- Folk Names: Trefoil, Honeystalks, Three-leafed Grass
- Ruler: Jupiter, Mercury
- Element: Earth, Air, Fire, Water
- Types: Red, White
- Magickal Forms: Three leaf, four leaf, and five leaf
- Basic Powers: Protection, Luck, Fertility, and Abundance
Clover was one of the anti-witch plants which protected human beings and animals from the spells of malevolent witches and the wiles of fairies, and brought good luck to those who kept it in the house, or wore it in their buttonholes or hats. Some varieties of clover have three distinctly heart shaped leaves ~ both elements, the number 3 and the shape, contribute to its benevolent reputation.
The shamrock, the form of clover that is synonymous with all things Irish – was known as the shamrakh in Arabic countries and symbolized the triple aspect of the Goddess. A symbol of luck, leprechauns, and wishes, the shamrock is a powerful talisman to carry.
It could be used in love-divination; and to dream of it was very fortunate for young people, since such a dream foretold a happy and prosperous marriage.
Red clover flowers bring good luck in love and marriage matters and are carried in mojos for satisfying conjugal relations and to ensure a happy marriage. White clover flowers protect from evil and bring an end to “crossed” conditions.
In folk magic Red Clover is used in a ritual bath to attract money and prosperity to the bather and is also used as a floorwash to chase out evil and unwanted ghosts. White Clover is used for breaking curses and is worn as a sachet or put in the four corners or a house or someone’s property to achieve this.
If someone has done well in life, he or she is said to be “living in clover.” This probably originates from the fact that cattle grow best when grazing in fields of clover.
Clover keeps snakes away from your property, if grown there. When placed in the left shoe, and then forgotten, clover keeps evil from you. Worn over the right breast it brings success in all undertakings.
If you have been disappointed in love, wear clover near your heart in a piece of blue silk to help you through.
It also protects against madness, strengthens psychic powers, enables you to detect the presence of spirits, and leads the wearer to gold, money, or treasures.
Clover vs Shamrock
The term shamrock is derived from the Gaelic word seamrog which means “little clover.” It is famous as a symbol of Ireland. St. Patrick believed that the three tiny leaves represent the Holy Trinity, which it is all over the place on St. Patrick’s Day.
There is no specific “shamrock plant.” However, most scientists agree that the term “shamrock” refers to Trifolium Repens or the white clover. Others believe that it is also used when referring to Trifolium Dubium or suckling clover. Both species have leaves that are separated into three leaflets, hence the term “trifolium.”
On the other hand, clover or “trefoil” is a common term that refers to any of the 300 species that belongs to the Trifolium family. Trifolium plants like the red clover, white clover, Swedish clover, strawberry clover, and Alsatian clover are small, green, flower-bearing, and herbaceous. They can be short-lived, perennial, or annual.
A clover is trifoliate, which means the leaves are subdivided into three toothed leaflets, although four-leaf, five-leaf, and six-leaf clovers can be occasionally found due to a natural genetic mutation. It is believed that there is only one four-leaf clover in a hundred thousand three-leaf clovers, which is why it is widely accepted as a symbol of luck.
What, then, is the difference between a shamrock and a clover?
“Clover” is a generic term that refers to trefoils, or any of the 300 species that belong to the Trifolium family. These plants have leaves that are separated into three leaflets, but you may find four-leaf, five-leaf or even six-leaf clovers as a genetic abnormality. “Shamrock,” on the other hand, means “little clover” and is used to refer to the white clover species or the suckling clover species. It is also the symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.
In conclusion, shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. So, that green leaf you see on St. Patrick’s Day? It’s a shamrock and a clover.
Three Leaf Clover
Some folk traditions assign a different attribute to each leaf of a clover. The three leaf clover represents the Holy Trinity ~ Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Alternatively, it represents the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
The three leafed clover is often used in rituals designed to protect or to keep one looking youthful and fair. As a protection carry one on your person.
To keep looking young, gather dew on May Day morning, just before the Sun rises. Put into this water three clover stalks. Let these steep all day out of the Sun’s rays. The next morning, again before the sun rises, rub a little of the water on your face. Do this every morning until the water is used up. Cover the bowl with a cloth to keep the water clean and store in a place where it will remain untouched until the following morning.
Early Christian proselytizers, such as St. Patrick, used both the shamrock and the clover to demonstrate the three-in-one notion of the trinity ( father, son, and holy spirit). It is also said that snakes will not venture where clover grows, which ties into the idea of St Patrick and his reputation for driving the snakes out of Ireland.
That said, the Irish had imbued the shamrock with meaning before St. Patrick came along. Three-leaf clovers featured prominently in ancient Celtic rituals and folklore (triads and the number three were considered spiritually significant back then, too).
With its three leaves, Clover is a very shamanic plant allowing one to see into and interact with the Otherworld. It is a good talisman of protection and power for traveling out of body and walking between worlds. Never underestimate the magical power of this simple and harmless weed. It also makes a good offering to Mercurial deities and can be burned with incense, added to ritual smoking blend, made into alcoholic brews, or left with a food offering.
Four Leaf Clover
Although all clover has the same magickal properties, it is the rare four leafed kind that is especially powerful. Such a plant, when found, enabled the finder to see fairies, detect witches, and recognize evil spirits. Anyone wearing a four-branched leaf was safe from malicious enchantments and one hidden in the dairy, or barn prevented witches from harming the milk supply or the butter.
If a girl wore a four leaf clover in her right shoe, the first unmarried man she met on her first journey with it would be her future husband, or if not he, then another man of the same name. Another method is to pin the four leaf clover above the front door of her home. Again, the first unmarried man who walks through her door will become her husband.
