May 24, 2012

Faith and Objects

A lot of people - more than those who are willing to admit it - have superstitions, or place faith in rituals or objects beyond what would be rationally explainable. Many centuries have gone by over our human heads, and we have collected all sorts of knowledge, carefully sorted them and catalogued them in a big inventory of knowledge accepted as such, and called "science", and yet we humans continue to step outside this inventory of knowledge and defy what's clearly explained in there, with faith and believes that have not reasonable explanation, and which are often spread by telling.

I was talking today to a dear friend of mine, about humanity and such, and while he said that mankind is changing, whether we want it or not, I told him that change as it might, two things don't ever change: people's need to whine and their need to tell stories. He agreed to the first, but not so much to the second, for he said people are no longer interested on what others have to say. My refuting of this point don't really come here, but as I rolled now this thought in my head, it came to me, that people is still more than willing to listen to the passing of this sort of magical knowledge. Just think about the number of superstitious tricks you know, or even the types of spells you've learned. How many of you have actually learned to throw the Tarot, or how to use a pendulum or a Ouija board?

Regarding some difficulties with someone, a friend of mine was quick in advising the use of charms and amulets to ward off the evident negative energy and evil eye coming from that source. Many also wear heirlooms and religious symbols on them not only to show their heritage or religion, or not at all for that reason, but for protection. From the "lucky earrings" or the "lucky necklace", to the scapular you've got at Confirmation, the amulet you've bought at one of your trips and all the way to charms and amulets made following magical rituals (or being Blessed by a priest), people collect enormous amounts of these artifacts and put their faith in them. Little mean to them the Ten Commandments and other religious regulations, as often even for praying there's no better known gesture than pressing your holy book tight to your head or chest and plead for your need. Little means also the rationality that tells you that no glass bead can protect you from robbery, or someone meaning harm to you. 

Are we less religious because we turn to an object or a ritual? Because we throw a coin in a fountain or arrage our home following the Feng Sui? Are we less religious because we inforce our petition with the lighting of a candle, or wear a charm to ensure luck, protection, strenght or love? A Pagan author I read, said in his book that he refused to wear magical jewelry or even think of any object as particularly magical because he didn't wish to tie his magic to a thing, as if this thing was lost, he would feel he lost his magic. However, just as we treasure souvenirs from our trips, pictures and little things from our relationships and the most significant parts of our lives, I believe that amulets and charms have magic on their own, basically in the form of allowing us to keep our mind clear and focused on our purpose. They are a material reminder of what we want to achieve, what we want to avoid, and help us unload our mind from unnecesary worries and distractions.

It doesn't make us less religious, it simply remind us that we are human.


Dragonfly said...

Yo uso siempre una pulsera roja y cuando puedo un ojo turco.

Storm Bunny said...

Vieras qué curioso! Justo me recomendaron llevar siempre algo rojo cuando voy a visitar a mi madrina, o a algún lugar donde haya alguien que pueda desearte mal, y llevar algo con un ojito turco.

Debe tener algo... :-)