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Embracing Light

While the East Coast braces for hurricane and flood, here we face the chill clear air of fall.

The early clouds that shrouded the western horizon have cleared, the remaining points of the compass already unmarred by such an insubstantial presence. Just before dawn, the stars shimmered like a thousand tiny diamonds beaded across the blue-black blanket of sky, and now, our whole world glows with the silver-gold light of the sun.

We are now entering the season of near-perfect weather: cooler, but not cold; skies blue, air clear, world illuminated. It’s autumn’s most useful gift, in the practical sense — the clarity and light to compensate for declining hours of daylight, the better to get done all the needs doing before winter’s arrival.

It’s the season of living in the light of the four directions.

It’s also the perfect time for an eminently traditional piece such as today’s featured work. From its description in the Pendants Gallery here on the site:

In the Light of the Four Directions Pendant

In Native cultures, the cross is traditionally a symbol of the Four Sacred Directions, one that has been adopted and adapted in the face of invasion and colonization in ways that secure the future even as they honor the past. Wings reconceives the traditional Southwestern-style Native cross with this big bold pendant. Hand-cut of heavy fourteen-gauge sterling silver, the cross bears an inner edgeline scored freehand. At the center of the cross lies a square bezel-set cabochon of teal green turquoise webbed with a delicate inky black matrix aswirl beneath floating bits of translucent shimmering pale shades that hint at opalescence. The stone serves as the center of a hand-stamped Guiding Star, each of its own long, pointed spokes hand-scored on the individual spokes of the cross itself. The entire cross is edged in hand-stamped “rays,” flowing line patterns that open like a flower, or like the rays of a polar star. The pendant hangs from a pair of bails: the first is simple open wire to permit suspension from the larger bail. The second bail is hand-wrought of heavy silver, wide enough at the center to accommodate sizeable beads and lightly tapered at the conjoined ends, hand-stamped with matched thunderhead symbols that form the sacred space whose boundaries point to cardinal and ordinal points. On the reverse, Wings echoes the star motif on the front with a pair of nested stars: The inner one, within a larger diamond-shaped Eye of Spirit, holds his hallmark, while simultaneously serving as the center of a four-pointed polar star incorporating the same ray pattern as the one on the cross’s front. The entire pendant, including both bails, hangs 3-13/16″ long; the larger bail is 5/8″ long; excluding the bails, the cross is 3″ long by 2-7/8″ wide; the turquoise cabochon is 1/2″ high by 1/2″ wide (all dimensions approximate). Other views shown above and at the link.

Sterling silver; teal-green turquoise (most likely Royston)
$1,250 + shipping, handling, and insurance

In that portion of the dominant culture that colonized these lands, the cross is a symbol of many things: of power; of sacrifice; of protection; of spiritual enlightenment. In our indigenous cultures, that which the outside world conceives and comprehends as a “cross” often embodies similar symbolism, if manifest in utterly different ways. For us, it is protection, a gathering of the winds and elemental forces, a drawing inward upon a sacred center even as it is a looking outward to the sacred directions and to the wisdom and powers held by each.

In our way, this is enlightenment: Illumination consists in understanding our natural world, indeed, our cosmos, and our place in it, seeking the guidance it has to offer and learning to walk in the path it provides. We do this by heeding the power of such forces, by respecting them, by honoring what they have to teach, by embracing light.

At this season, there is plenty of wind, plenty of clarity of air . . . and plenty of light.

~ Aji








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