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Saint Francis of Assisi Prayer for Peace
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
O Divine Master,
El Niño de Atocha
During the 13th century, Spain was invaded by the Moors. Many Christians suffered imprisonment during this period. As adults were not permitted by the Moors to care for the prisoners, many resorted to prayer. There is a legend (maybe true), that a small child dressed as a pilgrim was allowed by the guards to feed the prisoners...No matter how many he fed, or how much he fed them, the food satchel and water jug never diminished! Many believe this to have been the Christ child. El Niño is honored in Mexico as well as Spain.
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe
Annabel Lee It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Kuan Yin (Quan Yin) is the Buddhist embodiment of the female - the ancient Chinese goddess of Compassion. She is the principal deity in the Eastern firmament. Asian cultures celebrate the ritual of consulting Kuan Yin to bring solace, hope, and insight. Much poetry has been written to and about Kuan Yin. She also serves as an oracle. By "opening your heart to the answer", you allow yourself to be advised by the goddess through a symbol. Finding instructions to help you focus your energy, you can choose the right path by rearranging your being.
Ganesh, the Hindu God of prosperity is loved as much as he is worshiped. Ganesh is often associated with children because he was created from sandalwood as a child by Parvati (the incarnation of the great mother Goddess). Parvati then commanded Ganesh to guard the palace while she bathed. Ganesh even kept Shiva, Parvati's husband, the much-feared God of destruction, from entering his own palace. Shiva beheaded the boy. Shiva learned from this act however, that he had upset the balance of the universe by beheading the boy. So, he brought the boy back to life by grafting the head of an elephant to the boy's body, making him the peacekeeper and the liaison between the people of the universe and the powers of destruction.
Ganesh, also sometimes called Baby Ganesh, because of his youth, has long epitomized the steadfast poser of dedication and duty. His story also displays the great power of a mother's love and devotion for her child. Not least of all, he and his story represent the gentle power of compassion - without which the world would split apart.
Ganesh has become a powerful symbol for children and his image is often used in birth announcements and for any other festive childhood occasions. He, too, represents the child in all of us.
La Mano Poderosa (The Powerful Hand of God) ...aka... La Mano Ponderosa
The upward-pointing hand has been used as a talisman for centuries, dating back to Ancient Rome. It has generally been used as a charm against enchantment because it possesses secret and kabalistic power within its symbols. In modern times, the most common realization of an upward-pointing human hand is La Mano Ponderosa (The Powerful Hand) found in Roman Catholic symbolism.
Holy Cards or Prayer Cards display the stunning image and decals of it are applied to church candles. The magical illustration is quite appropriate for it's meaning: magical protection against evil and black magic. Today's version generally depicts Jesus, as a child, on the thumb, although earlier versions seated him on the middle finger. He is generally accompanied by the Santa Maria, San Jose, Santa Elizabeth and San Joachin. However, some religious artists have depicted other saints among them.
English Translation of the Prayer to The Powerful Hand of God:
O Powerful Hand of God!
Hands have been protective symbols throughout the centuries - both religious and secular - today's advertising depicts nurturing hands and songs have long represented hands as protective - He's got the whole world in his hands....
The African-American hoodoo symbol (the Helping Hand) is an open hand in a horizontal position. The Judaic and Arabic hamsa points downward. Milagro hands generally hang downward. The evil eye of the Middle East, North Africa and Asia is often placed in the midst of a downward pointing hand to ward off bad fortune. The Italian cornuta Related hands, used to guard against the evil eye in Italy, are the downward-pointing mano cornuta (pointing hand) and mano fico (fisted hand).
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe)
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a representation of the Blessed Virgin Lady. The name Our Lady of Guadalupe really derives from a very famous image or picture of this Catholic icon. Legend has it that on Saturday, the 9th of December in 1531, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Juan Diego near Mexico City.
Mexican Love Amulet
Most Mexican magic spells are love spells. They are not considered pagan, but are often celebrated along with mainstream Christian religions. They often use elements to represent the spirit of the spell. Milagros (Spanish for miracles), amulets and representations of saints and reverend folk heroes are usually part of the spell.
