Why Skulls Are Important To Bikers ?
People love skull and crossbones for thousands of years, long before the invention of the motorcycle. Skulls have been described in paintings, described in ancient texts, and numerous archaeological excavations prove that tribes often used skulls in rituals.
A skull, arguably, reflects death, mortality and decay, which can be seen through the image of the skull and crossbones as an indicator of hazardous substances. In addition, a skull denotes a threat. Therefore, the pirates and the looters often put it on their flags and banners.
These days, you can often see skulls on motorcycles and their riders. Does that mean they want to plunder cities or summon the god of war ?
Well sure there is a lot of garbage among the biker gangs but in general bikers do not wish to hurt anyone. They just want to hang out with friends and ride their horses of steel. So why do they keep the sign of death so close to the goal if they definitely don’t want to die in the saddle or harm others?
It turns out that a skull is not just death and danger. It also has a positive meaning. Let’s learn why bikers love skull articles and what they mean.
Culture and Biker’s skulls : the origin
After the end of World War II, approximately half a million recently released military youth returned to the United States. The changes they saw in society, coupled with memories of the horrors of war, made them, to some extent, renegades and rebels. At the same time, the US military was getting rid of thousands of Harley Davidson motorcycles involved in the war but now became a burden. Unwanted people and machines have formed a symbiosis fo what we now call the biker movement. This connection has been beneficial for everyone: Motorcycle riders have regained their purpose and the US military has not only been able to sell motorcycles profitably, but she also saved a lot on the treatment of veterans. The bikers even told a joke: ” You will never see a motorcycle parked near a shrink’s office. “
Thus, a new subculture was born but it still had to develop its own badges. The military past of motorcycle club members has come to the rescue. They began to display their wicked machines and cogs with the emblems of their military units. Skulls and all their varieties (crossbones, Death’s Head, Jolly Roger) are often found in the fights of different military units on land, naval and air. Why? It’s simple, such an intimidating image was meant to instill fear in enemies. Fortunately, the symbolism of the skull melded harmoniously with that of the bikers who weren’t so warm and confused.
A huge role in popularizing the skull among bikers has played in film and television. In the 1950s and 1970s, countless films about reckless men on motorcycles took over screens, and mostly bikers were portrayed as bad guys – hooligans, rebels and criminals who disobeyed the law and morals. Motorcyclists, leather jackets and skull jewelry (as well as skull stickers for motorcycle or outdoor clothing patches) were the typical gear of screen enthusiasts. So, in the public’s mind, skulls have become an integral feature of bikers. So, anyone who wanted to look like bikers improved their appearance with skull elements. Even famous personalities have succeeded in this trend. For example, Elvis had a skull ring (he was an avid biker himself) and Keith Richards still rocks his legendary silver skull ring known as Keith Richards.
Meaning of the skull
A skull is a multi-faceted symbol and each individual can have their own interpretation. Along with this, there are a few common meanings that are widely recognized by bikers. These are some popular explanations for the biker skull symbolism:
For many people, skulls and bones are synonymous with mortality and, to some extent, they are not mistaken. However, in reality, skulls have the opposite meaning: ie immortality. Indeed, after death, when the flesh decomposes, all we have left is our skeleton, a silent witness to our life on Earth. Symbol of the cycle of life, rebirth and afterlife, the skull was common among ancient cultures such as the Aztecs and Egyptians. Our ancestors frequently used fragments of skulls and bones to create jewelry and ritual objects.
Today, some cultures still celebrate skulls. For example, the famous Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) gave us a symbol as original as a sugar skull. In memory of the departed, Mexicans baked candy in the shape of skulls, coated them with bright icing and decorated them with curls and flowers – these are the original sugar skulls. Over time, these much loved images began to appear on jewelry. At the same time, women began to decorate their faces with festive sugar skull makeup.
Thus, the wearing of the skull became a testament to the love of deceased parents and their faith in the afterlife. Also, a person who accepts a skull in their life through jewelry or clothing means how much they love life, this rebirth and a new beginning that awaits it.
Determined and Courageous
During the Elizabethan period (1558-1603), Death’s Head sounds or objects featuring a skull without reflected jaws appending to the underworld. Various militant groups such as motorcycle gangs and outlaw gun clubs have drawn on this meaning to develop their own “branded” symbolism. For members of these clubs, skull and crossbones are not only a sign of disobedience, but also a powerful symbol of courage and resistance of body and mind. Tough bikers swing this jewelry to show how severe and fearless they are in the face of any danger. Many men sporting skull rings testify to their masculinity, machismo, and indomitable spirit.
No one can escape fate
A skull is a visual recognition of fate. Riding a motorcycle is a constant risk no matter how well you master it. A skull ring on your finger reminds you that you cannot hide from fate, you cannot cheat or corrupt it. Death and life are linked and they cannot exist without each other. Everything has its beginning and its end. Sooner or later death will take hold of all of us and we must remember this. To a certain extent, skull jewelry is a memento mori, a reminder that we are mols.
Keep Death Away
Indeed, one cannot escape death but one can delay its arrival. Safe riding is important, but you might need something more powerful than the laws of the road to keep the Grim Reaper away. According to beliefs, skull jewelry is an excellent protection against death. Coming to a dying man, he leaves a skull mark. Those who already bridge this mark are protected from death because it will not come twice. So the bikers show that they are not afraid of death, but it is still too early for them to pant.
We are equal in the face of death
No matter who you were in this life, rich or poor, big fish or no one, to death we are all the same. Grim Reaper makes us all equal. This coincides with the ideology of the bikers themselves, who accept everyone in their ranks, regardless of what they do in civilian life. In a motorcycle club, despite the hierarchy, all members are equal and everyone has the right to vote.
Devotion to your brothers
The symbolism of the skull, especially if it is part of the motorcycling club colors, shows your loyalty to your comrades. When looking at your patch or skull ring, you should always remember that you are part of the group and that you must act according to its laws. In general, it’s a symbol of brotherhood, team play, and dedication to whatever biker culture personifies.
Little impo the provenance and the meaning of skull and crossbones, the main thing is that it has found its place in the hearts of motorcycle enthusiasts around the world. This highly respected symbol can be seen on various parts of motorcycles, gears, tattoos, and anything the biker can come up with. As a stamp, the biker image is consistent and complete. Don’t think of biker skulls as monotonous and boring. Runners try to give their skulls individuality: some look fierce, others are designed in a funny, cartoonish way. There are even skulls for the biker chicks that rock them with roses and hearts.
This doesn’t mean that all bikers like skulls. You are free to do whatever you want, not what people around you bridge. In the biker community, everyone has the right to express their personality in their own way, provided this does not conflict with the biker code and the rules established in a particular club. If you don’t like skulls, there are plenty of other biker symbols like crosses, totem animals, dragons, game symbols, etc. They all look brutal and badass. After all, you are a biker, not a fairy, so you should watch it accordingly.