Saturday, 15 May 2021

Superstitious? Me?

Are you superstitious?   I ask this after reading the Credo column in to day's Times over my lunchtime coffee.   Sheridan Voysey, the writer of the column, is speaking about the spread of conspiracy theories and their place in religion, this being Saturday' s Religious Column, but it did set me off thinking about superstition and the part it still plays in our lives.   So I ask you to think again - are you ever superstitious?   It is easy to say 'of course I am not - I don't believe in any of that rubbish' but I will admit to vestiges of superstition lingering in my persona.

I can remember loads of incidents in my childhood when my parents displayed superstition.   It would be done half with a laugh but it would be done all the same.  'Rabbits' on the first of the month, first thing in the morning.   Of course it didn't matter whether you said it or not and it would be said half in fun - but said all the same.   Spill some salt?   Bend down, pick a pinch up of the floor with your left hand and throw it over your right shoulder (or it might be the other way round - but you did it). Drop your glove on the floor?   Get somebody else to pick it up for you and don't thank them.   And (I saw this on The Repair Shop the other night - they repaired a lovely old purse - there had to be coins put into it before it was accepted back.)   Daft I said - until this morning when I looked up at the top of my bookcase:   My dear Grand daughter lives in Glasgow and way back at the start of Covid she had read somewhere how Birch twigs were lucky.   She draws very well and she sent me through the post a pastel drawing of a weeping Birch tree near where they live and she enclosed a bunch of delicate birch twigs.   I tied them in a bundle and hung them from the top of the bookcase.   The pastel is on my notice board as I write this.  Am I taking the birch twigs down ?  Of course not - I don't intend to tempt fate.

She did  ring with a lovely piece of Good News - there is another baby on the way - her daughter is to have a baby sister or brother (at thirteen weeks too early to tell yet) -  this will mean I will have two Great Grand children and two step Great Grandchildren 6,5,4 so far and another one in November - something to look forward to.

Let's hope things are beginning to look up - I mustn't tempt fate (superstition again I suppose) but this wretched Indian variant means it has not gone away yet by any means.

31 comments:

Marcia LaRue said...

I think, for the most part, I am pretty much superstition-free! Some of what you stated here seems pretty ridiculous to me ... I am heading towards 78 in August and, I think the older we get, the less we deem superstition credible!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Northriding said...

I must admit I always try to salute a magpie

Debby said...

I'm not a superstitious person. That being said, though, I must confess that I am about to turn the same age as my father was at the time of his death. I admit to feeling just a little uneasy about that.

Your granddaughter sounds just as lovely as her grandmother!

I cannot think of any old superstitions that were spoken of other than 'don't open an umbrella in the house' (my grandmother) and breaking a mirror is 7 years bad luck (my mother). I guess one that I do remember, now, come to think of it, is that my grandfather was dying. He woke up from a nap and looked at his old and grieving wife and said, "Oh, I dreamed we were getting married again. You were so beautiful," and he was so happy remembering his wedding day. He spoke of it several times during the day, and it always gave me a chill because dreaming of a wedding signifies a death within the day. He was gone that night, and all these years later, I am grateful for his happiness on his last days.

Bovey Belle said...

I'm dreadful - cannot shake off the thought that single Magpies are bad luck (and of course, with mama Magpie doing her motherly duties at the moment, single ones are all you see!) We never saluted them, but I had heard of that. When I was young we didn't tread on the cracks in the paving stones, if you saw an ambulance you x'd your fingers until you saw a 4 legged animal/man in uniform etc. Black cats weren't welcome to run across our path, and salt spilt? as you said, a pinch with the left hand over the right shoulder (to keep the Devil at bay!) I will NOT allow new shoes on tables (so of course my wretched offspring make a point of doing that), try not to cross knives and for some peverse reason, don't like seeing scissors left open.

May blossom (Hawthorn) was never allowed into the house, nor Peacock feathers and a Robin flying into the house signified a death. Umbrellas were never opened in our house, and I once broke a big mirror and believe me everything did seem to go wrong for 7 years and more.

Grand news on the new on-the-way little one in your family. My three (in their 30s) have yet to find the "right one" so no grandchildren yet.
Superstitious? Yes, I'll blame my mum, who was the same!

