Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise
HCP columnist


We’re living dangerously; we've recently had a blue moon, a time change, Halloween and then an election.

Fate is being tempted, if one believes in the many superstitions that have traveled through the ages. Things like tossing salt over your shoulder, not walking under a ladder, knocking on wood, not stepping on a crack in the sidewalk and other things many do or avoid doing – just in case – show us that we are not immune to the fears passed down through generations.

There are a million and one theories on how and why religions emerged as our species evolved. Most begin with the need for various tribes or groups to establish some sort of control as well as explain the unexplainable and then proceed from there. Some of the superstitions we are still familiar with today have their roots in early religions.

As children, superstitions were the foundation of games played at the playground. As adults, we hope when we cross our fingers as we make a pledge or hope for a particular outcome it will add a little weight to our mission.

Beginner’s luck, the luck of a rabbit’s foot, bad luck comes in threes, finding a lucky penny, horseshoes, itchy palms and noses, don’t break that mirror, make a wish on a wishbone, don’t open that umbrella inside are just a few of the superstitious thoughts most of us invoke without thinking.

We’ve learned a benign habit that is part of a history, that has carried on for centuries. In some ways, there’s something interesting and, well, calming and mystical that in 2020 we use ideas and thoughts of our far removed ancestors. There is a hidden chain that goes back in time and through generations that we share, even without thinking about it or taking the time to find out when, where and how these thoughts began. It’s another indication that we so often take our history as a culture and a species for granted.

Our current history has taken superstitions to dangerous levels with consequences not thought through and potentially tragic. Conspiracy theories have upped the ante on harmless superstitions. Now, if you don’t like something or someone, start a conspiracy theory to take them down – literally.

Ideas most people would correctly pass off as garbage, insanity or some concern that there is such an education disparity with our fellow citizens, are now finding a toehold in the mainstream thinking of so many. It’s more frightening than the black cat that just ran in front of the car.

Somewhere a dangerous turn has occurred in our evolution as a species. We don’t take the time or interest to discover how and what circumstances aligned to create an environment where damaging ideas can take hold and flourish when we know from history what happens when this is allowed to become normal and accepted.

Our subconscious views of not singing at the dinner table, the evil eye, never entering a room with your left foot, eating grapes and black-eyed peas for New Year’s, and other traditions we have carried forward are fun to explore, with moderation.

Don’t look now, but Friday, Nov. 13, is right around the corner.