To those who have pride in being African and South African, and who are pleased to do so in a quietly elegant way, this finely designed and thought-provoking new range of jewellery will bring pleasure.
No longer the Dark Continent, Africa is rising as a world influence. Amongst other treasures, traditions and icons unique to Africa and South Africa are being revealed
This range orbits about those icons and traditions.
We have used existing icons and,excitingly, visualized and made graphic, ideas that have been in the lives of communities for many years.
From these ideas and visualizations we have created pieces of jewellery that reflect our quite but deep pride in being African and South African. This piece makes a great African wedding ring.
Symbols on our African wedding ring from the Africa Rising Range
Clay Pot and Fire
The clay pot and fire symbol represents food and warmth and the comforts of home. These are shared equally by all. The symbol reminds us of other things like emotion, bad times and good times that must also be shared in life. The upside-down pot shows generosity in giving and sharing. Chores and unhappiness become easier when shared. Helping another bear misfortune is also part of sharing.
Joy also. Like love, joy does not get smaller when it is shared. It expands. Creating a safe and comfortable place and sharing it with happiness is one of the reasons why people unite.
The drum is a potent symbol for communication. The need to be understood by others is great and most of us try quite hard to be sure that everybody understands what we mean or what we want. This symbol reminds us that we need to try equally hard to understand what other people mean or what they want.
Successful communication leads to greater understanding, which leads to a lessening of tensions and a reduction of conflict. The bold sound of the drum, hiding no secrets, reminds us that we are aiming to be a transparent nation.
Successful communication means talking with sensitivity to the other and also actually listening to what is said by that other. Sympathetic understanding of a partner’s ideas and emotions contributes importantly to a good relationship.
ODO NYERA FIE KWAN
LOVE DOES NOT GET LOST ON ITS WAY HOME.
Adrinka motif – Ashanti - Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana
The meaning of the symbol: “Love lights its own path; it never gets lost on its way home.”
Love, in its broad sense, is part of the fabric of positive human conduct. It is that extraordinary quality demonstrated by people like Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. This is a symbol of love, devotion and faithfulness.
All these are essential elements of a loving union.
BOMA AND OX HORNS
Shaka’s battle formation included positioning his warriors in the form of ox horns. These would then move inwards, enclosing the enemy. This required planning, responsibility and trust.
All had to play their parts and also had to depend on others.
The thorny boma represents protection and security. Also, it talks of our duty to protect the vulnerable. These are all aspect of caring and successful living. The focus of these symbols is not on attack, but rather on the qualities of vigilance, responsibility, trust, protection and security that are all essential to a commitment to another.
OSRAM NE NSROMMA - THE MOON AND THE STARS
Adrinka motif – Ashanti - Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana
The meaning of the symbol: “Kyekye, the North Pole star, has a deep love for marriage. She is always in the sky waiting for the return of the moon, her husband”.
This is a symbol of the feminine essence of life. It is an appropriate symbol in our society that is striving for gender balances. The symbol focuses on qualities of love, harmony and fondness. These are important aspects of a relationship that need to be shown by both partners.
GYE NYAME - EXCEPT GOD
Adrinka motif – Ashanti - Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana
The meaning of the symbol: “Creation dates back to time Immemorial; no one lives who saw its beginning and no one will live to see its end - except God.”
The use of the symbol is widespread in West Africa. It applies to all beliefs in which God, in many different concepts, is paramount. Individuals and societies seem to have a need for God. This aptly symbolises that need. Gye Nyame suggests infinity. This is a wonderful thought when linked to love and one that applies to many relationships.
SHIELD AND SPEARS
This is a strong symbol relating to protection. The hide shield and wooden shafted spear are traditional and have been well publicised in other countries.
The shield and spears symbol represent protection against forces that are harmful or dangerous. The in-turned spears show that while aggression will not be flaunted; there is power if needed.
In the context of a relationship, it refers to protecting its unity, also the family and the home. It denotes a preparedness to fight for your partner and your values.
Anything that is of value and that is growing needs to be nurtured. This is obvious with things like crops or flowers but less obvious with things like plans, ideals or ambitions, which also grow and develop. Many aspects of society, like social conscience for example, are slow to develop and need to be nurtured. Such nurturing requires patience, care, attention and understanding. Certain aspects of life, like good relationships and a good marriage require a considerable amount of sustained nurturing if they are to remain vital and satisfying. The mielie symbol represents this need for nurturing.
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Symbolism and Esoteric Jewelry.
What a subject. Esoteric means hidden. Our ranges are very symbolic. I like jewelry to have meaning. Pretty baubles are nice but lack depth and meaning. People today are looking for substance in their lives. Remember how your mom had a story about her grannies diamond ring... well that is the meaning - emotion and history we attach to our possesions. What beter possesion than a piece of jewllery that you can carry with you.
