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Where Earth and Water Meet


The water in the pond is already lower than yesterday. The moment the flow is shut off or rerouted, the level drops precipitously in this weather and climate.

Yesterday, the wind ruled, bending branches horizontal and whipping up small furious vortices made of sand and dust. Today’s wind is less violent, but it blows strongly enough to add the power of evaporation to the waterline’s fall, and its essential trickster spirit remains barely at bay behind the light.

Everyone here is worried, and with good reason.

We expect to drink from a wounded earth, but her own resources are too depleted to supply us all.

For us, that means reevaluating which crops to plant this year, and in which quantities; some fare far better in drought conditions than do others. Some remain a necessity, and those will force us to be strategic about their cultivation and care. But there is no question that we will all be called to share in the measures scarcity requires.

We are all likewise called to share in the burden of the world’s rehabilitation, the earth’s own reclamation. The planet is fighting for itself, but it will be a long and difficult battle. It needs our help, and that of our fellow spirits.  And, indeed, it is our fellow spirits who can guide us in our work to conserve the water and preserve the earth.

Two of those spirits, along with those more elemental, are manifest in today’s featured work: Buffalo and Turtle, inhabiting a space where earth and water meet. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:


Earth Rising Cuff Bracelet

It is a time of elemental change, Earth rising to link past and present and future in a sacred hoop of protection and survival. Wings links them in more tangible ways with this spectacularly complex cuff, one that fuses one of his very early pieces into a whole new work that honors elemental powers, sacred numbers, and ancient spirits. It begins with a solid sterling silver cuff, scored freehand into eight separate lines, the number of the cardinal and ordinal directions. At either end, a sterling silver overlay in the shape of Grandmother Turtle, she who holds the world on her back, climbs steadily upward. Each turtle is cut, freehand, with a tiny jeweler’s saw, articulated head, legs, and tail each stamped with traditional patterns to form scales and provide texture and dimensionality. Each turtle’s shell is gently scalloped with stampwork around the edge, a Morning Star stretched across the shell’s center. Wings brought old to new and melded them together at the top of the cuff with the addition of one of his very early pieces from his personal collection: a hat pin in the form of a medicine shield that doubles as a medicine wheel, cut freehand and centered by Buffalo’s skull, our Elder Brother of the Earth. The horizontal spokes of the medicine shield are sculpted and stamped in the shape of a ceremonial pipe, eagle feathers suspended at either end. The entire wheel is overlaid onto a backing of hand-hammered sterling silver. Cuff band is 7″ long by roughly 1-1/8″ across; turtle overlays are 1-1/4″ long by 15/16″ across at the widest point; buffalo medicine wheel overlay is 1-7/16″ high by 1-3/8″ across at the widest point (dimensions approximate). Other views shown at the link.

Sterling silver
$1,900 + shipping, handling, and insurance

This work became one of my instant favorites among Wings’s current inventory. Part of it is its essential simplicity: Plain sterling silver, unaccented by stones, a precious gift of the earth scored into liquid ribbons of water and light. Part of it is the identities of the spirits who infuse their powers into the piece — Buffalo’s steady strength, Turtle’s ability, once already, to save the world and keep it in conditions of abundance.

But part of it, too, is the elemental nature of its symbolism: strength, prayer, medicine, survival, all brought together where earth meets water and art meets power.

Our world is increasingly under threat, and with it, our existence. But there are older ways of being that can show us a way forward for the earth’s survival, and the water’s . . . and our own.

~ 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.