Magical thinking and superstition may appear ridiculous. They’re things that attract the ignorant and the impressionable. Paradoxically, the irrational actually influences our brains more than many would like to believe.

Psychology professor, Bruce Hood demonstrated the effectiveness of superstition during a talk at a science fair. Hood challenged the audience to try on a blue jacket in exchange for ten pounds sterling. Several volunteers agreed to the proposal, but before they could try the jacket on, Hood told them that the garment had belonged to serial killer, Fred West. With this knowledge, most of the volunteers simply refused. They were faced with an apotropaic act, an instinctive rejection of the “ominous,” and a discomfort that is the basis of superstition. This occurs even in the most rational people (at a science fair). Interestingly, the experiment ended when Hood informed the volunteers that jacket really didn’t belong to any serial killer, showing that our minds powerfully determine our attitudes towards everyday objects.

In addition to the “sentimental value” of the objects we’ve inherited from our parents, grandparents, or those that were present at historical moments, objects also typically carry a lot of psychic energy. These don’t need to be explained scientifically to recognize their importance. Think, for example, of the relics of Catholicism and crucifixes.

Using these same principles, it’s possible to create amulets and talismans to suit our own needs, beliefs and skepticisms, and to use common objects as allies during times of great stress.

Talismans (from the Arab tilasim, or Greek, telesma meaning “initiation”) are physical objects, of mineral, vegetable or animal origin and traditionally used for the bearing of a charged intent. For example, quartz or precious stones are associated with astrological signs, rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers for good luck, similar to pentagrams, rosaries or amulets. Below are some tips for loading positive energy into an amulet or talisman of your own.

 

1. Select the physical base

One may choose a stone that fits one’s astrological sign, or any stone that already bears a special meaning. It doesn’t matter if it’s a costly object or a trinket, so long as one may connect with its presence, weight, smell, touch, with a specific intention, (e.g.; dice are recommended as amulets for gamblers).

 

2. Transmit positive intentions

Take a few minutes each day for a week to meditate or pray using this physical base. If you believe in a god, angel, saint, protector or spirit, imagine that their energy envelops this physical base, whatever it might be. The message being sent to the unconscious is that the physical base, or amulet, is connected with the invisible through this intention. In other words, the object is the physical representation of an intention, desire or positive emotion (luck, health, love, etc.).

 

3. Polarities

One can think of amulets as electric batteries, like the one in your cell phone. These are charged and drained periodically. At first, it’s necessary to have the amulet close to you during happy moments, and to turn away from it when feeling sad. Imagining that the amulet serves to “absorb” your intentions will help to reinforce this.

 

4. Consecration to the elements

Depending on the type of material chosen, many schools of magic will advise that it be “sealed” through one of the four elements; earth, water, air or fire. Go with your intuitions rather than by any particular ritual, as the chosen element will only sanctify the covenant between you and your amulet (immediately, as with a baptism, a water seal).

 

5. Recharge

An amulet or talisman will serve to remind you of something important or can be used in stressful situations, as well as when you need more luck. As mentioned, amulets or talisman are energy batteries, so their effectiveness will drop noticeably over time. In such cases one should return to step 2 and recharge. One can also take advantage of events such as rain, eclipses or dawn to recharge some stones or talisman to power, but again, let intuition guide you.

Lastly remember the anecdote about Niels Bohr, the scientist and Nobel prize winner, who hung a horseshoe outside his cabin in the mountains. When some visiting colleagues from the scientific community noticed it, they asked if he was superstitious and really believed in “such things.” To this, Bohr replied that no, since he was a man of science he didn’t, “but I’ve heard that such things work even if you don’t believe in them.”

 

*Image: Chelm261 / Creative Commons

Magical thinking and superstition may appear ridiculous. They’re things that attract the ignorant and the impressionable. Paradoxically, the irrational actually influences our brains more than many would like to believe.

Psychology professor, Bruce Hood demonstrated the effectiveness of superstition during a talk at a science fair. Hood challenged the audience to try on a blue jacket in exchange for ten pounds sterling. Several volunteers agreed to the proposal, but before they could try the jacket on, Hood told them that the garment had belonged to serial killer, Fred West. With this knowledge, most of the volunteers simply refused. They were faced with an apotropaic act, an instinctive rejection of the “ominous,” and a discomfort that is the basis of superstition. This occurs even in the most rational people (at a science fair). Interestingly, the experiment ended when Hood informed the volunteers that jacket really didn’t belong to any serial killer, showing that our minds powerfully determine our attitudes towards everyday objects.

In addition to the “sentimental value” of the objects we’ve inherited from our parents, grandparents, or those that were present at historical moments, objects also typically carry a lot of psychic energy. These don’t need to be explained scientifically to recognize their importance. Think, for example, of the relics of Catholicism and crucifixes.

Using these same principles, it’s possible to create amulets and talismans to suit our own needs, beliefs and skepticisms, and to use common objects as allies during times of great stress.

Talismans (from the Arab tilasim, or Greek, telesma meaning “initiation”) are physical objects, of mineral, vegetable or animal origin and traditionally used for the bearing of a charged intent. For example, quartz or precious stones are associated with astrological signs, rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers for good luck, similar to pentagrams, rosaries or amulets. Below are some tips for loading positive energy into an amulet or talisman of your own.

 

1. Select the physical base

One may choose a stone that fits one’s astrological sign, or any stone that already bears a special meaning. It doesn’t matter if it’s a costly object or a trinket, so long as one may connect with its presence, weight, smell, touch, with a specific intention, (e.g.; dice are recommended as amulets for gamblers).

 

2. Transmit positive intentions

Take a few minutes each day for a week to meditate or pray using this physical base. If you believe in a god, angel, saint, protector or spirit, imagine that their energy envelops this physical base, whatever it might be. The message being sent to the unconscious is that the physical base, or amulet, is connected with the invisible through this intention. In other words, the object is the physical representation of an intention, desire or positive emotion (luck, health, love, etc.).

 

3. Polarities

One can think of amulets as electric batteries, like the one in your cell phone. These are charged and drained periodically. At first, it’s necessary to have the amulet close to you during happy moments, and to turn away from it when feeling sad. Imagining that the amulet serves to “absorb” your intentions will help to reinforce this.

 

4. Consecration to the elements

Depending on the type of material chosen, many schools of magic will advise that it be “sealed” through one of the four elements; earth, water, air or fire. Go with your intuitions rather than by any particular ritual, as the chosen element will only sanctify the covenant between you and your amulet (immediately, as with a baptism, a water seal).

 

5. Recharge

An amulet or talisman will serve to remind you of something important or can be used in stressful situations, as well as when you need more luck. As mentioned, amulets or talisman are energy batteries, so their effectiveness will drop noticeably over time. In such cases one should return to step 2 and recharge. One can also take advantage of events such as rain, eclipses or dawn to recharge some stones or talisman to power, but again, let intuition guide you.

Lastly remember the anecdote about Niels Bohr, the scientist and Nobel prize winner, who hung a horseshoe outside his cabin in the mountains. When some visiting colleagues from the scientific community noticed it, they asked if he was superstitious and really believed in “such things.” To this, Bohr replied that no, since he was a man of science he didn’t, “but I’ve heard that such things work even if you don’t believe in them.”

 

*Image: Chelm261 / Creative Commons

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