Tattoo Ideas: Good Luck & Lucky Items

Updated on October 8, 2007
Finding a rare four-leaf clover is a sign of good luck
Finding a rare four-leaf clover is a sign of good luck

Everybody has a different idea of what's considered lucky. Traditionally, the standard symbols of luck and good fortune are horseshoes, a rabbit's foot, the number seven, a four-leaf clover, diamonds and dice. 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) involving 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 descendents) counseled Peter to forgive someone who transgressed him seventy times seven times.

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 wisemen found baby Jesus on his thirteenth day of life, that there were thirteen apostles, and that thirteen 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 thirteenth person to sit at the table on that day. Other theories are that when a group of 13 people is divided into two, three, four or six equal groups, there is always one leftover. Many people in the U.S. take this concept pretty seriously, evidenced by an epidemic of citizens fearing Friday the 13th or building skyscrapers "without" the 13th floor and going 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

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. 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.

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 here have done just that, taken elements representative of good luck and immortalized them onto their flesh instead.

LUCKY Tattoos Picture Gallery

Questions & Answers


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      • luckycharm4me profile image

        luckycharm4me 8 years ago from San Francisco

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

      • Eaglekiwi profile image

        Eaglekiwi 8 years ago from -Oceania

        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 profile image

        GreatTattoosNow 10 years ago from San Jose

        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 profile image

        Renaissance 10 years ago

        Beware the flaming rabbit's foot...