The symbol I have chosen to research is the horseshoe. The horseshoe has been a symbol of good luck for centuries. For ages, the horseshoe seems to be the most commonly encountered lucky charm or lucky symbol in modern North America. The horseshoe can be seen in models of paintings, wall hangings and jewellery.
The horseshoe amulets when being used as magical protectors can be seen hung above or next to doorways. This use of the horseshoe originated in Europe, it can still be found in use nailed onto barns, houses and places of business from Italy to Germany and up into Britain. In Middle Eastern countries horseshoes used as wall hangings are common as well. Small metal or blue glass horseshoes as seen in Turkey are made with the protective all-seeing eye on them which is believed to ward off evil spirits or the evil eye.
It has been said that the crescent shape of the horseshoe is linked to the Pagan Moon goddesses of ancient Europe. Goddesses such as Diana and Artemis and the protection evoked from the horseshoe is that of the Goddess herself or more so of her sacred vulva. The horseshoe is also linked to other magically protective doorway goddesses such as the lunar protector, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In countless parts of the Middle East, Latin America and Europe the protective horseshoes are hung or placed in a downward facing or vulval position, though in other parts of Britain and Ireland many believe the horseshoes must be turned in an upward position or the luck of the horseshoe will run out. Those of English, Irish and of American descent prefer to hang the horseshoe upward; those of Italian, Spanish, German, Austrian and Balkan descent prefer to place them in a downward position. What does the difference in directionality mean? I think that in most of the world it is the horseshoe itself that is lucky and protective; whereas in England and Ireland the horseshoe is seen as a mere "collector" of luck from above....