SilverCrow's love amulet uses the powers of two popular saints in Mexico: Santa Elena de la Cruz (the Roman Emperor Constantine's Mother) and La Santisima Muerte.
Five milagros are used to make the amulet. The lover's head, two arms, two legs, and a dagger-pierced heart. Folklore suggests that the lovelorn symbolically uses one of the nails from the Veracruz (the True Cross) and nails it through the heart of her lover. This makes him loyal, or will bring him back if he has gone astray. Notice the similarity to the Roman god Cupid, who also shoots arrows through hearts to unite lovers!
The amulet's head milagro swings from side to side, revealing a hand-carved skull of real bone, paying deserved homage to Santisima Muerte (Holy or Saintly Death), the symbol of the soul and it's eternal life.
Oración a Santa Elena de la Cruz
Prayer to Santa Elena of the cross
Madre Amantísima de Constantino Emperador Romano
Most loving Mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine
The Magnificat (a Magnífica)
A famous prayer from the Christian Bible's New Testament, Luke 1 : 46 - 55:
And Mary said:
My soul proclaims
Holy is His name,
He has come to help
Milagros, or Miracles, found in many areas of Latin America, are used by the people to petition saints for help or protection. In many of the churches one can see wooden statues of various saints, the Virgin Mary, or of Christ. on these figures, the people often pin metal images of arms, legs, animals, praying figures or other symbols of their prayers.
These Milagros serve to remind the saint of the person's prayers or to thank the saint for prayers that have been answered. Horse or sheep figures may be left to ask for help in healing a sick animal or for fertility.
Students may leave an open book asking for divine intervention in their grades. Hearts are often left to thank the saint for answering the prayers of the lovelorn. Each Milagro is specially made for a unique purpose, so the variety is enormous.
Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc)
Joan of Arc (in French, Jeanne d'Arc) is sometimes also called the Maid of Orléans. She is both a national heroine of France and the country's patron saint. She is often the symbol of strength in women because, as a soldier, or knight, she not only fought, but also, led the résistance of the English when they invaded of France during the Hundred Years War. She was the third of five children in a farming family living on the border between the French provinces of Champagne and Lorraine.
As she entered her teenage years, Joan began hearing the voices of Saints Michael, Catherine and Margaret. Joan felt that these were messages to her from God, telling her that her divine mission was to free her country from the English and assist the dauphin in reclaiming the French throne. At the saints' suggestion, she cut her hair, dress in man's uniform and to pick up arms.
The English, with their allies from Burgundy, occupied Paris and all France north of the Rivière Loire in 1429. It appeared that England, under Henry VI, would claim the French throne as the hopelessness of the French spread rapidly with no real military or political leadership. Young Joan of Arc convinced the leader of the French forces and the dauphin himself of her divine calling.
The Battle of Orléans in May 1429 saw Joan lead the French to a miraculous victory. Her reputation became so fierce that the English troops would retreat rather than fight when her soldiers approached.
On 28 July 1429, in the Cathedral in Reims, Charles VII was crowned king of France. Charles recognized Joan at the coronation and later she was ennobled by him for her services to her homeland.
Throughout the war, the Burgundians sided with the English. And, in 1430, they captured Joan and sold her to the English, who then turned her over to the ecclesiastical court at Rouen. Joan was tried for witchcraft and heresy. Much of this was due to her insistence on wearing male clothing, considered by some as a crime against God. Interestingly enough, her dress saved her from potential sexual abuse from her captors and jailors!
After a 14-month incarceration and intense interrogation, Joan was convicted. On 30 May 1431, she was burned at the stake in the Rouen marketplace at the age of 19. Her leadership and patriotism went unrewarded, as neither Charles VII nor his subjects made any attempt to rescue their heroine.
25 years later, she was granted a posthumous retrial, and was declared innocent of all charges. In 1909, she was recognized by the Roman Catholic Church and beatified. And, in 1920, Pope Benedict XV canonized her as a saint.
Santa Rosa de Lima
Saint Rose of Lima (Santa Rosa de Lima, in Spanish) was born Isabel de Flores y del Oliva. She became known as Rosa because her cheeks were so delicately blushed. She was a beautiful baby and grew into an equally lovely child, and, later, a stunning woman. Because of her beauty, everyone, especially her poverty-stricken parents, expected her to marry a wealthy man who would cherish her and take care of her family as well.
