With St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I have been thinking about Four Leaf Clovers, Rainbows, and Coins, all of which are symbols of luck. It got me thinking about all the symbols of luck that are in the world, while some are universal; others are lucky in some areas and unlucky in others. This post is going to list symbols of luck and why they are believed to be lucky. Some of these are ones you have heard before, and probably hold as lucky symbols as well… while others you may have never heard of.
Good Luck Charm: An object or talisman believed to bring good luck.
Acorns: The Vikings associated the Oak Tree with Thor. Because the Oak Tree attracted lighting, it was sacred to Thor, and the fruit of the oak was believed to be spared by the god’s wrath. So Vikings started putting an acorn in their window to spare their houses from lightning’s wrath. During the Norman Conquest, the English carried dried acorns to protect themselves from the brutalities of the day. Considered to be an emblem of luck, prosperity, youthfulness and power, the Acorn is a good luck symbol indeed! It also represents spiritual growth.
Alligator Teeth: Said to bring luck to gamblers in Africa.
Amber: Thought to be a bit of the sun and bringing good fortune. The Greeks called this Amber "elektron", which gave us our word of electricity, and its power to give off sparks when rubbed may be why many people have considered it a lucky charm. Both the Chinese and the Muslims burn amber as incense as a protection against evil spirits.
Ankh: The Egyptian cross with the loop. This symbolizes eternal life, and Pharaohs were often seen carrying one. The gods are often seen holding an ankh to someone's lips, this is considered to be an offering of "The Breath of Life". The breath you will need in the afterlife.
Axe: The double blade axe is a symbol of power, and talismans shaped like an axe head were warn around the neck to bring success.
Bamboo: Getting a gift of bamboo is good luck. The more stalks a lucky bamboo plant has, the more luck it's supposed to bring. A plant with three stalks is said to bring happiness, wealth and longevity to the owners. But some plants have even more stalks, which are said to impart more kinds of luck.
Buddha: The statue of Buddha is considered lucky, and rubbing the belly is said to give that person good luck.
Caduceus: Said to ward off sickness, quarrels, and bring peace in any situation, the caduceus has been a good luck symbol in Egypt, India and Ancient Greece.
Cat’s Eye: Wards off the evil eye, ghosts, negative planetary influences, spirits, and will clear all obstacles so you may move ahead in life. Many believe it protects against financial losses. In India, it is common wisdom that if one carries a cat's-eye stone, fortune will never diminish.
Chimney Sweep: Said to be the ultimate bringer of Good Luck, Happiness, and Wealth. One legend from old England says that one day King George was riding his horse in a royal procession, when a dog suddenly ran from the crowd, barking and nipping at the King's horse. The horse reared, and to the horror of the crowd, almost threw the King! A lone figure, dressed in rags and filthy, stepped into the road, caught the horse's halter and calmed the animal; a chimney sweep had saved the King!
Circle: A sign of perfection, completeness, and wholeness, the circle is one of the oldest symbols of good fortune.
Coins: ‘Find a Penny pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck.’ Some even take the idea of luck to the other side of the coin, and believe that if the coin is face down that it's best to leave it on the ground. Luckiest of all, are Coins that are bent or have holes in them, especially if they turn up as change after making a purchase. The luck of such Coins is enhanced if they are carried in a left-hand pocket or worn around the neck. Keeping a jar of Pennies in the kitchen is good luck, A coin in a new purse or wallet will bring good luck and attract more, Carrying a coin with your birth date on it is good luck, a coin minted on a Leap Year will bring good fortune (It’s a leap year so start collecting coins! Lol)
Crescent: In ancient Egypt, the crescent moon was the symbol of Isis, the Mother of the Gods. As its symbolism spread throughout the world, it eventually became a symbol of paradise, when represented with a star. It is particularly significant in Islam.
Crickets: In parts of Asia the cricket served as a sort of watchdog. When danger was around the chirping of the crickets would stop and serve as a warning to anyone listening. In the Far East as well as across Europe, it is considered very bad luck to kill a cricket, even by accident.
Cross: Before the Christian era, the cross was a symbol of luck and religion for many centuries. In many Pagan religions the cross is a symbol of the tree of life.
