Superstitions

Superstitions of Wood, Mirrors and Iron

Superstitions horseshoe
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  rbabiera

Superstitions are one of my favorite things in the realm of the odd. I wanted to discuss a few superstitions of wood, mirrors and iron.

There are many different materials in the world that are said to have the power to grant good fortune, to protect you or even to bring you harm. Wood, mirrors and iron are probably the most common materials associated with superstitions. Numbers have also been associated with superstitions and you can read more about that by checking out my post The Superstitions of the Number 13. There are also many other posts associated with superstitions.

You’ve probably all heard the saying at one time or another of, “Knock on Wood” or maybe “Touching Wood”. Where as a broken mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck. Then we have honorable iron horseshoe. Which of course are said to bring you good luck.

The Superstitions of Wood

Some people choose to use the “Touch Wood” statement in conjunction with something else, for instance “I haven’t been sick in years – Touch Wood” or they may even say “Knock on Wood” instead. Normally after saying this someone will either touch something that is made of wood or possibly knock on a wooden table.

Many of these old superstitions are hard to determine origin for, but there are a few possibilities that come to mind.

The main notion for “Knock on Wood” is that it symbolizes they wooden cross that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on. So in a way, saying this is a plead for religious protection.

On the other hand, some believe that this saying was formed out of fear that an evil spirit may overhear someone talking about good fortune and may attempt to punish him or her.

There are many ancient civilizations that believe there are sacred trees that are consumed by deities that have powers over human fate. This leads me to believe that at some point in history there were sacred trees that folks found important to touch. Or maybe knocking on a tree that was nearby would prevent the inhabiting spirit from hearing your words.

Superstitions of Metal

It’s believed that the first forms of metal discovered by mankind may of been that in meteorites. Of course these were believed to of been dropped from the heavens above. This is most likely the reason that iron was once believed to have supernatural qualities. This would also explain why iron was thought to have special powers against fighting evil, such as vampires and werewolves.

This raises the question that horseshoes may not be lucky simply because they are made of iron, but because the horse itself was once a sacred beast amongst several cultural elements.

The superstition goes that a horse shoe is only lucky if it is found. If the horseshoe is bought or received as a gift, then it can not be truly lucky. And as we all know, horseshoes should be placed with the open end facing up so that the luck does not spill out.

Mirrors of the Soul

Mirrors have always been associated with supernatural powers. Even in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the evil queens mirror would talk to her and render information on “Who was the Fairest Maiden in the Land”.

Mirrors are thought to be portals that allow access into other worlds. Also, they can project an image of the person’s soul that is gazing into the mirror. I discuss this in more detail in my post Mirror Superstitions, Myths and Legends.

The first form of mirrors were actually still pools of water, and ripples would splinter the reflection. After which followed polished metal mirrors. These mirrors were extremely hard to break and the reflection would never become distorted.

Then again in 7 B.C. when the first glass mirrors were developed, ones reflection was once again in danger of being shattered. As discussed earlier, a broken mirror has the ability to bring seven years of bad luck to the person responsible for the breakage. Some also believe that when a mirror breaks, the person’s soul that was looking into the mirror also breaks. This is what the seven years is for, it’s a healing time.

The superstition of the broken mirror could possibly go back a long ways because in earlier times, glass was very expensive and broken glass can be very dangerous.

These popular superstitions have been widely accepted and used for hundreds of years and are still quite popular today. Do you have any other superstitions you find are consuming your ease of mind? Or maybe other variations of these superstions?

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28 thoughts on “Superstitions of Wood, Mirrors and Iron
  1. Wow what an informative article. It’s the little things you don’t know that make you feel like you know so much more when you learn about them! I find it most interesting that all cultures have their superstitions and finding the similarities in them is even more interesting!

    1. That’s exactly right Ted. This is how I feel on a daily basis, I learn so much through research and writing. It’s amazing how knowledgeable you feel after absorbing some strange and unusual information that isn’t well known. 🙂

  2. It is not good hard work is only luck any one have. If you really work hard and in right direction you find yourself luckiest person in world always remember maximum person who believe in luck they live there life in grief and maximum person in world are happy who believe in hard work.

    1. Indeed happiness can come in many forms, but I also believe that luck and hope tend to work together. Living the dream is what it’s all about my friend. 😀

  3. I have also gone through many many instances of hearing “touch wood” from the different persons. However, while questioned, they do not answer any of the realistic or practical reasons for stating that. It is just ridiculous to say that it is something to make sure that an ill spirit does not hear what we are saying!

    1. LOL, yah, that’s very true! It’s so much easier to just say “knock on wood” and everyone around knows what you mean. It would sound kind of weird to answer with “Oh, it’s to make sure no evil spirit hears what I’m saying and tries to steal my good fortune” haha.

      But it is interesting to know how these superstitions were formed. 🙂

  4. yes, superstitions are indeed weird while you got to know about them at the very first time. But, what is important is to know about their origin and the reason for their origin.

  5. I foun a large broken mirror by my farm gate this morning,do I have something to warry about,?

    1. To the best of my knowledge Saska finding a broken mirror and actually breaking one are two totally different things.

      As far as I know it isn’t bad luck, but if you want to be certain, make sure you don’t look into any of the broken pieces and if you are especially cautious, then you may want to bury the broken pieces.

      Hope this helps.

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