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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When I grew up in the 40’s and 50’s, certain jeweled ornaments worn around the neck were mainly called “lockets.” I don’t recall those pieces of memorabilia designated as “pendants.” They occupied a special sentimental place in your heart and upon your person. When you touched them, you would feel that special close contact with whomever’s picture was safely ensconced in such locket or pendant. In these lockets could be found locks of hair, pictures of your most beloved parent, sibling or other relative; or if you were especially lucky, a picture of a favorite saint. In the 1970’s I remember a friend of mine whose ashes were consecrated in a specially made locket which some of us wore around our necks to commemorate our special friendship with this man.

Nowadays deity pendants such as those displayed in Ma’s India, have similar purposes, but the picture of the beloved is on the outside for all to see. These deity pendants have multipurpose uses. Some deity pendants might be considered merely ornamental as with jewelry.

Some deity pendants are considered amulets for self-protection. The Kali Pendant Necklace is one such deity pendant. Consuming demons that represent the ego, one need not be afraid of anything with Kali.

Another deity pendant represented might be the Shiva Necklace (painted) beautifully encased in pewter. This powerful God sitting in deep meditation upon Mount Kailash sits firmly against evil and those who would distract him from a peaceful and solitary contemplation.

Another feminine deity pendant representative of a protective amulet would be the Durga Deity pendant. Durga is another representation of Kali but seen as less fierce to those who know nothing about her. In reality, she is as fierce as Kali but with a different visage to hide her true identity from those who might not take her seriously. Durga is the true Mother of all the goddesses and on her deity pendant is pictured standing supreme upon her lion above all others.

Some who wish to use the deity pendants as mere ornaments, might consider the Lakshmi Resin Deity Pendant and the Saraswati Resin Pendant, both stately in faux marble resin, although when one is a true student of the Hindu goddesses, one sees that although they are worshipped for prosperity and the arts, these goddesses are just as capable of fierceness and protection. One might also consider the colorful and feminine Painted Lakshmi Deity Pendant as another choice.

For those who wish to cultivate the attributes of Ganesh, may we suggest Ganesh Pendant Necklace in sterling silver as their deity pendant, a powerful invocation of the Great God Ganesh. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles and is the fierce representation of loyalty. When one chooses Ganesh as her protector in a deity pendant, it is as if a whole army has come to her aid.

And of course, for those who wish to call upon Ganesh’s equally as fierce trusted humble ally, there is the Hanuman Necklace (painted) deity pendant, showing this representation of humility and perseverance, beautifully and stylistically encased in pewter.

For those desiring to follow the feminine Christian path in choosing a deity pendant, there is the saintly St. Therese of Avila Necklace who in 1970 was finally honored for her work in founding a convent and order of nuns and the Guadalupe Pendant beautifully rendered in faux white resin marble.

Whatever deity pendant you choose, there can be no mistake if one follows the yearnings of the heart.

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I remember when I received my first piece of Christian jewelry in the form of a cross with the body of Jesus upon it at my First Communion. I later learned that a crucifix was typical Catholic Christian jewelry as opposed to Protestant Christian jewelry, a cross sans the body of Christ upon it, symbolizing Christ’s resurrection as opposed to his crucifixion. While the cross of course symbolizes the crucifixion, an even deeper symbolism for Christians has meant the promise of eternal life and salvation. How special it was to me that day as my parents, devout Christians that they were, looked so proudly upon me as I received my communion shortly after my 13th birthday.

I also remember my girlfriends crowding around me at school that week praising the beautiful piece of Christian Jewelry that I was wearing around my neck. As a mother, giving my own piece of Christian jewelry in the form of a fish symbol, to my daughter, I have learned that “fish” Christian jewelry is very popular amongst teens who wish to stand out from the crowd. Early Christians in particular utilized the Christian fish symbol during the first few centuries after Christ was born as a covert sign of places secure for Christians. It is also interesting to note that Christian jewelry especially crosses, are worn equally these days by both men and women. The men usually wear heavier gold crosses than the women and they seem to have become not only a symbol of devotion, but male virility. An interesting phenomenon is that many non-Christian people now wear Christian jewelry for style and fashion. Some humanists wear Christian jewelry alongside their Star of David to bespeak their embracing of all religions.

On an interesting note, it appears that Christian jewelry is one of the hottest new trends sweeping churches. In fact, the term of “lifestyle evangelism” has recently been coined. Wearing Christian jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces have become powerful ways for people to share their faith. Some young Christians have spoken of how when they are placed in situations where they feel shy about declaring their faith; they are comforted in the fact that their Christian jewelry speaks for them.

As a woman, my own favorite pieces of Christian jewelry are those representing the Madonna and Guadalupe. It is interesting to me that most people when wearing their Christian jewelry choose a cross rather than a pendant of the Madonna or Guadalupe. Of course, everyone knows our Madonna, but not everyone is familiar with Our Lady of Guadalupe who appeared as a miraculous vision in Mexico in the year 1531. As she is carved into Christian jewelry, our Lady of Guadalupe represents the many miracles possible for those who have faith.

Christian jewelry in the form of St. Christopher seem to be preferred by men as their choices of Christian jewelry, although in these days of unisex clothing, it appears that this trend is fading. It was believed that when Jesus appeared to him as a young child in need, St. Christopher carried him across a great and dangerous river, thus becoming a patron of travelers and motorists. Many ecological groups have adopted St.Francis, one of the most beloved saints of all time, because of his deep connection to animals, as their patron saint. St.Francis is a reminder to all of us who love Mother Earth and her offspring to protect our dear and vulnerable friends. It is felt that wearing this particular piece of Christian Jewelry has become a popular symbol to show people of our love of the environment and Mother Earth. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;” ….

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