Enchanted Jewelry

Some of my new works of wearable art

Will O’ Wisp Lighted Crystal Necklaces

I never really stopped loving things that light up. It is a bit whimsical wearing something that glows in the dark. There is also something poetic about a point of light in a darkened room. For a long time I tried to find lighted jewelry that was beautiful and not a cheezy plastic thing that looks like you just went to the carnival. My search was fruitless and I began to look for ways to make my own. I tried many materials off and on for a couple of years. But I finally found the right mix of craft supplies to create beautiful pieces that combine sculpture, natural stone, and light!

Will O' Wisp Lighted Crystal (c) (tm)

Will O’ Wisp Lighted Crystal (c) ™

The story of the Will O’ Wisp was always a favorite of mine. I Hope that as you wear a Will O’ Wisp you’ll be drawn into mystery and transformation….or attract just what you need by your fantastic glow.

Will O'Wisp Lighted Crystal (c) (tm)

Will O’Wisp Lighted Crystal (c) ™

THE STORY OF THE WILL O’ WISP

Imagine it is 200 years ago in Ireland. You find yourself miles from home as the sun goes down. There are none of the ever present city lights that could guide you safely from the wild night landscape into the safe company of others. Even as it begins to pound faster and faster, your heart feels like it is clenched in a vice when you realize you are utterly and completely lost. Just as the last drops of hope drip from your mind a ting glowing light appears in front of you. A tiny point of comforting light in the thick darkness. Maybe it is a farmer with a lantern! You call out and are met with silence. The light begins to move off ahead of you. You call out again for the farmer to stop. No answer, and it continues to move further and further from you. Your mind races with possibility, is he just too far away to hear? What if I am seeing things. All the while that tiny sliver of radiant hope slips further and further from you. Fearing the dark you reluctantly begin to follow the light. With each step the grass crunches under your feet. The crunch-crunch of your step keeping time like a clock. With each passing second you recall more stories you heard in pubs and around campfires of the Good Neighbors who would sometimes rescue travelers by leading them home or to great riches. Crunch-crunch, and you recall other stories of the dreaded Puca carrying the Faerie Fire in his hand, leading those who are lost off cliffs and into bogs. Are you being led to safety? Riches? Death? Here in the pitch black countryside you can’t tell, you know only that great transformation in your life comes as you follow that tiny glow in the blackness of night.

WILL O’ WISP WINTER COLLECTION AVAILABLE ONLY THROUGH JANUARY 12, 2014

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Bell Flowers and the Fairy Folk

Beautiful crystal and clay bell flowers.

Beautiful crystal and clay bell flowers.

All bell shaped flowers are sacred to the Fairy Folk. Mortals had to approach and cultivate these flowers with care so that they would not incur the wrath of the Good Neighbors. These necklaces were created to bring some of the magic and healing of fairy gardens into your life.

A few bell flowers that were especially sacred to the Folk are foxgloves, bluebells, and cowslips.

The cowslip, a member of the primrose family, was a plant especially sacred to the fairies. Fairies were said to love the little yellow flowers so much they protected them at any cost. If you trampled on one carelessly you might find yourself under a fairy spell forever. Probably my favorite cowslip reference comes from SHakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire.
I do wander everywhere
Swifter than the moon’s sphere.
And I serve the fairy queen
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be.
In their gold coats spots you see.
Those be rubies, fairy favors.
In those freckles live their savors.
I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits. I’ll be gone.
Our queen and all our elves come here anon.

Foxgloves, or “folk’s gloves” have a rich mythic past. The foxglove contains a deadly poison called digitalis, which in small doses is medicinal. Like the cowslip whose ruby red spots Shakespeare spoke of, the spots on the foxglove come from little fairy fingers touching the plant. The Folk wore the fox glove as actual gloves and hats. It was bad luck indeed for a mortal to harm the plant.

I love the tale from Norway of the bad fairies giving the fox so that is footsteps would be utterly silent. With silent step the fox can raid the henhouse undetected. In Norway the plant is known as Revbielde, or “fox bell”.

