Spiders, spiders … yeah! Everywhere.

By Heather Doherty

Why yes, I did survive Valentine’s Day. Not a card in sight – given nor received. Just the way I like it. No gifts either.  Wait … no gifts? That’s not quite true. I did give a gift to myself. (See, I may be unromantic … but I’m good to myself!)

I’ve ordered a witch’s ladder, or if you prefer, pagan prayer beads. I bought these from wonderful Etsy seller, SilverBirchHill. Check her out. She has some amazing stuff on her site.

Here’s a bit of the info on my beautiful beads.

Witch’s Ladders or Druid’s Ladders are Pagan Prayer beads, traditionally made with 40 beads. Like the prayer beads of other faiths they are used for meditation, counting prayers/spells and to help focus the mind. The 40 beads have been split into sections of 3, 7, 9 and 21 beads as these are traditionally magical numbers honored through the beads.

Hematite is particularly effective at grounding and protecting. It harmonizes mind, body and spirit. Used during out-of-body journeying, it protects the soul and grounds it back into the body. This stone has a strong Yang element and balances the meridians, redressing Yin imbalances. It dissolves negativity and prevents negative energies from entering the aura, restoring peace and harmony to the body.


Lovely, huh? I cannot wait to hold this. Hematite is a favorite stone of mine. I have a walnut-sized round of hematite that I often tuck in my pocket when I need that extra boost.

But the hemitite is not the only reason I couldn’t resist this ladder. I love of spiders too.  They’re one of my favorite personal symbols (I have very few).

No, not the tarantula-crawling-down-my-shoulder thing or the venomous things that TRACK YOU DOWN! But I won’t purposely kill a spider – ever. Let them go, let them go, I say!  Spiders are diligence and persistence. And who doesn’t love the webs! What an intricate symbol – and intricate world! – of life, death, struggles and conquests.  As a writer, tenacity has to be in the blood. What animal is more tenacious than a web-spinning spider?

Superstition on spiders?  Oh you bet ….

  • Seems I am not alone on the never kill a spider thing. Rain will surely follow. I remember back in the first grade discussing this bit of wisdom in the sandbox. Someone had (so they said) killed a spider a day or two earlier, and we were wondering, well, where the heck was the rain? Yeah, he lied. That was my guess.
  • If a spider drops on the table during a meal, you have an unknown enemy.
  • Should a spider build its web across your front door you’ll soon have company. (Maybe more spiders?)
  • But if  a spider drops onto the threshold, someone in the household will die.
  • You’ll meet a new friend if you run into a web. Ah, nothing like a face full of spider webs when you’re walking through a dark passage, huh? Okay, even with my appreciation of spiders and their work, I do NOT like a face full of webs. Oh, yeah, you can brush the webs away. But where are the spiders that were on it?  They’ve got to be crawling somewhere. Everywhere …like your neck right now.
  • Find a spider in the morning? I came across one superstition that said it’s bad luck.  This  does not fit me, work for me or with me. In my world, spiders are good luck, period. Other superstitions seem to agree with me:
  • If a spider crawls out of your pocket, you’ll find fortune;
  • See one crawling on the wall, your deepest wish will come true.
  • See a big spider? Great! The bigger the better for luck.
  • It’s also good luck to find a spider on a wedding dress.

A lot of lore is nature-observation based, rather than superstitions: I love this kind of folk wisdom. (But then again, maybe superstition is in fact, nature-observation based knowledge, just observed on a different level. That is, after all, how symbols work …)

  • When many spiders are spinning their webs, we’re in for a dry spell.
  • If the spiders are hiding, bad weather is on the way.
  • When there are dew-covered webs on the lawn in the morning, it’s going to be a beautiful day.
  • If there are lots of webs in the spring, it’ll be a good autumn.

Oh, and – best superstition ever – if you happen to have a spider symbol on your witch’s ladder, good fortune will follow you all the days of your life. (Okay, I made that one up, but I’m going with it!)

How about you? Have you heard any superstitions or folklore about spiders you’d like to share?

Let me call you sweetheart … or not

By Heather Doherty


Hey, did I mention I’m a writer? The Doherty in the Wilson Doherty team? Hmm, thinking I may have. But what you may not know about me (unless you happen to be married to me – shout out to Harold Doherty!) is that I haven’t a romantic bone in my body. No. Nada. Not a brittle, bitter one. Any sweet/romantic scenes in any Wilson Doherty books are 100% Norah’s brilliant work. Norah happens to be an award winning romance writer, so yeah, better in her hands than mine any day.

Don’t believe me? I was just scanning through an early draft of a project and came across this note I wrote: NORAH, CAN THEY KISS/TALK, SWEET BLAH BLAH.

Not even kidding.

And yet, here it is so close to Valentine’s Day, and I’m so excited. Not for the usual reasons, but because I get to share a few fabulous love superstitions.

Sooooooo … wanting to know who’ll you’ll marry? Here are some wonderful Valentine’s Day superstitions to help you with kiss/talk sweet blah blah, er, that question.

