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Friday Feature: Earth, Catching the Light

We are back today to sunny skies and what are forecast to be much cooler winds. Of course, it was supposed to be chilly yesterday, too, and midday seemed near as hot as every other day recently, with an added dash of unseasonal humidity. But the sun has cleared the peaks, and the whole world shimmers with its light.

This world appears pleased with the change, too: The spirits inhabiting it seem both more relaxed and more playful simultaneously, as though the summer doldrums have broken and moved out, driven eastward on the winds of yesterday’s weather. The fog has lifted, and the land itself glows, a combination of residual dew shining like diamonds and the glints of mica in the local soil adance in the light.

It feels like a good time to stop and celebrate, just for a moment, even as we know that we shall need to redouble our efforts soon. With fall making inroads since the first week of July, it is truly the case that winter is just around the corner.

It seems, then, a perfect time for today’s featured work: a tiny medicine being infused with the large, strong, and solid spirit of its real-life counterpart, one wrought in the same shimmering earth that makes up so much of the land of this place. From its description in the Other Artists:  Fetishes gallery here on the site:

Ben Romero (Taos Pueblo) has coaxed Buffalo into taking shape out of the Pueblo’s own micaceous clay. The strong and solid little animal gleams in the light, his stylized shaggy head gazing out beneath a colorful medicine bundle of feathers, quills, a fabric rosette, and vintage-style beads. Buffalo stands 1.5″ high by 2-1/8″ long (dimensions approximate). Another view shown at top.

Micaceous clay; quills; feathers; beads; fabric; sinew
$30 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Buffalo holds different symbolism for different peoples, but there are commonalities. For many, he is sacred on his own, even absent the cultural iconography of the white variant of his kind. It’s not surprising: He is an elder brother of sorts, one with much to teach us, and one whose body, once shared with the people, sustains every aspect of life — food, shelter, clothing, protection, medicine, ceremony, art. No part of Buffalo’s body goes unused. At the same time, such “use” is neither reckless nor wanton; his kind are our relatives, and preserving their numbers is as essential as preserving our own.

In this instance, a tiny simulacrum of the living, breathing, spirit, the work has been infused with not only the natural beauty of the medium, but with the medicine of his bundle: gifts, offerings, to the spirit of his kind in hopes of receiving guidance, protection, or other blessings within his purview.

On such a day, such powers, distilled to a size small enough to carry i a pocket or hold in your hand, seem just right. It’s a spirit of this land: earth, catching the light.

~ Aji






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