The Everyday Lore Project

26 April 2020 – Talisman

26 April 2020 – Talisman

Today I found out that I am indeed a witch. Or a rogue. For it is said that only witches and rogues can grow parsley and TA-DA!

In other news, I may have accidentally cocked up the dumb cake and brought down the dreaded direful calamities on myself. I *may* have upticked a comment BTL on an article on St Mark’s Eve (does this break the social media rule given it’s not a live conversation?), and I *may* have let out a millisecond long grunt in response to the cat. That’s why I *may* not have seen any evidence of any wraithlike future husband. So I thought I should take out an insurance policy against said nasties, and make a talisman of protection, just in case.

There are lots of ways to make a talisman but I followed the method set out in Denise Alvarado’s Gypsy Wisdom, Spells, Charms and Folklore. First I needed a smooth black stone. In preparation for this, I’ve been snaffling black stones off the beach. Only all of them turned out to be dark grey once they’d dried off but given I didn’t have a chunk of fruit wood, I went with what I had.

Next I had to wash it in salt water before painting on a resonating symbol. I wanted to find something protective, so settled on a daisy wheel or hexafoil – a circle containing a six petaled flower often found scratched into architectural structures like beams or fireplaces to ward off evil spirits. As well as being associated with protective magic, it’s also said that daisies can also cure boils. Just leaving that there.

Traditionally, a hexafoil is drawn using a compass, which I didn’t have, so I drew round a Bisodol tablet and then went over the outline in red paint (the colour for talisman symbols). But the brush I was using was too thick and my circle looked very scrappy. Persevering, I swapped to dipping my pencil tip in the paint to draw the inner petals. Not much of an improvement but okay.

While that was drying, I made a bag for my talisman out of an old yellow velvet cushion cover. Yellow, because that’s the corresponding colour for Sunday (today), and also yellow to match the head of a daisy. When the symbol was dry I painted over the whole stone with PVA glue to seal it. And while that was drying, I set up the next bit, the blessing bit.

I needed a white cloth to drape over a table. Other than a T-shirt emblazoned with the immortal ‘I have a great pear’ across the chest, the only white material I have is a pillowcase. So I yanked that out of the cupboard, avoiding falling towels, and ran an iron over it. Laying it down, I then set out three white candles in a triangle formation, a bowl of salted water with lavender oil to the right, and a jostick to the left. Once the talisman was dry, I centred it in the triangle and lit everything. 

Then I had to think about my intention for the talisman for a couple of minutes. A couple of minutes is a long time to think about stuff like this. My mind wandered until this talisman wasn’t about protecting me from nasties any more, it was about protecting everyone I loved from nasties. I passed the talisman through the three flames three times (ignoring the smell of singed nails) and then three times through the jostick smoke, before sprinkling it with the salted and oiled water three times. 

I was supposed to do the first invocation while doing the water flick, but forgot, so I quickly went through it while the stone was still wet. But when I came to invoke St Brigid (I feel like we’re old friends now) I felt a bit teary and by the time I’d finished I just wanted to have good cry. I probably should I just stuck with good old solipsism, rather than thinking about the potential consequences of the bigger picture at the moment. The blessing ended with me placing the talisman into its yellow bag and anointing it with olive oil. And then I just sat there for a bit, a little deflated by the anti-climax, before tidying everything away.

Tatty Tracker
I think I’m killing the spuds – lots of yellow and curled leaves. I can’t decide if it’s light, water or temperature that’s doing for them. I might have to disentangle them from the blind and take them elsewhere. 

The Onion Update

The Botanical Briefing
The garlics are well and truly rooted and only the mint has failed to waved hello.


Alvarado, D. (2013) Gypsy Wisdom, Spells, Charms & Folklore, Prescott Valley, Arizona, Creole Moon Publications

King, G. (2016) The British Book of Spells and Charms, London, Troy Books

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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