One of the most powerful forms of Voodoo and African magick is that of the amulet or talisman. This can be used to attract love, life, health, economic well-being and all types of benefit. Moreover, once consecrated, the amulet can be used to protect from spiritual predators and any kind of damage used by opposing dark Voodoo forces.
Since the dawn of man the various regions of African have looked to occult sciences and sacred truths. To this end, esoteric traditions have begun to blend quickly. These may offer tribute to the Gods or to Nature, depending on the various branches of African magick, Palo, Obeah or Voodoo. They may also offer later syncretic traditions; as a result you may find Catholic Saints or other figures in Voodoo amulets and talismans.
Many would consider the making and consecration of Voodoo amulets and talismans one of the most important, but difficult, parts of the practice. As a result, those who were able to consecrate such amulets were often considered the wisest and most important of the practitioners. They were greatly respected and feared, both for their spiritual prowess and their ability to deal with the hidden psychological condition of others.
If we study the different lines that divide these beliefs; Voodoo, Candomble, Palo, Obeah, etc. we often find more similarities than differences. The spirits, histories and rituals are similar or in many cases exactly alike. We also find roots in rituals of ancient African origins, as well as the initial tools intended to help spiritual growth and the realization of personal desires.
Talismans were often created in these ancient rituals, secretly consecrated with the power of a divine entity or spirit. They were used for various purposes from what is now considered “white” Voodoo magic, to finding love, and even harming enemies. Today, many of these ancient ceremonies have been preserved. They are still practiced in Africa today, as is the creation of Voodoo talismans.
In some African nations such as Angola, Nigeria and Dahomey the tribute to spirits – later Saints – was there from the beginning. It was deeply rooted in the culture and liturgy of its people. Among these practices of worship fetishes, charms and dolls were used. This practice of using magical items, now most popularly the Voodoo doll, have gained fans all over the world. These fans are eager to understand and know the rules that govern the spiritual world.
Talismans and amulets have always been a part of the African spiritual tradition. This tradition has not stopped. When Indian and Arab immigrants arrived in Africa they combined their own spiritual practices with African talismanship. And when Africans were stolen as slaves to work in the New World they brought this practice with them, secretly concealing it from their masters and Christian overseers.
Traditionally amulets and talismans were made from wood and clay, shaped to be a medallion worn around the neck. The most traditional amulets are still wood or clay today. However, there are also many effective ones based in metal, glass and other materials. This will depend on the nature of the talisman or amulet.
Generally talismans and amulets were meant to be worn, but other styles were meant to be placed in strategic places. A talisman fashioned to curse another person, a Voodoo doll being the common example, might be most effective if hidden near the target. A talisman to protect or ward away evil may be strategically placed by a door. Aside from these exceptions, it was widely understood that the amulet or talisman would only work if carried on your person. Without being in possession of the amulet you will not gain any benefit, or in the case of a protective amulet, you will be completely vulnerable.