Tools & Talismans #92 Maggie Oman Shannon

Talismans – the very word makes me happy, conjuring as it does a spectrum of mysterious miniatures, with their deepest significance known only to their owner. When I wrote my second book in 2001 called The Way We Pray, which focused on 50 different prayer practices from around the world, I learned that through the ages some have made a distinction between a talisman and an amulet, seeing a talisman as something that wards off negative influences and an amulet as something that magnetizes good in one’s life. Most people, however, use the words interchangeably and see their talismans as perhaps providing a little of both, which seems right to me.

Starting with that book, I began a habit of creating a little altar under my computer screen consisting of objects that supported the creative theme of whatever project I was working on. Through the years and eight published books now, the little elements of my computer altar have changed, but some things have remained consistent tools and talismans for me.

As the congregational minister of a Unity church since 2010, I find meaning in Unity’s publication “Daily Word”; the glitter “minister” stone that was made by Mary Anne Radmacher, a friend and fellow author and artist; an “All things are possible” rock; prayer beads blessed by the Dalai Lama, who wrote the introduction to my first book; and a small Jesus action figure, which may seem irreverent but in fact reminds me that taking action is an important impulse of faith.

My Wonder Woman flash drive holds my manuscripts, a turquoise Saraswati figurine reflects my devotion to the arts, and a beaded dragonfly is one of my spiritual totems, along with the Mermaid (this particular box holds mints, but will one day house a little shrine). Perhaps the most important element of my altar is a heart collage paperweight that I made, whose central image is a photo of my daughter and me, a reminder that though I have many loves and creative outlets, my most cherished job is that of mother.

Maggie Oman Shannon • Unity Church Minister.  Author.  Artist.  Mother.

Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I document {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.

Would you like to have your very own Tools & Talismans painting to inspire, support and remind you of all the things that make you “you”, as you go about your days, grow your business and create your life? Get in touch so we can talk, I'd love to hear from you!