Tuesday, January 13, 2009

individual mythology

as i worked on my first Thing a Week, i did a lot of thinking about personal mythology. everyone seems to have touchstones - lucky numbers, colors, songs which are deeply personal, objects of significance. when i was younger, i used to carry around personal talismans. sometimes they were interesting stones or shells, sometimes pieces of metal. often they were books. i still collect physical objects - i have boxes full of evil eye beads, chinese spirit locks, metal findings from antique jewelry, lucky swastikas from the 1920s, kohl pendants from india, chalcedony, coral, bone, ancient glass. i hope to photograph and catalog the most interesting of these.

what's most fascinating to me about objects with history is not their physical beauty, but rather the significance with which they were imbued. i don't believe in auras or 'vibrations' - an object on its own is inert - but objects which carry a cultural meaning invoke a response in the observer. a gold and diamond ring says nothing unless one is from a culture which values gold and diamonds. in the US, that ring means wealth, commitment, fidelity; to the socially/politically aware, it may also indicate armed conflict, poverty, greed, mercury poisoning. the ring doesn't speak, but meaning is communicated nonetheless.

i'd like to know about your personal talismans, objects or more abstract concepts of import. why are these things meaningful to you personally? i'd prefer to learn about idiosyncratic ideas rather than concepts with a broader cultural importance (such as lucky pennies, rabbit's feet, traditional 'totem animals' or religious charms). thanks in advance for your responses - i don't anticipate many at this early stage in my blogging career. "we've played to bigger, of course, but quality counts for something."


  1. 1) I feel close to cats for reasons that might be trite, but anyway...they're lovely, independent, and often misunderstood by people who haven't taken the time to get to know them.

    2) Crocuses are bulb flowers that are adapted to long, dry Mediterranean summers. They bloom in the late winter/early spring and, to me, represent beauty flourishing despite adverse circumstances.

    3) I used to be very attached to Cobalt (as a color), but somewhere over the past couple of years that affinity has shifted to Ruby (again, as a color).

    These are a few of my favorite things.

  2. I personally don't have much in the way of physical things I would consider talismans. Being allergic to metal I don't wear much in the way of jewelry, save my Elif Ogan tailor made pieces. I'm rather minimalist when it comes to personal belongings. Although I am fascinated by the history of things, I am largely fascinated by the composition of people. How did they become who they are and how many generations influenced who,what,where they are and their beliefs, conceptions etc.

    I'm not even sure if I answered your question, but there you go. LOL

    Austin, TX