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The Light Within

Medicine Prayers Cuff Bracelet Top

We have a few more golden days of fall left to us yet.

It’s hard to believe that the more usual signs predict a hard winter; most days, the high hovers well into the sixties. Yesterday and today have been somewhat cooler than that, but not unseasonably so. And the sunlight remains robed in its metallic autumn shimmer.

Perhaps the most visible sign comes from the season’s other source of gold: At least as many leaves are now at rest upon the ground as remain on the trees.

In our entire immediate area here, the land that lies within our line of sight, ours are always the last trees to turn, the longest and most brightly dressed. It’s because we are at a slightly lower point than post of the land around us (although still above one of the area’s many snow lines). The trees here benefit from several distant natural windbreaks, even as they stand in the path of abundant sun.

This year, three of the hardier aspens are almost wholly bare.

Climate change has manifest here less obviously in extremes of weather events, and more in a shift in seasonal dynamics. Our first aspens began to turn on July 30th, making bare trees by October’s end not only natural, but likely. Indeed, given how truncated our summer was this year, we are fortunate to have any leaves left at all by now, much less any green, and on this day, we still have plenty of both.

But the wind is rising, and the leaves are falling. The light is falling, too — dark comes very early now.

On days so short, when warmth and light are in such short supply, we must turn to find the light within.

Such thoughts put me in mind of today’s featured work, one that reminds us of both the presence of illumination in unlikely places and of the necessity of seeking it. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Medicine Prayers Cuff Bracelet Side

A Medicine Prayer Cuff Bracelet

The medicine wheel summons the powers of the four directions to our healing, while the eagle’s feather sends our prayers to Spirit. Wings brings their collective forces together in this breathtaking cuff bracelet, connecting the four winds to earth and sky, linking the place of our emergence with the place in the heavens where the spirits dwell. The cuff’s band is wrought in in the shape of twinned eagle feathers, all hand-cut of a single piece. Each barb of the feathers is created by way of hundreds of tiny individually hand-scored lines angles downward on either side of the quill, while delicate freehand ajouré cutwork forms the natural separations in the barbs. The dots that naturally adorn eagle feathers are formed via small stamped sacred hoops, and the ends of the cuff have been lightly oxidized to bring the patterns out into beautiful relief. A delicate strand of sterling silver half-round wire, hand-stamped with dozens of chased cloud patterns symbolizing imminent abundance, form the quill shaft. At the center of the band sits a hand-wrought medicine wheel in an elevated setting, with small round cabochons placed at each of the cardinal points in the traditional colors: a white rainbow moonstone to the North; yellow amber to the East; red coral to the South; and blue lapis to the West. At the center lies a larger cabochon of rutilated clear quartz, an elemental stone that carries within it an earthy, fiery collection of shiny black schorl and gold- and silver-hued rutile. Hand-stamped directional arrows point inward from each cardinal point to the center’s vortex of power, while broken arrows between the points represent the irregularity of the path. The band measures 5/8″ of an inch across at its widest point; the wheel setting is 1.25″ across; the center cabochon is 9/16″ across (dimensions approximate). Another view shown at top.

Sterling silver; rutilated quartz; rainbow moonstone; amber; coral; lapis lazuli
$1,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance

In our way, the colors of the medicine wheel are the colors of the Four Sacred Directions. Color and meaning label from people to people and culture to culture, but in many, if not most, they bear a direct relationship to how we view the world, to its seasons and stages of life. The rising light that accompanies the birth of a child is very different from the dimming one that follows an elder in the process of walking on; one requires all the illumination this world can provide in order to grow and thrive, while the other’s need for light in this world vanishes in the face of the looming brilliance of the next one.

But it is not only that light that we carry within ourselves that we should seek. After all, there are times when our own fires grow dim, their glow pale and wan, requiring fuel from outside ourselves in order to roar into full flame again. It is in these hours, dark and cold, when we are at our most vulnerable, that we need to find other sources of light. And our world provides: Sun and moon, stars of morning and night, the glow of the fire at the center of the circle and the pinpricks of light that shimmer through the shadow.

The path around the hoop is never a perfect circle; it is often broken, filled with backtracks and detours and obstacles that often seem to halt us in our tracks. But at the center, always, lies illumination. We need only remember to seek the light within.

~ Aji








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