Sunday, 25 October 2020

Horse Brasses

Horse brasses - correctly known as “pressed brass harness decorations” - became popular in the 1850s.

They are brass plaques used for identifying and decorating harness gear; especially for cart, parade, and Shire horses.

It is unknown if horse brasses had a deliberate magical intent originally, as no English tradition of metal charms on horses exists previously, however it is likely that horse brasses replaced charms of other materials, as horses were seen as particularly liable to the attention and effects of malign forces, and anything eye-catching and shiny can protect against witchcraft and the evil eye.

Many English brasses depict lucky and fortuitous symbols such as the sun, crescent moon, star, horseshoe, sun cross, and wheel; and dogs, lions, and serpents are common, too.

Horse brasses are commonly used as apotropaic charms to protect homes. Apotropaic charms offer a shield of protection whilst repelling negative energies, magic, and forces. Horse brasses have been found up Welsh chimneys, and were used to protect carts on the streets of early 20th century London. They have been used as protective pendants on necklaces, and as altar decorations.

This horse brass features the upside-down horseshoe, which is my county’s symbol, along with the acorn. It other English counties it is considered bad luck to be hung this way, but in Rutland it is very lucky, and is found on houses and above doorways. The people of Rutland believe that the Devil can’t make a home in the horseshoe this way up.

Do you use apotropaic charms? Do you have horse brasses in your home?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

No comments:

Post a comment

Thanks so much for leaving comments!