Have You a Talisman?

"A person who finds a four-leaved clover, and believes it is a harbinger of something good, has adopted the right attitude, for he keeps a keen look-out for that particular good and holds out both hands for it. Seldom is he disappointed, for he has unconsciously set going the mental machinery which brings his wishes within reach. Had he not found the clover and had gone along life's highway unexpectant of anything good, he would never
have discovered this pleasant happening. And therein lies the true psychology of luck, which seems too simple to be true, but then its simplicity is really the sign-manual of its verity."

This quotation from the writings of a well-known author goes direct to the point about talismans. If you adopt a talisman and put your faith in
it, you immediately prepare your mind for receiving an abundance of good
fortune. Reject all talismans and argue that there is no such thing as luck,
and you straightway set going the mental machinery which looks on the
dark side of things and which misses every slice of luck that comes along.
Therefore, we say, with emphasis, take to yourself a talisman, a mascot, a
charm — call it what you will — and you will never regret it.

Of talismans, there are countless varieties; some are known the world
over, others are the particular choice of individuals. They range from the
amulets and scarabs of the ancients to the golliwogs and crudities of the
ultra-moderns. Your choice may roam between these two extremes, but
whatever your choice, it must be set with the seal of your faith.

In order to assist you in picking out a talisman for yourself, we append
the following accounts of those examples which are favored most: —

THE HORSE-SHOE. — No symbol is a greater favorite than the horse-
shoe. There are many legends regarding its origin, but the most commonly
accepted concerns the well-known visit of his Satanic Majesty to the shoe-
smith. As a consequence, the Devil evinced a wholesome dread of horse-
shoes, and would not go near a house or person possessing one. It is more
likely, however, that the horse-shoe was accepted as a symbol of luck because
it was a commonplace object very nearly the same shape as the metal crescents
worn by the Romans when they wanted to be fortunate. These crescents
were always carried with the horns turned up, and, if a horse-shoe is to bring
good luck, it, too, must be placed with the prongs uppermost. The reason
for the prongs being so turned depends on a belief that misfortune always
travels in circles, but when it reaches the tips of a horse-shoe, it is baffled,
unless all the luck has already run out of the tips through them being turned

Of course, an old, worn shoe is more lucky than a new one, and it is
a recognized fact that the more nails found in it the luckier will be the
finder. N

THE SCARAB. — This device is accounted very lucky or very unlucky,
according to the disposition of the wearer. The symbol represents the
scarab beetle with its wings outspread or with them closed. Such charms
are made to-day in large numbers for sale in Egypt, but those who trade in
them usually claim that each particular specimen has been in the family
since Biblical times. As a rule, the device is made in a rough kind of bluish
porcelain and is carved, in intaglio, with divine figures. The Egyptians used
to make up the scarab as a neck pendant or as a little ornament for
placing in the coffins of the dead. Its mission was to scare away the evil one. 

THE TET. — This symbol was shaped somewhat like a mallet, and was
always worn with the head uppermost and the handle hanging down. It
was made in porcelain or stone, and was often colored gaudily. The Egyptians
were the first to find efficacy in this charm, and they wore it suspended
around the neck to ward off attacks from visible and invisible enemies.
Thus, it was a protection against evil in any form; it was also supposed to
provide the wearer with strength and endurance. The tet has been much
forgotten of late years, but there are adherents who value it above the horse-
shoe and almost any other charm.

THE ARROW-HEAD.— The early Britons spent a great deal of their
time in taking suitable flints and shaping them into the form of triangles.
These were called arrow-heads, and when the two side edges had been
sharpened they were fixed into sticks and used as weapons or tools. Out
of this use grew the idea that arrow-heads were potent charms in providing
bodily protection against enemy force or the usual illnesses. Accordingly,
people began to wear them as neck ornaments and, for this purpose, decora-
tive arrow-heads were made. Ever since then, they have been cherished
for their powers in warding off attacks, and a superstition still exists which
claims that if one of these arrow-heads is dipped in water, the water will be
more potent than any doctor's medicine.

