173 Monday Musings: The Signs
We look for signs all the time in life, for approval, validation and permission.
Different cultures treat various events, objects and occurrences as good omen or bad. For example in India sneezing or a black cat crossing your way when you are beginning something is considered as a bad sign, but finding a penny in western culture is associated with good luck. Animals can be symbols of good luck in various cultures like, dolphins ancient Greece, pigs in Germanic cultures, tortoise in Feng Shui, and Red bats and tigers in Chinese cultures. Gifting certain things can be associated with good omens like gifting a laughing Buddha or a used horseshoe, or bamboo. On the other hand breaking a mirror, spilling salt, walking under a ladder, opening an umbrella inside, putting new shoes on the table or calling someone from behind as he is leaving home forebodes bad luck.
Beyond good and bad signs and omens, certain concurrent events are considered indicative. For example repeated sneezing means someone is remembering you, when a lizard makes a sound as you have said something indicates that it is true, crowing of crow means guests are on their way, itching on the right palm means you will receive money.
The ones described above are institutionalised superstition and signs, however we also have our personal signs that help us take decisions, get validated and offer hope. Let me share some that i have heard from friends and foes alike.
A friend wrote the name of the prospective groom on one chit with two blanks and picked one in front of the household deity to see if the divine was blessing the union. Another friend, who was quite attached to her father, discovered her feelings for a gentleman, on the precise day she was attending her father’s death anniversary, treated it as her father blessing the relationship. Yet another friend, considers the company he works for the best for him, because it’s the name of his mother.
We are unsure and insecure deep inside. We find comfort in innocuous things, events and coincidences, which we consider as signs of divine providence. It assures us, and come to think of it, what is wrong with it.
Look around – there are signs for everything.