Even the most skeptical is still getting some inevitable objection when he sees a black cat cross, having to go under a ladder or if a salt shaker spills a salt shaker on the tablecloth. If they tell us about someone’s misfortune, we save ourselves by touching wood or cross our fingers so that our wishes are fulfilled.
Superstitions embedded in the unconscious of the human being and that today we continue to execute almost as a reflex act.
In this article we will list and make a brief review of the origin and meaning of the 13 most common superstitions still in force, or if you prefer, 12 + 1, as Angel Nieto would say.
On the side we will leave other very curious superstitions but that, by their nature, or have fallen into disuse, or are not so widespread.
We refer, for example, to the superstitions of rural settings (the rooster’s song at the same time or the hooting of the owl, in front of those who had to spill wine under the table), superstitions of maritime life (cutting one’s hair or nails during the sea voyage), or superstitions of sexist bias (the female menstruation that from Plinian ruined the fermentation of the wine if the woman approached, or taking a woman on board, which was a symbol of maritime tragedy).
Superstitions of Bad Luck
Tuesday thirteen – Since then, it is believed that every time 13 people sit down for dinner, one of them will die within a year. Tuesday’s curse comes by the God of the Roman War: Mars. The Spanish proverb also echoes this superstition:
“On thirteen and Tuesday neither marry nor embark”
So entrenched is Tuesday and thirteen in Western culture that even, as we saw in a previous article on curious words, there is a phobia to designate aversion to that date: parascevedecatriaphobia.
A black cat – A classic among superstitions of bad luck. Unlike the Egyptian culture, the Catholic culture gave the black cat a negative symbolism: the black represents the night, the embodiment of evil, the devil. Witch thing. If a black cat crosses your path, be careful, however, if the black cat walks towards you it means you will receive luck and wisdom.
Spill out salt – Salt was always a symbol (think of its traditional use for food preservation) of incorruptibility and, therefore, a symbol of lasting relationships, which do not “rot.” If we have the bad luck of accidentally spilling a salt shaker, tradition indicates that we should proceed to take a pinch of the spilled salt and throw it on our back over the left shoulder, otherwise, we risk suffering deceptions and disappointments in our personal relationships.
Go under a ladder – Although it is one of the most current superstitions of bad luck, its origin is somewhat confusing. On the one hand, the ladder was related to death by the gallows, since the executioners climbed a ladder to place the hangman’s rope. On the other hand, the Christian pictorial tradition used to place Lucifer crouched looking evilly under the stairs they used in the descent of the body of Christ.
Another possible origin has to do with the sacred and mystical condition that was always granted to the triangle (the eye of God or the Holy Trinity), and precisely a triangle is the geometric figure that forms a ladder supported by a wall, so it I considered sacrilege to go through that sacred triangle.
Waking up with the left foot – Since ancient times, various civilizations and cultures have shared discrimination against lefties and lefties. The solar movement is to the right, most people are right-handed, in the Bible the sanctified are those who are to the right of God and even, in linguistic terms, in Latin, the left was called “sinester”, which means Sinister. It is something so ingrained, that today we continue to use the superstition “get up with the left foot” to refer to a day when everything went backwards.
Wear yellow – This is one of the most recent bad luck superstitions and comes from the world of theater. Its origin is in the death of the French playwright Moliere on the tables on February 17, 1763, during the performance of his work “The Imaginary Sick.” Moliere, who suffered from advanced tuberculosis, played precisely the role of an imaginary patient, when a horrible attack of coughs and blood sputters began to dye the yellow garment she wore on the boards.
Moliere, although the legend says that he died on the stage itself, mu He laughed hours later at his home. Even so, the event caused such an impact that in the twentieth century, and in something as far from the theater as football, a goalkeeper who marked an era in Atlético de Madrid did, among many other things, to defy bad luck with its showy yellow kits.
Good Luck Superstitions
Blow an eyelash – In the Middle Ages there was a belief that the Devil collected eyelashes, so every time someone dropped a tab it was considered a bad omen. To scare off bad luck, you had to take the eyelash, put it on the back of your hand and throw it over your left shoulder, or put it over the tip of your nose and blow it. The devil’s belief has been lost, but we are still retaining the superstition of making a wish by blowing a fallen eyelash.
Touch wood – This act, which today makes millions of tourists turn the emblematic sources into authentic copper beds, comes from an ancient divinatory rite through which it was possible to know if a wish would be fulfilled or not by throwing a pin or a stone at a water well. Only if the immersion produced bubbles, the desire would be fulfilled.
If your ears ringing – Currently, when we hear an ear ringing, we immediately blame that someone is talking about us, what we are not clear about is what ear is for good and what ear for evil. According to tradition, the left ear would be for love and the right for resentment. And if you pinch your right ear when it whistles you, it is said that the spiteful murmuring will bite his tongue.
