Why Four-Leaf Clovers Are A Symbol Of Luck & How To Harness Them (2024)

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March 15, 2024

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It's not a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but a four-leaf clover is considered a very lucky find—not in small part because they're so rare. Searching for a four-leaf clover can be fun (and maybe a little frustrating). Just remember that clovers don't need to have four petals to be lucky. Regular, old clovers are also thought to bring you good luck.

Why are four-leaf clovers considered lucky?

The tradition of viewing four-leaf clovers as lucky symbols dates back to the Celtic people in Ireland—and the symbol has really stuck.

Druids (Celtic priests) viewed clovers as signs of good health, body, and spirit. The three-leaf shape of clovers caused them to become symbolic of the connection between land, people, and their sacred responsibility to take care of it, according to Nikki Van Der Car, author of the upcoming book,Forest Magic: Rituals and Spells for Green Witchcraft, which comes out March 19.

If you've ever tried to find a four-leaf clover, you know the search can often be fruitless and a little disappointing. Fortunately, you don't need to find a rare four-leaf clover to experience any of the plant's supposed luck, Van Der Car says.

"Any clover is lucky. It doesn't have to be a four-leaf one," Van Der Car says.

Four-leaf clovers also carry folkloric significance. Someone who finds a four-leaf clover is believed to be more likely to encounter fairies, according to Van De Car.

Additional to luck, clovers are also revered for their resilience and wild, untamable nature, she says. They grow pretty much anywhere, from forest floors to city lawns.

"If you've ever tried to get them out of a lawn, they won't be gotten out," Van De Car says. "They will not be ruled and in that way they're sort of the wildness of the forest."

How do I find a four-leaf clover?

You'll need a lot of time and dedication, but there are worse ways to spend a morning than sitting in the grass searching through clovers.

If you search through around 5,000 clovers, then you're likely to find one four-leaf clover. At least that's what an analysis of millions of clover patches in Europe found.

Those odds may seem small, but if you check clover patches whenever you see them and carefully comb through them, then you're bound to look through 5,000 clovers at some point. (One woman reportedly has plucked over 1,500 four-leaf clovers in her life, finding one every single day for 258 days in a row.)

There's value in the act of searching for a four-leaf clover, especially if you're prepared to handle the possibility of failing to find one.

"If nothing else, it forces you to kind of slow down and sit for a moment," Van De Car says. "There's something meditative about picking through a clover patch."

To find a clover, you have to look really closely. Searching for a four-leaf clover requires you to spend some time up close and personal with nature, sitting in the dirt.

Van De Car has yet to find a four-leaf clover (not for lack of trying). When she was young, she used to worry that it meant she wasn't magical enough. As she's gotten older, she's viewed it differently. She advises to release the expectation of finding out and, instead, appreciate the act of searching.

"I don't need to assign that meaning to it. A four-leaf clover is out there and brushing by me and maybe I didn't register it, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't there," Van De Car said. "Particularly in March, when the weather is just getting warm enough where we can sit outside, it can just be nice to sit in the grass for a little bit."

What can I do with a four-leaf clover?

Tuck it into your shoe: You can tuck a clover into your shoe to "walk around on luck all day," Van De Car says.

Scatter clovers over windowsill: Legend has it that you can scatter clovers along your windowsill to invite a connection with the "mystical unknown," or fairies, Van De Car says.

Place it underneath your pillow: Sleeping with a four-leaf clover underneath your pillow is believed to bring you happiness and luck, she says.

The takeaway

Four-leaf clovers are rare and believed to be a sign of good luck. But fortunately, you don't have to inspect every clover in a patch to find one with four leaves. Clovers, in general, are considered to be symbols of good luck—even with three leaves.

Why Four-Leaf Clovers Are A Symbol Of Luck & How To Harness Them (2024)
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