Every moment empty of your presence is a moment made sterile and fallow.
Talismans. The word itself seems kind of intimidating, no?
Yes, a bit. Powerful.
Sounds like antiquity.
And yet, they are perhaps one of the most basic tools of magical practice the world over. It can be hard to even track the variety of talismans there are. Typically, people think of some sort of pendant or medallion when they hear the world talisman, no? The world’s oldest talismans are cave paintings, and petroglyphs, and there were likely many more made out of wood, but those tend not to hold up as well as stone.
The process of creating a talisman is as natural as the inspiration to take a photograph or take a written note about something. We intuitively recognize some fleeting perception that we sense is very important, has some deep connection to the essential reality we know around us.
Some of the earliest talismanic symbols are simple geomantic markings. These markings are simply a specific number of dots in a specific arrangement. One example being the arrangement of five dots you see on one side of a six sided die.
Yes, there are talismans in our world [Hawaiian] too, connectives to other reality powers, insights. Indeed, talismans give people a focus to anchor their perception and reconnect to those insights that might otherwise slip their mind. Some notions and insights are really just too complicated for words. What do you think?
And do not need them, either. So instead, we use drums. Ah true, even sound, especially rhythms, can carry the same power and meaning as geomantic markings.
So let’s connect the previous two ideas. In western music everything follows a meter of 4/4 time, four beats per a four count period. The symbol shown on the fifth face of a die actually has a disruptive effect on “musical” balance. The five dots symbol. It’s called the Quincunx. It’s a symbol of chaos, specifically the five points marked in that cross pattern.
Christian association? It does show up, but that symbol is commonly seen around the world in one form or another. Besides geomantic pip or dash markings, there are also often simple pictoglyphs, and not always because the culture is so called “primitive.” Really, I don’t like that idea applied to anyone. Maybe I should say pictogram. A simple picture symbol, an abstraction of a more complex idea, like Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Like a rune? Indeed, a rune would be one example. And of course perhaps at the top of the complexity scale of talismans would be astrological symbolism.
A hierarchy? Well, more like different domains of function. Geomantic patterns are physically descriptive and creative. I hear that for the Scottish, their tartan is a hugely defining and grounding symbolism – the pattern of lines they traditionally use to identify their clan. But patterns and balances of colour have been used world wide. They just fall outside of the structured symbolism pattern. So the number of lines you see in a pattern on a talisman, the number of spaces you see in a magick square pattern, those are all geomantic symbolism.
Certain patterns of knitting went into individual Irish fishermen sweaters. A way to identify a body lost at sea. The pattern belonged just to that person.
Flags would also be included? Flags as a whole are talismans, yes,
And family crests.
Kahili .. feathered standards.
You would add in the more abstract symbolism only after setting up the geomantic balance. Even Japanese talismans, though being mostly written text, still follow a codified numeric pattern. Like stanzas in a poem, the actual word choice, things like rhyming structure, would correspond to the middle tier of symbolism.
So geomantic, then word patterns as the first two tiers? Indeed, the origin of the word talisman comes from the Greek word teleos which means consecrated, or denotes the action of consecration.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.