Posted by Greg Zumwalt on November 09, 2002
On your site:
You define the origin of "Knocking on Wood" as
"May be the association that wood and trees have with good spirits in mythology, or with the christian cross."
Please note, that modern day christian holidays are all dirived from the mockery and slandering of other religions and their holidays.
Neither Christianity nor the cross have anything to do with the phrase.
In my book, I referance this phrase;
LEGENDARY WOOD SPIRITS
We explored the form of "wood spirits" in a variety of cultures, focusing on Native American, African, and Oceanic peoples. We learned that wood carvers from these cultures looked for a face, animal, or other character that they saw imbedded in the grain of the wood; the artist then worked to "release" it.
The custom originated from Pagan times when trees were held in high esteem. People believed that 'wood spirits' inhabited the trees and woodlands. To touch a tree with respect is thought to indicate that the person was in search of protection from the particular wood spirit.
Pagan families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months. Bells were hung in the limbs so you could tell when a spirit was present.
Food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed atop the tree.
Our superstition of "knocking on wood" was initiated to insure that no spirits were residing within the tree before it was cut down. In German folklore, one particular group of spirits, known as the Kobold, inhabited trees. The trees in which these spirits lived were cut down and sections were carved into figures so that the spirits would still have a home. They were enclosed in wooden boxes and brought inside the home. The children were warned never to go near them. If they opened the box, the Kobold would be released and wreak havoc. The Jack-in-the-box was designed to scare children away so that the Kobold would not be disturbed.
Many different cultures throughout history have believed that "Spirits" inhabit the trees of the forest. Some believed that Spirits were living within the tree from its beginning, others believed the spirits of passed ancestors returned to the earth and existed in one of its many forms. Carvers are believed to see, therefore, able to "bring the Spirit out" of the tree.
Long ago, in medieval times European forest folk thought that protective spirits shared the forest with them, living inside ancient trees.
The legend of the wood spirits holds that they bring blessings and good luck to those who shelter them.
Walking Sticks made from such trees and marked with an effigy, carving or better yet, containing naturaly appearing images of spirits, are considered very good luck.
These walking sticks are homes for guardian spirits.
Anyone giving a homeless spirit a place to reside, and a means to travel, are blessed by that spirit.
A traveler who finds himself lost, or in peril, need only knock his staff to call the attention of the spirit within.
Thus, knocking of the wood, brings about good luck.