There are countless examples of sacred talismans and amulets used throughout human history. In addition, jewelry and other ornamental items are held in universal esteem for their purported protective, lucky, and emancipatory properties.
The use of sacred talismans dates to the beginning of time and can be found in every culture and belief system worldwide.
Sacred talismans served as amulets to ward off evil spirits, and talismans to bring forth children and wealth continue to enchant us. A charm that provides divine guidance and protection is called an amulet, while a charm that provides a specific favor, power, or ability is called a talisman.
Ritual consecration by a spirit or deity (if made by humans) or the inherent power of the natural world (if not) is the usual basis for their efficacy (organically occurring materials like herbs or stones).
From a metaphysical or spiritual viewpoint, almost everything can serve as amulets or sacred talismans if you start giving it the power to do so through the vitality of your faith (this is where the term “Lucky Penny” did come from, a penny is an everyday object, but a special one, which is assumed to have otherworldly abilities).
Putting your energy into sacred talismans will cause a shift in your mind, which will influence your surroundings (the subconscious mind shapes reality). Your consciousness is an expression of divine, conscious experience, which can bring about changes in your life.
The amulet or talisman would be used to ground and contain that power in the material world. Whatever you want to accomplish with it, that’s the purpose it can serve. Following the correct rituals to activate and use an amulet or talisman will naturally increase its power and effectiveness.
Amulets and sacred talismans, like crystals, require periodic cleansing and charging. But there is one minor nuance: some types of amulets and talismans require consecration before they can be used. Based on its cultural or religious origin, strengthening the amulet or talisman by using things from that system will strengthen it. It will also be a way to honor its background.
Given the Catholic history of the Cross of Caravaca, purifying it with frankincense or other traditionally Catholic materials would be appropriate. Likewise, sacred talismans of Catholicism and amulets can be purified and consecrated with Holy Water, or what is collectively known as Sacramentals.
The correct method to purify and start charging sacred talismans or amulets is with components that share their origins. However, there are times when neither the materials nor the expertise is available; in those cases, it is acceptable to devise your framework based on different mystical methodologies.
Other Sacred Talismans and Mystic Symbols of Note
The tree of life is among the most notable sacred talismans in numerous world religions, philosophies, and mythologies. This is because it has deep ties to the idea of the holy tree.
Different religions and ideologies depict the same tree as the tree of knowledge and life, linking the upper and lower worlds.
Trees improve people’s health and sense of community in several ways, including filtering the air we breathe, easing stress, enticing us to get outside and exercise, and fostering stronger bonds within neighborhoods.
Traditions, myths, and stories from many cultures and periods tell of trees of life, fabled places where the dead return to life, or fertile lands where the young flourish. However, it was in religious symbolism that they first appeared. Professor Elvyra Usaiovait claims that a “typical” image from ancient iconography depicts two symmetrical figures facing each other with a tree in the middle. The two figures can be interpreted in some ways, including as rulers, gods, a deity, and human devotees.
The Norse Yggdrasil is a massive European Ash tree (also known as the “World Tree”) in Norse mythology that serves as the axis Mundi, or center of the universe, bringing together the worlds of the divine beings, giants, and living beings. The Aesir’s Asgard, the elves’ lfheim, and the Vanir’s Vanaheim are all connected by the tree’s vast limbs in Norse mythology (the realm of the Vanir). Midgard (the realm of humanity) and (in some versions of the myth) Jötunheim (the realm of the giants) are both represented by branches of the tree’s trunk, which stands for the world-axis (the realm of the giants). Niflheim, the frozen underground world governed by Hel and populated by the unholy dead, and Muspelheim, the land of the dead, cluster around the tree’s foundation.
Interestingly, the “World Tree” at the center of Norse mythology is similar to the “Tree of Life” at the center of other religions, including Judaism (especially Kabbalistic thought) and Christianity, both of which feature trees prominently in their respective creation mythologies.
