What is the origin of breaking a mirror superstition?
enturies ago, people believed that a person's image in a mirror was actually a reflection of the person's soul (much like the way Native Americans felt that a photograph stole part of their soul and why they resisted being photographed). Further, this is why vampires can't see themselves in the mirror--they have no soul. Anyway, believing that their soul was in the mirror, breaking a mirror meant that a part of the soul would not be able to reunite with the body. Obviously, without a portion of the soul, a person would be in for some bad luck. The seven years thing comes from the Romans. They believed that a person's health and fortune changed every seven years.
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The convergence of two superstitions between the number 13 and Friday seem to be at the heart of many questions concerning this particular superstition. So lets start with… those. FRIDAY has been an inauspicious day for a very long time, and in many varied cultures. It has been held to be both unlucky and as a day when evil influences are at work. In Ancient Rome, Friday was execution day. In some pre-Christian Religions Friday was a day of worship, so those who involved themselves in secular or self-interested activities on that day were not likely to receive the blessings of the gods on their undertakings. Which may go a long way to explain the superstition of not embarking on journeys or starting important projects on Fridays. From the Christian bible: - Friday is reputed to be the day Eve gave Adam the apple. - It is said to be the day Adam & Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. - Friday is also reputed to be the day they (Adam & Eve) died. - The Great Flood is supposed to have started on a Friday . - God was said to have struck the builders of the Towel of Babel and created the confusion of many tongues, on a Friday . - The Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday . - Christ was crucified and died on a Friday . In Britain, Friday was customarily Hanging Day. It is said accidents are more common on Fridays , however, that may be more because Friday is the end of the work week and people are hurrying to get away from work, than any sinister reasons. It is supposed that witches favour Friday for coven gatherings. This Pagan association was not lost on the early Christian Church, which went to considerable lengths to suppress them. If Friday was a holy day for "heathens" the Church fathers felt it must not be so for Christians, hence in the middle ages Friday became known as the "Witches' Sabbath." The name "Friday" is derived from the Norse goddess known either as Frigg - wife of Odin (the goddess of marriage & fertility, the moon & witches) or Freya (goddess of love, beauty, sensuality, war, good fortune, magic & wisdom). To complicate matters the two goddesses are combined and used interchangeably by many, however, the etymology of Friday has been given both ways. Pre-Christian Teutonic people actually considered Friday to be lucky, particularly for wedding, because of its association with the aforementioned goddesses. This however changed when the Christian church came into ascendancy. Frigg/Freya was re-cast in folklore as a witch and her day became associated with evil doings. Various legends developed in that vein, one however, is of particular interest: As the legend goes, the witches of the north used to observe their Sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, (Freya herself) came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only twelve at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven, and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since, is comprised of thirteen members. Other superstitions concerning Friday include : - Clothing made on a Friday will never fit properly. - Visiting your doctor on Friday will not have a good result. - Never change your bed on a Friday , as it will result in nightmares and bad dreams. - One should not move their residence or marry on a Friday, if they expect any good to come of it. - Cut your nails of Friday and you cut them for sorrow. - Ill news received on a Friday will etch wrinkles in the face of the recipient, more so than the same news received on any other day. - Friday is an inauspicious day to start a trip as "misfortune will bound to follow." - Ships that set sail on Friday will have bad luck. ~ This superstition is supported by the Urban legend of the H.M.S. Friday . It is reported that, in an attempt to debunk the many sailors' superstitions centered around Fridays, the British government commissioned a special ship. They named it the H.M.S. Friday ; the crew was selected on a Friday , the keel was set on a Friday , and she was launched on a Friday . They even went so far as to hire a man named Friday to captain her. It was on a Friday that she set sail on her maiden voyage, and as the story goes, was never heard of again. Children born on Fridays are believed by some to be unlucky, but they will enjoy the gifts of second sight and healing powers. On the other side of things, the old nursery rhyme says " Friday's child is loving and giving", so not all cultures agreed that Friday was a bad day to be born. An old proverb said "If you laugh on Friday you will cry on Sunday," There are those who say the weather on Friday will be repeated on Sunday. The number THIRTEEN is much maligned, The prejudice against the number is more or less planet wide. The Turks are said to have so disliked the number so much that it was all but eradicated from their vocabulary. In fact