Perhaps of all the bell shaped flowers the bluebell (or harebell) is the most quintessential of the fairy flowers. The Folk ring these flowers to summon all to the midnight revels. At times they ring them to summon humans who tend to dance themselves to death, thus explaining an alternate name for the flower: Dead Man’s Bells. If the folk wanted to abduct a child, they would also ring them, for children can hear the sound of these flowers and are quite enchanted by them. In other tales, clasping a handful of these flowers was reputed to give a mortal the fairy sight. Fields of bluebells were said to make the veil between the worlds thinner and create a gateway to Faery.

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.

There is a spell in purple heath
Too wildly, sadly dear;
The violet has a fragrant breath,
But fragrance will not cheer,

The trees are bare, the sun is cold,
And seldom, seldom seen;
The heavens have lost their zone of gold,
And earth her robe of green.

And ice upon the glancing stream
Has cast its sombre shade;
And distant hills and valleys seem
In frozen mist arrayed.

The Bluebell cannot charm me now,
The heath has lost its bloom;
The violets in the glen below,
They yield no sweet perfume.

But, though I mourn the sweet Bluebell,
‘Tis better far away;
I know how fast my tears would swell
To see it smile to-day.

For, oh! when chill the sunbeams fall
Adown that dreary sky,
And gild yon dank and darkened wall
With transient brilliancy;

How do I weep, how do I pine
For the time of flowers to come,
And turn me from that fading shine,
To mourn the fields of home! – Emily Bronte

So if you would like to own some of the magic of these mythic flowers yourself you can find some here! in my Blomming store.

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The Morrighan and the Spiritual Battle of the North

“Victory over oneself  is the primary goal of our training.” – Morihei Ueshiba

Last post, the concept of the Morrighan as “just” a War Goddess was challenged.  Today I’d like to devote a second day to discussing her by widening out the meaning of war in Celtic myths.

In reading Celtic mythology too often it can seem like a cavalcade of bloody battles.  Indeed the Celts were fierce warriors who fought plenty of battles, however mythically speaking there are some cues that the battles fought in the myths are not simply physical battles, they symbolize far more than this.

Ireland is divided into 5 provinces, and a deeper spiritual meaning is assigned to each.  To the east is Leinster symbolic of prosperity.  To the south is Munster where Music dwells.  In the west Connacht, the seat of knowledge.  To the North lies Ulster the place of battle.  And in the center is Meath where the High King at Tara reigns and we find sovereignty.  When reading an Irish myth, the place the story occurs as well as where the figures in the story come from are clues to what is happening below the surface of events.  It is in these clues where the meaning of the story can be sought.

Battle lies to the North.  But what sort of battle are we talking about, really?  What does it mean to be a warrior?  Battles temper and test us.  In battle we are forced to become more than we thought we were.  Yet caution is needed here because battle is a double edged sword.  On the one edge is blind aggression, the shadow side of battle.  This is battle undertaken in anger, fueled by blind hatred.  Interpersonally, this is the argument meant to belittle and tear down the other.  At the level of countries this is projecting our unwanted qualities onto the other side and seeking to wipe them all out.  Intrapersonally this could be an addiction, seeking to escape or wipe ourselves out from a place of deep self-loathing.  Though it may seem forgotten in the modern world, there is an honorable side to battle.

There is the sort of battle undertaken to defend the weak.  In battles of this nature the goal is not to destroy the enemy for we know that aggression only leads to more aggression.  Rather the battle is to resolve conflict.  To achieve this requires skills of discernment, refinement, and understanding.  There will be times when these will fail and we are left with the option of controlled aggression, but it is minimal and as a last resort.  Interpersonally this battle is the attempt in a conflict to understand one another and resolve differences lovingly.  Intrapersonally, this could range from stopping our addiction, facing ourselves and our choices and achieving greater peace in our hearts.

This sculptural necklace represents the gentler lessons the Morrighan is trying to teach us.

In the two myths we have discussed, the Battles of Moytura and The Cattle Raid of Cooley, there are clues that the Morrighan is a warrior of the more enlightened sort.  Note that both of these stories mention the north.  In fact it is the Ulstermen (north) who raid the cattle of Connacht.  In the Battles of Moytura, the Tuatha de Danann arrive in Ireland in a mist from the north.  The Morrighan is one of the Tuatha, whose race symbolizes peace and balance.   In the Second Battle of Moytura, she and the Tuatha are battling the Fomorians, a race symbolizing chaos and destruction.  So already there are clues that the Morrighan is an enlightened warrior.