Anonymous said...

Definitely not superstitious born on Friday the 13th

The Feminine Energy said...

No, I can honestly say I'm not superstitious in the way you described. But those things are fun to believe in, aren't they. I love the story of how your granddaughter drew the picture of the birch tree for you and sent you twigs too. That warmed my heart! And congratulations on the new life headed your way, in the family. Babies... evidence that God thinks the world should go on. ~Andrea xoxo

Sue in Suffolk said...

My Mum was very superstitious so I've inherited some.

She would have agreed with many of the things other people have said like opening an umbrella in the house and never bringing in May blossom or Lilac. Putting money in a purse when given and never giving scissors as a gift(would cut a friendship)Shoes should never be put on a table.
She always bought something from a gypsy woman when they came to the door selling lace mats or bundles of lucky heather (they don't do that now do they?)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh gosh I remember all of these from my childhood - thank you for calling them back to mind.

the veg artist said...

Never shoes on a table with me either, although I'm perfectly happy to walk under a ladder. 'Pinch, punch, first of the month' was popular with us as children, to see who could get one of the others first.

The bike shed said...

Harmless folk traditions and genuine superstitions are different things. You might like your birch twigs but you don't actually believe it in any deep sense. Just as we don't truly believe in not walking under ladders or pinches of salt...
Truly held superstition can, however, be very dangerous and lead to avoiding medical intervention or the suppression of women's rights. The superstition around menstruation for example has negatively impacted women for centuries.

Rachel Phillips said...

I was brought up by a very superstitious mother and it was never taken as a joke and examples would be given as to why things happened because some superstition had not been adhered to. I am still very superstitious but I mainly keep it to myself. You don't forget in a hurry.

JayCee said...

Of course I am not superstitious... touch wood and fingers crossed...

Bonnie said...

I have been superstitious at times and feel like some items can be lucky for you. However I try hard to avoid all conspiracy theories because some of those can cause real problems.

Anne Brew said...

I'm not superstitious but...
No new shoes on the table
No ivy indoors
Spilt salt over the shoulder
Black cats crossing the path
Seeing one magpie
Knocking on wood ( can be my skull if no wood nearby! )
Fingers crossed
Falling upstairs
Breaking a mirror
W
Making a wish on a new moon which can't be done through glass, which necessitates taking my glasses off!

Heather said...

I would say I wasn't superstitious but you have made me realise that I say 'touch wood' and 'fingers crossed', and don't walk under ladders mainly because I don't fancy having a tin of paint dropped on my head. There could be others but I can't recall any just now. I remember my father saying 'good morning Mr.Magpie' when we saw a single one. Perhaps a left-over habit from childhood?

Sue said...

I'm not superstitious (although I never open an umbrella indoors!) because I can't remember the rules but my mother-in-law always said you should never look at a new moon through glass.

Librarian said...

Many of the ones you and the other readers have mentioned here are completely unknown to me, but I guess that is simoly a cultural thing. My superstitions are rather signs, as I like to call them. For instance, if a certain thing happens tomme when I hope for it, I see it as a sign that something else I am hoping for will also come true. Just silly little things, really, and not anything I firmly believe in - just stuff that puts me in a good, positive mood, which in turns makes my entire day better.

CharlotteP said...

Lovely news about your grandaughter!
I would have said 'me, Superstitious? No!' But then immediately thought 'surely, you throw the salt over your left shoulder with your right hand?'...and yes...I do. Just in case!
My Nan would have told you that it was very lucky to be passed by a haywagon going the opposite direction. It would be unlucky to be passed by one going the same way, as you'd probably have broken down!

The Weaver of Grass said...

What an interesting lot you all are with your ideas here.

Rachel - too true - you don't forget such things in a hurry - in fact they stay there at the back of your mind for ever I think.

Bike Shed - good point that you make too - on a more serious note.


Thank you all.

Rae said...

I had been told that my grandmother needed a new chef style knife as the handle had broken on hers. It was suggested I get it for her for her birthday as she had very little need for anything else. So I purchased a very good quality chefs knife and when she opened it, she scolded me for not taping a penny to the blade. It was done to assure she would never cut herself with this knife. I felt terrible as I remember her buying me a turkey or roast cutting set (knife with matching fork) when I got married. I noticed it had a penny taped to the blade of the knife. I had no idea. Ranee (MN) USA

Anonymous said...

