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A Medicine Green and Sacred

Only small short scattered showers interrupted the heat yesterday; today’s forecast is for less yet. Still, on awakening yesterday morning, the grass was damp, the raspberry patch spangled with diamonds, and the air fragrant with wet sage. By now it has all dried and the brown dominates, but what green patches remain seem just a little livelier, their color a little brighter, the leaves of plants and shrubs and trees and what few wildflowers have survived the heat a little fuller and fresher than a day or two ago.

Water is the first medicine, and in its way the most important: It gives us life, gives us food, gives us shelter, gives us medicine of other sorts.

Today, the raspberry patch fruited at last, and overnight a small new bunch of leaves on a tiny stem emerged from the still-dry earth a few feet away: color bright summer green, telltale edges sharply serrated, looking crisp and fresh and ready to thrive. In my people’s way, wild raspberries are a sweet, a dessert, but they are also, in their way, medicine. So it is with the corn, and with the willow leaves and bark — medicine, to heal body and spirit alike.

It is the season of medicine, at least in the sense that this is the time when much of it should be readily available for harvest. Some requires aging, drying, mixing; some can be used straight off branch or stalk or vine. And as climate change accelerates and our drought deepens (which it will; that’s not really in question, no matter what an invasive population chooses to believe), the plants, the flowers, the roots, the leaves will become increasingly valuable . . . and increasingly scarce.

We need green medicine, leaf medicine, to heal a drought-stricken world, and today’s featured work, one of Wings’s newer pieces, gives its spirit tangible, if symbolic, form. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Leaf Medicine Cuff Bracelet

Leaf medicine is one of the most powerful healers, one our peoples have used in hundreds of forms over thousands of years. With this pattern-rolled cuff, hand-milled in a repeating geometric design of feathery fronds and leaves, Wings honors the medicines that have ensured our survival since the dawn of time, gifts of the earth used in ceremony and spirit. The leaves rise, three-dimensional, from the band’s surface, creating a flowing, elegant texture; the band is lightly oxidized and buffed to a soft, bright polish. The focal point is a free-form stone (not a cabochon) of lightly polished, slightly translucent pounamu, known in English as New Zealand greenstone, a form of fine nephrite jade sacred to that land’s indigenous Māori peoples. This specimen (part of a lot Wings acquired ethically through legal channels) curves in a gentle, asymmetrical arc that follows the lines of the leaves on the cuff. It sits in a scalloped bezel trimmed with twisted silver, the bezel raised slightly above the cuff on a columnar sterling silver pedestal. The band is 7″ long by 1″ across; the stone is 1.25″ long by 5/8″ across at the highest point (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; pounamu (New Zealand greenstone)
$1,025 + shipping, handling, and insurance

There will likely be no more rain for a few days; if there is, it will be in defiance of the forecasts, and apt to be only a few dozen drops’ worth here or there. Our Earth remains thirsty, skin dehydrated and veins running thin and dry. And it all works together, a single body powered by complex systems: water that gives life to the trees and plants, tree and plant leaves that purify our air, air that works in concert with the elements to produce the rains, and the cycle begins anew. We need each element, each organism, each part of the body, healthy and well-functioning, to ensure a similarly healthy world.

Perhaps it’s fitting that today’s featured work should be built around a stone not merely green but sacred to the people indigenous to the land where it is found. Like our own peoples, they know well the value of symbol and spirit, the life force that animates our world and its constituent parts.

What too much of the world fails to understand is that our Earth is sacred: She is life herself, and without her, without her good health, life is not ours to have. She is medicine, and she needs medicine now. It is in our interest to work for her rehabilitation, her reclamation, her restoration, her return to and by a medicine green and sacred.

~ Aji








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