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From the superstition and the sorcery of the doorsteps

Thresholds are generally known as transitions into the realm of the dead, the spirits and as a gateway to the otherworld.

 

This of course not only refers to thresholds such as crossroads, gates at cemeteries or land borders, but also the thresholds in our own home, because they are also a kind of transition. These passages or transitions were viewed as spatial holes that are modeled on the chaos. All crossroads and other borders are like a no man's land, a kind of interface. Door thresholds, on the other hand, are like holes in the spatial order and must therefore be treated with special attention.

Even our ancestors saw the thresholds as an important and very magical place in their first dwellings. For example, they buried their dead directly in the floor of their dwellings nearby, or directly under the threshold (Plato described, for example, in his records of such ancient Greek burial rites), according to Greek antiquity, the subterranean realm of the gods of the dead (Hardes + Persephone) is also said to be there. sit. All over the world, whether in ancient Rome, ancient Greece, in the eastern parts of Europe, as far as India and China, the door bells and the front door in themselves are places of communication with the spirits and souls. And of course also here in Germany.

In German and European customs, the dead were carried out of the house over the thresholds and once (according to old Irish custom even up to 3 times) briefly placed on the doorstep so that the soul could establish contact with the spirits in the underground realm and around showing her where to settle in case she wanted to visit her old house.
Doorsteps were also important for our ancestors at weddings, depending on the local custom, for example in Sweden, copper coins were placed on the doorsteps of their new home by the bride. In Bulgaria and Romania all sleepers of the new home were coated with butter and honey by the bride as offerings to the spirits of the sleepers. In French-speaking Switzerland, the bridegroom smeared the doorsteps with oil. Elsewhere, with a pomegranate (it is consecrated to Persephone, among others), the bride had to mark the thresholds with 3 crosses. And even today everyone knows the custom of carrying the bride over the doorstep into her new home, and here too it depends on the countries. Because not only the groom has the right to carry the bride, sometimes it is also one of the close relatives who have to carry the bride over the doorstep. But then she was rather carried out of her parents' house and into the new home by the bridegroom. This was to ensure that the bride did not take misfortune with her from the threshold.
There was and is perhaps still today in Germany the belief that the doorsteps are the seat of the souls of the deceased. Presumably one believed in Christian superstition that the souls of the deceased were trapped there in purgatory and had to atone. Therefore, for example, the doors must never be slammed loudly, because otherwise the spirits or souls could be injured. Even the rubbish that was swept up in the house during the day could only be swept up in front of the doorstep and then only poured outside, a few steps away from the house. Likewise, water could never be poured directly over the threshold, but always outside the house. At dusk on the rough nights (holy nights, Zwischen der Zeit, Loosnächte or also called the twelfth), the doors and windows were kept tightly closed and no one went outside through the threshold unless they had to. Because the wild army (Wotan, Hulda or Holle) moved around during this time. And those who went out anyway had to carry an amulet (e.g. a leather bag filled with salt) with them to protect against wild spirits and souls. Otherwise, they would suffer a great misfortune in the following year, such as the death of someone in the family or even himself.


According to pagan belief, goblins should also have their seat in the gaps between the doors. Therefore, small amulets made of certain roots and other herbs (such as juniper or mugwort, for example) were hung on the door frames.

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