In talismanic magic, the goal is to bottle lightning -to capture the essence of a particularly potent astrological configuration through the creation of a talisman (which can take many forms). The key to talismanic magic is the understanding that when creating a talisman, you aren’t making it, you are providing a physical body to receive the spirit of the divine force being called upon. It is more like birth than production…
It is, however, a creative act. It is sacred congress with the divine; as much an act of devotion as intention but where both play an essential role. Without the suppliant there would be no talisman, without the gods in the skies above, it would simply be a mundane object without magical effects.
It is said that all living things receive their spirit at the moment of birth and this is true for talismans as well, which are living in the animist sense of the word. More to the point, they are ensouled (inhabited by spirit) at the moment of their creation; and though there is some room for interpretation as to what precise moment signifies this event (carving, setting a stone, starting or finishing the work, etc), the intention of the mage settles the issue.
Learn how to get good quality magical elections for talismanic magic, even if you’re not an astrologer. [READ MORE]
As magical objects given a soul, it’s essentially true to say that talismans are born, not made, and, in fact, this is precisely what gives them their unique qualities and effects. An astrological talisman is produced by making an “image” (jewelry, carving, wax figure, painting, etc) marked with ancient symbols representing the power being called upon during a suitable astrological election (in the appropriate ritual), and it embodies the qualities of a person born under this sky. The chart of the astrological election is, in effect, the birth chart of the talisman.
Like any birth chart, the chart of the election contains all the planets, benefic and malefic alike, and, like any birth chart, it is inevitably going to contain both fortunate and unfortunate configurations which affect the function of the talisman (and therefore its wearer / target). Understanding this chart is the key to understanding the potential effects of the talisman, positive and negative.
The Astrology Of Talismans
The astrology of talismans, or more precisely “electional astrology”, is a topic as broad as it is deep (and subject to great debate and personal interpretation) but there are a few generally accepted guidelines which are useful to understand.
The Ascendant in the talisman’s electional chart represents the talisman’s wearer / target, not unlike in a person’s natal chart. The Ascendant marks the eastern horizon on the chart, that is to say, the direction from which the sun rises. In a natal chart the sign containing the Ascendant is called the “rising” sign (the Sun rises in the east) and largely determines how the native (the chart’s owner) is seen by others. This has significant effect on the impact of the talisman, meaning, how it affects the target.
As with all things astrological, the specifics of how the Ascendant affects the talisman are complex and nuanced (and beyond the scope of this article). As an example, though, if the ruler of the Ascendant (the planet which rules the 1st house) is in one of the cadent houses (3rd, 6th, 9th, or 12th) this will slow and impede the effect of the talisman. In contrast, if the ruler of the Ascendant is in its domicile or exaltation, this will greatly boost the effect of the talisman. The rising sign determines which signs inhabit the other angular houses (4th, 7th, 10th), which yield the “loudest” (most noticeable) effects of the talisman.
The configuration of the planets in the chart, and their angles to each other, provide the qualities of the talisman, which are then colored by / filtered through the lens of the sign and house they occupy. For example, if the talisman is for love, the planets in the 7th house (of love and relationships) determine the quality of the talisman.
The beneficial or detrimental influence on those planets due to aspects (angles) with other planets, the sign they occupy, proximity to the Sun, and many other factors, determine the positive, or negative, effects of the talisman.
Each of the houses of the zodiac (1 through 12) governs a different area of life and the planets which occupy those houses, and the planets that rule them, determine how the talisman will effect the target in each of those areas. For example, Jupiter (who governs high-mindedness and spiritual pursuits) in Sagittarius (who shoots arrows that fly through the air) in the 9th house of spirituality and travel, if in a benefic aspect to the Moon, would make an ideal talisman for supporting a spiritual journey. A talisman with Venus in Taurus in the 2nd house of wealth (positively aspecting the Moon) would be great for prosperity. Which houses are most important for each talisman, of course, depends on the purpose of the talisman.
Finally, the position (and phase) of the Moon is profoundly important to the efficacy of the talisman. The Moon, despite its classification as the lesser luminary, is -by far- the greatest influence on any magical proceeding, and particularly of astrological magic.
Generally speaking, the Moon should be waxing for magic which seeks to provide a yield quickly and waning for malefica, works of secrecy, divination, and sowing the seeds of future plans. The position the Moon occupies in the chart is critical and she cannot be maltreated in any way if good is desired from the talisman.
