Horseshoe Amulets and Lucky Charms
Horseshoes, shamrocks, pigs, and pansies have been considered as symbols of luck and good fortune by many for centuries. Though pigs, pansies and (Irish) shamrocks are more localized symbols, confined to Europe, the British Isles, and North America, the symbol of the horseshoe is found all over the world, especially where horses are bred - and raced in competitive events.
The significance of the Horseshoe has somewhat different meanings in certain parts of the world. In some places, it is thought to bring good luck, while in others, it 'stores' good luck for its owner. For this reason, a Horseshoe with its ends pointing upwards is supposed to mean that if not pointed upwards "the luck pours out". In many countries, especially in Asia and the Middle East, the horseshoe is pointing downwards, with the idea that luck "will flow into you". Also found in these regions is an inverted Horseshoe with a 'Hamsa', including the "all-seeing eye" to ward off evil.
The obvious connection of Horseshoes with horse racing has resulted in race track gamblers throughout the ages carrying small amulets or charms with them when they go to place bets at their favorite hippodrome. This custom appears to go back to Roman times, if not earlier, when both horse and chariot racing were favorite pastimes. Horseshoe amulets are often made of gold, or gold plated, as this precious metal has long been popular as a symbol of wealth. Other symbols of good fortune, like the shamrock, are often included to give a 'boost' to the owner's chances at good luck.
In addition to bringing good luck, the Horseshoe symbol is also considered as a proactive charm against sickness and misfortune. They are often nailed above the entrance to houses, barns and even public places (bars and pubs, etc.) to ward off evil. In some countries, an inverted horseshoe is even considered as a symbol of fertility, due to it's resemblance to the female vagina.
Many women in North America and European countries like to wear charm bracelets on which are included small golden Horseshoes as well as pigs (symbols of prosperity), shamrocks, and pansies (worn to protect against sickness and even drunkenness). In Muslim countries, the pig amulet is replaced by the palm or Hamsa amulet charm.
It's not uncommon for people wear two or even three such amulets on chains about the neck, and as charm bracelets, often given to teen aged girls, with new charms added each year; especially ones dealing with love and finding a potential marriage partner.
Horseshoe charms and amulets are found in jewelry stores and also through internet sites dealing in jewelry, amulets and charms. AmuletGifts.com offers a selection of Horseshoe Amulets:
Blue Protection Charms Key Chain with Horseshoe
Evil Eye Protection Horseshoe Amulet
Baby Charm Necklace with Horseshoe Charm
Turquoise Horseshoe, Heart and Hamsa Charms Key Chain
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