is the symbol of the great goddess, or triple goddess, who is
worshiped by a large number of ancient civilizations. The crescent
is therefore often considered to be a protective shape. This,
combined with iron, makes the horseshoe a powerful symbol. Iron,
because of its strength, was thought to be a very special and
even somewhat magical material. Those who were able to work it,
such as black smiths, were believed to be magicians with supernatural
abilities. It was believed that iron could ward off demons and
witches and horseshoes were often hung on people's front doors
for this reason.
shoe also has seven nail holes, and seven is amongst certain cultures,
considered to be a lucky number. This could have something to
do with the horseshoe being lucky, or could just be a mere coincidence.
It was also once believed that if a horse were shod with shoes
made from the iron of a sword by which a man has been killed,
the horse would be exceptionally fast and would never tire.
It is also
possible that the horseshoe was once used as a symbol in the ancient
practice of serpent worship. Engravings of both snakes and horse
shoes can be found on ancient stones and medals. Also, in front
of a church in Credi, (a town in southern Malta) there is a statue
at whose feet lay the protective symbol of a half moon encircled
by a snake.
Asiatic and Egyptian cultures the serpent is considered to be
divine because of its elegant motion, its ability to shed its
skin, its eyes, and they way it springs upon its prey. The worship
of these creatures is a very ancient practice, which was once
nearly worldwide. ( www.sacred-texts.com)
interesting possibility for the lucky horseshoe superstition is
perhaps its association with the horse itself. The horse has been
a beloved and sometimes even worshiped animal amongst cultures
all over the world, so it would make sense that the shoe of such
a magnificent animal would be valued. There is a myth amongst
the English in which the horse is considered a luck-bringer, and
horse-worship was common practice amongst the early Celts, Teutons,
was even considered to be divine by some Christians. The Irish
believe that the horseshoe is magical because the horse and the
ass were in the stable where Christ was born, and are therefore
blessed creatures. Another example is the people of Delve, a small
village in Holstein. These people allowed a horse to decide where
they would build their church. They tied a portrait of the Virgin
on the back of a paint mare. The mare was then allowed to wander
freely, and the church was to be built on the spot where the mare
was found the next morning. ( www.sacred-texts.com)
myth, the horse is often considered to be a symbol of good luck.
the horse is one of the 12 animals in the Asian 60 year cycle.
The last year of the horse was 2002 and was considered a very
fortunate year. (KhandroNet)
ancient Indians horses were primarily sacrificial animals. The
birth of Rama is said to have come about because a horse was sacrificed
to the gods. Rama's mother, Kansalya, could not give birth, until
a horse was offered up to the gods. She was then made fertile
and gave birth to Rama.
represented the sun because the horse was the avatar of the sun
god Surya. Surya is said to have been drawn in a chariot pulled
by seven red mares called Harrits. Surya, in the form of a horse
also represents the moon, which is called Soma. Surya is also
identified with Agni, the lightening, which is also represented
by a horse. Interestingly, soma is also the name for the substance
that the gods needed to drink in order to remain immortal. The
Hindus believed that the moon was the source of this magical drink.
(Howey 117). Based on this information it seems possible that
the horse might be some how related to the idea of immortality.
Hindus the horse is a very spiritual animal that is very close
to the gods. In fact, it is even possible that the horse was considered
a relative of the gods. They believe that horses' parents were
heaven and earth and that horses belonged to the same race "devajata"
as the Gods. (Howey 185)
The horseshoe superstition is most likely the result of a combination
of these bits of folklore and myths, and not just a single one.
But even more so, it is a result of the basic human need to believe
in something greater and more powerful than ourselves. Regardless
of how or where it started, it is a superstition that has been
with us since ancient times, and is likely to stay with us as
long as we feel the need to receive protection and good fortune
from an outside force.
Howey M. Oldfield.
The Horse in Magic and Myth. Mineola New York: Dover Publications
KhandroNet Web Page.
KhandoNet. 20 Feb 2007. <http://www.khandro.net/animal_horse.htm>
Sacred-Text.com. The Magic of the Horse shoe . 2 Aug. 2007. <www.sacred-