Currently viewing the tag: "superstition"

Let Them Sleep Who Do Not Know

In Roumania St. Andrew’s Eve [Nov. 30] is a creepy time, for on it vampires are supposed to rise from their graves, and with coffins on their heads walk about the houses in which they once lived. Before nightfall every woman takes some garlic and anoints with it the door locks and window casements; this will keep away the vampires. At the cross-roads there is a great fight of these loathsome beings until the first cock crows; and not only the dead take part in this, but also some living men who are vampires from their birth. Sometimes it is only the souls of these living vampires that join in the fight; the soul comes out through the mouth in the form of a bluish flame, takes the shape of an animal, and runs to the crossway. If the body meanwhile is moved from its place the person dies, for the soul cannot find its way back. -Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set on St. Andrew’s Eve in Romania.

Journaling Prompt: Do you or someone in your family have a superstitious ritual? Write about it.

Art Prompt: St. Andrew’s Eve

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about some of the old world superstitions that are being popularized on TV and in movies today.

Photo Credit: Annadriel on Flickr

Italians on Comb

The Hebrew for bee is dbure, from the root dbr, meaning ‘word’…indicating the bee’s mission to reveal the Divine Word, the Truth.
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The ‘truth’, a message from above, was thought to be passed on by bees in their honey so that the elect could express the truth in scholarship and poetry. Accordingly, bees were supposed to have settled on the lifps of Plato, Pindar, and the well-named Saint Ambrose of Milan as children… the women of the Ivory Coast and Senegal still rub a baby’s lips with honey as soon as it has uttered its first cry of fury at being born…
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There is still an Eastern custom whereby a spoonful of honey is poured into the palms of a newly married couples’s hands. They must lick it off for each other as a sign that they will now take all their food together, and it is said to ensure that the husband will not lift his hand to his wife except to caress her, and none but loving words will spring to the wife’s lips – not just during the aptly named honeymoon but forever after. -A History of Food by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene that uses what this reading teaches about the symbolism of bees.

Journaling Prompt: Write about bees and the feelings they create in you.

Art Prompt: Bees

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the symbolism of bees.

Photo Credit: De Anna on Flickr

The Hunderfossen Troll

In the Scandinavian countries simple folk have a vivid sense of the nearness of the supernatural on Christmas Eve. On Yule night no one should go out, for he may meet uncanny beings of all kinds. In Sweden the Trolls are believed to celebrate Christmas Eve with dancing and revelry. -Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, poem, or haiku about trolls dancing on Christmas Eve.

Journaling Prompt: Write about how your family spent Christmas Eve when you were a child.

Art Prompt: Dancing Trolls on Christmas Eve

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a touching story about a holiday tradition in your family.

Photo Credit: Jan Hammershaug on Flickr

the gundestrup cauldron

Cerridwen was not only mother of birth, but also of death and transformation. In another legend, she offers Bran the Blessed her magical cauldron, which can resurrect the dead warriors placed inside it. This Cauldron of Regeneration, womb of the death mother, was one of the most famous treasures of Celtic myth. Bran later was transmogrified into the Fisher King of Grail legend, with the Cauldron of Cerridwen recast as the Holy Grail. The cup, as a universal symbol of the mother-element, water, reflects the womb-vessel, and later, the chalice of resurrection, “the female-symbolic bowl of life-giving blood.”5 As for its feminine characteristics, the Grail dispenses both material food and spiritual solace. It preserves youth and maintains life. It heals knights wounded in battle. It radiates light and a sweet fragrance; it rejoices the troubled heart. In all these ways it is a source of solace and spirituality, elevating man above the animal and toward the divine. It is the guiding symbol, the anima, for which man quests. -From Girl to Goddess: The Heroine’s Journey through Myth and Legend by Valerie Estelle Frankel

Fiction Writing Prompt: How has resurrection – physical or emotional – played a role in your protagonist’s life? Add to your character sketch.

Journaling Prompt: In what part of your life have you experienced a resurrection? How has that affected you?

