The Lure of Superstition

By Marcia Bender

“Very superstitious,wash your face and hands
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong
You don’t wanna save me, sad is your song.”
—Superstition, Stevie Wonder

Have you ever knocked on wood, said “God Bless you” when someone sneezes, walked around a ladder rather than under it, crossed your fingers, or thrown salt over your left shoulder? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, it can be said that you are superstitious. I have been intrigued with superstitions since childhood and decided that I would do some intensive research into this fascinating subject to share with the readers of Transformation.

This work led me to the realization that it is very difficult to find out where and when these superstitions originated and to whom to give the credit for them. They seem to be passed on from generation to generation and come from all parts of the world. I have chosen a few of my favorites for this month’s column. While this is not a deep, spiritual, metaphysical inquiry into the subject of superstition, I have addressed it to honor and have some fun with the role that superstition has played in the development of our belief systems over the eons of human history.

What is a superstition?

Webster’s Dictionary defines superstition as: 1. Any belief or attitude that is inconsistent with the laws of science or with what is generally considered in the particular society as true and rational; especially such a belief in charms, omens, the supernatural, etc. 2. Any action or practice based on such a belief or attitude. 3. Such beliefs or attitudes collectively.

WASHING: It is believed that every time you wash yourself, a little of your life-essence as well as dirt goes into the water. This can leave you temporarily exposed to upsets and misfortune. Note: In ancient times people did not bath very often! So, here are the rules of washing: 1. Don’t wash your hands in the same water as someone else or you may quarrel before the end of the day. There is an exception to this: in the event that you have known each other intimately for seven years or more, this rule will not affect you. You may share the same water as someone else only if you make the sign of the cross on the water with your forefinger or spit in the water before washing. 2. DON’T pass the soap to another person as this can also bring bad luck, especially if you are sisters. If you are forced to share a bar of soap, don’t pass it from hand to hand. One of you must put it down and let the other person pick it up on his or her own. 3. Mothers should not wash a child’s right hand until he/she is one year old or the child will never gather riches. The other hand should be washed with a damp flannel cloth only until the age of one. 4. If a fisherman is having good luck he should not wash until the trip is over or the luck could be washed away.

HOUSE: When you are moving into a new house do not move in your possessions before doing the following: bring a box of coal and a plate of salt into the house and find a place to keep these two items. Take a new broom (it must have never been used before) and sweep the entire house. Now you can move in your furniture. On the outside of the door you should hang a horseshoe or a string of garlic. The horseshoe must be hung with its own nails and the way you hang it is very important. Hang it upright for good luck and upside down for protection. You must enter the house with your right foot first and this rule always applies as it is unlucky to enter a house with your left foot. There is a way to make sure that your pets will not want to go back to their old home. You should rub the underside of the paws of your cats and dogs with butter. Licking off the butter will stop them from wanting to leave the new home.

FOUR-LEAF CLOVER: If you find a four-leaf clover, this predicts a long period of good luck. Dry the four-leafed clover between two sheets of blotting paper. When dry, put it into a plastic bag or an envelope made of greaseproof paper and keep it in your wallet.

BEE: If a bee comes into your house it is a sign of good luck or of a stranger coming to visit. The bee must be allowed to enter and leave on its own. It is very unlucky to catch or drive a bee out of your house. NEVER KILL A BEE because, like breaking a mirror, it could bring many years of bad luck.

SPIDER: A spider can bring either good or bad luck. If the spider is encountered in the evening it brings good luck. If the spider is encountered in the morning it MAY bring bad luck. If a spider adopts your home and chooses to live in your house, it will bring you good luck and prosperity. There is an old saying, “If you wish to live and thrive, let a spider run alive.” NEVER KILL A SPIDER (let it live with the pet bees).

CHAIN LETTERS: Chain letters can NOT bring you bad luck. The best thing to do with a chain letter is toss it in the wastebasket and in more modern times and for those of us with computers—DELETE.

In the holiday season, if you have a leaning toward superstitions, perhaps these practices will help bring you luck in fulfilling your desires. What we believe in creates our reality, so why not have some fun in the process!

And remember, Knowledge is the Greatest Power, so Walk in the Light

Marcia began her career as a school teacher, working with preschool through inner city high school students. She has worked with all aspects of Metaphysics for over 40 years and specializes in Tarot and Numerology. Marcia’s clients and students are in every state and throughout Europe. Marcia has taught over 400 students to “read” the Tarot for the purpose of self-guidance and to use the powerful symbolism of the Tarot to reach higher levels of spirituality. Her column, Spiritually Speaking, originally ran for 8 years in Attitudes Magazine. Email


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