is an object (and in some cases a special gesture or plot) capable of protecting the owner or his property from various kinds of disasters and troubles.

There is no consensus on the etymology of the word “guard”. Some researchers claim that it comes from the root “ber” – so called our ancestors uncontrollable spontaneous spirit, as well as the bear-rod, which is a particular danger to people. It was for Beer’s humility that the amulet was created, harmonizing the surrounding space.

Depending on the origin, the amulets are divided into several types:

• natural (natural) – plants, animals or minerals that initially possess protective features (garlic, thistle, malachite, etc.);
• artificial amulets – objects created by a person carrying any security signs or symbols (the image of eyes or figures of deities, sayings from the Holy Letter, written on a piece of leather or parchment, etc.);
• enchanted charms – items (of natural or artificial origin) that have undergone magical effects, most often not carrying any symbolism;
• live amulets – magic items carrying a specially created or called essence (guardian spirit), are considered to be the most powerful and effective;
• mixed-type charms – combine several of the above properties.

According to the type of influence, amulets are also subdivided into such varieties:

• keepers – preserve and accumulate various qualities or material goods (health, strength, knowledge, money, etc.);
• Advocates – protect a person from any kind of attack, warn of danger, take away the views of envious persons and ill-wishers;
• guides – help to reach any goal in the shortest possible way, find the source of knowledge or information, attract the energy of love and respect for others.

The best amulet is one that can guard against many misfortunes.

Yes, provided that we are talking about a living guard who is really capable of protecting the host from many troubles with the same strength. Other types of amulets are usually designed to protect the owner from problems of one type (for example, from spoilage), and in the case of tuning to several different events, the protective properties are less effective.

In some cases, architectural elements served as amulets.

This is indeed so. For example, apotropes (translated from ancient Greek as “disgusting misfortunes”) were located in the corners of buildings (from the point of view of our ancestors – the most vulnerable places in the building), as well as on the walls, at the entrance (to protect the house from evil that could penetrate through the door ) and on the drain (to protect the building from the wrath of the gods-thunderers). In addition, obezhnye symbols appeared in floor and wall mosaics. Most often the aforementioned amulets were images of the eye, faces or sculptures of the deities (Silenus, Dionysus, Gorgons), phallic symbols, hands whose fingers are folded in a special way. Often you can find apotropes in the form of animal muzzles (griffin – a mythical creature that combines the features of a lion and an eagle, a panther that was part of the retinue of many gods – Dionysus, Aphrodite, Rey-Kibela (later named animals were associated with Jesus Christ)), and in some cases – other parts of the animal’s body (for example, the pillars of the royal throne in ancient Egypt were made in the form of lion’s paws) or sculptural images of real or mythical animals. The same lions, as well as gargoyles or gargoyles (according to legend, the dragon-shaped snake inhabiting the Seine and tamed by St. Romanus was the prototype of this architectural element), sculptured from the stone and located on the corners of the building, guarded by castles and fortresses from enemies, and temples – from evil forces.

Some details of clothes in themselves were amulets.

According to our ancestors, the fabric made on the machine, traditionally decorated with ornamentation of magical significance, was in itself an excellent charm, impenetrable to evil forces. So, the clothes sewn from it, also had protective functions. In addition, shoes of a certain color (most often red) were also considered an amulet. In Ukraine, for example, young boys and girls preferred this kind of boots, which, in their opinion, were not only beautiful, but also protected the owner from the evil eye. Protective functions were also attributed to a wreath consisting of certain colors and trimmed with ribbons (the length of the ribbons must correspond to the length of the girl’s hair), red beads (the more rows of beads – the better) or monsters (coins necklaces).

Clothing items were often decorated with embroidered embroidery.

This is indeed so. Those places where the fabric (which in itself was a charm) ended (hem, sleeves and shirt collar) were considered very vulnerable, because they were abundantly decorated with circular circular embroidery. Most often, it was performed with threads of all shades of red (scarlet, cherry, cranberry, currant, etc.) without first applying a pattern to the fabric (it could only be marked with large stitches) and without nodules on the underside of the product. The motifs of embroidery were selected depending on the gender, the age of the future wearer and the purposes for which she will serve. For example, in order to obtain luck and protection in love affairs, it was necessary to wear clothes decorated with red-orange cross-shaped or round-shaped patterns, and for successful business, embroidery made with threads of golden-green or blue color was suitable.

