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Anna YangLove to write about tattoo, science and people!
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Medusa Tattoos Guide - Origins & Inspiration

Medusa: The Amazing Tattoo Trend of 2022

We'll go over the meanings behind these tattoos, some examples of designs and what to consider for the future. 

They can be a symbol of the resistance against oppression, they can be the face of injustice or simply a portrait of how addictions can destroy us. There are many meanings you can attribute so be sure read before you pick and to think before you ink.

dotwork tattoo of medusa eyes in the arm realistic

Dotwork tattoo in a circle frame done by Jean Le Roux

blue eyed medusa tattoo on the upper arm

Realistic blue eyed Medusa done by Anitafer

What's the story of Medusa?

The story comes from Greek mythology. Before being a Gorgon, Medusa was one of the most beautiful woman to have ever lived and, because of that, Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, wanted her for himself.

medusa fineline ricardo g tattoo amazing design

Astonishing Medusa portrait done by Ricardo Gonçalves

The problem was that Medusa had taken a vow of chastity to serve Athena in her temple. Still, Poseidon made sure that vow would be broken. Some historians claim it was through rape, others say they were in love. The difference of interpretations comes from the translations of the original text. The similarity comes from it happening in Athena's temple.

medusa fineline ricardo g tattoo amazing design

Amazing humane interpretation of the Medusa by Ricardo Gonçalves

The end result is that Athena punished Medusa for desecrating her shrine and turned her into the monster we know today, with snakes for hair and the deadliest gaze, capable of turning any men into stone, so that no one else dares to ever look at her again.

broken medusa half human with snakes in blackwork

Peaceful black and gray tattoo of Medusa divided done at Red Arbor

This story also has it's ending, which is when Perseus was sent to kill her on what was expected to be a suicide mission. Bringing Athena's shield, he use the reflection to get near Medusa while she slept and cut her head to bring as a trophy. Variations of the story indicate that Perseus used the reflection against Meduse to turn her into stone by her own spell.

Perseus with the decapitated head of Medusa in microrealism done by Gray

What's the meaning of Medusa tattoos?

There are many interpretations to Medusa's story and, as such, her tattoos can mean many things.

For some, she is metaphor for injustice. For others, it can be an allegory for rape. The medusa is also simply a way which is the struggles and rebirth of a woman's dealings with sexual assault and trauma. 

Black and grey tattoo of ornamented and classy Medusa done by Mylene Obscurae

It can be a story of being self-destruction because of your own pleasures. Or a metaphor for how some things in life are best avoided as simply looking will destroy you - such as drug addictions. It can also symbolize loneliness and seeking revenge.

minimalist tattoo design of medusa - finelines

Minimalist Medusa with eyes closed done by Hannah

It can also be a story of fighting and conquering, if viewed from Perseus point of view or a story of outsmarting your enemies, if the focus is on how the shield was used to solve defeat and undefeatable enemy.

How did Medusa become so popular?

Because the mythology and symbolisms are depth and story can be read from different points of view, all equally valid.

medusa with snake and dark hair

Menacing Medusa with hair and snake done by Aaron King

They also became very popular amongst influencers and went viral on TikTok because it can be a lowkey symbol for being a victims rather than a villain.

Meduse with blue snakes and roses in mexican style

Colorful illustrative tattoo of Medusa inspired in Disney princesses done by David Palacios

Some people with more aggressive outlooks feel misunderstood and found comfort in the story because it represents how injustice turned a beautiful person into what society chooses to see as a monster. 

Medusa is also highly symbol in terms of regaining power and recovering after sexual assault and addresses the culture of victim-blaming.

Incredible Medusa tattoo holding the head of a Perseus in a reversed role done by Marcelo Siqueira

Designs and their significance

Focus on the head

Symbol of confidence and defiance. 

neo traditional medusa tattoo beautiful

Art-nouveau inspired Medusa in neotraditional style done by Ma Reeni


Focus on the snakes

Showing aggressiveness and dangerousness.

traditional medusa in color with snakes and flowers yellow eyes

Medusa with piercing look with aggressive snakes done by Pedro Bandrão


Focus on Perseus holding the head

Overcoming obstacles by being smart.

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Perseus holding the head, inspired in the statue done by Kore Flatmo


Focus on details (crying eyes, flowers, etc.)

Symbol of fragility and fighting to overcome abuse.

Tattooed Medusa in a sensual aggressive pose done by Hayley Ploos

Where can I find an artist that does Medusa tattoos?

Go to our tattoos search engine and write "medusa" plus the city or country where you reside. This is filter among thousands of artists and show you the best ones around you that already have experience tattooing Medusas:

how to find medusa tattoos

How long do they take to heal?

The normal time a tattoo takes to help (about 2 week). If you want more info on healing check out this article.

neotrad tattoo of medusa with crown

Royal Medusa with crown and jewels done by Chance Wallace

How much do they cost?

Since it depends on the size, complexity of the design, and the artist's rate, you should calculate it for specific idea using this free tattoo price calculator.

chest tattoo of medusa

Incredible full chest tattoo of Medusa by André Lucas De Couto

What should you consider before getting a Medusa tattoo?

I wouldn't worry too much about it's meaning but more about the placement. How private do you want your tattoo to be? Do you want to show it to everyone? Or only to friends and family? Or only to yourself? 

Also, don't put it in a place with lots of friction (such as near a bra line), because that it tear the tattoo in those place and your work of art will start to fade.

Full back tattoo of Medusa in greek environment with columns done by Dale McG

colorful new school illustrative medusa tattoo by lilian raya

Colorful new school tattoo done by Lilian Raya

realistic black and white medusa tattoo

Realistic photography inspired tattoo done by Luis Inda

Dotwork tattoo of peaceful medusa done by Mylene Obscurae

Meduse with black and white snakes

Back and Grey classical medusa in the arm done at Black Pride Tattoo

Getting a Medusa will be a tattoo choice with a timeless mythology and design. If the story survived millenia, so can your ink.

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