Many gypsies carry amulets and talismans as good luck charms.
In gypsy lore an amulet is an item from nature that is either naturally, or artificially (through ritual), charged with magical power. A typical amulet would be a stone with a hole through it or a rabbit’s foot.
Talismans, on the other hand, are man made objects charged with magical power by the gypsy sorcerer. A typical talisman would be a piece of parchment or a coin, which has been inscribed with specific symbols, or words of power.
Amulets and talismans are usually carried on the gypsy’s person in a cloth or leather pouch, known as a “putsi” or “parik-til”. You might see a gypsy woman wearing a putsi hanging from a cord around her neck. To the non-gypsy this looks like nothing more than an accessory to her colorful dress, but in fact it would likely contain amulets and talismans, and other magical items.
There is no use buying or finding a good luck charm only to put it away and forget it. It should be kept close, in a purse or pocket, or worn around the neck, and it should be handled often, always with a feeling of happiness and hope.
The greater the certainty that the charm will bring good luck, the more effective it will be. If you look at your charm or good luck piece with skepticism, thinking “How can this bring me luck? I am never lucky.” then, of course it won’t work – how can it? The charge will soon fade and die.
From: Gypsy Magic by Patrinella Cooper
Teeth which have been buried for many years, serve to make a singular fetish. They are mingled with the bones of a tree-frog, and the whole then sewed up in a little bag. If a man has anything for sale, and will draw or rub this bag over it, he will have many offers or customers for the articles thus enchanted.
The bones are prepared by putting the frog into a glass or earthen receptacle full of small holes. This is buried in an anthill. The ants enter the holes and eat away all the flesh, leaving the bones which after a few weeks are removed.
Magickal pouches are found universally. Australian aboriginals, Amerindian shamans, Voodoo Bokos, African medicine men, European wisewomen – all employ pouches stuffed with various ingredients that they feel bring health, wealth, luck (good or bad), and/or protection. They may be called wanga, gris-gris, mojo bags, or whatever.
The Gypsies, too, make and carry such items. Depending on the purpose, so do the contents vary. The name for a Gypsy pouch is “putsi,” the real meaning of which is “pocket.”
For love, the Romanis make little bags of red silk, which they fill with rose petals, acorns, a piece of amber, cinnamon, two cloves, a bean, a piece of orris root, and a silver or gold coin. This is worn next to the skin. Occasionally they use small chamois leather pouches rather than silk.
Some Gypsies also include such items as a small bird’s feather, a piece of lemon peel, lavender, a wedding ring (perhaps the mother’s or grandmother’s), and a small piece of coal. Many Gypsies have two pouches. One is the silk one, which hangs around their neck, and the other is the leather putsi, which they hang from their belt. Into this second one it is easy to slip any new item that is spotted and recognized to be of value. I do this myself. Always keep your eyes open … you never know when you might spot something that could be a very powerful amulet.
Collect a few rose leaves and petals, three or seven apple or pomegranate seeds and a small gemstone, which can be turquoise, emerald, or aquamarine (this doesn’t have to be genuine; if you really can’t obtain one, use colored glass).
Also gather a heart-shaped object (maybe a charm or a naturally shaped stone), a feather from a dove or pigeon or gathered from any used bird’s nest (but only if the nest has been abandoned because the chicks have flown).
If there is someone you particularly want to attract, include some dirt over which they have walked; alternatively, a scrap of clothing or something like a tissue that they have used will work. This only needs to be a thread or the tiniest thing.
Tie the leaves and feather together with a cord plaited (braided) from red, orange and pink thread. Put together with the other objects into a pink drawstring bag. Perfume with rose or musk oil.
From: Gypsy Magic
Here is a Medicine Bag to be carried or worn to facilitate healing. Gather the following ingredients:
- A sprig each of St. John’s wort, woundwort, and self-heal
- Twig or leaf from an oak tree
- Tiny water-worn pebble, which should be round or disc-shaped and preferably have a reddish or orange hue
- Light downy feather
- Scrap of red flannel or woolen cloth.
- Red, orange, and light blue thread
- Red drawstring bag
- Sandalwood or Myrrh essential oil
Bind the herbs and feather round with a cord made from plaiting (braiding) red, orange, and light blue thread together. Wrap the herbs together with the pebble in the red cloth and tie with another length of the plaited cord. Put in a red drawstring bag, and perfume with the sandalwood or myrrh oil.
From Gypsy Magic
A Parik-til is the Gypsy version of a medicine or mojo bag. To create a parik-til, a small drawstring pouch is made in the appropriate color for the intended purpose. Into this goes various little objects: herbs, stones, feathers, sometimes a charm or piece of paper inscribed with a simple spell. This list is endless; it is only important that the objects seem sympathetic to your purpose.
Collect leaves and twigs of the oak tree, including a small acorn if available, the petals and/or seeds of the sunflower, a piece of cinnamon stick, three cloves, a stone that feels lucky for you, a horseshoe charm if you can find one – or a small picture or hand drawn symbol to represent a horse shoe, and a little trinket such as a bit of jewelry or a coin.
Feel free to add anything else that seems relevant, or meaningful to you. Tie the oak leaves and twigs with a bit of green yellow and orange thread. Put all the items into a drawstring bag. Perfume with an essential oil such as Myrrh, Benzoin, Cinnamon, or Patchouli, or dab with prosperity oil.
Hold the bag in your hands and feel the energy contained within. Parik-til means blessing holder, the objects inside the bag are symbols of the blessings you are holding. Take a few minutes to allow yourself to really feel it.
If you have never made a simple drawstring bag, they are super easy, and you can find hundreds of tutorials online, or you can check out my less than artistic rendition of how to make a drawstring pouch in about 5 minutes using a handkerchief, a ribbon, and a needle and thread. Here’s the link: How To Make A Simple Mojo Bag
Adapted from: Gypsy Magic by Patrinella Cooper