Personal Synastry With Talismans
In much the same way that an astrologer can take the charts of two people and analyze their synastry to determine how the two charts (and therefore the two people) interact, you can (and probably should) compare a potential talisman’s electional chart and your own natal chart, if you wish to purchase or create it. In reality, however, there are so many mitigating factors that correctly interpreting how a talisman will effect an individual requires tremendous skill and experience.
For the sake of understanding, I’ll demonstrate this point with a simple example. A love talisman with Venus in Taurus in the 7th house (of love) sounds great unless your natal Saturn is also in Taurus and worse still if it’s within 5 degrees of Venus.
Having the ruler of your Ascendant in the 12th house of the talisman’s chart also wouldn’t work very well, since one of your most supportive planets would be hidden from the “view” of the talisman (its area of effect).
If your natal South Node is conjunct or negatively aspecting Jupiter in the talisman’s chart, it will not bring any prosperity to you because the South Node purges us of our excess.
As I said, the list of possible considerations is far beyond the scope of this article but, in general, the target gets both the good and the bad influences in the talisman’s chart. If you’ve got planets in your natal chart in awkward configurations with the ones in the talisman’s chart…think carefully before adding it to your collection.
Astrological remediation is a complex topic but, despite that, wearing a talisman to make your life better in some way is a relatively simple idea. Let’s call this “talismanic remediation”, meaning wearing a talisman to boost your natural talents or luck, etc. in a particular area of life.
If you struggle with committing, following the rules, or doing things you don’t enjoy (but have to do), a Saturn talisman will bring out those qualities in you. It may also make you dour, serious, and rigid depending on your temperament.
If you’re unlucky, a Mercury talisman may straighten you out. Mercury conjunct the Ascendant in its domicile (Gemini or Virgo) would be ideal for this purpose. Mercury conjunct the MC in the 10th would be ideal for luck in your occupation; in the 2nd lucky at making money. All would generally improve your luck but as the wearer is represented by the Ascendant, a conjunction with Mercury in the 1st house would have the most direct effect and imbue the most Mercurial power.
Multiple talismans can be worn to provide boosts to multiple areas of your life as long as you are not wearing two talismans from planets that are at odds with each other, such as the Sun and Saturn, or Sun and Moon for that matter, or Mars and Venus, and so on. And there is an upper limit to how many talismans you can wear without over energizing or confusing yourself.
The idea is fairly simple; acquire talismans that bear the special qualities that you want but lack, or feel deficient in. Wear them in circumstances where their unique traits will be most useful and change them out as necessary to maximize your potential.
Experimenting With Talismans (#FAFO)
Because of the many factors which can influence how a talisman will work for you, the results can be somewhat unpredictable. A talisman can be a dud for one person and a miracle for the next, based on their natal chart’s synastry with the electional chart of the talisman -but it’s not always obvious why.
That’s why I advocate a fuck-around-and-find-out approach to experimenting with talismans. Obviously, if you’re paying a lot for a talisman you want it to work, but there is always a risk that it won’t work as you expect. You won’t really know until you try. Also, you don’t need a talisman to boost every aspect of your life. You’re probably quite good at some things and those situations don’t require the extra support. In the areas where you consistently struggle and suffer though, wearing the right talisman can make all the difference.
While comparing your natal chart to a talisman’s electional chart is too complicated to be helpful, analyzing the quality of the electional chart itself is much easier (and an absolute must). The talisman’s creator should be happy to show you the chart (most provide this without asking) and provide their interpretation of how the talisman should work, considering this chart.
A good talisman should have the Moon well placed, the Ascendant in a relevant sign (such as the domicile of the planet whose spirit inhabits the talisman), a benefic aspect between the Moon or the Ascendant and the planet invoked during its creation, and no malefic aspects (unless the talisman is malefic and then reverse this). It should have the relevant planets and the Moon in houses govern the areas of life the talisman is intended to influence. And the ruler of the Ascendant, the Moon, and the invoked planet, should be well positioned and in suitable signs.
A basic understanding of astrology is all you need, if the talisman is made under generally appropriate conditions, to be able to protect yourself from grift or inexperience.
In the end, every talisman is different for the same reason that every person is different -they were born under a unique configuration of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Finding the right talisman for you is like making a lifelong friend; it takes time and compatibility is a concern, but the only way to get what you want is to get out there and meet different ones.
Featured Image: Birth of an Angel by Eugenio Lin