5 Superstitions And Why They Exist

I was at work a few years ago when a coworker walking by my desk let out a terrified squeal. “Your purse is on the floor! Don’t you know that’s bad luck?” Apparently, she was referring to a superstition which holds that to place your purse or wallet on the floor is to invite money troubles. I had never heard of this old wives’ tale and didn’t lend it much credibility, but on my way home, I did notice my lifelong habit of avoiding sidewalk cracks, surely a leftover from a youthful urge to protect my mother’s spinal health.

Superstitions ascribe supernatural origins to things that humans don’t understand, and they occur across the world. Early humans had a lot that they didn’t understand, but modern people are much more enlightened. Superstitions about bad luck feel like the kind of things we tell gullible children, so why do I still see people knocking on wood, throwing salt over their shoulders, and refusing to walk under ladders? Exactly where do these strange superstitions come from, and do any have even the tiniest basis in reality?

Don’t Spill the Salt!

I always do this, but not in fear of the devil but to ward off bad luck.

Salt is one of our most ancient and versatile foodstuffs, used for preserving food as well as flavoring it. For most of history, it was incredibly valuable, too, sometimes even used as currency. Spilling such a precious commodity was akin to dumping the thirty-year-old Scotch down the drain. For anyone who was careless enough to waste salt, throwing a pinch over the left shoulder was said to keep the devil away, since he was sure to be following you after such a grievous offence

Walking Under Ladders Brings Bad Luck.

I never had this superstition.

This superstition has its roots in religion. Some Christians believe that any object with three points—like a ladder leaning against a house—represents the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Early Christians believed that to destroy or subvert a three-pointed object (like by walking through it) one was expressing disbelief in the Trinity, and would therefore probably go to Hell. As religious conviction softened, the promise of eternal damnation was relaxed to merely the threat of bad luck. I admit to following the rule against walking under ladders, but for a more practical purpose—I

don’t care for things dropping on my head, as is wont to happen when people are working above.

Un-Lucky Number Thirteen.

I don’t fear 13, I think it is a lucky #, like 13 moons in a year..

Plenty of otherwise rational ..people are loath to schedule important events on the thirteenth of the month, and many buildings and towns don’t even include a thirteenth floor or thirteenth street, because so many people believe the number to be cursed. The origins of this superstition are factually tenuous, and there are many theories about how it came about. Christian theology teaches that Judas was the thirteenth guest at the Last Supper, making him unlucky. Norse mythology states that the god Loki, who was the thirteenth guest at a banquet, killed the hero, Balder. Not to mention the fact that several serial killers have thirteen letters in their name, like Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer. Fear of the number thirteen even has its own name, triskaidekaphobia, and many sufferers refuse to be the thirteenth guest at a party, or to sit in row thirteen on an airplane for fear that some terrible fate will befall them. In reality, there’s no credible evidence to suggest anything sinister about any particular number, and in some cultures, the number thirteen is actually considered quite lucky.

Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play”

Many actors refuse to say the name Macbeth, especially when they’re inside a theater. The play is said to be cursed, and is usually referred to as simply, “The Scottish Play.” Some accounts say that productions of Macbeth have been plagued by an unusually high number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on- and offstage, perhaps because the play itself is unusually ripe with fights, weapons, battles, and opportunities for things to go wrong. Since the play features three witches, some origin stories for the superstition say that the lines uttered by the witches are real curses, that real witches were offended by the play and cursed it, or that Shakespeare’s original prop master stole items from a real witches’ coven. The most likely explanation is that Macbeth, being one of the English language’s most enduring pieces of drama, is often put on by theaters trying to stave off bankruptcy, and the play eventually got a reputation as foreshadowing a theater’s demise.

Sacred Sneezes

All cultures offer some sort of blessing after a person sneezes. While the origins of the benedictions are muddled, it seems certain that primitive people thought that a person’s soul could leave the body through the nose, and asking for God’s protection was a way to prevent its escape. Romans, however, believed that sneezing expelled demons, and witnesses to a sneeze offered congratulations and support. During the sixth century, there was a plague raging, and the populace thought that sneezing was a symptom of impending death. Pope Gregory pronounced that the official response to a sneeze would be “God bless you,” which was thought to invoke divine protection for both the sneezer and the sneezed-upon.

