'Written in heaven'

“A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life . . . .”

That famous line from the opening stanza of Romeo and Juliet captures a feeling of inevitability. The characters’ lives are “star-crossed,” their good intentions thwarted by forces beyond anyone’s control. Broadly speaking, we’ve come a long way since Shakespeare’s day in terms of societal beliefs about the stars, but there are still plenty of similar superstitions floating around. Besides astrology, think of garden-variety superstitions like avoiding cracks in the sidewalk or throwing a pinch of salt over one’s shoulder after it’s been spilled. Or more insidious beliefs, like witchcraft or voodoo.

April 30, 2012
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