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The Revolution of a Timeless Orbit


There is a set of verses from an ancient book, one belonging to a spiritual tradition from half a world away, that now probably calls to mind, for most, a folk song from the Sixties (although it was written half a decade prior). It’s never been a particular favorite of mine, neither verse nor song, but it’s apt now, in its way. The dominant culture has spent the last year reveling in an orgy of colonial spite while the rest of us try to find our footing within its angry vortex, and last night’s electoral results are the first real indicators that the pendulum might be swinging back to a healthier place.

This is resistance, yes. Revolution it is not.

“Revolution” is a word much bandied about these days in some fashionable politicelebrity quarters, coopted by many of the most privileged of the dominant culture even as they gleefully erase our existence. Their very assumption (and it assumes a lot) of the term is a mark of that privilege; those of us beneath the bootheel tend to be more careful, and more precise, in our choice of descriptors. But this is rebellion write small, among the first ready to sell out people of color and other marginalized populations in exchange for the modern social-media equivalent of thirty pieces of silver.

But there is an older meaning to that word, revolution, one that transcends time and trend and the tyranny of political fashion.

And it is a reminder of the truth in the old verses of another path, to everything there is a season; truth in the admonition of the old song, turn, turn, turn.

The earth knows this lesson intimately, this turning, this revolving: It is part of its eternal dance, this revolution through time and space and states of being beyond our comprehension.

There is another old axiom, one that asserts that there is nothing new under the sun, and there is truth to that also. It’s part of fundamental physics, a science that transcends culture, but it is also consonant with our ways of understanding our world. For many of our cultures, history is a misnomer; so, too, are such terms as past and future. Each implies a disconnectedness that, for us, does not exist.

Oh, it makes life easier for dominant colonial cultures, of course; the very language permits them to place us backward, behind, in a place beyond time, and that makes it that much easier to erase our inconvenient existences now. But for cultures who understand life as a hoop, the path as a circle, past as present and present as future and future as past, we know that the encircling braid of existence remains always unbroken, even if we lose our grip on it for a time.

Because our perceptions do not dictate its being.

Because life, like the earth, like time, exists a priori as much as a posteriori.

Because the earth moves in the revolution of a timeless orbit, and so do we.

Today’s featured work summons this same timeless spirit, this same unbroken chain of being into tangible form. From its description in the Necklaces Gallery here on the site:


The Roads of Time Necklace

The roads of time are neither simple nor straight, but they all meet at intersections of history and spirit. Wings honors their existence, and their patterns, with this contemporary tribute to ancient beings. The pendant’s cabochon is a slab of fossilized mammoth tooth, thousands of years old, its pale natural color warmed by the earth in which it lay, its veins and capillaries now turned into a network of roads in glowing blues and grays: roads that intersect, bisect, run parallel, and overlap, connecting up with each other and linking epochs in time and even time itself. Wings sliced the fossil material from a larger piece, shaped it gently and polished it lightly, then set it in a hand-made bezel of sterling silver. The embrasure is a modified saw-toothed bezel, hand-cut and trimmed in twisted silver. On the reverse, the setting is centered around an ajouré Morning Star, hand-cut to expose the fossil and allow its earthy glow to shine through the star’s spokes as they stretch to the Four Sacred Directions. Around the perimeter of the reverse side, hand-stamped blossoms emerge from the ancient materials and images to flower anew. the pendant hangs from a strand of graduated disc beads made of traditional olivella-shell heishi in two colors, accented near the findings with twin segments of faceted copper barrel beads. Pendant (including bail) hangs 2-1/4″ long by 1-1/4″ across at the widest point; cabochon is 1-11/16″ long by 1-1/16″ across at the widest point; bead strand is 18″ long (dimensions approximate). Close-up views of pendant, front and reverse, shown at the link.

Sterling silver; fossilized mammoth tooth; olivella-shell heishi; copper
$975 + shipping, handling, and insurance

It suits this day in physical terms as much as metaphysical ones, too: This day began shrouded in clouds and fog, cleared momentarily, then burrowed back under a gray blanket for a time. But the light is stronger than any earth tones, and the afternoon here is awash in silver and gold and warming winds.

Summer has been reluctant to let go this year; fall plays hide-and-seek and catch-me-if-you-can.  Even so, we are turning slowly, inexorably, from their time toward that of winter, toward colder winds and shorter light. It will be dark soon, seemingly far too soon — but in fact, the night will arrive right on time. The world revolves, and we with it, and time remains untouched and untroubled by it all.

If revolution is what we seek, we could do worse than to begin with the basics: to learn the word’s older meaning and manifestation, to understand its lessons, to chart our path in harmony with it.

Because understanding the immutable properties of the orbit are the first prerequisite to changing the path.

~ Aji






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