Not every thread is suitable for embroidery embroidery.

Much depends on what is the purpose of the embroidery and where exactly it will be located. To protect against spoiling and evil eye, cotton threads are suitable, but to solve problems with career and clarify thoughts it is better to use a pattern embroidered with silk. Linen thread, which our ancestors attributed to the ability to inspire peace in the hearts of people, most often embroidered the most ancient symbols (trees, birds, stars, sun). If a man had to be freed from the influence of evil forces, which bring him considerable harm – woolen threads went into action, and embroidery was located at the bottom of the abdomen, the solar plexus, the heart and the collar of clothing. It should be remembered that wool is suitable for embroidering silhouettes of animals, trees, fruits and a symbol of the sun. But the stars and birds are better to embroider with other threads.

Oberegi sometimes defended not only individual houses, but entire settlements.

Yes, red figurines of birds were drawn to protect the house on the shutters; in front of the entrance there were decorative dishes painted with a pattern of red and black, a cross was cut over the entrance to the house (this symbol existed even in pre-Christian times). The stone cross-guard was established from the time before the entrance to the settlement (in the mountainous regions of some countries it was the same function performed by a separately standing large stone, revered as a shrine) – it was believed that evil forces could not enter the village protected in this way.

The function of amulets can be performed by plants and animals.

This is indeed so. For example, wormwood and nettles, hung in the corners of the house and on the windows, according to the herbalists, serve as protection against evil spirits. A wreath of St. John’s wort, placed above the front door or in the kitchen, is a reliable guard against all evil. For the same purpose, a cactus can be placed on the window or opposite the door. And cut into slices of lemon, according to folk beliefs, guarded against failures and shocks. From spoilage and evil eye protects a thistle, longevity bestows aloe, a willow brings love and merriment to the house, black mulberry – good luck in all endeavors, rowan – happiness, immortelle – a long life. A bouquet of wild flowers not only brings good luck, but also negates all the efforts of envious persons and detractors to harm the house and the household.

Some animals also performed the function of amulets. For example, a black cat guarded the house from thieves, thunderstorms and evil eye, the same function was performed by a living in the underground, which the owners often treated to milk. The black goat served as a reliable protection against evil spirits, encroaching on the life and health of various livestock, and the horse helped to establish contacts with the house (only it was necessary to weave a ribbon – a gift to a houseboy – to the tail of a newborn colt). The neighing of a frightened, nulliparous mare, in the opinion of the medicine men, could heal the infant from fright.

A protective action can perform some actions or conspiracies.

With the help of conspiracies you can protect yourself from any trouble – you just need to know when a conspiracy is being read and what actions are followed. In addition, according to our ancestors, some actions can also become a good amulet. For example, from troubles can guard a triple spitting through the left shoulder, tapping on wood, fig or crossed fingers. To protect yourself from the negative impact of a black cat running across the road, you can hold on to the button of your own clothes, and to protect the newborn from harm helped bypassing the house with a heated iron object (knife, scissors, forceps, etc.) The ceiling and all corners of the room where the baby was.

In ancient times, objects of worship as amulets were not used.

Only during the period of Russia’s violent baptism, the sacred objects of the new religion were used by the former pagans as ornaments, thus expressing their protest against Christianity. This is not quite true. It should be remembered that, firstly, our ancestors in all ages used sacred objects as talismans worn on the body or on clothes. Secondly, any decorations (temple rings, rings, earrings, bracelets, etc.) were originally talismans, had a certain sacred meaning, and only later they were positioned as ornaments.

The talismans in antiquity were divided into masculine and feminine.