Dice: Mostly considered lucky by gamblers, dice are used in games of chance, often times seen as fuzzy dice hanging on a car’s rear-view mirror.
Dragonflies: These insects symbolize purity, harmony, prosperity, courage, strength, and peace.
Dream Catcher: A Native American symbol of good luck: When hung above the bead it is supposed to trap nightmares from reaching the sleeper.
Dolphins: For Christians and Native Americans, the Dolphin is a symbol of protection, and its image is said to bring good luck. The belief stems from the fact that ancient sailors who spent months or even years out of sight of land, found the sight of Dolphins swimming around their ships to be the first sign that land was near.
Eggs: A symbol of purity, fertility, and rebirth. Whistle eggs and brown eggs are said to bring good luck and happiness. Eggs are used in magical rituals to promote fertility and restore virility; to look into the future, to bring good weather, encourage the growth of crops and protect both cattle and children against misfortune, and ward off the evil eye.
Elephants: These magnificent creature symbolize overcoming death because they have such long lives. They also symbolize power, wisdom, intelligence, loyalty, solitude and strength. Elephant figurines placed on shelves or by doorways are said to ensure longevity and luck.
Eyelash: when you find a stray eyelash, place it on your finger and make a wish before blowing it away.
Falling Star: When spotted, the ‘shooting star’ is said to grant a wish.
Frogs: Symbolizing wealth, prosperity, abundance, friendships, and fertility. Frog are also thought to speed up recovery from infections and disease, as well as find you true friends and lasting love. For the Romans, the Frog was a mascot believed to bring Good Luck to one's home.
Four Leaf Clover: Finding one of these rare clovers is said to bring that person good luck. There is a legend that when Eve left the Garden of Eden, she brought along a 4 leaf clover for good luck. As an ancient Irish symbol of luck the four leaves stand for "faith, hope, love, and luck."
Hand: In the Mediterranean charms in the shape of hands are powerful symbols of good luck. In many countries, but especially in Italy, the evil eye is thwarted with the so-called "devil's horn," the fist clenched with the index and little fingers outstretched.
Heart: Luck in Love. In Christianity, the heart is seen as a representation of love and wisdom. In Egypt, the heart is seen as the center of our psychic energy and were thought to have power over the influences of black magic. Islam sees the heart as the basis of thought.
Horn: The Horn of Plenty symbolizes future wealthy and prosperity, while animal horns are believed to have great power over the evil eye.
Horseshoe: A symbol of good luck, power over evil, fertility, and good fortune. in the upright position it symbolizes the moon, pointing downwards symbolizes the womb. The Horseshoe protects one's house and land, to keep strangers away, when hung up on the wall of a home or above a doorway. The "U" shape will hold good luck inside forever. "'Pointing Up" will gather your Luck, whereas "Pointing Down" it will shower you with Luck. Some people say that horseshoes are lucky because they were traditionally made of iron, which kept away mischievous fairies. Another legend says that Saint Dunstan, a blacksmith, nailed a horseshoe to the devil's foot, and received a guarantee that the devil would stay away from any house with a horseshoe on the door.
Key: A key given as a gift between lovers is considered a symbol of unlocking the door to the heart. It is believed that the giver will be lucky in love. The Greeks and Romans believed it represented the "Key of Life" and had the power to unlock the door through which prayers reached the gods. Among the Japanese, three keys tied together are considered a powerful lucky charm. They enable the wearer to unlock the doors that lead to love, health, and wealth. According to the Gypsies of Eastern Europe, a door key with a metal ring attached will ensure a good night's sleep, if it is hung upside down over the bed. It will also prevent nightmares.
Ladder: Considered lucky symbols for centuries, the Ancient Egyptians placed them in their tombs to aid the souls to climb heavenward.
Ladybugs: The ladybug is the bringer of good luck and fortune, and it will free you from your day to day problems. Having a live Ladybug land on you will brighten your day, and lesson your burdens as well as illnesses. Killing a Ladybug is considered bad luck. If a Ladybug lands on the hand of a recently married woman, the number of dots on its back, is the number of children she will have. The number of spots on a Ladybug can also indicate the number of happy months that are ahead. And, folklore also suggests, if you catch a Ladybug in your home, count the number of spots, that's how many dollars you'll soon find.
