With repossessions on the rise, perhaps it’s time to take a look at some traditional ways of protecting your home from harm. What plant should you be growing round the door? Which animals should you encourage to come inside?
Your new home is the most expensive thing you will ever buy – and home insurance doesn’t cover everything. Here’s a handy guide to superstitions that help shield you from misfortune, although, sadly, they won’t help with the mortgage.
Enlist your cat’s help. Send Kitty on ahead into each prospective property – if she hurries back out again, the house is unlucky and you should move on to the next on the list. If the cat stays awhile, put in an offer immediately.
If you’re having a problem selling your old home, try burying a statue of St Joseph (the carpenter who brought Jesus up as his son) in your yard. Some say you should bury him upside down, and avoid facing the street (unless you want someone else’s house to sell first), and it’s probably polite to give the statue pride of place in your new residence as a thank you for his intervention.
If the previous owners have been kind, they will have left some bread (or rice, depending where you are in the world) and salt behind for you. If the realtor got rid of it, don’t worry, just make sure the first person to enter carries these items, plus a new broom. Never bring an old broom into your new house – it carries with it many unfortunate remnants of the past. The salt should be sprinkled in all the rooms and across the door sills, so evil spirits will never enter.
Pick your move-in date very carefully. Regardless of contract exchange, escrow or lengthy chains, you should move in when the moon is waxing. Avoid Fridays, Saturdays and rainy days. Thursday is a propitious day for moving in Tamil culture.
Poke the fire for luck.
The first time you leave your new home, make sure you exit by the same door that you entered, otherwise you will never settle.
If a pal brings you a set of knives as a housewarming present, don’t accept it, or offer them a coin in exchange, unless you expect your friend to become an enemy before too long.
Most people know it’s unlucky to open an umbrella in the house – but did you know it is also unlucky to shoulder a spade, or carry a hoe. You can dodge the bad luck attracted by these items by walking backwards out of the house while still holding onto them.
Banging nails after sunset is a no-no. As well as annoying your new neighbors, you may very well awaken the wrath of the tree gods.
As well as adding a piquant edge to soups and casseroles, fennel stops witches from entering your new abode, if you stuff it in the keyhole or hang it above the door. Ivy growing over the top of your house is also a sure fire way of keeping you safe from malevolent magic.
If you find a frog or a grasshopper has snuck inside to pay you a visit – that’s lucky. A snake, not so much – it means there will be a death in the house. A bird flying in through a window portends death too, unless you help it escape as quickly as possible. If a swarm of bees lands on the roof – beware! Your house is due to burn down. But if swallows nest under the eaves, you will be protected and prosperous, so long as they return every spring.