Beautiful Mystery - the power of symbols
Often, unthinkingly, I reach for the silver pendant that sits flat to my chest, pulling it along the length of its silver chain from side to side, squeezing it between thumb and forefinger to feel the smooth surface on one side, whilst I rub my thumb over the intricately designed surface of the other. Unconsciously I will bring it up to my lips and hold it there while I muse over some thing or another. It is such a natural instinct that it feels as if I cannot think straight without it.
The pendant itself is possibly one of the least expensive pieces I own, but its value, like so many things in life, lies not in its actual worth, but in its mystery and meaning. This pendant is my constant companion, my good luck charm in the form of an intricately worked Hamsa hand, and I wear it as one would wear an amulet – close to my skin and ever-present. It is a symbol of not only prosperity in the traditional sense of the Hamsa - also said to bring its owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune - but it affords me a sense of calm and balance. This talisman has become so entwined in my life that if I ever take it off, I feel slightly bereft of power, like Samson and his hair.
Talismans are not new, actually that is such an extreme understatement that it almost feels redundant, talismans are archaic, as old as time itself. How they have survived intact with their meaning and magic to influence and interact with us through the ages is anyone’s guess – but done it they have.
To be perfectly clear, I do know the Hamsa is only imbued with the belief system that I have attributed to it. And therein lies the beautiful mystery. How do we come to regard symbols, talismans, as beneficial, if not necessary? I mean, seriously, who decided that an eye would ward off evil? And how do we, as rational human beings, attribute an inanimate object, a rock, a crystal, a carved figurine, with such special power that it holds sway over our life and logical thought? By its very definition, a talisman is an object that someone believes holds magical properties, that provide particular power, energy, and specific benefits to the possessor. And that, right there, is the key… that someone believes. Belief is the singular most powerful thought process we have. To believe is to hold hope, to conjure up and create a new reality, to bring in lightness and joy where none may even exist.
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” Nikos Kazantzakis.
It sounds strange, believing in, and investing a simple object with so much power. And perhaps it is, but strangely enough the power of symbols and our faith in them is set to be on the rise - if you ask me that is, and remember I forecast trends for a business. Watching all the signs (the pun was not intended, but necessary), we are set to see a strong revival of symbols in our daily life. Woven into our clothing patterns, brought into our homes, worn around our arms or necks, positioned in our cars, gifted to our loved ones – symbols are set to infiltrate our daily life on a large scale as a direct result of the pandemic and the rising uncertainty it has created in all aspects of our life.
It is part of the human condition that we will seek to find meaning and solace during times of distress and uncertainty, and symbols help us do just this. That is why I predict we will introduce them back into our world on a large scale and sooner, rather than later. And, before you dismiss it as “new age hippy chic” - yet another thing that will be returning by the way - consider that even luminaries such as Coco Chanel sought solace in symbolism. A symbol of everlasting love and devotion, the camellia was said to have been given to Coco by her lover Boy Capel, and has been woven into her story ever since. Or, if that is still too “fashion superficial” for you, consider Bentley, the luxury car company. Those winged statuettes as their hood ornaments and the winged logo itself, are thought to be inspired by Pegasus, the winged horse representing liberty, divine force, and freedom – which would make them an incredible and poignant symbol of the brave and the beautiful that fronts every one of their luxury automobiles.
Trust me. Symbols will re-enter our lives as we struggle with our new reality and strive to believe in a better future, to believe that there is something more than this. We will place faith in the belief that it will all get better, because quite simply what is the alternative?
As Roald Dahl so succinctly stated: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
I, for one, am more determined than ever to find the magic, and never let it go.