Even though we know that minor actions like opening an umbrella in the house have no bearing on our personal wellbeing, it’s hard to stop minding these deeply ingrained superstitions. For better or worse, they’ve become a part of our culture, even though nobody ever talks about the many serial killers without thirteen letters in their name, or the many people who walked under a latter and didn’t die. Even I lived for a year on the thirteenth floor of an apartment building and lived to tell the tale. So go ahead—put your hat on the bed, pick up a penny when it’s tails-up, or break a mirror. And if you’re ever in a production of Macbeth, break a leg.

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Autumnal Equinox -Mabon Date: ​Annually on September 21/ 22

The days and nights are of equal length, as the light continues its descent. The Sun King is interred. The Goddess laments the loss of her Consort and descends to the Underworld in search of him. There she encounters the Dark God and submits to his will. The two are united, representing the union of Thanatos and Eros. However, the Dark God is sterile, so no child can be born from their union. The Goddess assumes the aspect of the Dark Queen.

Light:Light near death
God and Goddess: The God, in his aspect as Forest King, reaches his final days. The Goddess mourns him and prepares for sleep.
Gods of Light and Darkness:​ The God of Darkness reaches maturity and defeats his alter-ego, the God of Light. The Goddess and the God of Darkness conceive the Dark Child that will be born at Litha.

MABON’S MESSAGE

As the pagan Thanksgiving, Mabon reminds us to look back on everything we have achieved and be grateful for what we have. However, since we are focusing on balance during this celebration, it’s also a great time to look at what is not working in our lives and put an end to or shift the energy around anything that’s not working for us. The best way to celebrate Mabon? Gather your friends around for a great meal, have a few drinks, and talk about what you’re grateful for. The warmth of love and friendship will get you through the cold winter that is to come.

Meanings
Second harvest, equality, balance, thankfulness, transition.
Symbols
Wine, gourds, pine cones, corn, apples, acorns, vines.
Foods
Loaves of bread, nuts, apples, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Color
Red, orange, maroon, brown, and gold.
Crystals
Lapis lazuli, yellow agates, amber, citrine, tiger’s eye.
Herbs
Rosemary, sage, chamomile, rose hips, walnut leaves, saffron, dried apple.
Ogun

During these times, it is good to reflect on the cosmology that underpins and surrounds and infuses the ritual.  As with most healing and cleansing spells, this one invokes the most powerful and the most foundational of the spirits, the gods, the lwa in the tradition.  I’m only going to discuss those within the vodun tradition itself, although as my own practice has developed, I have come to understand the presence of these gods and their influence tracing even to the ancient Greeks of thousands of years ago.  Perhaps in another conversation, those connections and their powers might be explored.

The lwa involved here are some of the most powerful – Grand Bois, Maitre Carrefour, Baron Cimitière, Papa Legba, Ogoun, Erzulie, and Baron Samedi.  The first three, the Triad of Magicians, are utterly foundational, although much less known that the latter four.  Grand Bois is the earth, the forest, the bayou, the world that gives us birth and through which we move throughout our entire lives.  Maitre Carrefour is the lwa of the crossroads.  Not to be confused with Papa Legba, Maitre Carrefour is the actual lwa who preserves all crossroad magic and who watches and makes possible the changes and decisions made at crossroads, actual and metaphysical in life.  While it is usually best to do crossroads magic at an actual crossroad, Maitre Carrefour’s powers allow those crossroads to be met and those critical decisions to be made even away from an actual, physical crossroad.  Baron Cimitière, also Baron of the Cemetery, is the lwa of the end.  Incidentally, for those noticing a relationship between the Maiden, Mother, Crone of both the ancient Greeks and many Wiccan traditions, you have not gone amiss.  The Triad of Magicians syncretizes with both, although their focus may have slightly different emphases.

