Pinnacle a sterling silver pendant, by Austin Kent Art surrounded by a blue glow, with purple lightning like veins emanating outward.

Jewelry as a Vessel for Magic

What if I told you that magic is real, jewelry can be a vessel for magic, and that anyone can benefit from it? Bear with me here. Magic is the presence of an effect caused by mysterious or non-visible causes.  Often the Hollywood interpretation of “magic” implies dazzling, explosive, and mystical abilities, often only granted to a select few or to those who dedicate immense effort towards rigorous study. In real life, magic is certainly real yet often takes on a far less glamorous, yet no less enlivening form. I argue that real life magic is all about the intention and story we attach to our lives and the objects we surround ourselves with. Jewelry is just one example of an object that can be a carrier of magic. 

Historically it was believed that certain stones, crystals, and materials possess innate properties that when worn, had an effect on the wearer. More than the innate properties though, the story we tell about something imbues it with meaning, and that impacts our behavior. The fact that it takes intense time, effort, and resources to meticulously combine metal, gemstones, and other materials into jewelry, alongside the fact that these wearable artifacts tend to be quite durable makes them a perfect vessel for the imbuement of story. As a story is created around a piece of jewelry, an emotional charge is created and the magic begins to work. When there’s a change in our behavior and life because of something non-visible (a story), that’s real magic at work. 

Let's take a hypothetical example. You have a pendant that was given to you by your grandmother. She had received it as a gift from your grandfather before leaving home for military deployment during world war 2, and it was intended as a symbol of his faith to her, and a promise of his safe return. Now, clasped around your neck, it’s a symbol of your grandfather's faith, service during the war, and your grandmother's love for your mother, and yourself. When you wear it, you feel closer to your family, and remember all the things that conspired to get you to where you are today. You feel your grandmother's love, your grandfather's faith, and gratitude for them both. You wear this pendant on days when you want to channel more of these qualities, and so by wearing the pendant with this intention, you are more faithful, loving, and grateful for all that you encounter. This is the magic; the creation of a story that is so closely held and deeply felt, that it ties our lives to an object, an idea, to other living beings, and to the great mystery that this life is. 

This connection to all of life, is the flavor magic that I’m most enlivened by. These objects we carry around on our bodies are beautiful, and can they also connect us more deeply to the world we live in? Symbols of plants, animals, astronomical objects (the sun, moon, and stars the most common), are broadly recognized and tie directly to the earth and our enmeshment in the earth community. Other religious iconography of the medicine wheel, the cross, and the lotus flower can also serve this function, so long as their use avoids falling into blind worship and domineering dogmas. The longstanding multigenerational stories of some symbols carry with them a potent effect on the human psyche. The cross has been a symbol of great passion, and great pain (depending on the perspective you were experiencing that symbol from), for thousands of years. 

Despite all the millenia and generations that have come before us, the work of life is not done. Our work is still that of defining our own stories, grown out of the historical and cultural context we are planted in. We take what we are given, and learn how to walk in a good way with what exists presently. We repurpose, reuse, and recycle those old stories, making them our own. We create a new story that empowers all of life, human and nonhuman. When we do this, we are making our own magic. 

Our magic, intentionally imbued throughout our lives, allows us to live vividly and easefully. Magic is real, it’s not the flames and dazzle that the movies would make you think. We can choose to share what matters to us, in the ways we act, in the words we speak, and in the artifacts we decorate our homes and bodies with. In this modern age, we can take up responsibility to choose how we live, and what stories we tell. Living by those stories and allowing them to permeate out into the world through us, is true magic. 

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