Around this time of year superstitions seems to come at us from all over the place. With this in mind I pulled out my book Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions by David Pickering Copyright 1995.

I will be posting a few today and tomorrow in among the articles, spells, potions, etc for Samhain and Beltane. If there is a superstition that has been passed down in your family or that you believe in and would like some more information about them please write a description of the superstition in the comment area.

Many times during my youth my mother, who is now in the Summerlands, told me they story of her grandmother picking up and throwing the first pair of shoes she ever bought for herself across the room a breaking the heel off one of them. The reason being her grandmother believed that putting shoes on the table was bad luck. My family has many other superstitions that I will share as we get closer to our holidays.





There are many superstitions and old wives’ tales about the house and home. Are they fact or fiction? Let us know what you think.

These sayings for good luck in your home come from The Old Farmer’s Almanac folklore archives.

Scatter Solomon’s seal on the floor to banish serpents and venomous creatures from the room.

To protect your house from lightning, gather hazel tree branches on Palm Sunday and keep them in water.

Add caraway seeds to chicken feed to keep poultry from wandering. Feed the seeds to homing pigeons to help them find their way back.

Stuff fennel in your keyhole or hang it over your door to protect against evil spirits. (Of course, we now know fennel has many natural remedy benefits to help keep us healthy!)

Never carry a hoe into the house. If you do so by mistake, carry it out again, walking backward to avoid bad luck.

Never walk under a ladder, which is Satan’s territory. If you must do it, cross your fingers or make the sign of the fig (closed fist, with thumb between index and middle fingers).

If you give a steel blade to a friend, make the recipient pay you a penny to avoid cutting the friendship.

Never give a knife as a housewarming present, or your new neighbor will become an enemy.

Never pound a nail after sundown, or you will wake the tree gods.

Nail an evergreen branch to new rafters to bring good luck. An empty hornets’ nest, hung high, also will bring good luck to a house of any age.

When you move to a new house, always enter first with a loaf of bread and a new broom. Never bring an old broom into the house.


The Old Farmer’s Almanac

A Little Broom Lore and Superstition For Your Wednesday

Look at me...Medusa

A Little Broom Lore and Superstition For Your Wednesday

*Certainly, the most common superstition connected with brooms is that they were used by witches to fly on… However, did you know that it was in the fourteenth century that brooms were first regarded as a vehicle for witches’ transportation? This tradition may stem from the fact that, in many of their ceremonies, witches did dance with a stick between their legs, jumping high in the air. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, the question of witches flying was settled once and for all in an English law court. Lord Mansfield declared that he knew of no law that prohibited flying and, therefore, anyone so inclined was perfectly free to do so.bShortly thereafter, reports of witches flying on broomsticks ceased (except for isolated reports of East Anglian witches skimming across church spires).

*It is said that a new broom should sweep dirt out of a house only after it has swept something in.

*An ole English Rhyme…..”Buy a broom in May, and you will sweep your friends away.”

*Also never sweep after sunset since so doing will chase away happiness or hurt a wandering soul.

*According to Yorkshire belief, should a young girl inadvertently step over a broom handle she will become a mother before a wife…..
(I will add here….this belief is also Appalachia and rural country folk)

*Among the Dyak people of Indonesia brooms made out of the leaves of a certain plant (doesn’t say which plant) are sprinkled with rice water and blood. These are used to sweep one’s house, and the sweepings are placed into a toy house made of bamboo. The toy house is then set adrift on a river. It is believed that bad luck will be carried out to sea with it.

*In Africa, should a man be struck by a broom, he will grab hold of it and hit the broomstick seven times, or he will become impotent.

*In Sicily, on Midsummer’s Eve, people often put a broom outside their homes to ward off any wickedness that might come knocking.

*In Wales, among the Gypsies, an old custom of the broomstick wedding persisted for some time. The couple solemnized their rites before witnesses by leaping over a broom placed in a doorway, without dislodging the broom. Should they wish to dissolve the marriage, they simply had to reverse the process, jumping backwards out of the house, over the broom, before the same witnesses.