The other four lwa invoked in the spells are more familiar to a popular audience.  Papa Legba is perhaps the most famous of the four.  In this context, Papa Legba fills his crossroads role as well.  Only, the crossroad has a different dynamic – Papa Legba governs the communication link between humanity that the divine.  So, at the crossroads, it is Legba who accepts or rejects the request to communicate with the divine.  Baron Samedi is often a fearsome individual, one whose gaze is generally avoided.  However, much of that is because he deals in death and the underworld.  But, his influence is very similar to that of Hades of ancient Greece – the god of the underworld is not himself evil, but necessary.  Erzulie, wife to three lwa husbands – Ogoun, Agwe, and Damballa – embodies life itself.  Hers is the passion that motivates us forward, the seeks to explore each new opportunity, that is the zest for life.  Ogoun, one of the husbands of Erzulie, is most easily recognized as syncretizing Haephaestos, the Greek God of the Forge.  He is the god of iron, the warrior god, and most importantly for our purposes here, the god of medicine and healing.

To prepare for the central ritual, it is important to first do the invocation properly.  While it is best to perform this at midnight and during a waxing moon, it is possible to do it at any time, and if you have a sacred space, it is possible to have it as a continual ritual to project a continuous energy into the service of healing and health. 

The Invocation

Needs: Salt, eight small candles, one large green candle, a large candle for later, a bowl of water, seven iron nails.

Place four small candles – one in each corner of the sacred space.  Place a pinch of salt beside each one. 

In the interior of the sacred space, place one candle (preferably green) and three other candles in a triangular pattern around the central candle.  Place the last small candle one the ground in front of the central candle.  Place the bowl of water and the seven iron nails beside the central candle.  If you have plans to extend the spell into a constant energy, place another large candle in the center for the end of the ritual.

Light each of the candles in the triangle and say reverently the name of each – Grand Bois, Maitre Carrefour, Baron Cimitière.  Then, say loudly and forcefully the names.  Then, again a third time, quietly but with conviction.

Then say, “I invoke you with the power of your name.  In your names, I command all evil spirits, all negative energy – depart this place, and do not trouble yourself to return; depart this place, and do not trouble yourself to return; depart this place, and do not trouble yourself to return.”

Having invoked and cleansed, you are ready to move to the second stage of the ritual. 

Go to each of the four corners.

Light the first candle and say, “Papa Legba, we stand at a crossroads. Come and open the crossroads for us.”  Sprinkle salt into the flame.

Light the second candle and say, “Erzulie, we have need of your spark of life.  Come and open your passion for us.” Sprinkle salt into the flame.

Light the third candle and say, “Baron Samedi, we have need of your spirit. Come and open your compassion for us.” Sprinkle salt into the flame.

Light the fourth candle and say, “Ogoun, we have need of your healing strength.  Come and open your power for us.”  Sprinkle salt into the flame.

Situating around the center, use the candle that is lying on the ground.  Light it from the three candles in the triangle, and then, while lighting the central candle, say, “Ogoun, god of iron and medicine, hear us.”

Having lit the Ogoun candle, focus your meditation on the flame.  While taking slow and deep breaths, gazing into the flame, think of every person (by name, if possible) in need of healing or strength.  Holding them in your mind, pour the rest of the salt into the bowl of water.  Stir the salt water with each nail as you place it into the bowl.  Let the nails soak while again thinking of those in need of healing.  Say, “Ogoun, you are a warrior and protector, protect those who strive to heal.  Ogoun, you are a physician and provider, place your healing spirit in those who need healing of body, mind, and spirit.”

Take the nails from the water.  As they are dry, touch each one to the melted wax of the central candle and set them aside.  If you want to keep an ongoing energy flow, light the other large candle and place it in your sacred space or altar. 

Say, “Thank you Ogoun, for your healing and protective spirit.” Put out the central candle.  Move to each of the outside candles.  As you put out the candle, say thank you to the lwa who have given their spirits to the ritual.  Move to the center and thank the Triad as you extinguish the candles.

Finally, take the wax-dipped nails and bury them in the earth, outside.  Place them, with points facing out and the heads of the nails touching in the center.

This meditation and ritual spell opens up our own energy, merges it with the power of the ancient gods, and sends it into the universe to enhance the healing power in the world.  If you focus on the character of each of the lwa as you perform the ritual, it will focus your own mind more precisely and your own power more intensely.

