In a previous blog I spoke of the old beliefs regarding the fox fortuitously crossing one’s path, and I think we’ve probably all heard of the superstitions regarding black cats crossing your path too, but are there any other mystical path traversing beasties out there?
Well, once you delve into the rich and murky waters of folklore, it seems as though every animal has held the power of divination in some shape or form, as though the wild was once full of furry and feathered mystics, performing dances of doom or fortune for the benefit of man; I’m surprised anyone left the house! But have you ever heard the one about the badger crossing your path? No, I hadn’t either!
This poem is believed to be around 200 years old, and shares similarities with the polarised superstitions regarding black cats.
But it wasn’t just the animals choice of path which triggered man’s superstitions. If you got hold of some of their fat you could rub it into your chest to cure rheumatism - when you weren’t cooking with it, which they did! 🤢 Their hair could also help to protect you from witchcraft: all you had to do was keep it in a bag made from cat skin - and yes, it has to be the skin of a black cat… oh, and be sure to tie it around your neck when the moon is no more than seven days old.
I’m sure you too will be pleased to hear that badgers are now protected under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992, so thankfully their body parts are now way out of bounds. And do not threat if you’re out and about and are lucky enough to have one of these very shy animals cross your path, it doesn’t matter if they did so in front of you, or behind… but...
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With the exception of artists, inventors, and teenagers - we humans are diurnal daytime creatures on the whole, and although it’s one thing to be out and about during the night in a street lit urban environment, it’s a very different scenario if you find yourself in, say… oh, I don’t know, a forest per se. Where, if you’re lucky, you may hear the unmistakable cry or hoot of an Owl: natures very own nocturne, a stark reminder of the unknown peril of night, and a creature that has featured heavily in myth and folklore throughout the ages.