15 facts about the lucky horseshoe
Here are 15 facts about the humble yet lucky horseshoe. There are many strands to the story which I have touched on below, which I hope that you find interesting. My appreciation goes to Dr. Desmond Morris for the information on this page.
- Not many people know the reason why horseshoes are meant to bring you good luck. And it seems that there is no magical reason. The simple suggestion is that the shoe has protective qualities for the horse and therefore it might also have protective qualities for people in their day-to-day lives.
- However, the horseshoe used to have magical qualities. Hundreds of years ago, it looked rather amazing that the horseshoe, hot from the fire and nailed into position caused no pain. When knowledge of a horse’s foot was rudimentary, it impressed superstitious people.
- And 7 nails were used to fix the horseshoe to the foot; 7 is a lucky number.
- Further, iron was considered to be a magical substance with the ability to keep the devil at bay. In the early days of iron-working iron was considered to be capable of repelling evil spirits. In those days they touched iron rather than touched wood to bring themselves good luck.
- Believing that iron brought good luck it is thought that this is the reason why people fixed a horseshoe over the front door. But why the horseshoe and not some other object made out of iron?
- It is down to the shape. The horseshoe, as you see in the photograph forms a U-shape resembling a pair of horns. Horns were used to protect buildings thousands of years ago and still do.
- Originally the horns were symbolic of those on the head of the ancient Horned God; a pagan god that eventually became the devil in later years by devout Christians. Notwithstanding that, horns have remained a protective device until the present.
- Apparently, you will see pairs of real horns fixed high up on buildings, normally farm buildings, in the Mediterranean region.
- Christians used the lucky charm of the horseshoe for their own purposes by suggesting that they should be nailed to the walls on their sides so that the U-shape became a C-shape. ‘C’ then standing for Christ.
- A further development was to invert the ‘U’ so that it became symbolic of the female genitals. In this way it was symbolic of protection.
- Images of female genitals decorated the outside walls of a house. And they were displayed over the doors of mediaeval churches.
- And along these lines, it is interesting to note that in 18th-century Germany, the word ‘horseshoe’ was a slang expression for female genitals. There was a saying that if a girl had been seduced, she had “lost a horseshoe” (Sie hat ein Hufeisen verloren).
- And some believed that the horseshoe was similar to a halo and therefore a symbol of sanctity.
- And finally, some felt that the shape relates to the crescent moon and thereby invoking the protection of the celestial moon goddess.
- As you can see there are many superstitions surrounding the humble horseshoe, which is still a popular symbol of good luck today in 2022.
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