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Within a Circle of Healing

Dawn broke across a clear sky this morning, shades of shimmering white and amber and coral fading into a lapis western expanse. The aspens are now as gold as the sun itself, cottonwoods and willow leaves, too, and our small world sits in circle of rainbow light.

Yesterday was a good day, better than most birthdays of recent years. Oh, there were hiccups along the way, as always, not least of which was a new explosion in the still-wholly-uncontained wildfire thirty miles southeast of here. But as though in answer to prayer, the wind still sends it persistently away from us, and for that we are unspeakably grateful. There have been other gifts, too, seemingly small in the scheme of things, but drill down a layer below the surface, and they loom very large now.

In a time of such horrors as continue to visited upon our world, it’s a day for gratitude and giving thanks, a day for acknowledging the gifts we have been granted and for honoring the healing of the spirits’ own medicine.

Today’s featured work embodies them all, and the rainbow light, too: prayer, thanksgiving, tradition and honor, the gifts of the wheel and the medicine of the hoop. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

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). Side view shown below.

Sterling silver; rutilated quartz; rainbow moonstone; amber; coral; lapis lazuli
$1,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance

I have noted before the uniqueness of the larger center cabochon in this work: It’s rutilated quartz, but it has an unusually pure golden glow, webbed by an equally unlikely weave of black schorl and white inclusions that are probably albite. The colors create an appearance like that of a bumblebee, and so I have nicknamed it “bumblebee quartz.” No, there is no such type of quartz by that name, but today it feels right, given that we are still joined daily by the occasional bumblebee or two and a few clans of smaller indigenous bees. We have also had, in recent day, a solitary dragonfly and an equally solitary butterfly, all of them small messenger spirits here to enjoy the last of the unseasonal warmth before moving along on their migratory paths. The butterfly, in fact, seems to be one not normally found here, either in this region or on this land mass; it appears to be one common to the United Kingdom, although singular appearances have been noted “locally” elsewhere in this ancient land the colonial world insists on calling “North America.” Any new British invasion would necessarily be a bad thing, but the occasional visitation from much older messenger spirits who seem to find sanctuary here seems like a reason to be grateful.

It is the remainder of the cuff, that interests me more. It’s a twinned eagle feather, that gift of a sky-dwelling spirit that allows to end our prayers heavenward, cut, scored, and stamped entirely freehand, with an impossibly delicate silver overlay chased in a repeating freehand-stampwork pattern. In our way, it is a sign of the sacred, a token of honor and respect, a tool of prayer and ceremony and medicine itself.

On these last unseasonably hot days of Indian summer, the prospect of winter at last in sight if the forecast is to be believed, all messengers of the spirits must be welcomed now. Some no doubt carry the burden of warnings; in the midst of catastrophic climate change and global pandemic (to say nothing of the spreading institutionalization of Nazi-style fascism), it could hardly be otherwise. But such messages are medicine, too, in their own way — the knowledge of what we must do to save the world, and ourselves. And these messengers remind us that in these golden days of pure autumn, we live within a circle of healing; it is our task to honor its gifts, and to use them wisely.

~ Aji








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