Rose thought her beauty a curse, as it brought attention to her, when she felt that all admiration should be directed to Jesus. As a very young child, she made a vow to chastity, disobeying the parents she loved so well. She modeled herself after Saint Catherine of Siena, a saint known for caring for the sick, the poor and sinners. Rose worked hard to support her family by gardening and by her marvelous needlework, but also devoted her life to the care of the poor, the sick and sinners, following in the footsteps of her role model. She became a friend to another saint of Peru, San Martin de Porres. She died at the age of 31 and is considered a patron saint of the Americas, particularly Peru, the Philippines and India.
San Martin de Porres (aka, San Martin de Porras)
Saint Martin de Porres was born the illegitimate son of a freed slave woman of Panama. She was thought to be part African and part Native American Indian. His father was thought to be a high ranking Spaniard of Lima, Peru. His father, disappointed that Martin was dark-skinned, didn't acknowledge him as his son until Martin was 8 years old. Later, his father abandoned Martin, his mother and a sister, leaving them in abject poverty.
Martin was never a bitter child, always helping others. He became a great friend of Santa Rosa de Lima. After apprenticing as a barber-surgeon, he worked with the Dominican brothers as a layman, not thinking himself worth of a religious calling. The order asked Martin to join after nine years of hard work, as they knew no other like him devoted to prayer, nursing the sick and caring for the poor. Martin's most impressive and notable trait was that he treated all people as equal without regard to their color, religion, race or status. He was instrumental in founding an orphanage and in taking care of slaves brought to Peru from Africa.
He was so selfless, that, when his priory was indulged in debt, he requested to be sold as a slave, as he was the property of the order! He was said to reflect many of God's miracles: levitation in ecstasy, filling rooms with light when he prayed, being present in more than one place at one time, and curing the sick miraculously.
The Menorah is one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith. For those of other faiths, the most recognizable form of Menorah is the 9-branched candelabra used in ceremonies for Hanukah, the early winter holiday celebration. The 7-branced Menorah is the type that is used in most temples for worship.
Traditionally, the Menorah was lit every evening and was cleaned every morning. Each of the seven cups on the branches was re-filled with fresh olive-oil and a new wick during the cleaning. As the Judaic tradition continues today, the modern Menorah, as a symbol of the nation of Israel, whose mission is to be a "light unto the nations."
Tinsmithing in Mexico dates back to Spanish colonial days. SilverCrow's nichos are all made in Mexico of tin and have either a burnished, brushed or aged finish.
Traditionally, nichos are used as shrines for favorite or patron saints or other honored religious figures. Nichos are also typically used to protect special treasures or pictures of loved ones. The niche is a 3-dimensional recessed shadow-box in the center of the nicho, that is protected by a hinged glass door.
Each of SilverCrow's nichos is hand-made with care and awaits your treasures. So, no two of the nichos are alike.
Cinnabar is a colorful mineral that adds a unique red color to the mineral palette. Its cinnamon to scarlet red color has attracted artists of many cultures for centuries. The most familiar of this is from Asian countries, where the artisans carve plaques, amulets, jewelry, etc., with symbols and calligraphy.
The actual mineral is not carved, but, rather ground and then made into a lacquer. In its traditional form, cinnabar art and jewelry consisted of layer upon layer of lacquer applied to the base object (vase, bead, pitcher, metal ring). This was accomplished over a long period as each layer had to dry before the next was applied.
After the piece had sufficient depth for the artisan, the lacquer layers would be carved away, much as an artist would carve a piece of natural wood. Finding pieces made in this old lacquer technique may be quite difficult, and the result would be very expensive!
The mineral cinnabar was mined by the Roman Empire for its mercury content and it has been the main ore of mercury throughout the centuries. Some mines used by the Romans are still being mined today. Cinnabar shares the same symmetry class with quartz but the two form different crystal habits.
Because of the high mercury content in natural cinnabar, much of today's cinnabar does not contain even a bit of the original mineral for which it was named. Most of it is synthetic, poured resin. But the art is still accomplished as it has been for centuries - by hand, individually. Lacquer-layered pieces are still created today, however they are much more costly, and, in fact, are generally made with the same synthetic resin as the poured items.
