Should they or should they not cross your path?
Due to the fact that it is almost Halloween I have decided to jump into the middle of some superstitions and some All-Hallows-Eve-Madness! Obviously Halloween works with the whole Rennie milieu and many faires in the fall celebrate Halloween during their run.
So let us begin with the black cat.
You have all heard people tell you that bad luck will follow if a black cat crosses your path and of course, we all know that witches keep black cats as familiars, but where does this myth come from?
Black Cats and Bad Luck
Here is the funny thing, in most cultures, cats and even black cats are not bad luck. In the UK, traditionally, black cats are seen as good luck. The Scottish even say that a random black cat showing up at your house is a sign of prosperity in your future. The Celtic folklore of the British Isles also tell of a fairy known as Cat Sith (no thi sis not a fallen Jedi nor is it the namesake of the ridiculous character from Final Fantasy VII). This fairy was known to take the form of a black cat. And just so that you don’t think that Britains are the only ones that love the black cat, Japan also has a belief in its history that black cats bring good luck as well.
The bad luck given to the black cat really steams from the Western and Southern Europe. There is a deep seated belief that the black cat is the servant of the devil and that they are the spies of the evil ones. Also, it is from this tradition that the belief in the black cat as a witch’s familiar come into play as well.
As the hatred for anyone different and especially the belief that those people that had different beliefs were in league with the devil, the belief that these people were witches and warlocks filtered into ‘polite’ society. The funny thing is that witches, wizards and warlocks were around in mythology for many years before religious fanaticism made the idea of witches scary for most people. Look into the past of almost every culture and the even the stories that they told children to get them to go to sleep at night were filled with magic. But during a certain point in history, the ‘witch’ became a thing of revulsion, a thing to be ostracized and a thing of persecution.
Unfortunately, the black cat, from those southern and eastern European traditions became a linked to the witch. It was know to be her familiar. Of course, the familiar was known to assist the witch in the use of his or her magic. I would imagine that many cats were burned or killed along with their masters due to the fact that their was a fear of witches.
So, if you see a black cat on Halloween, or really any day of the week, don’t freak out and cross yourself or fork the sign of the evil eye at the cat. If it comes to you, don”t think that you will sprout a second head or that your will lose your family fortune due to the fact that a cat with ebony fur ventured across your path. Instead, look on said cat as a source of good luck.