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Superstitions: Irrational Beliefs or Cultural Mores

Superstitions: Irrational Beliefs or Cultural Mores?

We are what we believe ourselves to be…. our beliefs form the framework of our lives…

Yes, we are what we think…. our world and the people around us behave the way we expect them to… While as a species, some beliefs are common to us all – (I think, by now, most everyone on the planet believes the planet is round???), many core beliefs and attitudes, like our superstitions, tend to be culturally-based. In fact our superstitions tend to define growth and evolution within our cultural frameworks.

Almost every culture is driven in some senses by the superstitions and beliefs held by the group.

Our Superstitions say a lot about who we are, how we feel and and how we think about our world. Superstitions tell us a lot about our perception of the meaning of various signs and symbols that appear in our everyday lives.

Superstition is also a good example of a type of belief that you can choose not to “buy into”. Those who choose to believe, find their world delivering what they expect…. and those who don’t, are not affected….

“Too often we are superstitious and interpret signs in negative or hostile ways. Because we don’t believe in ourselves, we tend to think that fate is against us.

But life isn’t for us or against us. If we are attentive, we will see many signs of promise during each day. Signs of promise, signs of goodness, signs of beauty. And if we trust ourselves and our Higher Power, we will know how to interpret the world and use it to do good.

Sometimes we may be unsure of our next step or even our general direction. If we are patient and alert to the world around us, we will pick up hints and clues that will help us on our way — a friend’s telephone call, a warm hug, a chance encounter, a job offer, a word of advice from a loved one. When we are ready, we’ll know how to respond and what to do.

One thing we are learning to be sure of — in this world of signs, we are not alone.

I don’t want to believe in a hostile fate. The world is good and I am finding my way in it by being patient and learning to read the signs….”

You were reading from the book: Answers in the Heart by Anonymous Copyright 1989 by P. Williamson and S. Kiser.

So let’s talk about Superstition… Here’s a list we’ve gathered from among our friends and families… tell us yours. Talk to us…

About Red Hair

This old Irish superstition was submitted by one of our visitors, Jamie, of Warsaw, Kentucky:

In ancient Ireland if a traveler was to happen upon a woman with red hair he must turn around and start his journey all over again. The superstition comes from the legend of the goddess Macha who was said to have cursed the men of Ireland for nine generations with horrible pangs (like labor.)

The curse was not unwarranted of course. While in human form and pregnant the king of the land forced her to race against his fasted horses (for her husband had boasted of her speed) lest he be killed. She begged for sympathy and received none from the warriors in the crowd who were eager to see the sport. She won the race but the stress caused her to give birth to her children in the field. This is still known as Emain Macha (Macha’s twins.) For causing her this pain she cursed the men of Ireland except the hero Cucculain and her own children. When war came to the land only Cucculain could fight.

Macha as it turns out, had red hair.

Being a red head myself I find it a little unfair, but ever if I were in Ireland who knows who would turn tale from me…. Jamie :)

Common North American Superstitions

These were submitted by Chris Frye from Missouri:

NEVER put your shoes on the bed, that means a death in your family

If a wild bird flies into your house that means a sign of death

When a hearse passes by, you are to raise your feet and hold your breath and close your eyes. That will keep death away from your door.

From Millie, of Singapore, we get this advice about gifts:

Do not give your partners the following items as gifts:

Shoes – Encourages them to walk out of the relationship

Perfumes – Attracts a third party that can break up the relationship
Bags – Encourages them to pack and leave the relationship

Heather submits these interesting beliefs:

If you give a friend a knife as a gift they must give you a gift in return or it will cut the relationship. (I’ve heard this one, and to tell you the truth was upset when my Mom gave me a set of knives for Christmas one year… we had a very upsetting argument a year later… )

Another superstition is to take a straw wrapper off of the straw and tie it into a knot, and think of a specific person if the knot comes completely undone then the person you were thinking of was thinking of you however if the know does not come undone then they were not thinking of you at that time. Heather

Says Malinda:

I have always believed it to be bad luck to open an umbrella inside the home. Also another superstition is to never place shoes on a table/bench as it brings bad luck.

I think the superstition is not to put shoes on a table… I too have heard the one about the umbrella… umbrellas inside the home must be either closed or left upside down… thanks for sharing, Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

Here’s a sampling of what we’ve collected from other sources to date. Most North American kids know this one:

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back….

I’ve been known to wear a shirt inside out all day because of this one, (I believe rooted in French Canadian traditions):

If you accidentally find yourself wearing or doing something inside out or backwards, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! But you must not correct yourself…

About Mirrors Breaking

My daughter (Sag. born 11/23/74 in Okla. City, OK at 11:35pm) was sleeping Sunday morning 1/12/03 in her condo in Alexandria, VA, when for no apparent reason her large oval mirror propped securely on her desk crashed to the floor at broke at 6 a.m. ET. What is the psychic significance of a mirror crashing and breaking for no reason? Nancy

Certainly a wake up call here. Typically, a mirror breaking in this way is said to mean a death of loved one, or the loss of a close friend, seven years of bad luck. Best tell your daughter to bury the pieces of the mirror – under no circumstances should it be left up and broken.

Now your daughter is also in the midst of a Saturn return, a time of great change, so I would say that this is also a strong warning to take a second look at her choices right now – to be wary and very thoughtful before making any big changes… she could be heading in a difficult direction. Hope that helps, Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

About itching (probably passed on from many cultures):

Itchy ear, someone’s talking about you; itchy nose, you’ll kiss a fool; itchy right palm, you’ll meet someone new; itchy left palm, money’s coming, itchy feet, you’re on your way somewhere.

About Luck

Most of us are willing to take a few extra steps because:

  • It’s bad luck to walk under a ladder.
  • It’s bad luck to have a black cat cross your path.

Lots of us try to bring good luck into our lives by:

  • carrying a rabbit’s foot in our pockets
  • bringing a stick of coal to a friend’s home, New Year’s day (probably rooted in Welsh traditions)
  • putting a penny in our shoe
  • carrying a piece of jade or tiger’s eye

Sandy shares these beliefs from Polish traditions:

In Poland it is believed that if you say for example, a new cow has been born and you say “Oh how beautiful!” the evil spirits will be watching you and at night they will kill whatever you said was beautiful. You can prevent this by not saying anything about the beautiful thing or you can say “it’s lovely” but then you must spit over your shoulder very loudly like POUU!! To show the evil spirit that you didn’t mean what you said.

More superstitions about Good Luck:

At the end of your ‘good witch’ story, you said Good Luck, this is not a good thing to do. I base this on stories and events told to me by my nonna. About hexeswith human hair, or black hearted wishes.. good luck is anti even if actually meant sincerely, harm from this can come even when harmless. La Befana.. a good, old Italian witch.. represents all of the olde world qualities which are consistent of a good witch. and I was taught to spit, or form my hand into the ‘horns’ which breaks the evil eye. I thought you may want to know this. Good Story…not so good an ending. Best Wishes, is a better ending. Lucia

My mother always believed that, if you left your house to go somewhere but realized you had forgotten something, it was necessary to sit down before leaving the house again to avoid bad luck. Go figure. Louis

And if you’re feeling stuck in old patterns, old beliefs and ideas, Get a Reading. Our psychics may have the insight you’ve been reaching for….

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