The Anima Sola (Lonely Soul or Solitary Soul) has its roots in the Latin folk religions. It represents a suffering person, usually, if not always, a woman. The woman has broken free from her chains in the midst of a prison (barred doors) and is surround by flames, representing Purgatory.
Purgatory has been held by some Christians, and in particular, Catholics, as the place where sinners go after death while awaiting judgment. A soul's landing in Purgatory suggests that judgment will be for heaven, as Purgatory's temporary suffering is evocative of the fires of hell.
The woman appears penitent and reverent, and her chains have been released, so this sends quite an ambiguous message to the believer: she suffers and at the same time is released from suffering - perfectly representing Purgatory itself - a way-station for on the way to redemption to clear or burn away past sins.
In recent years, Anima Sola has been used as an anthem for the women's movement - woman breaking through the chains of traditional societal roles, ...
Anima Sola is celebrated in folk religions much as a saint - and she hears the prayers of the living. She may bless and intercede on the prayer's behalf to accelerate the conclusion of a purgatorial penance of a loved one who died in sin. She might also be called up on to create a living purgatory for someone who has hurt the person praying to her.
Herradura de Curandero
SilverCrow's Mexican Good Luck Horseshoe Protection Packet is to be carried by an individual for personal protection and good fortune. The magnet or Piedra Iman attracts good luck, as does the red Huayruru seed. The pictured saint is San Martin Caballero, who is known for his charity to the poor.
How do you spell Hanukkah?
Hanukkah (meaning dedication) has only five letters in the original Hebrew. The root of the word is education. In English there are at least 16 ways to spell the word for the Festival of Lights!
The Hebrew word for the festival of lights: Hanukkah/Chanukah. It consists of five Hebrew characters opening with the consonant het (chet). This letter is not the equivalent of the English letter "h" (as in house). Nor is it the equivalent of the combination "ch" (as in child. It's a Hebrew guttural sound that has no precise equivalent in English.
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) is widely celebrated in Mexico as well as in the USA border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. It commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It has become very popular in recent years and many people confuse it with Mexico's Independence Day (September 16)!
Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1810. After the fight for independence was complete, quite a few countries came to Mexico's aid. The struggling newly independent country could not honor all debts, and was falling behind in payment. The Mexican-American War, 1846-8, cleared most the debt owed the United States. But, that battle combined with the Mexico's own Civil War in 1858 nearly wiped out Mexico's economy.
The French, under Napoleon, were interested in expanding their control, and used the earlier debt as a reason to invade Mexico. Napoleon's appointed his relative, Archduke Maximilian of Austria as Mexico's ruler. The well trained and equipped French army of 6,500 soldiers marched on Mexico City from the coast. They encountered strong resistance at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. On May 15, 1862, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin and his poorly outfitted militia of only 4,500 defeated the French. This glorious moment in Mexican history is celebrated each year as Cinco de Mayo by patriots throughout Mexico, but is centered in the regional state of Puebla.
The victory was short-lived. Napoleon, not a good loser, found an excuse to send 30,000 more troops to invade Mexico, deposing the Mexican army and taking over Mexico City a year later. French citizens were not at all happy with this turn of events. And, as the USA began to provide more political and military assistance to Mexico, the French were expelled in 1867.
Today, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with food festivals, dancing, mariachi bands, historical performances and special festival marketplaces throughout Mexico and the American Southwest.
The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Open here I flung the shutter, When, with many a flirt and flutter
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!–
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting–
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
Guatemalan Trouble Dolls
Trouble Dolls are also known as Worry Dolls. This sweet legend comes to us from the Mayan Indians of Guatemala, a country nestled between Mexico, Bélize, Honduras and El Salvador. This lush country is often described as the center of Mayan culture, with 4,000-year-old roots. Trouble Dolls are part of Mayan legend, descending from the upper mountain villages of Guatemala.
The ancient legend tells us of a small family, quite poor, but happy, living in the volcanic mountains. They depended on their own small plantings for food and market, earning additional money by weaving and sewing lovely Guatemalan cloth into clothing - selling at market to villagers and visitors. The cloth was wonderful, fashioned of bright and cheerful colors based in the tones of the earth, water and skies of Guatemala.
