How to guard yourself against jinxes
Be careful about sharing titbits
I reiterate the significance of the intersection of timing and discretion when sharing our glad tidings. I do this because knowing the time and place while remaining aware of the people that you share your life’s momentous events can be a matter of life and death or triumph and defeat.
This sounds melodramatic, I know, but sharing your life’s events too soon, and with the wrong people, is dangerous. Western pop culture refers to this as a function of not wanting to “jinx” things by talking about them too early. A jinx is a curse/bad luck/bad omen, which in this context, is tied to the sharing of information (often good news) prematurely and its ability to negatively impact your outcomes. Walk with me.
I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago upon learning of a friend’s pregnancy postpartum. I joked and said to her, “yoh ungambulala umntu” (loosely referencing her skill at concealing a secret). She proceeded to tell me that her colleagues and neighbours were equally in awe, especially because none of them had the slightest whiff that she had even given birth.
She laughingly recalled her neighbour’s utter disbelief (one with whom she caught the same taxi daily during her pregnancy). “I was bummed that my neighbour found out because she just came over and saw the baby’s bottle and asked who it belonged to. It was only then that I disclosed that I’m a new mother and that I wasn’t ready to share the news yet.”
As a black woman and healer, I understood her stance. She first explained the complicated nature of her pregnancy, which was mostly characterised by pre-eclampsia. She considered the pre-eclampsia as a jinx of its own. If she were to open herself up to the possibility of more jinx, she or the baby would not survive. Her fears were legitimised by her cousin, who had miscarried twice after revealing her pregnancies at eight and 10 weeks respectively.
I know one biomedical scientist somewhere reading this classifies the miscarriages as a function of secondary infertility (miscarriages form part of the epidemiology). Yes, I think that’s one explanation. The other explanation requires me to consider her pregnancy outcomes through an African spiritual lens, a lens for which we are all implicated as black Africans.
Let me be clear. Our indigenous knowledge and practices do not prevent us from sharing the good news of our pregnanwant cies. Children are gifts from God and we observe them as such by practising discretion as a manner of protection.
I use the word discretion to capture a seminal lesson from MaDlamini (my maternal grandmother). She would often caution us against oversharing too soon having not followed due process. By due process I mean following cleansing and protective rites which I would holistically refer to as ukuqiniswa. For these rites to be affective, both mother and father, and I suppose all concerned parties, need to participate – in the case of pregnancy.
At inception of ukuqiniswa, cleansing of space and person must be performed. I know someone somewhere is rolling their eyes at the idea of ‘cleansing’ especially due to its popularity among izangoma, but just think about it. How would we expect to repel jinxes without purifying and cleansing our aura?
If your aura is polluted by unwanted energies which you are unfortunately exposed to as you move through space, time and interactions with people, you are also likely to transfer these energies to your home. An accumulation of unwanted energies makes you attractive to ‘jinxes’, and we don’t that.
I realise that cleansings are costly and some healers scam people in the name of cleansing. I cannot help the costliness of cleansing, but I can help you create awareness on what a cleansing should look like.
First, cleansings must happen under the backdrop of nature, usually the river (emphasis on usually).
Secondly, candles and sage tend to serve when communicating intention to your ancestors and God. Make sure to lead the conversation at your cleansing by way of spilling all that is in your heart with what you are hoping to achieve. Talk to God, connect with the power of nature and your ancestors. Be present and be intentional.
Thirdly, do not pay large amounts of money for people to wash you in a vaaskom (basin) with a combination of just white salt and some house cleaning product in some dark room in their house with no candles lit or communication with God. I can tell you for free that it’s a scam!
Remember to enquire about what you should expect in terms of process.
Lastly, pray for revelation, guidance and protection always. God will oversee.