Blow all the birthday candles – This superstition completely integrated into today’s customs comes from the Germany of the Low Middle Ages. It was at that time that it began to establish the custom of placing as many candles as they were in birthday cakes. The singularity that has been lost is that as many candles were placed as years plus an extra candle that symbolized the prosperity of next year, and it was the one that was essential to extinguish to obtain good luck.
To cross fingers – We cross our fingers when we fail to fulfill what we swear, we cross our fingers to protect ourselves from bad luck, and we cross our fingers when we ask that our wish be fulfilled. The origin of this superstition dates back to a custom prior to the Christian era by which two people entwined their index fingers to express a desire and their oath to help each other fulfill it.
Good luck horseshoe – To finish our list of superstitions, we leave you a curious story about how the horseshoe became a symbol of good luck. Although since ancient times of Greeks and Romans, the horseshoe, because of its crescent shape and the ability to attract iron, was considered magical, European Christians took possession of this superstition and attributed its origin to St. Dunstan of Canterbury, a monk and English archbishop student of metallurgy. According to legend, Dunstan placed horseshoes on the Devil and did not take them off until the Devil promised him that he would never approach someone who had a horseshoe. Depending on the part of Europe, for the horseshoe to give good luck it must be placed with the tips up or, as in Spain, with the tips down.
Itchy Nose and Other Nose Issues – Meaning
“The nose smells and chooses. An artist is just an animal in search of the truffles that his nose indicates “. To describe his relationship with intuition, the great Russian musician Igor Stravinsky did not talk about his ears, as might be expected, but started from the nose. He was not wrong: between the sense organs, the sense of smell, which is located in the nasal cavity, is the most archaic and the most linked to our animal origins.
This means that the olfactory messages reach the brain intact, without being transited (as happens for the other senses) through median processing structures. The first symbolic meaning of the nasal function is therefore linked to intuition, the ability to choose what is good for us regardless of rational consciousness.
This aspect of symbolism is linked to our being mammals: for animals similar to us the sense of smell is vital, being used to find food, escape predators, choose a partner. Man has lost the ability to make the best use of his nose; above all, he does not trust his intuition, making the rational component hypertrophic.
The nose is also a sexual symbol: its elongated and prominent shape meant that Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, placed him among the main phallic symbols. In reality the nose symbolizes both male and female sexuality, due to the movement of the air that enters and leaves. The link between respiratory function and sexual function is confirmed analogically by the contemporary development, in embryonic phase, of the olfactory and genital organs.
When he feels in danger and cannot escape, the cat begins to blow: he is announcing that he is ready for the fight. Likewise, many people, subjected to stress, see their respiratory function altered by involuntary and uncontrollable breaths, much more vehement than normal breathing: a clear sign of impatience. Repressed aggression can find its body expression even in the act of curling the nose – this is how children make the “ugly face” – or enlarge the nostrils.
The gesture of “sniffing” tells us about our relationship with the first nourishment: the air. When it comes into the world, the newborn first breathes and immediately comes into contact with the maternal atmosphere: for this reason, the pathologies of the respiratory system (primarily asthma) are analogously correlated to the relationship with this figure. “Pulling up” symbolizes a perception of lack of air, a primordial anxiety of abandonment that can occur in moments of life when we fear being alone and unprotected.
Itchy nose – Touching and scratching one’s nose are very common gestures that do not always have a clear symbolic meaning. But it is a fact that if they occur in the absence of an external stimulus (for example an insect that settles) it means that the brain has sent a message that turns into a small vasodilation and this generates itching.
It is therefore possible that behind similar gestures lie the desire to “scrape away”, to expel something (or someone …) that is irritating us. The nose does not lie: if we get sick we hide something …
A cold is an infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract. If it is chronic it reflects a lowering of the immune defenses. In fact, through the plugged nose and the eyes affected by conjunctivitis, the body signals a moment of general closure towards the external environment, the need to take a break.
Rhinitis is instead a sort of masked crying: the continuous drip of the nose is a “replacement” tear due to the tears that we do not allow ourselves to pour.
Respiratory allergies: excess defense against change
Allergies are temporary inflammations affecting the mucosa of the nasal cavities, generally triggered by pollen. They symbolically represent the conflict between the external environment (which, especially and spring, brings primordial and sexual energies to maturity) and individual identity.
When we resist the renewal that those energies demand, we find ourselves more exposed. Allergies are an “over-defense” of the immune system towards those contents considered “disturbing”.
Sinusitis: a jam that prevents us from reasoning
The same inner conflict that characterizes rhinitis can be blocked in the nasal passages creating a stagnation of the mucus: this is what happens in sinusitis, which tends to become chronic: the people who suffer from it report not being able to reason (therefore to plan) during crises, because of the acute pain that the “traffic jam” causes.
And there you have it. An itchy nose could be a sign of an upcoming quarrel or fights, but it can also be just a small nose irritation or problem with your sinuses.
Either way, believe what you want and don’t get too attached to these symbolisms.