Love the birch twigs story! I would say no, I'm not superstitious, but I do observe some customs (knocking on wood). My father, who was a scientist and I would have said not superstitious, had a lovely collection of unset gems, and when I was invited to pick one chose the opal, which he would not give me because he believed it would be bad luck. I was annoyed to discover that he had later had it set into a ring for my sister, but perhaps he changed his thinking? She subsequently lost the ring, so perhaps it WAS bad luck? Nah.

ceci

Anonymous said...

Up North in this State is one of our major opal mining towns, Coober Pedy where a lot of the population live in underground dugouts. The church is also underground as daytime temperatures are so fierce.
The most beautiful opal has been mined by generations in this town. I have visited Coober Pedy and I have been tempted many times since to have an opal ring, but the 'bad luck' superstition surrounding this beautiful stone has stopped me. Pam, Sth Australia.

Joanne Noragon said...

I used to give lip service to some superstitions, and I still like Rabbit.

sparklingmerlot said...

Good morning Mr/Mrs Magpie has morphed into "G'day Maggie!". Good evening Mr Moon if the new moon is seen through glass (mother). Touch wood, god willing, fingers crossed.
I believe that if one buys an opal for oneself it's not bad luck - only if it is gifted to you.
Money in a purse/wallet. If you gift a knife or pair of scissors you gift money as well to prevent the cutting of the friendship (or buying it back or something - again, my mother).
An Armenian friend gets very upset if I place my bag on the floor.
I love learning about superstition and religion as if you go far enough back there is often a very good reason as to why they formed in the first place - often the better educated clergy trying to keep the peasants in line!!!

Cro Magnon said...

I expect we all have certain rituals. If I ever see crossed knives I have to remove the bottom one. My mother taught me that. She also taught me to say 'White Rabbit White Rabbit' on the first of every month; but it has to be the first thing I say after midnight. Poor Lady M has monthly elbow bruises from when I remind her in the night!!

Midmarsh John said...

I remember seeing my mother's mother turn mirrors to face the wall during a storm so they wouldn't attract lightning. An often used saying in the family was 'See a pin and pick it up. The rest of the day you will have good luck.'

The Weaver of Grass said...

John - I remember my mother turning mirrors and saying the pin verse!Cro - thanks for the first laugh of the day Also apologies for my type size keep changing - my shake causes me to do this at the last minute. My 'school report' this morning says 'must try harder.
Sparklingmerlot - my birth stone is an opal and I always understood it was alright for me to wear one. Pam - I wonder if I am exempt from the bad luck because of this.

Thank you so much everyone - what fascinating reading you have given me on this Sunday morning.

Sue said...

Oh dear, I have several lilac trees and bring bunch after bunch into the house when the lilacs bloom. I also have a very large opal ring which I wear often and just love - if anything it has been lucky.

Could I put shoes on the table? No. Do I give knives as a present? No(don't want to break the friendship)and I cross fingers and touch wood automatically. As for opening umbrellas inside the house...

Yes,there is a point where superstitions can be an obstacle as the bike shed pointed out. But how interesting it is to read about them.

jinxxxygirl said...

I have so enjoyed reading this and the comments Pat... Yes, i would have to say i'am superstitious... I will avoid walking under a ladder... I don't like it when a black cat crosses my path when i'm out and about although i have owned and loved black cats.. (you will remember Jinx).. I would put money in a purse or wallet if ever gifting one.. And i would never step on a crack in the sidewalk...I have never before heard that opals are bad luck...hmmm.. and i have wanted one for years...I knock on wood...And if i knock over the salt shaker i through salt over my shoulder.. I never know which shoulder so it varies...I would never open an umbrella in the house... And if i ever broke a mirror i would give a thought to 7 years bad luck.. I think most of us are more superstitious than we thought... Hugs! debs

Tom Stephenson said...

I think that superstitions have the same effect on your mind as clips of annoying music have on it as ear-worms. They are difficult to get rid of.

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