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Tattoo Ideas: Good Luck and Lucky Symbols

I have thirteen tattoos as well as several piercings, and I think they're all pretty cool.

Finding a rare four-leaf clover is a sign of good luck.

Finding a rare four-leaf clover is a sign of good luck.

Traditional Symbols of Luck

Everybody has a different idea of what's considered lucky. Traditionally, symbols of luck and good fortune include:

  • horseshoes
  • a rabbit's foot
  • the number seven
  • a four-leaf clover
  • diamonds
  • dice

Lucky Number Seven

There's a slightly lengthy mathematical explanation as to why the number seven is lucky (along with the numbers 1, 3, 9, 13, 15, 21). The explanation involves number theory and integers, but there are religious implications, as well. God created the heavens and Earth in six days, and on the seventh day he rested; there are seven Virtues (as well as seven Deadly Sins); and Jesus (who is 77th in a direct line of descendants) counseled Peter to forgive someone who transgressed him 70 times seven times.

The Number 13: Lucky or Unlucky?

The number 13, according to the same number theory, is either lucky or unlucky, depending on who you ask.

  • Those who believe in the number's good luck base it on the fact that the three wise men found baby Jesus on his 13th day of life, that there were 13 apostles, and that 13 people sat at Jesus' Last Supper.
  • Those who believe the number 13 is unlucky, however, are quick to point out that the man who betrayed Jesus, Judas Iscariot, was the 13th person to sit at the table on that day.

Other explanations point to the fact that when a group of 13 people is divided into two, three, four, or six equal groups, there is always one person leftover. Many people in the United States take this concept pretty seriously, demonstrated by those who are superstitious about Friday the 13th. Sometimes, you will even find buildings that are constructed "without" a 13th floor, with elevators and stairs that go directly from floor 12 to floor 14.

A horseshoe with the ends pointing up (as shown here) is good luck; the ends pointing down is bad luck.

A horseshoe with the ends pointing up (as shown here) is good luck; the ends pointing down is bad luck.

Lucky Horseshoes and Rabbit's Feet

  • Horseshoes: A horseshoe hung with both ends pointing up is supposedly lucky because Saint Dunstan, a blacksmith, once nailed a horseshoe to the hoof of the Devil, which caused him an extreme amount of pain. Saint Dunstan would only remove the shoe after making the Devil promise never to enter through a doorway where a horseshoe was hung.
  • Rabbit's Feet: The luck of the rabbit's foot is derived from the ancient African-American form of magic known as hoodoo, which holds that the rabbit's left hind foot is a very powerful and useful charm.

Symbols of Good Luck as Tattoos

Hanging a horseshoe above the door to your home or carrying a rabbit's foot in your pocket or on your keychain are all superstitions intended to ensure good luck, so why not take it to the next level and tattoo a symbol of luck on your body instead? You'll never lose or misplace it, and it will be with you at all times, no matter what. The people shown below have done just that—taken elements representative of good luck and immortalized them onto their flesh instead.

Comments

luckycharm4me from San Francisco on August 03, 2009:

• "We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?" --Jean Cocteau

Eaglekiwi from -Oceania on June 18, 2009:

Yayyyyy finally someone has good luck around the number 13 !! lol

I did not know the spiritual facts surrounding this number though ,how cool is that !!

I was born on the 13th and so was my hubby ,both of us May 13.( but both from different countries)....( he never has any excuse now to forget my birthday) hehe.... great hub , enjoyed it heaps!

GreatTattoosNow from San Jose on October 09, 2007:

Another great hub as always. I love the good luck type of tattoos. Typically very bright, full of color and who can't go with a little more good luck. I really like the horeseshoe, nautical star, dice and cards combinations. Have to get one myself one of these days! Great HUB!

Renaissance on October 08, 2007:

Beware the flaming rabbit's foot...