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To Greet the New World By Embracing the Light

Embracing the Light Finger Cuff Top View

In much of the world, this is Three Kings’ Day (otherwise known, as some call it here, as All Kings’ Day, or simply Kings’ Day). Much of Christianity celebrates it as the Feast of the Epiphany, and thanks to the centuries-long colonial Catholic presence among many of our peoples, it’s a feast day (or otherwise celebrated) among many of Turtle Island’s indigenous cultures, as well. This is true of Taos Pueblo: Today will feature the public (within the Pueblo) recognition of the year’s new tribal administration, and it will be celebrated with (this year) the Buffalo Dance. It’s a dance of great beauty and power, one that inspire awe in the observer.

These are, of course, fundamentally indigenous celebrations that have long since been adapted to the outside world’s calendar. Our own ways of reckoning time are more elemental, more in accord with Mother Earth and her place in the cosmos. This is why, as I’ve said here before, although Wings and I acknowledge the dominant culture’s new year’s celebrations, too (indeed, it’s unavoidable, given that the world mostly operates on the Gregorian calendar that defines its date), we invariably mark our own indigenous new year differently: We celebrate it by the return of the light.

Our own personal new year began, then, on the morning of December 21st. The Long Night was, in actuality, the night before — December 20th, given that the moment of the Winter Solstice occurred at 9:28 AM our time the following morning. By 9:29, the light had begun its slow journey back to us,  bringing with it the new world of a whole new Earth year. [Lest you think I’m being facetious, I will point out here that on that day, we make a point of wishing each other, in our way, both a good Solstice and a Happy [Indigenous] New Year. I suspect that we are far from the only Native couple to do so.]

As a practical matter, all this means . . . well, not very much, really, with regard to the outer world and the vagaries of daily life. AS a matter of deeper ancestral and spiritual identity, though, it means that we are ten days further into the “new year” than the rest of the world. And we have used those extra ten days in large part, as the name of today’s featured work indicates, in tasks of recognition and acknowledgment, of appreciation and celebration: in embracing the light, and in giving thanks for its return.

Today’s work is also one of Wings’s newest pieces, one completed between the Solstice that marks our new year and the end of December that heralds the new year of the world at large. From its description in the Rings Gallery here on the site:

Embracing the Light Finger Cuff Side View

Embracing the Light Finger Cuff

We begin each new year by embracing the light, whose return brings us a world renewed. Wings honors both the light and its embrace with this new finger cuff, a ring designed to embrace one in silvery reflected and refracted light. It’s a simple sterling silver band, hammered by hand to catch the light, its arc sloping gently upward on either side courtesy of the ring’s graceful anticlastic shaping. Its “cuff” style, one length of silver wrapped and held via the metal’s natural tension rather than a circle soldered together, leaves room for self-adjustment. Note: This particular cuff is made for larger fingers, roughly a size 14; it can be resized a bit, but much more than two sizes downward would require trimming the ends of the cuff. Band is 3/4″ across at the top center, narrowing gradually to 7/16″ at either end (dimensions approximate). Top view shown above.

Sterling silver
$375 + shipping, handling, and insurance

It is, perhaps, the first task of the new year: In our way, in the act of embracing the light, we also give thanks for it, and for those among our cultures whose task it also is to sing the sun across the sky, we are encouraged by it.

In our way, a new year brings with it a new world. I can think of no better way to face it, on its earliest cold days, no way more hopeful and confident in the good graces of the spirits, than to greet the new world by embracing the light.

~ Aji








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