The year 2020 has been one of the most dramatic times in world news. There have been the fires in Australia, the locusts in Africa, the pandemic and now the protests against injustice spreading across the globe. It seems like we all need a dose of luck in these exceptional and strange time.
Bezalal Incubator is a designer of products. Their latest design is powerful in this time of COVID-19. They have created a wall design, which hangs as a lucky charm symbol but is also soap. For those reading in another time might not appreciate the significance of such a design. Let’s unpick the essential messages in this symbolism.
Three interlocking circles
The use of three interlocking circles in the design is fundamental in most lucky charms. It is known as the Borromean Rings that are interlocked to form the Brunnian Link. The interweaving of the circles is done in such a way that if one ring is cut away, the remaining two would hold together. It is a symbol of strength and unity.
Studies suggest that the image of three interlocking rings first appeared in Buddhist art but was also found on a Viking runestone and Roman mosaics. The name Borromean Ring was only given to the symbol when the family used the image on their crest.
Christians also use this imagery. It is an illusion to religion, to a belief in the holy trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. People also refer to the three circles as faith, hope and charity, which are fundamental to living a good life. Arguably, living a good life is rewarded with the luck that the charm has come to represent.
An alternative interpretation is that the king of the gods in Norse mythology, Odin was associated with magic. One story associated with Odin is his knot, where he bet his horse would be faster than Gullfaxi, the horse of Hrungnir. Odin’s horse won the race. Hrungnir couldn’t hold his drink and angered the gods. He was soon challenged and killed by Thor, who on spying the heart of Hrungnir it was three interlocking rings. It was said to represent the nine worlds and nine fates in Norse mythology made up of three realms. It is closely linked to the cycle of rebirth.
Therefore, the choice by Bezalal Incubator of three interlocking circles is a powerful call to history for luck and the divinity of good fortune.
Why choose soap?
Soap has become something of a symbol itself in the time of COVID-19. From the start of the pandemic, we were given the advice to wash our hands again and again. We were to wash them for 20 seconds, singing the Happy Birthday song twice. Stores soon sold out of soap, as we all tried to control an uncontrollable situation as best we could.
It seems odd that we needed to be reminded to wash our hands by the government and shown how to do it properly. However, it has become central to the strategy, along with social distancing and face masks. So, to choose three interlocked symbols of soap is a clever reminder that we will gain good health and fortune, and so good luck when we could lose everything to a virus.
Why do we hang lucky charms in our homes?
It is also a powerful choice to make this into a wall hanging. The obvious message of the decoration is to act a reminder of the need for hygiene. The new meaning of luck and wealth in the future will be the maintenance of our good health.
Using a wall hanging for our home is also a time-honoured tradition. We have, for years hung ornaments in our home to make it a place of safety and good fortune. Interlocking Chinese coins hanging from the wall is also a symbol of Feng Shui, which helps bring calm and harmony to your home.
Feng Shui literally means wind and water. This is a traditional Chinese belief, which links the destiny of man to his environment. The basic principals of Feng Shui revolve around looking at the way we design our living spaces and our work environments. The idea is to strike a balance with the natural world by allowing elements to flow through the home.
Where you want luck will influence how you use these principles. If you want to look with your family, then you would hang the wall decoration from a column of wood in your home. If you want wealth, you might choose purple soap. For good wealth, you would want to hang your hanging to an outside wall and its connection to the earth. Finally, the circles will help with the luck for your career and your path in life.
The message being sent
In the time of an unprecedented global health pandemic, a simple bar of soap organised in three circles and mounted on the wall demonstrates the importance of this practical, everyday product. Bezalal Incubator describes it themselves as “an exploration of new symbolism in the post-COVID-19 era’. They believe it could become a new artefact in our changed reality; this strange new world we are living in. Hygiene infused with superstition but based in scientific rationalism is a clever way to symbolise how we are coping in 2020.