The Practical Witch's Almanac

This year’s printing of The Practical Witch’s Almanac was funded by a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and is experiencing a wave of popularity. The classic almanac is in it’s 24th year of production and for 2021 the theme is all about creating your own personal style of magic and spell by using ancient, proven techniques from around the world.

The almanac will be available worldwide and in stores such as Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Amazon, and can be ordered from your favorite independent bookstore. But Arkansas Pagans have a special treat!

The Parlour Hot Springs Witch Shop
The Parlour
340 Ouachita Ave
Hot Springs, AR 71901
(501) 701-4444

↓ Sneak Peek Below ↓

You can get the first copies available retail at The Parlour in Hot Springs, and on Saturday, September 26th from 3pm to 7pm you can meet the author (Friday Gladheart) and have her sign your copy!

If you can’t make it Saturday, the author is available to sign your copy of The Practical Witch’s Almanac or to answer questions, formulate a custom magical item or spell, or help you with a tarot reading on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5pm.

ISBN-10 : 1621060659
ISBN-13 : 978-1621060659

Lughnasadh

Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is Gaelic for “commemoration of Lugh” and is the first harvest of the year. It is often celebrated by the calendar date August 1st or by the moon cycle which will be on August 3rd (Which is a full moon this year). As it was in Celtic tradition, our celebrations involve making loaves in honor of the god Lugh, the Irish solar god of craft and skill, by thanking our sun for the gift of light through the seasons beforehand. We also celebrate mother earth, our own skill, and the fruits of our hard works. Lughnasadh reminds us that we are in partnership with our divine, without that partnership our harvest will not rise.

Lughnasadh is a time of honoring the harvest in both a literal sense and a more internal sense. In the times of our ancestors, a farmers knowledge and skills could very well be the pivoting point between whether a nation thrived or perished. However, in today’s society many of us can no longer relate to that life, and so we turn inward to reflect on what Lughnasadh means to us. We think about our accomplishments in the past year. Some of us have started new careers, started school, have a new home, a new car, or finally went on that dream vacation. Some of us have let go of old relationships and made new ones, or have worked to better their health. Some of us are still working on manifesting our goals. This is a time to look back on our vision boards and ask ourselves, “What have I accomplished? What do I still need to work on? What did I think I needed but really don’t?” or the hardest question sometimes “What next?” It’s up to you.

Something to think about while preparing for your Lughnasadh ritual is prosperity and generosity. While tools and visuals are great, don’t forget that your intentions must be true.

Lughnasadh correspondence includes:

Colors: Orange, yellow, brown, and green

Tools: Sacred loaf of bread, harvested herbs, bonfires, Harvest offerings

Gods: Lugh, Gran, the Green Man, John Barleycorn

Arkansas Coven Call

What is the North Door?

The North Door has two parts:

  1. North Door Study & Exploration group (NDSE) is an open outreach of the North Door coven. Four times a year we hold events, workshops, or outings that are of interest to a wide variety of people. The NDSE is a great way to meet others in Arkansas and nearby states, and to have some fun!
  2. The North Door Coven is a more traditional coven in Arkansas. Member are like family. The coven is a three-degree initiatory group. Teachings have a foundation in Gardnerian, Alexandrian, and Dianic traditions however, we are very eclectic. The primary coven is normally closed to new participants, however this year we are offering classes and accepting initiates!

Over the years, members of the coven have moved to new areas of the country. Although they still visit for the larger NDSE gatherings, they are not able to attend every Sabbat or Esbat. Also, several long-standing members have passed into Summerland. We are ready for fresh faces and new ideas.

As a coven, we strive to learn and grow from each other and the world around us, support each other in times of need and in times of celebration, and contribute in a positive way to the world around us.

“Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices.”

Classes and events are held once or twice a month in areas in and around Hot Springs, Mount Ida, Glenwood and Mena. Rituals are held at the coven’s 10-acre sanctuary and teaching garden that adjoins the Ouachita National Forest in Montgomery County.

This coven is inclusive and welcomes diversity! There are a few simple steps to take in order to join the coven:

Step 1: Dedicant

Contact Friday and let her know you are interested in becoming a Dedicant. You must be 19 or older. We will meet in a neutral, public place at your convenience to discuss what is expected from you, and what you expect or need from the coven.

