According to Wikipedia, Superstition is a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.
Superstition indicates something standing above, or set up above. The earliest English uses of the word in the modern era refer critically to Catholic practices such as censing, rosaries, holy water and other practices that Protestants believed went beyond - or were set up above - their own interpretation of the New Testament practices of Christianity. From there the uses of the term expanded to include non-Christian religious practices, and beliefs that seemed unfounded or primitive in the light of modern knowledge.
Many extant superstitions arose before and during the time of the Black Plague that swept over Europe. During the time of the Black Plague, Pope Gregory I the Great passed a law requiring people to say "God bless you" when somebody sneezed; this was said to prevent the spread of the disease and to cure whoever already had it.
According to Wikipedia, again, Shamanism refers to a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. There are many variations in shamanism throughout the world, though there are some beliefs that are shared by all forms of shamanism:
The spirits can play important roles in human lives.
The shaman can control and/or cooperate with the spirits for the community's benefit.
The spirits can be either good or bad.
Shamans engage various processes and techniques to incite trance; such as: singing, dancing, taking entheogens, meditating and drumming.
Animals play an important role, acting as omens and message-bearers, as well as representations of animal spirit guides.
The shaman's spirit leaves the body and enters into the supernatural world during certain tasks.
The shamans can treat illnesses or sickness.
Shamans are healers, gurus and magicians.
Shamans have the ability to diagnose and cure human suffering and, in some societies, the ability to cause suffering. This is believed to be accomplished by traversing the axis mundi and forming a special relationship with, or gaining control over, spirits. Shamans have been credited with the ability to control the weather, divination, the interpretation of dreams, astral projection, and traveling to upper and lower worlds. Shamanistic traditions have existed throughout the world since prehistoric times.
Some anthropologists and religious scholars define a shaman as an intermediary between the natural and spiritual world, who travels between worlds in a state of trance. Once in the spirit world, the shaman would commune with the spirits for assistance in healing, hunting or weather management. Ripinsky-Naxon describes shamans as, “People who have a strong interest in their surrounding environment and the society of which they are a part.”
Other anthropologists critique the term "shamanism", arguing that it is a culturally specific word and institution and that by expanding it to fit any healer from any traditional society it produces a false unity between these cultures and creates a false idea of an initial human religion predating all others. However, others say that these anthropologists simply fail to recognize the commonalities between otherwise diverse traditional societies.
Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits that affect the lives of the living. In contrast to animism and animatism, which any and usually all members of a society practice, shamanism requires specialized knowledge or abilities. It could be said that shamans are the experts employed by animists and animist communities. Shamans are often organized into full-time ritual or spiritual associations, like priests.
I've never encountered so many superstitious people as I have since moving to Belize.
I find it interesting that many Christian holidays fall on the same date that traditional Pagan ceremonies would occour. The Maya believe in the old ways, and owuld be openly practicing if the Catholic missionaries hadn't come in and messed things up. You could call the old ways superstitions, or you could call it an awareness of the spirit world and how it affects the physical world. I am an inbetweener, I believe some things call down Mr. Badlucky, and some things are just human nature and not avoidable.
Obea is a form of ritual for the Garifuna people of Belize. To obea someone is to call down the bad spirits upon a person, to cause bad spirit posession. I believe you can obea someone, because your intention is wrong, you bring about all kinds of bad feelings and direct them towards a person and that can't be good. I don't believe it to the exent that some do, and they blame every random act and mishap on someone "doing them something" or rather than accept responsibility for bad decisions. Bigness laughs at Obea. He says he likes it when people try to "do him someting" it brings him more luck than ever.
What do you believe?
Art Credits: 20" x 28" hand painted silk "Smoke" $225 U.S.