Wishing Wells and Various Lucky Charms

As I took pictures of my foster Kimber for a St. Patrick Day’s post, I started thinking about “lucky” items. I love horseshoes. I pick up pennies I find. “Find a penny pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck.” I’ve always wished on the first star I see in the night sky. I throw coins in fountains. I’ve never found a 4-leaf clover, but if I had, I’d have kept it. Considering all that it’s not surprising that when I wanted to add something special to my fictional east Texas town, I chose a wishing well. But I’ve never thought about how the wishing well lore started.

Deciding to fix that, I did some research. The lore started because of man’s natural obsession with water. Since without water we humans are toast, water has been a major concern since we burst onto the scene. Many ancient cultures viewed underground springs as sacred gifts. In appreciation, people dropped tokens for the gods into the water. Wells or well houses built around water sources to protect them became gathering places. Germanic tribes believed spirits who liked to intervene in humans’ lives inhabited these waters, and if someone voiced a wish or hope, the spirits might grant the wish. Someone could increase the chances of the wish being granted by dropping a coin or small token in the well. And it turns out poor Odin, Thor’s father, lost his eye because water deity Mimir, who lived in and guarded the Well of Wisdom, demanded his right eye as payment for a drink. The legend says his right eye was thrown in the well for others to know there was a price for the well’s wisdom.

When I created my well, I wanted a twist so I made my well persnickety, only granting wishes made for someone else. I created a legend which started with two sisters, Anne and Alice. The short version is, after the Civil War when Anne’s husband failed to return, she became despondent and took to her bed. Alice, not knowing what else to do, stood at the family well, her tears dropping into the water as she tossed in a coin. She wished for her brother-in-law to return to the family who loved and needed him. Two days later, Sam returned, and the town’s legend was born.

I’ve had fun starting each book with a wish for the hero or heroine and weaving references to the well through the stories. In To Love A Texas Cowboy, Ty Barnett’s sister Aubrey turns to the wishing well when she’s concerned he’s marrying the wrong woman. Book 2, To Catch A Texas Cowboy, opens with Ty making a wish for his best friend AJ Quinn. In To Tame A Texas Cowboy, my latest release in the Wishing Texas Series, Cheyenne Whitten’s sister Sheridan wishes for her to receive help with her health issues.

But like Odin, a price is demanded before the wish is granted. My hero and heroine must survive trials, struggles and conflict, often caused or exaggerated by what or rather who fate has decided possesses the answer to their loved one’s wish. Yup, my well enjoys stirring up lives and causing trouble before answering those wishes. Because just like in real life as the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you might find, you get what you need.”

Today’s giveaway is a horseshoe and a copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy. This book contains my favorite wish so far. It’s my favorite mainly because it’s done in such a guy fashion. You’ll have to read the story to find out what Ty wishes for AJ. To be entered in the random drawing leave a comment about your favorite lucky charm or item to wish on. 

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Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.

45 thoughts on “Wishing Wells and Various Lucky Charms”

    • Kim, I’ve never thought I was superstitious but when I started writing the blog on the wishing well, I was surprised. I thought, oh I pick up pennies, throw coins in fountains, wish on stars and then the horseshoes. I don’t necessarily think they’ll bring good luck, but I see them as chances to put positive energy out into the universe. And as characters often say in this series, what harm can it do? Thanks for stopping by today.

  1. Julie I loved this history lesson. I believe black cats are lucky if you spit out the window and holler “damn black cat” and I continue to do that every time I see one. I pick up a penny if it’s heads up & put it in my Pickett for good luck & if its tail down I pick it up and give it to a friend for good luck.
    I believe laying a cowboy hat on the bed is extremely, extremely bad luck and my dad thoroughly believed in that. My dad’s calf roper and he will not wear a yellow shirt to rope in, he considers that bad luck.
    This was an amazing post I’ll probably think of others as I close this out.

    • Tonya, I love your comments and thank you so much for the laugh! You can bet on most of them showing up in a book of mine one day…

      I’m back now. I loved your items so much, I stopped typing this response to open up a word document to save them!