there are so many people with a fear (triskaidekaphobia) of the number thirteen , that many will go to great lengths to avoid any association with it. This is why there are cities that do not have a thirteenth Street or Avenue, highways often do not have a thirteenth exit, many airports do not have a thirteenth gate and many buildings do not have rooms and in some cases floors number thirteen . The number thirteen is associated with the supposed number of members in a witches' coven. As the legend goes, the witches of the north used to observe their Sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, (Freya herself) came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only twelve at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven, and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since, is comprised of thirteen members. It is also interesting to note in this story, the possible origin of the belief that a witch's familiar is a cat. One of the most commonly known and observed superstitions concerning the number thirteen, has to do with dining. It is said to be incredibly unlucky to be invited to dinner and have thirteen people at table. The belief is that the first person to rise from table and/or the last person to sit down at the table are destined to die within the calendar year. The only way to avoid this is for everyone to be seated and to rise from the table at the same time. Not an easy feat, however, there is some hope for everyone's survival if two or more of the people at dinner are seated at another/separate table. - This superstition is said to originate with the Last Supper at which Judas Iscariot was the last person to take a seat at table. - The superstition is also said to have originated in the East with the Hindus, who believed, for their own reasons, that it is always unlucky for thirteen people to gather in one place at one time, say - at dinner. - Interestingly enough, precisely the same superstition has been attributed to the ancient Vikings. There is an old Norse legend that seems tailor made for continuing this trend; As the story goes, twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, (god of mischief) had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to thirteen . True to character, Loki incited Hod (the blind god of darkness and winter) into attacking Balder the Good (fairest of the gods). Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. This tale apparently explains why the Norse themselves adhere to the belief that thirteen people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck. One of the more perplexing suggestions of origin is that the fears surrounding the number thirteen are as ancient as the act of counting. This speculative explanation suggests, primitive man had only his ten fingers and two feet to represent units, so he could count no higher than twelve. What lay beyond that -thirteen- was an unfathomable mystery to our prehistoric antecedents, hence an object of fear, confusion and superstition. Which has the feel of possible truth, but my first thought was, those self-same humans didn't wear shoes, so why didn't they use their toes to count with as well? There is also a theory which has a ring of truth to it that suggests that the number thirteen may have been purposely vilified by the founders of patriarchal religions in the early days of western civilization because it represented femininity. Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, we are told, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (and coincidentally, menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The "Earth Mother of Laussel," for example, a 27,000 year old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France is often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality. It depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing thirteen notches. It is speculated that as the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilization and religions, so did the "perfect" number 12 over the "imperfect" number 13, thereafter considered anathema. It is said that if you have thirteen letters in your name you will have the "Devil's luck." There may be some truth in that as Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all had thirteen letters in their names. More superstitions about the number thirteen include: - There are thirteen steps leading to the gallows. - There are thirteen knots in a hangman's noose. - It is thirteen feet the blade of a guillotine falls. - There were thirteen people at the last supper. - Lizzy Borden was said to have spoken only thirteen words at her trial. - There were thirteen original colonies. - The US Seal has thirteen stars, bars, and feathers in the eagle's tail. The eagle carries thirteen bars in one claw, thirteen olive branches in the other. - E pluribus Unum has thirteen letters. - Ancient Romans regarded the number thirteen as a symbol of death, destruction and misfortune. - The thirteenth card in a Tarot deck is "Death" often pictured as the Grim Reaper (a skeleton, often in a hooded cape, carrying a scythe). It should be noted however, that the Death card is rarely if ever read as "death" but as transition, change or new beginnings. - The driver of Princess Diana's vehicle hit pillar #13 at Place de l'Alma when she was killed in Paris, France. - Apollo 13 . In 1970, the thirteenth mission was to be launched from pad #39 (13 x 3). The mission was aborted, after an explosion occurred in the fuel cell of their service module. The rocket had left launching pad at 13:13 CST and the date was April 13th. .