What Does Superstition Mean To You?
What is superstition? What pops into your mind? Do you think of black cats and eerie events and situations? There is a spiritual perspective to superstition and superstitions. It may be beneficial to look at some of the more common superstitions, their meaning, and their derivation.
What Is Superstition? Is It Merely The Fear Of The Unknown?
What is the definition of superstition? The word’s etymology suggests that it means to stand over something, which implies that it supersedes or stands above ordinary logic. This term encompasses any belief or practice considered irrational or supernatural by non-practitioners. It is often attributed to fate, magic, perceived supernatural influence, or fear of the unknown.
Beliefs and practices surrounding luck, amulets, astrology, fortune-telling, spirits, and paranormal entities. These beliefs commonly include foretelling future events by specific or unrelated prior events.
The term superstition is also used to describe a religious belief not widely practiced in a given society, regardless of whether the dominant religion contains legitimate superstitions.
Superstitions And Your Beliefs
So, fundamentally, what a superstition is is a belief. It’s just a belief that somebody is choosing to believe. That’s all it is. Anything else? Like anything else, it’s just a belief. Your beliefs form the framework of your reality. So, you create your reality from the energy that you are emanating. And your beliefs are fundamental to that energy.
You filter your reality through your beliefs. They form the foundation of your life. So, if you believe you are unworthy, you create life circumstances of unworthiness. If you believe you are successful and everybody loves you, not many humans believe that, but if you do, then that’s what you create. So you can think of beliefs and belief systems like building bricks of your reality.
And so, if you have a superstition, as a belief, and you really believe in that superstition, then you are creating your reality through it.
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Superstition Definition And Examples
It is interesting to examine the superstitions that you grew up with. Do you still practice some of these beliefs? In self-examination, it may surprise you with the different superstitions you grew up with. Many of these superstitions are probably very old and were formed sometime in history. And they have been carried forward through different ancestral lineages. On the one hand, these superstitions can be nothing but a bit of fun for modern folks. And on the other hand, sometimes there may be something in them.
Let’s look at some of the common beliefs that you may recognize.
Four Leaf Clovers
If you find a four-leaf clover, it means that you will find good luck. You all have looked for four-leaf clovers at some time in your life. So, that belief is a folk tradition that seems to have started in Ireland because it’s associated with the Shamrock.
But apparently, there is also a Christian light ideology that says that each of the four leaves represents hope, faith, love, and luck.
Seeing A Magpie In Your Garden
This is a British superstition. When you see a magpie in your garden, or you see a magpie and you count the number of magpies, depending on how many there are, it means a different thing. It’s an old English folk or nursery rhyme. And it goes like this:
- One for sorrow, two for joy,
- Three for a girl, four for a boy,
- Five for silver, six for gold,
- Seven for a secret, never to be told.
So if you see one Magpie, that’s bad luck. If you see two or more, it’s good luck. So that was always a fun one that I remember as a child.
This is an example of different cultural backgrounds often having different superstitions that they grew up with.
The Fear Of The Number 13
There are actually lots of superstitions around numbers. One of these numbers is 13, and there is much fear around it, which is called triskaidekaphobia. Elevators in buildings generally will not have a 13th-floor or elevator button. But if you think about it, the building still has a 13th floor. It is just not named because of the superstition around the number. Friday the 13th is considered to be bad luck.
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Knock On Wood
Do you knock on wood? That’s another old British superstition. That one originated in the British Isles and the Druids. Their belief system included the existence of good and evil spirits that resided in trees. And they could be called upon for protection or chased away by knocking on their home.
Interestingly, the Italians don’t knock on wood; they touch steel. And it’s because of iron horseshoes. So that’s what is lucky for them.
Do you throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder when you spill it? You have learned these things primarily as kids and still do them as adults. And you don’t necessarily know where they come from. So it’s interesting to see where they come from.
This superstition apparently has to do with warding off evil. It stems from Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper, where Judas Iscariot is portrayed as accidentally spilling salt. And since he is associated with doing something terrible, spilling salt has been considered unlucky. So, throwing it over your shoulder would blind the devil waiting behind your shoulder. And, of course, the devil is on your left shoulder, and the angel is on your right shoulder.
There is also a superstition about salt being protective. In some ceremonial traditions, they make a circle of salt around them to keep spirits out or entrap spirits within. Also, you could trap a spirit by getting it to stand in a circle of salt.
Walking Under A Ladder
Another common and interesting superstition that you again might think of as being English or European, but it actually might be from ancient Egypt, is it’s bad luck to walk under a ladder. I loved to walk under a ladder. So apparently, the ancient Egyptians thought you might accidentally see a god going up or down a ladder. So they just avoided avoided it.
