Gothic Fairy Tattoo
As far as mainstream pop culture goes, fairies seem to flit in and out of favor, but they never completely go away.
People are captivated by the idea of fairies because they are so familiar and yet so strange.
Fairies are a popular subject for tattoos, especially for women.
Some may be surprised to see a Gothic fairy tattoo, a unique take on the design.
When taking the origin of fairies into consideration, however, this Gothic twist is actually a fitting interpretation!
These days we may be more familiar with fairies as adorable little creatures with green dresses and sparkling wings.
But fairies can be meddlesome creatures, and at one point in time people were very afraid of them.
Let’s explore the concept of the gothic fairy tattoo.
Who are fairies, how did they get woven into our pop culture, what do they represent and why do some artists make their fairy images so dark?
What Is A Gothic Fairy?
Fairies are winged creatures, but they differ from pixies and angels.
Angels are in their own category entirely and tend to have religious connotations.
Angels live in the heaven realm or afterlife, and are not human though they may appear as such to make things simpler for us to comprehend.
Angels are messengers of God, or whichever higher power they are associated with.
Pixies are tiny creatures with a slightly human appearance, but they have pointed ears and other features that don’t quite line up with human expectations.
They are typically dressed in other worldly garb, or not at all.
Their gender is difficult to determine, and is not particularly relevant.
They are characterized by their mischievousness.
They like to play pranks on humans, because they don’t feel humans possess much intelligence.
Fairies, on the other hand, are like miniature humans with wings.
They are often dressed in beautiful garments, and are beautiful manifestations of our standards for male and female attractiveness.
Fairies can either be good or evil.
Sometimes they want to help humans, other times they prefer to directly meddle with their lives.
Conversely to pixies, fairies are fascinated by humans and will at times abduct babies to take back to the fairy realm.
Where Do Fairies Come From?
As with most folklore, every culture seems to have an ancient version of a fairy-type creature.
Norse mythology has good and evil fairies, for example.
There are also fairy-like beings in Africa, China, Persian and Malaysian traditions.
The best known fairies worldwide exist in British and Irish stories.
Hundreds of years ago, Celtic people did their best to live in harmony with fairy folk- who they believed had malicious intent toward meddling humans.
Even today, there are sights that are considered “haunted” by fairies (aka faeries, fae folk.)
People do not dare interrupt these sights by moving them or raising up construction sights around them.
These days there are bushes and patches of grass that Irish people continue to leave alone, lest they anger the fairies.
Though the modern fairy believers often adopt a skeptical but “better safe than sorry” stance when it comes to these traditions, years ago fairy paranoia could lead to some deadly events.
One belief about fairies is that they are ethereal beings cast out of ethereal planes.
They are not good enough to live in a heaven realm, but not evil enough for hell.
As a result, fairies live on earth in their own fairylands.
A fairy community may take to living in a bush, the nook of a tree, or a small patch of flowers.
It is said that if you find or create a ring of fairies or stones, it will attract fairy folk.
If you find a rock with a hole in it- superstitions would dictate that looking through the rock will open your eyes to the fairy worlds around you.
As lovely as all this sounds, fairies can be fearsome.
Their dark side comes out in their fascination with humans.
Fairies were said to take human children and replace them with a fairy child.
In some cases, they would replace the human child with an enchanted piece of wood or another bewitched object from nature.
The explanations for this are all over the map.
In some cases, fairies are attracted to a child’s beauty and want the child for themselves.
In others, they want their child to be raised by humans, and hope their child will eventually return to them.
The fairy (or enchanted object) in the human world was referred to as a “changeling.”
This was often the explanation given when a human had a disability or neuro-atypical behavior.
Sometimes a child was labelled as a changeling for their appearance if one or more features was considered “inhuman.”
Other times this was the explanation given for a child who was wise beyond their years, non verbal, or had “abnormalities” that would now be considered developmental differences.
It was already stressful for children with perceived abnormalities to not have the help they needed.
But there is more to this awful tale.
Unfortunately, a child labeled a changeling was often subject to abuse in an attempt to draw the fairy out.
In some cases if a parent was caught abusing their child they would cite this as an excuse, whether they believed their child to be a changeling or not.
Though modern fairies are considered beautiful and benign, it’s easy to see why a person would have a dark or Gothic take on these magical creatures.
There is a lot of pain around what is now considered a harmless idea.
What Do Gothic Fairy Tattoos Represent?
Today, fairy tattoos often represent child-like innocence and beauty.
They can also symbolize a certain feeling of “otherness” in the human world.
A Gothic fairy tattoo is a dark twist on this light and airy image, so it can represent a loss of innocence.
In other cases, it can represent a reverence for the dark origins of today’s sweet tales.
Common Themes In Gothic Fairy Tattoos
Fairies are probably the most diverse subjects as far as tattoo designs go.
They can be cartoonish in nature, watercolor, or have an old fashioned pen and ink style.
Fairies do not belong to any specific culture, so have fun with the design.
Gothic Fairy Tattoo Ideas
Considering showing off your inner (or outer) goth with a Gothic fairy tattoo?
Take a look at our gallery for some inky inspiration.