An embroidered talisman: how does it work?

This time I want to share with you my humble experience of creating a handmade talisman. This is quite a broad topic that requires careful and attentive discussion if you want your talisman to work properly. Some people spend lives exploring this amazing world of secret symbols, mascots as well as techniques used to create them.

Here, in Ukraine, where I come from, women created sacred talismans for their households, beloved husbands and children using embroidery.

Clothing that they sew and decorated with embroidered symbols truly protected their families and themselves. By the age of 15 or 16 years old girls learned to do the embroideries, understand the pagan symbols that encrypted special meaning into embroidery patterns, and of course create their own patterns. Definitely, you could not use the patterns designed to relieve child’s teething when decorating beloved man’s shirt. Symbols used in married woman’s clothes could not be used for little girls’ dress decoration unless girls shirt was made of the old cloth of her mother (this is a whole another story though). Any women had to learn this art of arranging specific symbols into a harmonic meaningful embroidery pattern designed to protect, heal, and keep safe its wearer.

But lets get closer to my personal experience. I’ve first decided to do a talisman embroidery, when a close friend of mine complained she can’t get pregnant. She and her husband are both healthy, however, in 5 years of married life they couldn’t conceive a child.

By then I’ve already gave birth to my first daughter. I remembered I’ve heard once that a fertile woman can share this blessing with any other women if she wants. Usually, you were to present that woman a special gift (a doll, some piece of the clothing, etc.) along with your best wishes for her to conceive a child. The first thing I thought of was a special embroidery for my friend. Internet helped. On a specialized forum I’ve found lots of cross stitching patterns designed to help women get pregnant. In Ukrainian pagan tradition this is a symbol of Rozhanica, Mother Lada, giving birth to her daughter Lielya.

cross stitch pattern of Lada giving birth to Lielya

The first thing that stopped me was the warning that ladies from the mentioned above forum gave me. The matter is that before creating talismans for others woman must create one for herself.

Traditionally, for this reason women embroidered the symbol or image of Makosh, the ancient pagan goddess of luck, fate and fertility, the patroness of needlewomen and their household. This talisman is supposed to alleviate the transmission of internal powers, moreover, supply these powers or open the gate to supernatural for the woman who is intended to embroider talismans for her family and friends.

The second important thing that happened then is the internal feeling that I’m touching the kind of mystery, that requires determination and real serious approach. If you do this cherished embroidery without a real belief that this can work for you, then why do it at all? On the other hand, if you do have this belief that Makosh or Mother-Earth, whom my ancestors worshiped as the most ancient and powerful goddess, can help you with her motherly energy, then be serious about what you do. Anything can matter. I had a feeling that I’m about to reveal myself to Makosh by starting this embroidery, and the way this relationship will develop depends on how well I’ll be able to cope with this job.

So I tried to do everything right. I read, read, and again read what others said I was supposed to do before starting and during the working process. The more I learnt, the more frustration I experienced. I couldn’t even find reliably correct decryptions of all symbols in the cross stitch patterns women used to create this Makosh talisman. Internet was full of contradictory instructions about embroidering talismans. Moreover, despite the variety of cross stitch patterns with the image of this ancient goddess, I didn’t really like any of them. I spent a few months learning the subject and finally made up my mind.

I thought that if I ask Makosh for her protection and help, this should be done in a way that I personally find appropriate in communicating my humble request to her. My embroidery had to start this dialogue between us.

Through the major symbols used by my ancestors I was intended to detect and reach the waves of Makosh’s energy in the enormous space of this universe. I was excited and little worried whether she would be pleased with my work and whether she would grant me her protection. When this thought of what I expect from doing this embroidery matured, I finally felt at ease. I grabbed the piece of paper and did my own, very simple, but very meaningful to me cross stitch pattern. I decided to make a small bracelet with this embroidery to wear while doing the needlework.

At the moment I’ve finished the image of Makosh surrounded with the ornament of her repeated symbols. I’m also half way to finish the background. When I finish it, I’ll start a talisman for my husband and another one for my friend who wants to get pregnant. I will definitely share with you the results.

Stay tuned!

To learn more about sacred ornaments and symbols in the embroidery, see other articles.


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