Monday, March 11, 2013

Goddess Series: Pele

This necklace features gemstone chips (carnelian, hematite, and citrine), lava beads, and various glass beads.  It also has a red wire-wrapped fried glass gem hanging over a luminous black focal pendant, both seeming evocative of Pele.  The chain, toggle, and other findings are also the same tone of black as the pendant, giving the impression of cooled lava.

Pele is one of the best known of the Hawaiian deities.  She is also known as "She Who Shapes The Land."  According to the Hawaiian myths, Pele and her siblings were originally from Tahiti. They traveled to Hawaii by boat, the stories as to why they emigrated from Tahiti differ.  One story says that she seduced the husband of her older sister, Na-maka-o-kaha'i.  Her older sister flooded her home repeatedly, so Pele went searching for a new place to live.  She traveled from island to island, her youngest sister, Hi'iaka, under her armpit during the voyage while she paddled the boat.  Hi'iaka was in an egg, still unborn during this time and Pele both protected her and kept her warm by doing this.  Every time she landed and dug a new crater to house her and her siblings, Na-maka-o-kaha'i would flood the crater with sea water.  Finally, Pele came upon the Kilauea Volcano.  It was high enough that it would not succumb to the ocean's waters, and thereby was a safe haven.  She invited her brothers to live on the island with her, and they accepted.  There were other deities on this island before Pele and her siblings arrived.  There are many myths regarding their interactions with these newcomers.

Pele is associated with volcanoes, lava, fire and is also one of the goddesses of the hula.  She is a destructive being, but is also the creator of land, increasing her island's size with her lava.  She either takes the form of a beautiful young woman with long untamed hair, or an old woman with long white hair, wearing a long white gown, and accompanied by a white dog.  She is wild, temperamental, impatient, beautiful, and seductive.  She has many love affairs with mortals, gods, and a demigod, most ending poorly for her lovers, though some survived her temper.  She truly is the essence of fire.

She is still worshiped, or at the very least respected, in the Hawaiian islands, and is one of the few remaining deities to be so.  Offerings are still presented to her and there are stories about visitors who would steal rocks from her volcano, only for those rocks to be returned with apologies due to strange events happening afterwards.  She is apparently a tenacious goddess and also not one to be trifled with.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Goddess Series: Sirena

 This necklace is supposed to give the impression of Sirena (in fish form) swimming in dark waters and also be reminiscent of what a mermaid might wear.  I used nine glass turkish eye beads, various glass bugle and seed beads, fresh water pearls, blue goldstone, and aquamarine chips.  A silver tone clam shell also hangs from the back of the necklace, as a focal drop.

Image by Christine Magtoto
Sirena the Nine-Eyed Mermaid (or Nine-Eyed Fish) comes from the Honduras mythos.  She resides over rivers and lakes and is the keeper of the creatures that live there.  She is said provide respectful fishermen with fish and turtles.  It is believed that those who are not respectful of Sirena and the balance of life in her waters and/or who do not make the appropriate offerings will not be fruitful in catching fish and turtles.  In one story, she imprisons a man and a woman who were too greedy, forcing them to care for the creatures in her watery domains.

There are various stories regarding Sirena, both as a mermaid and as a large fish.  In Guam, there is a folk story about how Sirena was a young girl who was nearly obsessed with swimming in water, especially a river near her home.  One day, her mother sent her out to gather coconut shells/husks to use as fuel for their hearth.  When Sirena found herself near her beloved river, she forgot her task and spent the day swimming in the cool waters.  Her mother was upset and complained to Sirena's godmother, saying that her daughter must be swimming again.  In a fit of rage, her mother cursed her daughter, saying that if Sirena loved the water so much, she should become a fish.  Sirena's godmother quickly interjected that the part of Sirena that was promised to her should remain human.  And so, Sirena was transformed into a mermaid.  When her mother and her godmother searched for her and found her at the river, the mother saw what her words had done, but no matter how hard she tried to wish her curse away, her daughter remained a mermaid.  Sirena swam away and never was seen by her mother or godmother again.

Goddess Series: Selene / Luna

This necklace is inspired by Selene's association to the moon and the ocean.  With silver tone wire I strung seashell pieces together that are black on one side and white on the other, giving the impression of the New Moon and the Full Moon.

Selene (also known in the Roman mythos as Luna) is the Goddess of the Moon, but also has connections with the night, the oceans, and more.  At night, she rose from the ocean and traveled across the night sky in her silver chariot pulled by two white horses.  She's also depicted as riding a horse or bull.  She's often shown wearing flowing robes, carrying a torch, and crowned with the crescent moon.

Goddess Series: Aphrodite

This necklace features tiny seashells, fresh water pearls, rose quartz chips, various glass beads, and a heart-shaped clasp.  I picture this would have been the type of necklace Aphrodite would have worn before she was ordered to marry Hephaestus, or something that one of her lovers or admirers would have given her.

Aphrodite is a well known Greek goddess; also known as Venus in the Roman mythologies.  The name "Aphrodite" means "sea foam", which comes from one of the stories of her creation.  The story told by Hesiod is what inspired this necklace.  In that tale, Ouranus (also known as Uranus, and father to the gods) was castrated by his son, Cronus.  Cronus disposed of the severed testes by throwing them into the ocean.  From the genitals of Ouranus and the foam of the sea, a woman was conceived.  She was fully developed from birth.  She was beautiful, nubile, and extremely sensual.

As most know, she is the representation of sexual rapture, beauty, and love.

Goddess Series: Kali Ma

This necklace takes inspiration from Kali Ma's outfit.  It features green dyed howlite skulls, which remind me of the heads Kali Ma wears as a necklace, and wavy metal drops which are reminiscent of the arms she wears as a skirt.  With the skulls are gemstones in varying shades of green, representing the earth that she both saved and nearly destroyed.  (Matching earrings were made to go with this necklace.  Images of them may be added at a later date.)

Kali Ma is a darker Hindu goddess whose name is derived from the Hindu words "time" and "black".  Though she is often referred to as the goddess of destruction, she was manifested from the need to protect the world from evil beings that the other gods were unable to overcome.  (Shiva was not able to be stirred from meditation, so his consort Pavarti was asked to help.  It was at this time that she became Kali Ma.)  As she slayed the invaders, she drank their blood, growing intoxicated in the process.  Unfortunately, she became consumed by her power and rage that after her adversaries were defeated, she continued her deadly dance, threatening to destroy the world she was trying to protect.  Her mate, Shiva, laid on the ground, beneath her stomping feat,  to save the earth from her destructive force.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Goddess Necklace: Sulis

This necklace is made from 9 hand-strung strands of glass beads (clear, aqua blue, dark teal blue) braided together, a wire focal with a wire wrapped glass gem and hand beaded wire dangles, and hand made wire closures on both sides of the focal.

Sulis was a the celtic goddess of the thermal springs in Bath (now Somerset, Britain).  The Romans referred to her as Sulis Minerva.  The root meaning of her name is "Eye", alluding to her ability as a Seer.  Due to orange tint and warmth of the mineral rich waters she presides over, she also is associated with the Sun.  It was believed that her Springs were able to heal, and that she would bestow blessings or curses on her patrons' behalf.