Talismans and Magic

Today’s Music: Lindsey Buckingham
A talisman (from Arabic طلسم Tilasm, ultimately from Greek telesma or from the Greek word “telein” which means “to initiate into the mysteries”) is an amulet or other object considered to possess supernatural or magical powers. (Source – Wikipedia)

Lets talk about magic.
Not the kind where you teleport yourself from home to work so you can stay in bed later. And not the kind that bends the evil starbucks lady to your will.
Lets talk about the other kind – the kind that anchors you to this life, that gives you strength to endure and even beat the challenges of the day. The kind that reminds you of who you are.
I have several talismans like that. Most of them I keep with me all the time. Despite the fact that none of them look the same, and that some of them are replaceable for a few dollars, all of them have special meaning to me.
Join me for the tour, would you?…
From Club Med
This is my Club Med dive token. It entitled me to up to 5 dives during my stay there in October ’97.
My old boss sent me there as thanks for putting in an ungodly amount of work in a short period of time when we built our second restaurant. I went, planning on lying on the beach, drinking way too much. but my friend Ace, who came along for the trip (and picked out all my clothes, thank goodness) wanted to take the PADI Open Water Diver course, and convinced me to do it with her. Diabetics are not supposed to get certified to dive. So I never did, even though it was really high on my list. But Ace was lying on the form anyway (we both smoked over a pack a day), and said I should too.
So after thinking long and hard about it (at least a minute), I filled out the form, checked NO for the questionable stuff, and learned to dive.
It. Was. Fantastic. One of the smartest moves I ever made, lying on that form.
The token was needed to get on the Club Med boat to go out to the dive site. Afterwards, I could have thrown it out, or returned it, but I kept it. I found myself looking for it late at night and getting comfort from holding it, remembering how much fun Ace and I had, and it reminding me that sometimes it was important to break the rules. And that sometimes the rules were stupid.

I put it on it’s cord shortly after that trip, and with the exception of maybe 15 to 20 days, it’s been around my neck ever since. I don’t wear it out, I don’t talk about it, but every so often, when I’m about to do something out of my comfort zone, I give it a quick pat and get the strength I need to do whatever it is, because I’m a diabetic who learned to scuba dive on a whim. So I can do anything…

Ever since I “borrowed” my sisters guitar all those years ago, I’ve wanted to be able to play it. Still want to bee able to play it.
I can make some nice phrases, keep time, stay in key. But I’m not a great player, might never become one.
But I’ve been at a long time. Probably longer than I’ve pursued anything so far. And it’s always been there for me.
I keep that pick in my wallet. Sometimes it gets changed out for another, but there is always a guitar pick there.
It’s magic is that it carries with it tenacity, perseverance.
It reminds me that I may not get there, but sometimes trying is just as important.

And the most important talisman, that I draw an awful lot of gris-gris from,

This is my wedding ring. It’s white gold. On the inside of by my wife’s and my rings is incscribed (in Hebrew) “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”.
By the time we went for the ceremony, we had been together for many years. We got married in large part for the legal benefits and standing, which are stronger than common law.
So the ring isn’t what married us, but it is a physical token of the bond between us. (It’s also fun to clink them together to activate our “Wonder Twin powers”!)
I spin my ring around my finger. I clack it against my desk. And I rarely take it off. Because it is a tangible reminder that it there is someone out there who is relying on me, who trusts me, and who thinks I am worth it.
When I feel overwhelmed by responsibility, I spin my ring. I like having that reminder always there. It reminds me of who I am, and who I can be. And that I am trusted and loved by the most wonderful girl in the universe.
And there’s a heck of a lot of power in that.
Magic power, even.

17 responses to “Talismans and Magic

  1. This is a great post!

    I have a rock–clay or siltstone, almost perfectly spherical and smooth, about the size of a robin’s egg. I picked it up off the ground one day when I was very lonely. I’d been in a bad place for several weeks and away from my family. (I don’t just mean “in a bad place” figuratively, but literally… a bad geographical location.) I cleaned the dust off of it and carried it around all day as I thought about my loved ones half a world away and looked for ways to pull myself out of that lonely funk.

    The same thing happened 2 or 3 years prior when I was on my way home from a similar trip but got stranded and became hungry, lonely, and generally distressed. That time, I picked up a small, rusty, bent nail and carried it with me until I finally arrived home.

    Years later, I still have both items. I enjoy handling them, and they’ve been rubbed smooth by my fingers. I don’t carry them every day, but I turn to them sometimes to remind me how low I’ve sunk on occasion and how everything worked out–how good I have it now.

    These talismans are truly magic. A small rock, a dive token, a guitar pick, or anything with strong personal meaning can be powerful and effective. They don’t carry some mystical black magic, but an even more useful kind of magic for the individual.

    I wonder how many people have items like these… probably most of us.


    • I think you’re right, that most people have mementos, keepsakes, things everything else would consider junk that have significance to them.
      I’ve always found the what/why stories fascinating, and helpful in understanding the people connected to them.


  2. OK, I think this is my favorite post so far. Both interesting and beautiful.
    “sometimes it was important to break the rules. And that sometimes the rules were stupid.”
    “It reminds me that I may not get there, but sometimes trying is just as important.”
    “Because it is a tangible reminder that it there is someone out there who is relying on me, who trusts me, and who thinks I am worth it.”

    I have a few myself. I bought a necklace with a triquetra, a celtic symbol for unity and balance. Mind, body and spirit; past, present and future; power, intellect, love; thought feeling and emotion…you get the idea. I wear it when I feel I need more balance and I play with it like you do your ring. It reminds me my of what I’m striving for.

    I have a gold coin with a tiger on the face of it. It was given to me by someone who’s no longer in my life anymore. He told me never to forget that I’m a tiger (chinese birth year). I carried it in my pocket when I went for a job interview and nailed it. It reminds me that I’m stronger than I think but for obvious reasons I can’t carry it around with me everywhere. The person who gave it to me almost crapped their pants when they found out I had been carrying it around in my purse.

    I also have something that I’m not really sure what it is. It looks like some sort of nut or seed but it’s not symetrical. (I should research this). It was smooth and shiny when I got it and my grandma told me it was good luck. I don’t believe in ‘good luck’ but it helps me to feel closer to her and brings me a sense of comfort when I hold it.

    That was almost a whole damn post, sorry.


  3. Pingback: Frame of Mind | Guapola

  4. whiteladyinthehood

    Guapo, that is a beautiful post!


  5. This is absolutely beautiful. I am so touched by what you wrote about your wedding ring, dawwww. 🙂


  6. I love this and I love that you have Talismans and I love that you scuba dived even though you’re a diabetic. I’m not surprised that your boss gave you that trip. I’m glad there’s people like you in the world.


  7. You can certainly see your skills in the work you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    All the time follow your heart.


  8. They are beautiful, Guap. =) Meaningful and such a representation of where and how you acquired them. =) I love that you included your ring… the perfect way to end your post. =)


    • Thanks. It was good to reread the post.
      And I still have all three of those items on me, even though i don’t think about the two besides the ring as often anymore.


  9. Very interesting post, I’m not sure why I missed it but I’m glad I can read it now. The most valuable things don’t have to be expensive, as you prove once again. This was really nice to read, and I’m glad you found someone so wonderful as your girl :).


Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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