Dedicants are expected to attend training classes, Esbats rituals, and Sabbat celebrations as often as possible. After a few meetings, you should decide if you are interested in full training and initiation. If you are, let Friday know and your application will be submitted to the coven. If you are not interested, you may continue to enjoy the NDSE outings and public events to meet other solitary Witches in the area, and other groups.

Step 2: First Degree Initiation

When a Dedicant’s application is accepted by the coven and local elders of nearby groups, you will receive a formal invitation. If you accept, your First Degree Initiation ritual is held and formal training begins.

If initiation is chosen, a first-degree initiation is held and you will begin your Year and a Day as an initiate. First Degree Initiates are expected to design and officiate at one Esbat while attending as many coven classes and other events as possible.

Step 3: Second Degree Initiation

After your first year and a day of study and practice, you are eligible to become a second-degree initiate and your Second Degree Initiation ritual is held. More advanced training begins and you will be asked to choose some areas of focus such as divination, environmentalism, counseling, kitchen witchery, healing, etc. You are expected to design and officiate at one major Sabbat celebration and one Esbat ritual, and are assigned community volunteer and outreach projects.

Step 4: Third Degree

A year and a day after you become a Second Degree Initiate, you are eligible to become a Third Degree. After Third Degree initiation, you are a full covener, may be entitled an “elder” at certain events, and have additional responsibilities. Sabbat and Esbat officiation is rotated among Third Degree coveners and you may select which rituals and celebrations you choose to organize. For this year of your experience, there is a stronger focus on clergy (ordination) and counseling training along with public service. You will also be given the option to establish a permanent cabin at the 10-acre sanctuary and teaching garden, home base for the coven. You can stay in this cabin at any time for events, workshops, and rituals, or rent it out through services like Airbnb when you aren’t occupying it. You may also be asked to join the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization.

What’s the Name About?

The name “North Door” came about because we are in a conservative area of the U.S. In old churches, a northern facing door was left in the church to allow local country folks (Pagans) to enter into the church (which was often built upon sacred Pagan sites). It has been theorized that the northern direction was the traditional entry point into sacred sites and that Pagans at the time wished to enter the church discretely. This doorway came to be called the “North Door” or the “Devil’s Door” and although we aren’t bumpin’ it with the devil, we often feel like we are quietly going about our Witchy business among the otherwise Christian community in our area of Arkansas.

Imbolc

I could write you a ritual, a house blessing, or a simple spell for Imbolc, but that would be too simple. Instead, I’ll give you more- I’ll give you my piece of Imbolc.

Imbolc has always been about welcoming the spring and seeing the winter slip away. We welcome and see the goddess return to her maiden form. Brigit brings the fire to light, guide, and guard our homes & hearths. We gather a little longer to see out winter with the last jars of the harvest, the last bread of the season, & continue to feed the fire in our hearth.

Imbolc is a time of reflection. A time of solitude and reflection of the season we are leaving. We have seen & felt the wrath of winter. Now we must think and plan for the spring to come. We seek abundance & good health for the new year. Planning is critical in order to see the future as we wish to see it be. 

Any improvement rather to ourselves or our homes, reflection is key. It is the key to see where & how we can improve. What we can do to help our neighbors, friends, strangers, & our own family. Everyone Hopes for a better future- but hope starts with us.

Be The Hope

Be The Key

Be The Change You Seek

-Mother Teresa- 
“I alone can’t change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

 

FORGET JANUARYS NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

LET GO OF 2019 AND LET BE 

 

 

Let Go & Let Be

                                                    
       January is known for its beginnings of new projects (New Year Resolutions), new chances BUT for me, it’s time to just let go & let be. Some people want to lose weight, others better habits but the one thing most everyone has in common is the something new.        While January starts the year, it’s also the time to set time to review the year, review yourself, & lastly to rejuvenate our body, soul, and mind. Self-Reflection is a promise of knowledge, wisdom, and growth.

      We have come so far in 2019 but some of us not as far as we wished.
December, we pushed to make last notes, last big changes, and adjustments but what about ourselves? What did we do for ourselves?

 

Read More…. From The Next Witch Sanctuary Here