Currently viewing the tag: "superstition"
When Columbus first arrived in the New World, he described the indigenous people as friendly and causing no problems. He had been told by Queen Isabella to treat these people with respect and kindness, except if it became clear they are cannibals, in which case, all bets were off. Initially, the Spanish were looking for gold and, when they didn’t find it, they figured that the next best thing was slaves.
Lo and behold, when Columbus came back, the indigenous people who had previously been classified as friendly were suddenly described as cannibals, so you could do anything to them. You could enslave them, take their land, murder them, and treat them like pestilence. And that’s exactly what happened, with the result that a lot of the islands were de-populated. The idea of cannibalism as a taboo was used to de-humanize the people encountered on these conquests. –Cannibalism—the Ultimate Taboo—Is Surprisingly Common by Simon Worrall
Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving cannibalism.
Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about the way that Columbus and other explorers dealt with natives in the new world?
Art Prompt: Cannibalism
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about cannibalism in the natural world.
Photo Credit: A Cannibal Feast in Fiji, 1869 on Wikimedia
The ancient Egyptians called the place in which the Ka, the souls of the dead, awaited reincarnation “the beanfield.” In the sixth century BC, as we saw above, Pythagoras the originator among other things of the word philosophy who use various religious themes to illustrate his teachings, refused to escape his murders by crossing a beanfield. He was acting in conformity with a major taboo. To his disciples, as to those who adhered to Orphic believes, eating beans denoted devouring one’s own parents, and fast causing serious interruption in the cycle of reincarnation (where as in many primitive systems of thought the practice of cannibalism permitted assimilation and was a kind of reincarnation). –A History of Food by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat
Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a superstition or religious belief for your protagonist involving a bean field.
Journaling Prompt: What do you believe about reincarnation?
Art Prompt: Bean field
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the symbolism of the bean field in ancient societies.
Photo Credit: Michael Nukular on Flickr
Chance is a funny thing and it is easily mistaken for portent. –Faitheist by Chris Stedman
Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which the conflict arises from a character misreading a chance occurrence.
Journaling Prompt: Have you ever made the mistake of taking a random event as a sign?
Art Prompt: Chance
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a random occurrence you thought was a sign.
Photo Credit: Mark Strozier on Flickr
Trigg was a prosperous grocer with a twin-gabled shop in Middle Row, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, as well as a number of other properties. He was a church warden, an overseer of the parish, and an important man locally. It is said that one night, he and two friends witnessed grave robbers at a local graveyard, and they vowed to make sure that this would not happen to them. Trigg stated in his will that his body should be committed for a minimum of 30 years to “the West end of my Hovel to be decently laid there upon a floor erected by my Executor, upon the purlin for the same purpose, nothing doubting but that at the general Resurrection, I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God.” According to Gentleman’s Magazine of 5 Feb 1751, Trigg’s will stated that he supposed that he would return to life after 30 years and then his estate would revert to him, and that he ordered that the barn be locked with the key inside his coffin so that he could let himself out. Shortly before he died, Trigg had negotiated with the parish authorities to rent his barn as the town’s workhouse…
Trigg died in Letchworth, Hertfordshire on 6 October 1724 before renovations could be carried out on his barn… Therefore, his remains were placed in a lead-lined coffin of oak and pine and hoisted into the rafters of the barn behind the shop, about 10 feet (3.0 m) above the ground. –Wikipedia
Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of an unusual will provision.
Journaling Prompt: What do you want done with your body after you die?
Art Prompt: Grave robbers
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the strange story of Henry Trigg’s coffin.
Photo Credit: Henry Trigg’s coffin on Wikimedia
The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino, Sacra Sindone [‘sa?kra ‘sindone] or Santa Sindone), a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man, is believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, although three radiocarbon dating tests in 1988 dated a sample of the cloth to the Middle Ages. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus…
…The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color, and this negative image was first observed in 1898 on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited. A variety of methods have been proposed for the formation of the image, but the actual method used has not yet been conclusively identified. Despite numerous investigations and tests, the status of the Shroud of Turin remains murky, and the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain puzzling. The shroud continues to be both intensely studied and controversial. –Wikipedia
Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving a mystery around a religious relic.
Journaling Prompt: Are mysteries surround religious relics important to your faith or not? Why?