THE CADUCEUS. — This device, which figures as part of the design of
some postage stamps, has been considered a bringer of good fortune ever since
the time of the ancient Greeks. It consists of two snakes entwining a rod,
surmounted by a pine cone. By the side of the cone is a pair of wings. It
was the symbol of Mercury.
The rod had die supernatural powers of
quelling disputes and letting people dwell in harmony. The snakes possessed
the property of healing; the pine cone preserved good health; and the wings
stood for speed and progress. Thus people wear the caduceus today in order
to ensure a life free from quarrels and illness, and to enable them to be
healthy and "go ahead."

THE EYE AGATE. — As is generally appreciated, the "evil eye" is the
source of all trouble and misfortunes, and the early Eastern races thought
that, if the "evil eye" could be avoided or frightened away, all would be well.
Searching for a charm to effect their purpose, they alighted upon the eye agate,
and this they believed would give no quarter to the "evil eye." Accordingly,
agates were cut to resemble an eye which would be powerful enough to
neutralize the effects of the evil one, and these were worn as brooches, rings
and necklaces. The agate chosen for the purpose consisted of thin layers
of stone of various colors. Thus, by cutting the stones oval and removing
parts of the top layers, it was possible to produce a charm closely resembling
a human eye, both in shape and color.

Such eyes are still sold today, and many people treasure them in the hope
that they will ward off evil in any form.

THE JADE AXE-HEAD.— -Many jewelers still sell little axe-heads carved
out of jade, for wearing around the neck. The axe-head has been considered
a symbol of strength and vigor ever since primitive times, and jade has a
world-wide reputation as a charm against disease and accidents. 


THE SEAL OF SOLOMON.— This device is now regarded as a symbol
of the Jewish religion, but it can be traced to several other religions, and,
no doubt, it dates even farther back than the commencement of the Jewish
era. The triangle with the upward point stood for goodness; the triangle
with the downward point for wickedness; while the two intertwined symbol-
ized the triumph of good over bad. Those who wear the device contend
that it preserves them from all that is ill, and, at the same time, it gives
them a share of the world's blessings.

THE ABRACADABRA. — This charm dates from the second century,
and was a symbol of the Gnostic worship. It often took the form of a little
piece of parchment, folded into the shape of a cross, but it can, also, be seen
as a tablet, made of stone or metal, shaped like an inverted triangle. On
the charm, of whatever shape, was inscribed the following:

It will be seen that the word "Abracadabra" can be read along the upper
line and also down and up the two sides. This word is said to conceal the
name of God and the charm has the powers o£ warding off dangers and

a four-leaf clover or shamrock is supposed to be a bringer of luck and good
fortune. As these are not readily found and, moreover, they soon perish, the
opportunity has been seized by jewelers to produce artificial ones in various
precious and semi-precious metals. To wear either is supposed to avoid
misfortune. It may be mentioned that the four-leaf Shamrock as a charm
has proved immensely popular by those who are interested in the Irish sweep-

BLACK CATS. — Of course, it is lucky for a black cat to walk into your
house, but failing an actual cat, a counterfeit one serves the same purpose.
Thus, people who pin their faith to black cats often make stuffed ones, or
draw pictures of them, and look to the creature of their own handiwork to
serve the role of mascot.

YOUR OWN TALISMAN.— So far, the talismans that have received uni-
versal acceptance have alone been mentioned, but the tendency today is for
enthusiasts to originate a mascot of their very own. It may take any or
every form, according to the whim or fancy of the individual. Maybe you will
prefer to find your own mascot or talisman in this direction. If you have no
preferences, why not constitute a device which embraces your lucky number,
your lucky flower, your lucky color, and so on? It is a suggestion bristling
with opportunities.

Just to show that people are tending towards the idea of choosing a talis-
man of their very own, we will conclude with a story that was recently

"There is a precious stone to which the board of directors of a firm of
diamond dealers annually pass a vote of thanks. The stone is a sapphire
and it has been named Shani, meaning 'bringer of luck.'

"Shani was bought by the firm about seventy years ago, and it only
leaves the safe on New Year's Day. A special meeting, attended by every
member of the firm, is then held in the board room. Shani is placed in
the middle of the table and, with hands clasped in prayer, the members
offer thanks for the good luck the sapphire has brought the firm during the
preceding year.

"One of the directors said, 'My grandfather once received a tempting offer
for Shani and yielded, but a few hours after the sapphire had been sent
away he was taken violently ill with fever. The sapphire was brought back
from a distant part of India, and my grandfather became well at once.' "


Should not we all have a Shani?

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