My mom believes in magic

My mom is religious. She also believes in astrology, and that there are people who can harm you with magic. She dislikes gypsies because she believes they cast spells on people and they piss on the vegetables they sell (I am not making this up. This is a common belief among older people here in Greece. Along with the Jews-put-children-in-barrels-with-nails belief).

One day when she was lecturing me for the millionth time about how I should avoid gypsies and people who do magic in general, I asked her what kind of magic can they do anyway? She answered in vague terms, eg. they can cast the evil eye on you and other curses to do you harm but she wasn’t specific on the type of harm inflicted.

So to annoy her, I told her that this kind of magic is crap. Real magic is shooting flames and lightning from your hands, launching magical poisonous arrows, raising skeleton warriors, resurrecting your dead enemies to be your slaves, summoning demons etc.

She just rolled her eyes, spit in the air and went away muttering something. :confused:

Is there anything I can do about it? These beliefs are deeply seated in her, repeated numerous times from her parents and grandparents. By the way, my mother is in her early 60ies. I should also mention that my father (who is a couple years older than her) while he grew up listening to the same stories, he simply dismisses them as superstisions.

Probably you can’t do anything about it. It doesn’t matter what sort of facts you bring into the conversation, she has her beliefs, she’s happy with them, and she is NOT going to give them up.

About the only thing you CAN do is try to avoid the topic. Since she’s your mom, however, this might be hard to do. I will bet that she will find any excuse to bring up the subject.

It just means she’s got a young girl’s heart, and the music can free her whenever it starts. And it’s magic, when the music is groovy and makes her feel happy like an old-time movie.

She tells you about the magic trying to free your soul; but it’s like trying to tell a stranger about rock n’ roll.

Eh, I wouldn’t worry too much about it – the (to some, perhaps, distressing) reality is that nearly everybody believes in some form of magic, often without being aware of it. Superstition, lucky charms, people calling you more often when you’ve just been thinking of them; it’s a perfectly natural, and to a certain extend advantageous, trait – heck, even pigeons believe in magic. You can fight those notions within yourself if you so desire, by educating yourself about them, but you can never fight them in anybody else – at best, you can clearly state what you think and why, and hope that it will trigger some form of curiosity, which in most cases, it won’t. What’s more, to a lot of people, it wouldn’t be beneficial to get rid of their magical thinking, and, since most cases are actually pretty benign, i.e. don’t impinge on the welfare of others, I think it best to adopt a kind of live and let live policy about these things – I will answer when asked (generally), and I will resist whenever anybody tries to impose their beliefs upon me, but other than that, I generally try not to bother too much with these things in every day life; after all, most of the defining characteristics of human beings are pretty much the same regardless of whether or not they profess any magical beliefs, so it’s of little consequence in interactions with other people.

The what? I haven’t heard that one around here, please explain.

No, you almost certainly will not be able to change her mind. Her crazy beliefs have worked for her for 60 years, and most people won’t re-evaluate that much anecdotal evidence.

Have fun with it. Tell her about the great deal you got on vegetables.

Change the subject everytime it comes up. This has worked with me and dealings with *The Old Guard Of the Nonsense Brigade. in all types of discussion regarding religion (against), politics (don’t care.), Euthanasia for terminal ill people( for), Abortion ( for.), Sex/birth control ( holy crap, we won’t touch on that subject and mentioning porn in even the most amusing tones would cause spasms.) Death Penalty ( against in most cases.), Stem Cells (for,), Cher and Madonna ( they are the anti-Christ, don’tchaknow.) (While I agree with the fact they are the Anti-Christ, their music is toe tappingly amusing, so I give it a wash on that score.)

Homersexuality and Racist rants are, strangely enough, not on this list. Couldn’t we just order the entire menu of ultra conservatism? Then I could just wash my hands of the entire affair as they are beyond any hope. But, they show me glimmers of reasonableness. My life, welcome too it.

