Belief in relics is an outgrowth of the ancient fetish cult.  Confucius made a new fetish out of order and established a respect for ancestral conduct that is still venerated by the Chinese at present day.  The doctrine of spirit possession is nothing more nor less than fetishism.  To protect them water holes, wells, trees, crops, and honey were considered fetishes. 
Fetishism ran through all the primitive cults from the earliest belief in sacred stones, through idolatry, cannibalism, and nature worship, to totemism.  Fetishes made early market places secure against theft.  Fetishes were many times mere symbols of the real object of worship.  The technique of religious ritual passed from the forms of the primitive cult through fetishes to magic and miracles. 
A fetish bag, a medicine bag, was a pouch containing a reputable assortment of ghost-impregnated articles, and the medicine man of old never allowed his bag, the symbol of his power, to touch the ground.  When plants and fruits became fetishes, they were taboo as food. Apple was a fetish fruit. 
Saliva was a potent fetish. Parts of the human body were looked upon as potential fetishes, particularly the hair and nails. Hunchbacked and crippled children were regarded as fetishes; lunatics were believed to be moon-struck. 
There was only one factor of a tribal, racial, or national nature about the primitive and unorganized beliefs of the desert, and that was the peculiar and general respect which almost all Arabian tribes were willing to pay to a certain black stone fetish in a certain temple at Mecca.  Kings became fetish personalities and were inordinately feared, a special form of speech being adopted for court usage. 
See also: UB 88:1-2.