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Gemstone bracelets on my wrist - smoky quartz, garnet, amethyst, and rose quartz.

In my continual quest to improve my writing chops, I'm taking a new course this week. Today I was challenged to write—in detail—about what I’m superstitious about. I also have to post it somewhere online. I confess, the latter requirement worries me. I don't like exposing my foibles to the world.

That aside, it seemed like a terrific prompt. I write a good bit of paranormal mystery, and superstition and magic are closely entwined. But my initial reaction to the prompt was, “I’m not superstitious. There isn’t anything!”

This is, of course, complete BS.

As I type this, I’m wearing strings of garnet, amethyst and quartz bracelets. I tell myself it’s because the gems represent concepts that are important for me to remember—like maintaining healthy boundaries and a positive attitude. But really, two friends in a two-week period recommended I wear quartz against my skin to raise my vibration. They don’t know each other, and I hadn’t introduced the topic to them, so it seemed a little… weird.

Also, the bracelets are pretty. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself. Oh, the stories we tell ourselves...

But the BIG superstition, the one that’s had the largest impact in my life, began in the fourth grade.

That was when I first read Hamlet. I was a precocious reader,* but I suspect it was a simplified version for children rather than the original Shakespearean text. While I don’t remember the language of the story, one scene stayed with me. In it, Hamlet prepares to kill his stepfather, Claudius. But as Hamlet steals into his room, he overhears Claudius praying. Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius during his prayer. His stepfather has just asked forgiveness and if he dies now, he'll go to heaven rather than the hell he so richly deserves.

After that, I prayed every damn night. Still do. And yes, I ask forgiveness for my sins. And yes, it’s because of Hamlet.

Superstition? Probably. Though I don’t think it’s a bad habit. Prayer and contemplation have become a rewarding part of my morning and evening routines. But I don’t ask for forgiveness just because I need it. Every night when I make that request, a tiny voice inside me adds, “so I won’t go to hell before I wake up.”

What are you superstitious about?

*I also read The Speckled Band far too young. It scared the hell out of me. But it also left me with a deep and abiding love of Sherlock Holmes and mystery stories, so it was well worth the childhood nightmares.

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