Superstition Dictionary A-Z

Glass

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When glass is clear or transparent and unblemished it can be symbolic of purity and perfection. Colored glass can have different meanings. We are all familiar with the notion of “rose colored” glasses, implying that one sees things not as they are but as he or she would like them to be.  We might put a pleasing rosy tint on less pleasing realities.  Similarly cobalt blue glass is believed to hint at optimism though in time past it was symbolic of wealth and richness.
 
There are several superstitions that pertain to glass. Among them the most common superstition is breaking a mirror, and this was in place even before the glass mirrors were invented. This belief is said to have a risen out of various economic and religious factors.
 
It has been discovered that among the very first people to use mirrors are the early Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews. The mirrors were made of polished shiny metals which includes silver, gold, ,brass, and bronze and their main advantages is that they were unbreakable. As early as the 6 th.  Century B.C, the Greeks had started to use mirror's for divination that was named catoptomancy, and this made use of shallow glass as well as water filled shallow bowls. Just like the gypsy’s crystal ball, a water bowl made out of glass was known as a moratorium to the Romans. It was expected to give a vision into the future for any person who was to cast their image on a refractive surfaces. These prognostications were then interpreted by a “mirror seer.” It was believed that if any of the mirrors was to slip from the hands and break, the interpreter had nothing to interpret for the individual and the individual was deemed as having no future and this simply meant that the person was to die very soon. 
 
The bad luck superstition that originates in mirrors was then adopted by the Romans in first century A.D. and this was incorporated into their cultural practices, this is what our modern interpretation relies on. They had the beliefs that if a life of a person underwent changes at intervals of seven years. Because the mirrors were a reflection of ones physical appearance. Basically if the mirror was broken it was an implication that the person was to undergo seven years where they had a unstable health combined with a series of misfortune, or simply bad luck.
 
As time went by, the superstition got an economical and more practical application among the Italians, here the first sheet of glass that could break upon exertion of small pressure was already being manufactured at this time. As they were very expensive, they were carefully handled and it was made clear that breaking the mirror was indicative of seven years of suffering that can be worse than death. This belief spread all over to England and other European states.

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