A talisman or amulet is a natural or man-made object believed to possess supernatural abilities to protect or bring good fortune. Amulets are worn or preserved in locations that correspond to the desired sphere of influence—for example, on a roof or in a field. They are considered signs of good luck. Although amulet and talisman are sometimes used synonymously, a talisman is occasionally defined as an inscribed amulet.
Genuine amulets as signs of good luck come in various forms: valuable stones, metals, animal teeth and claws, bones, and plants, to name a few.
Equally diverse are man-made amulets, which include religious medallions and miniature sculptures. Charms have power among believers because they are connected to natural forces, have religious associations, or are manufactured ritually at a fortunate period.
Genuine amulets were buried with Neanderthals and other prehistoric peoples, and so-called Venus figurines from around 25,000 BC may be among the oldest examples of man-made charms. The ancient Egyptian MacGregor papyrus contains a list of 75 amulets.
One of the most common was the scarab beetle, worn by both live and dead. The scarab was thought to symbolize life—perhaps because it pushed a ball of dung associated with the sun. Dung beetles are diggers/tunnelers, and indeed, they create dung rolls for laying eggs and eating. It’s also possible that the hieroglyph of the ancient scarab beetle was identical to the verb “to become.”
People also believed that a person’s heart would be restored in the next world.
In Egypt, the magical phrases originally read over amulets to provide them with power were later engraved and worn on the amulets themselves.
Christian amulets throughout the Middle Ages included typical saint relics and letters thought to have been sent from heaven.
Rabbis wear amulets in the Jewish faith.
Muslims today frequently carry Quran verses, God’s names, or connected sacred numbers in little pouches. Christians may wear crosses or crucifixes, and some Roman Catholic families contain Madonna statuettes. The good luck charm like the cute rabbit’s foot, is a common sort of amulet or good luck charm with similar items found worldwide. Good luck symbols, including bird symbols, are among the oldest relics of human civilization, and they’re not going away soon.
What Are Some Luck Symbols?
Signs of good luck are found the world over, and you might be surprised as to how many of these symbols are available as sterling silver charms that you can place anywhere you want from charm bracelets, earrings, necklaces, alongside other jewelry accessories.
While we are all aware that carrying a four-leaf clover is one of the signs of good luck, the history of this fortunate symbol may surprise you.
Whether you’re a Boston Celtics fan or simply keeping track of the days until St. Patrick’s Day, you’re probably familiar with the shamrock (a.k.a. the three-leafed clover) and everything it represents: Ireland, Celtic heritage, and, of course, a fun St. Patrick’s Day tradition and symbol. However, the meaning becomes more complicated when the shamrock’s famously fortunate relative, the four-leaf clover, is involved.
According to one legend, the luck factor originates with Eve. As Adam and Eve exited the Garden of Eden, Eve is said to have plucked a single four-leafed clover as a souvenir of paradise, and this religious connection has resulted in them being regarded as fortunate ever since. The Celts believed four-leaf clovers possessed magical protective properties, warding bad luck. Carrying a clover was also supposed to enable the bearer to see fairies. Celtic fairies were dangerous little creatures that could perform cruel tricks or steal your children, so carrying a clover helped you to flee if you encountered one.
A key is one of the most powerful signs of good luck and good fortune and is also one of the most ancient charms. A key exchanged between lovers is regarded as a symbol of unlocking the heart’s door. The key’s giver will be “fortuitous in love.” The Ancient Greeks and Romans believed keys symbolized the “Key of Life,” which could unlock doors and transmit prayers to the gods.
We, humans, appear to be perpetually on the lookout for keys throughout our lives – the key to a paramour’s heart; the key to our first home, car, or business; the key to happiness, wisdom, and success and, ultimately, the key to a fulfilling life.
Think of what keys can do physically: they unlock locks, doors, passageways, chambers, and even restricted sections of libraries. However, due to the variety of things they can open (and close), these small, handy gadgets are believed to possess great power beyond their literal purpose. Keys are always symbolic of new milestones, monumental accomplishments, and more.
