Lucky Thirteen, Unlucky for Some – Black Cats and other Halloween Tales Unmasked
Unlucky 13 and Emotional Response
This is my thirteenth hub and my logical side of the brain tells me there is nothing to fear. Superstitions are simply false notions that something may or may not happen given a certain circumstance or event. On the other hand the inbuilt emotional response - on this my thirteenth hub - is to rush right through it and hope that no-one notices. The ‘no-one’ being the powers that be who give weight to the superstition about the number thirteen being unlucky.
Where Did it all Begin for the Superstitious?
Given that most superstitions have been passed down through the generations from mother to daughter, it would seem they should carry some weight. But from a completely unemotional attachment, there is little substance to many of the favourites. The following are merely a few of the foundations for bad luck and, where possible, how to counteract them.
Lucky 13, Unlucky for Some
The most widely recognised explanation for the unlucky 13 principle is due to the number of disciples seated at the table of Christ for the last supper. Jesus was purportedly the last dining member to be seated but was crucified the next day. The myth continues through to the 11th century when at a banquet of Norse Gods, thirteen deities in total, one was killed by an arrow made of mistletoe. Thirteen is also the number of steps used for someone to walk the gallows to their death.
Black Cat Crossing Your Path
In some cultures black cats are accepted as good omens, Scottish Lore, for instance would have us believe a strange black cat on your doorstep signifies great things coming your way. The Japanese promote the virtues of the black cat and yet other countries revere the mystique that may be traced to ancient Egypt. The goddess Bast, was said to become as one with the spirit of the black cat. To win favours households would gather many black cats in the hope that the goddess would impart prosperity on the family.
None of this tells of the bad luck coming from a black cat crossing your path and there seems little verification in the history of the cat to suggest there is any foundation in this one. If you're still a bit nervous when kitty runs out in front of your car, turn your hat backwards and mark a big X on the windscreen.
Break a Mirror Seven Years Bad Luck
This one comes from the Romans, the first to create the glass mirror. Their belief was the reflection captured the soul hence broken glass broken soul. It takes seven years for a soul to be repaired and in those days there was no way of repairing a mirror. There was an alternative though and that was to grind the mirror to dust. Without the reflection there was no damage to the soul.
My first seven year stint for breaking a mirror came when I was seven. Another at nine and one in my teens. I was a naturally clumsy child with a superstitious grandmother. She never explained why I would get 21 years of bad luck in total but I believed her and spent most of those years in the garden looking for a four leaf clover.
The Good Luck Vibe for Superstitions
I could go on and on and I will for a bit, because there are those superstitions that have an up side or the ones that were used as the stepping stones to bring good luck.
Itchy Right Palm
Itchy palms are supposed to be lucky and bring wealth. Right receiving, left leaving. There is very little information on where this superstition started but there is plenty on whether it is the right hand or the left that says if you can expect to receive money. A woman from Thursday Island swore that it meant something good if either hand was itchy but not necessarily anything to do with money, perhaps a visit from a long lost friend or family member.
Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Druids in the 19th century are believed to have associated mistletoe with many magical properties including fertility. It is said to kiss under the mistletoe brings good luck but luck turns against anyone who avoids it. Maybe the Norse God killed by the mistletoe arrow shunned the kissing ritual the previous Christmas.
Aussie Superstition She'll be Right Mate
Given that it is coming up to Halloween and given that I live in Australia where we do not follow the tradition I feel quite safe. Except, as I was dusting the window that frames our entrance way, the glass eye from Turkey that has watched over us for many a year, slipped from my hands and shattered at my feet. But it’s alright. I made sure I slung a pewter of salt over my left shoulder, or should that be my right?
No matter, I did both and remembered to put salt on the shopping list for tomorrow. Because here in Australia, otherwise known as the lucky country, even if you’ve lost your lucky rabbit’s foot we live by the Aussie philosophy. You might have heard the saying, she’ll be right mate. And it probably will.
Copyright © 2010 Karen Wilton
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