Scaevity, scaevities

1. N. Unluckiness

2. N. Left-handedness

Example: 1. People often attribute their failures to scaevity, when in fact, they are simply terrible at making decisions in a rational way. 2. Scaevity made using traditional scissors a bit difficult for him.

It sounds like an insult, doesn’t it? It wouldn’t be now, but in the age when it was used–the mid-1600′s– it absolutely was in both senses. You see, people paid an awful lot of attention to fortune and handedness both. Despite the biblical edicts against engaging in predictive behaviors, casting lots, and divination, reading omens was actually something that got a tacit pass. Kings and queens considered it a type of divine medicine, and so if a prognosticator was patronized by a member of the peerage, they were often protected from the wrath of the Church. So to, is it true that the Church also employed such people to make predictions on their behalf. Everything from tracking the stars, to reading tea leaves, analyzing blood and urine, all manner of odd thing was done to try and know he mysteries of God’s intent.

To lack fortune was a fate worse than death. It meant that like Job, God had turned away from you and the Devil was having a go. People saw bad fortune as a kind of sickness and avoided it by avoiding you. One or two misfortunes was fine, but if you found yourself always the comedic fodder of the universe, you were a pariah next.

Handedness was also imbued with religious significance. The Church often used it, during the Inquisitions and witch trials, as a means of targeting people. Left-handedness meant that one was possibly touched by a negative force, and therefore was both unfortunate, and considered more likely to accept demonic influence into their lives. Children who exhibited this trait were “trained” out of it in the first primary schools, because those were run by the Church. Meaning that of course, entire groups of young boys were likely beaten along the back of the left hand to prevent them from their natural inclination.

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