Every tattoo has a meaning, and not all of them are positive. If you’re someone who is superstitious or spiritual, then you may want to avoid these tattoo designs as they are considered bad luck. Some tattoos have a universal negative meaning, others it depends on the culture and location.
Read on to learn more about superstition around the world and how to celebrate them in a tattoo. Whether you want to embrace bad luck or avoid it, here are 13 of our favorite bad luck tattoos and the stories behind them.
50+ Bad Luck Tattoos
Upside Cross Tattoo
The upside cross has many meanings, the most common ones are humanism, atheism, and the occult. It is a symbol commonly found in heavy metal music and horror movies, and it’s associated with Satanism.
The inverted cross has come to mean an opposition of Christianity, with many believing it to be bad luck as it mocks the good and holy. It’s a common tattoo, but some Christians will still believe it to be bad luck.
Black Cat Tattoo
A black cat is considered unluck when they pass you. This stems from pirate tradition, where a cat walking away from you was considered a bad omen. Black cats are also associated with witches and witchcraft.
In the Salem Witch Trials, many black cat owners were accused of witchcraft. Witches were thought to turn into black cats, leading to the current superstitions against the little felines.
Did you know:
In Japan black cats are actually considered lucky, especially for single ladies.
A broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck. In Roman times, there is a superstition which claims a mirror broken into larger pieces is even more unlucky than smaller shards. Looking at your reflection in a broken mirror is unlucky in both India and Russia.
Many cultures around the world believe the mirror has the power to take away part of a person’s soul. Looking at your reflection in the mirror can make your soul become corrupt. Your soul could become trapped in the broken world.
Evil Eye Tattoo
The evil eye is believed to bring bad luck for the person to whom it is directed at. This symbol stems from the belief that someone who achieves great success or fame will attract the envy of others. This envy will manifest itself as a curse that will undo their good fortune.
An evil eye tattoo will protect you but will be bad luck to anyone who dares to stare at. Although some people believe getting an evil eye tattoo will bring on bad luck.
Did you know:
People with blue and green eyes are said to bestow the evil eye curse within them. Evil eye tattoos are often blue, for this reason.
In the UK, seeing a single magpie is thought to be a symbol of bad luck. A way of combatting this is to say, “Good morning, Mr Magpie – how’s your lady wife today?” It’s hoped that respecting the bad will mean it won’t bestow bad luck.
Magpies are also associated with death, often found scavenging near hospitals, battlegrounds and the gallows in Medieval times. Magpies are also known for being thieves, stealing shiny and valuable objects.
666 is a well-known symbol of bad luck. 666 is the number of the devil and can attract negative energy. The mark of the beast often appears in heavy metal music and horror, connected to satanism and demonic worship.
This a common tattoo for fans of the darker, morbid things in life, but you may be faced with condemnation. Many connect this tattoo with the devil himself and view the wearers of this tattoo as evil.
Did you know:
In China, 666 is the luckiest number out there. Six sounds like the Chinese word for smooth or flowing, so three sixes will get good luck flowing.
The Valknut is a rune sometimes known as the death knot. In Norse mythology, the Valknut is one of Odin’s symbols which represents death. This symbol is considered unlucky since it is associated with death and the battle slain.
In mythology, wearing a Valknut tattoo is the same as pledging yourself to Odin, which often means a violent death for the wearer. So before getting this little geometric tattoo, think about what it means in mythology.
Ouija Board Tattoo
Ouija board tattoos and Ouija related tattoos are considered unlucky to many. They are used to communicate with the dead but are sometimes thought to bring back bad spirits. It started a Victorian parlor game but has since become connected with the supernatural and hauntings.
The Ouija board and related imagery has become very popular in the tattoo world. Now it is more associated with horror films and heavy metal music, it’s still considered unlucky and the bringer of bad spirits.
Horseshoes are a universal signal for good luck. The luck of the horseshoe, which wards off the demon, only comes if it’s in the right position. A horseshoe is lucky when shape like an U. If it’s upside down or inverted the luck can fall out.
A horseshoe that is shaped more like an n is unlucky. Some people believe an inverted horseshoe, when placed over a door, is lucky. Anyone who passes this doorway will have luck fall on them.
An old superstition is that you should never open an umbrella indoors. This dates back to Egyptian times, where the priests and royalty used peacock feathers to shield them from the sun. Using these indoors, away from the sun’s rays, would anger the sun god.
In Victorian times, umbrellas were made from steel-ribbed Paragon frames. The spring mechanism allowed it to expand quickly, often become a hazard. Alternatively, an umbrella tattoo symbolizes bad weather, and the storms we go through in life.
Walking under a ladder is considered bad luck. This superstition originates in ancient Egypt because a ladder against a wall formed a pyramid. This was a sacred shape that should never be ruined by walking through it.
Christians associate the ladder with betrayal, wickedness, and death because one rested against the crucifix. In England, criminals were forced to walk under a ladder on their way to the gallows.
Empty Rocking Chair Tattoo
According to Irish legend, an empty rocking chair is an open invitation for evil spirits. A common horror film trope is that an empty rocking chair moves on its own.
By getting an empty rocking chair, you are bringing back luck to your home and opening yourself up to bad spirits. Many people like to get an empty chair to represent peacefully sitting on their porch, whilst others love to celebrate their favorite horror movie.
Brooms come with a variety of superstitions and is connected with bad luck in many different ways. In Ancient times, those with clean hands could only handle the brooms in the temple. Since then, every culture has a tradition to which way you should sweep, and when you should use a broom.
Brooms are also connected with witches. Many believe they ride around on broomsticks with their black cats. If you are considering getting a broom tattoo, you should consider which way it faces and you should never have it in a doorway.
