Ever hear the expression "Touch wood!" or "Knock on wood!" This was a common English phrase growing up in my home. The gist of the superstition, or attraction magic, goes something like this: when you have avoided misfortune and say something that could be perceived as bragging about your good luck; you are tempting fate and thus must immediately protect yourself from any repercussion or reversal of your good fortune, by touching or knocking on wood.
Before you utter these sorts of statements; make sure you say 'touch wood' and are actually touching something made of wood. Another version is to knock briskly on the wood. I'm extra careful to make sure that I am actually touching real wood as I don't believe laminates or MDFs hold the same magical properties! Since this practice may have arisen out of tree worship and a belief in dryads or tree spirits dwelling within each tree; it makes sense that only real wood will save you.
But what if you have said something that requires averting the ill will of the fates and no wood can be found within your sight? In that case, and that case only, you are allowed to knock on your head. This is based on the rather unflattering belief that if you are stupid, your head is made of wood. But when the stakes are this high ... being a little humble is in your best interest ... so knock away!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan, 2021
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Folklore & Magic Archives