- In France, a "quatrorzieme" is a professional 14th guest hired by people who had only thirteen guests in attendance for dinner, and who felt that was unlucky. - A baker's dozen is a term used to describe bakery items such as rolls, or doughnuts sold in a pack of thirteen . I have heard many explanations for this, however, the following is pretty much exemplary of them. The story tells of a witch near Albany, NY who demanded thirteen items every time she came in to a particular bakery. One day the old bake, who could not afford her extra biscuit, refused her. She is said to have sneered some strange words at the man, and thereafter he suffered terrible luck, until he brought her another thirteen rolls . After that life was once again easy for the baker and word spread around town. The custom is still sometimes practiced today. The prejudice against the number thirteen is of obscure and ancient origin, as it existed in Roman times long before Christ, and the last supper. Perhaps of interest, is that the Chinese consider thirteen to be a lucky number. The ancient Egyptians revered thirteen was the number of the last step a soul took on its journey to eternity, twelve steps taken in life and the final one at death into the eternal glory of the afterlife. Thus making the thirteenth step a joyous one. It is only after the Civilizations of the Pharaohs were ancient history that the association of the number thirteen with death became one of fear instead of one of celebration. There are some schools of thought that attribute the thirteenth step into the afterlife to be of Hindu origins. FRIDAY the THIRTEENTH is believed to be the most widespread superstition. There isn't much documentation prior to the nineteenth century, on why humankind decided to amalgamate the two superstitions, other than the obvious one, in that the thirteenth of a month falls on a Friday between one and three times a year and someone was bound to eventually put two and two, or in this case thirteen and Friday into one day with a really nasty reputation. The earliest traceable reference to the combination is from the biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. In the book The Life of Rossini, by Henry Sutherland Edwards, it says: "[Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; and if it be true that, like so many other Italians, he regarded Friday as an unlucky day, and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday, the 13th of November, he died." There is a theory that notes references to the superstition are nonexistent prior to 1907, and argues that the Thomas Lawson novel Friday the 13th is what has given rise to the popularity of the superstition. The book, all but forgotten now, concerned dirty dealings in the stock market and sold quite well in its day. It seems unlikely that the novelist, literally invented that premise himself. He treats it within the story, in fact, as a notion that already existed in the public consciousness. This may have set it on a path to becoming the most widespread superstition in modern times, it certainly was readily adopted and popularized by the press. There is evidence to show that although most people will claim not to be superstitious, businesses, worldwide, show a marked decline in sales etc. on Fridays the thirteenth, as many choose to put off business decisions, investments of money, business and personal travel and even personal events such as weddings. Many others choose not to go in to work, eat in restaurants, go to movies, theatrical performances or to entertain in their homes on that day. It has been known for the departure of certain ocean liners to be delayed until after midnight to appease passengers' fears of setting sail on a Friday the 13th. According to Dr Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of phobias (and the man who coined the term paraskevidekatriaphobia, sometimes spelled paraskavedekatriaphobia), there may be as many as 21 million people in the United States that currently suffer from some form of the phobia. If he is right, eight percent of Americans are still in the grips of a very old superstition. There has been research in Britain showing there are fewer cars on the road on a Friday 13th than on any other Friday, and yet there are more accidents reported. Friday, January the 13th 1939 is one example people hold up for the belief the day is inauspicious. In Australia, on that day, a devastating bushfire swept across southern Victoria, killing 71 people. Another supposed origin of the Friday the 13th superstition comes from the historical destruction of the Knights Templar. The Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code and the Movie of the same name, (directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks) popularized the thought that the superstition is tied to the mass arrest of the Knights Templar. Secretly ordered by King Philip of France, (and Holy Roman Emperor, Pope Clement V) the mass arrest, of all the Knights Templar in France happened on Friday, October 13, 1307. The eventual condemnation, and eradication of the Knights Templar was to follow. The King of France and the Pope got the spoils, and a date was cemented in time. Very nearly everyone you ask has a theory about the origin of the Friday the thirteenth superstition, and no few of them will happily share some frightening or apocryphal story to back it up. And in all honesty most of us enjoy a good "scary tale," as evidenced by the popularity of the series of movies titled "Friday 13th" 1 through 705 (okay, I will admit that may be a bit of an exaggeration)
