Angels have served a significant part in mythology in the three major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam for centuries upon centuries, making angel wing tattoos extremely popularized. They’re symbolic of many different attributes and actions depending on what kind of angel you’re looking at, ranging from divine awareness, purity, love, compassion, protection, renewal, faith, and especially messages between humanity and the divine. In fact, the word “angel” derived from the Greek word “angelos” which means “messenger”.
To delve deeper into the symbolism of angel wings is to realize they’re what allows the angels to travel back and forth from Earth to the divine realm. They serve as transportation, from the world of bound matter to the unlimited, eternal heavens. To have wings permanently inked onto your skin is to create a connection to this divine realm, expressing the freedom you long to obtain and your desire to roam the divine realms.
Below are 54 examples of gorgeous angel wing tattoos we’ve collected for your inspiration. They’re wonderful examples for both men and women, and you’ll find photos of angel wing tattoos placed all over the body.
- Ankle Wings of Hermes
If you’re familiar with the mythology behind the Greek God Hermes, you’ll know he was the messenger of the Gods that was often depicted as having wings on his ankles. This makes for a popular tattoo, as it’s symbolic of having the ability the speak directly to the divine.2. Heavenly Love
Placing angel wings on a heart represents a person’s freedom to love whomever they choose, and the halo can be defined as good intention behind the love. For some, this can be a good tat to remember someone that has passed and become an angel depending on your personal beliefs surrounding death.3. Symmetrical Feathers
This tat isn’t finished, but you can see the feathers are symmetrical on both the right and left sides using easy to follow lines to complete the design. Ensure you have a tat artist that creates the type of angelic look you’re after.4. The Reaper’s Wings
Even the reaper has been called the “angel of death”. Many people like to take a dark twist on their angel wings, shading in deeper colors and accompanying them with a skull or other dark symbolism. Note the hourglass, symbolic of our limited time here on Earth.5. Used and Torn Feathers
Instead of creating perfect feathers that are perfectly symmetrical, you can choose to have each feather look different to create a more ragged, torn look to your wings and making them look used.6. An Angel’s Corset
Here we have a fabulous twist to these angel wings. Instead of extending from the flesh, they’re simply a corset that’s “tied” together. You can play with different types of corset designs as well as feather designs if you choose to create a look similar to this.7. Feathers of the Traveling Messanger
Another traveling Hermes-like tattoo of wings on the ankle. These are detailed with brown ink, a rare choice for the tatted. However, it gives this tat a truly unique look that stands out against fair skin.
8. The Hidden Wing
This tat is just big enough (and symbolic enough) to help the wearer express their freedom while staying hidden enough to wear what they need to keep their job. Not all angel wings have to be on the back or ankle!
9. Mercury’s Flight
The Roman messenger god was named Mercury, who also has some depictions of having wings on his ankles. Again, this design is great if you’re looking for symbolism connecting you to the divine.
11. Doubled and Detailed
Instead of placing one wing on one leg and the other wing on the opposite leg, this guy placed both wings on one leg to create a unique and complete tattoo with symbolic colors that are quite patriotic.
12. Cute Foot Tat
If you don’t want the Hermes type of winged tattoo on the ankle, extending up the leg, you can have it placed futher down on the foot which can make it easier to cover up with socks if need be.
13. Shoulder Extension
Instead of having wings that are folded and inked down the back, you can choose to have them extended instead as if in flight, spreading across the shoulders like seen above. This type of wing is rare, so you’re sure to stand out from the rest.
14. Mark of the Divine
These wings are symbolic of something special according to the wearer. Adding extras such as the halo could represent someone they love having passed on, or even the simple notion that they love angels.
15. Complete Back Tat
If you’re feeling bold enough to grab the perfect tat that can cover up the near entirety of your back, angel wings can do this! The ink displayed above is a perfect example of how you can create a winged design that covers nearly all the skin of the back.
16. Small Declaration of Freedom
This little wing on the wrist is easily seen by the wearer instead of being on the back where it’s hard to tell it actually exists. By placing a small wing on the wrist, you can create a reminder of the freedom you seek, or whatever other symbolism a wing means to you.
20. Fallen Angel
Placing a twist on angel wings can be fun, and here we have a good example of how you can add detail to how the wings extend from the skin. Here, they look almost demonic or like a fallen angel.
24. Sexy V-Shaped Wings
These wings have a distinct shape, being thicker towards the top and thinning beautifully; gracefully towards the bottom. It can be fun to experiment with the shape and the extension of the wings you choose.
25. Adding a Touch of Color
To give your wings a rough appeal or to add depth, consider adding a unique color. Here we have small hues of brown to give the wings a used and abused or dirty appearance.
26. Long and Thin Extensions
This is another great example of how you can experiment with the shape of the wings and have them as long (or short) as you like, covering up as much skin as you choose. These feathers are also designed to look more statuesque instead of realistic.
27. Large Feathers
We’ve seen lots of tats that have detailed and smaller feathers, meaning more feathers must be fashioned to create the wing itself. You can instead have larger feathers that are still detailed like those above. They give off a more masculine appeal.
54. Forearm Feathers
And finally we have wings that extend from the opposite end of the arm – being inked from the wrist and extending upwards. This tat is similar to a Hermes/Mercury winged tattoo except its done on the forearm instead of the ankle.