Exploring Gambling Gods
by Alex J Coyne © 2019 Great Bridge Links
It’s not unusual for many gamblers either at a live casino or playing online to ask the Gods for a little bit of good fortune before they place their bets, even those who say they don’t really believe in luck. There are many Gods from mythology who are said to be in charge of luck, and some even play a mean game of cards themselves. Here’s a look at some gambling folklore from around the world.
Papa Legba, sometimes referred to only as Legba, is better known as the voodoo loa (or lwa) who stands at the crossroads. He is said to appear in the form of an old man with a cane wearing a hat, sometimes with a guitar, deck of cards or bottle of water. Legba speaks all human languages, and he’s the one to approach at the crossroads if you want to make a deal – but not just for music. As a bit of a trickster, he’s fond of gambling, especially cards, and appreciates an offering of tobacco from his followers.
Hermes is better known as the Greek God of athletics and sports, although a lot of people might not be aware of the fact that he’s also in charge of a few other things, including industries, travellers and gamblers. Like Legba, he also controls the crossroads and serves as the messenger to the rest of the Gods – and also like Legba, one of his associated symbols is the rooster. The symbol used worldwide for medicine, called the caduceus, belongs to Hermes. His Roman equivalent is Mercury.
Thoth is known as the Egyptian God of writing, knowledge and all that’s ever been written down. Usually, he appears as a man with the head of a baboon or an ibis, and he is usually shown holding a staff and ankh. Other than controlling knowledge and language, he’s also the one to call to for gambling luck – and according to the mythology, Thoth played against the moon to create the calendar we have today.
Fortuna is a Roman goddess that’s believed to be in control of luck and fortune – and she is normally depicted with a horn of plenty, a rudder and the wheel of fortune, steering the directions of both fate and luck. Her equivalent in Greek mythology is Tyche.
Lakshmi is known as the Hindu goddess of fortune and gambling, and it’s her that one calls to for any sort of gambling or gaming luck – although worshippers approach Lakshmi for any kind of general good fortune, too. Other names for Lakshmi includes Kamalakshi and Sri Devi. During the Diwali festival that takes place every year, gambling and gaming is common in honor of Lakshmi, and many gamble around this time hoping for a prosperous roll of the dice or a winning hand.
Lofn: Norse Goddess of Games
Lofn is better known as the Norse goddess of love and comfort, and she’s the goddess known to play match-maker amongst humans – whether or not marriages were previously arranged. Other than being a goddess of love, she’s also often one of the deities that practitioners call for gambling luck, or recovering from addiction.