Sunday, September 27, 2009

So, You Say You're Not Superstitious

The four leaf clover is a universally accepted symbol of good luck which is ages old. According to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden. It was particularly important to the early Celts in Wales as for the, it worked as a charm against evil spirits. Druids held the four leaf clover in high esteem and considered them a sign of luck. One leaf stands for faith, another for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck. What beautiful symbolism!!!

Superstitions! Like it or not, we all have them. You might say, superstitious? Not me! Not so fast. Read on, my friends. You might be very surprised. Although I try very hard not to be superstitious and have succeeded in putting several of mine behind me--knock on wood--there are some that have been so ingrained in me since childhood...not walking under a ladder...three on a match is bad luck...these will most likely remain with me throughout my lifetime. Obviously silly, where did these superstitions come from? Below are just a few of the traditions we carry with us today.

The Toast
The toast comes from a number of sources, one being the Northern rite called the sumbel or the full. In the full, the group would gather around a table and each person would raise their horn or cup and honor a god, ancestor or make ritual boasts.

Crossing Your Fingers for Luck
Crossing fingers comes from a pre-Christian practice in Europe. Originally it was performed with two people crossing their index fingers in such a way that their fingers formed a solar cross. The solar cross was considere a symbol of perfect unity and at the point of intersection, it was considered that there were beneficial spirits residing there. If a wish were made on the intersecting point of the solar cross then it was anchored there until such time that the wish came true. Gradually the custom evolved until only one person was required to cross their index and middle finger. Today we cross our fingers to get away with telling little white lies.

The Best Man
The Best Man in weddings originated with the Germanic Goths. Around 200 CE it was customary for a man to marry a woman who lived in his town or village. But, if there were a shortage of women, then the man would take a trip to a nearby village and 'steal' a bride. The person he would most likely take along for thi would be, of course, his 'best friend.' During the wedding ceremony, this 'best friend' remained at the groom's side, armed in case the bride's family had ideas of trying to take her back by force.

Carrying the Bride Over the Threshhold
This custom originated as a symbolic act for the above mentioned abducting the bride from which "The Best Man" tradition originated.

The White Flag
The White Flag comes from the Vikings. During a conflict, there were two shields that were kept for signalling. One was a shield painted red which signalled that the hostilities were about to begin. The other was a white shield which signalled for the hostilities to cease so that the leaders could confer about a possible resolution to conflict. From the white shield, it eventually evolved into a white flag.

Unlucky 13
This tradition comes from Scandinavian lore. According to the story, there was a bnaquet in Valhalla in which there were 12 Gods in attendance. Loki entered uninvited, raising the number to 13, and later, Baldor was slain.

Stork Bringing a Baby
This tradition began in Scandinavia. Mothers would tell their young that the new baby was brought by the stork and to explain why the new mother needed rest, they said that the stork bit the mother on the leg while there. The reason the stork was used was that the stork was so affection to its parents that it took care of them in their old age.

Friday the 13th
This tradition most likely began as a Christian attempt to dishonor our great Mother Goddess. It was said that when the Germanic peoples converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished to a mountain top and labeled as a witch. It was said by the Christians that every Friday (Frigga's Day) Frigga would gather 11 other witches and the Devil...making 13...and they would spitefully plan doing things for the following weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I love superstitions! They are the remnants in today's world of The Old Ways. They are also passed down from one generation to the next via oral tradition. There's not too many things you can say that about anymore. You literally learn these old superstitions at your mother's and grandmother's knees!