It is believed that the good luck powers of the horseshoe originate with the story of a blacksmith named Dunstan. The Devil came to Dunstan and requested that he fit him with new horseshoes. Dunstan recognized the devil and nailed a horseshoe onto his hoof. This caused the Devil great pain. While he was in agony, Dunstan chained him and only released him after the devil promised never to enter a place that had a horseshoe hung over the door. Dunstan became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 959 AD and is known as St. Dunstan.
Some believe that if guests come to a house where a horseshoe is above the door, they must leave by the same door through which they entered or they will take the luck from the horseshoe with them from the house.
To assure good luck for the New Year, one should sleep with a horseshoe under his pillow on New Year’s Eve.
The crescent shape of the horseshoe can ward off the evil eye.
Suspected witches who were tried and buried upon their deaths had horseshoes nailed to their coffins to prevent them from returning to life or resurrecting again as witches.
Finding a horseshoe is very lucky if the open space is facing toward you.
If you dream of finding a horseshoe, good luck will come to you.
Toss the horseshoe over the left shoulder and spit after it to increase the good luck that will soon arrive.
Sailors used to nail a horseshoe to the foremast of their vessels to keep witches and wizards from cursing the voyage or damaging the ship.
Should the Horseshoe Opening Face Up or Down?
Almost everyone who attributes power to a horseshoe will say that nailing a horseshoe to the threshold of one’s home helps to bring good fortune to the family. The best position and direction varies from one telling to another. Some say the horseshoe, tacked in place with three nails and the open end down, wards off evil.
Some believe that hanging the horseshoe with the opening pointing upward like a “U” holds in all the good luck and the powers it brings. Hanging it upside down would allow the powers to spill out. Others think that hanging it with the opening pointing down allows all of the good luck, protective powers and good fortune to shower upon you and surround the home.
A common belief says a horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away. If the horseshoe is hung with the opening pointing up, the sleeper’s masculine powers will be increased. If the sleeper is female, her latent powers will be awakened if the opening points down.
Nails in the Horseshoe
If you find a horseshoe, look to see how many nails still remain in the holes. The number of remaining empty holes determines how many weeks, months, or years (this varies) it will be before they will become rich or will be married.
Another variation states that the number of nails remaining determine the length of time before good luck arrives.
Another says the number of nails left in the horseshoe equals the number of years of good luck you will receive.
Some say not to bother with a found horseshoe unless it still has some nails left in it.
Horseshoes were originally made from iron, which may also account for the superstitions that are associated with this object. Iron was considered magical because it was able to withstand fire and was much stronger than other metals. The superstitions for iron are thought to originate in prehistoric times. It was used as a charm to ward off evil spirits.
Another aspect of the horseshoe that added to it’s good luck was the fact that it was commonly held in place by seven iron nails. Since ancient times, the number seven was considered very important.