In this particularly dry year, their crop was not even enough for the small family to eat. So, they had to depend on their cloth as their livelihood. One night, Mama dreamed of flying with Quetzl (a large native bird). Her fitful dream awakened the entire family just in time to witness an evil stranger stealing their cloth. With little food and now no cloth for selling, life ahead appeared quite bleak. Mama's dream turned into a fever and she could not produce more cloth! Indeed, the family was troubled, with many worries. Not even Grandfather's stories could pull the little family through so many hardships.
Then, as if by magic, the young daughter conjured an idea. She enlisted Grandfather and Little Brother to gather tiny twigs from the nearby forest. When they returned, Daughter found some uneven remnants of cloth and yarn in Mama's sewing bag. Daughter and Little Brother spent the entire night fashioning tiny dolls from the twigs and dressing them in the bright and colorful remnants and yarn. By morning, the two children had created many dozens of these tiny treasures and even made little drawstring bags for the wee dolls. They had made just enough bags to hold six dolls each. Every doll was different because they had to use remnants rather than whole cloths to make them!
The next night, Daughter chose one of the small bags, and removed the six dolls. She examined each of them and returned them to the little sack one by one, telling each doll of her cares as she did. She tightened the drawstring and placed the pouch under her pillow. She slept more soundly than ever that night, waking very early, newly refreshed and imagining that perhaps her dolls truly were magic!
Daughter and Little Brother set off for market early that morning. The long walk was hard on their bare feet, as they had no sandals, but they did not complain. They found a very good spot at market, next to a shoemaker, a friend of Mama's. He asked of Mama's cloth and the children told him about their family's misfortune and described Mama's fever dream. The Shoemaker thought it quite funny that they would try to sell these silly dolls at market, but, nevertheless, encouraged Daughter and Little Brother to stay until market closed.
The children were not very successful and sadly started to pack up their dolls to make the long trip back to their mountain home. Just at that moment, a distinguished gentleman approached them and asked them about their wares. Daughter told him about her "magical dolls" and how she and Little Brother had made them all by themselves from Mama's remnants and fallen twigs. The gentleman smiled softly and said, "Just as everyone, I can use some magic from time to time. I shall take them all!" Daughter and Little Brother were so very happy about their good fortune, but not as surprised as their neighbor, Shoemaker! You see, Daughter had kept the one pouch of dolls in her pocket...the pouch that rested under her pillow last night, after she had told the dolls of her worries.
Daughter realized that worries may also be dreams. Not everything is bad, that is for certain. If you are poor, you can complain about being poor, or dream of resourceful ways to earn a living...then to follow your dream. So, you choose to have either a worry or a dream, all in the way you look at the same situation!
Daughter and Little Brother returned home much more quickly than they had left. Their new sandals from Shoemaker made their steps light and free. They ran to Grandfather, bubbling over with their stories of success and fortune at market. Then, Mama, refreshed and well, had only suffered her fever for a short time! As Grandfather and Mama listened with their hearts to Daughter and Little Brother recounting their day, the whole little family heard what they thought might be distant thunder. As they looked up, several drops of rain kissed their faces. As Quetzl flew overhead, the stranger who had stolen their cloth walked up to Mama and returned it, repenting his evil deed. You see, he, too, was poor and, in despair, had robbed the little family in order to save his own family! He knew this was so very wrong and had come to apologize, glorying in the rain as well.
So, you see, Daughter's dolls are magical, changing her worries to dreams. She and Little Brother had new sandals to take them to market. Mama recovered from her fever. The rains came to end the drought and everyone could eat. They had money to buy more yarn for Mama's weaving. And, their cloth was returned by the stranger who was not so bad as he seemed after all.
Daughter's dolls were, indeed, magical. Or, were they? They represented her own fears and hopes and after telling the dolls, she was able to focus on loving and providing for her family, in ways she had never imagined.
