Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Open Letter to The Pyramid Collection

Dear Pyramid Collection,

First I want to say that I *love* your clothes. I wish I could afford what pieces come in "goddess sizes at no extra cost!", and wear the pieces that don't (and afford them too!). There's a skirt, a caftan and a coat that I want from the current catalog...le sigh. I also love most of your jewelry, even the rings that would only fit on my pinky fingers (they're size 10, which is usually the largest they carry >.>). I even have a Celtic weave patterned throw blanket poncho (it's awesome, trust me) that a beloved friend gave me for my boofday a few years ago that I adore and use all the time.

Then I see on my newest catalog on the "Look Inside!" bubble and see "Symbolic Jewelry". Orly? Lemme see what you've got going on here...hmm...Möbius-strip pendants with neat little sayings, pendants and rings made from unusual semiprecious stones (Australian black jade? Ooh..), lovely. Lots of Onyx and Garnet stuff, red and black, looks classy, The Gemstone Diet pendant...wait, what?

This is a cluster of tumbled stones that look like they've been soldered together. It's not, in my opinion, very pretty looking, but whatevs...let's see what's included...Sodalite, Obsidian, Amethyst, Tourmaline (what color? dunno), and Crystal Quartz. Wait, what? Hmm, let's see what attributes are given to the stones...Sodalite, to regulate metabolism? Obsidian is a cravings reducer? Amethyst, to counter food addiction? Tourmaline for energy and Quartz "to promote positives, dispel negatives" (this is a direct quote from the catalog).




This just doesn't make any sense to me. Ok, so Sodalite doesn't really have any ancient folklore behind it and so regulating metabolism could be as good as helping emotionally balance someone or calming a body down so a person can relax enough to sleep. But Obsidian and Amethyst *do* have a huge amount of historical folklore behind them. Obsidian has been used to make tools and mirrors for thousands of years. The Aztecs name for it meant, "Divine Stone". Making it a "cravings reducer" just seems like they're making things up.

The Romans believed if you drunk out of a goblet made of Amethyst, you wouldn't get drunk. In Tibet, Amethyst is sacred to the Buddha. Even the Catholics in the Middle Ages thought the stone encouraged celibacy and piety. The purple Amethyst decor during the Inquisition signified the joining of the spirit, represented by blue, with the body, represented by red (thanks Ardriana, as always). Nowhere in there do I see a connection to dealing with addiction. I suppose someone could make a case for a link somewhere, but I don't see it.

Tourmaline's history starts in ancient Egypt and China and is closely associate with creativity in all its forms. I suppose you could find creative ways to help hunger cravings, but really? Really? And Quartz has a history that starts at least 4000 years ago. Several tribes of Native Americans believed that Quartz housed spirits and were used for divination. I suppose a stone that is often called The Master Stone for the abundance of qualities it can take on that "to promote positives, dispel negatives" isn't the farthest stretch in this piece.

Why are you so up in arms about this piece Red?

It's done so poorly. It's ugly, and the combination of stones and the attributes given to them show an astounding lack of scholarship of behalf of the creator of this piece. And maybe for some people who buy it, it will actually work (Remember, sympathetic magick is about focusing the will to help you help yourself, so if Amethysts mean countering food addiction to you, then it's going to work). However, sympathetic magick works because there is a system behind it, a logic that one can count on. Just making up attributes for stones because you "feel" that they should be used that way just doesn't have the same weight behind it as using a stone because that's the way the ancients did it.

But Red, didn't the ancients just make this stuff up in the first place?

Probably, but stacking anything in your favor to help your will focus on your goal is a good thing. So you can make up a brand new attribute for a stone, if you internalize it, let it settle in your psyche, it might work. Or you can use the stone as the ancients did, and know that you have thousands of others using the stone just as you are, there is a connection to something larger, a weight to the history you are participating in that will focus your will in ways you may not have considered.

That sounds suspiciously like psychology or "placebo effect"...

Yes, and...? C'mon now, say it with me...Helping you to help yourself...

Well, if you're so smart, how would you do it?

Well, the things I keep hearing about the problems with weight loss...cravings, food addiction, changing the way you think about food...these are all associated with the intellect. The core of this design would be Citrine. With higher clarity of thought, you can see and recognize the signs of your cravings, and have the mental fortitude to either side track them with something else or resist them. I would also probably add Rutilated Quartz and/or Picasso Stone to help with internal awareness and consciousness of changing body image.

You could also go some old school witchcraft and just banish the cravings with Obsidian (ok, so I guess the Pyramid piece wasn't that far off with this one...but shouldn't be trying to do something so passive with Obsidian like "reduce cravings". Use it to tell those cravings to GTFO! KILL THEM WITH FYIAH! RAWR! RED SMASH CRAVINGS!...cough...ahem... >.> )

Losing weight is a core body issue, so there would be a deep earth aligned stone, like Green Moss Agate or Aventurine, something to keep the body healthy while you go through a fundamental change.