There is a story in the Denham Tracts of a Northumberland girl who, when returning from milking, saw fairies dancing in the field. No one else could see them, though she pointed them out. She was not normally second-sighted, and it was afterwards discovered that the source of her vision lay in the circular pad she wore on her head to support the milk pail. Among the grasses with which it was stuffed was a four leaf clover.
Four leafed clovers are genetic mutations of the three leafed varieties, and well-known European – American charms, bringing in (and representing) health, wealth, love and luck, and protecting from witchcraft. An old rhyme is as follows:
One leaf for fame,
One leaf for wealth,
And one for a faithful lover,
And one leaf to bring you glorious health,
Are all in the four leaf clover.
The luckiest four leaf clover is one you find when you are not looking for one. The four leaf clover carries all the symbolism of the number 4.
Some people press four leafed clovers in a book, such as the Bible, and keep them in the house. Others carry a dried and flattened four leafed clover in their wallet, to draw money, even going so far as to laminate them to card-stock to preserve them. Jewelers make effigies of them, working these into key chain fobs, brooches, pendants, and rings.
An old legend says that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Eve took a four leaf clover with her to remind her of the happiness she had enjoyed there. Consequently finding a four leaf clover became a sign of good luck and happiness. Anyone lucky enough to be in possession of a four leaf clover has a piece of the blessed Paradise.
In the seventeenth century, four leaf clovers were sometimes strewn in the path of a bride to provide her with extra protection from evil spirits on her special day.
Four leaf clovers are carried to prevent madness. It is also a popular amulet to avoid military service. Gather the four leaf clovers in the morning, then walk to the nearest hill. As the Sun rises throw one clover to the North, and one to each of the other directions, calling upon the powers of the Elements to protect you, to keep you from getting drafted or whatever your wish is. Then, after finishing the ritual, pluck one more four leaf clover (remember, leave something in payment to the earth for the plant taken) and keep it as a magickal link with the elements.
They are also a frequent image on good luck tokens and they appear on greeting cards and postcards conveying good wishes to the recipient. Some say that four-leaf clovers grant the power to see fairies. In other traditions it is said that they are related to St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock to explain Christianity to the Irish, the cross of Jesus being made up of 4 parts.
The earliest mention of “Fower-leafed or purple grasse” is from 1640 and simply says that it was kept in gardens because it was “good for the purples in children or others.” John Melton, an English writer wrote the following in 1620 about the clover:
“That if any man walking in the fields, find any foure-leaved grasse, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.”
A description from 1869 says that four-leaf clovers were “gathered at night-time during the full moon by sorceresses, who mixed it with vervain and other ingredients, while young girls in search of a token of perfect happiness made quest of the plant by day.” The first reference to luck might be from an 11-year-old girl, who wrote in an 1877 letter to St. Nicholas Magazine, “Did the fairies ever whisper in your ear, that a four-leaf clover brought good luck to the finder?”
Five Leaf Clovers
Sometimes a five leafed clover might be spotted by those who have particularly sharp eyesight. Because the number five combines the feminine 2 with the masculine 3 , it symbolizes marriage or engagements.
The five leaf clover also represents the pentagram or five pointed star and multiplies the blessings of the shamrock by five. The first leaf represents hope, the second stands for faith, the third is for love and the fourth leaf brings luck to the finder. A fifth leaf represents money, but there is no meaning as yet for the sixth leaf and above. Some reports claim six to be fame and seven to be longevity, though the notions’ origination is unknown.
Five-leaf clovers are less commonly found naturally than four-leaf clovers; however, they have been successfully cultivated. Some four-leaf clover collectors, particularly in Ireland, regard the five-leaf clover, known as a rose clover, as a particular prize.
In exceptionally rare cases, clovers are able to grow with six leaves and more in nature. The most leaves ever found on a single clover stem (Trifolium repens L.) is 156 and was discovered by Shigeo Obara of Hanamaki City, Iwate, Japan, on 10 May 2009.
Clover Blossoms For Purification
Here are some ways clover blossom can be used for purification:
- Place two drops clover blossom flower essence in a mister of rose water and mist an interior space to purify the vibrations. You can also mist your body and aura for the same purpose.
- Drink two to three cups white clover blossom tea per day to support physical detoxification. Drink two to three cups red clover blossom tea per day to support emotional detoxification (after abuse, a challenging breakup, etc.)
- Take four drops white or red clover blossom essence under the tongue or in water twice per day to support physical and emotional purification.
- Place fresh clover blossoms in bath water, along with one cup sea salt, for a physical/emotional/spiritual purification bath.
- After space clearing, arrange fresh clover blossoms and soy candles together on a plate and place in a central location in a room. Repeat in each room and area of the home, and light the candles to help set the new vibration in place and to further purify and uplift the energy.
Not a Clover
Because four leaf clovers are fairly rare, an unrelated plant called Oxalis (which has similar looking leaves, but entirely different flowers) is sometimes sold as a substitute for them. At Saint Patrick’s Day, many nurseries sell potted Oxalis as “lucky shamrocks.”
There are a number of plants that look like clover and have three or four leaflets. In particular, Oxalis tetraphylla (also known as O. deppei) has spread from cultivation and can be found living wild in various places. It has four leaflets and is actually known as four-leaf clover in some places.
O. tetraphylla is also known as four-leaf sorrel or Iron Cross, and it does look a lot like a four-leafed white clover. The primary difference is that the center of O. tetraphylla is often tinged with purple – and it does not produce the white flowers we normally associate with white clover.
Marsilea mutica, is another plant that is billed as a variegated four leaf clover, and sold as an attractive and versatile addition to your pond. Each leaf appears to be a perfect 4 leaf clover, and is advertised as bringing the luck of the leprechaun to all who view it. Whether luck and leprechauns are truly drawn to it, I do not know.