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The Loving Embrace of the Light

Another clear cold day in the throes of the dawn, faint wisps of copper and amber stretching across the sky in either direction from its source beneath the southeast peaks.

The day will warm again, just as it has the last two — too warm for January. The snow will continue to melt, exposing the rivers of muddy brown earth below. And despite the sun, our small world here will be a little colder, a little grayer than it should be, a small golden light having gone out of it three days ago.

Still, the warming air holds the feel of spring; so, too, does the sap on the transplanted Christmas tree, having emerged suddenly yesterday to glimmer like diamonds in the light. It feels like a promise: of return — of the return of hope, and joy, and love, and a link to the small sweet spirit taken from us too soon, the one with golden coat and eyes the color of amber darkening to tiger’s eye, just as mysterious and chatoyant, and yet filled with pure happiness.

These are softer senses, less strident than the winter cold, more like the beat of a butterfly’s wings. And in a few months, it will be her time again, the Butterfly Maiden and all she represents. In a season bleak with the pale harsh light of winter, the glowing warmth of her airborne dance is welcome now, and finds expression in today’s featured work. From its description in the Necklaces Gallery here on the site:

Butterfly Maiden Necklace

The Butterfly Maiden holds the light in her wings. In these ever-shorter days and lengthening dark, Wings summons her shape and gifts into being with this powerfully inspirited necklace. The pendant is cut freehand of solid sterling silver, forming the outline of her body wrought in stones arrayed to the Four Sacred Directions. Her body is an oval of glossy, liquid onyx; her wings, a pair of matched and angled cabochons of richly banded simbircite, glowing with the orange fire of the sun; her face is hawk’s eye, bold midnight blue banded with brilliantly chatoyant gold. Each cabochon is set into a scalloped bezel trimmed with twisted silver; a tiny stamped butterfly flutters over her own heart. Atop the Maiden is a broad, bold bail of sterling silver hand-stamped in a repeating pattern of thunderhead symbols laid base to base to point to the Sacred Directions. The pendant hangs from a cascade of highly polished sardonyx barrel beads, speckled and banded in shades of black and white, amber and copper, interspersed with pairs of small round sterling silver beads, all strung over sturdy and shimmering sterling silver chain. The center bead is flanked by a pair of larger, hand-made and hand-stamped silver beads, and four small round beads lead toward the findings at either end of the strand. The pendant is 3-7/8″ long, including the bail, by 2-1/16″ across at the widest point; the bail itself is 11/16″ long by 5/8″ across; onyx cabochon is 1-1/2″ long by 1-3/16″ across at the widest point; simbircite cabochons are 1-1/4″ across by 1-1/16″ high at the ends; hawk’s eye cabochon is 1-1/16″ across; bead strand is 20″ long (dimensions approximate). Close-up of pendant shown at top. Design by Aji; creation by Wings.

Sterling silver; onyx; simbircite; hawk’s eye; sardonyx
$3,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Now, as the sun nears the crest of the ridgeline, she seems to have put in an early appearance: clouds fanned and feathered out from the center of the dawn, like wings stretched outward in pure golden radiance. Mountain slope and earth below remain shadowed, blue-black, yet slowly lightening in weight as much as color, rising to meet the sun.

Our spirits are still weighted with loss, but the light returns for us every day nonetheless, and love, too. These are among the roles of Butterfly, after all: to carry love on her wings, and the light of warmer winds.

In winter, it may be mostly memory. But it feels as though she has returned early this day, to spread her wings around a world too long cold and dark — in the loving embrace of the light.

~ Aji








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