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Black cat crossed your path this morning? Better throw salt over your right shoulder, touch wood and turn seven times in a clockwise circle to reverse that bad luck.
Most superstitions are hundreds of years old, and while most people believe they are simply a way to put meaning to the inexplicable, Stuart Vyse, author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, says superstitions can provide pyschological benefits. For those who believe in superstitions, it can decrease feelings of helplessness and increase confidence and initiative.
Here are eight home superstitions to keep an eye on – along with some theories as to how they came to be part of our culture
Everyone knows the old rule of not opening umbrellas inside. Eighteenth century lore declares an umbrella protects against “the storms of life” and opening one inside will offend the home’s metaphysical protectors, who will then bring down bad luck on the perpetrator. Of course, in reality, it’s simply not practical to open an umbrella inside anyway as they usually don’t fit through a door when opened and can be a safety hazard (watch out for eyes).
2. NEW HOUSE, NEW BROOM
Cleaning a new home with an old broom will bring you bad luck. Instead, a new broom should always be used the first time to sweep something into the house, to ensure the good luck isn’t swept out.
The superstition that decrees walking under a ladder brings bad luck could have stemmed from Christianity. The understanding being, a ladder leaning against a wall creates a triangle shape, or the shape of the Holy Trinity. To break this religious symbol, by walking under it, would be blasphemous.
4. NO SHOES ON THE TABLE
Placing your shoes on the table could lead to death. In old mining traditions, when a miner died his shoes would be placed on a table as a sign of respect. Therefore to put your shoes on a table when you are alive is to tempt fate.
5. DOOR BELLS
Celtic culture dictates that ringing of a bell is not just to let people know you’ve arrived: it will also ward off evil spirits.
6. BROKEN MIRRORS
Victorians used to cover up mirrors when someone died to prevent their spirit from being trapped inside. If worrying about an intact mirror stealing your soul wasn’t enough, breaking a mirror could be even worse – it might bring you seven years bad luck.
7. ENTER AND EXIT THROUGH THE SAME DOOR
According to folklore, it is bad luck to exit the house through a different door you used to enter.
8. KNOCK ON WOOD
Cultures worldwide see trees as vessels of spirituality, to ask favours of or to give thanks to. As a result wood has become a symbol for warding off bad karma. Have you left your shoes on the table this morning? Just knock on wood.
Continue reading this article at the original source from Stuff.co.nz
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