Since the beginning of human civilization, the man was looking for objects with supernormal abilities that would help him as offering protection, bringing luck, wealth, cure of illness and generally achieving goals and realization of desires.
These objects were one of the most important “magic” means to prevent evil and sometimes to achieve good and happiness. Even nowadays, the belief in these objects is still going strong.
There two words that describe these objects. Amulets and Talismans. Even these terms often used interchangeably, in reality, are two contrasting and distinct terms.
The one word is “Amulet”. It derives from the Latin word “amulētum” and according to ‘Natural History, by Gaius Plinius Secundus, (aff.link), it means “an object that protects a person from trouble”.
The amulets that people keep with them are objects that protect against evil spirits and negative energy or protect them from some specific thing, such as illness. Some believe it has the magic or miraculous power to protect its owner.
It can be a bag filled with stones, herbs, and other magical items. Blue beads, garlic, coal, runes, lucky coins, horseshoes, plant parts, and animal parts, are some of the amulets that have been used for centuries, but can also include symbols and characters. It can be personalized, charged, and written (on parchment or metal), especially for the individual.
It is often also used as an ornament, like jewelry around the neck, though that may not be the intended purpose of it.
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The second is the “Talisman“, which has Greek etymology. It comes from the word “telesma” (τέλεσμα) meaning “completion, religious rite, payment”.
Used by the Byzantines for the ornaments hanging in the city walls when the enemies approached. The “τελέσματα” (Talismans) was intended to expel the invaders and save the city.
Talisman has the opposite function of an amulet. It is meant to give strength and positive energy and perhaps magical abilities to the possessor. The magic wand, Aladdin’s Magic Lamp, King Arthur’s sword (Excalibur) are objects with these characteristics.
A talisman is a magical object with writings or markings that is worn, carried, or used to bring about miraculous powers in those who wear them. They work as natural amplifiers that lead a person to the right thoughts and enhance personal power.
It is usually a single piece, like a pedant, generally made of crystals and gemstones. Like amulets, it can be personalized, charged, and written especially for the individual.
Since the person feels safer and stronger by wearing an object that has been “programmed” to help and protect him and has the certainty of protection beyond the dimensions we perceive may be enough to make us get what we want.
Even if you do not believe in magick, amulets, and talismans can still have an effect on you. At the most practical level, perhaps, the belief that you will get the desired results is the determining factor of success.
By focusing, we make the right thoughts that in turn lead us to the right actions, which in turn will lead us to the future we want. As an enhancer of our own forces, an amulet or talisman unites our own potential with that of the universe, multiplying our own small, individual effort.
Perhaps the strength of these magical objects is simply the immeasurable power of the human spirit that is stimulated by a suitable symbol.
Amulets are by nature beneficial and they do not hurt anyone. On the contrary, they enrich the lives of others because they satisfy the natural desire of the beautiful things that are inherent to man.
Making or buying a talisman or an amulet for someone else is the most important manifestation of love and friendship, and it is believed that the object is charged with the power of the will of the creator.
The effort needed to find or create the right personal magical object, designed to bring joy, beauty, and tranquility to the life of another, manifests a desire so strong, that it is perhaps the most powerful force of the universe. (Here are some Talismans and Amulets we like.)
As a comparison we can summarize:
- Amulets protect against troubles, negative energy, evil spirits, illness etc. While Talismans is meant to give strength, positive energy and perhaps magical abilities to the possessor.
- Amulets can be made by a bag filled with stones, herbs, and other magical items, as Blue bead, garlic, runes, lucky coins, plant parts, and animal parts etc. Talismans is usually a single piece, like a pedant, generally made of crystals and gemstones.
- Both can be personalized, charged, and written especially for the individual.
- Amulets come in physical form, while Talismans are crafted objects that can be natural or not.
Interesting facts about Amulets
- In Christianity are believed that amulets have no power of their own without being blessed by a clergyman.
- In ancient Rome, Amulets are worn to imbue the wearer with the associated powers of the gods rather than for any reasons of piety.
- The equivalent type of amulet in Japan is called an “o-fuda” and it is a special style of calligraphy.
- Another popular amulet used to avert the evil gaze is the “hamsa” or “Hand of Fatima”
- A well-known amulet is the Seal of Solomon, also known as the hexagram or Star of David.
- In recent years Thai Buddhist amulets have become a commonly known topic around the world, and their prices can fetch ranging from a few dollars right up to millions of dollars for a single amulet.
- In Central and West Asia, Triangular amulet motifs were often also woven into oriental carpets such as kilims.
Interesting facts about Talismans
- Traditional magical schools advise that a talisman should be created by the person who intends to use it.
- The person who makes the talisman must be well versed in the symbolism of elemental and planetary forces.
- Talismans prescribed by medical practitioners in the medieval period.
- One of the oldest and most widespread talismans known, the swastika, can be back to the Stone Age.
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Picture 1: By User:Mattes – Own work, CC BY 2.0 de, Link
Picture 2: By Keris Indonesia – Hand Carved Black Nephrite Jadeite Pendant of a Crouching Tiger with an Aura of Invincibility, CC BY 2.0, Link