Fragments from the Forest, Part 4 – Believing Today

In the past few blogs I hope I have established that for many people ‘touching wood’ is believed to have a beneficial effect.

It would seem that boasting or counting on good luck can be a very dodgy business and that touching wood is one way of ensuring continuing good luck or protecting yourself from bad luck, which is also the cessation of good luck, can be achieved.

I can claim this because of the way that this belief has become so embedded in both our personal and popular cultures. We are quite happy to accept it when someone stops a conversation to find some wood to touch or use the phrase in conversation. We may not necessarily believe it ourselves but will certainly accept that others do.

Going to the trouble of finding a piece of wood to touch and thereby risking looking ridiculous would suggest that that some of us believe  that there is some special power that can help protect us from our own folly or from the evil intent of others both spiritual and corporeal. But why does such a belief exist at all? What is it about wood that makes it so special? Is it wood that people believe in, or is it a tangible symbol for some unseen, unknown power that can influence our lives or be called on to do so? Then we have to ask does the type of wood make any difference? Is oak more powerful than hawthorn and are products like plywood and chipboard not effective at all as a protection?