Over the past few years, I’ve had an ongoing goal of losing weight and becoming healthier. Unfortunately, it was a goal I had made little progress in; my blood pressure and weight were reaching uncomfortably high levels. When I realized I finally hit the threshold of being too unhealthy, I decided I needed assistance. I found a supportive physician who felt confident I could get my health under control and had a good conversation about options, latest medical research, and effective supplements.
I know I can be a determined and willful person, but had lost the desire to be so in a long series of mishaps, misfortunes, and slothfulness. Before the new year, I once again took up the mantle of exercise, dieting, and mindfulness. Soon after, I began feeling that revitalizing power of self-control buzzing through my body. My experience with the Shaman was a way to reinforce and build that vitality further. But I am a symbolic person, it must be the Jungian in me, and I wanted something physical to represent my will and my commitment to my goal. That’s when I saw the talismans.
Against one wall of the new-age store I saw a display case of bronze talismans and amulets. Talismans are objects that are believed to instill the wearer with energy, power, or confidence; this is compared to amulets which are objects intended to protect or ward off a specific evil or force for the wearer. This is, of course, a general and coarse comparison, but it will suffice for now. Two talismans caught my eye. Both were even supposedly “blessed” by a “practicing alchemist” upon creation. What better way to concretize my determination but with an object historically used to support such causes?
Eventually I selected a talisman that was purportedly copied from a magic belt of charms from a medieval knight, now resting in a museum in Warsaw (I have since tried to fact-check this but my knowledge of Polish is lacking). The design is to protect “against frailty of spirit and self doubt,” instilling confidence and resolve in the wearer. Last night I finally took the talisman out of its casing and meditated with it, ritually preparing it and myself for its use. I even slept on it to get used to the feeling of wearing it.
Now, do I believe that a mass-produced object intrinsically has the ability to “generate energy” and influence my thinking? Wishful, magical thinking, but the idea and the power behind the object, I think, it the mediating factor of its effect. It could be seen as a fetish for associated archetypes within the collective unconscious, perhaps, or a reflection of an outer spiritual dimensions, like a crucifix or a Star of David. Or it could be a mere personal symbol to invoke introspection. I am still thinking and reflecting, but I think for me, first and foremost, it’s personal. If there is an additional effect, I’ll be very happy to accept it.
Since I put it on last night, I have noticed a few things. Last night I slept very well, deeply and intensely, and felt refreshed upon waking. I feel more confident while wearing it; when it feel it brushing up against my skin, I am reminded I am doing this, I am steadfast, I am secure. At work today, I found myself feeling ‘taller.’ Because the amulet hangs from a long thong, it presses into the middle-lower section of my sternum, subconsciously correcting my posture. My breathing is deeper, calmer, and my posture feels natural and straight. All these factors reinforce my feeling of confidence, making me feel more energetic and alive. Interesting how a mere piece of metal can have such subtle, albeit synergistic, effects, leading to larger, noticeable changes.
So far the talisman is doing exactly what it promised and I feel radiant and confident. Placebo effect or not, it is having a good influence on my well-being.