i've read a lot recently on futhark runic tattoos and am deciding exactly how to design one for myself.
on this site and others, i've run across a warning that combining some runes or just generally not having the knowledge of runes that some have could create a tattoo that will permanently act negatively.
can you just get runes tattooed without any chance of negative effects? as in, do you have to empower them through ritual in order for them to be 'activated'?
Briefly, a tattoo has no power to effect you in any way unless it is empowered by ritual. It would just be decoration, nothing more.
Once a runic tattoo has been empowered it WOULD have an effect on the wearer so it is essential to construct the design, to carry out the empowerment correctly and under controlled conditions to ensure there are no adverse effects. Your best bet will always be to take expert advice.