Since the earliest times, people have tried to influence fate or luck or fortune, whatever you want to call it, with charms and amulets. Some of them “work” by sympathetic magic–something represents something else, and gives you the properties of that thing. For instance, the horn that some men wear as a pendant is supposed to bring sexual potency and/or fertility, by association with a ram or bull (and the shape is pretty suggestive, too.)
Others invoke the properties of the stone or charm itself–hardness, strength, the lights within it, etc. And others are representations of a god or goddess or saint, seeking the protection of that spirit or the gifts he or she can bring.
I’ve been thinking about this lately for a number of reasons. I’m working for a small company owned by South Asians, and our office has a number of representations of elephants, and of the Hindu god Ganesha. He is the Hindu lord of success and the destroyer of evils and obstacles, as well as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom, and wealth. No wonder there is a little brass Ganesha in the reception area, on the president’s desk, and little elephants on almost all of the (tiny) cubicles most of us work in. It’s a bit strange to see religious icons in an office in the U.S.
Another reason is that I have been in search of an effective good luck charm for many years. Nothing seems to work for me, perhaps because in my heart of hearts I don’t believe in lucky charms. But as a friend observed to me several years ago, “I think you really believe if you find the right shade of lipstick your life will change.” I said, “It won’t?”
I wish it were that easy. I wish all it took was the right charm or amulet or stone or whatever to make one healthy, wealthy and wise. It does take hard work to be all those things, and often luck or your environment or your genes intervene, for good or ill. All we can do is the best we can, and hope for the best. And I’ll carry the black tourmaline ($5) I just bought a street fair. If it could protect me, cleanse negative thoughts from others, dissipate my own negative thoughts, and relieve stress, I’ll wear it 24/7!