Itchy Feet – Meaning and Superstition

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People are superstitious kind. We tend to ascribe mysterious meanings to all sorts of things, namely an incredibly wide range of phenomena we cannot find logical explanations to.

Since the first days of human societies, people tried to explain what was happening in the world around them by ascribing things to invisible forces.

Sometimes it was spirits of nature, sometimes deities or demons and so on. In any case, it was always something we could neither see nor affect.

The same is with various phenomena that happen to human body, especially minor and intermittent inconveniences that seem as some signs. They appear to remind us of mysterious signs because they are usually strong enough to make us react, not dangerous and they last for short.

It is the case with inexplicable itches, for example. It is not something that would make us worry, but will make us wonder.

We have made superstitions about everything. Superstitions help us ward of negative and uncomfortable feelings that come out of pure and simple fear of the unknown.

Besides that, superstitions make a pattern that helps us deal with life more easily. You know, it is much easier to ascribe some strange event to a higher force than to worry about it.

Folk beliefs are a social construct, in a way. Each culture, tradition and society has their own superstitions, legends and fold beliefs. Some superstitions are almost universal, as there are universal meanings to different phenomena.

It is something that probably originates in what psychologists call collective mind and collective unconscious concept.

Superstitions about body parts

Our body is a ‘victim’ of all kinds of superstitions and beliefs. It is greatly dependant on the culture and local traditions. Why so? It is because our physical bodies are what we are ‘in’; it is what we sense the world around us by and what defines us, in a way.

Physical appearance matters a lot. It has always been subjected to fold beliefs and superstitions.

There are beliefs about people having blond or ginger hair, about people having moles in certain places, about people who are too tall or too small and so on. Each and every culture has their own mystical interpretations related to the appearance and function of certain body parts and overall physical body of a human being.

Atypical physical sensations have always been connected with mysterious signs. It is not completely clear how each of the superstitions has developed; most of body sensations superstitions are ancient.

Most of them are what we call ‘old wives’ tales’, but still, people in our times believe there is possibly something behind it.

Yes, even in urban, technologically advanced world focused on materialistic values, it is not an uncommon phenomenon to realize people still have the same superstitions our great ancestors had.

You know, things like avoiding to walk beneath the ladders, thinking it was a bad luck if a black cat crosses your path or so, depending on a particular local tradition.

Body parts have great symbolism. Each body part, of course, has its natural purpose.

Symbolical meanings of certain body parts are, logically, derived from actual purpose of each one. Symbolical interpretations of body parts and body sensations are complex and rich. There are, however, some universal interpretations and meanings.

For example, hands symbolize work and protection, while feet symbolize travel and movement. Today we will talk about feet superstitions; more precisely, itchy feel beliefs.

What does it mean if your right foot itches? What if it was the left one? What if your both feet are itchy? Let us first see what symbolical meanings are ascribed to our feet.

Feet symbolism

Feet symbolism is old and abundant in meanings. Let us mention some interesting examples and traditional conceptions about human feet. Feet make steps and leave traces; we go around the world by using our feet.

A legend about Buddha says that, upon his birth, he measured the world by making seven steps in each cardinal direction of the space.

Hindu legend about the god Vishnu tells something similar; according to the myth, the god measured the world in three steps of which one was related to our earth, the other to the realm in between the worlds and the last one related to heavenly realm.

In some interpretations, Vishnu’s steps resemble sunrise, zenith and the sundown. Therefore, feet could be seen as an important creative principle.

Leaving traces and footsteps upon walking is not the way to express an arrival, but the confirmation that we are here and that we would like to stay.

It is also the desire to remain in the presence of the divine, since according to these legends divine steps have defined the world.

Myth about the god Vaishvanara suggests that feet correspond the earth and embody the idea of physical presence.

It is also associated with universal and common saying of being with both feet on the ground, meaning being down to earth, being realistic, rational, reasonable, aware and conscious; being in connection with the physical world.

African Dogoni people associate feet with concepts of stability, power and leadership. Namely, they associate it with their chieftain.

For Dogoni people, feet represent the beginning and the ending. It stands for origin, but also for an ending, because everything in life starts and ends up with a footstep and feet. Our body begins from our feet and goes up to our head.

The beginning is often neglected and misused, but the fact is that the head cannot do without roots, our feet.

This connection also represents the bound between human and divine. Human feet leave traces on paths of the world, both good and well chosen and bad ones.

Feet represent paths we chosen ourselves, but also those destined for us. Feet represent walks that have been done.

Allegorically, this walk represents any activity finished; even abstract ones, bad or good ones. Thus, rituals of washing feet are rituals of purification.

According to psychoanalyses, such as those based on Freud and Jung, feet have phallic meaning, Foot fetish is an interesting phenomenon; feet are commonly associated with eros.

