Superstition in Elizabethan Period
Superstition is a strange belief to the supernatural and against the reason. In the Elizabethan period in England, there were some superstition in which they though. Superstition came from the fear and the ignorance mixed with sometimes some casualty. According to Joseph Hall, superstition was mainly for warning. It was describe as superstition but it was a variety of what happens to them, and they thought it was a sin by God. Although he condemn superstition, because for him it was a way of misjudged God. Although for many people it was a way of living. Needless to say, that these supernatural ideas came from many times before. And that that believes were not something of the lower classes. Monarchy and Nobility also had supernatural belief.
Many superstitions are still with us, we are not so much different. But, when was the origin of those believes? From the Romans and from theirs Gods. From some costumes, from the Middle Ages. From the Celtics, the Vikings, the Anglo-Saxon. From each people which had invaded England and had spent many time giving their costumes, their languages and their believes to the supernatural and the magic. From the Celtic they took the idea of the powerful names, and also, Celtic women were thought to use plants as medicine. Because the idea of make "magic potions" and the relation between women and witches. And these ideas of being able to see the future with the plant's power, it is still believed by some people at present. Every superstition about colors or about some kind of metals were taken from the Romans. Saxons believe in bad luck from animals such as those about cats, which I am going to explain later. From the Vikings is the idea of 13 being the number of bad luck. They though that number 12 was the number of the good luck, for that reason the idea of count in dozens. Besides the superstition there are some Christian costumes what are taken from costumes of Celtics, Romans, etc.
Now we are going to see some of those superstitions that people in Elizabethan period believe. Some of those are still in our lives. For example, for us is something common and usual to say "bless you" when someone sneeze. Well, this is because in Elizabethan England people though that when you open your mouth, Devil could enter to your body and caused some spiritual damage, so saying "bless you" it is supposed to stop the Devil. Another thing that is still in used is to touch wood in order to avoid the bad luck or to get good luck. It is from Middle Ages, when it was though those trees had magic powers. This was also a belief during the Elizabethan England. Also, "Not cross under a ladder" It was because it was associated to the gallows and execution. As well, to spill salt is a sign to bad luck, it is before in Elizabethan Period, salt was too expensive.
But there were more superstition that was not known or common at present. Bad luck was stirring a pot counter clockwise it was bad for those who ate for it. To leave the door open behind you, it was though that the devil could enter behind you. A peacock's feather, it was because of the eye shaped, it was thing it was the eye of the devil. A lunar eclipse was seeing as a bad omen, maybe because it was not something usual, and as I said before, one of the reasons for superstition was the fair to the unknown. To put the shoes on the table it gives you bad luck. It was because they thought that putting the shoes on the table you are inviting death. And to lose the whole hair suddenly it was bad luck, probably because when someone loses the hair suddenly is because they have an illness, and they used to die.
And those above good luck. If you touch a man before him being executed it was good luck, it was though that you got his good luck for you. If a cow breathed on you, some people say that it is because a cow breathed on Baby Jesus to keep him warm. To spit into a fire. It is so strange because for...
Bibliography: Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), "Six Kinds of Spirits".
Samuel Harsnet, A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures (1603), "The Making of Frights and Witches".
Alexander Roberts, A Treatise of Witchcraft (1616), "Why So Many Witches are Women".
An Act Against Conjurations, Inchantments and Witchcrafts (1563).
Reginald Scott, The Discovery of Witchcraft (1584) [excerpts].
Daemonologia: A Discourse on Witchcraft (1621), "Witches in West Yorkshire, c. 1620".
Anon., Witches Apprehended, Examined, and Executed (1613), "Testing for a Witch".
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