Were you worried about bad luck the last time you broke a mirror or opened an umbrella in the house? Are you guilty of uttering the words, "someone is walking over my grave" when you get goosebumps? Do you think someone is thinking of you the last time your ears rang?
We all grew up with old wives' tales and urban legends that forbade us from stepping on cracks lest we break our mother's backs, or told us to throw table salt over our shoulders to ward off the devil when the salt spilled. Omens and superstitions have been around since the dawn of time. The human belief in external powers and supernatural forces extends into every culture known to man. There is an undying belief that looking out for signs can provide protection against the seemingly random events that happen in life. From these signs, we can attempt to control our frighteningly uncontrollable futures.
Omens and Superstitions
Some omens are so common that we no longer think to question them. For example, everyone knows that breaking a mirror causes seven years of bad luck. Stepping on a crack is also a sign of bad luck, as is walking under a ladder. Finding a penny especially heads up, is very good luck. A groom seeing his bride in her dress before their wedding day is bad luck. The number seven is lucky, and the number 13 is unlucky. The Full Moon brings out the crazy in people. When an eyelash falls out, you can make a wish and it will come true. Blowing on dice makes them lucky.
Just looking around your house you can find omens everyday. The omens listed below are from all over the world. Every culture has its own omens and its own meanings to coincide with them.
The following omens and superstitions are common enough that you may have experienced quite a few without noticing them at the time.
If bubbles appear in a cup of coffee, you accidentally knock over a sugar bowl, or tea leaves float to the top of the cup, money will soon come your way.
You will receive visitors is a broom falls over, someone drops silverware, a bee enters your home, or your eyebrow itches.
If a dog is lying down facing away from the door, expect a visitor. But if it is facing the door, expect someone in the house to leave.
Death is coming if a clock stops or falls to the floor, a picture frame falls to the floor, or an owl screeches near a home.
A sure sign of death is for a bird to fly into the house or tap on the window.
Seeing a lone fox near your home is an omen of disaster and death.
You will have good luck if you find a button, dream of a dove, or find a spider in the evening.
Sneezing three times brings good luck.
White spots on the fingernails are good luck.
You will have bad luck if you put your shirt on backwards, get out of bed on the left side, meet a cat first thing when you leave the house in the morning, or find a spider first thing in the morning.
A person will have bad luck if his chair falls over when he stands up.
Killing a swallow will bring very bad luck.
Pointing to a person will bring her bad luck.
Spilling pepper portends an argument.
In England, sitting on a kitchen table will cause a women never to be wed.
Dropping a piece of bread buttered-side down is an ill omen.
A person whose second toe is longer than the first has a bad temper.
A person whose eyebrows meet in the middle is untrustworthy and will bring you bad luck.
A man with a hairy chest or arms is lucky and will be wealthy.
If a cat sneezes, rain will follow (also a sign of good luck).
Rain is also imminent if you see a duck flapping its wings while swimming in the water, mosquitoes and gnats are flying near the ground, or a cat is washing behind its ears.
If you see a cat acting restless, or sitting with its back to a fire, a storm is coming.
A storm will also follow if you see a dog hiding under a table.
Seeing three white dogs together or seeing a spotted dog (such as a Dalmatian) will bring good luck.
While in America a black cat crossing your path is bad luck, in Britain it is good luck.
Keeping a chameleon as a pet wards off evil.
If you are bitten by a fox, you will not live more then seven more years.
Seeing a rabbit running down the street foretells a fire.
Rats leaving a house for no reason forewarns the collapse of the house.
Ravens and crows especially foretell the future.
(Alexander the Great was supposedly guided across the desert by two ravens sent from the heavens. Ravens have been housed in the Tower of London for nine hundred years, and it is said that if the ravens ever leave the Tower, England will fall)
In Wales, if a Raven perches on a house, it is good luck.
Seeing two ravens is also a sign of good luck.
Seeing a single crow perched on a house, however, is very bad luck.
Finding a dead crow is good luck.
A rhyme for crow goes:
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret
never to be told
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a time
of joyous bliss
Another common bird used to foretell the future is the magpie. If a magpie perches on your roof, your building will never fall down. Five magpies mean company is coming
Superstitions surrounding owls also abound. This nocturnal creature has been linked with the devil for centuries. Most likely this is because of the owl's unusual gift of silent flight and its ability to turn its head almost completely around. as mentioned in the 'death' section, an owl screeching near a home means bad luck. Hearing or seeing an owl in the daylight means bad luck, and an owl perching on a home means death or sickness.
An amulet in the shape of a hand repels the evil eye.
A cross repels evil as well.
A charm in the shape of a pair of dice is good luck, and so is a four-leafed clover or a rabbit's foot.
It is an old custom to put two pins crossed under the doormat in order to ward off evil spirits.
A broom placed behind a door or across a threshold also bars off evil spirits from entering.
Keeping a nail in your pocket or somewhere in your home guards against the evil eye.
Omens and superstitions flourish, even in today's rational age. All it takes is a little observation to see signs of the future, signs of success or failure, even signs of the past. Pay attention to odd events during the day and night. There is energy all around us, and if we listen closely, it will tell us secrets and give us a glimpse into the future.