Horseshoes have always been considered lucky charms and this belief is valid not only in the western world but it is widespread all over the world and in every place the reasons are different. Let’s see what does horseshoe symbolize and why it is considered to be a talisman to protect yourself from negativity, illness, and bad luck.
Horseshoe – origins and legends
Horseshoe has always been considered a symbol for good luck. For example, the Chinese see the resemblance to the curved body of Nagendra, the sacred snake, in the horseshoe, while for the Turks it recalls the crescent, symbol of Isis and their country.
In Roman times, the belief has a military origin. The troops marched on foot, but only the officers went on horseback and the loss of iron from the hoof caused a stop, and therefore it meant rest for the troops. Finding horseshoes had thus become a game among the soldiers and whoever found the most was the winner, therefore the luckiest.
In medieval times the peasants in their wretched mansions saw armored knights dart, wrapped in their splendid cloaks. The farmer admired them from afar, but if the knight’s horse lost an iron, he was forced to stop and the farmer could give him a hand and get some coins in return.
I want to tell you about this legend that comes from England:
A famous legend is that of Saint Dustin, an elderly farrier, which spread between 909 and 988 AD. It is said that one day this poor craftsman had a meeting with Satan, who asked him to shoe the hooves of his horse.
Instead, Dustin ironed those on his feet, causing him enormous pain. The devil, in order to ease his pain, promised the craftsman that he would never enter a house with a horseshoe hanging on the front door. He was released only after he had promised never to enter a place protected by a horseshoe on the door ever again.
Another belief about the powers of the horseshoe, wants the evil eye force to come from the shape similar to the female genital system. In ancient times there was a widespread idea that symbols related to female sexuality could divert evil spirits. The proof is found on some doors of the Churches built in the Middle Ages, on which there were bas-reliefs representing the genital organ of a woman so that demons would get distracted and would not have entered inside.
The Irish Horseshoe
In Ireland, it is the classic good luck of the peasant world. On the occasion of the wedding ceremony, it is so small, so it can be sewn inside the wedding dress, hidden in the “bouchet” or as a pendant to be worn … obviously with the U facing upwards to attract luck!
For the Celts, iron is the blood of the earth and has always had a magical meaning.
Metal brings luck because the strength of iron could counteract the spirits who want to harm them; the power of the iron or its magic was that it was able to destroy evil or ward off spirits, making them return to their world. Iron has thus become a powerful talisman that protects the house by not allowing the forces of evil or the people of the fairies to enter.
With the conversion to Christianity, faith in the power of iron spread over the spirits of the dead, demons, and devils.
To prevent the envy of the fairy or dark world, which could also lead to the kidnapping of the bride’s promise at the moment of the wedding, it is, therefore, sufficient to wear a horseshoe.
What does a horseshoe symbolize?
Iron is considered symbolically inferior to other metals, but it is also a symbol of robustness and stubbornness. It is both an instrument of good and an instrument of evil.
It can protect against harmful influences, because of this magical quality, rings and amulets were forged and it was often recommended to bring nails with it. But at the same time, it is associated as a weapon and consequently associated with war and death.
It is connected to Mars, the God of war. The red color of its rust reminds that of blood.
In ancient China, it was considered a symbol of strength and iron figures were often placed on the banks of the rivers, because they thought that it would remove sea dragons, which they feared them.
Iron is the protector of crops and a symbol of fertility, among the Wachaga or Chaga, an ethnic group from Tanzania that lives on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Women use to wear iron necklaces and bracelets because they promote fertility and heal sick children.
How do you hang it? And why does it bring luck?
Its crescent moon shape and its magnet function attract luck, and also its bond with the horse, an animal with a magical charge, and a symbol of strength and vitality. It is also sacred because it is the product of the forge. The horseshoe that hangs on the doors removes the evil eye and annihilates the negative aura of visitors who cross the threshold.
Sailors often used to nail a horseshoe on the main mast of their boat, because they believed it is a talisman that protects them against storms. It is due to the thought that the iron and the hoof of the horse become one with mother earth, making the horse and the rider stable.
In this way, the sailors believe that even the boat can become more solid and safe, as opposed to the sea, which is often rough and full of pitfalls.