Spitting three times over the shoulder, tossing coins into wells and water bodies thought to be lucky, bathing in water infused with certain herbs and speaking to certain birds and animals, such as magpies and cats, are some of the practices said to bring good luck. Religious rituals such as the application of certain oils on the body, baptism and prayer are also considered forms of good luck spells.
Good luck spells and charms were a common feature of virtually all traditional cultures around the globe. For instance, ancient Egyptian mothers-to-be were required to give birth while crouching over special birth bricks. Inscribed with the pictures of ancient Egyptian gods such as Hathor, the bricks were believed to protect both mother and baby from evil. Accidentally finding four-leaf clovers was considered exceedingly lucky by the Irish. The belief persists among some individuals and groups to the present. In 16th century England, families were required to keep special Yule logs given as gifts by religious figures known as druids burning in their fireplaces throughout a 12-day period of festivities that started on Dec. 26 and ended on Jan. 6. It was believed that this allowed good fortune to pass on from one year to the next. The practice gradually died out as families progressively adopted electric and gas fires.