Wednesday, 22 June 2011

An Old Wife's Tale

If someone asked me if I was superstitious, I would undoubtedly say no. If I see a ladder I make a point of walking under it just to be rebellious and if I see a black cat my only thoughts are, "Aw, cute." But something happened at the weekend which has made me question my stance.

On Friday night I had a horrific nightmare, where truly awful and painful things happened to someone I love. What's more, it was believable. Normally when I have dreams like this, I'll bore my hubby with the details, feel released from the horror of it, and get on with my day. But when I woke up all I could think was, "Friday night's dream on Saturday told, will always come true no matter how old."

My mum is superstitious, having heard them from her mum and Grandma. This particular rhyme was one I heard a lot growing up, and largely I scoffed at her for being so ridiculous. Yet, this Saturday I wouldn't have told anyone my dream for love nor money. I was taking no risks that it would come true.

When I start to think about it, many "Old wives' tales" have seeped into my daily life. If I say something and don't want to tempt fate, I'll do the old "touch wood" gesture. If I see a four leafed clover I am genuinely pleased with my good luck. When I blow out my birthday candles (which nearly kills me these days!) I make a wish, as I do on the rare occasions I see shooting stars. I've never broken a mirror (though sometimes it threatens to crack when I look in it first thing in the morning) but hope never to do so for the fear of seven years bad luck.

One ritual my mum always performs, which I secretly love, is "first-footing" at New Year. Basically a few minutes before the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve any dark haired men who are in the house (which in my family is all of them) are thrown outside into the freezing cold. Then when the New Year chimes in, they are welcomed back into the house, carrying with them a variety of gifts to represent good things for the household in the year to come. I think it's a lovely thing to do to bring good luck, though I confess that I might not think the same if I was the one being made to stand outside in the sub zero temperatures!

So, for me to say I'm not superstitious wouldn't be true. Maybe being raised in an environment where folklore and tales are commonplace means that they've just become part of who I am. But I don't mind. Largely they stem from a desire to give protection to loved ones or to bestow blessings on others and I'm good with that. I'll probably keep walking under those ladders because it amuses me how people tut at me for doing so, but otherwise I think I might accept that I'm becoming an Old Wife myself.

~ Bex ~

1 comment:

  1. I get superstitious about my writing, but rebelliously walk under ladders too :) And that's a really awesome New Year's tradition!

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