On good luck and bad luck and lucky charms . . .
Have you ever noticed that when we're talking about good luck we knock wood, but we don't take such precautions with bad luck? I wonder if this means if we talk about bad luck without knocking on wood does it change to good luck? In my dreams, eh?
Fortune is a woman and if she is to be submissive it is necessary to beat and coerce her - Machiavelli
Luck is something that happens that is beyond our control. Good luck is when some good happens; bad luck is when something bad happens. It's as simple as that. Or is it?
The dictionary defines luck as:
1. The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events; fortune: They met one day out of pure luck.
2. Good fortune or prosperity; success: We wish you luck.
3. One's personal fate or lot: It was just my luck to win a trip I couldn't take.
Luck affects everything; let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it, there will be a fish. – Ovid
According to Wikipedia (and everyone knows if it's on Wikipedia it must be true):
The English noun luck appears comparatively late, during the 1480s, as a loan from Low German (Dutch or Frisian) luk, a short form of gelucke (Middle High German gelücke). Compare to old Slavic word lukyj (лукый) - appointed by destiny and old Russian luchaj (лучаи) - destiny, fortune. It likely entered English as a gambling term, and the context of gambling remains detectable in the word's connotations; luck is a way of understanding a personal chance event. Luck has three aspects which make it distinct from chance or probability.
Luck can be good or bad.
Luck can be accident or chance.
Luck applies to an entity.
Psychologists call the belief in bad luck “external locus of control.” It’s a kind of fatalism, where people believe that they can do little or nothing to change their lives. So because of this belief, they either just hope for the best or passively accept whatever comes along.
Everything in life is luck - Donald Trump
Most successful people believe in the opposite. They have “internal locus of control.” They believe that what happens in their life is their own doing and even when chance events occur, the important thing is not the event itself, but how one responds to it.
It's been said that people who believe in good luck are more optimistic, more satisfied with their lives, and have better moods. If "good" and "bad" events occur at random to everyone, believers in good luck will experience a net gain in their fortunes, and vice versa for believers in bad luck.
Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Some people believe in luck as faith or superstition. The Romans believed luck was bestowed by the goddess Fortuna. Many other cultures believed in offering sacrifices to encourage luck, but the Bible has this to say in the Book of Isaiah chapter 65, verses 11-12: What will happen to you for offering food and wine to the gods you call good luck and fate? Your luck will end.
The dictionary defines bad luck as:
1. bad luck - an unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable outcomes
2. bad luck - an unpredictable outcome that is unfortunate; if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all
3. bad luck - unnecessary and unforeseen trouble resulting from an unfortunate event
Luck never gives; it only lends - Swedish Proverb
If you believe in back luck, then you're already probably aware of these superstitions for the causes of it:
Seeing a crow
Walking under ladders
Putting shoes on any table
"Jinxing" yourself (saying out loud something bad that you think will happen to you) aka. tempting fate
Wearing opals unless you are born in October
Stepping on a crack in the pavement/sidewalk. ("Step on a crack and break your mother's back!")
Crossing the path of a black cat.
Opening an umbrella indoors.
Some people are so fond of ill-luck that they run half way to meet it - Douglas Jerrold
But are you aware of these signs that your bad luck is about to change?
Dreaming of being on a very high place, such as a building.
Sneezing 3 times before breakfast.
Putting money in the pocket of clothes you wear for the first time.
Seeing a spider spinning its web in the morning.
Finding a pin pointing at you.
Dreaming of clear water.
Eating the point of a piece of pie last.
Finding a crust or cheese bubble in your pizza.
Seeing a cricket in your house (and whatever you do, don't kill it! This brings incredibly bad luck.)
Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck - Orson Welles
When I was a kid, I remember begging my mother for a box of Lucky Charms cereal because they were "magically delicious". The cereal was terrible, but the idea of a lucky charm stuck with me. I remember scouring a patch of clover for one with four leaves, picking up acorns that still had their little hats on, and even my mother made sure we had a horseshoe nailed above the threshold in our house.
The act of carry lucky charms has been part of many cultures throughout history. Even people who claim not to be superstitious will pick up a "lucky penny" when they see one. Lucky charms have two purposes: first to attract good luck and secondly to ward off evil. In ancient African cultures, carrying an animal's foot, or other parts of a fast animal, were supposed to help a person be able to flee with the speed of that animal. The "lucky rabbits foot" charm was handed down and assimilated into our culture by the enslaved Africans who were brought to the New World.
Here are a few other lucky charms you can try to ward off bad luck:
The acorn is considered to be an emblem of luck, prosperity, youthfulness and power. It also represents spiritual growth. The English carried dried acorns for protection during the Norman conquest.
The winged staff with two snakes twined around it is a familiar symbol to most people. It was used as a good luck symbol in Egypt, India, and ancient Greece. The wings were said to be those of Hermes, messenger to the gods, while the snakes represented the balance between good and evil. This emblem is reputed to ward off sickness and quarrels, and bring peace to any situation.
Four-leafed Shamrock and Clover:
Each leaf signifies luck for a different feature: 1. fame; 2. wealth; 3. love; 4. health. If you wear a lucky clover, your true love will come to you. If you possess one, it will ward away evil. If you dream of one you will live happily ever after.
There are two schools of thought about horseshoes. One is that the ends must point up to keep all the luck in, the other that the ends must point down to allow the luck to flow free.
The Greeks used a key as the symbol for knowledge and life, while a crossed gold and silver key is a papal symbol of authority - the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Three keys worn together unlock the doors of wealth, health, and love.
The skull holds the spirit and spark of a person's life. It is the seat of their intelligence. It's also the least resistant to decay, making it a symbol of strength. Many primitive cultures believed that wearing skulls would ward off evil influence or illness and insure protection and well-being.
It is claimed that Pythagoras designed the geometric shape of the star to represent perfection. It was worn on clothing in the Middle Ages as an emblem representing the mysteries of the universe. The Star is lucky because it is believed that good fortune is determined by the Stars.
Luck is believing you’re lucky - Tennessee Williams