      I’ve never heard about the black cat saying. I’m the VP for a primarily cat rescue (A Voice for All Paws) and you wouldn’t believe how many black cats end up in shelters. I may have to do research on black cats being good luck and create a sign for adoption events…Growing up in Iowa, I’d never heard putting a cowboy hat on a bed or wearing a yellow shirt to rope in as bad luck. Those will be great to use in a story. Feel free to send any more you think of my way.

      What I’m most excited about is the fact that you’ve given me an idea for a future blog. (I have a TERRIBLE time thinking of ideas.) I have to write one on I may have to do a blog on western good luck/bad luck things because the ones you’ve shared are fantastic! You made my day, girl!

      • Oh Julie- You just made my day being excited about my comment. Feel free to use any you want and I’ll put my thinking cap on.
        Happy brainstorming on your blog.

    • Oh my Tonya, you’d stay busy at my house since I have 4 black cats!!

    • Estella, that’s okay. I’m just glad you stopped by to chat. I’ve heard another thing about finding pennies that I love. Some people say finding a penny is an angel letting you know he/she misses you. I love that sentiment, too. For some reason, I find a lot of coins and not just pennies. A few months ago I started putting them in a certain jar. Every once in a while I look at the coins there and think of those I’ve loved who are now angels. I’m not overly superstitious, but I am very sentimental. I hope your day is blessed. Thanks for spending part of it with me.

  2. I can’t say I have a lucky charm of any kind but I do pick up pennies every time I see one when I am out walking. I have also wished on a falling star before.

    • Hey girl! Good to have you around the corral. What are your thoughts on the heads or tails issue with pennies? I’ve always picked up any penny, but there are those who never pick up pennies that are tails up. I guess John Madden’s office used to have all kinds of pennies tails up on the floor because he refused to pick them up. Me, I’m not as picky. I think any penny is worth picking up.

  3. I don’t have a particularly lucky item, though I have a few treasured keepsakes I’d feel lost without. But I do wish on stars at night.

    • Jess, I have all kinds of treasured keepsakes, too that I’d be lost without. I have an intricately crocheted doily my grandmother made. (I actually have a couple, but I framed one.) I’ve hung it in my bedroom and every time I look at it I think of her. She taught me to crochet, but I was never able to master her doilies. She made them out of ombre colored thread. She once tried to show me, but she never really used a pattern. She just created, exactly the way she cooked and baked. That’s one thing I regret. I really wish I’d tried harder to learn how she did that. From what I hear, making those intricate crocheted doilies is becoming a lost art. Thanks for stopping by and bringing up precious memories of my Grandma Walter.

    • Teresa, I still wish on them! We foster puppies and as I’m standing there at night trying to encourage them to pee before we go to bed, I often make a wish. Of course, I should learn more about astronomy and where stars are in the night sky. Half the time I’m probably wishing on Venus! 🙂 At least planes have blinking lights, but I admit I’ve wished on those a time or two when I haven’t looked closely enough. Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by to spend time chatting with me.

    • Melanie, I’m glad you stopped by today. I’m surprised how many people don’t have a lucky charm or wish on something. I don’t find myself wishing on something a lot, but I do like having a horseshoe near my front door. Okay, I just realized I may be a little over the top because I also have a metal gecko by the front door. Years ago I heard having a gecko around is good luck. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’m off now to figure out why I feel the need to have so many “lucky” items around my house… 🙂

  4. Welcome. What a fun idea for a series. This sounds like it was a fun thing to research. I havent seen or heard the word “persnickity” in ages. I use it all the time. I dont know, I love the way it sounds. I dont know that I have a “good luck” charm other than the Bible. My sister and her husband ride a motorcycle. When mom was alive, she wanted to ride with one of them. But she got sick suddenly and died. So my brother in law took some of her hair and put it in a locket and fashioned it so it is always on his bike. To him, it is his way of giving “mom” a ride as well as her keeping him safe while he rides.

    • Lori, you made me tear up with your motorcycle story. I can’t thank you enough for sharing it. What a wonderful thing your brother-in-law has done. As the mom to 3 boys, stories like his mean so much to me. What a special man he has to be to do something so special and thoughtful for his mother-in-law. We always make jokes about how awful mother-in-laws are, but obviously those two had a wonderful relationship. I may have to steal what he did for a character some day. That small action speaks volumes about your brother-in-law’s morals and his relationship with your mother.

