The horseshoe is considered a symbol of good luck and protection all over the world. When I was 5, I remember my parents took me to a farrier and we got a horseshoe from there and now almost 20 years later we still have it outside our front gate. It still feels that this symbol is protecting our family from negative energies.
This is the image of that 20 years old horseshoe!
Many believe the origin of the lucky horseshoe can be traced back to an old legend about Saint Dunstan. Saint Dunstan (924-988) is the patron saint of blacksmiths, goldsmiths, jewellers, locksmiths, musicians and the blind. He was a reformer, statesman, abbot and archbishop of the tenth century in England.
Saint Dunstan was a brilliant blacksmith. One story refers to his exceptional talent as a blacksmith. The Devil was hard at work trying to win Saint Dunstan over. On one occasion the Devil asked Saint Dunstan to nail horseshoes on the Devil’s horse.
Saint Dunstan pretended to agree to taking on this task. The devil stood close by to make sure Saint Dunstan was true to his word. Saint Dunstan then suddenly grabbed hold of the Devil’s foot/hoof and with strong determination nailed the horseshoe on the foot of the Devil instead of the horse.
The devil screamed as the pain was horrific. The Devil begged Saint Dunstan to remove the horseshoe. Saint Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe from the Devil’s foot under one condition: the devil was to swear never to enter any house that had a horseshoe hanging by the door. The Devil obliged instantly. That is why the horseshoe forever more will keep evil out of the home.
How Should Horseshow be Hung or Worn?
There has been a never-ending debate on the proper way to hang a horseshoe. Many believe that it should be hung in a “U” shape. The horseshoe would then catch and collect good luck for the home. Some believe that if it is hung upside down, all the good fortune and protective powers would run out. There are however those who choose to hang it the other way, believing that when you walk under it, all the positive vibes will “rain over” them. During the first world war, horseshoes were hung upside down outside of barracks, to rain down good fortune on the soldiers.
Since earliest times, man has believed that the U-shape or crescent was a powerful protective symbol: For the ancient Greeks, the horseshoe shape symbolised the crescent moon with links to the Moon goddesses Artemis and Diana. In ancient Celtic tradition (a culture not averse to great symbolism), horseshoe jewellery was used to ward off so-called mischievous fairies.
Witches and evil spirits
Throughout the Middle Ages there was a belief that witches and evil spirits had a fear of horses, primarily the horseshoes as they were made of iron and iron withstands fire. The coffins of buried witches had a horseshoe nailed to it to prevent them from resurrecting.
At sea, sailors used to see to it that a horseshoe was nailed to the foremast of their vessels to keep witches and wizards from cursing the voyage or damaging the ship. By hanging the horseshoe, bad luck and evil are prevented from entering and also ensured a safe arrival to their destination.
There are many more stories about the meaning of the horseshoe. But one thing is for sure, anyone receiving a horseshoe will forever remember the person that wished them good fortune.