What is a Talisman?

On the internet one often finds the term “talisman” used interchangeably with amulet and good luck charm. Check any online shopping platform – from Etsy to Amazon –and a wide variety of random baubles described as talismans are to be found. Unfortunately the Google, Wikipedia or Britannica definitions of the term are also definitively incorrect, from neither a historic nor practical sense. So when the all-knowing definers and fact-checkers of society are blatantly incorrect, one can’t fully blame the bauble-slingers of the internet. Unless, of course, they call themselves an occultist.

A talisman is not an amulet or a good luck charm.

The science of talismanry has been around for a long time, centuries before documentations of Balinas, known as the “Father of Talismans” in 1 CE (Arabic for Apollonius of Tyana, attributed discoverer/author of the Emerald Tablet). Talismanry is one of the core sciences of the Islamic occult tradition, alongside astrology and divination.

Any real occultist would know a true talisman is a technology, a device using very specific metals, materials, plants, ritual and methods of construction that are sympathetic to corresponding astrological and celestial forces. Through meticulous astrological calculations based on timing, dates, geolocation, and geometry (it’s really all math), one constructs this device systematically to ensure that only the selected celestial qualities are being incorporated and attached.

At the calculated final “birth” time the device is finally ensouled*, drawing down the celestial forces, anchoring it to the terrestrial plane. An astro-mage (short for astrological magician) usually has a very limited, constrained, short window to create and especially activate a piece, usually within a span of 1-3 minutes. Some calculations are so rare and specific that if you miss it… it may not conjoin in that particular configuration again in your lifetime.

*Please note that this is NOT ensouling a jinn. Jinn in a bottle or ring is totally a thing but absolutely not what I’m talking about. This is basically like taking a snapshot of a very specific geometry of the sky and bringing it down to earth to effect the creatures down here. As above, so below. Talismans have been constructed and used by some of the world’s largest and most successful empires for everything from besieging cities, remedying famine, enriching orchards and farms, protecting warriors in battle, drive another mad… If you’ve ever dealt with or handled a real talisman, especially if its constructed based on your natal chart (we’re simply living talismans) it can truly be uncanny with how real and effective these things are.

I say device, but it could be any physical item prepared properly. It can be as simple as a piece of parchment paper or metal, jewelry that can be worn is very common, often a piece is buried in a desired location or installed into architecture. It could also be potions, tinctures, cooking tools, furniture… Talismanic clothing is also a tradition that came out of the Ottoman and Mughal empires.