I met my friend Kevin in the late 80s.
Among his many talents,
he creates Knot work designs.
Kevin typically creates very complex,
free form knots
and then tools them into leather
for his garb
for the Society of Creative Anarchism
of which he is a part.
The Celtic Cross of Joy
Unlike the typical border work
of a more standard,
Kevin’s style is to create broad sweeps
and then tiny inter-weaving
to populate a design
or free form shape.
Creating knots of one,
two and three strands,
depending on the use of the knot
and can become very complex
because One is not using any formulas
or pre-made patterns.
I had asked him to design a cross for me
and he smiled.
“I will design this knot
and teach you how it is done
so long as we call the amulet:
for my friend” he told me.
He had not seen her in years
yet wanted to dedicate the design to her.
He drew it in one sitting:
smiling the entire time.
It is an eternal knot:
one strand from beginning to end
forming a cross
with the circle of spirit in the center:
the “Empty Cross” (He is Risen) design.
“she won’t mind” he told me;
“Think of it as a compromise.”
Kevin isn’t Christian!
And so I present to you a
A cross for my friend Diana.
Commissioned to be worn for her liturgical practices at her church:
giving blessings and communion.
Originally designed from a Celtic style,
this over sized pectoral cross had enough room for interior design,
so I have included symbols which personalize the cross for her.
Diana’s Custom Cross
From the foundation,
the symbol of water,
a small “knot” representing movement.
Above this a chalice,
from it rising the sign of Pisces
(her birth sign)
which supports the communion wafer
and above that the image of the chalice rises above.
This signifies the “spirit” of communion
transcending its physical restraints.
On either side is the waxing and waning moon,
signifying her name “Diana”
(the Goddess of the hunt and protector of the innocent).
In the center is the equal armed cross
symbolizing the material world.
It was carved to be convex:
capturing light and reflecting it differently
each time you see it:
much as the world does.
This is a reminder to “look twice”
for everything may not be as it seems.
Above this is the Sun,
the center of our Solar System,
typically the symbol
of the “center of all things”
and “the light”,
the source of all things.
Diana’s Custom Cross is a very large,
heavy, solid sterling piece
designed for specially for Diana.
If you would like something made specificity for you,
please visit my How to order Custom Page.
A little while ago a fellow wrote to me asking if I could make a special amulet for him: a St. Christopher Amulet of a kind I had never hear of before. He wrote:
“As you may or may not be aware, ancient Christian tradition regarded St. Christopher as a dog (or as a member of a race of dog-faced humanoids). I have speculated, as a result of having done research on this subject (one of my advanced degrees in theology), that St. Christopher was a dog who saved a child from water and, in a manner similar to St. Gwinifort, was venerated by a group of local Christians (in antiquity, the acknowledgment of a person’s (or dog’s) sanctity was made from the bottom up rather than from the top down as is the case today).”
He then sent me an image of his beloved friend who had passed and wished for me to give the amulet his likeness.
I was honored and set to work on the project and created a St. Christopher Amulet in sterling silver, framed as the ones in the Olde Days: the central figure of Saint Christopher offering a benediction of peace, holding a cross with the countenance of his blessed canine. If you would like a special amulet made for you please visit my How to order custom page.
The word “PAX” in Latin translates as “Peace”. Peace describes a society or a relationship operating harmoniously, without violent conflict. Peace is commonly thought of as the absence of hostility, or the existence of healthy or newly healed relationships, safety in matters of social or economic welfare, the acknowledgment of equality and fairness. As with many other religions, the concept of peace is accentuated in Christian Theology as an important state of being: the result of Christ’s presence. Christianity focuses on being “Christ-Like” who was the bringer of Peace. “Peace” itself does not refer to “all things immobile” rather it is a state of Blessing and Clarity that begins with the individual and emanates outward to all things; thus being “Christ-like”.
The PAX Amulet
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
As Christianity has been shaped and molded by cultural influences (as with all religions older than the founder) the message of Peace has become lost and other agendas emerge that counter the core idea. Many times religions face problems of being burdened by these agendas and a resurgence of “getting back to basics” arises – often with ill effects: Peace is compromised with new exceptions and excuses as to why it is secondary; yet the core belief of these virtues become evident as cultural measures against it’s own doctrine prove inadequate.
Through out the Christian Churches of the world, the image of “PAX” arise again and again on alter cloths, statues, stained glass and more as the artisans of the religion try to remind the practitioners again and again the message of Peace. My Father (a minister) felt the image of PAX was a better alternative to the cross because it pointed directly to the value of the religion he practiced. Some years ago I created the PAX Amulet for him, an amulet he cherished for the rest of his life.
The PAX Amulet is formed by the capital letter “P” with the smaller case “x” mounted on the main trunk, much like a tree with new branches and roots, giving a sense of stability and new growth. I have added the bail behind the top portion of the “P” so it may be hung by a chain or cord.
After my Father’s passing I decided to add it to my line of jewelry, both to honor him and to help remind others of the message of Peace.
A classic Celtic Cross of Scotland and Ireland.
The Celtic Cross Amulet
According to the many sources
who all assure us they are true and correct:
the circle may represent the circle of God’s Endless love,
or a halo of he who was crucified,
or it may mean the eternity of God’s commitment
by sacrificing his Son.
Most Christian sources agree the focus
is on the resurrection
rather than the Crucifix holding image of the Martyr.
The “Empty Cross” concept of the Protestant Faiths:
“He is Risen”.
When one looks to the Historical View,
there are some very interesting ideas
concerning the symbol of the Celtic Cross:
the circle represents the Sun God,
or the Moon Goddess,
or the cycle of death and re-birth.
The Equaled Arm Cross represents how Creation is
divided in active and passive principals
(much like Native-American symbolism)
and much is extrapolated for that.