Art Prompt: Shroud of Turin
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the history of the Shroud of Turin.
Photo Credit: Shroud of Turin on Wikimedia
A unique prehistoric Pueblo culture thrived in the high desert of Chaco Canyon about a thousand years ago. Scientists have known about polydactyly among these people for years, based on images and skeletal remains showing extremities with extra fingers and toes. But past research revealed only hints about its importance to the ancient culture.
Initially intrigued by the divine powers attributed to polydactyls among the Maya, researchers led by anthropologist Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico conducted a comprehensive review of evidence for the condition at the canyon’s sacred Pueblo Bonito site.
The findings, published today in American Antiquity, indicate that the society did not view six-toed individuals as supernatural, but this form of polydactyly did grant them exalted status in life and in death.
“We found that people with six toes, especially, were common and seemed to be associated with important ritual structures and high-status objects like turquoise,” says Crown, who is also a past National Geographic grantee. –Extra Fingers and Toes Were Revered in Ancient Culture by Aaron Sidder
Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a religion for your world that reveres some physical attribute that few people have.
Journaling Prompt: What part of your body do you wish you could change?
Art Prompt: Polydactyly
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the Pueblo culture of Chaco Canyon.
Photo Credit: ReSurge International on Flickr
- A form of folk magic, medicine or witchcraft originating in Africa and practiced in parts of the Caribbean.
- A magician or witch doctor of the magic craft.
- A spell performed in the practice of the magic craft; an item associated with such a spell.
Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.
Journaling Prompt: What do you believe about magic?
Art Prompt: Obeah
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt:Use the word of the week in your article or speech.
Photo Credit: African Zulu Witch Doctor on Wikimedia
And death was a soft thing, soft and black, cool and sweet and gracious. He slipped into it as a swimmer slips into the surf and it closed over him and held him and he felt the pulse and beat of it and knew the vastness and sureness of it. –Time and Again by Clifford D. Simak
Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a character and what happens after he/she dies.
Journaling Prompt: What do you believe the process of death will be like?
Art Prompt: Death
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about near death experiences.
Photo Credit: Design_Ex on Flickr
Native societies did not think of themselves as being in the world as occupants but considered that their rituals created the world and keep it operational. -Marshall McLuhan, College and University Journal, Volumes 6-7, American College Public Relations Association, 1967, p. 3
Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a ritual for your story’s culture or a personal ritual for one of your characters.
Journaling Prompt: What is your most important ritual?
Art Prompt: Ritual
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about one of your rituals.
Photo Credit: danielle tineke on Flickr
The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore. In Slavic and Chinese traditions, any corpse that was jumped over by an animal, particularly a dog or a cat, was feared to become one of the undead. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk. In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once been witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church while they were alive.
Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant. Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was placing earthly objects, such as scythes or sickles, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin. This method resembles the Ancient Greek practice of placing an obolus in the corpse’s mouth to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld. It has been argued that instead, the coin was intended to ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore. This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the inscription “Jesus Christ conquers” were placed on the corpse to prevent the body from becoming a vampire.
Other methods commonly practised in Europe included severing the tendons at the knees or placing poppy seeds, millet, or sand on the ground at the grave site of a presumed vampire; this was intended to keep the vampire occupied all night by counting the fallen grains, indicating an association of vampires with arithmomania. Similar Chinese narratives state that if a vampire-like being came across a sack of rice, it would have to count every grain; this is a theme encountered in myths from the Indian subcontinent, as well as in South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings.
In Albanian folklore, the dhampir is the hybrid child of the karkanxholl (a werewolf-like creature with an iron mail shirt) or the lugat (a water-dwelling ghost or monster). The dhampir sprung of a karkanxholl has the unique ability to discern the karkanxholl; from this derives the expression the dhampir knows the lugat. The lugat cannot be seen, he can only be killed by the dhampir, who himself is usually the son of a lugat. In different regions, animals can be revenants as lugats; also, living people during their sleep. Dhampiraj is also an Albanian surname. –Wikipedia
Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about vampires.
Journaling Prompt: Do you enjoy reading about vampires or watching vampire movies? Why or why not?
Art Prompt: Vampire
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the origins of the vampire legend.
Photo Credit: Samet Kilic on Flickr
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