The bottom of all this to my opinion, is the colour black. It was the colour of the old European (Roman, Celtic German goddess of fertility Mother Earth, giving the later "…black madonna's". Which was not exclusively European ( Compare ISIS!!) Black was regarded as the colour of the earth, the goddesses' first element. Her second element was water, giving the colour blue. The elements of the male god ( in the sky) were air and fire ( sun) While druids were dressed in white, with red ribbons ( white= air, red = fire, sun ) it is too little known that there were female druids that were dressed in black with blue ribbons. E.g.: In a certain period ( GERmanic) the goddes was called GER, giving GERTRUDE as being the female druid (=trude.Male druid = trudO) of GER. Before, in Celtic period , she was called Cella ( CELtic)in Western Europe en HELLA in Eastern Europe ( cfrHELLas, HELLena, Hellenic ) Being mother earth, "the life-giving one ", her "home" was the black earth below, That became the HELL for Christianity A HOLE in the ground was an entrance to her home, and HOLY were the days of her feasts, or a tree dedicated to her. A Hell- or Holestreet on the European mainland goes from the centre to the North, as North was the direction to find the mother goddess the dark/black night where the sun never shines( North). As Ger/Cella /Hella was the wise (mother nature) and gave life those female priests were the "wisewoman" - les Femmes Sages ( = midwifes) that assisted on birth. They knew also a lot of herbal medicine: they had a huge knowledge of nature, their goddesses products. And the honour they payed to to Ger was by masses were black was THE colour. Christianity convicted those black masses and this "black magic" and it got a bad name, as well as the colour black itself. The female druids where mostly accompanied by a cat with the holy black color. And as black was "from the devil" since Christianity black cats where too. Much later, when Inquisition wanted to chase the new religions in the cities, they still encountered the rest of the old one in the countryside: the wiccas. They where burned as witches together with their black cats, or the cats where thrown from the belfry towers. I have no info why in England or elsewhere black cats are harmless. But as England is very traditional, and still very Celtic... knowing that black was a GOOD colour in Celtic times, one should look in that direction...The old idea that black colour being "a good colour" was not totally erased by chrsitianity, it seems. Till very recent, black was regarded as a "female" colour and my mother used to where it in mass before. The black for funerals (life/death, mother earth) is the same. So traditions are stubborn Another Answer It is an interesting note that beliefs in the UK tend to run opposite those in America. In England the white cat is considered unlucky, the black being a bringer of good fortune, except in East Yorkshire where, while it is lucky to own a black cat, it is unlucky to come across one. In Belgium, Spain, Germany, and some other European countries the common aversion to black cats is shared with the American view. In western history, black cats have long been looked upon as a symbol of bad omens. Cats among other animals Britannic/Celtic regions, currently known as the UK, also regarded hares with the same animosity as the cat) were sacred to certain pagan goddesses. When Christianity spread to regions that practiced traditional tribal religions the church sought to convert these natives. It would take far too long to get into the entire process of stamping out native traditions and replacing christian ones, as more of the local populations converted the church began to "demonize" symbols of the old religion, it was a form of propaganda designed to suppress the customs that did not fit in with their religious practices. Along with labels of witches and sorcerers was spread the notion that these magicians could shape-shift into cats (hares, etc) and skulk around in the night cursing their neighbors and communing with the devil or doing other perverse and evil things. Cats were slaughtered en Mass in some areas, believed to be wicked witches that must be destroyed. This practice and superstitious belief started in areas of what is now the UK before and most especially during the witch trials in these areas and persisted long after. When the "pilgrims" and British colonists came over to the New World, they brought it with them and it has remained with us in the idea that a black cat is an ill omen. One of the prevalent black cat superstition alive in our the western culture today is if a black cat crosses your path, it is considered bad luck. Interestingly, in most other cultures, the black cat is a prized possession & owning one is said to bring the owner good luck. The origin of the black cat & good luck is said to have begun in Ancient Egypt with the sacred black cat of BAST. BAST is an official deity of Egypt in the 22nd dynasty. During her reign, Egyptians courted her favors, by keeping black cats in their houses, believing that she would become part of the cat in spirit & grace their home with riches & prosperity. Charles I of England (1600-1649) owned a black cat. He loved the cat so much so that he had guards protecting the cat 24 hours a day, until one day the cat fell in & died. Charles I was heard to proclaim, "Alas my luck is gone." True enough, he was arrested the next day & charged with high treason. He was later put to his death. In Sumatra, during a long drought, a black cat is found and thrown into the river. The village folk would line the bank, forcing the cat to swim until almost