Saturday, March 14, 2015

BAD LUCK, GOOD LUCK, ARE YOU SUPERSTITIOUS?

by Mary Kennedy                      


Yesterday was Friday the 13th. (Yes, I know I'm a "day late and a dollar short," but this is such a fun blog topic, I just couldn't resist.)  If you're reading this, I assume you survived Friday the 13th with no mishaps. So...no black cats crossed your path, you didn't open an umbrella in the house and you didn't walk under a ladder.

These are just a few things that are supposed to bring bad luck; of course there are several others.  Breaking a mirror will bring you seven years bad luck, stepping on a crack will break your mother's back and toads cause warts. (or so they say.)
                                                           

Some superstitions believe that certain objects or practices will bring you good luck. Finding a four leaf clover, like the one above, is supposed to bring good fortune your way. Other good luck charms are finding a horseshoe or wearing your clothes inside out. (Wearing your clothes inside out may attract some unwanted attention, so I wouldn't recommend it! I have no idea where that superstition came from.)
                                                           
  How do you ward off bad luck?     
     Garlic is supposed to protect you from evil spirits and vampires (although it may ward off your friends, too). Some people think throwing salt over your shoulder is protection against bad luck and they even claim you can "reverse" a pattern of bad luck by walking 7 times in a circle, clockwise.

As a psychologist, I always find it interesting when my clients insist that their "fate is the stars" and I'm fascinated by their belief system. As a mystery writer, I know that statistically, writers, actors, musicians and entertainers are more prone to being superstitious than the rest of society. Why? Because so much of their career trajectory is out of their hands. Luck plays a large part in their success, so it's not surprising that they tend to be superstitious.

And it's not just artistic types. Some celeb golfers insist on wearing a certain shirt for a big tournament and some Olympic gold medal athletes eat a "special" meal each night before the event. Many Broadway actors insist on a quiet time for meditation and getting centered before they go on stage and they are careful to repeat the same mantra each time.
                                                         
Superstitions can be harmless--unless we put too much stock in them. As a cat lover, I know that black cats are delightful creatures and are never responsible for bad luck! Do you have any special superstitions you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!
 Mary Kennedy