A Talisman for Travelers

First things first: the plural of “talisman” is “talismans,” not “talismen” as I hoped it would be.

When traveling, you learn to abandon expectations for things to go as planned or anticipated. I’m not being snarky or a Debbie Downer, it’s just the way things are. You like one place a lot, so you linger. You don’t like another, so you need to fill time. There’s weather and traffic and getting lost.

When traveling full-time, you may turn to alternative powers for support and safety and just plain recognition that it’s not all up to you. My talismans are many. Some I brought, most were gifts. All give me joy and comfort–even if I don’t understand them.

A Prayer for Travelers

 

travelers prayer

This is a Jewish prayer that protects from robbers and wild beasts on the road, and delivers you to your destination in peace. Every jaunt, including to the grocery store, starts with me reading this prayer. Sometimes a skim, others deliberate and slow. Sometimes in my head, others out loud. I love the ritual, owning my responsibility, and the release of everything being in my control. Read the whole prayer here (scroll down a bit for the English; it’s in Hebrew first).

Protecting Car and Home

Pulling again from Jewish tradition, both my car and trailer have a mezuzah (meh-zoo-zuh). Put on the door frame, it brings long life and protects members of the home. Many people kiss it as they enter and exit a room–recognizing that the space is not only ours.

mezuzah

Typically, you say a prayer when hanging the mezuzah. But since my trailer/home is not in a permanent place, I could hang it, but not say the prayer. Judaism is wonderfully complex.

car mezuzah

The car mezuzah has a different scroll inside. Instead of the Bible passages in the home mezuzah, this has the Travelers Prayer, mentioned in the section above.

Warding off the Evil Eye

evil eye

A Middle Eastern superstition shared by Turks, Greeks, Jews and many others, this blue eye watches out for evil spirits who may try to interrupt your plans or send harm your way. Carrying it around is an amulet of sorts, and if the glass bead breaks, it means that the harm was absorbed by the charm instead of coming directly to you. In the Middle East you’ll see doors or door frames painted blue, also to ward off evil.

This is my third charm for the trip: one broke, one fell off, and then I went to this enormous one so I wouldn’t lose another. Sure, yucky things have still happened while carrying it, but perhaps they would have been worse?

Gifts from Strangers

I am overwhelmed and grateful for the unsolicited help people have offered me on this trip. Filling my tires, teaching me about camping, loaning me a sled.

Beyond these incredible kindnesses, are the folks who give me a token that is important to them. Often I don’t believe in the entity to which they ascribe, but that doesn’t matter. They want to share in my trip, protect me, and honor my adventure.

Many people have said prayers for me. They are specific in saying that it’s for safe adventure, not mere safety. An important distinction and insight into their souls that they perceive it.

A devout Christian woman gave me a prayer pouch. Our beliefs are so different, yet likely at the core so much the same. She wears her faith on her sleeve; I wear mine on the sleeve of a shirt beneath a shirt. I wrote my prayer on a piece of paper and tucked it into the pouch, much like at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and now carry it in my wallet.

prayer pocket

Another woman gave me both an angel for clarity and a crystal. I don’t know what to do with a crystal, so please guide me. The angel hangs on the door, along with other treats from the trip: postcards of beloved places, art that I made, special notes.

angel

crystal

A Little Patriotism

My Patriotism has nothing to do with politics, although politics allow me to have exactly the kind of Patriotism that is meaningful to me. To me it’s about the glory and humor and life of this country. So I put out a flag at every stop.

flag

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Do you carry a talisman or good luck charm?
If so, what and why that item?

8 Responses

02.08.13

Each crystal has unique benefits depending on what you need or want. I carry reikiorgone discs which have many different stones / crystals in them and I do believe help to keep me on a higher plane (more positivity etc).

Any should we call it a taliswoman?

Jef – yes, yes we should call it a taliswoman.
How do I keep the crystal? Right now it’s in a plastic bag waiting for me to learn. Do I carry it? Put it by my bed? Put it in the car?

02.08.13

My talisman – OK, talisperson? — is a big dark blue, clear marble with a thin metal band around the circumference. On the band are inscribed the words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” My Dad gave it to me when I was a teenager. It had been in his jewelry box since before I was born, and as a little kid, I loved being around when he opened the box so I could play with it. He told me the message was a distillation of the 10 commandments and all of the religions of the world. My Dad just celebrated his 90th birthday and he still follows the golden rule. I’m still practicing, but maybe I’ll get it by the time I’m 90.

Jeannine – beautiful, on so many levels. the history, the meaning, the design, your aspirations.

02.08.13

Jeannine may think she’s “practicing”, but she’s got the concept nailed. Lovely to know you fly the flag. Saying the pledge on those rare occasions when it still happens dampens my eyes while lifting my spirits. Kudo to you for all the spiritual ways of staying safe. Mace is also helpful.

Paula: Hope the Mezuzot you mentioned in your post are the ones we gave you before you left! Glad all is well with you and that you are still having fun!
Looking forward to your safe return! Harriet and Bo

Harriett, indeed they are! Thanks for the gift!

02.08.13

I don’t but maybe I should! I stored my rig for a week a few years back & was broken in to. My mom did leave an angel ornament hanging on a a cabinet a while back. She swears it looks like it is flying when we are moving. 🙂

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