Bad Luck Tattoos: More FAQ
What numbers are unlucky?
In China, the word for four sounds similar to the Chinese for death. In many Chinese buildings is are no fourth floor. Nine is feared in Japan because it sounds like the Japanese word for suffering or torture.
Italians are superstitious about the Friday the 17th because, rearranged, XVIII can create the word VIXI. This translates as my life is over. In Jewish lore, even numbers are considered very unlucky and will attract evil spirits.
Are even tattoos unlucky?
It depends on the folklore. Some cultures believe even numbers brings back luck, others feel that odd numbers are unlucky. Odd numbers have more positive associates around the world thAN even. For this reason, many people get their tattoos in pairs, to avoid having an even number of inkings.
According to Jewish lore, even numbers are thought to be dangerous. These unlucky numbers invite evil spirits. They will try to live in homes with odd numbers, they consider this safer and luckier. Gamblers prefer odd numbers and believe them to bring more luck. This is because odd numbers can’t be reduced, making them more powerful.
There are many superstitions connected with even tattoos. For this reason, tattoo artists may tattoo odd things onto you. For example, an odd number of petals to a flower.
Did you know:
A European superstition states that when sending flowers to someone it is generally considered to be lucky to send them an odd number of flowers.
Is it bad luck to get matching tattoos?
Some tattoo artists believing getting matching tattoos with a boyfriend or girlfriend is the kiss of death. They also believe that getting your significant other’s name tattooed on you is a bad omen for the relationship.
Tattooists recommend getting something that less obviously represents your love and relationships, like an anniversary date, nicknames, or each other’s favorite films.
Matching tattoos are not considered a kiss of death within family or friends. Many friends get matching tattoos to celebrate a stage of their life, a good experience together or just to celebrate their friendship.
Did you know: Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner chose a Toy Story quote to celebrate their marriage.
Are wedding ring tattoos bad luck?
Wedding ring tattoos are becoming more and more popular with couples. Not everyone considers it a good replacement for a normal wedding band, with some people considering it bad luck. Wedding ring tattoos can fade over time, swear, sunshine and washing your hands mean hand tattoos fade regularly. This may be a bad omen for your relationship.
Did you know:
Celebrities who have had wedding ring tattoos include Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, David and Victoria Beckham, Beyonce and Jay Z and Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell.
Are tarot card tattoos bad luck?
Tarot card tattoos do not bring bad luck. Negative tarot cards are merely an indication of what is to come, it never brings or causes bad luck.
Some tarot cards bring more bad luck than others, so you may want to do some research before getting your tarot card tattoo.
Ten of Swords indicates that you will suffer an unwelcome surprise in the future. Three of Swords represents rejection, heartbreak, betrayal, loneliness, and grief. The feared Tower card represents a dramatic and usually sudden revelation.
Are owl tattoos bad luck?
In some culture, owls are considered unlucky. This is because they are silent, nocturnal animals. In other cultures, owls are considered wise. They are spiritual guides, as well as protectors who can bring knowledge and wealth. Owls are generally considered wise than unlucky.
What colors are unlucky?
Green can be considered unlucky as it is associated with infidelity in China. A man wearing a green hat is said to have an unfaithful wife. In the UK and the US, green is thought to be an unlucky color. This is thought to be because green is the color of the poisonous arsenic.
In China, white is considered the color of death, often worn at funerals. It is connected with misfortune, mourning, and sterility. In Brazil, purple is an unlucky color and is connected to death and mourning.
Why is it bad luck to have an unfinished dragon tattoo?
In Chinese culture, your tattooist should save the dragon’s eyes for last. Dragons are highly respected and are considered guardians. Chinese dragon tattoos are seen AS being guardians, getting one tattooed is equivalent to calling forth a dragon’s soul to protect you.
If your artist finishes the eyes first, the soul will enter the inking and will endure the pain of getting a tattoo. It’s not just dragons, many people will do the eyes on tattoos last to avoid causing the soul pain.
What animals are unlucky?
Many animals come with superstitions and are considered bad luck in cultures around the world. Before getting any of these animals tattooed, consider that they may be considered bad luck to some cultures.
The black beetle is sometimes called the deathwatch beetle. When they crawl across your shoe or tap inside a wall, this is a sign of death to come. Rabbits’ feet are lucky in many cultures, both others believe they actually bring bad luck. They are thought to be witches in disguise.
In Navajo legend, seeing a coyote on a journey is a bad omen. If you see one on your travels, you should always turn your back to avoid bad luck. Amazonian lore believe pink dolphins can transform into humans and will steal children from their homes at night. A single fox crossing your path is good luck, but a group of foxes is considered very bad luck.
Which plants are bad luck?
Plants, although a beautiful addition to any home, can sometimes bring bad luck. Get certain plant tattoos will be considered bad luck.
According to Feng Shui belief, a cactus can transmit bad energy. A cactus can bring bad luck and financial problems, if kept in the home.
Cotton plants look pretty but represent bad luck and poverty. Babul plants with their bold yellow flowers make good tattoos, but with their thorns they can create disputes in the home.
White flowers in general are frequently considered unlucky plants, many cultures believe they will bring death. Gifting yellow flowers in Russia means that you’re cursing your friend with infidelity, so getting tattooed with this may be considered being gifted with it. In Victorian times, red and white flowers together in a vase mean there will be a death soon.
Are dreamcatcher tattoos bad luck?
No, quite the opposite. Dreamcatcher tattoos are a common good luck symbol for Native American men and women. They represent their rich cultural heritage and help keep negative energy away. Getting this tattoo will help protect you against nightmares and bad dreams.
Did you know:
Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus have dreamcatcher tattoos.