Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Safe From Inner and Outer Harm

The thing about amulets is that they presume there are things we need protecting from in this world. Most of us would agree that it is reasonable to take measures to protect ourselves, individually and collectively, from harms such as sickness, injury and poverty. These ills can be defended against without one being accused of superstition. But what about deeper, darker forces that can be conveniently summed up as "evil". Sinful things like greed, hatred and ignorance, personified by the Devil in some belief systems, or as demons, tricksters and primordial beasts in others. Powerful forces that we have no control over. These are things that call for greater protection than immunization or airbags or social safety nets can give us, and that is where the power of magic comes in. Or faith and symbol, if you prefer.

Older cultures than ours believed that malevolent forces could be distracted or averted by materials or objects that, either through the nature of their making or their physical characteristics, were imbued with protective powers. Sparkly, shiny, reflective objects like mirrors and beads traditionally repel the evil eye, as do symbols such as crosses or the hamsa, and shapes with pointy corners. Amulets may also be blessed by a powerful individual such as a priest or shaman, as is the one below, supposedly blessed by the Dalai Lama.
I was given this after I broke my back. I think the kindness of the person who gave it to me was more immediately helpful in my healing, though. But I saved it, even after the end cap was lost, cause it's about as close as I likely will ever get to the Dalai Lama himself. As you can see the amulet contained a scroll with a prayer on it and a few grains of rice.
Our consumer culture is founded on feelings of need and anxiety, induced by advertising. How do we protect ourselves against such an insidious and nebulous evil?

I think one of the best defenses is our own creative power. The magic of bringing into being something that has never been before, of manifesting ideas into concrete reality, of transmuting our energy into a material object - this brings us closer to the core of existence.When these creative acts are conducted with selflessness, purity of intention and an open heart, we cannot fail.

So, I have this nutty idea that I need an amulet to protect me from rampant capitalism. Well, not so nutty, actually, I have just been reading Naomi Klein. I think Earth needs a planet-sized amulet to ward off those intent on raping and pillaging her for profit. What would such an amulet look like? What might it contain? I'll keep you posted.


8 comments:

  1. First of all: Breaking your back is a huge deal - and the Dalai Lama is a huge deal. Thank you for sharing how things connect - huge and small.

    Personally, I love the idea that we who make things can possibly protect those we love. I think that quilts are protection blankets in so many ways - and am glad that you are teaching this code that textiles have for so many and have had for so many throughout the centuries.

    This Changes Everything. Yes, Naomi. Yes, Heather.

    An inspirational blog.

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  2. Yes! an amulet to ward off rampant capitalism and the manipulations of advertising! What a great idea. I'll hve to think about what that would look like.

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  3. You broke your back? Well I am so glad that as far as I know you are okay now, but that is quite a revelation you shared so casually. As is having an amulet blessed by the Dalai Lama.

    I love the idea od amulets to ward off rampant capitalism - for both personal use, and the earth. Maybe what is needed is not so much one big one, but thousands of small ones, made all over the planet, by many people and placed somewhere secret? Actually that could be a magnificent thing on so many levels - the magic of amulets, environmental education, possibly also highlight the environmental downside of the textile industry too ... or am I just going over board??

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  4. Anonymous8:39 AM

    An idea who's time has really come, an amulet against social-economic devils. It's so easy to become dependent upon an economic system that is fatally flawed. It's like we've been left with just one economic game to play, and while it looks on the surface and in the short term like the majority of us can have our basic needs met by this one capitalistic game, the truth is that we are consuming resources at a frivolous pace and in the end, almost everybody will be lose. I can't picture it clearly but I do know that if I were to make an anti-economic-evil amulet, it would be the opposite of bling. No gold and no sparkle. The materials would be extremely common so no value based on scarcity. Maybe an ordinary pebble placed inside a clamshell wrapped in strips of old rags or string. I would tie it to my bag or belt and the rattle-rattle-rattle would be a warning to the Demons of Greed to keep their distance. Jean-Pierre

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  5. "This Changes Everything" is such an inspiring book and so is this post Heather!
    Imagine... if we all make amulets & talismans with deep love and high hope for Gaia, our beautiful earth.
    Here's my favourite quote about amulets-
    'In Madasgascar, large white 'goat’s eye' beads can miraculously bring the wearer things that do not actually exist, and so are deemed particularly magical.”
    from page 101 of “Amulets : a world of secret powers, charms and magic” by Sheila Paine Thames & Hudson 2004
    These are the Magic Days!

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  6. Sarah, it was a few years ago. I actually did a blog about it here:
    http://accidentsdohappen.blogspot.ca/
    Thanks everyone for you comments, I think your suggestions are brilliant. We could really get something going here.

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  7. I love Sarah's idea of many many small secret amulets.
    x

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  8. wonderful post, Heather. Love Jean-Pierre's anti-economic-evil amulet, especially the rattle effect.

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