Shamrocks as a symbol and eventually as a design in jewelry, tattoos, embroidery and other adornments have been popular since ancient times. The three leaves of the shamrock, as we discussed on Tuesday, represent a trinity usually but not always of deities.
The less common leaf groupings of the surprisingly common clover plant are also made into amulets and designs of all kinds. Four leafed clovers are familiar to almost every Western culture. They are ubiquitous this time of year, particularly in the U.S. where there are more individuals who claim Irish descent than there are people in modern Ireland. But there are other options as well.
Two clover leaves on a stem is a charm for finding true love. Finding a two leafed clover in nature is said to indicated that your wish for love with come true. Three leafed clovers – the shamrock or trefoil – are worn as protective amulets. Four leafed clover charms are said to bring luck and lead the wearer to wealth. Certain magickal disciplines recommend wearing these amulets to enhance your psychic abilities and Scott Cunningham mentions men wearing them to avoid military service. Five leafed clovers, which are particularly rare in nature, are fashioned into jewelry, key chains and pocket pieces to attract money.
In hoodoo, four leafed clovers are pressed like flowers (often in the family Bible), framed and hung in the house to draw in good luck, keep the family healthy and avert jinxes. Pressed four leafed clovers are also carried in wallets to attract cash. From the turn of the 20th century until World War II it was not uncommon to find good luck tokens, made of brass or copper, in the form of a four leafed clover with the words Health*Wealth*Luck*Love stamped on them. These were sold through ads in periodicals or in botanicas and carried in the pocket or purse for protection and luck. Many survive to this day, handed down in families or – perhaps unfortunately – offered for sale at auctions or on Ebay. Other similar tokens were round, like a coin, and embossed with not only four leafed clovers but horse shoes and even swastikas.
A piece of jewelry with a clover on it is universally thought to bring good luck and is a thoughtful gift to anyone beginning a new phase of their life. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all! Bon chance ~
Header: The Four Leaf Clover by Winslow Homer