In my previous two posts, I discussed the merits of an active defense and how to mount a counter attack. The basic active defense of turning away an attack is similar to the use of a shield in so much that it uses the attack's momentum to move it away from the defender. While a shield's primary use is to absorb a blow, they do work to redirect the flow of the attack. In either case, these forms of defense have a limitation that I wanted to express on its own. In all three forms of defense, but especially in the case of counter attack, the defender is required to maintain mental focus upon their defense.
Psychic attacks, however, do not happen only when we have the resources to put towards our defense. A shield will remain in place but not be as effective as it is with the active thought process and mental focus that comes with deliberately applying them. The question arises as to how a defender might retain the effectiveness of an actively maintained defense with out the effort of doing so. This is where protective talismans come into play. A protective talisman combines the effects of an actively maintained shield with an active defense where the defender is redirecting the attack. Some talismans are constructed to simply redirect the attack where others are fashioned to return the attack upon the sender. Indeed, some talismans act as magical capacitors that will send a counter attack in the midst of returning the attack upon the sender.
The most basic talisman is the one that simply redirects the attack. Many of the apotropaic charms used by cultures around the world act to deflect one of the oldest of psychic attacks, the evil eye1. While one can pick up and use a talisman from cultures other than the one they are personally based in, it is best to use ones that are based within the defender's culture. This is most effective because it draws upon the thoughtforms that the defender is most familiar with and has the greatest of ease accessing. Thus, a person of Native American cultures would use a traditional apotropaic charm, such as the dreamcatcher which is used to prevent nightmares. A person of a central European culture would use something such as a gargoyle or a similar grotesque2 image to ward their home from magical assault.
The use of a talisman is very simple. It is worn or placed in a prominent location where it is visible. Aside from this, the talisman generally doesn't require any special activity. Like a good luck charm (which is another type of talisman), protective talismans are effective with out any effort beyond what is required to acquire or create them. The creation of a talisman is a relatively simple ritual but it can be tailored to increase the range of things that it is to do. Care must be taken, however, not to place too many foci on a talisman's magic because each focus will split the talisman's effectiveness between them. Thus, a strictly protective talisman will be more effective for protection than a talisman that focuses upon protection and good luck.
1. The evil eye is ill luck that is bestowed upon the receiver via a malevolent glare from the sender. Some cultures also believe it is possible for there to be accidental cases of the evil eye that result from staring at the receiver and being envious of the receiver.
2. I am using the term 'grotesque' as it has been used to describe Gothic architectural elements such as the vegetal figures seen on the capitals of columns in cathedrals.