As a girl growing up in Seattle I didn't give much credence to superstitions, but as an adult I realized superstitions are like traditions. The more you do them, the more you believe in them. Think about it for a second. The long familiarity of doing the same thing over and over creates traditions. The same holds true for superstitions.
We are subjected to stories of ghosts and goblins, fairies and mystical meanings to certain items from childhood through adulthood. Each month throughout 2013, I'll share some superstitions that appeal to me.
We'll start with flying creatures . . . After all, who hasn't heard that storks bring babies. The stork is associted with martial fidelity, home and birth in many fables throughout the world. Maybe its because storks are monogramists. If they lose their mate, they never remate.
Who hasn't heard tales about owls? Surprisingly they are considered both wise and evil. American Indians believed the owl was not a real bird but the spirit of the dead and bad luck. Yet, it is considered a good omen by Athenians to see or hear an owl.
Crows are very intelligent birds, especially compared to other feathered creatures. These birds have bad reputations with farmers. They destroy young corn, and their calls aren't pleasant to our ears.
There are several supestitions associated with hawks. If a hawk is seen seizing its preys, it signifies a loss of money. If a hawk is seen flying overhead, someone is making a decision. If fish-hawks are inland, a flood is immenient. If seen flying out to sea, it is a harbringer of fair weather. This applies to gulls as well.
Bats, a flying mammal, are crearures of good omen in the East. Wearing five symbolic bats as a talisman denotes happiness, wealth, peace, virture and long life. In the Middle Ages bats were in league with the evil. It didn't help that Cortez brought back blood sucking bats from South America.
The whippoorwill has long been considered a bird of misfortune, heralding doom. The whippoorwill is found in the eastern USA and Canada and is similiar to the European nightjar. Which might explain why supersitions attached to this bird are a blend of Old World and American Indian beliefs. If an unwed woman heard the whipperpoorwill's first call but not the second, it meant she would not find a husband that year.
These are just a few supertitions associated with flying creatures. There are many more. What ones do you know?
Sharon Buchbinder and Obsessions @sbuchbinder
3 hours ago