This enlightened warriorship becomes more clear when we take a closer look at her relationship with Cu Chulainn in the Cattle Raid of Cooley.  Cu Chulainn is a typical adolescent, albeit with near godlike powers (being the son of Lugh).  His brashness gets him into trouble in almost every tale he is in.  In the Cattle Raid the Morrighan certainly prompts him into the battle by stealing the magical cow that sets off the events of the story.  When she first appears to him in the story he rebuffs her rather dismissingly, but regrets this decision once he finds out who she really was.  She curses him and then when he is fighting Ferdiad, she attacks him three times.  I believe here she is teaching him a bit of a lesson, holding him accountable, and testing him spiritually so that he will grow from his adolescent ways.

It seems then that he has made an enemy of her until he is on his way to the battle that will mean his death.  The Morrighan first appears to him as the Washer at the Ford, an omen of death.  When he does not turn back, she sabotages his chariot in an attempt to keep him from the battle.  And finally, when he is dying she keeps him company in the form of a raven.  Clearly she is attempting to teach Cu Chulainn by tempering his brashness and changing the way he battles.  She has mixed success.

So what have we learned about her.  As the Crow she shrieks, raising a furious din, calling us to battle.  Our own souls make this noise when we encounter a situation requiring a psychological fight.  She foretells battles where things might not go well for us by appearing as the Washer at the Ford, how many warnings do we get when we are battling with aggression or anger that we should make a different choice.  And despite our failings someone is always there with us during painful transitions.  The Morrighan would like to be our ally in battling bravely and honorably, but we so often force her into a much rougher role.

Click here for Part 1 of the Morrighan discussion.

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Morrighan, the Phantom Queen

The Morrighan has been on my mind a lot lately. My thinking more deeply of her began last year in Ireland when I met her at the Cliffs of Moher and continued after a somewhat disagreeable discussion with another person interested in Celtic Mythology.

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland the Morrighan's energy radiated from this crow.

 

This individual felt that the Morrighan was only a warrior, a murderer even.  I certainly did not agree.  This description is too narrow, she is certainly a War Goddess, as she took part in the First Battle of Moytura.   In the Second Battle of Moytura she awakens the God Lugh to the fight, thereby bringing the Tuatha de Danaan the means to victory over the Fomorians.  She then goes on to encounter the Dagdha as she was washing at the river (foreshadowing her later role as the Washer at the Ford), and following a tryst with him, gives vital information about the plans of the Fomorians.  She appears again at the end of the Battle to offer two distinct prophecies about the future of the Tuatha and Ireland.

In the story of The Cattle Raid of Cooley, we again find the Morrigan instigating the battle by committing the act of theft which begins the battle that eventually leads to the death of Cu Chulainn, the most famous hero of the Irish mythic sagas.  The relationship between Cu Chulainn and the Morrighan is complex.  She offers herself to him, he rejects her, she harries and curses him  throughout the story.  Yet, in her guise as the Washer at the Ford, she foretells his death, even attempting to prevent it.  Finally, at the end of the tale as Cu Chulainn is dying, she remains with him and keeps him company in the form of a raven.  So there is both a gentle side to her and a role of guiding souls in transition (psychopomping).   And though she is so often listed in glossaries of Celtic figures as a War Goddess, she is rarely shown actually fighting.

Clearly she is not the one dimensional figure that she can be made out to be.

So for the rest of the week, I will be posting and musing about the Morrighan and her multitude of roles, which will take us on an adventure of the meaning of war in the ancient Celtic cycle, love of rough places in our lives, and the complexity of mentorship.

 

Categories: Enchanted Jewelry, Myths for Everyday Life | 2 Comments

Quercus, Ancient Tree Spirit

Snowing again. It is one of the quirks of my particular personality that when I shouldn’t go outside I feel the overwhelming urge to do so. This weather is not fit for man nor beast…nor goblin, but I laced up my black clunky snow boots, put on a wool hat and coat and trudged into the yard.

