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At the Center of a New World

Winter is a hard season (although in this place, not near so hard as spring, most years). Cold complicates even the smallest problems; snow throws up new obstacles in our path.

The new world of this new calendar year has thus far been full of complications and obstacles alike.

It’s hard to focus on what’s right in front of us; harder still to focus on that which we cannot see.

And yet, there are whole worlds outside our immediate perception, no less real for that. And there is a whole new world before us, waiting for us to engage with it on terms that will build it, over the course of the next twelve months, in the best way possible.

If ever there were a season when we need grounding, stability, balance, this is it.

In our way, that requires a recommitment to old ways to help inform new circumstances, a rededication to doing the work of our ancestors and for our children’s children, a refocus on the creative spirit that lies at the center of all things, informing our world and our very selves. That may mean ceremony, or medicine; it may mean celebration; it may mean simple prayer. But it always means recalibrating our worldview, returning to the spiritual traditions that inform our cosmologies and to the language and culture and lifeways that shape our daily lives.

Today’s featured work is thus well-suited to this time, one that honors the source of life itself, the creator spirits and planes of existence that give rise to the world we know. From its description in the Buckles Gallery here on the site:

The Center of All Things Belt Buckle

In our own small plane of existence, from our own human perspective, our world is the center of all things. Indigenous cultures affirm this reality in our origin stories, in how we understand Turtle Island beneath the skies, amidst the winds, above the point of emergence. Wings pays tribute to this vision, one lived daily among his own people, in this complex concha belt buckle, a flowering shell-shaped disc of heavy sterling silver that blossoms into traditional symbols of the world as we know it. Celestial patterns, rising sun and setting moon and the light that flows between them, edge the scalloped buckle in concentric rings. Its repoussé center, lightly domed by hand, is chased in a loop of hundreds of individual arrow stamps tracking the motion of the spiraling winds. Ancient kiva steps symbols lead inward to the very center, heart and womb alike, where rests a large oval cabochon of emerald green turquoise with a golden brown matrix that looks for all the world like a map of Turtle Island. On the reverse, only Wings’s hallmark appears, in the embrace of another spiritual center: the Morning Star Lodge, a place of healing and medicine, guidance and power. The buckle stretches 3.75 inches across by 3-1/8 inches high; the stone is 1-3/16 inches across by 7/8″ high (dimensions approximate). Reverse shown below.

Sterling silver; Colorado Evans Mine turquoise
$1,800 + shipping, handling, and insurance

The phrase “looking inward” has, in recent decades, taken on more than a whiff of narcissism: of navel-gazing and nihilism, of exchanging a sense of obligation for one of hedonism, of exchanging a responsibility to the work for an ethos of self-indulgence. There is plenty of all of that in this colonial world to go around, much of disguised in exactly those terms.

But in our way, “looking inward” takes on a wholly different meaning. It’s not so much a looking inward to ourselves as it is to the worlds we inhabit, and that perforce reside in us: planes of existence that are spiritual rather than tangible, worlds of visions and dreams and prophecy, the spaces between world where the spirits can speak in words we can understand and call us to the acts that will define our lives and the future we have a chance to build.

We stand poised upon the threshold of a new year, gazing inward at the center of a new world, a world that for the moment exists almost wholly in our minds and hearts, in our aspirations and dreams and our vision for what it should be.

This is a time to engage with that center, to seek clarity and enlightenment . . . and then to begin the work. These are the powers of creation that have been granted to us; we owe it to the arc of history, to the respect for our ancestors and to the future of our children and to the honor of the spirits that bestow them, to make them count.

~ Aji








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