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Jeruba's avatar

Do you carry a talisman of any kind?

Asked by Jeruba (51919points) October 19th, 2009
34 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

Many people carry a talisman or wear an amulet of some sort either because they really believe it has some special power or charm or just because it is an item that possesses special significance to them, even if they don’t ascribe magical potency to it. Maybe they’re genuinely superstitious, and maybe the thoughts they have about it or because of it represent a kind of power in themselves.

Do you carry or wear anything of the sort? If so, why, and what is it?

Wedding rings, class rings, crucifixes and other religious symbols, and emblems of affiliation do possess special significance, of course, but we wouldn’t call such an object a talisman. This question is not about those.

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augustlan's avatar

I used to carry a smooth pebble in my pocket, and then later a silver coin-ish kind of thing. I found it comforting to reach into my pocket and always find the same object to fiddle with, but I have no idea why. It’s been a long time since I relied on something in my pocket to comfort me. I may take it up again. :)

Samurai's avatar

I want a talisman that protects me from starving. or one that protects my house from mothers who suffer from the “Great Mother” syndrome.

jackm's avatar

I always wear a rubber band. Its comforting to play with it. If i dont have one I feel at a loss.

does that count?

peedub's avatar

Some of my tattoos serve this purpose. For example, I have numerous eyes (that basically all resemble the all-seeing eye or eye of Horus), including one on my palm. They are believed to have the power to ward off negativity and ‘the evil eye.’ An eye can also be found on some forms of the hamsa hand, an apotropaic hand-shaped amulet against the evil eye found in the Middle East. In Jewish culture, the hamsa is called the Hand of Miriam; in Muslim culture, the Hand of Fatima.
I also have the tops of my feet tattooed; one a pig, the other a rooster. Taken from Means of Seeing blog: “Many traditional sailor tattoos have their origins in superstition. One great example is the pair of tattoos of a pig on one foot, and a rooster on th’other. The implication is that both these animals fear water, and that they will keep a sailor’s feet from sinking into the depths, speeding them back to land all the sooner.”

holden's avatar

Not superstitious at all, but I do like to carry small, comforting tokens of my home since I am away at college. For example, I used to have a picture of my brother on my keyring until it ripped and fell off. :(

drdoombot's avatar

As I read this question, I remembered a desire I had from a young age to have a talisman of some sort to carry in my pocket, but never settling on anything. Remembering that feeling just now, I started thinking about what talisman I should acquire for myself at present, and then I realized that I already have one: I wear a string with several glass beads around my neck, which I only take off to shower.

The beads are traditional “evil-eye” beads you would find in many Middle-Eastern countries, the kind people hang in their homes and on a baby’s wrist to ward off the evil-eye.

Rationally, it seems silly and superstitious to me, but several years ago, I used to wear a similar necklace. After getting that first necklace, I remember things going quite well for me in a number of areas: I started getting physically fit, I had a well-paying job, I was in a serious relationship and I was doing well academically. The beads on that original necklace broke, and some time later, things went downhill in all areas. I guess I put on the necklace I currently wear with the hope that it will keep the evil energy off of me and let the good luck roll in.

DominicX's avatar

Nah, everything I wear is just because I like the way it looks. I do think it would be interesting to wear something of greater significance than that (though to a superstitious extent), but for me, it’s not really the way it was. Even that puka-shell necklace that I wore religiously back in 7th grade didn’t have any talismanic qualities; I just thought it made me look cool. Which it did. :)

I really don’t like superstition, so that may be why I try to avoid such instances.

evegrimm's avatar

I have a necklace that was made “just for me”: on one side is a left-facing wedjat eye, on the other, a Welsh dragon. Ancestry + one of my main interests in life.

I also wear several Turk’s Heads as a reminder of a lovely (happy, carefree) time I had a few years back. I also adore my five-stranded braid, as it’s unique, but only if you know what you’re looking at.

DarkScribe's avatar

I have several items that I never go without – but I don’t really regard any of them as a talisman. A couple of rings, one about one hundred and fifty years old, the other close to three hundred. I invariably have a brass Balisong knife that I have carried for thirty-seven years, and nowadays a very heavy antique oak walking stick with a huge solid silver handle. I started using it when I was first injured after an accident (I destroyed my right knee in a motorcycle accident) and although my knee is now re-built and I don’t really need the stick, I have become used to carrying it. It makes a formidable weapon when I am walking around the less savoury parts of town late at night taking street photographs. Less confronting than a handgun. <g>.

All of these things are effectively a part of everyday attire. The only other “never without” item would be my BlackBerry.

rooeytoo's avatar

This is strange because I am not in the least bit religious and this definitely appears to have religious connotations. I have a sterling silver cross shaped medallion that has stars and a beautiful pattern on it. On the back it has the words, “Be not fearful, I am with you.”

I carry it or wear it because it is so pretty and I love to look at it and feel it. The words are comforting, again not because it refers to some god creature but rather to me it means that I have everything I need with me. I don’t have to look outwards for courage or inspiration or anything really. I have it all.

mattbrowne's avatar

No, but I know that many do. The power they have on some people is actually quite real, but the scientific cause for this effect is not the talisman or amulet. The cause is the human brain and the effect is called the placebo effect. As long as it remains positive I see little harm, but if things lead to bad omens these forms of superstitions can become harmful. When the effect is real harm, the effect is called nocebo effect. There are both religious people and atheists who are superstitious.

