The Materiality Of Protection Amulets In Early Modern Switzerland

If you buy an amulet today, chances are you’ll stumble across decorative jewelry. Often these pieces are circular, and pieces with Kabbalistic symbols or runic letters are especially popular. The term ‘amulet’ is described as a “piece of jewelry that some people wear because they think it protects them from bad luck, illness, etc” in the OED. However, when it comes to modern front protection practices, the effectiveness of an amulet depends on both the manufacturing process and the materials and ingredients used. There are two significant differences between the interpretation and application of contemporary and early modern amulets: First, in early modern Europe, amulets were not only carried around as heirs. but also attached to the house or buried in the doorway. Second, amulets are often used to protect valuable pets against diseases believed to be caused by supernatural agents. amulets and objects (people, animals, houses) that need protection. As I discuss below, commonly used materials include herbs, plants, foods, words (both spoken and written), and time. For example, it is believed that gathering plants at a certain time of day or on a holiday enhances the power of the amulet. The 18th-century notebooks are still preserved in the State Archives of the canton of Berne, Switzerland thanks to early 20th-century collectors and folklorists. Unfortunately, these books are difficult to find. to stay updated and connect with specific authors, owners, and users. However, comparisons with court documents show that amulets were commonly produced and applied during the early modern period. For example, during a trial in Basel 1719, a folk healer named Friedrich Fritschi defended himself for placing witch hazel bars underneath windows as a way to protect his homeowners from a ghost. .[i] Although we don’t know much about these books, the recipes and arrangement of the guides provide valuable insights into contemporary relevance and ideas about their effectiveness. those practices and artifacts. For example, instructions on how to make amulets were written with suggestions for how to keep rats from eating cheese, suggesting that the production of amulets against the forces of evil belonged to the business of looking after the family. daily family (Hauspflege).Basic materials and ingredients of the amulet: linen, wire, rods, plants, salt and bread. Source. E. Szarka Now let’s move on to an example that illustrates the concepts that underlie the effectiveness of the amulet: Read more: how to convert diablo 3 characters from ps3 to ps4To insert into houses and barns in case of a foulTake some good vine, sticks, melissa, brown periwinkle, bread and salt, [and bind] everything together in three holy names  with a string. Make as many as you want and drill [a hole] in both the barn and above the doors and sills. Put a small wrap in each hole and say, “In the name of God, I put you in here”.[ii]This guide describes the three main manufacturing steps required to ensure the effectiveness of the original modern amulet. First, everyone needs to collect the listed ingredients and ingredients. Certain plants are often said to have inherent power against evil forces, such as hazelnuts. Salt and communion bread – ritual and ceremonial blessings (called “sacraments”) – are ingredients that reappear in these types of recipes. Manufacturers sometimes also use or add pieces of paper with bible verses to the amulet to enhance its effect. Second, one has to mix materials and ingredients, form a bundle and tie it with a rope. Finally, the amulet must be applied accordingly. It can be attached to an animal’s neck, to a door, buried in a doorway, or hidden in a hole drilled above a house to prevent evil entities from entering. People consider it highly effective to utter sacred words both in production and in application.2 ratioHoles drilled in wooden beams for amulets found in an 18th-century house in the Basel countryside, State Archives of the State of Basel-Land, SL 5250.5024. Source: E. Szarka As we have seen, the collection of materials and ingredients, the manufacture and application of amulets are considered successive steps necessary to accumulate divine power. Elements are inherently powerful or sacred in the liturgical context. Language, both spoken orally in these three steps or added in the form of a sheet of paper, forms the essential physical ingredients to enhance the effectiveness of the amulet as it wields divine power. Similarly, lead time can play an important role. For example, a person must collect plants or apply amulets on a particular holiday or a sacred time of the day. Time, like language, acts as a “material” component of divine power that can be transferred to the amulet through specific production circumstances. Once applied to homes or animals, these effective little packs containing both visible and invisible matter provided a metaphysical shield to unseen forces.[iii], the first modern people believed that the world was covered by many invisible forces. Dealing with constant supernatural attacks from spirits and witches is required for specific remedies. Women and men tried to solve and manipulate the supernatural sphere with elaborate rituals recorded in recipe books. The practices involved in making amulets reveal different concepts of causality in the physical and metaphysical worlds. Above all, they reflect a concrete understanding of matter, according to which certain plants and animals, as well as language and time, contain powers which man can accumulate, enhance and move to other materials, places and organisms to preserve their habitats.[i] State Archives of the State of Basel, Criminalia 4, 22.Read more: how to get the mini mida . tool[ii] The State Archives of the State of Berne, DQ 888, translated from the original German by E. Szarka.[iii] Eveline Szarka, Sinn für Gespenster. Spukphänomene in der reformierten Schweiz (1570-1730), PhD thesis at the University of Zurich, 2020, coming spring 2021. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Academic biography: Eveline Szarka completed PhD program at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Her thesis focused on the impact of the Protestant Reformation on belief in ghosts and ghosts in Switzerland from 1570-1730. This year, she was granted a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation to visit Harvard University and the University of London from 2020-2022 as a postdoctoral fellow. However, due to the pandemic, she may be postponing starting her PhD until 2021. Eveline’s upcoming project focuses on history books on magic tricks and life hacks. of knowledge and science (1650-1850). Her research interests lie in early modern world views, historical conceptions of matter, causality, and magic, and the potential for human manipulation of the physical world.

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