The snow was very dry and creaked like old floorboards as I walked on it, clearly very poor snowman snow. It did not meet my old Idaho definition of cold. When I sniffed my nose my nostrils did not freeze together momentarily. Chilly, not cold. I reached into my pocket and withdrew the Goblin Lens. As I held it up to my eye the veil between worlds parted and I saw once more the refugees of Faerie skittering abut my yard. I had received a note from Jatrophae yesterday telling me the holidays were no excuse for not catching goblins. I guessed I had better step up my capturing and interviewing.

I scanned the yard with the lens to my eye. I saw a myriad of creatures. One tried to make himself look like a mushroom at my approach, another with a bowl shaped head hissed and swiped the air with it’s claws. I’ll leave that one for last. I looked up into the oak tree and saw the wizened old face I had witnessed there nights ago. As my lensed eye met his eyes he smiled a slow, wooden smile. A sense of peace flowed over me. This would be my quarry.

I reached into the my inside pocket, withdrawing the vial of herbs. I crunched over to the base of the oak tree and sprinkled a tiny bit at the base. Uncorking the vial of amber liquid I let a drop fall. I put the lens back up to my eye to watch him come to me, but he did not! He was smiling away and inhaling deeply, clearly enjoying the scent of the bait, but he remained stuck fast to the bark of the tree. Impossible to tell where he ended and the tree began.

Ugh, this isn’t how this is supposed to work at all. Like an idiot I began to try to coax him down like I would my cat. Saying things like “smell that nice goblin bait, little guy.” and “yes you want to come down right now and have some of this nice smelly stuff.” He regarded me coldly, his smile slipping and a slight scowl appearing in his face. Still I kept on, waving the bottle of bait around and talking in a twittery high voice.

“I am 900 years old.” said a voice that sounded like creaking branches. I looked back up the tree to a very cranky looking critter.

“What?” I replied not sure if I was experiencing an auditory hallucination.

“I am 900 years old. You don’t need to talk to me like a human child. Now run along back to your human affairs and leave me to my tree in peace.”

Undaunted, I said. “But I need to capture you. Make you safe.”

“You are really quite annoying. I seem to be safe right now and it has been 200 years since I lived in a tree. I believe I am going to stay right here. Abdelkader is dead, the Museum destroyed. I will be just fine without help from impatient sing-songy humans.”

“Abdelkader is not dead.” I retorted. “Jatrophae says his body was not found and he likely escaped before the destruction. He says he will seek to continue his work…whatever that was.”

The tree creature’s eyes widened. Clearly this was news to him. “When will it all end?” he sighed in a voice like the last breeze of summer.

“I don’t know.” I said. “But I am here to help. Find you a home safely away from Faerie, far from the reach of the Doctor.” I explained to him about finding a Guardian and my work with Jatrophae to discover what Dr. Abdelkader was up to and end it once and for all. He reluctantly agreed to come down from the tree. Apart from the tree, he has a wispy inconsequential form, like a ghost.

Once in the house, he drifted over to my ficus. The wispy substance he was wrapped around the tree and began to thicken. Before long his face appeared out of the woody stem of the little tree. I held the little guide book as I sat on the floor next to him. The pages turned to an entry that said:

Tree Spirit: Said to be the soul of a tree. This is not entirely the case since trees already have their own spirits. Tree Spirits were once embodied in a very rare kind of tree in Faerie. When those trees were destroyed in the first Great War, the tree’s spirit lived on and drifted to meld with the spirit of other kinds of trees. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship much like lichen.

He told me his name is Quercus because of his fondness for oaks. He said my ficus was young and “chatty” and he looked forward to finding a nice quiet old oak to converse with. Quercus had been in the museum for a very long time, and because he listened more than he spoke, he provided much information. I am unsure just now what it all means, but I recorded it in the little book. Quercus described being paired with many different types of goblin and other magical creature via spells and a strange machine. It was painful and clearly meant to measure something. I did also discover that the purpose of Dr. Abdelkader’s work was to create some sort of living device for “reconquest”. I couldn’t wait to see Jatrophae to find out what “reconquest” meant. Did it have to do with the Seelie-Unseelie war?

In any event, Quercus is in need of a Guardian
.Museum of Goblinology

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