An amulet is a magickal tool that helps bring about changes in your life. Herbalist Paul Beryl thinks they might be the oldest form of herbal magick -- as in when the Wise Ones of the village sensed the magickal power of certain plants and decided to carry them about.
All aspects of an amulets design and creation are assembled and constructed toward the attainment of a goal. They are best made in ritual, at the altar, or at least in circle. We bless our amulets, or charge them, toward a specific purpose. By choosing ingredients that "vibrate" at the same frequency as our desire (i.e., tonka bean for prosperity, green for cloth colors, citrine for wealth), we are creating a " small energy cell or battery containing physical ingredients and focused energies providing a steady flow of energy," says Beryl. He also compares an amulet to Cerridwen's Cauldron, the core of the Universe which is the infinite womb of creativity, or a black hole which draws energy from the universe and holds it within, focused and directed only toward your goal.
To make an amulet, begin with a piece of leather or cloth at least 6-8 inches in diameter. This flat round shape is representative of the pentacle. Holes should be punched around the perimeter of the circle through which a cord (color, length, etc to match your magickal purpose) is threaded to make a drawstring pouch.
To this pouch is added herbs, stones, a personal piece of jewelry or lock of hair (much like a poppet, eh?) and/or sigils, images, words, or _anything_ to manifest your magickal goal. Coins, magnets, bones, beads, feathers, shells -- all are appropriate if they match your intention. Every part of an amulet has significance symbolically: colors, numbers of knots in the cord, shape, number and kinds of ingredients.
Some people do this all at once while casting the spell. Some construct the bag, lay it on their altars, and assemble their ingredients with great fanfare over time -- collecting ingredients at propitious moon times or astro signs, lighting candles with each addition, etc. I like the idea that the magick is percolating over time. When all ingredients are gathered, cast the spell. Be sure to cast the spell on a power day -- whether it be the perfect moon sign, your birthday, a sabbat, day, hour, or whatever. Using your spell candles, drip wax on the pouch opening so it is sealed.
When the spell is finished, breath on the bag, and say these or similar words:
I charge this spell
By three times three
To do harm to none
Nor return to me
As I do will, so mote it be.
Once an amulet is made and sealed, it should never be opened again until the magick manifests. Then it should be returned to the earth. It has a sole magickal purpose, and once that purpose is manifested, it is finished.
Now, let's say you have a house blessing amulet that will always hang in your house. My advice is to refresh the herbs and ingredients every 6-12 months. For instance, I make protection amulets every midsummer, burning the old ones in the midsummer fire. (This gets interesting as my midsummer fire is usually in a grill.) These I place in the house, car, or give to my children.
Another name for an amulet is the mojo bag. You'll hear these terms used interchangeably. "Mojo bag" has become a generic term, though, used for amulets, sachets -- any sort of spell bag. But it has it's roots in voudoun.
What is a mojo bag, really? It is an amulet of African-American hoodoo practice, a flannel bag containing one or more magical items. The word is thought to be a corruption of the English word "magic." Other names for it include conjure bag, hand, lucky hand, mojo bag, mojo hand, root bag, toby, jomo, and gris-gris (pronounced gree-gree) bag. Gris-gris means spell, specifically of the voudoun variety. (As you study and cross-reference, you will find modern Wicca has borrowed and adapted much from voodoo and other magickal traditions.)
Southern style mojo bags are usually made of red flannel, but many root doctors use color magick in choosing their flannel. Herbs, roots, powders, stones, hair and nail clippings, and many other unusual items may be used in a mojo or gris-gris bag. These bags are steeped in voodoo lore and superstition.
Sachets are a very simple form of amulet, containing one herb or combination of herbs. These are very simple to make. Take a small piece of fabric or bag, add one tablespoon or so of enchanted herb in the center of the material. Using a tie of the appropriate length and color, tie up the bag. Charge and knot the tie while strongly visualizing your need. Make two more knots and you are finished. Carry or place where needed. Use sachets for your ritual baths by placing one-half to one cup herb mixture in cheesecloth, binding, and dropping in the bathwater.
These sachets are sewn into a placket and are geared toward affecting our subconscious as we sleep. An herb mixture is sealed in cloth, charged, and placed inside the pillow at night. Most dream pillow mixtures contain mugwort or lavender. Go here for a recipe.