Sunday, September 28, 2008

BLACK CAT MYTHS - CRITTERS SUNDAY

This is the friendly black cat that I came across down by Ramsey Harbour the other day. He quite happily sat up there on his perch adopting his I'm a statue pose before jumping down to stretch out in the gutter. Why do cats decide the gutter, the edge of a roadside is the perfect place to stretch out? I know they have nine lives, but really cars only need to take one.

What of the myths and legends surrounding black cats? So many. See what wiki says below.

Witchcraft and superstition

Historically, black cats were symbolically associated with witchcraft and evil. In Hebrew and Babylonian folklore, cats are compared to serpents, coiled on a hearth. The cat was worshipped in Egypt and to kill one was a crime punishable by death. When an Egyptian family's cat died, the cat was mummified and the family went into mourning. Romans, also, considered the cat sacred and introduced the animal into Europe. In most European countries, except Britain and Ireland, a black cat crossing one's path is considered bad luck; they were also seen by the church as associated with witches. Black cats (and sometimes, other animals of the same colour, or even white cats) were sometimes suspected of being the familiars of witches. Black cats were believed to be shape shifters, that witches could transform into them by saying a spell and travel about doing evil things unnoticed. According to sources witches took such good care of their cats for this reason and it was rumored that they even fed them the blood of babies to stay youthful and agile. As the cat was a form of its witch owner it was believed that by harming a cat you were directly harming its witch. Many also believed that the devil regularly took the form of a black cat. Because of this on holy days, such as Easter, during the Middle Ages black cats were routinely hunted down and burned. By the 17th Century the cat began to be associated with witchcraft and its luck turned from good to bad in many areas around the world.

In Scotland, a strange black cat on your porch is a sign of upcoming prosperity. In Ireland, when a black cat crosses your path in the moonlight, it means there is going to be an epidemic illness. In Italy hundreds of years ago, it was believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick person, that person would die. Many years ago in England, fishermen's wives kept black cats in their homes while their husbands went away to sea in their fishing boats. They believed that the black cats would prevent danger from occurring to their husbands while they were away. Superstitions centering around the black cat are some of the most widely known and popular superstitions.

In places which saw few witch hunts, black cats retained their status as good luck, and are still considered as such in Britain and Ireland. They are also considered to be good luck on ships.[2]

However in Romanian and Indian culture, especially in the historical region of Moldavia in Romania and everywhere in India, one of the strongest superstitions still feared by many people is that black cats crossing their path represents bad luck, despite the fact that these regions were never affected by witch hunts or anti-paganism. An identical superstition survives also in Central Europe, such as the Czech Republic. There are also still myths and superstitions in America about black cats, and especially their bones, which are believed to hold magical powers. There is an Internet black market for the sale of black cat bones to be used in various ways to bring luck and power to the bearer of the bone.

Probably because of the Manx cat and being a myth and legend lover I am very interested in the superstitions and myths surrounding the black cat in your part of the world. Has wiki got it right? Have you got a black cat myth in your country. I found so much on the internet that contradicted each other that I thought better of printing it and asking you out there. I know always questions. Thw world would be a boring place if I got up toworrow with nothing else to learn.

For more wonderful camera critters see MISTY DAWN Camera critters and be sure to leave a nice comment for Misty' s own outstanding posts.

52 comments:

AppleDebbie said...

Loved the photo of the black cat next to the red gate. I enjoyed reading about the black cat myths and superstitions also... very interesting post!

fishing guy said...

Babooshka: What wonderful lore you have shared with your critter. I knew the one about the black cat crossing your path. The witches cat was always black to match their outfits. Really neat post.

ratmammy said...

that was an intersting piece! thanks for posting that!

Carletta said...

A really cute kitty!
A nice informative post.

Virginia said...

My 100 posts would not have been so much fun without you and your fabulous comments. Love ya.
The cat and the red fence, spot on composition. YOu know how I feel about cats. This one useful for the composition. LOVE this photograph.
V

Tash said...

This seems an unusual photo for you - very geometric, bold red, dark black. I like it very much, too.

Burd Zel Krai said...

nothing strikes the eye like black and red.
what is that red structure - a gate?
the diversity of your images constantly astounds me!
i know i don't comment that often, but i always come and have a look and the effort you go to to inform us, too, is truly special.
you're a real star!
Burd.

April said...

I had a black cat once. I'm not really all that superstitious, but I'm glad they're also considered a sign of "good luck".

b13 said...

The red gate really offsets the black cat quite nicely. Lovely image!

Small City Scenes said...

Great shot--black cat and red gate,
The only myth I know about black cats is the one that says it is bad luck to have ne cross your path. Bones--I know nothing about. MB

chrome3d said...

Excellent photo. It seems that there is almost some secret message in the forms and colours.

magiceye said...

love this

Sharon said...

This is a gorgeous photo!

Webradio said...

Hello Babooshka !
A Black cat, but a very red "door" !
Nice informative text...
See You later.

Eki Akhwan said...

I just LOVE the juxtapositioning of the elements in this photograph, Babooshka: real cat and its statue, complementary colours of black and red, and the geometry ... All of them make a great composition. Only an avid photographer like you could see this. Thanks for sharing and the inspiration.