The Hebrew word for “angel” (Malach) means “messenger,” and angels are thought of primarily as heavenly messengers who bring important messages from God. Angelic medallions are standard, either for ornamentation or as sacred talismans.
Angels can bridge the gap between the heavenly and the terrestrial, establishing a direct line of communication between humans and the spiritual realm. Angels are a source of safety, solace, and affection. They are messengers sent from on high.
Many different texts, both within and outside the accepted canon, contain descriptions and appearances of angels. Angels can take many different forms, and over the centuries, scholars of angelology have established many different classifications for them. Angels are mentioned frequently in the Hebrew Bible and the Torah. Throughout the Bible, from the books of Moses and the prophets to the Psalms, Daniel, and the later books, we find countless accounts of angels engaging in spiritual conflict with humans, trying to persuade them to change their minds, or saving them from imminent danger.
To determine which works would be included in the official Bible and which would be left outside the official canon, the great sages of the Great Assembly sifted through a vast body of oral and written scholarship and history. As a result, the Apocrypha, or “outside writings,” are the books left out of the official Bible canon. However, they include some apocalyptic works, such as the Apocalypse of Baruch, the Apocalypse of Abraham, the Testament of Levi, and most notably, the Books of Enoch, which are filled with detailed information about angels.
The Pseudepigrapha are works of religious literature that are given the authority of an ancient figure other than the author. Before the establishment of the canon, the revelation was received through prophets and mystics. However, as the tradition became flooded with divine prophecy and oracles, claiming that a particular discovery was written and published by an “official” messiah became more credible.
Angels are revered in Jewish tradition as divine messengers, but they are never to be worshipped in place of God. Some interpret Isaiah 63:9 to refer to the archangel Metatron, others to the Shekhinah (or immanent divine presence), and others to the redeeming angel. All of them are manifestations of God and the Holy Spirit. According to the Talmud (agigah 13b), each legion of divine angels consists of a million individuals, but the legions themselves have infinite size.
Professional amulet writers existed as early as the Hellenistic period, and their work was deemed efficient enough by the society to allow “proven amulets” (as compared to those whose effectiveness had not been “demonstrated”) to be conducted in public on the Sabbath without violating the Sabbath prohibition against having to carry one.
Professional amulet writers existed as early as the Hellenistic period, and their work was deemed efficient enough by the society to allow “proven amulets” (as compared to those whose effectiveness had not been “demonstrated”) to be conducted in public on the Sabbath without violating the Sabbath prohibition against having to carry one. Spiritual and angelic names were used in amulets for either prophylactic purposes (to ward off the disease-causing mal’akhe qabalah, who entered the world after Adam’s fall) or for positive psychic enhancement. Medieval writings preserve instructions for amulet writing, with angels designated for particular or auspicious times and prescribed ritual practices for preparing them.
om is the most sacred mantra primarily from India, because of its prominence in religious practice. Numerous trinities are represented by the syllable om, which is made up of the three sounds a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u coalesce to become o), including the three realms of earth, atmosphere, and heaven, as well as the realms of thought, speech, and action, as well as the three qualities (gunas) of matter (goodness, passion, and darkness) (Rigveda, Yajurveda, and Samaveda). Therefore, om is the mystic embodiment of the cosmos. It is commonly used in Buddhist and Jain rituals and is said at the start and end of Hindu prayers, mantras, and mindfulness. From as early as the 6th century, the sound’s written symbol has been used to denote the beginning of a text in manuscripts and inscriptions.
Several Upanishads (speculative philosophical texts) reference the syllable, and the Mandukya Upanishad is dedicated entirely to it. A form of auditory meditation, it finds application in the Yoga tradition. Some religious groups use the syllable om for sectarian purposes; for example, the Shaivites write the symbol for om on the lingam (Shiva’s symbol), while the Vaishnavites believe that the om’s three sounds represent the trinity of Vishnu, his consort Shri (Lakshmi), and the worshiper.
