History of Adornment – Part 5

It looks like Tuesdays will be a better day for me than Mondays ☺

I could write much more on the facts, however, I’ve been itchy to get to this part. Adornment of meaning is what resonates for me and I suspect, on some level, for many, many people. And bear with me because my heart and soul connection to this is rattling off ideas, faster than I can type – if it seems a bit lacking in flow and cohesion, I apologize ☺

Adornment of all kinds has been worn ‘in meaning’, as I see it, for centuries. Jewelry adornment was worn to indicate social status and leadership roles in many cultures from early tribes to the Queen of today. In these modern times we can identify a persons ‘tribe’ by a type of symbol they might wear and this sort of adornment either puts us at ease or wards us off – thereby creating more community or discreating community (yes, I made up that word).

I speculate that adornment of all kinds brought recognition of sameness. With the expansive planet – tribes/groups, being so far apart from each other, as migrations occurred, how else might they have understood that members of a group were not to be feared . . . or to be feared.

The Runes of the ancient Germanic peoples, were the evolution of the Italic alphabet. They came to be used as ways of communication. The understanding of Runes in a divinitory way, is a source of a lot of study and a great deal of speculation. What has become an indisputable truth, is, that the symbolic language had meaning and still does. I would further suggest, that Runes were symbolic of communities. Vikings for instance, traveled a great deal, right?! So if you met a Viking, the Runic symbols they wore or displayed on their ships/weapons would give you an indication of weather they were cool Vikings to hang out with. The Rune stones found across the lands in that part of the world, tell you the stories of adventures and the people who took those adventures.

Runes source:http://www.dragonoak.com/runes/Honey-Locust-Elder-Futhark-Rune-Set.html


Today, as with the work I do in fine silver, Runic ‘letters’ demonstrate a meaning that has been evolved to carry similar meaning from the ancient time period. For example, the Elder Futhark Rune, Uruz, means strength. In the ancient time period, Uruz, which literally means Aurochs – a now extinct wild ox – symbolically represented strength – it’s an ox . . . makes sense.

I don’t use Runes for divination – I don’t believe in divination – which is a whole ‘nother story’. I do believe in the strength of a big ‘ol ox and I do believe that the Rune, Uruz, worn as a talisman, helps us to stand firm in our convictions and walk through challenges, drawing on inner strength.

It was believed that if you wore the Evil Eye – you could ward off evil. In case you did not know this, the concept of the Evil Eye spans *all* cultures in the ancient world. Check out this Wikipedia bit I found. I actually didn’t realize how expansive the idea was and still is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_eye.

Modern Evil Eye Jewelry source: http://www.eartisans.net/products/protection-from-the-evil-eye-necklace

Modern Evil Eye Jewelry
source: http://www.eartisans.net/products/protection-from-the-evil-eye-necklace

Imagine for a moment, what would happen if you encountered a person wearing an Evil Eye symbol. Would you feel at ease? Of would you run? ☺

I don’t wear an Evil Eye talisman, it isn’t my thing. and I do know, that I would not run. I would mention and make an effort to strike up conversation, because I would sense, that the person wearing the piece has a similar belief as me – adornment has meaning and value to us. It can create community. It is on our money – considered the “All Seeing Eye”. 🙂

In Greek societies, adornment connected to the gods and goddesses were seen frequently. Greek key jewelry called “Meandros,” was a traditional symbol dating back to ancient Hellenic times and represents eternity and timelessness. (1) It can be seen in architecture of the time as well. An entire community of peoples were connected to this symbology.

Greek Architecture with Greek 'key'

Greek Architecture with Greek ‘key’

I happen to think that the original square symbol, evolved to what many of us know to be the infinity spiral.

Modern ring with Meandros design

Modern ring with Meandros design

Much of ancient Greek adornment was seen not only as an indicator of slave/ royalty, but also as symbols of good luck, warding off the Evil Eye and homage to the beliefs of the time. There was connectedness in those beliefs and later divisiveness.

The Egyptians, as I shared in series post #3, similarly to the Greeks, created adornment steeped in traditions and beliefs of the time and homage to their gods and goddesses.

The Cartouche, similar to Runes is a series of pictures that represent words and had, a great deal of meaning for royalty of the time. There were other highly ornamental pieces worn by the upper classes.

Among the bracelets, anklets, and beaded adornment, the Ankh, a piece symbolizing “life”, was worn by many ancient Egyptians – across the board,

Evil Eye on papyrus

Evil Eye on papyrus

irrespective of station in life.  The Egyptians also subscribed to a belief in the Evil Eye.

The flow has stopped, and so I will wrap this up. A five part series seems good ☺

Just as we wear particular clothing, or style our hair in a particular way; or have a tattoo (or not) – adornments are symbolic of who we are and what is important to us. They frequently indicate what groups we hang out in.

Additionally, without question, the symbols we wear tell others about us – a wedding ring, a religious symbol – and they often act as talisman of our truth and a reminder to us of the path we are on in our life. They are also beacons to our community . . . a way of connecting to the like minded in our life.

You’d think I’d have mentioned more about the work I do and why I created this series . . . in each of the series posts. AND, I got pretty wrapped up in just the topic. It’s fascinating to me.

I create Resonant Jewelry, in part, because this history is still alive today. People every where, still wear Evil Eye pieces; Ankhs (my dad had one); Greek Meandros; Runes; religious symbols; Kanji. [The last two I have not addressed and I will in future posts.] People every where still need, or require, or desire a piece of meaning. It has value.

So – what do you want to say? What talisman do you need in your life? If you have not perused the site – do. You’ll learn more about me, and what I do. Not everything I make is so serious either – sometimes magyk is downright whimsical. I make delicate fine silver bows, Whimsical Rings and other delightful treasures.

In the mean time, lets have a discussion. Feel free to share your thoughts on the history of adornment and it’s meanings today and how it fits in your life.

Much Love and light,
– which is Greek, the name derived from Delos a Greek Island. Learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delos#History

(1) http://www.ehow.com/about_5200428_greek-jewelry-information.html#ixzz2yyoaCsnK


About Phoenix

I am a mom, artist and teacher!
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