Animal Stories, Animal Totems
ncient animal mythology and beliefs in animal spirits suggest the profound roots of our collective effort to come to terms with the world that surrounds us. Although our bonds with nature are no longer built through daily interaction and the struggle for survival, we still sense the continuum, the magic intuited by our ancestors. They may have been primitive, but it is possible that they had a much deeper understanding of their place on this planet then we in modern society will ever know.
Since earliest human existence, people have identified with animal qualities: the survival of the wolf, the grace of the deer, the power of the eagle, and the intelligence of the fox. Ancient cultures believed that through communication with their “animal allies” they could strengthen and improve themselves, and they built personal identities by emulating positive animal qualities. A totem represents a connection between the person and the spirit or essence of an animal.
In contemporary life, animals have worked their way into our lives through legend, myth and symbol, connecting us to our own primal instincts. Through these stories and persistent cultural beliefs we are reminded of our mutual ties with the earth and our interdependence with other life forms. Even if we never truly experience it, we can still sense and be inspired by the mystery of nature.
The Ark Collection reflects our desire to connect with these animal totems and carry with us the qualities they embody.
To learn more about each animal’s story and totemic associations, please click on the animal name below. If you are interested in jewelry incorporating a particular animal, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posts filed in Animal Stories
2016 on the Chinese calendar is a year of the Monkey, starting from February 8 and ending on January 27, 2017. My son Ari is a Monkey (always ready to help others; compassionate, with strong self-esteem, but stubborn) and he helped me put together these earring combinations to celebrate! Hóunián dàjí (Lots of luck for this Monkey year).
Handcrafted original Anchor jewelry. Anchor tattoo designs are one of the oldest types of tattoos. Christians would often use the anchor as a hidden symbol for the cross, indicating their faith while escaping persecution from the Greeks. The rising anchor is a symbol for hope, and raising anchor to journey forth fills us with excitement, aspirations and dreams. When a ship drops its anchor it grounds itself, securing itself to a certain location from which it will not move, thus a symbol of stability and a strong foundation.
Handcrafted original Angel jewelry. Neither human nor god, animal nor force of nature, angels are paradoxical, with the power to seduce, teach, save and destroy. Although it is difficult to say with certainty who or what angels are, they have stirred our collective imaginations in every age and culture. Winged figures of ultimate grace and light, angels are irresistible. Derived from the Greek angel’s, meaning “a messenger, one who announces or tells,” angels are known for proclamation, aid and guidance.
Handcrafted original Ant jewelry. Strong, courageous and diligent, Ants are exceedingly diverse – predators, farmers, and architects. Ants are also communal and social, working together in a highly successful organization. In the fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper the hard-working Ant toils to store a generous supply of food to survive the long winter and as a result the Ants flourish reminding us to work hard, save for tomorrow, and look forward to what may come.
Handcrafted original Antlers jewelry. Throughout history and across the globe, Antlers have been a symbol of power. Cave paintings often reveal our fascination to horned animals as antlers characterize dominance and nobility in Mother Nature. Because antlers are regularly lost and regrown, they also demonstrate the cycles of life. Antlers encourage us to confront life’s changes with great strength and vigor.
Handcrafted original Arrow jewelry. Associated with subtle and unseen powers that transcend space and time, the ancient arrow could symbolically move between the boundaries of civilization, wilderness and the divine. The power of the bow and arrow derive not from brute strength, but from focused attention and spiritual maturity. Released from its bow, the arrow reminds us of the far-reaching and penetrating power of humanity’s mental, physical and spiritual determination.
Handcrafted original Asian Dragon jewelry. Ranked first among mythical animals, dragons have been part of East Asian culture for more than 4,000 years. The Asian dragon breathes clouds, moves the seasons, controls the waters of rivers, lakes, and seas, and symbolizes fertility. They are linked with yang, the masculine principle of heat, light, and action, and opposed to yin, the feminine principle of coolness, darkness, and repose. In the religious traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, they have been honored as sources of power and bringers of rain.
Handcrafted original Bear earrings. The Great Bear, or Ursa Major is one of the most recognizable constellations. It dates back to ancient Greece and the love of Zeus for Callisto, who later became the mother bear in the stars. The Celts also believed in a bear goddess, Artio – like a mother bear she was a fiercely protective influence. In Native American mythology the bear is highly respected as the ‘keeper of dreams’, and is one of the most powerful totems.
Handcrafted original Beetle earrings inspired by Neith, an ancient Egyptian mother goddess associated with fertility, wisdom and war, and considered by the Egyptians to be one of the oldest of beings. ‘Neith’ may be interpreted as meaning water, thus personifying the primordial waters of creation. The click beetle was an original symbol of Neith, since they are usually found near water, and its thorax is shaped like the shield of ancient soldiers.