exhausted. Once the cat is exhausted they allow the cat to get out of the water. The women of the village then chase the black cat while throwing water on the cat and themselves. This is supposed to bring rain. Although this tradition might bring good luck to the village, pity the poor cat that has the bad luck of being chosen for this! In the Yorkshires, a black cat was said to bring the fishermen home safely from the seas. During the most prominent part of the fishing industry in this village, black kittens were often catnapped and sold to the highest bidder (usually the wives of the fishermen) by racketeers trying to cash in on the popular superstition. In parts of Europe, if a black cat crosses your path, you are considered to have good fortune. If a black cat walks into your house or home, you are truly blessed. But in the United States, the term Black Cat was used by the fishermen and sailors of Michigan's Lake Superior for a boat that was believed to have a spell cast upon it and therefore, never will carry a full crew. The attitude towards black cats is said to change sometime around the pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock. The pilgrims were devout Christians & they were deeply suspicious of anything deemed of the devil. Comprised of England's & Europeans, these pilgrims viewed black cat as a companion or a familiar to witches. Anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished or even killed. They viewed the black cat as part demon and part sorcery. When the Christians gained a foothold in America they also propelled this myth forward, during a time when witches were coming into fruition in America. Sharing a sisterhood with witches in England, and rumored to use black cats as an integral part of their craft. Black cats were suddenly cast into a bad light many black cats were sought after and killed. If a farmer believed his land had a spell cast upon it, the only way to break that spell was to shoot a black cat with a silver bullet. Ask anyone what comes to mind when black cat is mentioned and cat lovers will inevitably say: mysterious, alluring, beautiful, playful, elegant and gorgeous. But non-cat owners would come up with: bad luck, witches familiar, evil, demonic, mean, spooky and Halloween... So you can see the superstition lives on even today. Here are more superstitions from all around the world. Some are good & some, not necessarily so: . A black cat seen from behind foretells a bad omen -- Unknown . A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity -- Scottish . A black cat crossing ones path by moonlight means death in an epidemic -- Irish . A black cats carry demons -- Unknown . If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it take the good fortune with it. . It is believed that if a black lived in the house, the young lass would have plenty of suitors -- English . It is believed that if you find one white hair on a black cat, Lady Luck will smile upon you -- French . While it is lucky to own a black cat, it is extremely unlucky to come across one accidentally -- English . It is considered bad luck to pass a black cat at 9pm . It is thought that a reincarnated soul may be liberated by throwing a black cat into a fire -- Indian . Women could change their soul into a black cat & that any harm brought to the cat would be suffered by the women -- Bengali . It is thought that black cats were reincarnated being able to divine the future -- Celtic . It is believed that if a black cat jumped on the bed of a sick person it meant death is near -- German . It is thought that black cats were thought to carry the souls of the dead to the other world -- Finnish . It is thought that the presence of a black cat foretold of poverty -- Chinese
Ignorance of Phenomena . As science now can explain these phenomena, superstition decreases.. BTW, Ignorance is the mother of Superstitions, and Superstition is the mother… of religions... Answer . Falsely assuming a cause and effect.. If you kick a goat on your way to school and get an F on your test, and it happens again, you might assume kicking goats is bad luck. But it's more likely that you weren't prepared for either of the tests. Superstitions basically start with cause and effect, or at least a perception of it. For example, you have a big soccer game, and just before the game you accidentally put your socks on inside out. One of your team mates tells you it is bad luck to take them off and put them on right so you leave them and you have a fantastic game. Your team wins and you score a goal as part of that win. There is a germ of an idea that one thing effected the other. The next game someone says something about your inside-out socks being lucky and sort of as a lark you put them on inside-out again. The game goes well, you score a goal and your team wins. The idea gets reinforced and it spreads a bit. By the third game a couple of your buddies have decides to wear their socks inside-out too and the winning streak continues. Now the idea is really spreading and being reinforced. Thereafter most of your team is wearing their socks inside-out and you are still winning games, until one day you think, "Heck, this is silly, I don't need to wear my socks inside-out to win." You don't wear the "lucky socks" and the law of averages catches up with you and the team looses. Everyone notices you didn't turn your socks inside-out and the team lost. There it is, the perception of cause and effect and the "superstition" is born. I'm betting the following game everybody is wearing their socks inside-out and if you should win, the superstition gets stronger.
