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Red Suns and Harvest Moons and Praying For the Light

A storm front moved through last night, giving us no overnight rain, but plenty of low-slung clouds and heavy wet air. The sun remained shrouded completely until mid-morning, well after a stray hailstorm passed overhead. In the moments of early dawn, the now-not-quite-full moon in the west served as the only visible source of illumination.

The days grow short quickly now; night seems far longer, both colder and less friendly than only days ago. Most mornings dawn amid a fiery sunrise, and the twilights are often as red: Last night, smoke from an unreported and insufficiently-distant fire turned the western sky scarlet well before the rise of the waning red-gold moon.

These are days of red suns and harvest moons and praying for the light.

And so, it seems an especially apt moment to feature of two of Wings’s most recent works. They were not designed to match — indeed, one of them is wrought from pieces he created long ago — but they share a certain commonality of material and purpose. The first, a pair of earrings, is the most recent — and in its way, the oldest, too, formed from conchas he created with something else in mind, then, dissatisfied with his original vision, set aside. From their description in the Earrings Gallery here on the site:

Red Sun and Harvest Moon Earrings

Autumn is the season of red sun and harvest moon, of fire in the light. Wings summons both cosmic spheres into miniature form with these vintage-style earrings wrought in an old traditional fashion. Each consists of a solid sterling silver concha that forms a radiant corona around the center orb: a smaller round concha made of fiery copper, domed repoussé fashion from the reverse, then overlaid atop the shimmering silver discs. Each earring is hand-drilled at the top and threaded with a sterling silver jump ring, suspending them gracefully from delicate silver wires. Earrings are 7/8″ across in total size; copper overlays are 9/16″ across (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; copper
$325 + shipping, handling, and insurance

And they do seem like a pair of celestial spheres, particularly well-suited to this season. The copper is rich and warm, highly polished and aglow with crimson fire. In this week, of all weeks of the year, they evoke both the brilliant coral orb of the sun at daybreak and the reddened face of the harvest moon at darkfall — guidance and protection, illumination and wisdom, for day and for night.

Of course, our peoples know better than take such gifts for granted. It’s why some peoples choose, especially in winter, to help sing and pray the sun across the sky, the better to ensure warmth and light for each successive tomorrow. Our prayers are expressions of gratitude and supplication simultaneously, thanks for what we have given, and an appeal that it may continue. And we are aided in such quests of the spirit by Eagle, who lends us his feathers for the purpose.

The second of Wings’s recent works evokes both this powerful avian spirit and the tools he lends us for prayer and ceremony. From its description in the Necklaces Gallery here on the site:

The Light Eagle Necklace

The Light Eagle appears between the clouds, silver feathers shimmering into being momentarily, then vanishing once more to the Spirit World. Wings captures and preserves a single feather with this necklace, one to keep close to the heart. The eagle feather is cut freehand from sterling silver, the barbs separated by ajouré cutwork using a tiny jeweler’s saw. The shaft is formed of a slender strand of sterling silver triangle wire, overlaid down the center of the feather and extended upward to hold the hand-made bail, Atop the base of the feather, two round copper dance like the fire of a sunset sky; the end is wrapped in delicate sterling silver wire spiraled by hand around the shaft end and extended upward into a hand-made jump ring that serves as the bail. The pendant hangs suspended from sterling silver chain. Pendant is 2-1/8″ long including bail (2″ excluding it) by 3/8″ across at the widest point; chain is 17.5″ long (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; copper beads
$475 + shipping, handling, and insurance

The focus of this work is more silver light than copper fire, the only trace of red visible in two beads that anchor the feather at the end of the shaft. It, though, is as much a symbol of illumination and guidance as the spheres: one that invokes not only the light of day, but the spiritual enlightenment that accompanies a life lived well.

As the days grow short, the winds cold, the nights long and increasingly dark, we can use all the warmth and light we can get.

~ Aji








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