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The Art and History of Talismans

Hosted by the Golden Dome School

April 10, 2021

Playback available here

Astrology, magic and art have historically been deeply intertwined, and this class will explore these histories through the lens of talismans. Talismans are objects charged with the will of its creator, using symbolic material correspondences and consecrated in harmony with celestial timing to effect change on the earthly plane. While talismans are practical in nature — they can be used as protection from harmful forces, or to draw one’s desire close — they are also imbued with symbolic properties which allow them to transcend categories of functional, aesthetic, and magical objects. We will look to the varying but often overlapping metaphysical systems that informed their evolution through history and the many forms they took: from amulets and jewelry, to clothing, to cast metal objects; from those that were worn on the body, to those that were installed permanently in buildings, to those which were buried underground.

We will explore contemporary approaches to talismanic creation informed by a syncretic understanding of their cross-cultural histories, and participants will be offered a guide to developing a personal approach to talismanic creation informed by the astrological, magical, and folk traditions that have evolved since their ancient beginnings. Ultimately these objects, which lie at the intersection of art, magic, and healing, can be created to draw down celestial powers into tangible forms, and act as discreet emanations of reverence for the interconnectedness between the physical and immaterial realms.