Tuesday, February 28, 2012

For the Love of small things

In a few weeks, I'm going to be shepherding a group learning how to make prayer malas - learning, I should say, to envision beauty as beauty was before it was a concept and an ad campaign.

HERE AND BELOW: Faux-tifacts from Steph of VladtheBatsattic.etsy.com

We will be taking personally sacred objects and devising a way to give then a form that will inspire meditative and tactile contemplation.  We will be making these objects in the way beads have been strung together since bones, seeds and stones with fortuitous holes and suggestive shapes were first slipped onto sinew and over the neck.

The class is part of a series of "beauty way days" designed by a spiritual woman who is an angel on earth.

I am incredibly honored and humbled by this opportunity to share my love of beads - of objects and constructs which I take to be full of meaning.  Meaning and beauty are two ideas that mingle in my mind.  Wherever I find one, I imagine the other.

By beauty, I mean something that is whole. Complete. Having self-referential order.
Beauty as ancient languages understood it.  Take the ancient Egyptian word (nefer) for beautiful.
We have speculated why the hieroglyph for this word is the lungs and windpipe of an animal; since there is probably no good scholarly answer in the absence of historical linguistics, we can just suppose that it is the synergistic union of these two organs that allow the breath and spirit to flow in living things, both animal and human.

It is a weakness of mine to attempt to understand every thing by the etymologies of words that we use to describe those things.



Fortunately, my concrete fascination with the odd, the odd, the incunabular ties me to reality.  Recycled treasures that fit into the hand. Holding onto the concreteness of possibility. For me, that's prayer.