Art Prompt: Holy Grail

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the role of resurrection in myths from many cultures and why it is such a powerful symbol.

Photo Credit: mararie on Flickr

candle on the christmas tree

Not only at Christmas are ceremonial “trees” to be found in Germany. In the Erzgebirge there is dancing at the summer solstice round “St. John’s tree,” a pyramid decked with garlands and flowers, and lit up at night by candles. At midsummer “in the towns of the Upper Harz Mountains tall fir-trees, with the bark peeled off their lower trunks, were set up in open places and decked with flowers and eggs, which were painted yellow and red. Round these trees the young folk danced by day and the old folk in the evening”;? while on Dutch ground in Gelderland and Limburg at the beginning of May trees were adorned with lights.? -Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene that involves a ceremonial tree of your own invention or from history.

Journaling Prompt: What do tress mean to you?

Art Prompt: Ceremonial tree

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience something personal about what trees symbolize to you.

Photo Credit: Christoph on Flickr

Ouija board

I acquired my first (and only, so far) Ouija board when I was 12 or 13 years old. I don’t remember exactly where I got it—whether I bought it with babysitting money or received it as a gift. I called my mom to ask if she remembered, and she wasn’t totally sure either. She was, however, suspiciously insistent on assuring me she “wouldn’t have had a problem” with me having it. She then asked my dad whether heremembered how I got it, and he said, “Tell her I ordered it online from a coven of witches.”
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So I think I got it as a birthday present. -Katie Heaney

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene involving a pre-teen and an Ouija board.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you played with an Ouija board.

Art Prompt: Ouija board

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous story about a teenage exploration into the mystical realms.

Photo Credit: Dave Winer on Flickr

woman with nose ring b-w

Hindus, for instance, as Mr. Edgar Thurston tells us, “are very particular about catching sight of some auspicious object on the morning of New Year’s Day, as the effects of omens seen on that occasion are believed to last throughout the year.” It is thought that a man’s whole prosperity depends upon the things that he then happens to fix his eyes upon.? -Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a New Year’s Eve superstition for one of your characters OR write a story about using the reading above for inspiration.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a superstition that you or someone in your family believes in.

Art Prompt: Auspicious omen

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a cultural superstition that you grew up believing.

Photo Credit: Harini Calamur on Flickr

Baby C

This night, O Felim the Harper, shall a girl-babe be born to thee within these castle walls. Loveliest among the lovely shall thy star-eyed daughter be; no harp-strings shall yield such music as her voice, no fairy strains pour forth such wonder-stirring sound. Yet, O Felim, in days to come, because of this fair child shall great sorrow come upon our King Concobar and upon all his realm. In those days shall Erin’s chief glory perish, for if the House of the Red Branch fall, who shall stand? -Celtic Tales, Told to the Children by Louey Chisholm

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story based on the prophecy in this Celtic folk tale.

Journaling Prompt: What prophecy or prediction for the future would you like to believe in and why?

Art Prompt: Prophecy

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience your favorite folk tale.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Stirlen on Flickr

Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales, p. 63

If we wish to know the true history of a people, to understand the causes of its sorrows and its joys, to estimate its worth, and to know how to rule it wisely and well, let us read such old-world tales carefully, and ponder them well. Even if prejudice or ignorance should induce us to undervalue their worth as authentic records of its ancient history, let us remember the undeniable fact, that they are authentic records of its deepest national feelings, and let them, at least, have their weight as such in our schemes of social economy, for the present and the future. -An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 by Mary Frances Cusack

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch. What tales did your protagonist grow up hearing? How did they affect him or her.

Journaling Prompt: What was your favorite folk tale or fairy tale when you were growing up? What lessons did it teach you?

Art Prompt: Folk tale

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a folk tale from your culture and share what it has taught you.

Photo Credit: plaisanter~ on Flickr

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #2007

A falling star! What luck! -Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: What do you think about when you see a falling star?

Art Prompt: Falling star

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about an upcoming astronomical event and how they can best view it in your area.

Photo Credit: Adam Koford on Flickr