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In a World of Braided Suns, the Light Is Always Right

It’s a gorgeous early-autumn day, not a cloud in the sky until a few tiny puffs of white appeared to the south over the last half-hour. The clarity is imperfect; there is still a faint pall of smoke settled over the land and wrapped around the peaks. But even with the light haze, the days feels much more in keeping with our usual seasonal patterns — usual, that is, provided that one ignores the shrubs and trees drying and dying around us.

Still, at this point, we’ll grab onto any ray of hope, however small.

We’ll grab onto the light, too, acutely aware that its presence grows shorter by the day now.

It’s tempting to lament the loss of the light, but in point of fact, it’s an integral part of what makes autumn and winter what they are. For both of us, these are the seasons when we are happiest, most comfortable and feeling at home in our world, and so we are ready to welcome them in spite of some of their seemingly less salutary effects. Like my own homelands, this is a place that has always been a world of four discrete seasons, each with its own unique identity, beauty, gifts, and medicine, four suns of varying strength and length and intensity, braided together to form a stronger, healthier, more harmonious whole.

In a world of braided suns, the light is always right.

Today’s featured work embodies this truth in name and substance both, a traditional, old-style work of simple beauty and stunning power. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Braided Suns Cuff Bracelet

We live in a world of braided suns, a sacred hoop of the seasons strung around orbs of golden light. Wings honors the sun in all its angles and phases with this cuff, heavy nine-gauge sterling silver annealed to a velvety finish, hand-stamped in arcing conjoined sunrise patterns set opposite each other to form braids of light. Round tiger’s eye cabochons, brilliantly chatoyant and infused with rich color gradients from deep bronzed brown to bright yellow gold, are set into saw-toothed bezels equidistant along the band’s length, a sun for each season in varying shades of dark and light. The edges of the band are hand-filed silky-smooth, and the inner band is adorned with arced sunrises chased along either edge, then linked across the band’s expanse by diagonal shafts of light erupting at the center in flowering radiance, the flowing lines all hand-struck to be meticulously equidistant and at identical angles. The band is 6.5″ long by 3/8″ across; the cabochons are 9/16″ across (dimensions approximate). Views of sides and inner band shown below.

Sterling silver; tiger’s eye
$1,475 + shipping, handling, and insurance

This has, from the moment of its completion, been one of my favorite works. Part of it is the sheer solidity and substance of it, a heavy nine-gauge sterling silver band cut and stamped freehand in the old way. Part of it is the stampwork itself, spare and understated and yet full of symbolic power, impossibly deep and regular and the outer and inner bands alike.

And part of it is those stones, incredibly chatoyant, glowing like four miniature suns, the one on the left in the second photo seemingly alive with the raw elemental power of lightning, a storm within the sun.

The inner band is complex, even though the entire pattern, stretching the full length of the band, consists of only two stamps, each applied entirely freehand. A crescent moon edges each border, each connected to the next; between, on a perfect diagonal, paired medicine flowers met at the middle.

It is, perhaps, a quiet reminder to us, a secret the suns share with the wearer: that medicine is possible no matter the season or weather or climatic conditions, and that in a world of braided suns, the light, however it manifests, is always right.

~ Aji








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