(Or: how jewellery, astrology & bodyfulness fit together)
I’ve finally faced the fact that I’m the kind of person who can’t just do one thing, because I end up being bored witless.
The reason I decided to do a PhD was because hours at the jewellery bench had my thoughts wandering into ‘bad neighbourhoods’, and I realised that the devil makes work for idle minds, just as he does for idle hands.
When I popped out the other end of the PhD mincer and felt nicely squeezed into the sausage skin of academia, I had this niggling feeling in my bones, little whispers of resistance. After all there was some kind of deep irony in the fact that I’d just written a thesis on conspiracies, wrestling so hard to tame far-fetched ideas into acceptable forms. I had mustered together the wondrous and inexplicable, working hard to rationalise it and reference it to voices more authoritative than mine.
There’s always been this rebel in me who’d go against something just ’cos everyone else was going for it. It’s something to do with the Aries part of my nature.
Actively resisting anything mainstream was a 30 year habit. But then I spent 5 years shaping myself to fit academia. And yet, as my mind and my words had submitted to the requirements of being a ‘doctor of philosophy’, my body fomented a quiet resistance.
Oh blessed relief that, buried under ‘appropriate’, was still some wildness, some aching to roam freely!
I hadn’t entirely smothered that love of wonder and magic and mystery that had followed me around all through childhood. So I stepped off the gravy train and went back to being an artist.
But there was something else calling to come in, this urging to make my work a more wholistic practice. To bring in all the things that fascinated me (which I managed to tidily boil down to three. Because I do love trinities).
This is the practice of blending astrology, bodyfulness and jewellery.
So now I work with all three to cultivate the art (and the science) of embodiment.
Often a jewel will already whisper its need for a body, for fingers that appreciate its fluid curves, or that indent at the throat where it may comfortably nest.
This seductive relationship between jewellery and wearer is a theme in everything I’ve made, from the elaborate glamouring of costume jewels to the private intimacy of the amulet.
The ancient history, the social power, the talismanic magic of jewellery has inspired me since the beginning.
That certain materials contain an intrinsic energy we can acquire through wearing; that a jewel can hold our desires and memories, or remind us of promises and intentions; these ideas are as old as humans.
When we wear a piece of jewellery it takes on our warmth, it breathes with us.
It becomes a secret extension of ourselves, revealing something to us.
An essence that might otherwise never have been visible.
Of course not to romanticise it too much because there’s that other face of jewellery too. The hard and glittering gems, with absurd price tags, whose cold perfection (if we are fortunate or wealthy enough to wear them) draws attention away from our own inadequacies. Or that ‘high street’ junky stuff that dazzles us when all shiny and new, then breaks and blackens and disappoints within months.
I believe in jewels that tell their own stories but don’t leave us out of the picture.
Instead of being glittery and hard, they collude with us, and whisper of that deeper essence we sense inside.
And it’s this same essence that astrology can show us, as it opens a window onto the soul. Or gives us a map to navigate the path to becoming more completely who we’re here to be.
But all that ‘being who you truly are’ stuff can feel clichéd and airy-fairy if we don’t bring everything down to the body.
To get our toes into the dirt. To be OK with ourselves when we laugh with crazy joy, or cry like our guts are being torn out. Or wallow in the swamp of numbing depression. Or become livid with anger and do stupid things. The whole point of ‘being who you truly are’ is to live everything like this is the only chance you’ve got.
The astrology chart decodes the soul, but until we embody this it’s simply an abstraction.
It’s only by coming deeply into the pleasure and the pain of this whole experience of ‘human’ that we have any real understanding of all that esoteric knowledge.
So here we’ve come full circle. From the ancient stories that bodies and jewels tell together, to the soul’s mirror – that old symbolic language of the stars – and then back down to earth again. Back into our bodies.
There’s a variety of ways we can feel purposeful and make a positive contribution, but ultimately, whatever it is you’re here to do will only come into focus when you recognise the quiet perfection of being yourself. And accepting there’s nothing that needs to be ‘fixed’.
Like jewellery, there are many types of astrology. I’m only interested in the one that helps us decode and navigate the soul’s living experience.
It’s astrology that shows us the simple truth: we just have to seek out what makes us feel alive.
Because, as as Howard Thurman says, the world needs more people who have come alive.