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Very Superstitious

by on October 30, 2012

In this day and age one would think that superstition would be a thing of the past right? Or at least a habit of the older generation. A few weeks ago while decorating for Halloween at the office,  I found out that superstition is still very much prevalent and and not just for the older set.  At least this is what I thought.  Boy was I wrong.

My coworker who is a year younger than my 43 years of age, believes that owls are the bringers of death.  When she was telling me not to bring any owls into the office, I thought she was joking.  No, she was straight up serious she did not want any owls in the office.

Halloween is a perfect time to visit one such superstition.

So after that little incident I decided to do a search and see the lore behind this particular superstition.  It’s really amazing how many people think of the owl as the harbinger of death.

The Kikuyu tribe in Kenya believe the owl to be a harbinger of death. If one heard it’s hoot or saw it, someone was going to die.  Several tribes of Native Americans such as the Hopi, the Aztecs and the Mayas also felt that the owl brought death.  In fact the Aztec god of death was fashioned after an owl and his name was Mictlantecuhtli.  In the Middle East the owl is considered to be the bringer of bad omens while the Hindi think of the owl as the goddess Lakshmi the South Asia people think of it as a foolish creature.

What seems to be most interesting to me is that the Western culture generally sees the owl as a glorious creature of wisdom.  Though there are still those within this culture that see it as a creature of ill-omen.  In France, Belgium and the Netherlands they use the division of the owls being eared or ear-less whether or not they are owls of wisdom or death.  The eared owls are seen as filled with wisdom while the ear-less are the harbingers of death.

Three provinces in France have the owl as provincial symbols. Quebec has the Snowy Owl, Manitoba has the Great Grey Owl and Alberta has the Great Horned Owl.

I myself can only say that I think the owl is a beautiful creature.  I wasn’t raised to believe this animal was something to be feared.  However the owl was a creature to look at in awe and wonder.  The one superstition I remember being in my household was that my father who is from Alabama didn’t want you to sweep his feet with a broom.  If you did he would have to spit on the broom.  We would always “accidentally” sweep dad’s feet so that he could chase us through the house.

So I am curious were any of you raised with superstitions?  IF so what were they?  And also how do you view the owl?

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16 Comments
  1. Hard to think of owls being evil after Harry Potter and Hedwig! Biggest superstition in my family is if you give someone a knife, they have to give you a dime. Or else bad luck!

    • Interesting superstition Louisa. Do you know the reasoning behind the superstition in your family? I actually love owls. So beautiful. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I didn’t know anything about owls, but I do throw spilled salt over my shoulder.

    • I remember that as well Ella. I’ve never done it. But I do know of it. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Bobbie Cimo permalink

    I always thought the owl represented wisdom, like the saying goes. “As wise as an owl”

  4. I think of owls as proud beautiful birds.
    And I’m mildly superstitious – knock on wood.

  5. Jaimee permalink

    I read a novel in the 70’s called “I Heard the Owl Call My Name,” that was built around the American superstition that if you heard an owl hooting three nights in a row outside your house, it meant you were going to die soon.

  6. Ha, my mom throws spilled salt over her shoulder too. Someone flipped out on me for barely opening my umbrella by the door to close it properly once. “Don’t open it in the house, it’s bad luck!” Ha, I’ve seen and heard a lot of strange things. And my mom and I are from Alabama as well, Nikki. 🙂 Happy Halloween!

    • Happy Halloween to you too Melissa! Thanks so much for stopping by. There are so many superstitions for sure.

  7. I have a friend who nicks anything valuable she buys. It is meant to show disdain for earthly items and nothing worse will have to them. In the twenty years, I’ve known her there is a self-inflicted scratch on every one of her cars. And as she points out – my car has never been wrecked.

  8. Toni Kelly permalink

    Wow, learned something new today. I never knew that owls were supposed to be harbingers of death or symbols of ill omens. I guess growing up in Western culture always showed them as wise and good. Great blog, very interesting.

  9. I think it’s lucky to see an owl, it’s something special that doesn’t happen everyday.

  10. Shyla Colt permalink

    Great post! I loved hearing everyone susperstitions. There were some I didn’t know of like the disdain for earthly items, very interesting. I’m with Lousia hard to think of owls as evil after Hp, and my earliest memory of them from child hood has to do with tootsie pops… don’t judge me, lol.

  11. Thanks so much Shyla for stopping by. There are definitely some superstitions I’d never heard of. LOL not judging you…that was my owl too…lol

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