Since the counterculture of the 1960s, the chanting and symbol of Om have permeated the western world, appearing everywhere, from temples and yoga studios to homes and media.
The true meaning of Om is deeply embedded in Hindu philosophy, and to comprehend its truly profound effects, one must have a basic understanding of sound. It is synonymous with meditation to the layperson, and to yogic practitioners, it is simply a doorway to tranquility.
Despite the common misconception, sound has more complexity than meets the ear. We can think of sound as vibrations. These vibrations originate from a generator, spread through the air, and are finally detected by the ear; the brain interprets them and gives them meaning. Frequency refers to cycles that occur in a given time interval. Everyone and everything vibrates on a specific frequency, as all matter is made up of atoms that are constantly moving.
Nikola Tesla, the brilliant scientist, and inventor, once said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”
According to Hindu texts, the sound of Om was there before anything else. It is the primordial symphony of the cosmos. All subsequent vibrations can materialize from this initial one.
Sound vibration has been scientifically shown to profoundly affect a person’s physiology, psychology, and cognition. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of any spiritual practice is tuning in to the original universal frequency, and we can do that by chanting the sacred sound of Om. A person’s life can be made more spiritual by keeping in touch with the spiritual energy of the Absolute, just as an iron rod heated by flames becomes as hot as fire.
Transcendental sound, of which Om is the source, has the power to alter both the mind and the senses. To achieve samadhi, an enlightened state of consciousness, one must align one’s mind with one’s breath through repeated chanting of the mantra Om. By training oneself to achieve samadhi, one can gain mastery over a worldly mind and direct that mind unwaveringly toward the goal of spiritual enlightenment.
Since the Absolute cannot be grasped using the five physical senses, it is necessary to initiate the process of transcendental realization by spiritualizing the mind, the seat of all sensual activities, through the vibration of sound.
The chanting of Om, like a seed that can grow into a mighty tree, can plant the seed of spiritual enlightenment that will eventually bear fruit.
Christian mystics have offered many different accounts of the spiritual journey back to God. Christian mysticism, as described by Belgian Jesuit Joseph Maréchal, can be broken down into three distinct phases: (1) the gradual integration of the ego under the skill of the idea of a personal God and according to a program of prayer and asceticism; (2) a transcendent God’s revelation to the spirit encountered as elated interaction or association, commonly with suspended faculty; and (3) “a kind of reassessment of the soul’s capacities” by which it gains back nearly all.” The greatest Christian mystics have kept insisting on this final step, which contradicts the common perception that superstition is a selfish escape from the world and an attempt to avoid moral duty.
Mystics agree that one must sacrifice their false self, ruled by their forgetfulness of God. To succeed, one must rid their inner being of the thoughts, emotions, and values that keep them from God. Dying to oneself is a metaphor for the ” night of the soul,” a purifying process through which God prepares the soul for the divine manifestation.
To be possessed by divine Love, one must “die to self” to follow Christ. Extreme language suggesting a break with all humanity was often used to describe this emotional distance and cleansing. Those who advocate the most severe asceticism are also the first to tell you that changing your character from the inside out is more effective than running away from the world and punishing yourself physically.
Christianity can be a mystical faith, and there has been some mysticism in the Christian tradition since Jesus’ day. Nevertheless, Christian mysticism has always been on the church’s periphery for various historical, social, and political reasons.
As Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries, mystics, contemplatives, and others seeking close, personal communion with God fled to the deserts and wilderness. The earliest monasteries were established by the so-called “Desert Fathers and Mothers,” who gathered to engage in a shared life of prayer and contemplation.
After the Protestant Reformation caused religious strife (and, often, bloodshed) in the sixteenth century, mystical spirituality fell under suspicion by both Catholics and Protestants. As a result, by the medieval era, Christian occultists were primarily found only in monastic locations.
Although there have been mystics throughout Christian history, many have been persecuted or even killed due to the political nature of the institutional church. Others have learned to conceal their wisdom doctrines in cleverly phrased tomes and poetry to avoid persecution.