Tag Archives: superstition

Signs and Superstitions

by Philip Viens

Do you believe in signs? Are you superstitious? I do and I am –  a little of each  – and not for the reasons that support either.

I believe in signs because of the magic that comes with the notion that I am present in two or – maybe more dimensions simultaneously – the idea that there is more to know and experience beyond the knowledge horizon.

I am a little superstitious for some of the same reasons I believe in signs; it’s something that keeps me humble in a way, keeps me out of the duality of life – from calling myself an atheist – which is more of a term theists use, and from endorsing anything remotely defined by theists as God.

I read about the work being done in Switzerland with the Hadron collider; was thrilled with the very real concerns expressed by some scientists that colliding particles could open a black hole that would swallow our universe and can be delightfully lost with the thought of witnessing events so tiny and so fast they could hardly be said to have occurred at all; the molecular dance.

Time is what we use when we try to define the essence of who and what we are – infinite oneness with everything in the universe – and likely, as physicists are discovering, well beyond our universe – and more like mutli-verse.  We use it to form words that try to capture the awe we experience in the presence of life, as Mary Oliver observes in her poem Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York, 1957”:

Once, in summer,

in the blueberries,

I fell asleep, and woke

When a deer stumbled against me.

I guess

she was so busy with her own happiness

she had grown careless

And was just wandering along


to the wind as she leaned down

to lip up the sweetness.

So, there we were

with nothing between us

but a few leaves, and the wind’s

glossy voice

shouting instructions

The deer

backed away finally

and flung up her white tail

and went floating off toward the trees –

to be absent again from the world

and alive, again in another,

for thirty years

sleepy and amazed,

rising out of the rough weeds,

listening and looking.

Beautiful girl,

Where are you?

“…the moment before she did that was so wide and so deep…”

horseshoeI have experienced such – moments. A moment is not a measure of time. The word is a metaphor that points to a suspension of time. You experience these moments. These moments are signs; they transform us even if just for that instant – we are forever altered and the responsible thing to do is to learn from it and earn the cost of it through living humbly for having been graced with the experience of whatever it was, whatever it is that altered us.

If we were to think on time as it really is, it is an experience in constant motion, being born and collapsing at speeds our three dimensional minds cannot comprehend except for those experiences in – moments – the signs that come in – moments.

Superstition is born of instinctually knowing there is something beyond the three dimensions, it is part of the world of signs.

Of course, signs and superstitions run amok fill waiting rooms of psychiatrist’s, lead some to hitch rides on spaceships obscured by comets and others to run for various offices. But I’m not talking about that. Anything, off its hinges or badly rooted is a sign of another sort. I’m talking about the signs and superstitions that cause us to pause, warm our hearts, make us smile at our foolishness, cause us to mock ourselves with how lofty we think we are.

Even if you don’t believe it, a black cat crossing your path will still make you ponder your future circumstance as will breaking a mirror, Friday the thirteenth, a full moon, opening an umbrella in the house, all of these things are a part of our heritage beliefs that tried to help us cope with a world beyond our ability to fully grasp – even today.

So much of our life experiences are based on beliefs, supported and unsupported by facts. We raise ourselves up when they are supported by facts, we reduce ourselves to primitive beings when they are not – and worse because of course, beliefs, unsupported by facts usually have painful consequences at small levels, horrific consequences on larger scales.

Be on the lookout for the signs in your life that make you wonder, that give you pause, either looking back or when you are in the presence of one; the signs that validate the goodness in your heart, that you trust are telling you that you are on the right path, are living a full life, are earning – the moment.

© All Rights Reserved, Philip W. Viens, 17 April 2016