Glücksbringer: Lucky Charms

Brittney Sedgwick
December 15, 2019
chimney sweeper

I have found somewhere between 20 and 30 four-leaf clovers in my life. 

It started just before my teenage years. I found seven of them in one summer, and then none for the next seven years. I thought of it as a year of luck for each clover. Then, once the ratio of clovers to years unbalanced itself, I found yet another.

The bulk of my four-leaf clover findings occurred in the last two years. Although many have been scattered across the boroughs of Philadelphia, most have appeared in Gettysburg. 

The battlefields surrounding Gettysburg College’s campus have always served as a space of solace. Most of my meaningful alone time has been spent walking in the endless grass. There, the air is quiet, the stars are bright, and my thoughts are luminescent.

There were many times when I went on walks with questions and returned with clovers. Whether feeling somber or saturated in unbearable light, I feel that I find them, or that they find me, in moments of acute weight. I often think of four-leaf clovers as the universe smiling down on me, or perhaps guidance from the divine. 

People have asked me if or how these little plants could still be lucky — how twenty clovers later, they still hold meaning. I have wondered that myself, standing over patches where I spotted five or maybe seven of them reaching for the sun. I stood there wondering if they should be picked, if they were meant for me to find, if anything is really meant for anyone — and there are no answers to these questions. Only clovers.

In my German class, we recently wrote essays about “Glücksbringer” or good luck charms. I wrote mine about four-leaf clovers, or vierblättrige Kleeblätter. It was rewarding to realize that my German skills are at an ability which allows me to communicate something so special. In the essay, I wrote “Ich fühle mich mit der Erde verbinden” meaning that clovers make me feel connected with the earth. I also noted that I have not come across any four-leaf clovers since being in Vienna, which has been a bit unsettling since I consider them a form of cosmic (or perhaps earthly) communication. 

I still have my stones, though: rose quartz and malachite. I carry them with me in a little change purse that I bought for myself while in Amsterdam. I also have my universe necklace, which has remained on my neck for nearly a year now. I don’t consider these items Glücksbringer, but they do provide a similar and physicalized reminder of interconnectedness.

I recently had the good fortune of receiving a visit from my Mom and Aunt. They stayed in Vienna for a week of exploration, further travel, music, and of course, food. We shared one of our favorite dinners at “Zum weißen Rauchfangkehrer” which is located in the first district, about a block behind Stephansdom. The name of the restaurant means “To the White Chimney Sweep,” which comes from an old Viennese tale — and the chimney sweeper is their symbol. 

After a wonderful meal with traditional Austrian dishes such as Goulash, Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, and more, the waiter brought us something to take home. It is a little wooden figure of the chimney sweeper himself. He wears a top hat and dashes with a ladder. I sat and smiled at the figure before adding him to my wallet of rose quartz and malachite. How sweet, I thought, and how appropriate, for this Austrian symbol of luck to be bestowed upon me in a time when I felt that I was missing my own. Especially as I grow more heavy with the realization that I will soon be leaving Vienna, this Glücksbringer is feeling like the new Glücksbringer that I will carry from this home to the next. 

For a short while during this cloverless-spell, I wondered if my semester would be unlucky. Objects, though, are merely representations, and they only hold the power bestowed upon them. I have been to so many beautiful places and have spent time with so many remarkable people. These memories are the true treasure, and these experiences are perhaps the purest form of clovers.

Various four-leaf clovers that I have found are pictured below. 

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Brittney Sedgwick

<p><span style="color:#333333">I am Brittney Sedgwick, a rising junior studying Music Performance at Gettysburg College. I sing classical music: art song, opera, chamber music, and more. Before attending Gettysburg, I spent four years studying creative writing. I love reading poetry, drinking tea, going for sunset walks, and stargazing. </span></p>

Program:
Destination:
Term:
2019 Fall
Home university:
Gettysburg College
Hometown:
Philadelphia, PA
Major:
Music Performance
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