What does that title mean anyway? Shakespeare coined it. Personally, I’ve always associated that bit from Hamlet with luck. Good luck, bad luck, you can’t prevent luck from happening so go with the flow.
Luck. From lucky rabbit’s foot to a horseshoe nailed over the door, symbols of good fortune come in all shapes and sizes and can be anything really. Some are deeply rooted in culture and represent generic or personal beliefs. Some are just for fun. For the next few days, I’ll be delving into these interesting and curious symbols of good luck.
To begin, the origin of the word Luck pops up in old Dutch sometime in the middle of the 1400’s. Back then it was known as luc, gelück, or gelücke. Etymologists lean toward luck being a gambling term. The interesting thing about luck, to me anyway, is it’s considered a force. Think about that. Forces are the forte of Sir Isaac Newton. They’re gravity and magnetism. Forces are things out of our control. They are the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. They influence good and bad and there’s nothing we can do about it. Except carry a talisman in our pocket and hope for the best!
So how did luck symbols even come into being? I suppose it’s the same way we figured out which mushrooms were poisonous and which were edible. Experience. Sort of trial and error. Here’s a little story to imagine….say it’s 10,000 years ago and you’re out and find yourself in a downpour. On your way to take cover under a tree, a glittering stone on the ground draws your attention. You stop only long enough to pick it up, when suddenly a lightning bolt strikes and explodes the tree right before your eyes. That’s one lucky stone in your hand! From here on out, those glittering stones protect against lighting. And everyone wants one.
A while back, I read a story online about a man in Africa whose son was dying. Hopeless, he went out one day and came across a stream filled with water-smoothed pebbles. He stood at the water’s edge and prayed for anything that would help his son. One nondescript pebble caught his eye and he picked it up and brought it home. I don’t know what the son’s illness was, but after receiving the stone, he got better. The man’s neighbors couldn’t believe it and they asked about this miraculous recovery. The man attributed his son’s return to health to the stone he had found. Some people asked him to find them stones for loved ones who were ill. He did, and those people got better. It made the local news. It made the regional news. And it made international news and that’s how I found the story. But get this, people from all over the world send money to this man to go find a pebble just for them! He has a regular cottage industry now — Pebble luck charms.
Today’s symbol ~ Guiding Stones
The idea that forces are attributed to stones goes way back in history, so I’m going to touch upon that briefly. I can’t recall the name of the odd glass-like yellow stone in some pharaoh or another’s headpiece, but it was considered extraordinarily rare and powerful. The Stone of Scone a.k.a. the Stone of Destiny is the rock upon which the kings of Scotland were crowned. The Black Stone of the Kaaba is a stone set into a tower and devout Muslims circle it in the Hajj pilgrimage. It’s was revered long before Mohamed became a prophet and is considered by some to be a meteorite .
Everyone knows about the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland. It’s set in the battlement of Blarney Castle and kissing it gives you the gift of persuasive speech. In Jerusalem, the Foundation Stone and the site it sits upon under the Dome of the Rock influence three major world religions. Doing research for my magnum opus (scroll to previous posts to learn about my work in progress), I discovered legends that say that huge stone hovers over the Well of Souls and doesn’t touch the ground. Ah my mind just marvels at that and my story potential soars. 😀
However it was these stones became symbols of force, they guided and still guide a lot of people.
On a smaller scale, precious or semi-precious stones have long been considered symbols of wealth and power. The more rare, the more coveted. Crowns and sword hilts were studded with them, eggs and other trinkets encrusted with them, people conquered for them. Because of scarcity, giving such rare stones was considered a token of high esteem — a rare gem for a unique person or as a symbol of unique sentiment that person arouses in you. Example: It’s thought that when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a love token of a diamond-studded ring to Mary of Burgundy, he started the “diamonds are forever” symbology that connect diamonds to one’s fiancé today.
How many of you know what your birthstone is? Some of the following are more rare than others. The list has me wondering if it goes back to the days of alchemy. I’m curious now and I’ll have to go find out!
June: Pearl (does not apply)
Mine is the diamond. It’s supposed to be a stone that brings me luck and good fortune. The person of conscience I am can’t help but wonder about those child slaves toiling in the world’s diamond mines so some fiancé can have a rock on her finger, or so I can have a lucky stone. I suppose like the rabbit foot being lucky to the person who owns one, the rabbit must have had other ideas.
I have to take my old puppy to the vet, so I’m leaving off here. This link leads to a very interesting site if you’d like to know more about some of the world’s most famous stones. Some are very unlucky. But that’s a post for another day. 🙂
Tomorrow ~ More!
Here’s one for today:
Alabandical (adjective 1656 -1775)
barbarous; stupefied from drink
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