Friday, June 12, 2009

The day I found out that owls got a bad rap

You may remember this necklace from a while back. Well, Athena's Familiar is finally on Etsy, thanks to the fact that I took this nice picture of it back on Monday. Natural sunlight is so good for getting true-color images of jewelry. You can really see the beautiful grey and black mottling of the black labradorite/larvikite (which I finally identified thanks to the Rings & Things gem stone index and confirmed by seeing more of it at their show last month).

Anyway, about owls and how they don't get any respect. As I've probably mentioned before, I like to do little bits of research on things. For instance, even though I don't necessarily believe in such things, I like to find the mystical associations of different stones, animals and symbols that I use in my jewelry. I'm fascinated by belief, and about the stories that surround the beliefs.

So today, I wanted to find some nice beliefs about owls to work into the description of Athena's Familiar. Obviously I already knew about the association with Athena, and through that, the association with wisdom. But surely, I thought, someone other than the Greeks must have felt some owl love.

How wrong I was. Everything else in my Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures was about doom and gloom. In China, Japan, Africa, and America, owls were seen as bad omens, harbingers of death and illness, and more. In Australia, they knew the proper dirge to sing at funerals, which while nice, is a further association with death.

Nocturnal creatures in general were traditionally feared or reviled. I guess early man was so afraid of the darkness and the nighttime that anything that was active during that time had to be an extension of evil.

Nowadays, the owl gets a little more love. Cute idie girls wear t-shirts and jewelry adorned with various owl motifs. Etsy is replete with owl merchandise. In fact, owls are so trendy that I actually questioned making this necklace, but the owl seemed like the perfect way to complete the dark palette of beads I'd chosen (inspired by the tiny dark blue metallic Swarovski crystals. I asked myself "what will go with these?" and ended up with Athena's Familiar). I like to think that my necklace acknowledges and even embraces the owl's unfortunately dark path, and gives those of us with a darker aesthetic the chance to say "I liked owls before they were cool."

In other Etsy-related news, I also listed Subtle Charm, and today's Daily Special is Verdant Pageantry.

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