*American country folk say no good can come of carrying a broom across water, leaning a broom against the bed, or burning one. Good luck can be had by sending a new broom and a loaf of bread into a new home before entering it.

*Likewise, brooms laid across the doorways are believed to keep out bad…

*And a few more traditional ones….
Never use a broom when there is a dead person in the house.
Never use a broom to sweep outside the house, unless the inside of the house has been cleaned first. (oops!)
Never walk on a broom.
Never sweep upstairs rooms in the afternoon.
Never sweep the room of a departing guest until he has been gone for some time, or else your sweeping will bring him back
Never bring old brooms into new houses…(remember a broom becomes attached to houses…always leave the old one behind….)
Finally………always sweep dustballs into the middle of a room…..they will protect against bad luck

*One old wart cure consists of measuring a wart crosswise with a broom straw, then burying the straw The straw, so intimately connected with the wart, will decay, and so too should the blemish.

*Placing a broom across any doorway allows your departed friends and family to speak to you if they so choose. As long as the broom remains in place, they can communicate freely.

*If you feel as though you are being followed and haunted by unfriendly ghosts, stepping over a broomstick will prevent them from disturbing you.

Let’s Talk Witch – Household Omens and Portents

Friday 13th Comments

Let’s Talk Witch – Household Omens and Portents


Let your furniture predict your future? The idea may sound strange, but for centuries-from Babylonian times and even earlier-household objects and occurrences have been prized for glimpses of future events.

Many of these ancient ideas are odd, alien or amusing, but they do reflect the sacredness of all existence in early times. You could trudge over to the seer or stand in line to visit the Oracle at Delphi-or you could watch your furniture. niture.

For instance, if you are rocking in your rocking chair and it starts to move along the floor, company will show on your porch before nighttime. A chair that rocks by itself signifies the imminent arrival of bad news.

If you knock your chair over when rising from the table, it is a sign that you lied while seated there. Turning a chair on one leg so that it pivots usually presages a household hold fight.

Any large piece of wooden furniture-such as a wardrobe, robe, table or chest-that starts to dry out and crack is signaling a change in the weather.

If you are dreaming away one night and suddenly feel like the world’s falling, perhaps one of the slats of your bed has fallen out. If so, don’t worry; this is a sign that riches will soon be coming your way. Also concerning beds, climbing out of bed over the footboard when first rising in the morning ing portends a fortunate day.

The kitchen has its share of portents, too. If apples burst while baking in the oven, good news is on the way for the cook. Eggs that crack while boiling are a sign that visitors are expected.

Many people around the world abhor Americans’ bland, precooked rice. Real rice sticks to itself; it has a different ferent texture. When this type of rice forms a ring around the edge of the pot while cooking, the cook will become rich.

Knocking over the sugar bowl is another sign of money, probably harkening back to the days when sugar was prohibitively expensive. Spilling pepper signifies a coming fight, while upsetting the salt shaker is a wellknown known signal of trouble. Throw a pinch of pepper or salt over the left shoulder to avoid the hex.

Accidentally mixing up salt and sugar in a recipe is a sweet sign, regardless of the taste of the finished dish. It presages good news. Forgetting to add spices while cooking ing not only decreases the flavor of your food, it also signifies trouble ahead. Remedy this by adding the spices as soon as possible.

Bubbles in your morning coffee presage money. If they are near the side of the cup you drink from, the money will come soon; if on the far side, it will come more slowly.

If you drink tea, look into your cup. Floating tea leaves signify money coming your way. The tea leaves themselves, selves, of course, can be read to foretell the future. Get a good book on the subject or simply look at the patterns the leaves make and let your psychic powers flow.

There are some kitchen portents of approaching rain. If you must add a lot of water to boiling food, showers will descend. If the coffeepot boils over more often than usual, this is also a sign of impending precipitation.