Like the Runes, which have meanings attached, all jewellery has some kind of story. From the emotion of love through to bad memories like a broken engagement. The number of woman who come to me and say - "melt this ring down - I hate it" is amazing. At one stage they wore the ring or pendant and enjoyed it - even if they did not like the design. Why? - because it was given to them and that had meaning. Of couse I get the people who got gifts from people they did not like - a persistent suitor, and they never wore the piece. Still this item of jewellery has a story attached - it has a symbolic meaning.
I can list all the universal symbols of our past cultures - Yin and Yang, Om symbols, Christian crosses and other religious crosses, unicorns, fairies, 8 pointed stars, Nyami Nyami and so on. I can also list many modern symbols which we wear - known as brands - Nike, Coke, Harley Davidson, Louis Verton, amongst others. These carry meaning and emotion. They show the world what we consider important.
Symbolic jewelry is no different - but it has one important fact. Usually people buy it to remind themselves of their beliefs and culture as well as to show others what they believe in. School badges and flags serve the same purpose. You see it - or hear it and it brings up feeling. Esoteric symbols serve this purpose.
What I like about African symbols and ancient European Symbols and Eastern Symbols is that they can be used to help in our personal lives. If you need to get somewhere in your spiritual life a symbol can help tremendously. Wearing a symbol allows you to continuously be reminded of your goal - what do they say - where your mind is, that is where you are. If you are wearing a Crucifix - then you mind is on Christ and his suffering for mankind. If you are wearing an African Power Mask then power is what you need or seek.
Symbols in jewellery given as gifts also play an important role in our society. An engagement ring is a gift which carries huge symbolic value.... and brings with it a commitment from one person to another. A gift of a rune pendant - say Gefu, means that the giver thinks you need partnership and trust or that that is your grace. Of course if I buy a pentacle it means that that is what I am seeking. Like the runes, every time I look or feel the silver symbol my mind will go there - and if one thing is in your mind - another thing cannot be there.
Star signs are another very popular symbol. I personally think that they are trite and over commercialised. Too much faith is put into what other people say and predict. The goal posts change continuously as daily horoscopes are churned out by modern "seers" and witch doctors. The advertising companies are the modern form soot sayers - putting their spin and ideas continuously in front of us - battering us with repetitive adverts and so doing, brainwash us into believing a lot of nonsense.
Universal symbols and truths are tied up with the motifs and icons we wear. Looking through man kinds cultures and beliefs we find a common thread. They all share certain elements and belief structures. These I would term as "universal beliefs" We share them regardless of our background, tribe, colour or upbringing. It is almost as if we are born knowing things - which of course is a subject all on it's own. The knowledge is inside us - we just need to "see it" or recognise it. Symbols help with this - our ancient minds are powerful and carry knowledge that we think we can only dream of.
Sport is rich with symbolism and meaning - churning emotions and feelings. Take South African Rugby. How’s the springbok symbol to get a nation worked up. World cup Soccer with Fifa as it's godhead is a prime example of how symbols and emotion allow us to be controlled manipulated. If I though the Catholic Church was controlling and greedy, rich with it's religious dogma, and symbols, Fifa Football takes the cake. It dictates to governments and populations like a god. Sport is a religion, complete with its symbolism, faithful followers, dogma and rituals.
As time has passed so has power - from one group to another. Religions and faiths such as Wiccans have been seemingly replaced by Christianity and politics. I say seemingly replaced for a reason... I think they have been supplanted - taken over and used against mankind to control the masses. Christianity is just another form of cult belief, which did not even bother to write it's own story. It merely used stories and symbols from previous cults and made them it's own.
I have nothing against God or the belief in God. I am against the use of God for personal and political gain - which is what most religions and cults are. The use of symbols plays a huge part in this - and the powers that be know this. The symbols on their own are not good or bad, the people or followers are not generally bad people (perhaps confused). The powerful meanings that are attach to the symbolism are not bad either - it is the people who manipulate these emotion attached to the symbols that are in question..#
Which brings me back to my reason for this article, namely the esoteric meanings of symbols. Why were the meanings hidden? I reckon because they did not want all and sundry to know what they believed and who they followed. There could be many reasons for this. Persecution because of beliefs is probably a good one. Another is the hidden or secret societies like the free masons - who by all accounts have plenty to hide. Symbols in the form of badges and motifs all other masons to know but the general public not to know.
Obvious symbols like a free mason ring would be worn by those initiated who have no knowledge of the hidden more sinister side of freemasonry. Good people sucked into stuff they do not know about - thinking they are working on the side of good - thereby hiding (esoteric) the real purpose of a secret society.
Symbols have a large place in the development of human kind. We will continue to attach meaning and create new symbols to suit our beliefs - or be given symbols by others to control our beliefs. They will come and go as people seek meaning and try to make sense of a sometimes confusing and ruthless world.