That night, she took each of the dolls from the one bag she had kept and told them of her dreams alone. Her worries and troubles were gone for now. She knew that life would challenge her in the future and that now she could face troubles with confidence and hope. She placed her magical dolls back in their sack, and the sack under her pillow and was readying her self for a pleasant night's dream. As she was removing her coat, she found in her pocket, a piece of fine paper. And on it, there was a drawing of a fine gentleman and these words:
Tell these dolls your secret wishes, your dreams, your hopes, your fears.
And when you awaken, find the magic within you to make dreams of your tears.
Legend has it that you may only have six dolls, so that you never have more worries than six. Daughter found five dreams within her. And the sixth dream? She and the gentleman shared their magic with us all.
©SilverCrow Creations, 2003, 2004. Adapted from Mayan Legend.
Amuleto Amarramiento y Amor
Se necesitan dos fotos pequeñas de la pareja a quien se le va a realizar este sortilegio de:
Amor y Amarramiento
Se colocan las fotos debajo de la velita se prende y antes de que se consuma totalmente se apaga. Después amarre las argollas junto con los novios las fotos y el resto de la velita.
Se junta todo junto con el preparado matrimonial y se guarda dentro del morralito.
Nota: Para mayores resultados
realice los dias nones
¡Pronto vera resultados!
Marriage & Love Charm
First, get two little photographs of the couple (one of each person) who are the object of this to carry out the spell:
Love and Marriage
Place the photos underneath the little candle. Grasp the candle before it burns down totally and is extinguished. With the wax from the rest of the little candle to join the rings together with the fiancés' photos.
Gather up everything else and put it all in the little pouch.
Note: For best results
Practice this spell only on odd-numbered days
never on even-numbered days.
Fast, true results!
Clearly a symbol of good luck, the shamrock is also considered a symbol of love and devotion as its three leaves, according to St. Patrick, represent the Christian Trinity. The shamrock, or seamróg, as it is traditionally known is a common clover plant and is literally translated as "summer plant." Shamrocks generally have 3 leaves, and are sometimes called trefoils because of this. A lucky shamrock will have four leaves: the four-leaf clover! In a meadow full of clover, certainly the discovery of four leaves on a three-leaf plant shows good fortune, if only for the moment of finding it!
In the 19th century, the wearin' of the green shamrock signified rebellion, and the wearer was likely to be killed. Not so today - this tiny plant will be forever associated with St. Patrick's Day, when just about everyone is Irish, or, at least, pretends to be.
The claddagh symbol has been used traditionally on the Irish wedding ring since the 17th Century. Today, the claddagh is found on all types of jewelry, decorative papers and books by people all over the world. It is considered a universal symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity. And, the wearing of the claddagh can also represent a connection to one's Irish heritage.
Wear the heart for love; the hands for friendship and the crown for lasting fidelity and loyalty.
When the claddagh adorns a ring, the direction of the heart bears great significance. The wearer in search of love, wears the heart facing out on the right hand. If smitten by love, the ring is turned around. And, the fortunate who has found true love that is returned transfers the ring to the left hand - of course with the heart facing inward toward the wearer's heart.
Irish tradition calls for the ring to be passed from mother to daughter, extending the ties to past and future generations.
Chairman Mao Tse-tung & the Arts
Chairman Mao Tse-tung was no friend of the arts for art sake. In a speech from May, 1942, he spoke of Art and Literature:
In the world today all culture, all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause; they are, as Lenin said, cogs and wheels in the whole revolutionary machine.
Of course the art & literature often reflects the soul of a country, but not always in the way the politicians believe.
Lama Li (Lokta) Paper
Lama Li paper is handmade in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal. Papermaking has long been a sustaining industry in the mountain villages of the Himalayas. Since ancient times, the hill tribes have made this very strong paper for people in other parts of their own countries and the world.
It is made from the inner bark of the lokta bush, hence its other name - lokta paper. It is an ecologically sound investment in paper because new growth regenerates very quickly (4 years or less) - providing a renewable resource for the paper artisans. In the fragile Himalayan ecosystem (and economy), this is extremely important to the papermakers.
The paper has a fine sheen as it is composed of the strong lokta fibers. You'll generally find inclusions from the lovely plant, sometimes even the little white flower blossoms.
Lama Li is used by artists and scholars for writing, fine art, decoration and collage. Lama Li paper is fairly traded and helps sustain the lives of workers in rural and urban areas of Nepal. The paper made from the lokta plant is, just as its source, a natural insect repellant!