Many omens emerge at the dining table. Crossing knives while setting the table foretells long journeys, while a piece of bread falling from someone’s hand means a beggar will soon be knocking at the door. (This doesn’t necessarily mean a ramshackle, bearded bum, though; it could be a friend who’s low on cash.)

Spilling water on the tablecloth, by right of sympathetic pathetic magic, indicates that rain is on the way. If you drop a glass and it doesn’t break, this is proof that you have friends who would go through fire for you. Silverware dropped at the table indicates the impending ing arrival of a visitor-a fork represents a man, a spoon a woman. Dropping a knife also means a visitor-if the blade sticks into the floor.

Animals are frequently watched to predict the future. A bird flying into a house for no apparent reason is a sign of good luck and fortune for the owner (but perhaps not for the bird). It may also portend news from a distance.

Swallows settling in at your home mean that it will never want for luck. The same is true of martins. If you hear a mockingbird while falling asleep, good luck will be yours.

Snakes were once kept as household guardians, and a snake in the home is still considered lucky. If a snake crawls up your doorsteps, it may mean that someone from another country will enter your house. A snake in the garden also brings good fortune.

Wild animal tracks in the snow, completely encircling the house, are another sign of good luck.

Seeing a spider in the house in the morning, or anytime, time, is good luck; killing one brings bad luck. A spider or bee entering your home through an open window indicates cates news on the way.

Doors opening by themselves signal the impending arrival of company. Cracks in the ceiling and soot dropping from the chimney indicate bad weather ahead. A falling picture presages a journey for someone in the family.

If a broom drops across a doorway, you will soon go on a journey. (Make sure to pick it up quickly; don’t step over it.) When your cupboard doors are left open, people will gossip about you.

If your garden gate bangs open and shut at night, you will have many visitors the next day. And finally, if the doorbell bell rings and you don’t answer it, you will lose a friend. (This was probably invented by traveling salesmen and bill collectors.)


The Magical Household: Spells & Rituals for the Home

Scott Cunningham; David Harrington


Old Customs


The first water drawn from any well or stream on New Year’s morning used
to be called the Flower of the Well, or the Cream of the Well. This water would bring good luck in the new year.

In Mid-January (depending on the area) the apple trees were wassailed.
The word “Wassail” comes from the Anglo-Saxon “Wehal” which means “be of
good health”. Farmers and their families went to the orchards after dark, carrying horns and a large pail of cider. Cider was poured around the roots of a chosen tree, and a piece of toast or cake, soaked in cider, was placed in the branches. A wassailing song was sung to the tree.

Girls can discover their future husband on the Eve of St Agnes by scattering a handful of barley under an apple tree saying: “Barley, barley, I sow thee; That my true love I may see; Take thy rake and follow me.” It is said that the figure of her future husband will follow and take up the seed the girl has scattered.

The cuckoo is considered a lucky bird. Money should be turned in the pocket when the first cuckoo is heard, but never look at the ground while this is done.

Morris Dancers may be seen at Whitsuntide. The Dancers stamp, kick and
jump to waken the earth spirit and bring the crops out of the ground.

On Old Midsummer Day there is a procession in the Isle of Man to Tynwald
Hill. The Governor follows the Sword of State at the head of the procession. They process through lines of guards to a platform. Here the Governor sits on a crimson velvet chair. The Chief Justice reads a list of the Acts of Parliament passed at Westminster during the year. This ceremony shows that the Isle of Man accepts English Acts as law.

On 8 July, the Burry Man walks through the streets of South Queensferry,
West Lothian, Scotland. He is covered in thistle, teazle and burrs, with a head dress made of flowers. He covers his face, and carries a staff in each hand. He talks to no-one but is said to bring good luck to houses he visits.

On the Sunday after August 12th there is a “revel” in Markhamchurch, in Cornwall. The village children chose the “Queen of the Revel” who then leads a procession through the village, riding a white horse.

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance takes place on the first Sunday after September 4th. This is probably one of the best known of all the “Dances” in the British Isles.