Monday, September 22, 2014

Goddess Series: Mama Cocha

The Mama Cocha necklace was made using varous shells, aquamarine, freshwater perals, and glass beads, metal focals, two rhinestone connectors and silver plated chains.  A small treasure 'cannister" rests amidst the shells and stones, allowing the wearer to carry a wish, prayer, or small charm.

Mama Cocha (Mama Qocha, Mama Qucha, Qucha Mama, Cochamama) is the South American goddess of the sea, though she's usually associated with the Incans.  She was revered throughout Peru, Ecuador, Southern Columbia, Northern and Chile.  Her name translates to "Sea Mother."  Coastal dwellers, sailors, and fishermen prayed to her for protection from storms, to calm the seas, and to bless them with the bounty therein (fish).  People who lived more inland saw her as a more menacing being.  She was also associated with Lake Titicaca, which is sometimes still refered to as Mama Cocha.

Mama Cocha was the wife to Viracocha (or Wiraqucha, the supreme god) and she bore two children, Mama Quilla (the moon goddess) and Inti (the sun god).  All water (rivers, streams, irrigation water, rain, and the ocean) was believed to stem from her.  To ensure that children were linked to her, Incans (and other Peruvians) would travel to the ocean to bathe their children in the ocean.  Certain seashells were thought to be "daughters of the sea, the mother of all waters" and were used in sacrifices to Mama Cocha.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Goddess Series: Persephone / Kore

The Persephone / Kore necklace was made to reflect the dual nature of this goddess.  The light green beads represent Kore in the role of life bringer.  The darker blue-black beads hearken to her time as Persephone, Queen of the Underworld and the Dead.  The focal is the pomegranate and the six seeds this goddess ate, which sealed her fate and transformed her into the goddess of Life, Death, and Rebirth.

Persephone, originally named Kore, was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus.  She was young and vibrant, and was considered a goddess of agriculture (much like her mother).  When she was abducted by Hades, Demeter became enraged and withdrew from the land, allowing the plants and animals to die off and refusing to allow new life to grow.  The world was plunged into a lasting Winter.  In order to bring life back to the world, Zeus promised to find and return Kore to her mother with only one condition: Kore could only return if she did not partake of in the offerings of Hade's realm.

During her entrapment in the Underworld, Kore was heartbroken and homesick.  Though she did not know of the condition Zeus set upon her return, she refused all food, gifts, and attentions from Hades.  When he learned of her immenent depature, he made one last attempt to keep her below.  Hades, disguised as an old woman, offered Kore a pomegranate.  The jewel colored seeds tempted her, and she accepted six seeds.  As she ate them, their blood-like juice stained her lips, and thus sealed her fate.  Zeus ruled, as a compromise, that Kore must live in the Underworld for one month per seed she ate.  As such, she would spend half of the year in the world above as Kore, daughter of Demeter, and half of the year as Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, and consort to Hades.  From this, she became the symbol of Life and Death, Destruction and Rebirth.

This goddess in an intricate character, based off beliefs and stories that may even predate the one I mentioned above.  As both the bringer of life and the Queen of the Dead, she carries with her the primordial duality that plagued mankind.  What is life?  What is death?  She also symbolized the duality of femininity: the fresh innocence of girlhood and the wisdom/strength of womanhood.  The death of the girl upon becoming the woman.  The pomegranate could easily represent menses and the end of innocence (and much like the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the story of Adam and Eve).

Goddess Series: Grandmother Spider

The Grandmother Spider necklace was created with inpiration from various style of Native American jewelry and the movement of spider webs.  It features a metal web base with a hand-fractured glass gem wireworked into place.  Silver chains and glass beads (aurora borealis and clear), a handmade 3 loop connector, a toggle clasp, and two handmade beaded spiders complete the this beautiful piece.

Grandmother Spider (Na'ashjéii Asdzáá, Spider Grandmother, Spider Woman, Spider Old-Woman) is from the several Native American folklores, including the Navajo, Cherokee, Hopi, and Pueblo tribes.  She was believed to create the stars in the sky, lacing dew onto one of her webs and throwing it into the sky.  From the Sky World, she watched the universe and the living things within it from her web.  She spun the Web of Life with her song, dance and threads.  Every living creature came into being through her song and dance.  She created the stars, planets, light, and thoughts; her web was woven throughout every cycle and part of creation.

Her lesson is that we are not separate beings; we are all part fo the Great Mystery.  We experience an individual awareness through our physical bodies, but all life is inter-connected.  All life is equal within her Web of Life, and each life brings its own gifts and contributions therein.