Unmarried women should look to the skies on Valentine’s Day to see which bird flies overhead. A robin – you’ll marry a sailor. Sparrow – you’ll find happiness in marriage, but not abundance. Goldfinch – A rich union is in the future. Those who see an owl fly overhead, won’t marry.

But maybe you don’t want to stand out there in the (brrr) cold and wait for the first friendly bird to fly overhead. Maybe you realize the potential downside to that. Try this instead: On Valentine’s Eve, write potential suitors’ names on small pieces of paper. Roll each up in clay and put them into a small bowl of water. The first to rise to the surface will be your valentine.

A very old superstition holds that if you are single, the first person one sees on Valentine’s Day outside the home will be your future sweetheart. Considering how big the world is, and how far and wide we travel now, thinking I’d not put a lot of stock in this one.

Got apple? One way of narrowing down the field of future spouses is this: peel an apple in a single strip. Make sure the peel doesn’t break or you’ll have start again. Toss it over your shoulder onto the floor. The peel will land taking the shape of the first letter in your future spouse’s name.

Want to dream of your future spouse? Yikes, here’s a salty way to do it. Before going to bed, cut a hard-boiled egg in half. Remove the yolk entirely, and replace it with salt. Put the egg back together, eat it. The one who brings you water as you dream, will be yours.

And one more … best yet:

Find yourself a mule with really long ears. (Yeah, this may take a while) and ask it if you’ll soon find true love. If the mule shakes its head: no. If one ear moves: maybe. And if the mule is completely still: yes.

Okay, good luck with these! And I hope you have a wonderful, chocolate, apple, mule, bird, egg-filled Valentine’s day … heavy on the chocolate.

I’d be really interested to hear if anyone tries these, with success, or not. And of any other Valentine’s day love superstitions you may know. Write me here!

I Heart Grump Cat (Part II)

by Heather Doherty


Okay, I swear, last grumpy cat meme I’ll ever pass along on this blog (this week, cough cough).


But how better to introduce some more very cool cat superstitions than with a picture of a cat smacking a superhero? Pffft… right. Rhetorical question. There is no better way.

These are kind of fun:

  • One Indian wedding superstition is that it’s good luck if a cat eats from the bride’s or groom’s left shoe one week before the wedding.
  • Cats draw lightning.
  • It is good luck to hear a cat sneezing.
  • Cats will steal the breath of a sleeping person, particularly babies.
  • In Japan the Maneki Neko or beckoning cat is common figurine in businesses and homes, sure to bring good fortune and money to the owner.
  • If a cat is cleaning its face by the door, company is coming.

And my personal favorite:

  • The girl who finds a strange cat in her bedroom at night will be lucky (biting tongue very sharply right now).

See, told you superstitions were awesome! I really love and respect these bits of wisdom, whimsy, brilliant old wives tales. There is so much more to the world than what’s right before our eyes. Do I believe in every superstition I come across? No. Do I have superstitions of my own (asks the woman wearing green – always wearing  green – as I write)? Absolutely!

More on wisdom, whimsy and brilliant old wives tales next week.

In the meantime, want to share some of your superstitions?


I heart Grumpy Cat


By Heather Doherty

I’m a dog person (shout out to Chloe!) but I have fallen in love with the grumpy cat meme that’s been all over Facebook lately. Best cat EVER. Seriously, if I owned a cat (not happening people, don’t send me your cats) this would be my kind of feline. Screw chasing mice, I plan your untimely demise!


Okay, some of the grumpy cat captions are (cough cough) inappropriate for all audiences. But most are snort-worthy funny. Like this one…



So, in honour of grumpy cat and its uncanny, mind-bending ability to make me click share, here’s a few cat-meeting superstitions to start this SUPERSTITION SUNDAY weekly blog post. (Did I just write weekly? Oh yes, I did … see you next week).

  • Black cat about to cross your path? Change your path. At least in North American cultures, this is an advisable course of action. Yet, in Scottish superstition, a black cat on the porch is a sign of good luck to come.
  • White cats? They come with a little better rep. Dreaming of one is a foretelling of good luck, as is seeing a white cat on the road before you (um, unless the cat has met its untimely end on said road; that couldn’t be a good thing). However in England, seeing a white cat on the way to school was a sign of trouble to come.
  • Cats by the water? Sailors are notoriously superstitious, which isn’t surprising considering how precarious the profession was decades ago. If a cat scooted in front of a sailor on a pier, good luck was his. But if a cat cut across his path, the reverse fortune was in store.
  • One-eyed cat? If you see a one-eyed cat, spit on your thumb, press it to the middle of your palm, then make a wish. Oh oh oh, the wish is sure to come true.


More on cat superstitions next Superstition Sunday. In the meantime, here’s Ruckus, Norah’s cat along with the lovely and powerful Labradorite sphere we are giving away IN JUST TWO DAYS!


Enter here!