And in Europe, it’s related to the Holy Trinity because a ladder leaning against a wall looks like a triangle. And it’s like a sacred structure. And so, to walk under the ladder would be akin to destroying the sanctity of the Trinity, causing you to incur some form of punishment.
Also, the one that rings more true is that the ladder resembles the gallows when they used to hang people. The gallows were equipped with 13 steps, which melds two superstitious beliefs.
Snakes Are Evil
Well, that’s one of the religious superstitions based on Christianity. Biblically, it is stated that the serpent in the Garden of Eden depicted Satan, who was sent to tempt Adam and Eve. The dove is the opposite, depicted as the sign of Peace and the Holy Spirit.
Breaking A Mirror
Breaking a mirror will cause the culprit seven years of bad luck. It is a causation fallacy in actuality, yet still, a superstitious belief shared by many. That one is from ancient Rome and ancient Greece, originally. And the Romans believed that poor health would cause a mirror to crack. And they saw seven as the number of years required to complete an entire cycle of sickness and renewal. It comes from ancient Rome. And it’s survived for over 2000 years.
People worldwide are still saying that a broken mirror means bad luck. And it’s actually interesting when you think about a belief like that as almost endemic within the collective consciousness, a superstition around the world, and has been for 1000s of years. For 1000s of years, people have been saying, oh, a broken mirror means seven years of bad luck.
What Is Superstition
So, what is a superstition? It’s a belief or a belief system that one adheres to. If you believe it deeply, it will be a building block of your reality. For most of you, you take them with a pinch of salt. And through those beliefs, the spiritual concept underlying it is whatever you believe will create your reality. So if you genuinely believe a superstition, then in a way, it’s true for you. If you believe that breaking a mirror causes seven years of bad luck, you are more likely to create seven years of bad luck because you truly believe it.
Join us on this episode of Unlocking Your Truth, What Is Superstition, Is It Merely The Fear Of The Unknown, and rediscover some of your old beliefs around superstitions you may have.
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Questions and comments from listeners during the broadcast of What Is Superstition, Is It Merely The Fear Of The Unknown:
- Brian Well, there’s that whole thing about Friday the 13th, but I’ve always had great days on Friday the 13th. I look forward to them!
- Brian – I found a five-leaf clover last year!
- Katie Are superstitions based on some data or “proof” similar to stereotypes? Or are they assumed to be correlated more because they are noticed more? Or do beliefs based on superstitions become manifestations?
- Victoria My mum told me that when your ears are burning, someone’s talking about you. The left ear is for love, and the right ear is for spite.
- Kimba I grew up believing that doves signify peace and snakes symbolize evil. I would not have been allowed to have a pet snake, haha.
- BC – There are some cultures. I’ve read stories from them, and they have a heavy belief in supernatural creatures, usually of an evil nature. Can such beliefs make such creatures exist, like the Tulpa? Supposedly, such strong beliefs can manifest such beings.
- History Mom I knock on wood. How about whistling past a graveyard?
- Lea Oh, and the one about making a silly face, and if the wind blows, it stays that way.
- Vicki When the palm of your hand is itching, you should rub it on wood. One hand denotes giving, and the other is for receiving. I don’t remember which ones which.
- Cole There’s the one about a black cat crossing your path.
- Zachary A black cat crossing your path is considered good luck in many parts of the world. In Britain, Ireland, Japan, and Germany, encountering a black cat on your travels is believed to be lucky.
- Lea In Newfoundland, the children are told to keep bread in their pockets. If the fairies come to take you away, you drop bread on the ground to get away.
- History Mom My grandmom was very superstitious. We couldn’t open an umbrella in the house. That was one of many.
- Brian There are all kinds of sea superstitions, like a ship sighting the ghost ship “The Flying Dutchman” would meet its fate shortly afterward. Or if someone dies building a ship, it is cursed with bad luck, etc.
- HM We knew if it rained on your wedding day, it was a pretense of tears.
- Zachary You will find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
- BC Studies in chaos theory or complexity theory support the superstition that bad things happen in threes.
- Brian – If enough people believe in Santa Claus, he must exist.
- Kimba I was taught not to be superstitious. The message I received was that it was playing with evil.
- Shannon Hi, lovely Lesley and Mr Corry. It’s been a long time! With these high rates, I would like a general energy reading to help me romp happily forward with my career.
- Lorraine Whoever catches the bridal bouquet will be married next.
- CK – How do you break the hold of a superstition in your life?
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Unlocking Your Truth is my weekly radio show. We discuss metaphysical things during the one-hour show, such as What Is Superstition, Is It Merely The Fear Of The Unknown? The show airs on CIVL 101.7 FM at 7-8 PM (Pacific Time) every Tuesday evening or live-stream the show at CIVL.ca.
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