The Moon is another symbol of importance in connection with the talismanic properties of water, upon which it has a vitalising influence. In Oudh a silver basin is filled with water by the people, who hold it so that the orb of the full moon is reflected therein, their doctors recommending this as a remedy for nervous hysteria and palpitation, patients being directed to look steadfastly for a while at the reflection, then to shut their eyes and drink the water at a gulp.
Many and various are the ways in which lunar sympathy and influence were turned to account in olden days, warts being considered particularly susceptible to its influence, and a charm repeated over them at the junction of four cross roads as the moon waned in light was believed to be most efficacious in removing the blemishes. The formula prescribed:
"As the moon decreases So may these warts disappear," is still in vogue in certain remote country villages in England. Christians and Moslems alike turn silver money in their pockets that their goods and money may increase when the moon is new and gaining in light, and their ills decrease as it wanes. The Moon's image in crescent shape was also considered a fortunate Talisman for expectant mothers. The Peacock was regarded in very ancient times a symbol of triumph over the grave; its flesh was believed to be incorruptible, which probably accounts for its presence in church decoration; and because it renews its plumage yearly it was taken as the symbol of immortality.
It was the bird of Juno, the goddess and protectress of Malta; and on one of the old gateways her statue is still in existence bearing her symbolic bird. The supposition that the feathers of a Peacock are unlucky is said to have had its origin in the anger of the goddess Juno, having been aroused by the plucking of the feathers of her favourite bird; in her wrath she decreed that no suitors should come for the daughters of any house wherein should be found Peacocks' feathers, that the children should never be well, nor the occupants of a house healthy where these feathers were used as ornaments. It is believed the Egyptians also considered the feathers a perpetual emblem of the Evil Eye.
In many parts of the country old houses are still to be seen with one, or even two pieces of iron in the shape of the letter S attached to the outer walls. These are intended to protect the building from being destroyed by fire, and are not, as is generally supposed, employed as a support; sometimes the S will have a bar across its centre; another form is shaped like two crescents, placed back to back, also with a bar across the centre; but in each case they are only bolted at one point, and their meaning is the same - a charm against destruction by fire, and in all probability it was intended as a form of the Swastika Cross.