Can you identify this symbol in a tattoo?
March 5, 2021 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on an ad campaign, and there's a picture of someone with this tattoo. I don't know the symbol, but it appears similar to the Odal rune that the nazis coopted (which was also possibly the influence for the stage at the CPAC convention). It maybe be this symbol with another symbol laid on top. I don't want to include this picture if the symbol if it represents something awful.
posted by jonathanhughes to Society & Culture (11 answers total)
Best answer: Looks like it's another rune laid on top of odal, and while I'm only a layperson web searching these things, and not all of the sites were horrible, enough were that I now want to scrub my search history with bleach. It's clearly runes, and specifically the odal rune, too.

Put me on the side of "possibly (probably?) evil, maybe not, but don't take the chance". At this point, why give the benefit of the doubt to anything that is clearly a hate symbol? Take it out.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 1:31 PM on March 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Looks like a combo of Wealth and heritage/homeland. othala & fehu
posted by beccaj at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd remove it, could be innocent, but why invite problems. I'm sure someone will be along to tell me I'm wrong, but putting together the meanings it could be interpreted as "homeland success", or "heritage wealth" and it's easy to see how that could be interpreted as a white supremacy symbol even if it's not.

Skip it.
posted by mikesch at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Bindrunes (multiple runes laid on top of each other) are definitely a fairly common Norse thing and may or may not be anything nasty (I have runic tattoos myself and they are definitely not anything unpleasant) but in the current climate I would lean heavily towards just not using that image.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:40 PM on March 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! It does appear to a combination fo the runes that beccaj posted. I was able to do a little googling, and this person just appears to be into vikings. But although it probably wasn't intended as anything more than that, I'll definitely be skipping it.
posted by jonathanhughes at 1:55 PM on March 5, 2021

A quick Google for the two superimposed letters came up with 'runic formula for attracting money' stuff. Somebody's idea of a good luck charm?
But who's to say 'family + money' isn't somebody's weird idea of 'Blood! + Treasure!' or other self made cultyness?
posted by bartleby at 1:56 PM on March 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Just to add, it looks so similar to the NXIVM cult branding (here's an article, but it's easily googleable). Even if it weren't directly related to anything questionable, I'd avoid it just because of that association.
posted by thebots at 3:36 PM on March 5, 2021

just appears to be into vikings

Too close for comfort.
posted by Miko at 6:30 PM on March 5, 2021

It's three different runes, inheritance (odal), wealth (feoh) and protection (elk) which is upside down giving that rune a cautionary meaning. I know this because using runes for new agey fortune telling has been a thing for at least 30 years if not longer; Ralph Blum's rather Jungian Book of Runes was first published in 1985. My gran used to read tea leaves, my mother used to read runes, I've read the runes myself.

Imo a person doing a reading of the symbols as tattooed would interpret them as a warning against expecting inherited wealth to be that much of a good thing. Which is kind of wide open to being a message from any sort of context really. But you shouldn't necessarily think a person with old runes tattooed on them must be a fascist as the neo Nazi co-opting of these symbols is fairly recent.

Having said that though and even though these symbols came into my life as a bit of benign superstition, they have been irretrievably tainted, I think, by the past 8 or so years of neo-fascist resurgence. They can't be used now.
posted by glasseyes at 9:14 AM on March 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I now want to scrub my search history with bleach

Yeah, this is also a recent thing. When I tried researching Chimurenga songs again last year, that is, songs of the Zimbabweian freedom struggle, youtube gave me all sorts of rhodesian white nationalist nonsense. Something that has never happened before in my search results. I guess those nazis have finally discovered the internet, or the algorithms, or something.
posted by glasseyes at 9:20 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sorry for spamming - it probably is two runes and the third is an accident of juxtaposition - but interpreting that sort of unintended meaning is always part of a reading.
posted by glasseyes at 9:31 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

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