Two Blue Necklaces

November 28, 2007

I re-strung a strand of frosted aquamarine beads and added a pendant that I made a couple of years ago:  it’s rare Blue Ice chalcedony from Greenland.  I bought the cabochon because it looks exactly like a Greenland glacier.  The forged silver hook is inspired by Viking silver designs.  A wintry necklace with the quiet clarity of ancient ice, to wear with iron earrings.

ice necklace

I also took apart a multi-stone necklace from Pakistan, salvaging only the strand of Afghani lapis beads and the silver clasp.  I added antique African carnelian beads, a green Chinese turquoise donut, and copper spirals.  Three stones that have been precious for thousands of years, in a design that could have come from almost anywhere in the ancient world.  More colorful than anything I usually wear, but it matches my fancy embroidered Indian dress.

turquoise lapis carnelian necklace


Tiny Pod Knife

November 20, 2007

Tiny Pod Knife

Here’s a tiny version of the Fish Pod Knife that is on my Knives webpage.  The design is taken from a beautifully forged 19th century antique Chinese fisherman’s knife that I bought a few years ago.  This one is only 2 1/4 inches long and is forged from a 4″ cut nail that was divided into three pieces to make the pod, blade, and rivet.  It was just an experimental piece and doesn’t have a fancy finish – it will probably adorn a fabric bag or a bell chain.  Now I want to try making the pod out of silver or copper.

Desert Ferns Webpages

November 16, 2007

Today I uploaded my webpages on Arizona’s xerophytic ferns.  There is an introductory page and a field guide.  It’s not finished, but comments and suggestions are welcome.

I won’t be able to photograph more ferns until the winter rains bring them back to life, so the project will be on the shelf until after the Winter Solstice.  Meanwhile,  here’s a red-spotted toad contemplating Argyrochosma jonesii growing in a cool shady limestone hollow under saguaros.

red spotted toad and fern

I’ve chosen the 28 lichen samples for the Graphis oracle, developed a sequence of glyphs, and am now working on the ink drawings.  Meanwhile, here is a simple oracle that I developed a couple of years ago using double-terminated reverse-sceptred quartz crystals.  I have a large collection of these, and chose my favorites for the oracle.  They are similar to the famous Herkimer diamonds and formed in limestone of the same age, but are more complex in structure and have dark petroliferous cores.  I spent some time contemplating each crystal, writing down words or phrases that seemed to describe its intuitive significance to me.  After a few experimental throws, the meaning of each stone solidified and I kept only those that were consistently significant, weeding out the ones that only added “noise” to the reading.  I ended up with ten crystals:

Quartz Crystal Oracle

TOP (left to right):

1.  ice – smoke – walking alone (note that this is a dipyramid, with no prism faces)

2.  teacher – sanctuary – purification

3.  converging – roots – stream confluence

4.  diverging – tree branches – fire

5.  whirling – creation – complexity

BOTTOM (left to right):

6.  water – healing mist – concealment (this is waterworn, frosted, with rounded edges)

7.  sky bridge – setting out

8.  underworld tunnel – return

9.  myriad – tower of light – sun

10.  twin, double or partner – subconscious – moon (two crystals intergrown)

To use the oracle, I roll or shake the crystals in my hand, throw them on the table, and read their orientations and positions relative to each other.  It’s surprisingly powerful for occasional use to get a sense of direction and atmosphere on large questions that will probably develop slowly.  It seems to be quite personal and I haven’t tried to use it for anyone else.  Unlike the Tarot or the I Ching, it isn’t suitable for everyday use or for situations that are changing quickly.  This oracle has a clarity and timeless feel that probably comes from the transparency of the crystals, their sharp-edged shapes, and their double points.  The dark cores add a sense of depth, movement, and mystery, like black water flowing under ice.  Pebbles and many other items could be used the same way, but the feel of the oracle would be different.


November 1, 2007

Cat Pumpkin

Cat Pumpkin

This is the beginning of winter, when the creeks turn black and the ground – not just the air – begins to grow cold.  I’ve done elaborate rituals in some years, crossing a creek to journey into the Underworld.  Other years I’ve turned my desk into an altar to friends, teachers, and ancestors who have crossed over.  This year called merely for simple personal rituals for protection, and a noisy walk up the street with my bells during trick-or-treat time.  The real activity came later, as owls hooted, coyotes and dogs howled, my cats prowled, and I lay awake staring into the moonlight…until dawn brought calm silence and golden light, and the usual clear, empty feeling that this day always brings – that sense of suddenly being in a new place, a bit lonely but holding humble new possibilities.