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UK traditional witch, rootworker, folk magic practitioner, barefoot in the grass homesteading type & complimentary holistic therapist.

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Talismans, amulets & charms – Differences, similarities & how to use them.

In various TV programmes, movies and even in some witchcraft and magical literature the terms ‘talisman’, ‘amulet’ and ‘charm’ seem to be used interchangeably and this sadly is incorrect as each item as it’s own meaning and use, but there are similarities and they can be used together (just to make things even more confusing!). So, in order to clear some of these ideas up, I hope this post helps to demystify which one is which and what does what!


Talismans provide the owner with energy, power or other special perks or assistance. Talismans are usually inscribed with, or have written on, words, sigils or symbols. Talismans can be carried or worn and should be charged with your own energy. Talismans are usually made from stone, crystal, metal, gemstone, crystal, leather, paper or parchment so that when the talisman is no longer required, it can be buried to dispose of it.


Amulets are worn or carried (like a talisman) and used for protection. Early civilisations wore amulets and have been wearing them ever since to keep both themselves, their families and their property (such as homes, cars, churches, temples etc) protected from evil, illness or any other negative force. Amulets generally do not have words, sigils or symbols written or inscribed them as the object itself carries the protection when charmed & charged (see below). Amulets were originally made from natural materials or objects such as teeth, gemstones, pine cones or bone, however, these days anything can be used as an amulet as long as you can carry or wear it, jewellery and clothing are most often used. Like talismans, amulets need to be charged with your own energy.


A charm is the blessing or spell added to an amulet or talisman, this was originally a song or words spoken over the item. However these days, the word charm also means an amulet or talisman that is working (in action), the amulet or talisman manifesting itself, the power of the amulet or talisman. For example: If you charge an item to give you good luck (giving your own energy to the item to amplify it’s good luck properties so it gives good luck back to you or the new owner) and then the item brings good luck to someone, the item (amulet or talisman) is working because it has been charmed. This is where the saying ‘works like a charm’ comes from. Charm bags are a combination of this practice (mojo bags if you are from a rootwork/conjure/hoodoo background) as they carry the ingredients to create an amulet or talisman and then a spell is placed onto the bag before giving to the owner who will then also charge it with their own energy. To put it simple, a charm is a spell placed on an amulet or talisman to make it magical and do whatever you need it to do. So know learning this, we also understand ‘lucky charms’. No, not the very brightly coloured breakfast cereal but items that have been associated with good luck. Lucky charms are items, clothing or jewellery often charmed to create good luck around a particular event or situation.

How to charge your amulet, talisman or charm bag

If you have been made, or made yourself, an amulet, talisman or charm bag then you will need to charge it with your energy. If someone else has made your amulet, talisman or charm bag then they have most likely already ‘charmed’ the item by adding a spell to the item, so all you need to do is add your energy.

There are many ways to charge an amulet or talisman; by far the easiest way (and I think the most powerful) is to hold the amulet or talisman in your hand and pour all your positive thoughts, feelings and affirmations into the amulet from your heart. You can simply push the energy from your soul into the item or say a few words over it to boost it, the choice is yours. Personally, I just think positive affirmations in my head and push that energy into the object. Once you feel that the object can no longer take any more energy (and trust me, you will feel it, sounds bizarre, but you will know) then your amulet, talisman or charm bag is ready to use.

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