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Monday, April 11, 2011

Magical Monday: “I” is for the magical uses of the element Iron

For this week’s Magical Monday, I’m straying from my exploration of mystical practices from around the world, since none fit with today’s blogging challenge letter ‘I.”
Instead, I’m presenting magical uses of the element Iron.

According to legends, iron can repel and drain powers from evil spirits and people. Fairies are known to dread iron because it weakens them.

According to Celtic lore, from losing iron during childbirth, women and their infants are especially vulnerable to attack by demons and predatory spirits. They may be protected by encircling their beds with rows of iron pins or tools. Children are also likely victims and may be protected by sewing bits of iron into their clothing. 

Horses and other livestock can be protected by nailing an iron horseshoe over doorways to their stables. Also, be sure to point the open end of the shoe upwards, to mimic the crescent moon. I always wondered why I’d see horseshoes above barn or stable entrances. Now I know!

Another interesting fact about the use of iron involves the old-fashioned practice of churning butter. Witches were known to prevent butter from coagulating into solid form. Their spells could be broken by heating a smoothing iron until red hot, plunging it into water while saying specific charms, and then pouring some of that enchanted water into the churn. 

Iron—the universal amulet against evil spirits! And I thought silver repelled vampires. Hmm.

Reference: The Encyclopedia of Magic & Alchemy, Rosemary Ellen Guiley


C R Ward said...

I have a friend who collects fairy figurines and she can't undertstand why I was appalled at her latest edition - a fairy cast in iron!

Marsha A. Moore said...

Too funny! Poor cast iron fairy had no magic at all. :-(

Elizabeth Twist said...

Interesting stuff, Marsha! I knew about the horseshoe trick. The one that always freaks me out is the advice to hang an open pair of iron scissors over a new baby's crib. Seems to me that there are safer ways to get iron into a baby's room!