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A World Braided In Cosmic Balance

In two days, our highs have gone from more than 90 to more than ten degrees less. Lows are hitting 45 in the early hours before dawn. The pace of leaf change has accelerated drastically in the last week.

It feels as though climate change has not only altered our weather and season, but the very angle of the earth  to the sun.

Our world feels as though it is tilting off its axis, perhaps ready to reverse its rotation or even to fall out of its orbit entirely.

It’s not, of course. For all the damage we have done to our Mother, she is far stronger than that. Far stronger than we, if it comes to that. She will be altered, yes — indeed, she already is, and drastically so — but she will outlive and outlast us all. She has, after all, what modern humanity mostly does not: a firmly fixed place in the cosmos, braided securely to her sources of light and life by the very laws of the universe itself.

We have mostly lost such linkages, and lineages, too. The latter is a word I mostly choose, consciously, not to use because of its cooptation and abuse by colonial New Age types who appropriate our identities and steal our ways, corrupting, distorting, and desecrating as they go. But the word is far older than their reprehensible misuse of it, dating back to the Latin Vulgate for a direct line, coming to refer to a direct filial line of descent. In colonizer mouths, it refers to faux-mystical mumbo-jumbo by which they assert that a nonindigenous person becomes the direct spiritual descendant of some famous and/or powerful Native ancestor.

But our ways are rooted in actual ancestry, and we know how unbreakable that braid is.

Perhaps it’s one of the reasons we understand the linkages that hold our Earth safely in place, both in the cosmos and in our separate cosmologies.

It’s a concept that finds expression in today’s featured work. From its description in the Earrings Gallery here on the site:

A Braided Earth Earrings

We are bound to a braided earth, our Mother’s brown locks wound with ribbons of water, adorned with rosettes beaded by summer flowers. Wings summons both the beauty of this indigenous land and the twining of our spirits with it in this pair of bold, earthy earrings built around a pair of stunning high-grade ribbon turquoise cabochons.  The matched cabochons are formed of a pair of beautifully polished host rock in warm natural shades of beige and tan, brown and bronze. Each is wound on a diagonal by a turquoise ribbon so brilliant that it is nearly opalescent, like a glowing blue river flowing through the earth’s body. The stones are set into scalloped bezels and trimmed with twisted silver. Each earring also terminates in three hand-made drops like the beaded rosettes used to bind our own braids. These are formed of sterling silver ingot, melted and shaped into tiny round beads, then stamped in a flowering pattern. Earrings hang 1-5/8″ long overall excluding the sterling silver wires); the cabochons are 1″ long by 9/16″ across at the widest point; ingot blossoms are 3/16″ across (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; high-grade blue ribbon turquoise
$825 + shipping, handling, and insurance

We have their dry brown earth today — have had it, all year long and then some. This drought is not new, merely deepened. And what we lack in ribbons of water is made up in ribbons of sky, swatches and tendrils of bright blue undulating between the piled thunderheads that amass only to stand watch before moving on, still pregnant with their watery payloads.

Times such as these are difficult: They remind us how tenuous existence truly is, that survival, individual and collective alike, is no sure thing. But for us, they remind us also that we are woven into the very substance of this land. This is a braided earth, one bound fast to its place in the cosmos, and our cosmologies likewise bind us to it.

Now is not the time to loosen those bonds, but to tighten them: a time to reweave our own linkages to the earth, to strengthen our lineages for the generations to come, to ensure a world braided in cosmic balance.

~ Aji








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