Testament to Talismans

Whenever I am traveling, I wear three pieces of silver jewelry (two crosses and a pomegranate charm) that dangle on a silver chain from my neck. It has become a ritual.  Some call them my talisman.

Now I know the cross is not a talisman, or an amulet or a good luck charm. I don’t wear it to protect myself from misfortune, or to change anything on my journey irrespective of my will. I can still be hit by a car, be in a plane crash, have cancer or lose my job with a cross around my neck. That’s because the cross will not magically change the reality around me. But there’s something very psychological and subconscious about these piece — and it’s in the stories, my stories. I am emotionally connected to them as symbols that unite good and dispel the bad. 

While nothing replaces a firm belief in one’s faith, religiosity, or trust in self achieved outcomes, people and cultures from around the world have relied on talismans for good fortune against evil for thousands of years before the rise of religion.  Most known especially in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia is the Evil Eye ornament or amulet worn or hung. It is said to protect against looks or glances that bring bad or harmful thoughts or wishes. Talismans like the Hamsa Hand (also known as the Hand of Fatima or Hand of Miriam) go on necklaces, bracelets, wall hangings, door knockers, and are universally known for uniting the good, dispelling the bad, and thwarting negative energy. Other talismans used for similar purposes are dreamcatchers of Native Americans, the Japanese Omamori, horseshoes, fish symbols, elephant charms, Egyptian scarabs/blue stones, Japanese waving cats, Chinese golden toads, Irish four-leaf clovers, British rabbit’s foot among others… each unique to their birthplaces yet universal to human nature in their function as good luck charms.  

Talismans or good luck charms take many forms, including ritualistic behavior. The ritual performed inspires personal positive meaning for the individual and serves to connect to something else… a confidence generally greater than the person’s own solitary self. Tennis players and athletes are prime examples of performing ritualistic behavior before each game.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova stands with her back to her opponent, stares at her strings while aligning them and clenches her fist before each point – like clockwork. Rafael Nadal, without fail, clips the floor behind him with the tip of his foot before picking his shorts out from his bottom, tucks his hair first behind his left ear then his right, and then wipes his forehead, and bounces the ball again before every serve. It is said basketball superstar Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls shorts in every game. Now retired Curtis Martin of the New York Jets read Psalm 91 before every game.

These rituals act as talisman – a ritual to empowerment but each one imbued with personal meaning for the individual. Is that leaning toward superstition? But I am not superstitious. I do not have a deep-seated belief in good luck charms, nor do I feel I am tempting fate in their absence.  So why do I have a tradition/ritual of wearing the same three pieces of jewelry to hang from my neck whenever I’m traveling?

In brief, the tradition started with a pure silver cross from Jerusalem given to me by a faithful young man on a bus ride on a pilgrimage to Armenia. He took the cross and silver chain off his chest and gave it to me saying, “Wear it. It is now yours. It will carry you through your travels.” The second is a silver pomegranate gifted to me by young members on that same pilgrimage. We shared memorable meals, milestone events and conversations together. And the third is a small decorative cross with a missing stone given to me by a leading Archbishop of the Istanbul Patriarchate.  All three items were given with the firm intention to protect me from harm and deepen my sense of seeing goodness. How can I deny them their belief, faith and their goodwill? I cannot. There is a power within these tokens given in good faith that reach deep into the human heart and human emotions. Their spirituality resonates within me.

Whether you grasp such “talismans” in your palm, wear them around your neck, or mount one near your front door, talismans or amulets are meant to provide a better future, a warding off from evil spirits or bad forces. For some, a talisman represents the seminal event in their life. For others, it’s a great piece of jewelry. If the spirituality of the token resonates with you, wear it as a jewelry piece to express your spirituality and to attract hope and positivity. It still counts. It still matters.

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4 Responses to Testament to Talismans

  1. Yeran says:

    Whatever makes you feel good and “protected”. Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Colette says:

    Long story short, I do have a small piece of paper that I always touch when in doubt… and feel that all is good or will be good.
    Learned so much from this blog my dear friend. Thanks Silva!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Colette. We all have something we revert to when we need that special assurance/confidence in life. I have a handwritten note..special to me…that I reread when I have doubts. Glad to know you have a piece that confirms All will be Good.


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