This is indeed so. In Russia, women often wore the figure of a horse (symbol of wisdom, happiness and goodness) framed by a circular ornament (the symbol of the Sun) as a guard. This amulet was fixed on a chain at the left shoulder, and often adjoined with images of waterfowl (geese, ducks, swans), also associated with the worship of the Sun. According to the beliefs of our ancestors, it was these birds that were harnessed to the chariot of Dazhdbog. In some cases, these images were replaced by one that combines the features of a horse and a bird, or round pendants that symbolize the solar disk and in some cases adorned with a cross (in pagan times it was the symbol of the Sun). In addition, women’s amulets were considered various images of household items (combs, keys, scoops, spoons, etc.) that helped to increase order and prosperity in the house, as well as moonlight suspension, made in the form of a crescent of silver (pure or in alloy with tin) and decorated with a triangle (the symbol of the goddess Mary) or crosses and dots (symbols of the Sun). This amulet was closely related to fertility. Exclusively male charms were considered symbolic images of various weapons (knives, swords, spears, etc.). But the image of the hatchet (the symbol of Perun) could be worn by representatives of both sexes.

In ancient nations, even toys played the role of amulets.

Yes, and some of them were not given to children, using only during the performance of certain rituals. For example, “krupenichka” (“grain”) – a doll full of grain, bringing prosperity and satiety, was surrounded by the reverence of the whole family and was kept in the red corner of the hut. The Vepp doll (“rvanka”, “cabbage”) was made, like many other ceremonial dolls, without needles and scissors, both for children (as a guard against spoiling) and for adults. Girls on vydanie put such a doll on the window (a sign to the guys that this girl can be wooed).There was a Vepp doll amulet and a married female wet nurse. The swaddling doll protected little children from the evil eye, and was also used during the wedding ceremony (she was put on her knees as a guardian, increasing her maternal strength). The doll-girl was made by a young girl, and was kept in a secret place, far from human eyes. Our ancestors endowed this doll with the ability to fulfill desires on condition of observing a simple ritual: it was necessary to sew a bead or button with a doll’s dress, and then bring a mirror to her face, praise the beauty and ask for what she wanted. Dolls-kubyshek, in the head, the pens and the hem of which coins are wrapped, they gave for Christmas, so that money in the house were kept. Couple dolls were used in love magic (these dolls were given by the girl in the hands of the beloved, and then combined together in a certain way – this promised harmonious marital relations). Ash dolls (from mixed with water ash from the hearth and pieces of tissue) could be both children’s toys, and ritual amulets. Such a doll in the form of a mother and a swaddled child was given during the wedding ceremony to the bride and groom – it was believed that in this case they would have many healthy children. In some cases, the dolls-amulet were made from wood (Pannochka and Panok) and were a symbol of fertility and prosperity. It should be noted that such ritual dolls did not have a face – it was believed that a doll with facial features noted in some way acquired a soul, and became just a toy, not a powerful amulet. An exception is a face drawn by a slanting cross from threads (a sign of fertility placed on the face of a doll and thus inscribed in a circle is a symbol of the Sun).

Bread and salt are strong preserves.

Since ancient times, bread has been revered as a symbol of abundance and wealth, given to people by God. From how a person relates to bread, his well-being and luck depended on much. According to our ancestors, bread is able to protect on the way, to protect from a thunderstorm, hail (to prevent these disasters the bread had to be taken out into the street), a fire (a burning house had to be bypassed with bread in hand or thrown into the fire), and also a good amulet for a small child (so they put bread next to the newborn). Protective magical properties were also given to the utensils used during the preparation of bread (a bowl for kneading dough, a shovel), and also an oven. Salt, according to folk beliefs, had the ability to protect from evil forces, and was often used (both separately and together with bread) in many ritualistic activities (bridal, baptismal, funeral, etc.).

Also, many people made ritual cookies, which acted as a guard. For example, larks (“birds”, “tsivilyushki”) were baked on March 22 and distributed to children who ran with these “birds” through the streets, calling birds and spring. In the Murmansk region were popular so-called. “Roe” – cookies made of flour, water and salt, made in the form of various figures (depending on the goal). For example, roe deer in the form of a bear or a rider bring luck and success, goat-birds (teters) bestow happiness in family relationships, deer figures preserve friendly or love relationships, and drive away evil spirits. “Crosses” (“sacrificers”) were baked for many holidays, but special significance was attached to baking at the Epiphany. The hosts carefully looked at the finished liver: if the cross is well poured, it has an even color – health and success are ensured. Fractures and cracks were signs of future difficulties, and if the product was not roasted or burned, it promised sorrow, illness and misfortune (in this case, the failed baking was given to the birds).

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