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The Power of Illumination

The Storm Light Anticlastic Cuff Front

After two days of unutterable cold, the air is warming again.

The mercury drop was not as drastic as it seemed, of course; it’s only by comparison to the temperatures of three or four days ago, well into the seventies, that the air has seemed so frigid now. It’s a shock to the system, ours as much as the earth’s, and we have been lucky that the hard freezes of nights past have not damaged the latter’s nascent growth.

It has meant, though, that the day has dawned in a haze of chill gray-gold light. The weather, newly clear and dry, coupled with the bitter temperatures of the early hours, has kept a gravitational pull on the smoke of thousands of woodstoves and fireplaces. The resulting inversion layer, spread low and wide here at the base of the peaks, has veiled Father Sun’s face well into the post-dawn morning, his golden glow muffled and muted by a man-made cloud as gray as any storm.

And while the natural human tendency is to speak of light in the storm, of fighting one’s way through and finding oneself on the other side in clear air and calm waters, no elemental fury is as dangerous to us as our own. The storms humanity creates — negligently, willfully, with malice aforethought and with no thought at all — are the ones that put us most at risk. We may not be able to harness Nature’s power fully, but we’ve proven exceedingly ineffective at managing our own, even minimally.

These are dark days for the earth (although, as I noted a few days ago, in much of the world, the risk comes less from the dark than from the too-hot and persistent light). Our own collective conduct has launched a catastrophe, one no longer in slow motion. Our ability to curtail its harms is now perforce limited. But that storm sits on the horizon, just at the edge of human perception.

The more immediate gale hovers over us, even in the clearest of skies, the one entirely of our own making.

This is the one we can manage, if only we summon the courage and strength of spirit to do so. It will mean facing the vortex of our own creation, stepping willingly into the darkening spiral and fighting our way through the the light on the other side. But it can be done.

Two years ago, Wings created a series in miniature called The Light Collection, consisting of powerful katsina-styled necklace and today’s featured work. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

The Storm Light Anticlastic Cuff Side 2

Light In the Storm Cuff Bracelet

It is in the eye of the storm that we are afforded a glimpse of its passing, when the clouds part momentarily to let the light descend. Wings has captured the glow of those rays in this anticlastic cuff, as big and bold as the storm itself, as bright as the light that transcends it. The band is wrought of sixteen-gauge sterling silver, heavier than usual for the shaping required of an anticlastic band, and sloped gently upward on either side. Its surface is free of adornment save a row of chased traditional symbols that run its entire length: stylized thunderheads paired together at their bases to form a sig of the  Four Sacred Directions, each mated pair embracing an Eye of Spirit, that which watches over us even in the fiercest storm. At its center, elevated upon a small sterling silver cylinder, rests another representation of Spirit’s Eye: the light itself, caught and held fast in a massive cabochon of dove-gray labradorite. The stone possesses breathtaking depth and clarity, shot through with angled inclusions like sheets of rain and refracting the light into a gold-tinged rainbow of color. Hand-stamped stars of various shapes and sizes spread stardust along the cuff’s inner band. Band is 1-11/16″ across; cabochon is 1-3/4″ long by 11/16″ high (dimensions approximate). Other views shown at the link. First in Wings’s new series, The Light Collection.

Sterling silver; labradorite
$1,800 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Together, they were a tribute to, an honoring of, the light that is this place’s most elemental spirit. But they were an homage to something else, as well: the power of illumination.

Vision.

Wisdom.

Humanity has too long placed its confidence entirely in its own notions of self-created “wisdom,” spurning that taught by more ancient spirits. It has led to an artificial understanding of the world, one that purports to worship “science” but fails to grasp the spirit that lives at its heart. We have developed artificial light . . . and now, we are artificially darkening the world by the day, as the coming storm of climate change begins to loose its children upon the land.

There is much more to come, many darker days ahead, more extremes of weather and more violent storms. Finding the light within, and making it to the other side, will require calling upon all the wisdom and guidance available, science and spirit alike. There is always light in the storm; now is the time to seek the power of illumination, hold it fast, and share it far and wide.

~ 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.