Supposedly, a devil is the personification of evil. Although depicted in many different physical forms, the devil is a wholly wicked creature that tempts, lures, and manipulates people into doing sinful or immoral deeds. While murder and stealing are apart of these deeds, devils usually represent self-indulgent and self-satisfying acts. According to folklore, the devil is wild, uncontrollable, cursed, and selfish character who is on a mission to get as many human souls as possible. In stories, he, for the devil is most often depicted as male, trades with people, giving accomplishments, talents, money, or objects for their immortal soul. In Western culture at least, he is said to rule in the underworld or hell. Those who give in to his temptations or make deals end up in this afterlife.
Devil tattoos are as varied and disparate as devil folklore and traditional stories. The stereotypical devil is usually a red humanoid-looking creature with horns, a forked tail, and a pitchfork.
Sometimes he resembles the god Pan, with legs that look like a goat's and cloven hooves.
Another representation of the devil is a gargoyle-like creature with enormous batwings, fangs, and claws.
The devil can also be illustrated as a suave man. He might look distinguished and well groomed, wearing a black suit and seemingly well mannered.
In several religions, the devil is the opposite of God, goodness, or divinity. He actively works to undermine good works and strives to bring about the ruin of those religions. Because of this, devil tattoos are often assumed to be evil, or that people with devil tattoos are evil. This is not necessarily true.
Though some practitioners of the Satanism might favor devil tattoos, the vast majority of these tattoos are not symbols of satanic rituals, innate evil, or devil worship.
Most devil tattoos symbolize a mischievous or impish nature. The person might behave in a naughty, wayward, or troublesome manner. This, obviously, is more of a character trait than any great evil. Sometimes, devil tattoos represent an old way of life. Someone who went through a difficult time, like a period of addiction or frequent fighting, might get a devil tattoo to represent this time in their lives, a time of self-indulgent behavior. Devil tattoos can also simply represent the existence of temptation.
Devils are sometimes portrayed as alluring and seductive females, much like old school pin up girls, and portrayed in she-devil tattoo designs. These temptresses might be indulging in alcohol or gambling, luring others to join in the fun. Tattoos like this can simply symbolize a slightly devilish nature or enjoyment found in 'wicked' activities or vices.
Devils are frequently tattooed with an angel counterpart. This tattoo design represents a balance of good and evil, sort of like a ying and yang. The devil portrays the bad actions a person is capable of, while the angel represents the good actions. These tattoos imply that every person, or at least the person with the tattoo, is able to give into temptation and resist temptation. The person is neither completely good nor completely bad, but simultaneously encompasses both characteristics of angels and devils.
Although devils can have negative meanings and implications, devil tattoos do not indicate evil, wickedness, or satanism. Like all other tattoo designs, a devil tattoo is a personal choice that may have a symbolic meaning different that traditional associations.