil, she is just.
So she may come across as incredibly kind or incredibly cold, depending on what side of the argument you are on.
She is a logical thinker and logic is her guide.
Athena isn’t all cold logic and reasoning though, she was quite generous with humans.
You may hear Athena referred to as the goddess of craft, because she taught humans to hone their domestic skills such as cooking, sewing, and agriculture.
Athena could be a great tattoo design for someone who wants to focus on their craft without being swayed by their emotions.
An Athena tattoo may also be well suited to someone who believes strongly in justice.
Athena is Anti-Vanity
You may also want to adorn yourself with an Athena tattoo if you are trying to overcome the vain trappings of this modern age, or if you’ve never given into them in the first place.
Many people know about Medusa, the monstrous woman with hair made out of snakes.
What many people don’t know is how she became this snake-headed woman who turns men to stone.
Before her serpentine makeover, Medusa was a regular pretty girl.
She would walk around bragging about her beauty to anyone who would hear it, and one day she took it too far.
When visiting a temple dedicated to Athena, Medusa boasted that she was much prettier than the goddess.
She remarked that it was too bad the temple paid tribute to a less pretty woman than herself, but hopefully one day someone would build something to pay homage to her magnificent beauty.
Aghast at this, Medusa’s friends abandoned her in the temple of Athena.
The goddess then appeared before Medusa and told her that beauty fades, and she shouldn’t put so much stock in it.
After giving Athena a little lip, Medusa was transformed into a hideous creature with snakes for hair.
She was told that, if anyone were to look upon her, they would be so horrified they would turn to stone.
With that, Athena banished Medusa to a faraway place where she could not hurt anyone.
Common Themes in Athena Tattoos
Many Athena tattoos are done in a sepia tone or black and grey, but you can bring the goddess to life in any style that feels right for you.
Athena is often pictured with an owl, a traditional symbol of wisdom.
Because the owl can see in all directions, it was something of an assistant to Athena, and helped her see “the whole truth.”
The second animal sidekick to Athena is the snake.
According to Greek legends, when snakes hiss they are speaking only the truth and even prophesying future events.
Because Athena is the goddess of wisdom, she would naturally benefit from backup on land and in the sky.
You may want to incorporate a snake or owl into your Athena tattoo design.
Athena Tattoo Ideas
An Athena tattoo is a wise choice, don’t be at war with it!
Still looking for some guidance?
Take a look at our Athena tattoo gallery for a little divine inspiration.
For more Greek inspired tattoos go to:
- Selene tattoos
- Poseidon tattoos
- Greek Statue tattoos
- Centaur tattoos
- Zeus tattoos
- Hephaestus tattoos
- Medusa Tattoos