Karen Garret de Luna


Amulets and talismans are, essentially, symbols that are worn or are kept close on someone’s person. I have been thinking about the power they carry and what could be the source of that power. Like everything else in human experience, it turns out to be a subtle balance between Nature and Nurture. Or, it could be described as a balance between Divine Will and Free (human) Will.

A decade ago, I was taking a correspondence course with The Ammonite Foundation, an organization set up by a tribe of Egyptians whose worldview has been consistent since the time of the Pharaohs. (They were forced underground for a couple millennia and are now second-class citizens in modern Egypt.) Every month or so, they would mail me a one or two page essay translated from Medu, the language of Ancient Egypt. I was to contemplate the theme of the writings and answer related essay questions.

One of the chapters was on the use of symbols. Even though I was aware of the parallel Ammonite belief that worshipers and deities both gain power through the act of worship, I focused on the power symbols derive from the people who use them. I had noticed that the same, or similar, symbols had different meanings for different groups of people. This is where human consciousness plays a role in assigning meaning and investing a symbol with power.

Furthermore, the groups investing the symbol with power learn to draw from that investment as one does from a savings account. At some point they start feeling proprietary towards the symbol. After all, it their own savings account! Minute differences in proportion or use can define the divisions among people.

Religious and ethnic groups are an obvious example of divisiveness. I once gave my mother a necklace with a pendant cross that was designed by a Jewish friend of mine. Although beautiful, my mother refused to wear it on grounds that it was an “Eastern Orthodox” cross with arms of equal length, rather than the familiar Roman or Maronite Catholic one. You can guess how this affected our relationship!

Balancing the influence of human consciousness is the inherent intelligence of any symbol itself, even commercial logos. Quantum theory posits that everything in the universe is made up of vibration: light, sound and information. Symbols are no exception.

Pictographic writing systems, such as Egyptian hieroglyphs or Chinese characters, convey meaning in a way that bypasses the language centers of the brain. My education with the Ammonite Foundation included attempts to intuitively decipher multiple levels of meaning from a single hieroglyph.

Recently, I received second degree Reiki training from Reiki Master, Pamela Miles. When it came time to introduce us to the esoteric Reiki symbols, seen and used only by Reiki initiates, she invited us to simply gaze and contemplate each one before she discussed their meanings and usage. In this way, we allowed the symbols to reveal their intelligence to us directly. Before we found words to describe their meaning, we felt subtle bodily sensations or distant emotions as a reaction to the symbols.

The Art & Meditation classes I teach utilize both the ability we have to invest symbols with meaning, and the integral messages of the symbols themselves. We start with a guided meditation, bringing us to an expanded state where we can listen for and easily “hear” what our highest purpose is. Each time we do this, we receive a new facet of insight. We maintain the expanded state as we gracefully move into the process of making a collage expressive of that highest purpose, constantly calling up the felt sense, the bodily sensation of that moment of insight. Making the artwork is not so much an exercise in aesthetics as a moving meditation, following guidance as to choice of colors, shapes, placement and so forth. The result is imagery imbued with the vibration of our highest purpose.

The artwork can be used as a reminder of mission and a place to focus our attention. Another aspect of Quantum Theory is the surprising discovery that quantum particles actually wink in and out of existence, depending on whether or not someone is looking for them. In short, where we place our attention actually creates our reality. If we focus on imagery resonant with our highest purpose, chances are good that we will be able to bring it into manifestation.

In conclusion, symbols have inherent meaning and yet are empowered and enriched by the attention and meaning given to them by us. Let us chose our symbols with care and use them with awareness of their ability to define not only ourselves, but also our experience of reality.

P.C. Turczyn