Sealing wax (la cire) is made with several natural elements: pine resin, ground limestone, lacquer, and a dye made from Indian cochineal.
To make wax, the components are heated in a cauldron for one hour at 140 degrees centigrade. To give wax its color, pigments are added. Herbin has a range of 18 tints. Today, most wax for stationery is poured by hand into steel molds. The oblong molds fashion sticks (batonnets) of wax and removed while still warm.
Saint Florian - Patron Saint of Firefighters & the Fire Service
St Florian hails from the third century as an officer in the Roman army stationed in what is now considered Austria. He was the military administrator for the town of Noricum. As such, he felt compelled to hide his Christian faith.
He has come to be associated with firefighters and the fire service as the patron saint. Because he protects against injury and loss from fire, he is often also associated with chimney-sweeps. His relationship with these services seems to have stemmed from the legend that he stopped a town from burning by throwing a single bucket of water on the blaze.
When ordered to execute a group of Christians during the persecutions of Diocletian, he refused, and professed his own faith and became a martyr.
La Santisima Muerte's (the Death Saint) roots are in the cult of an Indian goddess whom the Aztecs called Mictlancihuatl meaning the “Lady of Death”. She is closely associated with the Day of the Dead and is frowned upon by the Catholic Church, although she is believed by many to be an incarnation of the Blessed Mother, in much the same way as the Virgin of Guadalupe.
La Santisima Muerte is often depicted as a female Grim Reaper. There are three figures that are used in this cult - a white one, a black one, and a red one. The white was is for cures and for luck. The black one is for protection and vengeance, and the most commonly used one is red - for love spells, for which she is most famously successful.
Some versions of this folk saint have her holding a scythe, like the grim reaper, while others have her holding a set scales. With these scales, she weighs the good and evil of your life. If the good you have done in your life outweighs the bad, Santisima Muerte takes you in one direction, and if the bad outweighs the good, she takes you in the other.
Retablos, are small to medium paintings on tin, wood or other metal which venerate Jesus, Mary or the saints and angels. The literal translation for retablo is "behind the altar." Retablos are generally thought of as religious folk art, but many people collect them for their artistic beauty as well as for their spiritual appeal. Deeply rooted in Spanish history, retablos embody the heart and soul of religious beliefs as central to Mexican culture. Vividly painted, mystical and spiritual, symbolic, historical and captivating, Mexican retablos seem to capture what is missing in today's frenetic world - a simplicity and belief in the hereafter.
Some retablos are created to honor the saint depicted. Others are painted to entreat or thank the illustrated saint for help from the spiritual world - usually for a particularly trying time. Some examples are family sickness, help finding a mate, fear, birth, etc.
Venus de Milo
She is also known as Aphrodite of Melos. The original is made of Parian china and can be found in the Louvre in Paris. Her true origin is unknown as is the date she was created. But she is not only one of the most famous statues in the world, but she has come to represent ultimate beauty.
A Turkish peasant found her in 1820, and, knowing that she was hundreds, if not thousands, of years old, he kept her in his barn for some time. Somehow, he was delivered to France and was presented to King Louis XVIII. His art advisors considered replacing her missing arms. French sculptors tried just about everything - arms holding apples or lamps and arms pointing all around.Thank goodness, the sagacious Louis decreed that her breathtaking beauty should remain unspoiled by another sculptor. This momentous decision became the norm. From then on, ancient statues have been almost exactly as discovered!.
One of a Kind Items
The items on these pages are ALL one of a kind! Be sure to order if you see something you like! - We can even hold things for you for 30 days.
We will try desperately to make sure we update the page as the items are sold. However, we do not have an automatic inventory system, so, we have to do this the old-fashioned way - by ourselves
The Myth of Sisyphus
The Myth of Sisyphus is a classic essay originally published in 1942 by French philosopher Alert Camus. Based in Greek mythology, Sisyphus' life has often been considered futile as he is doomed by the gods (because he challenged them with his exceptional wisdom) to continually push a huge boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down the hill. Sisyphus, Camus' absurd man, is perpetually conscious of his life's futility. Search for truth is ineffectual as the world is constantly changing. Sisyphus, according to Camus, has moments of happiness - when he reaches the top - right before the boulder rolls back down the hill.
