Like souls that balance joy and pain,
With tears and smiles from heaven again
The maiden Spring upon the plain
Came in a sun-lit fall of rain.
In crystal vapour everywhere
Blue isles of heaven laugh'd between,
And far, in forest-deeps unseen,
The topmost elm-tree gather'd green
From draughts of balmy air.
Sometimes the linnet piped his song:
Sometimes the throstle whistled strong:
Sometimes the sparhawk, wheel'd along,
Hush'd all the groves from fear of wrong:
By grassy capes with fuller sound
In curves the yellowing river ran,
And drooping chestnut-buds began
To spread into the perfect fan,
Above the teeming ground.
Then, in the boyhood of the year,
Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere
Rode thro' the coverts of the deer,
With blissful treble ringing clear.
She seem'd a part of joyous Spring:
A gown of grass-green silk she wore,
Buckled with golden clasps before;
A light-green tuft of plumes she bore
Closed in a golden ring.
Now on some twisted ivy-net,
Now by some tinkling rivulet,
In mosses mixt with violet
Her cream-white mule his pastern set:
And fleeter now she skimm'd the plains
Than she whose elfin prancer springs
By night to eery warblings,
When all the glimmering moorland rings
With jingling bridle-reins.
As she fled fast thro' sun and shade,
The happy winds upon her play'd,
Blowing the ringlet from the braid:
She look'd so lovely, as she sway'd
The rein with dainty finger-tips,
A man had given all other bliss,
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in one kiss
Upon her perfect lips.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Everyone has heard the tale about the snake that tricked Eve. We all know about dangerous dragons, petrifying basilisks, and vengeful sea serpents.
What about the protector; a snake king shielded Buddha during his meditations. The Gadsden flag of the American Revolution is a rattler warning “Don’t Tread On Me.” The wisdom of Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi. The knowledge of Sophia.
Minoan priestesses clutched snakes, so did Moses. There’s Kundalini and the caduceus. The crown of Egypt. Medusa’s crown of hissing locks. So many world mythologies have serpents coiled about the World Tree, the Tree of Life.
Snakes have venom that can poison, heal, or take you on a magical mystery trip. They tell us about renewal as they shed their skin, about eternity when they eat their tail.
Fire, water, air and earth; rainbows, feathers; Chthonic birth-death-rebirth, earth and the underworld. It’s all there. I told you snakes have big mojo.
Now, for the sparkly snakey shinies. Victorians were so cool in their love for weird and creepy jewelry.
A bangle bracelet circa 1845; hundreds of pave set natural turquoise cabochons, rose cut diamonds and ruby cabochon stones.Sarah Bernhardt's Cleopatra handflower, made designed by Alphonse Mucha and created by Georges Fouquet in 1899; gold, enamel, opal, diamond.
Mermaiden Creations snake skin pendants; shed skin preserved under glass with spiral accents reinforcing symbolism.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I think every once in a while, I will share my latest favorite finds from Ancient Touch http://www.ancienttouch.com/index.htm
Today I found these beautiful jewelry artefacts from ancient Byzantium. The ring is silver set with a green glass piece, made in VII c A.D. The earring is gold, from the second half of VII-IX c. A.D., and it looks just like a pomegranate to me.
Byzantium was founded by Greeks in 667 BC and was dedicated to Artemis, bearing the crescent moon as its symbol for nearly a thousand years until conquered by Rome in 196 AD. Being a crossroads harbor between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, its strategic location drew the eye of Emperor Constantine, who rebuilt the city and renamed it Nova Roma. Upon his death it became Constantinople and remained a Greek-speaking Roman state. The Middle Ages brought about the final change of rule with the Ottoman Empire’s crusader conquest and the eventual name of Istanbul in modern times. Historians use the term Byzantine for cultural and land references. Over the centuries the Byzantine Empire survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire underwent ebbs and flows of power and status, but became known as a wealthy independent center of Christianity, culture, education and artistry. Even in the downturns, citizens continued to adorn themselves; they just used less expensive materials.
Over the ages, the jewelry of Byzantium became crowded with influences (Greco-Roman, Italian, French, German, Middle Eastern) due to the prominent trade industry and the wealth of the city, though the most recognizable and abundant pieces are heavily jeweled crosses. Women of all classes wore earrings, and rings were widely worn as well (following Roman tradition). Other items include crowns for the nobility, necklaces, brooches, fibula and belts. When the Ottomans gained control of the city, the amount of jewels and opulence increased according to the sultan’s preferences and show of power. Tribal motifs were introduced, and the Ottoman women preferred to wear headdresses and ornamentation, and more bracelets were worn as well.
I mentioned Byzantium’s location at the mouth of the Black Sea. There is something special about the deep, cold waters, in that they are deprived of oxygen so that wood-boring mollusks cannot live, and therefore cannot destroy shipwrecks and their cargo (including human remains) as in other maritime areas trafficked in the ancient world. Wooden shipwrecks of antiquity are remarkably well preserved for thousands of years and are a unique source of study for marine archaeologists.
Fascinated by these discoveries and the treasures and secrets they have to reveal, I dreamed up some earrings that I imagine might be uncovered in one of these ancient shipwrecks one day…Byzantium’s Harbor Earrings in sterling, and Byzantium and the Black sea in brass.