Allie's avatar

I have half a penny in my wallet. My friend cut it in half and kept the other part. I guess it’s our own version of a “best friends” charm thing.
I don’t think it has special powers or anything. It just means something to me.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I think all these charms and new age means of warding negative forces only feed the placebo effect.

Dog's avatar

I do not carry anything because of mystical power or the like but I do find comfort in wearing a necklace made of natural materials. It reminds me of the outdoors and nature even when I am stuck in a meeting or event.

Dog (25137points)“Great Answer” (3points)
aprilsimnel's avatar

No, I don’t carry anything like that for mystical powers or reassurance or anything. The closest I can come to such an item is my Union Jack lacquered fob on my key ring, and it reminds me of the place where I’m looking forward to live one day.

Fyrius's avatar

I bear the Scarlet A.
It’s a symbol that means I’m the sort of person that does not carry talismans.

So no.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, and it is always loaded.

HGl3ee's avatar

I wear my “Daddy’s Girl” bangle my Dad gave me for my 16th Birthday. I have worn it every day ALWAYS for over 5 years now. I just put it on and never took it off and now I refuse to take it off. I had surgery when I was 17 and they insisted I take it off for the procedure; Instead i went in with it ducktaped to my wrist and the word “Mine!” hand-written all over it. Yah, I was a stubborn teenager :P But they finally gave in, sealed it up on my wrist (for bacteria reasons) and allowed me to keep it on.

My wedding ring will be the same story ;) – LB

Sarcasm's avatar

Closest thing to a talisman that I carry with me would be my inhaler. Haven’t needed it in months, but I feel unsafe to go without it.

NewZen's avatar

I try to always have photos of the kids on me. Not just to show people, but more for the reasons mentioned in your (really great) question, @Jeruba.

augustlan's avatar

@Jeruba So how about you? What’s your talisman of choice?

Jeruba's avatar

@augustlan, I wasn’t expecting to be asked, but I do carry one.

I carry a pebble of polished malachite in my pocket all the time. I do not have any superstitions and beliefs about it, and I don’t have any habits of mind that would lead to those or support them. But still, it feels very special to me, in a mystical kind of way.

After several years, I bought a second malachite pebble, chosen for its shape and markings, and gave it to my husband. He carries it with him. To me it feels like a kind of magical connection between us, as if the stones were linked by some ethereal bond, despite my hard-headed and undeviating absence of faith in any such notion.

augustlan's avatar

I totally get that. :)

marinelife's avatar

I have, although I do not ascribe any significance or powers to it, a dark blue female form of the Willendorf Venus school (although a bit longer and more svelte) that I carry in my purse. I was attracted by its intense color, and it is wonderfully smooth to run my fingers over with its intriguing curves.

NewZen's avatar

@Jeruba @augustlan Did you know this about Malachite?:

Malachite’s Healing Properties


Positive transformation

Malachite Associations:

Chakras – Heart Chakra, Throat Chakra
Zodiac – Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn
Planet – Venus
Element – Earth


Fyrius's avatar

Those are a lot of very bold assertions. If your site is to be believed, Malachite is little short of a panacea. But has anybody ever tried to find out whether Malachite really does all these things?
If I were to advertise a newly invented medicine by making even half of these claims, there would be hell to pay if not every single one of them was conclusively proven true before I said so.

“Guards against radiation and clears electromagnetic pollution.”
This one in particular should be easy to test. Put some meat in a microwave with a piece of Malachite and see if it still cooks.

And by the way, doesn’t this all sound just a little too good to be true? A single solution for so many so disparate problems? With no unwanted side-effects, because all the seemingly unconnected effects it has all just happen to be things we want?

NewZen's avatar

@Fyrius Very bold assertions?

Jeruba's avatar

I just like the soft, smooth feel and the beautiful swirls and striations in rich shades of green from pale to black.

mattbrowne's avatar

@NewZen – I think a beautiful polished slice of Malachite can inspire humans to do good things. But it’s this inspiration that creates all other effects.

Fyrius's avatar

Yes. Very bold assertions. Asserted with great boldness.

Because if even a single one of the claims on that site including the part you quoted could be experimentally verified, that would constitute a major breakthrough in medicine, psychology, biology, geology, physics or all of the above.
A gem bringing you into a completely different state of mind, affecting your dreams, “aligning” your DNA (whatever that’s supposed to mean), boosting the immune system, treating fractures and tumours, stimulating the liver? You could make a scientific career out of any of these. People around the world would remember your name for centuries to come, the brilliant pioneer that founded geo-medicine.

But excuse me if I don’t hold my breath.

Fyrius's avatar

P.S. I’d like to add that gems are awesome and I can completely understand people having a special affinity for them. I’ve always loved precious stones myself, and shiny objects in general.
But what this site is saying is freaking magic.

marinelife's avatar

@Fyrius Or freakin’ idiocy.

NewZen's avatar

@Fyrius P.s. I agree with you completely.

Fyrius's avatar

I’m glad you do.

</ranting sceptic mode>

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