Imaginary Helper and Good Luck Charm

According to Tim Thorpe of the Lynn Museum, “Phallic amulets were commonly worn in Roman times both as a symbol of sexuality, and to promote fertility. Ancient Romans believed that sexual symbols would shield them from harm and protect them from evil curses.”

The example below – in bronze – dates from circa 300-500 AD, and comes from the Eastern Mediterranean. Clearly un-circumcised! Length: 1 3/8 inches: 33 mm. So, nothing to boast about there, then! 🙂

In my last blog I mentioned ‘My Mate Dave’. From the three comments scudding into my mailbox, two asked who he was. Now is the time to come clean.

I remember that having an invisible friend when young, was considered quite normal and healthy part of childhood play. I was rather sweet on Judith Thompson whose make-believe friend I came to hate, even though we’d never met. It always seemed that whenever I had something interesting in mind she preferred to go in her bedroom and yak away for half an hour to ‘Christopher’. Thinking about that I suppose we were a little older than four or five!

I was a slow starter. It is only now, at a venerable age, that I have my own fictional friend, my Muse called Dave. In the course of blogging I sometimes insert fictional characters. Ooohhh-errr. Is there a great difference between a child’s imaginary friend and a scribbler’s characters except the language used?

Dave steps in and helps out whenever I get stuck without a clear idea where to take the blog. Because he has a mind of his own, he brings a different perspective and breaks me out of ruts. In the early days Dave was mentioned in a blog and has grown in stature since . . . although he doesn’t exist, but is simply an amalgam of all the detectorists I have ever known.

*Bluenoser

On the other hand, Leslie Allan Sarkany ( Bluenoser )is a real person and takes the idea a bit further – needless to say his ‘conversation piece’ works like a charm. I reckon his collection of rings has grown somewhat since 2011.

“As with detectorists worldwide, finding new locations to search becomes increasingly difficult. In Nova Scotia where virtually everywhere is open to detecting except for federal parks, historic sites and private property, there is seldom an issue.

To help secure new digging spots I have fashioned a ‘conversation piece’ – necklace of about 160 gold and silver rings. It acts as an ice-breaker and often leads to fresh pastures. Offering your services for free opens more doors.”

Leslie Sarkany – quote from a Searcher article of 2011
Bluenoser Leslie Sarkany from Nova Scotia shows off his rings of confidence

Golden Phallus

Throughout the ages peoples of all faiths have resorted to good luck charms. In the 40s and 50s I remember adverts at the back of my parent’s magazines and in newspapers exhorting people to buy a ‘Lucky Cornish Piskie’, Joan the Wad. She was guaranteed to have been, ‘dipped in water from the lucky saints’ well’ and to bring incredible luck. My father bought one, but it appeared to do little in bringing him good fortune.

My mate Dave, much to the disapproval of his wife, wears a bronze Roman phallic pendant around his neck while detecting, much like the one below, but NOT in gold. He says that it brings him good luck. Judging by his excellent finds over the years, I am inclined to believe him.

Roman phallic pendant found in Norfolk by a detectorist. According to Tim Thorpe of the Lynn Museum, “Phallic amulets were commonly worn in Roman times both as a symbol of sexuality, and to promote fertility. Ancient Romans believed that sexual symbols like this gold phallus would shield them from harm and protect them from evil curses.” From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

I found out that my mother kept a rabbit’s foot as a ‘good luck’ amulet; it was disgusting and frightened me. In retrospect, it was lucky for me Ma because my intention when raiding her handbag had been to pinch yet another Woodbine. That act had been foiled . . . I guess it had worked!

The Crotal Bell

I suppose good luck charms are a fun way to make you feel luckier, but how do they work, if at all? I was never despondent about lack of success. Dave says I must be positive about everything in my life, even the bad, because something positive can even come out of that. Good thoughts are hundreds of times more powerful than bad thoughts, and always try to stay happy. So, I’m going to try out that psychology of staying positive, focus on my blog and work towards that. My wife says that my looking happy may take just a little more effort!

A John Winter find.

Many uses are given in detecting books for crotal bells – attached to a chain and hung around the neck of a castrated lamb chosen to be leader of the flock. When worn by the largest ram the shepherd knew when he was ‘at work’. The continual ringing of bells helped to keep the flock together and warned the shepherd when the sheep became disturbed. The bells were also thought to scare off evil spirits.

People also wore the bells as good luck charms. This is what I am going to, at least until such time I find that Roman gold phallic pendant … or perhaps ‘borrow’ Dave’s way of thinking..

At the time I invested in a new ‘ Dig for Victory’ container for all those special finds coming my way . . . unfortunately my charm didn’t work and I gave it away.


*Bluenoser

Leslie Sarkany refers to himself as a ‘bluenoser’ detectorist from Halifax in Nova Scotia who has visited the UK on a couple of occasions. He takes his nickname from the celebrated fishing and racing schooner ‘Bluenose’ built in Nova Scotia, which has since become an important icon for the province as well as Canada as a whole.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “Imaginary Helper and Good Luck Charm”

  1. The rabbits foot may have been good luck for your mother, John… not so for the rabbit I am afraid. LOL.

    The term Bluenoser has been around as long as I can remember.. And I somehow do not think I could wear a phallus on a chain.. somehow, it just is not me..

    But I enjoyed this one John.

    Thank you for another fun read

    Micheal

    Liked by 1 person

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