In psychological development of a human being, the ‘discovery’ of feet plays a major role.

Feet also represent basis and strength, since they are kind of foundation stone of the upright position of human body. Feet are associated with human soul. Weakened feet are often symbolically associated with overall weakness of a human or divine being.

Illustrative examples we can see in Achilles and Hephaestus.

Itchy feet meaning

Here we come to interpretation of itchy feet, in the world of folk beliefs and superstitions.

There are all sorts of beliefs. In many societies around the world sudden itchy sensation in one’s feet suggest something is going to happen. Itchy feet could be taken as a sign if there is no obvious or medical reason for such a sensation.

Interpretations vary depending on which part of your feet itches. It is also important to note if your both feet are itchy or only one of them.

Let us see what superstitions we have about itchy feet in general. Having inexplicably itchy feet is commonly associated with travelling. Well, feet have always been our primary ‘vehicle’.

Before mastering the art of riding animals, let alone building carts and more advanced transportation machines, people were travelling on foot.

It is still our primary way of getting somewhere; therefore, all sorts of feet sensations are commonly associated with the idea of traveling. Therefore, if you have itchy fee out of nowhere, it possibly means you are going to travel.

It is a very old superstition. It has metaphorical meaning, the same as itchy palms are related to money.

For those with wanderlust others would often say that they have ‘itchy feet’, even if those travel lovers feet are perfectly fine.

It is a common saying, widespread around the world. Therefore, sensations in feet, such as itching, suggest there is a journey ahead.

Sometimes, this sensation reflects one’s impatience and restlessness; his or hers desire to travel. Itchy feet also represent impatience, impulsiveness, rush and haste. They reflect inability to sit still and keep calm at one place.

There as another, less widespread superstition that says itchy feet mean someone is talking behind your back, while you are away. It could suggest plotting a deceit or something of the sort while you are not here.

An unlucky and not so well known superstition claims itchy feet are a bad omen and that they suggest someone in your closest environment will die (a family).

Much more naïve superstition says that itchy feet mean you will get new shoes, but those will be unfitting. This superstition could be analyzed on a deeper level. It could mean you will get into a situation in which you will not feel at your best.

Therefore, itchy feet suggest an uncomfortable situation you would rather avoid. It could also mean you will be in another person’s shoes, which is another very common saying.

Left or right itchy foot

Superstitions vary depending on which foot is in question. Meanings also vary on local traditions. One superstition says that if your left foot is itching, there is a journey ahead, but not a fruitful one. It suggests loss and an unfortunate outcome.

It does not necessarily have to reflect an actual journey and travel, but also an activity you might undertake.

Either way, it is considered a bad sign. This is sometimes interpreted as a sign of not being welcome at the place you are heading to.

If your right foot is itching, it means the opposite. Itchy right foot suggests you will have a good opportunity and you will take it.

It suggest you are about to make a good decision and choose a good direction in your life. It means you will be lucky. Right foot is usually associated with positive outcomes and vice versa.

For one that is grumpy, people use to say that he or she stepped on their left foot in the morning. It is the same if your whole day goes bad and somehow everything you do turns out to be a mistake.

A bad day is commonly associated with waking up ‘on your left foot’. Itchy left foot usually represent loss of any sort.

It could be a metaphor for anything, not necessarily an actual physical journey.

Other itchy feet superstitions

There is even a superstition about having itchy ankles. It is considered a good sign and it is related to money. Itchy ankles mean you will get some money. There is another interesting superstition that says itchy ankles suggest a wedding approaching.

It could be your own wedding or someone you know. Either way, it suggests a wedding ceremony you would very likely attend.

In some traditions, itchy feet are not a particularly good sign. As we have mentioned above, some traditions associate itchy feet with death of a family member.

In some cultures, itchy feet represent grief and sorrow.

Itchy feet, just like itchy nose or burning ears, means someone is gossiping about you. It could also mean someone mentions you in good light, as well.

Additional note on itchy feet

Itchy feet are a sensation everyone gets at times. Sometimes it is a sudden, intermittent sensation which is what is most commonly associated with superstitious beliefs.

On the other hand, itchy feet are sometimes a sign of some medical problem.

If your feet are itchy too often, it might be a good idea to check it up. Sometimes unsuitable shoes or materials of our socks irritate feet and make it itchy.

There are various medical reasons that could make your feet itchy. Tingling and itchy feet could suggest a neurological problem. Maybe some of your spinal nerves are entrapped.

It is just something that would be good to check out, if itchy sensation comes and goes very often. If it is only an occasional phenomenon, there is likely nothing to worry about.

These itchy feet superstitions are all very old and no one knows for sure where these beliefs come from. No one can even tell if they are true or not.

Well, it is up to you to see. If it happens you have itchy feet and then you get an invitation letter and a plane ticket, there is possibly some mysterious energy involved.