  5. Growing up in Northeastern NY a lot of the older houses had a horseshoe above the backdoor. Ours was one of them and my mom used to say it may not bring us luck but it won’t do any harm as long as it doesn’t fall on somebodies head.

    • Alice, I love your mom’s thinking! I have a horseshoe I decorated hanging outside my front door along with some other things. I’m hooked on all the cool things being made out of horseshoes that I see on Pinterest. I’m crazy about a wreath I saw someone made. Makes me want to take up welding so I can make all that stuff myself. For me, half the fun is creating something. For example, I’m one of those people who has made front door wreaths for all the holidays and seasons. I had a blast doing it, but most years I forget to put them up! Or, I forget to change them and find out I’ve left the Valentine’s Day one up until June! I come in through the garage so I don’t use the front door much. You’d think my husband who uses the front door every day going to and front work would mention the out of date decorations, but no. I’m amazed how unaware men can be sometimes. Thank you for stopping by the corral today and have a fantastic day!

  6. I really can’t say I have a lucky charm or item. Maybe that’s why I’ve had such bad luck lately. I do collect Japanese lucky cats, but they have never brought me luck either.

    • Janine, I’m not sure any of my items have brought me much luck either. Maybe your Japanese lucky cats are keeping some of the bad luck away. (I’m saying this because I’ve said this year I’ll work to see life in a more positive way .) When I’ve said that to my husband, he says that it’s scary to think we could’ve had more bad luck when we’ve been stuck in a rough patch. I have a Loki bracelet that’s supposed to have water from Mount Everest (the highest point on Earth) and mud from the Dead Sea (the lowest point on Earth). The company says the water is to remind a person to remain humble during the high points in life. The mud is to help remember to stay hopeful in the low times and that neither the highs or the lows can last forever. I’ll pray things turn around for you soon, but remember, never let go of hope and the fact that we’re not alone. Take care.

      • You make a good point there. Who knows how bad something could really get. Staying positive and having hope is probably the best idea. Your Loki bracelet sounds very interesting.

  7. When I was young kids used to have a popular lucky charm. A Rabbit’s foot. I think that it was just a fad at the time and not taken seriously.

    • Annie, kids used to have a rabbits’ foot when I was young too. Now when I think of them I see all the rabbits running around my neighborhood. That makes me glad they’ve fallen out of favor. Thanks for stopping by the corral today to chat!

  8. Lucky charms are great to have but everyone brings their own luck into their lives with their wise choices. If it is for fun no harm done.

    • Sharon, I agree with you that to a large degree we make our own luck. For me, “lucky” items remind me to remain positive and to do what I can to increase my chances of success. Thank you for reminding us today to take charge and make our own luck!

  9. I don’t have a particular lucky charm, but I’m always one to pick up a coin (or a $20 bill like I found at the ballet the other week), toss a coin in a fountain, wish on the first star or a shooting star, etc…

    I think it’s being willing to take chance. Many times a reward is random, but if you don’t put yourself in the running (literally or figuratively), you’ll never have the chance. Can’t sit on the sidelines of life and just expect things to happen to move life forward.

    • Denise, you and I are so alike with the coins and wishes. I love how you phrased it that we have to place ourselves in the running to have a chance. And you’re so right, we can’t sit on the sidelines and expect things to change. Opportunity doesn’t always knock on our door. Sometimes we have to go find it. Thanks for your words of wisdom today.

  10. I love pennies, but was told they was from people in heaven showing me they are thinking of me. I keep themand add them to my jar after I kiss my fist and tell heaven thank you. I love finding feathers and butterflies for loved ones. I have found a 4 leaf clover when I was younger, but sat and went through each patch one summer till I did. Lol. I lo e horse shoes and was always told to hang it up like a U so all my luck stays with me. I wish on the first star and falling ones. When I see a black cat I always look for white on it or I go around the long way. Ears ringing I was told angles where talking to me. Loved your post and hope to read your book soon. Have a blessed day.

