Confusion and doubt have arisen as to the exact stones mentioned by the early writers, owing to their elastic methods of describing all red stones as Rubies, all green stones as Emeralds, and all blue stones as Sapphires ; this confusion has not been lessened by reason of the complexity of the many languages of the East, to say nothing of the artistic liberties taken by modern poets and authors, (who, probably unaware of the necessity for astronomical or astrological knowledge as a basis for the Zodiacal placing of the stones,) have taken our calendar as it stands for the Month stones with such embellishments as their fancy dictated.
The precious stones ascribed to the twelve months of the year were those worn in the breastplate of the High Priest, and it was believed that the Divine revelations obtained by the shining or dullness of the stones in the Urim and Thummim, due to some virtue inherent in them, were indicative as to whether the atonement had been accepted or not.
These twelve stones, engraved with twelve anagrams of the name of God, had a mystic power over the Zodiac, harmonising the twelve Angels and good Spirits who had affinity with the twelve tribes of Israel.
The origin of talismans and Amulets is lost in the obscurity of the ages, but as far back as we can trace human records they are to be found ; the terms Talisman and Amulet have become from indiscriminate use to be considered synonymous, but in his notes the Rev. C. W. King says :
“The meaning of these two words is entirely distinct. Talisman being the conception in the Arabic tongue of the Greek, meaning the influence of a planet, or the Zodiac, upon the person born under the same.
A Talisman in olden times was, therefore, by its very nature a sigil, or symbolic figure, whether engraved in stone or metal, or drawn upon parchment or paper, and was worn both to procure love and to avert danger from its possessor. The latter purpose alone was the object of the Amulet, its Latin signification being to do away with, or baffle, its root being Amalior.
Pliny cites the word as the country-folk name for the Cyclamen which ought to be planted in every human home, because where it is grown poisonous drugs have no power to harm, on which account they call it the flower, Amuletum.”
The belief in them is by no means so universal as in olden times, and to the thoughtful person many of the attributes claimed for them cannot be admitted at the same time, with the growing knowledge of finer forces opening up new powers to mankind and to which we are slowly coming into touch, many people are prepared to admit that there may be some active power in a thought made concrete in the form of a Talisman or Amulet which may be made for some specific purpose, or for particular wear, becoming to the wearer a continual reminder of its purpose and undoubtedly strengthening him in his aims and desires.
Symbols, frequently of a religious nature, have formed the basis of talismans and Charms from earliest times, holding a very important place in the affairs of humanity, for symbolism was a power before civilisation was evolved, and by its recognition of a certain order in physical affairs it was undoubtedly a great factor in the establishment of human laws. In modern religions this law is recognised by the use of each symbol in accordance with the character of ceremonial worship, colour also playing a very important part in the service.
Too frequently one hears a religion condemned as idolatrous because its God or Gods were typified in human or animal form. That it was the virtue the figure represented, and not the figure itself that was venerated, is ignored; but Christians would be indignant if the use of the Lamb and Eagle as symbols in their services caused them to be accused of idolatrous worship of these emblems !
The force of the Spirit behind the symbol is very apparent with regard to the Cross, as may be understood when we think of the martyrs who have endured unflinchingly the most excruciating tortures human brain could devise, holding fast to their faith by this symbol.
The savage had his Totem, which he believed gave him certain virtues, and helped him to success in his combats and in his struggle for existence.
Those who have any knowledge of Astrology and Planetary influences will readily understand the sympathy between any metal, or stone, ruled by any particular planet, and any person coming under the influence of that planet.
In the writing of the philosophers and Alchemists of the Middle Ages directions are given that these talismans should be made, or commenced, under favourable aspects, so that the Work may receive the vitalising rays proceeding from the planet represented.