We’ve all grown up hearing phrases like ‘Nazar lag jayegi (You’ll be cast the evil eye) or having our grandmother insist upon us wearing a certain necklace or a ring for our safety. Now though, when we think back to those days when you’d have the elders place evil eyes on the door or wear a ring to ward off the evil, you understand what it was all about.
But well, that was then. Today, these ‘magical’ tokens of protection or talismans are not just used for these purposes but also as an important element of fashion. You’ll see talisman jewlery that are marking the style charts today and being worn by people of all ages and beliefs. While that’s the role it plays today, how did these talismans come into being as powerful tokens in the first place? Well, the word, talisman is believed to have its origin in the Greek word, telesma, which translates to ‘consecration ceremony.’ The word’s origin also dates back to a much older root – telos, which translates to ‘result.’
Throughout the course of humanity, we have relied on talismans – objects assigned with supernatural or religious powers, meant to heal or protect people. Humans have been using them as a cue to create good fortune, ward off bad luck and evil, and to create a mystical power. In cultures in ancient Africa, it was believed that by carrying the foot of a swift creature, one can move with that animal’s speed. The Irish are also associated with their belief in the power and luck of the four-leaf-clover, known as the ‘luck of the Irish.’ Even the Christian cross that signifies Jesus’ demise has been used since its origin as a token of faith, protection, and as per legends, against vampires too.
So yes, talismans have been used as inanimate magical objects throughout history, across civilizations with strong and powerful relevance to religions, scientific, and astrological practices. Over the centuries, the uses of talismans have also evolved as times have changed and people have evolved. Today, they are massively used for the protection of the wearer, one's belongings and loved ones, and other reasons like helping with fertility, crop production and to bring good luck in any aspect of life.
Indian talismans like Swastik and Om have also been popularly used for centuries in the country, both of which are associated with strong religious significance. Till date, they are used as a token of protecting oneself and attracting good luck by people from all walks of life. These objects are usually anything from a piece of clothing, jewelry, a parchment, or a weapon too. Talismanic jewlery is also a commonly used token of magic for people over the years, in India too, where it is now also a part of fashion.