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The Infinite Promise of the Light’s Return

Eclipse Earrings

The events of this day’s predawn hours were, for me, moments of joyous awe.

For many indigenous cultures, an eclipse is not something to observe; rather, it is a time to turn one’s eyes from the heavens and spend the time in quiet reflection. Much of the dominant culture portrays such practices as born of fear, painting them in atavistic and primitive terms, but this misunderstands the fundamental dynamics underlying them. One thing our cultures hold in common is respect and honor for forces more powerful than ourselves, particularly those elemental spirits responsible for the creation and/or maintenance of the world. Such practices are grounded in this reverential worldview.

My own regards such solar and lunar events a bit differently, albeit no less reverentially and respectfully. I learned to regard celestial convergences such as this as omens, heralds of transformation. I was also taught not to be sanguine about it; “transformation,” after all, is a concept that covers a multitude of good works and sins alike. And the world into which we were born, after all, is one already torn asunder by the invasive forces of colonialism; we of all people should know that such omens can portend great upheaval, that prophecy is as much a warning as promise, and that how we act and react is what gives our destiny form and shape.

It is this spirit of transformation that infuses today’s featured work. From its description in the Earrings Gallery here on the site:

Eclipse Earrings

In traditional cultures, an eclipse — whether of the sun or of the moon — is an event of great symbolism and power. In some, they are omens of great and beneficial change; in others, warnings of dark days ahead. In all cultures, their practical effect is the same: to veil the light that shines upon our path. With these earrings, Wings honors the imagery of the eclipse, a shadowy black image that passes in front of the face of sun or moon, while still reminding us that the light is not gone: Its rays still shine from behind the shadow. Here, glossy black onyx cabochons form the shadow, perfect dark orbs like pools of liquid jet. Each is set in a scalloped bezel at the center of a round sterling silver concha, the radiating corona of light. The conchas are meticulously cut freehand with a tiny jeweler’s saw to create the blossom-like “rays” that edge each earring. Each is then hand-stamped in a chased pattern, concentric circles of traditional symbols that evoke the image of the moon and the rays of the sun. Finally, the conchas are domed by hand in the traditional manner, repoussé-fashion, to create depth and refract the light. Settings are 1.5″ across; cabochons are .75″ across (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; onyx
$825 + shipping, handling, and insurance

It’s a work of orbs and hoops, of that eternal motion that holds light and life alike, of the infinite promise of the light’s return.

Unlike the last such event, I benefited from a gift beyond price this time: a warm home with a broad, safe deck from which to experience it, view unobstructed, in humility, reverence, and prayer.

We live off a highway, and there is always traffic, no matter how late the hour. At four in the morning, true, it’s relatively sparse, but headlights and taillights round the curve at regular intervals even then. And so while I stood alone, there was no feeling of complete solitude during the early stages of the eclipse. Nonetheless, they were awe-inspiring, a feeling less of motion than inexorability, even inevitability, as the shadow moved across the moon’s face.

But when the shadow’s work was complete and the blood moon ascendant, the change was apparent in the very air.

There was still traffic, but it was as traffic in a heavy snowfall: sounds muffled, lights dimmed, their presence at such a remove as to beggar awareness entirely.

A hush descended over the world, and I stood in awe, as silent as the predawn world in the presence of this moon transformed. Her robes were crimson, and she stood out from the night sky in three dimensions, as though I could see all but her farthest side in perfect perspective.

And in this new world of simultaneous blue moon, blood moon, supermoon, lunar eclipse, I felt something shift. I stood in reverence, every breath a prayer, and thanked her and the spirits for the gift of simple existence, for strength and courage and wisdom for what is to come.

For there is change ahead.

~ Aji









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