Tattoo Superstitions: 15 Symbols & Their Meanings

Most people who get tattoos, particularly those getting a tattoo for the first time, want to choose something meaningful for them.

However, several tattoo symbols have vastly different interpretations, many of which are avoided due to superstition. To clear any ambiguity, here are the meanings of fifteen popular drawings:

Mythological Tattoo Symbols

While Greek mythology seems to be the most popular, there are many other cultures that people choose to tattoo symbols from:


A sorceress known for transforming men into swine, Circe is often perceived as a representation of empowerment and assertiveness.

She was also thought to be a renowned healer. Moreover, in another version of the mythological tale, she is said to have brought back Odysseus from the dead using her herbs.


The Hindu goddess symbolizing ultimate change and destruction, Kali is a ferocious figure that came to life from Shiva, “The Destroyer”.

Considered the ultimate manifestation of primordial cosmic energy, Kali is regarded as the mother of all beings.


Calypso is a sea nymph that symbolizes the diversion of men from their goals. She symbolizes temptation and concealment, but not necessarily in an evil way.

Instead, Calypso is rather seductively charming, yet her main weakness is that she’s very jealous. Some people also choose to tattoo her because she is tightly connected to a particular place.


A Greek goddess, Ariadne’s face is tattooed on many people who want a drawing representing strength and resilience.

Primarily renowned for her association with labyrinths and mazes, Ariadne can be an indicator of personal growth and the will to know oneself better.


In Norse mythology, Hel embodies death’s coldness and indifference. Despite being the goddess of death, she isn’t regarded as a negative or evil figure.

Frequently, Hel is associated with the guardian of hell’s gates, a wolf, and crows. Her agility, strength, and powerful magic capabilities have made many consider her an empowering woman.

Animal Tattoo Symbols

Besides tattoos of pets, animal symbols can have more spiritual meanings:


A mark of the creative life force, the snake’s habit of shedding its skin led it to become one of the main symbols of rebirth and perpetual change.

Representing the permanent renewal of life, which often comes with wisdom and maturity, this tattoo is a popular choice among those who have gone through significant changes in their lives, especially if the events were traumatic.

Koi Fish

Koi fish are particularly relevant in Chinese and Japanese cultures, as they are potent symbols of love, bravery, and perseverance.

Even more, being surrounded by koi fish is thought to bring good fortune and spiritual well-being, which is why many tattoos themselves with this symbol in the hope of better luck.


On a general note, parrots symbolize happiness, playfulness, and luck. However, they are often chosen as a tattoo symbol by those who understand the need and importance of communication and having your own voice.

Before choosing a parrot tattoo, though, know that its significance may differ based on the animal’s color.


The butterfly is the simplest yet most powerful metaphor for transformation.

Besides being perceived as the embodiment of the spirit’s triumph over the material body, the butterfly is a reminder of the great things humans can achieve through perseverance and symbolic rebirth.


As you may have expected, the dragon is most often associated with strength. Since many believe that it also represents masculinity, it is a more popular tattoo choice among men.

However, this is the Oriental approach: in Christian traditions, the dragon is the embodiment of evil.

If you’re thinking about getting a dragon tattoo, make sure to check the meaning it has in the culture you resonate with the most.

Gambling Tattoo Symbols

Roulette Tattoo

Most of these symbols are present within live casinos, yet they’re so deeply rooted in the gambling culture that you may encounter them even on real-time gameplay sites:


Cherries remind gamblers of traditional slots, so they’re most often tattooed for good luck.

However, they are also a spiritual symbol of longevity and fertility, so there can be several reasons why you’d have such a tattoo.


Eight balls suggest chance and the possibility that anything can happen.

As a symbol of unpredictability, the eight ball is most often tattooed on people who are used to living their lives on the edge.

Flaming Dice

Originally thought of due to the act of rubbing the dice against the table to dull their corners, flaming dice are usually symbols of luck.

Lady Luck

Quite simply, Lady Luck is the embodiment of good fortune.

Roulette Wheel

Just like the eight ball, roulette wheel tattoos are symbols of high risk-taking and unpredictability.


It’s clear that even the simplest images can tell a complex story or have a powerful message.

Thus, regardless of your final choice, make sure to research the meanings of the symbols you like before making a decision.

Often, the “bad name” that some tattoos have is only rooted in superstition, and it would be a shame to avoid them for this reason!