Raising your metabolism, or affecting the system that "burns the food you eat and makes it energy" seems like a fire connected issue. I would use Tiger's Eye, in any of its colors, or any other deeply connected fire stone to represent this. This would also help with raising your energy levels as well.

And heck, there is folklore that says to use Moonstone when trying to diet, so I'd prolly add some in there for good measure.

The thing to remember about this however, is that you can't wear something like that pendant and then sit on the couch eating the same junk food you did yesterday and expect to lose weight. Change the food intake, change the amount of exercise, change your way of thinking about food *and* wear the pendant for that little extra "oomph" to get you through the tough times, like the plateaus where your body is adjusting to its new size.

I put a lot of thought and effort into what I do, and I hope that it shows. I don't want to just make up stuff that "feels right" to me and pass it off as magick to others (it does happen upon occasion, but that's cuz intuition can be a tricky thing...and it's not all that I do). There are rules to follow and history to take into account, and it bothers me to see when others throw those out the window in favor of something else.

In the end, I still love your catalog, Pyramid Collection, but it makes me sad to see you include spells among your merchandise and not check the quality or the effectiveness of them before offering them to your customers.

Till next time, be well,
Bhen Rudha

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Inside the Design: Sleep Well

So I've been thinking about other things I could write about in my blog that actually, you know, connect to the jewelry I'm making. Not that I disliked that giant religious/spiritual sidetrip. On the contrary, I plan on returning there often. However, since this is the blog about my jewelry, so I should talk about it too.

Enter the "Inside the Design" series. This will be a closer look at the stones I choose for the design (sort of a mini-Stonewise), why I picked them, and how I see them working together toward the specified goal. So here we go, let's see how this turns out.

I know some of this is already out there in other posts, so I'll try not to repeat myself too much.

Inside the Design: Sleep Well

The basic description of this pieces is, Sodalite and Blue Lace Agate help calm the mind, soothing you towards sleep, while Amethysts guard your dreams. A pair of Hematite empowers the Intention. And it's not a bad description, but when the average attention span of a web surfer is about 15 seconds, you don't get a lot of time for detail. So what does this really mean?

(Quick note...I put two pieces of Hematite in every bracelet, necklace and anklet that I make. It's become my signature. I do it because Hematite is a natural magickal amplifier, and so it doubles the strength of every other stone in the piece. So I usually won't mention the Hematite in a piece unless I use it somewhere else.)

Blue Lace Agate and Sodalite are both stones that calm emotions and promote balance and peace. However they are not the same, which is why I use them both. Blue Lace Agate I see working more on the surface. It is the cool shock that gets your attention and forces you to take that first deep breath. It works on the surface, easing tensions mentally, emotionally and physically. It lays the necessary ground work for the rest of the piece.

Sodalite is deep blue, like the very bottom of a clear lake. It is calm, tranquil, capable of sinking below the surface to work on the roots of the problems. There's something inexorable about Sodalite. You *will* calm down and you *will* like it. The two blue stones not only look beautiful next to each other, but I think their energies provide the potent double tap that makes this design so successful magickally.

However, there is no point in knocking you out if you're just going to have bad or unrestful dreams. This is what the Amethysts are for. The royal purple stones have been the guardians of dreams for a very long time, and it was a no brainer for me to add them to the design. Amethysts are also peaceful, calming, specifically connected to the spirit, and so it becomes another layer to the net of tranquility that I've built.

The resulting combination of stones has become my second most popular, and successful design (second only to Desire). I have had several people tell me that the bracelets have helped them go to sleep, stay asleep, take naps, change their sleeping patterns...I think the simplicity of the intention helps make this design one of my more powerful ones.

Sleep Well was the first design I put together, I did it specifically for my friend who suffers from migraines, but is violently allergic to nearly all migraine medications. She usually gets a shot of a heavy narcotic to put her out and hopefully sleep through the headache, but this time it hadn't work. I gave her the bracelet, and that night she slept 12 hours, successfully getting rid of the migraine.

As a side note...some of you might want to ask, "Do you really believe your jewelry made her fall asleep?" It doesn't matter what I believe really. The important part is that it worked. She slept and got rid of the headache. Was it magick? Was it autosuggestion? Mind over body? Truth is, don't care what the truth is. In whatever capacity my bracelet helped, which is my only purpose.

Well, I hope this was in some way entertaining and informative. I enjoyed doing it, so I will probably do more. :)

Till then, be well,