Are superstitions rituals in disguise?
I have a superstition passed on from my Mother. Don’t turn the calendar page before the first of the new month. So, I always wait till the first to look at the next page in the calendar. Why, I’m not sure. I don’t think I believe I’ll jinx the fresh month, but it doesn’t hurt to be safe, right?
Could this habit, this superstition be based on a ritual? Yes, of course it is. Isn’t it a pretty common ritual to buy a new calendar for each new year and flip the pages once a month? Sure, so that’s a ritual. It may not include anything extravagant like being skyclad during the middle of a hailstorm, trying to keep all the pretty green candles from blowing out in the gale force winds… but it’s a ritual all the same.
Think of other superstitions, you likely follow a few yourself. Do you avoid stepping on cracks, do you toss salt over your shoulder, do you always pick the inside copies of magazines on the bookstore shelf?
What makes one a ritual and the other a superstition? I think at some point every superstition was someone’s ritual, we’ve just outgrown them. Some of them.
Get a book of superstitions next time you’re at the library or bookstore. Take a look at some of the superstitions for every day things. I’m sure they all have a reasonable basis. Take into account that the people were not in the technology age and the church still held everyone caught in fear for their souls. Make note of some superstitions and think about how they could be added to your own magick rituals. Give fresh life to rituals from the past.
Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, February, 2, 2003.