In each of the Gates, I give instructions on creating a talisman for the planet. They are each made from the herbs and minerals associated with the planets. They're placed in a cloth bag, like a mojo bag, and the seals of the Intelligences and the Spirits are inscribed on the outside. When we consecrate them, we call on the spirits by name.
Although they are talismans of the planetary forces, they should not be confused with astrological talismans. They are talismans of the Intelligences and the Spirits of the planets, whose names are derived from the planetary tables provided in Agrippa's Second Book of Occult Philosophy, chapter 22.
Donald Tyson provides an in depth discussion of these spirits and their seals in his translation of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy, and it's thorough and complete, and kind of over my head. It's all about the maths. The spirit names are derived from the summation of the numbers each letter represents in a way that results in the total value of each name having a numerical correlation to the planet itself.
"Study your math, kids, it's the language of the universe" and shit. I appreciate that, even though I don't really understand the technical details that go on behind the scenes. I couldn't tell you the numbers associated with each planet if my kids' lives depended on it.
The talismans are the receptacles of the forces that are ruled over by the Intelligences and manifest through the actions of the Spirits of the planets. In On the Mysteries, Iamblichus calls these talismans "Sunthemata." If I remember right, Iamblichus discusses three levels of Sunthemata, the Material, the Intermediate, and the Noetic. Material sunthemata are the phsical talismans that represent the planets. Intermediate sunthemata are the rites that tap into the powers of the gods, and the use of their Names. Noetic sunthemata were considered the highest form in Iamblichus opinion, and were concerned with the mathematics of the soul.
Now, these talismans in the Gates series are obviously Material sunthemata, because they are material objects, right? But during the consecration rite, we call upon the Intelligences and the Spirits through their Names, which makes them also Intermediate Sunthemata. We inscribe the Seals of the Intelligences of the spirits as well, which are based on the numeric values of their names from the Tables of the Planets, making them Noetic sunthemata as well.
Iamblichus warns against idolatry, making the material objects the focus of our interactions with the spiritual powers instead of the spirits and powers themselves. The purpose of all sunthemata is Theurgy, or as he lays it out, purification, (catharsis), liberation (apolusis), and salvation (soteria) of the soul. Basically the Hermetic Great Work I laid out before.
Now the focus of the Gates rites is our physical Kingdom here Below, and on becoming the Kings we're supposed to be. This may seem like a rather thaumateurgical focus, being all material oriented. However, as I mentioned in recent posts, the process of becoming the Kings of our Kingdoms results in us ruling by Divine Right in harmony with the planetary spheres. The point of the exercise is to understand and integrate the forces of the planets as they manifest here below so we can work skillfully with them when we pass beyond and finally break free from the process of reincarnation. Passing through each of the Gates results in a degree of the Catharsis, Apolusis, and Soteria of the soul.
And the Talismans aid in that process. The presence of the divine powers we're dealing with cleans us out and bring us into harmony with the spheres. In the Thomas Taylor translation of Iamblichus' Theurgia (Section IV, Chapter II), we read:
In all theurgical operations the priest sustains a twofold character; one, indeed, as man, and which preserves the order possessed by our nature in the universe; but the other, which is corroborated by divine signs, and through these is conjoined to more excellent natures, and is elevated to their order by an elegant circumduction...
In other words, when the spirits are near you, you are transformed and raised to a higher level of being. The talismans provide a material link to the spiritual realm, the powers we are calling on by name and by number to accomplish our transformation. They provide a means for us to interact with these powers to accomplish our aims.
So those talismans aren't just bags of herbs and rocks with scribbles on them, they are a means to keep the powers we are working with flowing through our kingdoms and making the changes we need to accomplish the Work. Pretty neat stuff.