October: This month has so many different attributes related to it: the changing seasons, fall harvests, corn mazes, beautiful colors, mystery & suspense, monsters, demons, fun dress-up costumes and hot cocoa! It also has lots of history associated with it, particularly Superstitions. I thought you might enjoy reading about a few that I found rather fasinating.
Superstitions have been around since the beginning of time and they continue to flourish around the world even in today’s modern societies. I thought it would be interesting this time of year to share some of the history of a few superstitions with you from the:
“Dictionary of Superstitions” by: David Pickering “Quotes are in quotation marks”
Abracadabra: Originally was used as a charm during the second century, BC. It was said to have special powers against fevers and other medical problems, besides giving the person protection against bad luck. Pieces of parchment with the word Abracadabra written on it were folded and placed inside a metal amulet or cross to be worn around the neck, as protection. Such charms were widely worn, even during the 17th century London plague according to Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year” 1722. To evoke supernatural forces, one merely had to say the word out loud, thus its use by stage performers and various other entertainers.
Acorns: I found this one intriguing because I had never heard this one before. It is said that: “if a woman carries an acorn on her person, it will delay the aging process and keep her forever young.” So how many of us will be tucking an acorn into a pocket, or making acorn jewelry? I recently found a bag of wooden acorns at the flea market the other day and the first "Lucky 13" people to leave me their contact info in the comments, will receive one of these as a gift from me!
And who hasn’t heard or received the dreaded Chain Letter ? These so called friendly letters were associated with begging and designed to amass a small fortune for the originator by “Blackmailing” others to part with their money. “Originally though, these letters were sold by traveling merchants in medieval times and the letters themselves, contained various charms & prayers.” With the postal services, came the newer variety and now they are even global via the internet.
Did you know the meaning of each leaf of a 4-leaf clover? They are supposed to represent: fame, wealth, a faithful lover and good health. “It is further claimed that anyone who wears a 4-leaf clover, will be able to see “Fairies”. I know a few people who think they can see fairies-what about you? :-D
Crossroads: “The intersection of two roads has long been regarded as an ominous place. Anything that forms the shape of a cross is significant, but roads that cross each other have symbolic meaning and many people dislike being delayed at such an intersection for fear of meeting a Ghost or worse, a Vampire.” I fit into this catagory. I heard the stories about crossroads when I was very young and the stories have stayed with me. I will not linger!
Familiars: are primarily associated with traditions from England or Scotland. They typically took on the shape of a house cat, but could also be a dog or any black bird.
Ok, just one more. We’ve all heard the word Phrenology lately in mixed media art.
It is the invention of 19th century occultists who “refined an age-old practice of reading a person’s character by examining the shape of their head and feeling for bumps. Phrenology divides the head into areas relevant to different spheres of human activity. The neck is associated with love, the upper back of the head to pride, the very top of the head to conscience and the front or forehead, to the impulses of kindness.” What do your bumps say about you? Mine says I am care-free, love good humor and enjoy sharing with others. I have a couple of fun fabric art projects for you this month-I hope you will enjoy them!