August 28, 2011

Amulets, Talismans & Magical Jewelry by Barbara Black Koltuv

Amulets, Talismans & Magical Jewelry by Barbara Black Koltuv is a look into the magical use of magical items that people have been using since ancient times. Some of the jewelry you wear right now may even have links to these magical items.

Book Description
The second commandment of the Old Testament forbids the making of idols to represent God. However, since human beings have always needed a direct and personal connection to the divine, a way is provided in Exodus when God says, "Make a sanctuary for me and I will come to dwell among you." God goes on to give instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant--the first tribal amulet, not yet personal but still representing the presence of God. From there, amulets, talismans, and magical jewelry evolved to provide a personal connection to God.

Koltuv has collected bits of scripture describing amulets and talismans and features pictures of her extensive collection of these protective and magical treasures. It's all here: glass beads for protection against the evil eye; the mezuzah found on door frames; the hamsa, or upraised hand; engraved pendants and tiny boxes containing special prayers; Aron's breastplate; the prayer shawl and teffilin; henna hand and foot painting; and amulets from the Sepher Rezial. As visually fascinating as these objects are, how they came into use is even more so.

Koltuv revives an awareness of how many of the objects we wear and carry with us without a second thought are actually magical bridges between heaven and earth.” – Amulets, Talismans & Magical Jewelry

My Thoughts
Amulets, Talismans & Magical Jewelry is a fully colored book that blends history and mystery together. Not all of the magical jewelry worn by ancient peoples is fully known as of why they wore what they wore. However, they did believe that special amulets, talismans and jewelry could be used to help protect them or attract certain things to them.

This book does a beautiful job of both showcasing these items, and also explaining the known history behind their uses. My favorite part was about the usage of gemstones in ancient times. I knew quite a bit about it before reading this book, but I also learned new things from this one as well.

Overall, if you love history and mystery, this would be a really interesting read for you to immerse yourself in for an afternoon. I recommend it to all those who want to take that journey.

* Thank you to the publisher of Amulets, Talismans & Magical Jewelry, Weiser Books, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Sarah said...

Does it explain how to make them?

Sheri said...

Sadly, no. :( It is still a great book to know more about the history of them though.