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The Medicine of the Light

Medicine Prayers Cuff Bracelet Top

The rainbow, the arc, and the light: These elements have comprised the week’s themes thus far, an exploration of the existence and movement of area light and local color.

But the rainbow is, in essence, the spectrum of color rendered in rare visible form, and that spectrum informs all of life, give sit dimension and depth as well as extraordinary beauty. The arc is simultaneously active motion and state of being, what the spectrum becomes and how it becomes, as well. And the light . . . the light is both, and neither, and more than the sum of all their parts; the light is literal illumination and wisdom’s glow.

And occasionally, Wings brings them all together in a single work.

Part of the genius of his work is thats a piece is never confined or constrained by one identity. His works often defy categorization, true, but it’s more than that — it’s that each piece, however seemingly straightforward and sometimes even obvious its symbolism may be, is also open to other interpretations and understandings. More, it’s that a single work infused with a single symbol or spirit can, as the old saying goes, contain multitudes . . . and frequently does.

Such is the case with today’s featured work. 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

This work is, most obviously, a medicine wheel, not a rainbow. And yet, what is a rainbow if not an arc of the light; what is a medicine wheel if not a hoop comprising conjoined arcs and quartered by color and meaning? And given that the colors that constitute such wheels are so often primary shades, the symbolism fits with unusual aptness.

But it’s more than that. Part of the wheel’s traditional use is in gaining understanding, illumination, enlightenment, in both the literal and metaphorical senses of those terms: Among those cultures who first used the original medicine wheels still extant upon the face of the earth itself, their original purpose is thought to have been related to charting the relationship of earth to sun and moon and stars, the orbits and paths or lack thereof; in more recent times, they have been adopted to chart cycles of a more quotidian sort, of the progression of the seasons, of life, of physical and spiritual progress. Both meanings are marked by their relationship to the light.

And then, of course, there is the feather that holds up the wheel. In our way, the eagle feather represents prayer, ceremony, medicine, power. There is little that is so elementally powerful as the light: It coaxes the world out of the cold black of night, allows us to live and move in ease and warmth and relative freedom from the dangers the dark conceals. It causes the plants to grow and thrive, provides us with food and medicine.

And, of course, it collaborates with wind and water to bring us art of a cosmic sort, the kind of magic and mystery that transmutes even the fiercest storm into a thing of beauty.

It’s illumination as medicine, for body and soul: the medicine of the light.

~ Aji








All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2018; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.

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error: All content copyright Wings & Aji; all rights reserved. Copying or any other use prohibited without the express written consent of the owners.