Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial.
Talismans(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Talismans are one of two common varieties of magical objects, the other being amulets. The two are often confused. Amulets are magical objects that are designed to protect the owner/wearer. Talismans are much more active items, usually designed to assist a transformation or cause something to happen. Thus one might obtain an amulet to protect him- or herself from an enemy, a curse, or a disease. On the other hand, one might use a talisman to find a love, obtain a better job, or acquire wealth.
Like amulets, talismans may be made of different materials and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some common talismans draw on astrological symbolism, while others use the names of angelic or deific figures or words of power. A soldier, for example, might wear a talisman based upon the symbol of the planet Mars so as to bring success on the battlefield, while a talisman with an angelic name could be used to bring healing. One of the most unusual talismans was one utilizing the severed hand of a thief, which would then be used by other thieves as a magical aid in their work.
Textbooks on magic often contain detailed rules for the production and empowerment of talismans. Talismans could not just be drawn; they had to be produced correctly at the proper time, and be energized by a magical ritual. The most difficult talisman to produce was the so-called Philosopher’s Stone, which, among other powers, could assist the alchemist in the transformation of base metals into silver or gold. The use of talismans begins in prehistoric times and continues to the present. They have become very popular in the West as magical religions (ceremonial magic, Wicca, Neo-paganism) have experienced significant renewal. They continue to be used by a variety of older indigenous religions that include magic in their practice and that perpetuate the belief in malevolent magic.