First of all we should understand the meaning of the words of which we speak. An Amulet, and in this case the closely related term Good Luck Charm, is defined as “an object that protects a person from trouble”, and is a very close relative of the term Talisman, from the Greek, which is translated as “to initiate into the mysteries” and is really part of objects which are intended to bring good fortune and/or protection to its owner. Amulets can be many different things including plants and animals, pendants and rings, statues, coins, drawings, gems or simple stones, or even words spoken on certain occasions, such as Namo Tassa Bhagahato Arahato Samma Sambuddhasa which are used to ward off evil or bad luck.
Talismans and Amulets vary considerably, for example in ancient China it is said that it was great luck to capture a cricket live and keep it in an osier box, while figures of elephants are believed to bring good fortune and money if one “pays” them, hmm?, and in India demons escape from the sound of small bells in the wind.
Protection against supernatural powers has been an important asset for all of recorded history and amulets have always played an important part. Soldiers especially, and others involved in dangerous activities, have traditionally used amulets to increase their luck and ward off evil. Amulets are not just restricted to soldiers or peoples of certain areas or tribes, but they are found all over the world in fairs, museums, shops and homes. Additionally, it is said that in some of the Far East societies the amulets must be prayed over for days by monks to gain their maximum power. There a top of the line amulet may bring in as much as 10,000 baht (300 or more dollars) which may represent a month or more in wages for many Thai’s.
The world may know lucky charms but the Thai’s seem to have the inside track as it seems that practically every Thai has at least one to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck and prosperity. These charms are almost always blessed by monks and are held in very high regard by Thai society. Much of the prestige of the lucky charm is based on factors such as who made it, where it was made, the beauty of the amulet, and its reputation for bringing good luck. In short, although the majority of the people in the world may scoff at the power of the Good Luck Charms and Amulets, millions of people worldwide wear them and believe in their powers.