Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Superstitions

The definition of superstition is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.
Believing in a superstition is an irrational attitude of the mind toward the supernatural. It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events.

Despite the fact that there is no logical reason to believe in a superstition, most people have at least one superstition that they believe or practice.

Below are listed 13 of my favorite superstitions:

1. Walking under a Ladder – Bad Luck
It is common sense to avoid walking under an open ladder for fear of something falling on you. The superstitious reasons have to do with the triangle that the leaning ladder forms. When you walk though the triangle, you are tempting the fates. You might awaken the spirits that live within the triangle.
It is also said that hangmen used to use a ladder to hang someone from the gallows, and it was believe that if you walked under a ladder, the hangmen would turn his gaze your way, or 'Death would notice you'.

2. Knock on Wood – Avoid Tempting Fate

This one may have started with the association that wood and trees have good spirits that dwell within them. It used to be considered good luck to tap trees to let the wood spirits within know you were there.
I have also heard that wood sprites loved to play tricks on mortals. You knock the sprite out of the wood to prevent it from bringing you misfortune. When you knock on wood, you knock up from under the table to disorient the sprite.

3. Tossing Spilled Salt over your Shoulder – Good Luck

Salt has always been considered a valuable substance capable of purifying and warding off evil spirits. By tossing spilled salt over your left shoulder, you are driving away the evil spirits.

4. Closing the Closet Door
Before turning off the lights, you need to shut the doors to your closet, if left open, you will have nightmares. Long ago, people believed that darkness was a portal for the dead. With the closet door closed, they would still be trapped.
Currently, I believe it stems from being afraid of the dark, and watching too many scary movies.

5. Hang Wind Chimes at you Front Door – Ward off evil

The sound of chimes drives away demons because they're afraid of the loud noise.

6. Break a Mirror – 7 years Bad Luck
Long before mirrors were invented, people used to see their reflections in pools of water. They believed this reflection was their soul. And they believed that any interference with the reflection would injure it. When mirrors were invented, and they were broken, it was thought that the soul was harmed. Seven year thing come in from the Roman belief was that life renewed itself every seven years. So the person who broke it would need seven years to recover.

7. Black Cats
If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it. If it crosses your path, change direction. The cat is considered by many to be an omen of doom; not only is it bad luck, it is VERY bad luck. From there the superstition goes as far as belief that the black cat is a demon in disguise trying to cut off a person’s access to heaven.

8. Fine a Coin
It is good luck to pick up a coin that is “heads” side up. Bad luck if it’s “tail’s” side up.

9. Sneeze
Cover your mouth when sneezing. Your soul may escape otherwise. The devil can enter your body when you sneeze. Saying “Bless You” drives the devil away

10. Open Umbrella Indoors
Long ago people used umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. It is said that opening an umbrella in the shade would insult the sun god.

11. Passing by a Cemetery

When passing a cemetery, you should make the sign of the cross and/or say a requiem for the dead “Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord. Let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.”
Another practice is to hold your breath as you pass a cemetery to prevent the souls of the dead from entering your body.

12.Four-Leaf Clovers
Universal symbols of good luck, four-leaf clovers exist; they’re just hard to find. Legend says that when Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden, Eve snatched a four-leaf clover as a remembrance of her days in Paradise. Since then, lucky attributes have been assigned to all four leaves of the rare plant.
The 4-leaf clover is one of the world´s most prized good luck charms. The four leaves each have their own special meaning: one for fame, one for wealth, one for love, one for health. The owner will have luck in all.
If you find a 4-leaf clover you will be able to see fairies, recognize witches, and detect evil spirits. If you get the clover as a gift, your luck would only be more powerful than it already was.

13. Unlucky Number 13

The fear of the number 13 is very common today and is avoided in many different ways. Some buildings don’t have a 13th floor. You won’t find a seat and sometimes row number 13 on a plane, theater, or bus. Most hotels and hospitals forgo the room number 13. And often 13 is omitted from street addresses and zip codes.
There are many, many references as to where our fear of the number 13 started.
The bible: At the last supper, there were thirteen at the table. Judas was the 13th guest and he betrayed Jesus.
In ancient Rome: a witch’s coven comprised of 12. The 13th member would be the devil. Numerologists consider the number 12 a complete number for several reasons: the number of apostles, the number of months in a year, the number of Olympian gods, and the number of zodiac signs. 13's association with bad luck is the simple, unavoidable fact that it exceeds a complete number by just one.

It turns out that these and other enduring superstitions have something in common: They're all about control.

"With many important events in our lives, as much as we might like to guarantee that they might happen or not happen, we often can't be certain of what the outcome might be. Superstitions give us a feeling of control when we may not actually have control. They bring about the sense that you're at least doing something." -Stuart Vyse, Author of "Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Thunderstorm comes to Life

Coming out through the last stand of trees, Karen stopped and blinked to adjust to the bright sun light after hiking through the dark woods.
She sat down by an old oak tree. The large tree sat near the edge of a field, its twisted branches intertwined into a great canopy, providing some cover from the sun.
Karen watched the grass sway with the wind across the green field. Up in the sky, she noticed large clouds forming. They were rolling in quickly and would soon be blanketing the field.
From the corner of her eye, Karen saw a flash of lighting followed by the low rumble of thunder. The wind picked up. The old oak tree began to moan and the grass struggled against the blustery weather.
On her cheek, Karen felt a wet bead of rain and within moments, the field was being showered in a downpour. The sky lit up as a sheet of lighting blasted the sky. Thunder crashed with an immense boom. Karen took herself back into the woods. The canvas of trees would shelter her from the driving rain as she headed back for home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oops

Okay, okay. So I haven't been keeping up with my weekly writing. I do have a fantastic excuse though.
For the past few weeks I have been working on
drum roll please ...
Getting my book "The Halloween Fairy" published.
I've been collaborating with two illustrators, blocking the pages, and editing, editing, editing.
My publisher (who also happens to be my brother) plans on having it ready to be sold by mid-July.
Tee Hee Hee! I can't wait to hold my first book in my hands.
So Exciting!!!

I will try to be more vigilant in continuing my weekly writing.