10/09/2014 05:24 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST

The History Behind Three Common Superstitions

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We often go through the day with superstitions guiding us, even when we don't realize they are doing so. Avoiding that ladder, crack, or black cat is an every day occurrence, and if we add Friday the 13th to the list, we get a lot of paranoia unfairly pointed to that day of the week.

Many of my clients ask me what my belief system is regarding superstitions. I believe they were invented to strike fear into people in order to have the power to control them. Over the years, the list has changed but there are always a few standouts and I'm going to give my impressions on three common superstitions:

A broken mirror gives you seven years of bad luck.

This one dates back to ancient Greece. Fortunes were told by consulting "mirror seers" who evaluated the reflections of their clients. The mirror was then dipped into a bowl of water. If the water distorted the mirror, it was believed the person was sick and would have poor luck. Later, the Romans added seven years to the bad fortune because they alleged that health changed in cycles of seven years.

Make a wish on a wishbone and it will come true.

This may have originated in Rome during the first-century because they believed it was good luck to break a wishbone. The tradition was to fight over the dried wishbones and when they would break, the person with the largest piece of bone would be granted their wish.

Hang a horseshoe on the door to bring good luck.

Some people believe that to bring good luck you should hang a horseshoe on the back of the bedroom door with its ends pointing up. The meaning comes from the fact that a horseshoe has seven holes, which is considered to be a lucky number in numerology, It is also made of iron which was thought to help ward off spirits that may haunt your dreams.

There are many more, too numerous to mention. I would advise not taking any superstitions seriously. Doing so will only hold you back from being the best you can be because they instill insecurity and they play on our anxieties of life and death. It would be healthier to smile and see the humor in them. Taking the lighthearted approach is the best approach.


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