Superstition arises from the fear of the unknown. More specifically, it’s the sense of being vulnerable to unseen energies that are unable to be rationally explained. Who hasn’t at some time ‘touched wood’, avoided walking under a ladder or thrown salt over the shoulder to placate the forces of evil? Most people, even those usually dismissive of this intangible aspect of life, are prone to superstition in one form or another.
One way to get a better understanding of how superstition became established in the human psyche is to examine the significance of symbols and the way we make sense of the world. In the earliest of days, participation in life was an inner and outer reality where no rational line could separate the two states; the perception of an object in the sensory world implied the more intangible meaning behind the form. Early cave paintings and, later, stone circles demarcate the crossover period in human evolution when symbols began to externalise as visual counterpoints to the inner realm. Later, under the relentless drive for knowledge, the language of symbols became a necessary function to bridge the gaps in the understanding of existence. Symbols, it was found, could be universally applied to subjects such as cosmology, mathematics and esoteric practices.
Over the millennia the use of symbols has been predominant in the occult. The lure of magic and the mystique of the psyche has been an irresistible enticement for priests and psychic magicians. Their manipulation of the psyche and misuse of symbolism is responsible for much of the fear and superstition still associated with anything to do with the unknown. Religious symbols are also the cause of much of the distressing psychic energy that torments those emotionally attached to such indoctrination. This is not to dismiss in any way genuine visions or contact with a divine source that may take the appearance of a religious figure or icon.
Superstition exists in ignorance of the simplicity of life and began to arise in the human awareness as an effect of being separate from the divine source of inner glory. As time and past evolved, humanity became increasingly vulnerable to virulent psychic forces. The easiest way for these discarnate entities to possess the minds and emotions of the living was through religious belief, which intensified fear and emotions. Priests ‘standing over’ the congregation were held in awe and preached the doctrine of survival in some future heaven, never in the here and now. The effect on the human psyche of such unenlightened knowledge compounded the need to find some alternative source of wisdom to control the events of the life.
The negative influences of superstition and association with ‘good’ or ‘bad’ luck are effects of the distortion that exists within the human psyche. This backlog of inner pressure has its roots in the primal mind stuff of the unconscious. In myth, this unspeakably sinister presence had its source in the river Styx, which was said to separate the world of the living from the dead. The river flowed to a place of stygian darkness, an underworld which symbolised the greatest fear of all living things – extinction.
Superstition and, strangely, the doctrine of reincarnation to survive and live again, are interwoven as a defence mechanism to an assumption which was a phantom to begin with. Once established on earth, it’s impossible for life to be permanently extinguished. Life forms come and go, and evolve in their special way as the movement of all things towards the ideal. Life is universal, which means it’s the same life in every body. However, the swifter the intelligence the less prone is an individual to psychic aberration and attachment to anything that requires belief. To be superstitious by nature, which means to live in fear and hand over responsibility to something external, is clearly not conducive to the harmony of living.
The word ‘superstition’ is not clearly defined in the dictionary and is therefore open to interpretation. There are references to ‘over scrupulousness in ceremonies’ and ‘the survival of old irrational religious habits’. The Latin word ‘superstare’, meaning to ‘stand over in awe’ or survive, becomes extremely significant when examined in the light of self-knowledge and humanity’s relationship with the inner and outer realms of existence. Once an individual’s perception has risen above the constraints of superstition, the consciousness is indeed above the misconceptions of human nature and stands in awe at the clarity of vision uncorrupted by the taint of the past.