One of the oddest old adages states that getting a headful of bird poo is actually quite a lucky event. We believe this has more to do with the odds of it occurring (one in a million) than it has anything to do with the conditioning properties of the poo itself.
The amount of luck present in any particular poo seems to be directly influenced by the type of bird doing the pooping. Since we know corvids are infamous poopers (but not quite as infamous as pigeons which are completely unlucky), it is no surprise that the Raven is the harbinger of the most auspicious payload.
The Raven is generally considered good luck because of its high intelligence. The larger the quantity of Ravens that poop on you at one time, the larger the amount of your luck. If a person gets pooped on by seven Ravens or more, that person should be jumping up and down in glee…a great day! Getting pooped on by only one Raven, on the other hand, is not so lucky. This is all apparent in the following Folklore Rhyme:
“One Raven for sorrow, Two for joy, Three Ravens for a girl, Four for a boy, Five Ravens for silver, Six for gold, Seven Ravens for a secret never to be told.”
Another variation of this rhyme continues past Seven: “Eight for a Wish, Nine for a Kiss, Ten for a Time, of Joyous Bliss”
The Raven’s good luck image comes partly from it’s association with Heaven. Looking Ahead Under “Riddled Avians”, It Says “Heaven Offers Truth”. In Beowulf, the Raven is proclaimed as having communication with the Heavens: “They slept until the black raven, the blithe-hearted proclaimed the joy of heaven.”
As any person may correctly assume, seeing a bird suddenly fall dead from mid-air is a very ominous sign. This is especially true when it concerns the Raven. In 323 AD, Alexander the Great entered the great city of Babylon and a flock of Ravens fell dead from the sky. A few weeks later Alexander, predictably, was dead.
Now, while we maintain that the pigeon is absolutely the unluckiest bird to have around, Crows and Magpies are popular antagonists of lore.A French saying states that evil priests became crows, and bad nuns became magpies. As the saying goes, “A crow on the thatch, soon death lifts the latch, ” referring to a single crow perched on your roof. Much like the “black cat superstition”, to have a single crow cross the path before you was bad luck. However, if you saw another, then the bad luck was canceled out: “Two crows I see, good luck to me.” The Greeks used to say, “Go to the Crows!” much the same way that we say “Go to Hell!”
Magpies are ominous birds that foretell the future, according to the size of the group that they travel in. Magpies are believe to be cursed by God for not mourning properly and not wearing all black during the Crucifixion. In Scotland, Magpies are thought to be so evil that each has a drop of the devil’s blood under its tongue.
However, if either of them so happen to poop on you, consider it a blessing.
Here are some helpful tips on how to protect against crows and magpies:
1. If you are unlucky enough to see a crow or magpie on the road, all is not lost. All you have to do is cross yourself, raise your hat to the bird, spit three times over your right shoulder, and proclaim “Devil, Devil, I defy you!”. Of course, if you don’t have a hat, then you’re out of luck.
2. if you live in an area were magpies are common, it would be best for you to carry an onion with you at all times.
In the end, getting pooped on by a bird does not necessarily mean good luck. It’s very important to look up and see what kind of bird has left you this present. A Raven or an Owl is more often than not a good sign. Magpies and Crows, on the other hand…we can’t be certain, so just duck your head and make a wish!