Because keys are used to unlock things, they represent the reopening of previously closed or unreachable locations and achievements. Numerous deities and mythical creatures are also depicted with keys, including the two-faced Roman god Janus, who is named the first month of the year. Thus, Janus symbolizes the passage into a new year, which represents new beginnings. Important events like the New Year are always given extra effort in cultures worldwide.
Horseshoe Luck Symbols
One of the better-known signs of good luck has been warding off evil spirits and bringing good luck to people for hundreds of years. Although the origins of the horseshoe are unknown, it is believed that the eighth-century Chaldeans believed its crescent shape symbolized lunar goddesses.
Others believe that horseshoes became associated with good fortune in 969 AD, when St. Dunstan, known patron saint of blacksmiths, deceived the devil.
Although there are several versions of the narrative, all agree that St. Dunstan shoed the Devil’s cloven hoof in a manner that produced intense pain and force.
Following the agonizing ordeal, the devil agreed to never enter a room with a horseshoe nailed above it out of fear of the tiny crescent-shaped object. A lucky charm was created to ward off evil.
The horseshoe’s basic metal composition made it an easy favorite for use as a lucky charm. Most early horseshoes were made of iron, durable metal with mystical properties; it is magnetic, abundant in human bodies, and can keep fairy-folk at bay. Witches were so afraid of the iron-made horseshoes that they chose to fly on broomsticks rather than galloping away on horses.
Even the number of nail holes contributed to this protective footwear’s good fortune! Seven holes were drilled into the shoe to secure it to the hoof. As it happens, seven is one of the luckiest numbers on the planet due to its frequent appearance in nature.
While many people agree that the horseshoe is indeed fortunate, they cannot agree on how to retain that fortune. As a result, certain superstitious people hang their horseshoe prong-side up to keep the luck in the cup and to protect the home or barn where it is turned.
Others choose to hang it heel-side up, allowing all good fortune to flow out to those who pass beneath it. Take a walk around the backside of Churchill Downs, and you’ll notice that many of the seasoned horse trainers disagree on the proper way to hang the shoe. Our advice is to turn it both ways to ensure the best possible luck for your home or any other property.
Certain beliefs regarding shooting stars state that these heavenly occurrences can affect your life without your intervention. Still, the type of luck you receive may depend on something as random as the star’s position in the sky. If you see a fallen star on your right, this portends good fortune, while one on your left portends misfortune.
When individuals shop for dreamcatchers as lucky charms, they frequently prioritize color, design, and size. However, dreamcatchers are much more than a lovely decoration for your home. They are extremely important to Native Americans and are viewed as protective amulets by some.
The dreamcatcher’s design, with its numerous points formed by tied-together strings or sinews, represents various histories and strokes of luck. But, first, consider what a dreamcatcher accomplishes and what it symbolizes. Dreamcatchers are revered as good luck charms throughout the world and are believed to catch nightmares, allowing only positive dreams to enter a sleeping person’s subconscious mind.
Native Americans started the tradition of hanging webbed dreamcatchers. Based on the Ojibway, a spider woman named Asibikaashi desired to continue caring for the tribe’s children despite America’s gentrification. She explained to the tribe’s older women that she could not possibly watch over every bed each night.
To aid Asibikaashi, the tribe’s women woven magical webs to represent the spider woman and her protection. Similar to how she trapped insects and bad omens in her sticky web, dreamcatcher webs trap negative dreams and thoughts overnight, which are said to perish when the sun finally shines on the dreamcatcher each morning.
The Lakota are of the belief that one of their ancestors had a dream in which the great teacher Iktomi manifested as a spider. Iktomi took some willo. Iktomi then began spinning a web in this strange vision.
According to the dream sequence, he demonstrated to the spiritual leader that the web was a perfect circle that came with a hole in the center. According to Iktomi, good ideas will get caught in the web, while bad ones will slip right through the hole in the middle.