Download Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A book of old-fashioned by Chloe Roads PDF

By Chloe Roads

This assortment investigates the origins of our so much exciting out of date superstitions, lots of which we nonetheless locate ourselves abiding via this present day. thousands of the ideals handed down during the generations have their foundations in our ancestors' efforts to beat back evil, which they blamed for complication, sickness and injustice in instances whilst existence was once, as usually as now not, 'nasty, brutish and short'. Black Cats and Evil Eyes units those superstitions of their ancient 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 dwell lengthy and fit lives. In studying a lot of our universal superstitions, this publication illuminates the customs, ideals and practices that hyperlink us to an old, and sometimes darker, human previous.

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In many cases several centuries passed between their first appearance in print and subsequent references, which presents a challenge to folklorists attempting to trace their evolution. However, there is enough on record to help the interested amateur gain some understanding of where many of our most mysterious beliefs stem from. To understand the superstitions collected in this book in context, we must imagine ourselves in a world vastly different from our own. Those beliefs that date back to antiquity evolved in an era steeped in the mythology of a pantheon of gods with human flaws vying with each other for power, and where Fate might triumph over even the most formidable deity.

SPILLING SALT Until relatively recently, salt was one of the most precious commodities known to man. The location of salt mines determined where cities would flourish, salt routes paved the way for later trade routes and, before refrigeration, curing with salt was the primary method by which food could be preserved, so lives depended on it. Without mechanized techniques for mining rock salt or the means by which to evaporate enough salt water to extract sufficient quantities of sea salt, it was expensive and hard to come by.

On the whole, they started out not as superstitions but as practices that were in keeping with the religious code or social norms of the time. They have come to be seen as superstitious only as our understanding of the world has deepened. If you carried a rabbit’s foot to ward off digestive trouble in Roman times, for example, you did so because it was what your physician recommended. If you carried one in the 1600s, like the diarist Samuel Pepys, you might have done so because although you knew it was mere ‘fancy’, it had worked for a respected friend and seemed also to have the desired effect on you.

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