Phylactery - Talismans Against All Mischiefs, The Magus - Venus Talisman - Gargoyles - Blessing Of Rings - Musseltaub - Posie Rings - Zodiacal Rings - The Lee Penny - Crystal - Peacock - Juno - Fire Talismans - Coins - Card Talismans - Badger's Tooth.

Tetragrammaton, Or Mystic Name

Tetragrammaton, Or Mystic Name, had its derivation in a Hebrew word, "Yod-he-vau-he," which signified the unutterable name of Jehovah, its meaning being "He that is and shall be." The sigil is composed of letters formed from the following four texts: Exodus xiii. 2nd and 10th verses, also verses 11 and 16; and Deuteronomy vi. 4th and 9th verses. It was very popular as a Talisman in the Middle Ages for protection from enemies, also to bring peace, harmony, and long life, and was usually made in the form of a pentacle with the five syllables engraved in each corner (see Illustration No. 142, Plate X) with the Hebrew letter Yod, or Shin, in the centre.

It was also worn by the Jews in the form of a Phylactery, which was a strip of cowhide parchment inscribed with verses from the Talmud, or with the Tetragrammaton and the sigil formed from the four passages of Scripture already-referred to. It was enclosed in a black calfskin case which had thongs attached to it for binding on the forehead, or round the left arm. Worn when attending worship in their synagogues, it was considered to have great potency as a Talisman.

The illustration of the Tetragrammaton is taken from Barrett's Magus, as are also Nos. 140 and 141, Plate X, which are described as containing "the beginnings and ends of the first five verses of Genesis, and representation of the creation of the world; and by this ligature they say that a man shall be free from all mischiefs if that he firmly believes in God, the Creator of all things".

No. 135, Plate X, is a Talisman of Venus which is in the British Museum, and is also described in the Magus as worn for success and good fortune in love, joyfulness, and to make travellers fortunate. The written inscription is an addition probably made personally, and reads:

"Accipe my petitione, O domine, keep me as apple of an eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings from all evel, up Lord and help us for thou art my strong rock and my castle. Amen".

The Totaphoth

The Totaphoth was another species of Talisman worn by the Hebrews as a frontlet, consisting of a plate slightly curved, inscribed with passages from the Talmud, which covered the forehead from ear to ear and was bound with a fillet of gold or silver by those who could afford it, and with strips of coloured cloth by the poor. Scapulars, or pieces of brown cloth, in which were stitched certain verses from the Gospel of St. John written on paper, or parchment, guarded against perils by flood or field, and a Dove with a branch of Olive in its mouth engraved in pyrites, ensured for the pilgrim the utmost hospitality wheresoever he journeyed.

The Gnostic God Abraxas

The Gnostic God Abraxas is frequently depicted with the head of a Cock, this bird being considered a powerful Talisman for vigilance, and also a symbol of the Sun, as well as of Mercury. It is sometimes represented with an ear of corn in its beak, denoting that "vigilance produces plenty".

The Eye Of A Cock

The Eye Of A Cock was considered a potent Talisman against witchcraft and the wiles of the Devil, even the lion being afraid of its hypnotic glance; and as Christ was thought by the early Christians to have arisen from the tomb at cockcrow, the Cock was from an early period used as a symbol of the Resurrection, and its image was engraved on many of the ancient tombs. Placed as it still is, on the highest point of the church tower or spire, it is singularly appropriate as a church Talisman.



Plate 10


Bells were another form of Talisman used in olden days, the traditional idea being that any great noise would terrify the Devil and all evil spirits, so that bells were attached to the heads of horses and to the playthings of children to protect them from harm; and were also hung in church towers to scare the ears of demons, whilst the Gargoyles struck terror to the eyes of the evil ones.