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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The use of amulets, objects believed to have magical or supernatural powers that will protect the wearer from some evil, have been common among people in all religious traditions since ancient times. They have generally been distinguished from talismans, objects designed to accomplish goals desired by the object’s possessor, although in practice, amulets and talismans are difficult to distinguish. Amulets come in all shapes and sizes, indicative of the many cultures from which they derive and the spectrum of uses for which they are employed. They are often used in conjunction with specific magical formulas, prayers, or devotional activity.

In the premodern world, amulets were often associated with the spirit entities that were seen as freely populating the world. They were seen as the home to spirits, and often as a protection from the actions of evil or mischievous spirits (demons). Amulets could thus protect someone from illness, injury, impotence, or various mental disorders deemed to be caused by demonic possession or obsession. Relative to the social order, amulets were seen as providing protection from the wrath of neighbors, arrest, unfavorable decisions in court, and downturns in business.

In the West, a magical strain remained after Christianity came into dominance, especially at the popular level, and sacred objects were frequently viewed as having talismanic value. In some European cultures, concern with the protection from the veil has been strong, and amuletlike objects designed to protect one from the evil eye remain popular. However, Protestants attacked many of the magical elements remaining in Roman Catholicism (including the assigning of amulet-like efficacy to sacred objects, such as the relics of saints). Later, during the Enlightenment, amulets were largely relegated to the dustbins as superstitious objects and driven out of mainstream use.

With the revival of magic in the nineteenth century, amulets, shorn of much of their pre-scientific association with spirits and demons, began to make a comeback, at least within the magical community (admittedly a very small community relative to the total population). However, in the decades since World War II, not only has the Western Esoteric community expanded greatly, but cultural and religious practices from a variety of cultures where amulets remained popular have been disseminated by immigrants and the forces of globalization. Amulets of all varieties have become available from practitioners of Western Esotericism (especially Neo-paganism and ceremonial magic), practitioners of various Eastern and Middle Eastern religions, and commercial establishments supportive of both.

Today, amulets are generally seen as objects that contain or focus cosmic magical power, rather than the abode of spirits or demons. At the same time, ancient amulets have become popular items worn simply as jewelry or decoration.


Andrews, Carol. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994.
Budge, E. A. Wallis. Amulets and Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1930.
Elliot, Gabrielle. The Creations of Talismans, Amulets, and Good Luck Charms. Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK: New Wiccan Publications, 2000.
Pavitt, William T., and Kate Pavitt. The Book of Talismans, Amulets, and Zodiacal Gems. Detroit: Tower Books, 1914.
Vinci, Leo. Talismans, Amulets, and Charms: A Work on Talismanic Magic. New York: Regency Press, 1977.
References in classic literature ?
they hold a treasure Divine -- a talisman -- an amulet That must be worn at heart.
She laid one finger on her mouth and concealed the amulet in her bosom.
Either to a Power indefinable, incomprehensible, which I not only cannot address but which I cannot even express in words- the Great All or Nothing-" said he to himself, "or to that God who has been sewn into this amulet by Mary
Yes, I replied; and the charming thing is that they deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth, which is simply that, unless they give up eating and drinking and wenching and idling, neither drug nor cautery nor spell nor amulet nor any other remedy will avail.
It was also required of him that he should partake of their exercise of constantly ascending an endless flight of stairs; and, lest his legs, unused to such exertion, should be weakened by it, that he should wear upon one ankle an amulet or charm of iron.
The exhibition holds a wide selection of silver jewelry incorporating amulets and talismans from the early 20th century; a full costume of each representative country, outlining some of the superstitions of people from that era.
Amulets like the one found there were made to protect their owners from danger and harm, Papuci-Wladyka told Live Science in an email.
Even the goddess used amulets and they placed the drawing of the demons to protect themselves [1].
The High Magic of Talismans & Amulets: Tradition and Craft provides a fine study of the use of talismans and amulets in Western mystical traditions and uses the author's own collection of medieval manuscripts and his access to the rare book archives of major European universities to provide a complete history of talismans and amulets and all their various uses in both Eastern religion and Western scenarios.
It carries a variety of amulets from many different monks, masters and temples for clients to browse useful information and shop online from the comfort of their own home, saving a lot of time and expenses on travelling and searching in Thailand.
Arabic and Persian seals and amulets in the British Museum.
My aim now is to find out if it is still alive in Wales: what amulets are used to avert it or what methods are employed to counteract its effects.