The Symbolic Meaning of Hanging a Horseshoe in Your Doorway

Photo: Getty Images/Prunelka
If you spot a particular piece of metal over a doorway the next time you go to a friend's place for a dinner party, know that the significance of hanging a horseshoe is a deeply spiritual. And the practice has been around for thousands of years.

In the simplest terms, horseshoes are symbol of good luck. Someone may hang them in their home to welcome good fortune, and their connection may feel even stronger if they grew up somewhere where horseback riding was of cultural importance, or if they grew up horseback riding themselves.

That said, the horseshoe has more significance than meets the eye. Below, you'll learn the potential cultural roots of the horseshoe, a few reasons why it may be good luck, and how to choose a spot to hang yours. After all, we could all use a little extra luck.

The Cultural Significance of Horseshoes

To be clear: There's no way of knowing exactly how the horseshoe hanging tradition originated. Some posit that it dates back to the middle ages, when people would hang it above their doors to ward off witches; in Ireland, the legend goes that blacksmith named Saint Dunstan nailed a hot horseshoe to one of the devil’s hooves, causing the devil so much pain that hanging a horseshoe over the door was forevermore a way to keep him away.

The material of the horseshoe may also lend to its good will. Horseshoes were originally made of iron, an extremely strong material that can withstand fire, and has a long history of being charmed to keep away from dangerous spirits.

The horseshoe also requires seven nails, and seven is a sacred number in many ways. There are seven colors in the rainbow, seven deadly sins, seven days of the week—you get the picture.

Like many symbols, the horseshoe is a bit mysterious—but considering the earliest model dates back to 400 B.C., there has been plenty of time for folklore to emerge.

How To Hang a Horseshoe in Your Home

While some say that the horseshoe must be hung upside down to work its proper magic, others contend that it doesn't matter. Ideally, you'll want to hang your horseshoe as close to the front of your home as possible. It's also important to make sure it's clearly visible to all those who enter—so that everyone sees that bad energy isn't welcome here.

When you're ready to hang your horseshoe, grab seven screws, a drill, and make sure you feel stable on the latter. You'll need to drill the seven holes into the wall using the proper-sized drill bit before you get to hanging. Or, for an easier option, simply hang the horseshoe from a nail on the wall. (You won't harness the power of the seven symbolism this way, but you might have enough good luck without it.)

Loading More Posts...