Drawing on his private collection of medieval manuscripts as well as his privileged access to the rare book archives of major European universities, Claude Lecouteux provides a comprehensive history of the use of talismans and amulets for protection, healing, and divine influence. He explores their use in the Western Mystery Tradition as well as Eastern and Middle Eastern beliefs about these magical objects and their incorporation--despite Church anathema--into the Christian tradition of Medieval Europe. Reviewing many different kinds of amulets and talismans used throughout the ages, such as a rabbit’s foot, horseshoe, gris-gris bag, or an inscribed parchment charged through ritual, he details the principles and symbology behind each object and shows that their use is still as widespread today as any time in the past.
Lecouteux explains the high magic behind the hermetic art of crafting amulets and talismans: the chains of sympathy, astrological geography, and the invocations required to activate their powers. He explores the work of adepts such as Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Athanasius Kircher, including an in-depth look at Kircher’s work on planetary seals in his Oedipus Aegyptiacus.
Illustrated throughout with period art depicting magical symbols, seals, and a wide array of talismans and amulets, this comprehensive study provides a practical guide to the historical development and step-by-step creation of magical objects.