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The strange origins of 4 famous superstitions - Morgan Franklin

Posted 1/7/2019 10:31:00 PM By Morgan Franklin
Morgan Franklin
The strange origins of 4 famous superstitions By Morgan Franklin

I’m not one for superstition but even I find myself making strange decisions in its name. For example, I feel very uneasy about stepping across three grids in a row, or not saluting a single magpie. Why, I couldn’t say. But as a species, superstitions seem to carry merit and are even passed down. This article will look at four common superstitions and where they are said to originate from.

  1. Walking under a ladder: this is another that I tend to avoid, but mainly through fear that the ladder may collapse on me at any moment. It might surprise you to learn that this superstition is thought to have come from ancient egypt. The shape formed by a ladder, the ground and a wall is a triangle, which the ancient egyptians believed to be sacred. The triangle is said to be representative of the trinity of God and it was an insult to walk through it. This superstition continued and was even present in the death of christ (a ladder resting on the crucifix).

  2. Breaking a mirror: a very common and well-known superstition, breaking a mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck, which always seemed a bit harsh - you’d get less time in jail if you broke a mirror on someone’s head. However, the origins of this superstition should fill any serial mirror-smashers with relief. The ancient greeks often sought out mirror readers as a means of predicting their future, similar to palm readers. The romans inherited this, but merged it with their belief that human health worked in seven year cycles. So, if someone had a negative mirror reading they would have ill-health for seven years.

  3. The blood moon: although we now have a good understanding of the moon’s movements and can even predict the next lunar eclipse, centuries ago the sudden appearance of a bloody moon was cause for concern. For example, the Inca believed that a jaguar was attacking the moon and would order their dogs to bark in an attempt to warn it away. The blood moon still holds significance for astrologists today, who believe that the blood moon is a sign of an emotional cleanse.

  4. The number 13: if you needed any proof for the superstitious value of the number 13 just go to the dictionary. Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, is one of the rarer phobias, though it may make more sense than most. The origin of the number 13 being unlucky is from norse mythology where Loki, god of mischief, crashed a dinner in Valhalla, taking the attendance of god’s up to 13. A conflict broke out and Loki killed Balder, one of the favoured God’s. But the mythology of 13 doesn’t end there. It carried on through to christian times and is present in a very important moment of the bible. The last supper included Christ and his apostles, the 13th of which, was Judas.


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