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Animal Superstitions G-M
HensA hen which crows is considered to be unlucky, as is a hen with tail-feathers like those of a rooster; previously these birds would be killed on most farms. Hens which roost in the morning are said to be foretelling a death, usually that of the farmer or someone in his household. A hen which enters the house is an omen that a visitor will arrive, and this is also the case if a rooster crows near the door or comes inside.
Source: Vanessa's Pagan Place Folklore Page
HornetsIf the hornets build their nests high in trees during the summer, it will be a bad winter. If they build their nests low in bushes, it will be an easy winter.
Source: Dog Hause Visitor Martha Conolley (heard in West Virginia)
HorsesA white horse could warn of danger, and lived longer than a dark horse, so was considered a living amulet against early death.
Spotted horses are magical.
Grey horses and horses with four white socks are unlucky.
Horses have been sacred animals in Indo_European cultures from very early times, and it is easy to see why; their great importance in farming, travel and warfare would make them
extraordinarily important. The Celtic goddess Epona presided over horses, and the Norse Odin was said to ride through the heavens on an eight-footed white horse. Horses were used
as valuable sacrifices by many ancient peoples, including the Romans, and their bones were concealed in the walls of houses, or horse skulls placed on the gables of houses, as a
Inhaling a horses breath - cure for whooping cough
In some places it is lucky to meet a white horse; in others, unlucky; either way, tradition states that upon meeting a white horse one should spit and make a wish, or cross one's fingers
until a dog is seen. In many places it is lucky to lead a horse through the house; this belief may stem from the association of horses with fertility and crops, which has lasted in form of
hobby-horses which were originally part of Beltane (May Day) revels.
It was once thought that whooping-cough could be cured by going to the stables and inhaling the breath of a horse; being breathed upon by a piebald horse, or riding upon its back, was
another supposed cure. Horse-hairs, chopped very finely and fed to a child in bread and butter, were thought to be a certain cure for worms, and the horse-spurs (callouses which
appear on the sides of a horse's leg) were believed in the eighteenth century to be a cure for cancer if dried, ground and drunk frequently with new milk.
HorseshoesA circular ring made from an iron horseshoe nail gives the same protection against evil as the horseshoe itself. The horseshoe or crescent moon shape was seen as a sign of good fortune and fertility. One legend says that the Devil called on St. Dunstan, who was skilled in shoeing horses. St. Dunstan recognized him and fastened him to a wall. He then set to work with such roughness that the Devil roared for mercy. St Dunstan turned the Devil loose after making him promise never to enter a home on which a horseshoe was fixed. Witches fear horses, so they are also turned away by a door with a horseshoe mounted on it, The horseshoe must be hung with the points up to keep the luck from spilling out.
Horseshoes are considered lucky for their healing powers (cures hiccups) and for their protective influence (specifically against witches). It resembles the crescent moon and is thought to protect against the evil eye. Similar-shaped charms were used among the Chaldeans and the Egyptians. Related to animal worship, it approaches the form of a serpent biting its own tail-a universal symbol of eternity. There is a time-honored belief in the magical power of iron. Blacksmiths were often identified as sorcerers and the efficacy of fire as a bane to demons supported this idea.
A horseshoe, hung above the doorway, will bring good luck to a home. In most of Europe protective horseshoes are placed in a downward facing position, but in some parts of Ireland and Britain people believe that the shoes must be turned upward or "the luck will run out."
A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.
JaybirdsJaybirds go down to the devil's house on Fridays to tell all the bad things that have happened during the week. Jaybirds who remain on Friday are checking up on what people are doing.
LadybugThe bright scarlet ladybug is a luck-bringer, probably because it is traditionally associated by its color with fire. It is a sign of good fortune if one lands on a person's hand or dress. It must, however, be allowed to fly away of its own accord, and must not be brushed off. It is permissible to speed it onwards by a gentle puff, and by the recitation of the rhyme which runs,
Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home.
Your house is on fire and your children are gone.
The deeper the ladybird's color, the better luck it brings. The number of spots on its back are also important. The more spots...the better the luck!
If a young girl catches a ladybug and then releases it, the direction in which it flies away will be the direction from which her future husband will come.
Moth.A big black moth in the house means a deceased one is just visiting reincarnated through that moth.
MouseIf somebody throws away a dead mouse, the wind will soon start to blow from that direction.
Source: Icelandic Folktales
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