Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Very superstitious, the writing's on the wall

While writing the first book in my Guardian Trilogy, The Guardian of Fire: The Neverworld, I started thinking about superstitions. We all have funny little things we do out of superstition, or maybe it's just me. In my novel, the three main characters are told, as young girls, about an ancient creature shared through folk-lore over the generations. This is the first time the Neverworld is mentioned to the girls, and although they don't understand its significance yet, it causes them to practice superstitious rituals to "ward off evil." Here's an [edited] excerpt of which superstitions Chelsea, Isa, and Grey fall prey to:

"But every Halloween night...Chelsea, Isa, and I had hopped over a headstone to ward off evil, we'd throw a pinch of salt over our shoulders as a blessing, and we'd burn a piece of sage in each of our homes to drive out negativity and promote healing for the year ahead." 

I don't really consider myself a superstitious person; maybe slightly OCD, but not superstitious. So it got me thinking about all of the fun and silly things I do, and why.

I grew up in Oswego, New York near the Fort Ontario, which is legendary for its ghosts  which are believed to be both Holocaust survivors and those of soldiers; it's so legendary, in fact, that it was recently featured on the Syfy network's Ghost Hunters

As kids, we were told that one of the graves in the small cemetery next to the Fort belonged to a soldier who was a headless horseman. As an adult, it seems silly--and even a tad disrespectful--but we always hopped over its low headstone when we were there. Not sure if that was supposed to be good luck, to ward off evil, or what--but we did it. 

I also held my breath as we drove by cemeteries and through tunnels. But I own a black cat and have no qualms about walking under a ladder. I've never thrown salt over my shoulder, but I'm not a fan of breaking a mirror (though I don't really believe it'll bring me seven years bad luck). As an adult I don't do most of these things any more. But I find myself unable to wear black socks to bed (bad luck), shutting every cupboard door and drawer before going to bed because it'll bring something bad into the home, knocking on wood when the situation calls, crossing myself in prayer as I leave my sleeping children's rooms, and I always wear my Lucky brand socks with four leaf clovers when I fly (even though they now have holes in the heels). 

I think it boils down to this: there is a negative energy in the universe, if you will, and a positive one too. The more you focus on or believe in something, the more you will draw it into your life or notice its presence (the law of attraction). So while it's okay to have superstitions if you really believe they help--heck, a lot of traditions today are born from this place--perhaps it's best not to overly focus on them or call them to you. After all, it's hard to go through life knocking, throwing, jumping, avoiding, or closing the things around you! 

I'm curious, what superstitions do you believe in and who did you learn them from?      

*After publishing this original post, I also realized I do have a lot of superstitions around numbers--particularly my favorite number 3. For example, I try to get grocery carts with the number 3 in them, my address has a 3 in it, my book has three protagonists in it, I love a good trilogy, and you know, the whole holy trinity thing I grew up with. So, I guess I have a lot more superstitions than I had originally thought!  


  1. I don't like it when somebody tries to shake my hand with their left hand ... and also yeah I hate negativity if you focus on negative thoughts they will consume you and your worst fears will be realised. Focus on the positive instead and make them come true!

  2. I think it's fascinating the way superstition relates to both folk magic and OCD - our feeble attempts to control that which is beyond our ability to control. Also, I have a "thing" for ghosts and cemeteries, so I enjoyed that part of your post also. ;)

  3. I love cemetaries too. My grandmother's house was across the field from one and we played in it growing up. I learned to ski there too. Over dead people. =) Now, I love taking pictures in cemetaries. It's one of may fave places to take them. So hauntingly beautiful and serene!