By Chloe Roads
This assortment investigates the origins of our so much fascinating outdated superstitions, a lot of which we nonetheless locate ourselves abiding via this day. 1000's of the ideals handed down throughout the generations have their foundations in our ancestors' efforts to thrust back evil, which they blamed for hassle, disease and injustice in occasions while existence used to be, as usually as now not, 'nasty, brutish and short'. Black Cats and Evil Eyes units those superstitions of their historic and social context, explaining how worry of the satan, demons, evil spirits and witchcraft drove humans to arm themselves with rituals and talismans to repel darkish forces and make allowance them to reside lengthy and fit lives. In reading a lot of our universal superstitions, this booklet illuminates the customs, ideals and practices that hyperlink us to an historical, and infrequently darker, human previous.
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Additional info for Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A book of old-fashioned superstitions
The Gospelles of Dystaues, or Distaff Gospels, written in 1470 and translated into English in 1507, documented for the first time the wisdom of French peasant women. The book illuminates, for example, our distrust of giving a knife as a gift, our belief that a pregnant woman should be given what she craves and our fear that a howling dog is an omen of death. The women’s testimonies were documented before the persecution of wise women as witches began in earnest, so they detailed the charms and remedies they used with a freedom that is heart-breaking in light of the torture and murder of the witch hunts that followed.
The Devil Danced in Empty Pockets’ is the title of a song by contemporary American country singer Joe Diffie, and the same line appears in Tom Waits’s murder ballad ‘Lucinda’. To guard against the curse of the empty purse, it was customary from the 1800s onwards to keep at least one coin in a wallet, or, if that had to be spent, a piece of string or twine could be used to trick the Devil into keeping out. Many people still slip a coin, or, if they’re in a generous mood, a note, inside a purse or wallet if it’s to be a gift.
The Roman army were close behind and began to search the caves, but when they saw an intricate spider’s web across the entrance to the one in which Jesus lay sleeping they passed by, assuming that it must have been there, undisturbed, for many days. The Torah tells the parallel story of how David, later the King of Israel, was saved by a spider’s web covering the cave in which he was hiding from an army sent by the King Saul to kill him. In the story of the life of the prophet Mohammed is the tale of how he took shelter in a cave when fleeing his enemies and was saved when a tree sprouted in front of it and a spider built a web between the tree and the cave.
Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A book of old-fashioned superstitions by Chloe Roads