The belief that horseshoes are connected with luck has been around for many years, and the symbol of the horseshoe is still seen today, hung around the neck or on a charm of a bracelet to bring good luck. So where does the thought of lucky or unlucky horseshoes come from?
Well, one of the theories surrounding the horseshoe follows a story of a blacksmith called Dunstan, who would later become the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dunstan, it was said, was visited by a man who he thought was the devil. The man had hooved feet and asked Dunstan to shoe him. He nailed a horseshoe to the man’s foot and caused the devil considerable pain. The devil was then chained up, and only released when he promised he would never enter a building with a horseshoe hung over the door.
Another theory goes that witches travel by broom because they are afraid of horses, so hanging a horseshoe over the door would ward off witches. The horseshoes were made of iron, and because of its ability to withstand fire, was thought to be robust enough to ward off evil. If a woman who was believed to be a witch died, she would be buried with a horseshoe nailed to her coffin to prevent her from resurrecting. It was also used in ancient Europe to ward off the evil eye.
Some people believe that the way you display a horseshoe matters in what kind of luck you get. Many hang their horseshoe in the upright position so it resembles the letter U. This is so that it retains all the power it contains. Others, however, believe that hanging it downwards allows the good fortune to shower down upon the home. Maybe hanging one both ways is the best?