A single hair from the Eyebrow of a Holy Man can carry his aura with it. A drop of blood is even more powerful, as it contains the essence of His Life Force. Either or both of these corporal objects may be found within an Amulet of particular force – and the wearing of such a token will protect the person who is fortunate enough to obtain one.
Normally the Amulets of Thailand are created by a combination of clay and the ashes of incense which has been burned in respect in a temple. These are cheaply found at sidewalk stands or perhaps at a temple table for sale to tourists. The belief in the power of the image on the amulet is what brings luck or protection to the wearer.
But there are other, more valuable amulets that cannot simply be bought as curiosities by tourists to Thailand. These are the ones that are “charged” by chanting, much like putting a spell on an object. That ceremony alone will cause an amulet to have value both spiritually and monetarily as time goes by, due to a renowned Monk or the Abbot of the temple where it was created.
Sometimes pollen, herbs or a metal bar with a scripture carved onto it may be inserted into the form. The base of the formula as well as the image has certain powerful rays which can either deter bad luck (as in protection) or attract good luck to the wearer.
Power is relative also to the age of the charm. A limited amount of amulets will be made during the life of a certain Abbot or monk, and like fine antiques, will increase in value over time.
Many stories are told about safety during war-time when danger was all around the men wearing amulets. There are six magazines devoted to amulets in Thailand and loupes are used by buyers to define the origin of the talismans. There is a brisk market on any given weekend in Chiang Mai at the Second Hand Market on Bumrungrad Street with up to 50 stalls selling (or buying) amulets. The “Buddha Market” on Thursday on Assadathorn Road near the Super Highway brings dealers from outlying regions as well as enthusiastic buyers.
Thais believe that no matter how long you have an amulet in your possession, you do not own it. You have “rented” it from the previous owner and can then re-rent it to the next buyer. The item itself is not commercial, even when it is one of the ones mass-produced. It holds the image of the Buddha in one of his incarnations, or perhaps an actual photograph of a famous monk. Magic exists within them, according to the belief of the holder.