#1 - February 2017 - Omamori and Ofuda
Omamori & Ofuda: A Japanese Model for Talismans
Featured Talisman: Arabic Regulus Talisman
Omamori & Ofuda: A Japanese Model for Talismans
It's interesting, therefore, to see a different model for talismans in action in Japan. The major forms of spirituality in Japan are Buddhism and Shinto. Shinto is the native Japanese spirituality whose major focus are the kami, spirits that inhabit all things. Anything exceptional can be seen as the seat or dwelling place of the kami. Almost immediately after the reception of Buddhism in Japan in the 6th century AD, Shinto and Buddhism began a very fruitful synthesis, that continued to this day, albeit with an unfortunate attack on Buddhism in the Meiji Era (19th century). If you go to a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple you can buy omamori, which are talismans of the shrine or temple. They are not surprisingly for wealth, love, safety, success at tests, typical mundane goals. What is interesting is that selling talismans is not considered to be the main function of the shrine or temple, rather the shrine or temples exist as a place to be in the presence of the kami and of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas abd other Buddhist entities and to venerate them. Certainly the material benefits of the kami and Buddhist entities are a major draw, but the deeper spiritual ptentialities are not entirely submurged.
Omamori are typical sold in small brocade pouches. Apparently inside the pouches are paper or wooden talismans that are similar to Taoist fu, written talismans. I say apparently because you are not supposed to open up the pouch! You can see a very typical example of a traditional omamori from the Osaka Tenmangu at the top of this article. This omamori is, I am told, for the fulfillment of wishes.
Whatever the shape or form, the power of omamori stems from the presence of the spirit in the omamori. The next step up from omamori are ofuda. Ofuda again come in both Buddhist and Shinto versions and are typically rectangular plaques of wood, that are written on and wrapped in paper. While you can carry around omamori and hang them from your car mirror or even cell phone, ofuda should ideally be kept on an altar. You can see my kamidana (kami altar) here with three ofuda enshrined in it. The middle ofuda is of Inari from Fushimi Inari Taisha, the right hand ofuda is of the magician/onmyojin Abe no Semei and the left ofuda is the Kamo kami from Kamo Shrine. All of these are Shinto shrines in Kyoto. These contain the kami of these shrines and need to be treated respectfully. I burn candles daily along with my other altars and do periodic offerings of water, sake, rice and salt.
The next higher step above ofuda is bunrei or a divided spirit. A kami is analogized to a candle flame and can be divided and then enshrined at a new location. Inari O-kami, the kami of rice and now good fortune, has had the greatest number of bunrei, literally tens of thousands. Essentially with a bunrei you have a small, but full Shinto shrine and thus you need to do an even higher level of ritual and have a more elaborate altar and shrine enclosure or altar. I'm not quite ready for my own Inari bunrei!
What's useful about Japanese omamori and ofuda is that they give us a living example of how to work with spirits enshrined in physical objects. This provides a complete different framework for using and relating to talismans than considering them spiritual "batteries" and also provides a way to go beyond merely using talismans to accomplish one's egoic material goals while acknowledging that they can indeed be of assistance for wealth, health, etc.
Featured Talisman: Arabic Regulus
First Regulus, along with Spica, is one of the most benefic fixed stars. This is a great Solar type talisman as Regulus is Cor Leonis, the Heart of Leo, perfect for someone who needs Solar energy but who has Sun in Libra or Aquarius in their natal chart. I also like the honor, succcess and in particular the moderating effects of Regulus.
P lus this is a gorgeous design with the Regulus lion image drawn in Arabic calligraphy. Not only my Sufi background, but also the current atmosphere of fear and hatred makes me very happy we can bridge the artificial political chasm and offer the power of Arabic astrological talismans, particularly given the real debt medieval and Renaissance astrology and astrological magic owes to Arabic astrologers and sources.
Check out all the Renaissance Astrology currently available talismans or currently available pentacles or currently available magic mirrors. To access these links use your esoteric student username and password or
Please Contact me with any Questions & Comments
Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.
Copyright 2017, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.