Pretty much we have nothing to talk about anymore because they refuse to actually see the other side of the story. I am not asking them to become a Atheist Abortionist who listens to Cher while pulling the plug on Human Vegetables and letting mass murderers out of prison. All they know is what their (sainted and dead) parents told them and THINKING FOR YOURSELF IS BAD because it would involve THINKING and CHANGE. AND CHANGE IS BAD. I’m pretty sure that Change is Bad is their mantra. This is also known as Set In Their Ways.

Ergo, when you look at someone from the Old Guard Nonsense Brigade, just have an inner mantra, like " I refuse to be like them when I am old." When you leave the parental nonsense unit behind, immediately call members of The Alliance ( friends who think like you.) and say, " I just came from Mom’s and I need to vent."

*I know that these are hot button topics, except Cher and Madonna, and I avoid them like christmas fruitcake, except with mah friends.

The funny thing is that she’s quite liberal in most other aspects. Absolutely no problem with abortion, birth control, stem cells, etc. and while she dislikes gays, she has clearly expressed that they should have the right to do whatever they like in the privacy of their home and she has no problem with them getting married.

Think of a wooden barrel that has several big nails hammered into it so the inside would look like that of an iron maiden. Jews would abduct small children and put them in the aforementioned barrel and let it roll down a slope. Then they would collect the blood and either drink it or use it for their rituals. According to the lore, Jews engage in this practice on the weeks preceding Christmas (or maybe Easter, I forget).

The vegetables thing has actually become a running joke among the family. :smiley:

Holy cow! That’s weird :eek: Are there accounts of other animals engaging in similar behaviors?

Says it all, really.

Dog80, I spent a couple years not too far from you (Bulgaria) and I’m frankly surprised that’s the worst thing she says about the Gypsies.

Do Greeks believe that a cross breeze will make you sick, incidentally?

You could explain that the power of God is much greater then that of the devil (the source of that magic) and through Jesus we get protection from such things.

You probably can’t do much about your mom. These are deeply held beliefs, probably pounded into her by her mother the way she’s doing it to you. It’s going to take a big event or revelation to even make her think about it. Further more, arguing with her about it is just going to make her mad. You really need to just avoid talking about it. I’m this way with my mother and religion, and it’s much better than the constant arguing and hurt feelings.

:rolleyes: The OP asked about getting his mother away from magical thinking, not towards a different flavor of it.

No, it is not the worst. She also claims that they intentionally malform their babies bodies so they can later panhandle, kidnapping children, etc. But it is gypsy magic she fears most.

And yes, my mom will constantly nag me about not staying in the cross-breeze an to put something warm on.

Since I am an atheist I view religion as a different flavor of magic and superstition, just like hotflungwok said.

Is that, like, when you’re attracted to yellow guys who drink beer?


Okay, seriously, where did this crazy idea come from? I thought only Bulgarians believed this, but have since found out that they don’t like cross-breezes in Romania and Ukraine as well. Apparently it’s better to be in a stuffy room on a hot day than to open the windows…UNLESS YOU WANT TO DIE, of course.

Do you believe in magic?

Or, if you stick your finger up your nose, turn counter clockwise, and recite Mary Had A Little Lamb backwards, gold coins would fall from the sky.

Point out to her that every time she attends church when the shaman does the thing with the wine and the wafer, she’s watching a magic show.

[threadjack]It’s not just Romanians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, and Greeks. I’ve seen Italians close windows on a 90 degree day. They call it “colpo d’aria,” or “punch of air” and believe it makes you sick. Maybe it’s just a European thing.[/threadjack]

As for the OP’s mom, that’s a tough problem. You will never convince her that magic isn’t real. The best you can hope for is that she becomes a little less xenophobic, but she’s hardly alone there. And besides, the evil eye isn’t so bad, the Greeks have made evil eye charms a cottage industry. As long as she’s not burning down Gypsy camps, I think you’ll just have to bear with it.