Pigs: Symbolizing wealth, prosperity, good fortune, honesty, tolerance, diligence, initiative, and good luck. German’s have a saying “Schwein gehabt (had Pig)” which means “Good luck is at hand.”
Pot of Gold: Found at the end of the rainbow, a pot of gold is a good luck symbol for anyone who finds one. Also a good luck symbol because of the coins.
Rabbit’s Foot: A symbol of fertility as well as good luck. It is the hind leg of the rabbit that is used in the lucky rabbit’s foot charms. In Hoodoo tradition it is said that the left-hind foot of a rabbit that is captured in a cemetery at night, can ward off evil magic.
Rainbows: Rainbows are considered lucky because of the legend that says that if you dig at the end of a rainbow, you'll find a pot of gold. Rainbows are also seen after a storm, showing that the weather is getting better, and there is hope after the storm.
Red Bats: Thought to ward off evil, the Red Bat symbolizes a long life. Five red bats can also represent the "five good fortunes" of health, longevity, love, wealth and virtue.
Red Chinese Lanterns: In Chinese culture, Red lanterns are a symbol of good luck.
Sapphire: A symbol of good luck since ancient times, The Greeks believed wearing sapphire invited favor from the Gods. In India it is said to bring wealth and good health. It is also believed to protect virgins, repel evil, and repel spiders.
Scarabs: These beetles were considered good luck in Ancient Egypt. As a symbol of the rising sun and a protector from evil; the Scarab, is also a symbol of rebirth, regeneration and transformation.
Seven: The number 7 is considered lucky in many different cultures. There is also Christian significance for the number 7. Seven represents self-sacrifice and higher virtue. It appears repeatedly in Scripture in such things as the seven lamps of the temple, seven wise and seven foolish virgins, and Christ's feeding of the multitude with five loaves and two fishes. The early church taught that belief in God brings seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, honor, glory, blessings, strength, and godliness. It is believed that the seventh son of a seventh son has the power of healing and that the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter has the gift of interpreting dreams.
Skull: In some ancient cultures the skull was used to ward off evil influences and illness. It's philosophically viewed as the seat of intelligence, spirit and the spark of human life. Many primitive cultures believed wearing skulls would insure protection and well-being.
Star: The North Star or the Nautical start is a symbol of guidance and good luck, especially for sailors. There is also countless religious beliefs about the star. Legend claims this geometric symbol was designed by Pythagoras to represent perfection. It was also known as the Wizard's Star in the Middle Ages and was worn as an emblem on clothing to represent the mysteries of the Universe. The Lucky Star is such because in ancient times it was believed good fortunes were determined by the Stars.
Tigers: Protector against fires and theft, tigers are believed to be lucky in Chinese Astrology.
Triangle: Considered to be the strongest shape, it is used in constructing large buildings. Practitioners of ancient religions found mystical significance in the shape of a triangle and frequently fashioned charms and amulets in that shape. It was perceived as representing the cycle of life -birth, maturity and death- and as such it stood for the harmony of humans with their gods. The Egyptians use the triangle in the shape of the pyramids (also a good luck symbol) The architects who designed them combined four triangles as a symbol of the coming together of the forces of earth and of heaven.
Turtles: Believed to have power over all kinds of dark/black magic, they are also said to be a link between heaven and earth. Turtles symbolize longevity and the hope for a long life.
Wheel: As a circle representing eternity, the wheel appears frequently as a lucky charm in many cultures. It symbolizes that bad luck passes and good luck rises, just as a wheel is turned.
Wishbone: Not only a symbol of good luck, the wishbone is also said to grant a wish to the person who gets the larger piece after two people pull on either end of the bone.
Wishing Well: Tossing a coin (another symbol of luck) into a wishing well is believed to grant you a wish. A custom observed all over the world, says that if you look for your reflection in the water and then make a wish after throwing a coin into it, the wish will be granted. The Wishing Well tradition is seen in the Disney movie ‘Snow White’.