This week, we’re bringing back our community posts with the topic ‘Superstitions’. Most of us have heard them, probably in elementary school, with chants and fun – things like ‘Step on a crack; break your mamma’s back’, and ‘Friday the 13th’. Others come into play due to religious beliefs, or cultural practices, and some come to us through wivestales and myth.
Superstitions represent different things to different people, and we asked the members of our Circle to discuss and share their thoughts about superstitions. They’ve shared their thoughts and beliefs, and how superstitions play a part in their own lives. Please feel free to read and comment with your own thoughts and ask questions to our individual members if you like.
Without further adieu, let’s begin!
I have quite a few superstitions that affect my life. And being somewhat OCD, they have become compulsions, which make them even more powerful; things that are so ingrained in me that I absolutely can’t do them any other way without feeling like I’m suffering psychological torture.
When I was little, I read a book that said it was lucky to put your left shoe on first. This same book stated that it was un-lucky to walk around the house with only one shoe on. I have been abiding by these “rules” all of my life. I have managed to pass this superstition on to my son to an extent. I could never bring myself to put his right shoe on first when he was little. He asked me why at one point, and of course I had to tell him, so now he puts his left shoe on first as well, when he remembers. My Significant Other (SO) used to put my shoes on for me while I was pregnant, and I would never let him put my right shoe on first either. I also never put on a shoe unless I have them both in hand; no putting one on and then looking around the house for the other!
My mother passed down a superstition that has been in her family for generations, and I’m sure I will pass it on to my children. We never wash clothes on the first day of the year. “If you wash whites on the first day of the year, you’ll be washing clothes for the dead by year’s end.” Meaning that someone in your family, or someone you’re close to will die that year. When I was very little, we used to laundry at my grandmother’s house every Saturday, unless of course, Saturday fell on January 1st. In that case, she would actually give my mother money to go to the laundry mat on any other day but that one. My mom used to laugh about it and kind of imply that it was just a stupid superstition, but after my grandmother passed away, we never washed clothes on New Year’s Day again. I think Mom had washed something on the first that year, and it messed with her head. Whatever the case, she made sure to remind us to wash clothes a few days in advance every year after that, and because I don’t want to take any chances, even though it seems silly, I’ll never wash clothes on the first either.
Superstitions are some pretty intense things.
My biggest superstition is “don’t put a hat on a bed”. It has so many stories behind the meaning that I have to recognize it. It’s said to have come from the evil spirits in the hair, or static electricity that spilled over into the place you lay your head that can invade your mind. It is also said that putting a hat on the bed causes arguments. It makes no sense to put a hat on a bed; that’s what hat racks are for!
Our first rescue cat Monkey has been missing for 7 days now. I am doing everything I can to bring him back to me. This includes praying to Gaia, wearing and sleeping with certain crystals, and meditating on my baby…
So I guess my thoughts are that I am very hopeful that superstition works. I have always carried” lucky” things with me, since I was a child. I am a superstitious person.
Bridey decided to create a post on her blog that is much more detailed than there is space here. We encourage you to read her entire post on her blog, Forge and Flame, but we also posted an excerpt here.
The thought of superstition brings to mind all sorts of things. Black cats. The number 13. Mirror safety. Finding pennies. Sidewalk cracks. Fingers crossed. Walking around, not under ladders. Knocking on wood. The list really goes on and on.
As a child I knew several little jingles that went with the superstitions, but have no idea how or where I learned them. “Find a penny, pick it up… all day long you’ll have good luck!” and “Don’t step on the cracks or you’ll break your mother’s back!” come to mind for me. I don’t really know that I even knew they were superstitions, but as a child I jumped every crack I saw in the sidewalk and collected every face up penny I encountered. Even as an adult now I catch myself intentionally stepping over the cracks more often than not.
I’ll admit it, breaking mirrors freaks me out a little. I don’t like it. It probably has a lot to do with the superstition, but I also hate to hear the sound of glass breaking. Besides, if the superstition is accurate… 7 years is a long time to be unlucky! Interestingly enough, this superstition comes from something I consider kind of silly. People used to believe that mirrors didn’t just capture your physical image, but also captured a piece of your soul. This is why many people in the south would cover all of the mirrors in their home when a loved one passed on… to prevent them from getting trapped in the mirrors of the house. I just make it a point to be careful around mirrors and I cannot remember having ever broken one. Which leads me to… I better “knock on wood” to make sure it stays that way.
Being a magically minded person I don’t see the spirit world as scary or daunting. On the contrary, it’s quite fascinating and interesting to me. I don’t mind mingling with the spirit world on occasion so long as they are playing nice. So far, my superstitious customs seem to have kept any interactions pleasant. For that I am thankful.
Rowan also created a blog post on Rowan Hale, and again, please read her entire post there, but here is an excerpt:
Though I am not ‘fearful’ of the consequence of breaking a superstition, there are some that I do sort-of follow. There are others that, until researching for this post, I hadn’t realized would be classified as ‘superstition’ rather than ‘tradition’.
For example, ‘bad luck comes in threes’. I’ve always felt/followed this one. I’ve experienced this phenomenon many times, and have seen friends go through the same. So at the first sign of trouble, I get prepared. This is called confirmation bias. First, a couple of things go wrong, then something else, then a third (and final thing). After that, things start to look up. Sooner or later, the same thing happens again; trouble in three: people experience one bit of trouble and then start looking for the next bit of bad luck. Then again, and again, and sooner or later, you have a saying… and so on and so-forth.
Another is ‘wish on a star’ and the practice of not telling the wishes lest they fail to come true. This is another that I’ve practiced all my life. I remember as a child sitting in the window sill looking for the first star.
We hope that this gives you some insight on how local Pagans think! Looking forward to your comments.