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Praying to the Gods of Luck – The Intersection of Fortune and Religion


Are the Gods of Fortune and Luck Looking Out for You?

When you are looking to win big, there is honestly no reason to let your success be all about luck. You may be hoping that your team pulls the big upset or that the roulette wheel drops on your number. Maybe you need to draw a King to complete a flush. Whatever the case, you want every advantage possible and this is why it may be time to turn to the gods to improve your odds.

A Long History of Prayer

You may have noticed someone praying at the roulette table or while they were watching the big game, hoping that the gods will shine down on them. It is a common site that we see today, but what you may not have realized is that people have been praying to the gods for thousands of years.

Gods have long been connected to gambling, dating back into the time of the great Egyptian dynasties. It is amazing to think that many of the popular cultures had gods associated with luck and fortune. This tells us that people not only leaned upon these gods to help them win battles or to have good fortune in their life, but to also give them a huge victory in their gambling endeavors.

Even Native American tribes had gods associated with gambling. The Navajos, for example, prayed to Noqoilpi, the Great Gambler, to help them. The truth is that believing in the fortune of the gods shining on you is not a new phenomenon at all.

We All Have Sought Divine Help at Some Point

War correspondent Ernie Pyle is credited with the quote, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” It is when we are in a real bind that we turn to the gods, whoever that may be to you, to assist. Many who face challenging times will turn to their god for help. It gives people strength and a sense of purpose, helping them to overcome.

This belief in gods helping through challenging times is at the root of such programs as Alcoholics Anonymous. Their push to focus on a higher power helps people to recognize that there is a need for assistance beyond one’s own capabilities.

It is with this kind of thinking that it makes perfect sense that people would turn to some form of god to assist them when they were looking for good fortune to shine down upon them.

The Gods Throughout History

The great thing about the gods of fortune is that there are some associated with just about any religious belief you may have. They also come in both male and female, ensuring that there is an equal opportunity to find the god or goddess who will bring about the big win.

In Japan, for example, there are the Seven Lucky Gods, otherwise known as Shichifukujin. The seven gods are actually a group that come from India, China, and Japan. In fact, only one is actually native to Japan itself (Ebisu).

These gods have existed for centuries, but it was not until the 17th century that they were grouped together to become the lucky seven. It is believed that by calling upon all of them together that their ability and willingness to bring good fortune increases exponentially.

Gods and goddesses were very popular in the Roman and Greek times as well. Tykhe, the goddess of fortune, chance, and fate is often depicted in many stories, statues, and pieces of literature from ancient Greek times. This was the goddess that many prayed to when they were hoping for safe passage, great fortune on the battlefield, or a win when gambling.

Sometimes the gods of good fortune do not even have a name. For example, many gamblers pray to “Lady Luck.” Who that lady is no one really knows, but the idea behind Lady Luck dates back to the ancient Greek times, maybe even to Tykhe herself.

Gods and goddesses are found on the planet. Syrian gods, South American gods and goddesses, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Asian gods and goddesses. There are gods of good fortune among the Native American tribes of North and South America, the aborigines of Australia, and the tribes of Africa.

Gods of Good Fortune in the Arts

For thousands of years, people have believed that these deities were going to help them. They have been the focus of many stories in literature, music, movies, and other forms of entertainment. In the musical Guys and Dolls, Sky Masterson sang a song praying that Luck would be a Lady, specifically Lady Luck for him in the role of his life. In Homer’s epic story the Iliad, people prayed to the gods for victory in the epic battle.

Oddly enough, there is even an interesting tale in the Bible regarding gambling and God. As Jesus was dying on the cross, the Roman soldiers cast lots, gambling beneath the Son of God for His garment (Matthew 27:35). Interesting that they were not praying to God, but were gambling to take away from Him.

Truly, gods and goddesses have found their way into the gambling world. This is not a surprise and will likely continue for generations to come. After all, if there is a deity out there that brings good fortune when you are gambling, doesn’t it make sense to get on his or her good side?

David Smith