To day we have access to all most every thing in hand since scientific tool is available. but the people in ancient days were fully dependent on nature and compelled to live o…n belief system. it originated superstitions.
There are any number of sources for information on superstitions and their origins. I keep a Cassell's Dictionary of Superstitions, by my desk for quick reference, but have se…veral other volumes for more in depth research.
Those things which we now know and call superstitions originated first as beliefs often connected to a religion and were handed down by word of mouth and people that lived dur…ing those times honestly and truly believed in the truth of them as much as we do with our own beliefs connected to our religions today one day some of these too may become merely superstitions..
If a bee enters your home, it's a sign that you will soon have a visitor. If you kill the bee, you will have bad luck, or the visitor will be unpleasant. A swarm of bees settl…ing on a roof is an omen that the house will burn down. This Superstition?
a friend told me it was good luckk to see a dog walk on its hind legs,, but i not sure whether it is or isn't Some people believe that a howling dog is a sign of dea…th. This superstition has some truth in it. Dogs, with their good sense of smell, can often tell when an animal or man has died. When a dog howls, he may actually be smelling death. But this doesn't mean he can smell death before it happens.
To break a mirror will give you seven years bad luck. Some people once believed if harm befell the image in a mirror it would also harm the person. Magically mirrors are s…aid to reflect or re-direct negativity. Brides should not look at their own reflection in a mirror when trying on their wedding outfit (specifically if wearing the veil) as it will endanger the happiness of the marriage. Vampires are said not to throw a reflection in a mirror - no soul, no reflection. Mirror are covered in the house where there has been a death, so the soul is not trapped within, instead of going on to the next world.
This goes back to Victorian times in England when mirrors were very expensive to produce and were, therefore very expensive to buy. They were so expensive that only the riches…t people could afford to have them. In Victorian times these rich people tended to have servants and domestic staff to clean their houses, and their mirrors. Any breakages were deducted from the domestic staff's wages and since the domestic staff tended to be quite low paid it meant that if a mirror was broken it would take the member of staff about seven years to pay for it.
I believe it stems from the old belief that cats where witches familiars and so to harm one would annoy them. But another possible is that in a lot of old religions cats whe…re aspects of god/godesses (egypt basst, bastet i think), so harming one could literally bring down the wrath of a god
it is said that on friday the 13th, if you see a black cat crossing the street, you will have bad luck. but some people belive thats real and others say it's superstition just… like friday the 13th!
I broke a mirror a few months ago and nothing too bad has happened, nothing that wouldn't usually happen. I was just sad because my grandma got it me and I liked it.
According to my sources (Cassell's Dictionary of Superstitions andother books), the magpie superstition is said to stem from storiesof the Great Flood in the bible. The magpie… was believed to have refused to enter Noah's Ark, or wassaid by some to have refused to wear full mourning at the death ofChrist (an allusion to its piebald colouring). It is said that it is much more unlucky to encounter one magpiethan to encounter two. The cure for this is to remove your hat, andmake the sign of the cross reciting the poem, "I cross the magpie,the magpie crosses me. Bad luck to the magpie, Good luck to me." Magpies, like crows are believed to be significant in the numberyou see. An old Scottish rhyme goes like this: One means anger, Two brings mirth, Three a wedding, Four a birth.Five is Heaven, Six is Hell, but Seven's the very Devil's ainsell.(own self)