Touch wood

Many people who are not superstitious actually say things which are superstitious when wishing people well – ‘cross fingers’, ‘best of luck/good luck’ and ‘touch wood’. Cross fingers i guess comes from a religious origin – but is touching wood or knocking on wood a left-over from touching relics, or having religious relics such as a splinter from the cross, or a fragment of a ‘holy’ person’s coffin? Some people argue that it is much older than the Christian religion and goes back to pagan times when some trees were considered sacred, so touching them, or having a bit of wood with you as an amulet would keep you safe. Other people argue that the tree thing is just something made up nineteenth century romantics – and touching wood comes from reaching and touching the door into a place of safety.

There are hundreds of different explanations, from lumberjacks to cattle auctions, coal miners to sailors… here is a link to a selection:,5753,-22199,00.html

.. and here is something from the Danny Kaye film, ‘Knock on Wood’




The bowman, the tusked creature and the three diamonds

I guess like lots of people who are not superstitious and don’t believe in fortune telling or horoscopes or spiritualism, I still have an interest in it! I haven’t yet written anything which has a story line to do with other worldly things, but I think one day I might.

I can’t remember where I saw it now, but I saw an image which had lots of funny little symbols all over it, and in my almost OCD way, I noted down the different images and gave them names. I guess I was thinking they were similar to runes, maybe. I have no idea now what the image was or where I found it, or even if it was something significant or just random scribbly patterns on wallpaper for example. I was looking through some old things, and came across the list of symbols, although not the images:

  1. Seated bowman
  2. Bowman
  3. Bow
  4. Pattern
  5. Simple pattern
  6. Diamond
  7. Squirl
  8. Deer
  9. Buffalo
  10. Jellyfish
  11. Scorpion
  12. Turtle
  13. Standing man
  14. Pushing man
  15. Speaking man
  16. Crane
  17. Vulture
  18. Square
  19. Tusked creature
  20. Three diamond
  21. Leaf
  22. Goat
  23. Frog
  24. Concentric squirl
  25. Fork
  26. Nothing

There is no significance in the order, or the number beside each, it was just as I jotted them all down at random. Now I have found the list I am intrigued by the idea of it, and I’m beginning to think of ways I could use something like this in my writing… Something to play around with… hmmm… some ideas are swirling…