Trying to shed some light on superstitions
It is impossible to walk on the old streets of any Medina in Morocco, without becoming aware of the strong superstitious beliefs that people hold in the seemingly capricious supernatural world.
Many superstitious beliefs exist not only in the Moroccan culture, but also all over Africa, in Arab cultures, all across the Middle East, as well as in many remote island cultures, on the length of the Indian continent, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Asia, South America, to name a few….
There is a tradition in Moroccan culture that involves placing a mirror at the entrance to a house, or a living room.
This is often done to “reflect” back bad intentions, should any ill wisher enter the house.
The same is done by placing a “Hamsa Hand” with or without an Eye in the center of it, to ward off evil spirits, possible curses and bad luck, which are believed may come from other people’s bad energies, jealousy or gossiping tongues.
It is believed that an “Evil Eye” placed on you, can tease away good fortune, and bring instead bad luck, if somebody is coveting YOUR good fortune…
It is a widely held belief in these cultures, that people are vulnerable to bad luck, that others can cast spells upon them or curse them and bring misfortune upon them.
“Hamsa” is an Arabic word for the number “Five,” and it is used in the shape of a hand, since a hand has five fingers.
Just like Prayer Beads, many cultures use the Hamsa Hand, as a Talisman to seek protection.
Hamsa Hand in Islam, represents the Hand of Fatima, the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter, which is said to bestow healing as well as protection.
“Hamsa” or “Humesh hand” is also used in the Jewish culture, mostly by Sephardic Jews, and it became linked to Judaism as early as the time of the Prophet Moses.
It is believed to represent the hand of Miriam, the Prophet Moses’ sister, and that it also represents the five books of the Jewish Bible.
In the origins of Christianity in the ancient land of Israel, the Hamsa hand was used by early Christians and it was linked to the healing and protective hand of the Virgin Mary.
The belief in using physical symbols that you can hold in your hand, hang around your house or wear as a Cameo or Talisman, reflects the idea that “Luck,” can arbitrarily “descend” upon a person from the unseen world of spirits and energies.
It is not much different from those who wear a Cross, or a Star of David across their necks, which is often done by people who seek protection and guidance from the deity that they hold in their hearts…
The Talismans offer comfort to those who wear a Cross or a Star, and they feel that they do not walk alone…. But that some kind of Higher protection is always with them.
Many spiritual religions use icons, talismans, amulets, charms, idols, figures, statues etc.
People use a tangible item to connect to the unseen Divine Spirit / God, which people are not able to perceive with the physical senses.
No matter how much they believe in the idea of a Spiritual Deity, when they are hurting or in great need, people feel the urge to hug, hold, or talk to something tangible that represents their God.
The concept of Spirit is just too ethereal for those who are deeply frightened or hurting…
This is also why people turn to “Men of God” in the form of a Rabbi, a Priest, a Minister, or a Guru, when they need guidance, because of their deep need to approach something physical that they can relate to, in their greatest need.
A statue placed upon an altar, is a physical form that one can address, of an IDEA and IDEAL or a God.
By kneeling in front of an icon, a symbol, or even a photo of a departed Guru, to offer gratitude, express fears, concerns and ask to be blessed, one is showing respect and reverence to the God that their icon represents.
Since many of the old religions like Judea, Christian and Muslim religions are NOT based on empowering people to recognize their own Divine connection to God, nor do they encourage people to aspire for Enlightenment and to God Self Realization, people end up feeling disempowered, and thus susceptible to superstitious beliefs.
In fact, many old religion doctrines teach people that they are separated from God….
That God stands above them, and looks down on us, His creation of sinful Humans, with a disappointed and often with an disapproving gaze.
Old religions do not encourage people to realize their true spiritual connection to God as children of Love and Light, endowed with the same attributes and powers as our Loving Creator God.
The concept of humanity’s separation from God, is what stands at the root of ALL of the human race’s misery.
But the good news……. Is that we are NOT separated from God, nor can we ever be, except in our own wrong thinking and fearful imagination.
God is Life, and Life is the Force that runs through the core of ALL existence.
The gradual but unavoidable remembrance of our true Nature and Divine Identity, is called the process of AWAKENING, in which people one by one come to realize that they are Holy, Divine, Loved, all Powerful Spiritual beings,……. at ONE with the Almighty Power of Love that created us all….
Walking around Morocco, in what seems to be a culture drowning in superstition and old traditional disempowering beliefs………., you may feel that Islam, much like Orthodox Christianity and ultra orthodox Judaism, is many millions of light years AWAY from promoting the recognition that man while standing in the center of his true identity…… The- I AM, is ONE with God…..
But I KNOW that there is a Divine plan, so I do NOT let my heart despair……..
The “Kabbala” is the mysticism and shining light of spirituality in Judaism.
There is great rise and interest in Spirituality, based on the loving teaching of Jesus, among many Christians.
And there is MUCH hope for Islam as well…
Sufism, is a truly an enlightened branch of thoughts, that is on the rise in the Islamic world, and it has much appeal to many peace loving Islamic people, as it has its roots in the same Islamic concepts of a ONE God, that is calling all people towards Self Realization, Enlightenment and Unity with the Divine…
In Sufism, it is believed that the ego, which is called “self desires and fears”, is inclined to habitual impulses that pulls people away from harmony with the Divine.
It is believed that the lack of harmony with the Divine, is what causes all illnesses.
It is believed that one must strive to achieve perfection, transmute fears and limitation, and merge into full remembrance of God.
I will write more about Sufism, as our exploration of this Islamic culture unfolds…
Stay centered in the Light, and follow your heart into the Path of Love…