Superstitions. Modern Magic. Tempting Fate.


I’ve been thinking about superstitions because I’m wondering if one of the heroine’s of my 2017 series, Old School, is going to have some superstitions in her life. It made me question if I have any.

superstitions, kindle unlimited, paranormal romance, Jenny Schwartz,At first, I would have given a definite “no”. I once owned (or was owned by) a black cat. I walk under ladders (or more usually widely around them since I’m a klutz and I don’t want to knock anyone off a ladder). I never throw salt over my shoulder or worry about Friday the thirteenth. But then I remembered … I have superstitions about tempting fate.

If I’m talking about things going well, I tend to either say or do “touch wood”. Or I simply won’t talk about something that’s sailing along (like a story I’m writing that is awesome in its characters and plot twists) for fear of “jinxing” it.

So, while I’m okay opening umbrellas inside and breaking a mirror only annoys me because then I have to clean up the mess, I find that I am superstitious. How about you? Do you have any superstitions in your life?

Modern Magic

I don’t practice magic, so this isn’t literally about magic, but about how magical thinking is adapting to our computer age. When I talk about algos (the algorithms that rule our life – they’re the things that Facebook uses to decide which posts from our friends we see) I could be talking about magic. I have no idea how they work, but I’m superstitiously convinced that they have to be appeased.

For instance, I won’t type the word -s-pa-m- for fear it summons it! Similarly, I have a gizmo-thingie on this website that scores me on how well I’m writing this post. I suspect the score is a load of rubbish, but I still bow down before it in the hopes of magically writing a post that Google searches then show to everyone!

So any time we’re uncertain, magical thinking rushes in to fill the gap. In a world of chaos and change, we try to impose order.

Fighting Fate

I don’t believe our destinies are fixed. I think we have the power to change our lives and others’. For me, superstitions are defensive. We’re cowering before Fate, trying to avoid the worst times.

We need to take the fight to Fate.

And this is why I love reading fiction. Fiction tends to be quest stories where characters charge into battle (real or emotional) and us readers run with them. In the safety of fictional universes we experience the power and price of challenging destiny. I hope that every fictional happy-ever-after makes us a little more willing, or confident, that we can seize happiness, too.

Hats & Magpies
hat, jenny schwartz,
I was going to model it, but my hair is a mess & I have panda eyes from hayfever. Not my best look!

I’ve bought myself a new hat! Isn’t it stylish? Spring is here and I intend to walk around the neighbourhood as the weather warms despite … do you have birds that swoop people where you are? Everyone talks about Australia’s dangerous snakes and spiders, but our Australian magpies can be vicious, too. I’ve had one swoop, strike me, and draw blood – and it’s currently nesting season! Danger!Danger! Hence, the sturdy new hat. (And for those of you who think I’m exaggerating, magpies really are dangerous).

magpies, superstitions, Jenny Schwartz,I’ll leave you with one final superstition, from England, concerning magpies:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a funeral
And four for birth.  (Wikipedia)

Or as I prefer:

Don’t bother counting, just run!

Wildflowers from Space!

P.S. I’m not sure I believe it, but the exaggerated claim is that the spectacular wildflowers I mentioned a couple of weeks ago are visible from space. Whatever the case, my home state sure knows how to put on a show 🙂



10 Replies to “Superstitions. Modern Magic. Tempting Fate.”

  1. I have a severe dislike (it may be a superstition) of the number 23. I have no idea why. Friday the 13th is always a magical day for me, but Friday the 23rd – (Shudders) I refuse to live in a house that’s the 23rd in the street – I don’t care how fantastic or perfect it is. My 23rd year – not a happy one and I refuse to draw a ticket that has 23 on it – ridiculous, I know. However, I do have to make one exception. My brother was born on – you guessed it – the 23rd…

    I haven’t yet been swooped by a magpie. Plovers on the other hand… yeesh. A nesting pair of magpies used to visit my childhood home every year and pinch the cat biscuits. They got so tame that they’d take the biscuits out of our hands. They’re not much fun during nesting season, but the sound of them singing is so beautiful, it has a magic of its own.

    Doesn’t seeing a willy wagtail mean you’ll be getting important news soon?

    That Carnival of Flowers wouldn’t happen to be in Toowoomba by any chance? 🙂

    I sure hope the spring flowers are still there in November, Jenny. 🙂 Counting down the weeks.

    1. You’re nearly here, D! Yay! Just don’t arrive on 23 November 😉

      I’d never heard of the willywagtail bringing important news. They don’t here – they just hang around the yard. I think they’re nesting in the tree out front. Yesterday, I was sitting in the sun in the backyard and a crow flew past, harassed by a very angry willywagtail. Brave birds!

      See you soon!

  2. I never thought about how we have our own little superstitions.

    I’ve never been charged by a magpie, but I’ve been followed by seagulls looking for a free meal. It pays to wear a hat around seagulls because they do like to dive bomb you with poop.

    1. Oh yeah! You should see my car sometimes – direct hit! when parked near the river/beach.

      My mum was once pursued by a pelican for a chip (well, it ambled up the bench she was sitting on and asked for a feed).

  3. I’ve never been ‘swooped’ by a magpie, (I’ve heard the best defence is an umbrella – to hold over your head, not to hit them with) but my husband was out with the dog once and a willy wagtail had several runs at the dog. Obviously didn’t think the human was a threat.

    1. Carol – the umbrella idea is inspired! Thank you 🙂 Willywagtails used to nick the fur from my beagle when I was a kid. They made the neatest nest with it. Maybe that’s what this one was doing?

  4. I’ve been swooped – it really hurts.

    My town is gearing up to the Carnival of Flowers next week. The gardens around town are magnificent.