    • Kristi, what a lovely comment. I, too, put all the coins I find in a jar and see them as not only lucky but that an angel is thinking of me. Occasionally I’ve found them on days when I really needed to think an angel was with me. I forgot to add that horseshoes are supposed to be hung like a “u” so the luck doesn’t fall out. Thanks for that reminder. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and may your day be blessed as well! Thanks for stopping by the corral today.

  11. I have never depended on a lucky charm especially when I went through difficult times, with major health concerns, and trials and tribulations which we encounter daily. To me it is not helpful but instead it involves superstitions.

    • Ellie, I use them as a way to remind myself to stay positive and send good energy out into the world. Thanks for stopping by today and spending part of your day with me. I hope you have a wonderful day.

  12. Hi Julie, I love The Wishing Texas series and can’t wait to read AJ’s story. I have tossed a going in a few fountains and wish upon a star ? I agree with Denise, you have to be in to to have a chance.

    • Carol, I’m so glad you enjoy the series. I discovered in my research that money thrown into fountains is collected and goes to local charities. That makes me feel good because even if the wishes don’t come true, tossing in coins does some good for a charity. Thank you for stoping by today.

  13. What a fun blog. My son found a horseshoe in the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming this fall while elk hunting with my husband. We treasure that worn horseshoe! Having had horses, we can only imagine the miles where that shoe was worn. Thank you for your kindness in a giveaway, but don’t include me because my name was drawn before and I am enjoying the mug and will begin the book when I feel better. Plus, I’m entertaining grandkids for a week. Whew!

    • Kathy, what a neat thing to find a horseshoe and like you said, think of the stories it could tell! I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. I hope it passes quickly. There is so much gunk going around. Have a wonderful time with your grandchildren. Thanks for stopping by to say hello.

  14. Hi, I pick up pennies also , I think they are good luck. You know with the black cat , I always thought it would be bad luck if you didn’t spit the opposite way they crossed in front of you. My youngest grandson taught me that when you blow on a dandelion you make a wish. I have always believed on the chicken breast bone, that whoever breaks it more than half gives them good luck. You know my dad had an uncle and he was a farmer and whenever he planted something he would say a bad word to it right before he planted it so that it would grow, wherever he planted seeds the plants would always thrive, so who knows. 🙂 Thank you for sharing about your book, it sounds like a very good read. Have a Great rest of the week. God Bless you.

    • Alicia, I forgot about dandelions. I always blew the seeds and made a wish as a kid. My grandfather was a farmer and he believed in all kinds of signs like when a cat washes behind its ear it’s going to rain. I wonder why it had to be a bad word said to the seed. My first thought was it was to make the seed mad. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by the corral to chat and I hope your week is blessed as well.

  15. I already have TO CATCH A TEXAS COWBOY and will be starting it this week. Sadly there has been little time for reading lately. I really don’t have any special thing I wish upon. I have wished on the first star and falling stars. I have thrown coins in fountains and wishing wells. We have found 4 leaf clovers when looking for them with our children. We don’t do snapping the chicken or turkey wishbones much any more since there are no young children around. I still do pickup pennies. When we moved to TN, I was surprised they added a twist to the lucky penny thing that I hadn’t heard of before. If heads is up, it is lucky. If tails is up, it is unlucky and no one wants it. I do think a good bit of the time, we make our own luck by doing what must be done and helping those who need it.

  16. Fun blog and your series sounds awesome! I live in East Texas so I’m very curious about where your fictional ET town is supposed to be located. (I’m barely East Texas though) I’m part Irish, my paternal Grandmother was a Fitzgerald. Her mother was half Indian so between those too I should have lots of “luck” or various superstitions but I can’t really think of many at the moment. Picking up a penny is one and wishing wells is another. Although, the eyeball thing has me freaked out now. Lol I can remember looking for hours as a kid for four leaf clovers. I found one once but I was too young to know I should find a way to preserve it forever. Kids today with all their technology have no idea what it’s like to do such things and they’d never understand spending hours doing such a thing. Great blog! I’d love the opportunity to read your book!

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