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Friday Feature: Medicine of a Pale Fire

Dawn breaks this morning in shades of pale pink descending to a blue-gray horizon, equal parts early-autumn glow and the smoke of a fire to the west.

It’s the usual color of sunrise at this time of year, when the angle of the nascent seems to catch the color of the turning leaves and fan it out across the cold clear sky: pink limned with coral and crimson, backlit by amber and gold. The color spreads even to the dark blues of the western sky, blues turned smudge-like this morning from the conflagration that is now in its fourth day.

It is full autumn now — even the calendar agrees — and the chill in the air confirms it. The sun, which has only this moment crested the peaks, transforms from rose to gold before our eyes as it washes over an earth still cold from night’s shadow. The world needs a little extra help now, a little medicine to survive and thrive through the lengthening dark.

On this last Friday of September, as we prepare to head into the harvest weekend and thence to the month that precedes All Souls’, we can use all that the spirits of this season have to offer us. One of them, a small cool medicine bear, is today’s featured work. From its description in the Other Artists:  Fetishes gallery here on the site:

This classic little Southwestern-style hump-backed bear is rendered in pink alabaster by Ned Archuleta (Taos Pueblo). The bear’s clean, spare lines allow the cool beauty of the stone’s matrix to take center stage. His only accent is a tiny offering bundle of colorful parakeet feathers, tied on with sinew. Three inches long, he stands 1-7/8″ high (dimensions approximate). Another view is shown at top.

Pink alabaster; feathers; sinew
$75 + shipping, handling, and insurance

This is the time of year when Bear walks upon the land here, seeking food to sustain him through the long sleep of the winter to come. He rarely comes close enough in the daylight hours for us to catch sight of him, although occasionally, if you are up before the dawn, you might catch a shadowy glimpse of him. But his spirit is with us year-round, as are the powers that are his to hold: protection, healing, medicine.

On this cold autumn morning, no bear has shown himself, but we have been granted the medicine of a pale fire: enough to warm the land, and us with it. Perhaps he is nearer than we know.

~ Aji








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