I’m an atheist. To theists of every stripe, I do not begrudge, vilify or despise you. You do your thing and I do mine, with the goal (I hope!) of a world that values equality and education and health care for all and the steps taken to make that happen. When I was in high school Wicca held some charms and as I grow older I flirt with the ideas of Buddhism, but in my heart I believe that this existence — this flesh, these bones, this brain — is it. The universe is wondrous on its own. Do I know what comes after this? I suspect nothing — a thought that at times throws me into existential panic late at night like everybody else — but I, as the meat-bag with an wet-work O/S, will never know that answer and try to spend little time thinking about it.
As a result, I don’t believe in magic or ghosts or psychic powers. I like reading about them, but because of the kinds of stories you might tell with them and not for the things themselves. I don’t care about the cracks in the sidewalk, the black cat that cuts me off, the rabbit’s foot tucked into a pocket. I won’t throw salt over my shoulder. I put no stock in dreams. I do not require special articles of clothing or a set routine to ensure my good luck. I’m a measurable, testable phenomena sort of gal.
There are a few things I am superstitious about — obliquely. Things I only embarrassingly admit. If you asked me straight up, I’d laugh and say no. But there are these things I do which have no rational rationale.
1) If I see something mentioned twice or more within a relatively short span of time and from unrelated sources, I take it as a hint from the universe.
This works more with books, but sometimes it happens with movies or music or blogs or whatever. And it’s only when it happens two or three times. If it’s the current darling, spoken of everywhere, it goes into a different mental box. If I come across a book, for example, that intrigues me a little but not enough to scribble it down onto a list, it gets tucked away. But if it appears someplace else, unrelated, I go and hunt it down sooner rather than later. And it’s usually always to the good, creatively speaking, things that spark my fiction or help me through a life-problem.
2) I do not believe in ghosts, but I keep cats for a reason and always will. For REASONS.
And not just because they are both cute and independent little fellas. I do not believe in life after death, of poor souls being moored in the land of the living to either voyeuristically linger or ferociously wreak vengeance on the rest of us. But if they were, the cats would let me know. A small, and furry, comfort for lonely nights after a good horror movie.
3) If I think whatever I’m saying might tempt fate, I’ll make a big show out of knocking on wood (or equivalent) and laugh at myself for doing so.
Things like saying, “I’ve never broken a bone,” will be followed up by a rat-a-tat-tat somewhere. Not that I believe it will stop me from breaking a bone, but it’s like being conscious of tempting fate somehow negates the temptation. Which makes little sense. I get that. Still … rat-a-tat-tat.
4) Acknowledgement of possible irony/event dispels the likelihood of said irony/event from occurring.
Okay, hear me out. This makes the least sense of all. So, if there is a situation, my brain will often offer up the “well, wouldn’t it be ironic if,” or “wouldn’t it be funny if,” X happens. It’s like a weird hunch. If I let the thought pass very quickly without paying attention to it, X happens. Almost all the damn time. But if I see the thought and purposefully acknowledge the it, even appending a forceful but mental-only HA-HA to the thought, X doesn’t happen. There may be some confirmation bias here, I grant you, but it still happens way too often. “He’s gonna call when I’m here.” “That’s going to break.” “I am going to slip on the ice.” “I should double check this now or ….” If these thoughts are allowed to pass without comment, these things will come to pass. (And it’s fucking annoying.)
World’s worst atheist? Maybe. *grin*
So these are my totally-superstitious-but-I-will-absolutely-tell-you-I-don’t-believe-in-them-not-really superstitions. What are yours?
(Yes, there is a WIP I’m currently revising. There was a deadline for the end of February. WIP is being revised. It is not yet the end of February. I expect I will be making a formal complaint to the PTB re: the missing days at the end of February. Shocking negligence. And I will spare you a Dead Parrot parody of my WIP revision. For now.)