Nihilism (from the Latin nihil) is defined as not anything, or, that which does not exist. Nihilism is the name for the philosophical belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. Generally, nihilists are thought of as pessimists and skeptics.
The true nihilist believes in nothing, has no loyalties, has no purpose, unless, of course, the purpose is the inclination to destroy. For most of the 20th century, existential nihilism focused on the belief that life is meaningless. Few philosophers purport to be nihilists. It is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche.
Regular divisions of the mathematical plane are tessellations: arrangements of closed shapes that completely cover the plane without overlapping and without leaving gaps. Typically, the shapes making up a tessellation are polygons or similar regular shapes (think of the shapes in a parquet floor, or ceramic tile designs). The famous Dutch artist, Escher, however, took the tessellation to a higher plane, as it were, by investigating all sorts of patterns – both regular and irregular. And, as his contemporary Franz Kafka, was especially interested in the manifestation of metamorphoses - in which his tessellating shapes not only connected with each other, but interacted with each other to brake free of the plane itself becoming another form of the original shape (if indeed, the original could be found in his infinity of design).
Vichy France was the de facto French government (Régime de Vichy or État Français) during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II from 1940 through 1944. Controversial to say the least, the Vichy government was challenged by the Free French Forces led by the famous Charles de Gaulle, who later became the French president. The infamously authoritarian Marshal Philippe Pétain headed the Vichy régime. Initially Vichy ruled an unoccupied zone in the south of France and several of the French colonies and officially remained neutral during WW2. Eventually Nazi Germany invaded the area under its control in 1942 November (Operation Case Anton). The puppet Vichy government, however, opposed the Free French Forces that were based in London initially and then in Algiers.
The city of Vichy, France is located southeast of Paris.
Infamous for its prominence in the classic film Casablanca, Vichy Water is a naturally sparkling mineral water from the springs located in and around central France's well-known spa city of Vichy.
St. Dymphna was the daughter of a pagan Irish chieftain named Damon and a beautiful Christian mother, whose name is uncertain. After her mother died, Dymphna father traveled far and wide searching for a a new wife. But he determined that no one could replace her. Because Dymphna was as beautiful as, if not more than, her mother, her father made advances upon her when he returned, maddened by grief. She was appalled and fought him off, finally fleeing to Belgium with a family friend, an older priest, St. Gerebernus.
Still insane with anger and grief, Damon followed them to Belgium, and after some intense detective work, he found them and beheaded Gerebernus and demanded that Dymphna become his lover or wife. She refused, and her father killed her i a rage.
The site of her death is known for its healings of the insane and possessed. Today, that area, in Gheel, Belgium, there is a tradition of caring for the insane for well over 1,000 years. the locals treat the patients as family and many of the patients find peace and serenity there.
Because of these miracles, St Dymphna has been honored as the patron saint of the mentally ill and those with "nervous disorders." Her patronage is also known to be associated with those who suffer epilepsy, incest victims, insanity, loss of parents, martyrs, mental asylums, mental disorders, mental health caregivers, mental health professionals, mental hospitals, mental illness, mentally ill people, family happiness, neurological disorders, possessed people, princesses, psychiatrists, rape victims, runaways, sleepwalkers, therapists
Devils and diablos are most often associated with Hallowe'en, but the Krampus Devil is a companion to Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus). Together they visited the children of Austria and Germany at Christmastime. While St. Nick rewarded the good children with candy and fruit and tiny treasures, the Krampus left switches fro the less well-behaved so that their parents might spank them!
For those children considered beyond repair, worse was in store from the Krampus: they might be shackled or perhaps even snatched up by the Krampus and trotted off to hell! This unkindly fellow is not present in modern American celebrations of the Yuletide. However, there are some families that have brought other dark old Christmas traditions from their European heritage lands that are similar to the story of our quintessential bogie man - the Krampus. Because of his kidnapping predication for bad children, he is most often represented by a devil-like figure - but he is never 100% scary. He often exhibits comical traits as well as frightening ones. In any case, he will encourage children to be nice rather than naughty - that's for sure!