An Amulet is an object, inscription, drawing, or Symbol imbued with magical protective power against bad luck, accidents, illnesses, supernatural attack, the Evil Eye, and other misfortunes. The term amulet is derived either from the Latin amuletum or the Old Latin amoletum for “means of defense.”
The simplest amulets are natural objects whose unusual shapes, colors, or markings indicate their supernatural properties. Precious and semiprecious stones all are considered to have amuletic properties. Vegetables and fruits can be amulets: garlic is said to be a protection against evil and illness. Peach wood and stones are ancient amulets in Chinese lore. Many amulets are made from certain materials that are considered powerful—such as iron, gold, silver, and copper—and are imbued with their magical properties. Making an amulet creates the power, especially if done ritualistically or during certain times.
Amulets are worn, engraved on buildings and objects, buried under thresholds, and hung in windows and doorways. Written amulets are charms or prayers and the names of God, deities, angels, and other spirits whose benevolent powers are invoked for protection. Some inscriptions are nonsensical names and words containing distorted Latin, such as this formula for protection against arrows:
Write these words on a piece of paper:
“Araba Omel alifal Cuttar uden et amoen
Trol Coblamot Fasteanus.”
Carry these words with you.
See also Talisman.
- Budge, E. A. Wallis. Amulets and Superstitions. 1930. Reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1978.
- Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York: Perigee Books, 1967.
- Rustad, Mary S. (ed. and translator). The Black Books of Elverum. Lakeville, Minn.: Galde Press, 1999.
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