Go little letter, apace, apace (1871), Arthur Hughes
Go little letter, apace, apace (1871), Arthur Hughes

• Spiders: Encourage your friendly household spiders. They bring good luck—and sometimes money. According to French tradition, spiders seen in the afternoon are harbingers of gifts coming your way. The later in the day you see your spider, the more lavish the present will be.

• Bees: A single bee buzzing around you is a sign of good fortune, even if it comes to you inside. You will want to be careful, however, about swarms of bees from unknown hives. If you find a hive in the wild, leave a ribbon or something else of your own behind; then the bees in that colony will be your friends.

• Cats: What witch doesn’t have a fondness for cats? Especially cats with double claws, which are the most potent bringers of luck imaginable. If you have such a cat, protect it with your life.

• Cyclamen: This pretty flowering plant is available just about anywhere, but according to Roman writer Pliny the Elder, it is priceless: Simply having it in your home neutralizes poisons.

• Goldfish: If you follow Egyptian traditions, you’ll find goldfish to be lucky pets; they promote resilience and good business deals. If, however, you live in northern England, keeping them as pets is considered unlucky.

• Lavender: Some species make excellent—and fragrant—houseplants. (Blend their potting soil with a little cactus mix.) All lavender is associated with love; if you scatter bags of it among your clothing, you will find happiness. A sachet tucked inside your pillowcase will also promote restful sleep.

• Horses: You might not want to keep a horse inside for long, but in parts of Italy it is considered good luck if one poops indoors—even better if you step in the manure, which is widely thought to be lucky, wherever your foot finds it. At the very least, you could borrow one of the horse’s iron shoes to nail to your door.

Black Dogs: If a black dog follows you home, consider letting it in; it is there to bring you luck. Dreaming about a black dog is a sign that a friend is close by.


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Susann Cokal is the author of four novels, including the award-winning Kingdom of Little Wounds and her latest, Mermaid Moon, in which a mermaid goes ashore to find her mother, only to fall into the clutches of a witch who wants to harvest her magic. Cokal also writes short fiction and essays about oddities, and she lives in a haunted farmhouse with cats, peacocks, spouse, and unseen beings who bump in the night. “I’ve always suspected there was more to mermaids than the shipwrecks and love stories that lead them to land,” she says. “I’m glad I had the chance to figure them out in these changing times—both in the novel and here among the creatures of Enchanted Living.”