Aileni said...

That picture is a gift, one of those special images.

Marie said...

Nice post :)
Beautiful sky watch as well :)

angela said...

Thanks for the text, another "Oh I didn't know that..." I like to think black cats are lucky but my pupils tell me the opposite. It's interesting how universal this superstition is.
I like the positioning of the cat and the red gate..

JAMJARSUPERSTAR said...

Not superstitious at all - end of!
Ciao

Scarlet xx

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

love the photo, thanks for the commentary

alice said...

Interesting shot and commentary, as usual!
In France, to see a black cat and to go under a ladder represent two very ill omens.
I've read somewhere black cats'picture is so bad for ages that they've been almost exterminated through the centuries. So, now, the "all black" gene has become weaker and it's very rare to find a cat without any white hair!
Have a great Sunday!

Rhea said...

Cool black cat photo and info! Thanks!

tye said...

It is so still, a painting.

Hilda said...

I think black cats have such an unfair, poor rep. I think they're gorgeous! It's just too bad that 'disembodied' eyes in the night scared our poor ancestors so much.

I love how your friendly black cat and gray stone contrast so starkly with the red get!

Hilda said...

Oops, gate, gate!

Dan said...

Love the colors and composition on this pic. Really fantastic work today!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I'd never heard of the bones of black cats being used for magic. Interesting. I'd be very frightened about that if I were a black cat!

B. Roan said...

Love the zap of red in the shot. I grew up with the black cat crossing the road being bad luck. I had an uncle who would make a u-turn and drive many miles out of his way, just to avoid crossing its path. Me? I'm not superstitious. Really, I'm not. I just don't see any reason to take a chance, just in case. So, if I see a black cat cross my path, I'm likely going to take another street. My question is, if a black cat crosses your path and you don't see it, is it still bad luck? Very interesting post!

ChrisC and JonJ said...

What a great contrast between the cat and the gate.I don't find black cats a bad omen.i think they're beautiful!

Gattina said...

I know almost everything about black cats because I adore them and my very first cat was black ! she shared my life for 20 years and brought me a lot of luck and happiness. She was the best cat !

i beati said...

I worry for them at Halloween sandy

Gail's Man said...

Not really a fan of cats, always chasing them out of our garden. Like the red gate though.

Have a nice Sunday.

Jim said...

I have a black cat, its an indoor cat. Not a demon all of the time.

Reader Wil said...

Well we have also a saying that a black cat means misfortune, but my black cat was wonderful, only naughty. We couldn't remain angry with him because he was also very sweet to us.
Your photo has a perfect composition.

karl said...

Black cats are witches.

Suzi-k said...

hi Babooshka, cool pic, i love that red gate! Interesting post too. In PE a few years ago there was an upsurge in Satanism, and many people who owned black cats reported them being stolen, especially around certain dates like Halloween, to be used in Satanic rituals. Luckily our Gus never fell victim to them.

Anonymous said...

Cute, bit not as cute as my cat.

Snapper said...

Wow! This one really jumps off the page.

marley said...

Interesting info about the superstitions surrounding black cats. I like the photo too. The red gate pops! (as they say!)

splummer said...

Hi!
Very interesting reading on the black cat. It hard to believe people still believe that stuff today! Take Care!!

Sherrie

Bergson said...

Beautiful opposition between this cat and this gate.

Is it the guard?

Knoxville Girl said...

So nice of the cat to pose for you - great shot with that bright red to set it off.
I have a Manx tale to tell you - will email it later this evening.

Laurie said...

This is a phenomenal shot for so many reasons. I can't stop staring at it!

lrp said...

Yes, I agree with everyone - beautiful shot! I love cats and the contrast here is awesome. Your work is inspiring! I'm such an amateur but when I see great works like yours, it encourages me to not be afraid to share "my voice". Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Your comment was so nice coming from someone as accomplished as yourself:).

CrazyCath said...

Fabulous history. So much work gone into this post. And a lovely shot too.

I was always told that is was GOOD luck for a black cat to cross my path. I only discovered there were different variations due to blogging!

I have four black cats at home (and two B&W) but only one of them (Mork) is a true black. The other 3 have the tiniest amount of white on them.

Bibi said...

I really, really love this photo; the colors, the composition, okay, even the cat, though Bibi would have been happy to pose!

Dragonstar said...

You've made an excellent compilation of beliefs here - fascinating!

I love that photo. I love the colours, and the way you've caught the cat with his pink tongue showing.

Dusty Lens said...

The colors here are great; the lack of color except for the red gate, perfect. I have only heard about the black cat crossing your path is bad luck. But I'm not supersticious about such things. (knock on wood) ;)

Lilli & Nevada said...

Oh i loved this photo but i guess you know i would, anyway i also love the legend of the black cat, I like the one of prosperity the best Never believed in the one of bad luck.LOL

tr3nta said...

WOW... GREAT CONTRAST ON THIS SHOT!!!
very nice...

Livio said...

This is what I call a beautiful photo!

Belgrade Daily Photo said...

This image is truly striking!

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