Blood Milk Jewels
On the Pyre of Memory. Chapter II.
Blood Milk Jewels
On the Pyre of Memory. Chapter II.
Here, the 'On the Pyre of Memory' coin has been married to a strand of onyx, spinel, and sterling silver beads to create this limited edition strand. Composed of a collage of tactile beads including oversized ‘rosary’ shaped beads this strand can be used for meditation, ritual, grounding practices and for any other uses that might bring comfort when worn against the body, held in your hands or counted / rubbed between your fingers.
At its closure is our medium sized, sterling silver, double sided eye talisman clasp for additional psychic protection.
'On the Pyre of Memory'
Once upon a time, on the evening of September 3, 2018 to be exact, I was driving in the dark on a Minnesota road with Aaron listening to the news when word broke of the Natural Museum of Brazil being on fire ….an American NPR reporter was on the scene where thousands of people were gathered to watch the Imperial Palace, hundreds of years old, and which housed millions of ancient artifacts and documents, the memory of Latin America, being incinerated as if on a giant pyre. Voices of grief in Portuguese crackled through the radio waves across the sea in the dark and I looked out the car window, onto the flat plains of the farm lands of America, and my heart caved in, in that particular way that only grief can incite. It was, and remains one of the most poignant moments of ‘contact’ grief I have ever experienced in my life for a significant loss that wasn’t the loss of human life. As I write this news reports come in during a time of another moment of contact grief as unfathomable losses of human life are still being counted in Turkey and Syria after a devastating earthquake.
Inside this museum, which was once home to royalty in its pale yellow walls and vast gardens, were recordings of indigenous languages existing only there, and now lost forever ~ Egyptian mummies carefully wrapped in layers of linen and prepared with talismans for the afterlife, cremated like the modern dead~ indestructible meteorites which survived the fire due to their alien anatomy~ a Roman fresco from Pompeii that had ironically survived the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius but now reduced to ash ~5 million butterflies, their vivid and iridescent wings evaporated in the night air like ingredients in a spell….
but what I was most haunted by was the bones of Luzia, the ancient young woman found in a cave in the 1970’s, her skull and part of her skeleton a marvel of our history on the planet - evidence of our ancientness - considered to be 11,000 years old + a vast amount of time to consider our humanness, our consciousness, our aliveness, yet also, our newness as a species when considering the age of the planet and how she was also housed in the same palace as the bones of a dinosaur.
These bones, these relics, these objects, these specimens, all gathered together in a cauldron of memory that caught fire in the night - & yet & yet, Luzia remained - her skull, miraculously housed in an iron cabinet, lived on yet again. This woman and her skull has haunted me through these remaining years ~ the ideas of cultural memory ~ of ancestry and the earliest humans ~ how we are all truly related and connected ~ how ancient and also new we are as a species ~ how objects and memory and ourselves can be lost to time, to fire, to tragedy in quicksilver moments has remained like a ghost ~ surfacing in moments of sadness, but also in moments of joy ~ to remember this is all we have ~ this time right now~ is an unnamable fear and an unnameable pleasure ~ it is beautiful and grotesque all at once ~ a tension I’m always chasing in everything with my time on this realm…
It is a strange kind of grief, to grieve for objects and buildings, to grieve for a timeline we did not live in, to grieve for a woman and a humanness alien to our modern senses. There is a doubleness happening here for me, and maybe for you too, in this moment and perhaps in other experiences of sadness and grief, or in other inkier, murkier, less ‘acceptable’ emotions pushed down into the shadow realms of your self - when two kinds of death happen, a death of a past we did not partake in but are joined to, and then a true death of the bones and relics and objects when they are lost forever to neglect, to war, to natural disaster, when parts of our past and our collective memory is lost forever.
To push this further, there is also a deep grief when we are lost from the connection of ourselves, be that to our ancestry and culture because we are taught to be disconnected from it by way of immigration, or perhaps because we do not know it at all by way of adoption or other separation from family through no choice or cause of our own.
This talismanic vessel also represents the ‘double’ grief we feel when we lose someone - we grieve the loss of the person, who they were to us, the memories of them surfacing, sometimes with joy, and other times with a kind of sharp flame that burns through us quickly like a wildfire - and the second grief, the grief of the death of who we were when they were alive and how we must now be in their absence ….how we are now completely different and how, much like the museum, we must rebuild after the devastation.
May you put these feelings and felt senses on the alchemical pyre to be burned away, to be transformed - because there is nothing else to be done, the grief must be transmuted.
The shape of this coin mimics the ‘pressed penny’ souvenir - suggesting the relics we collect when we travel to different places and collect mementos of memory of our time spent elsewhere.
Onyx is best known for being a natural stone that acts as a kind of 'psychic armor' against the negativity of others. It is also used to sooth grief and heartbreak. It's a wonderful grounding stone and stone of self mastery, enabling its wearers to have mental and spiritual focus.
Spinel is a potent stone for healing and protection: working to help clear intense emotions such as anger and rage, it imbues its wearer with a sense of calm. It is also used to heal the physical body and has powerful metaphysical qualities, helping its wearer to feel strong, assisting with perseverance, especially when dealing with issues from the past that have become difficult to overcome. Much like Onyx, it also helps repel negativity from others.
Every bead is hand selected for its beauty.
This strand is handmade to order, just for you, with care and focus. Please allow approximately 6 weeks for creation before shipping.
*Length note: Because individual bead measurements vary slightly, total strand lengths are approximate within a few millimeters in either direction. Please reach out via email if you have any questions about this.
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