When seeing the various Stone Crosses in the countryside,
some of the locals say the crosses were carved on them
as a way of disguising their original intent:
giant stone phalluses symbolizing fertility
to bless their crops and live stock.
It may well be we are seeing
evidence of a social correction in the stone.
As an Amulet Maker,
I decided to consult with several pastors
to get a perspective on what was to be made.
And so for this Celtic Cross Amulet
I intended the following:
I chose a block with capitols
to lean to the more Gothic feel,
In a deeply carved cross
I placed twisted cord to represent emanations from the center.
In the center is a disk representing “the un-nameable”,
the circle surrounding the center
representing the eternity of Agape:
This is intended to be used
by those who wish to wear a cross
representing a Faith based on Love
and live their lives as Jesus taught them.
Triquetra simply means “triangle” and has been used to refer to a variety of three-cornered shapes but has been evolved into a symbol of depth. Often seen in the Book of Kells, some have surmised that because of its frequent use as ornamentation has been a part of folk lore pre-dating the creation of the ancient texts. It appears in stone and metal on crosses, markers, jewelry and other artifacts through-out Celtic history.
The Triquetra Amulet
Because of the Christian Influence and their lore concerning the Trinity, many have attributed the shape to represent: “The Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, but it could easily represent any lore that embraces the Three: Parents and child; the three phases of human existence: Youth, Middle Age and the Elderly; Maiden, Mother, Crone; Green Man, Hunter, Sage. All Threes: a number of Manifestation in Creation.
In recent years it has been popularized within the Pagan and Wiccan communities, for they too love the manifestation of Three. It has even been embraced in the Television series “Charmed”; the Triquetra is embossed on the Grimoire of the Three Sisters.
The Triquetra Amulet represents the Trinity, the manifestation of Three and the integrity of one purpose through love. The Triquetra Amulet is for those who cherish the idea of the Trinity in its many forms.
Some years ago my Father and Brother visited Russia on a program sponsored by the university there in Moscow to help promote Christian Ethics to their new school. In assistance with the program in the “Christian Psychology” program, they were embraced by the school to assist them in their curriculum.
“Greek” in “Greek Orthodox” refers to the Greek heritage of the Byzantine Empire from the 4th through the 10th century was a center of cultural development unparalleled in Europe. By the end of the first millennium eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Byzantine Empire. In 863-869, Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius translated parts of the Christian Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs.
By the mid-10th century, there was already a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Greek and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion (many practitioners remain active to this day). In 988, Prince Vladimir I of Kiev officially adopted Byzantine Rite Christianity — the religion of the Eastern Roman Empire — as the state religion of Kievan Rus’. This date is often considered the official birthday of the Russian Orthodox Church. Thus, in 1988, the Church celebrated its millennial anniversary. It therefore traces its apostolic succession through the Patriarch of Constantinople. Even though there was an “interruption” of the faith during the Communist domination of the mid 20th century, the art, architecture, and culture of Greek Orthodox survived as many of the Faithful emerged from practicing in secret.
My brother was particularly entranced with the art, architecture and over all culture. A devout Christian, Craig requested I create a “classic” Greek Cross Amulet for him.
The cross top bar represents the headboard where it is often depicted with various script or a halo in other sects of Christianity. The bottom bar is a slanted line representing the footrest, wrenched loose by Jesus’ struggling in severe anguish. It is raised on the left side of the cross where a criminal who was also being crucified said to Jesus: “remember me when you come into your kingdom”. In the lore of the Greek Orthodox it is said this part of the glyph symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
The cross is small, almost charm-like yet it holds the components of the larger and more complicated versions. Craig was pleased with the amulet and insisted I place this cross in my jewelry line for your pleasure.
One of the last efforts my Father worked on was to return to his favorite project:
the education of young men and women.
A devout Presbyterian Minister,
professor of Philosophy
and a member of the Humanities Department in Cal State Fullerton,
Dr. Robert B McLaren began his quest of promoting virtue
by working with the youth in Boys town of Chicago.
The Fellowship of the Celtic Cross
Designed by the Youth Group at
Morningside Presbyterian Church
In Fullerton California
In each of the churches he served with in Illinois, Montana, Texas and California,
he worked closely with the youth with scholarly lessons of the New Testament,
often focusing on the book of Luke.
His method was to first go over the text,
then re-discover the context by studying the politics, technology
and social conditions of the period to help them understand the milieu of the work.
For a period during the 70 and 80s, Dr. R. B. McLaren took a break from youth fellowship
and focused primarily on his University Efforts,
finishing his Doctorate
and moving ahead in his service with the Academy of Judao, Christian and Islamic Studies,
the World Council of Churches and the Parliament of World Religions.
After his “retirement” he was asked by the local Church
to return to his teaching the Youth of his community.
We had several conversations over the matter
and he decided that it would be helpful to have crosses made for them.
Noting if the cross was to have a special meaning for them
I recommended that the group design the piece.
This experience of creativity would mark the moment in their lives,
help them recall the ideas that they were working with at the time,
empower them and give them the experience of collaboration
both with each other and with their instructor.
The members busily drew a host of images,
then created a composite of the designs.
From the images of the Youth Group,
I created their Cross Amulet. On the completion of their studies,
they were then blessed with a copy of their own design.
In each of his talks,
classes lectures and sermons the main focus of his message was to celebrate life,
each other and joy.
In every conversation his salutation was:
“Be of Good Cheer!”
I find great comfort in knowing I was able to contribute to his legacy.
If you are interested in a specially designed piece for your church, circle, grove or organization,
Please view my How to order custom page
Some years ago (back in the Eighties) my Father:
Dr. Robert B. McLaren
was a Professor in the Humanities Department
of California State University Fullerton.
At the time,
tensions between the east and west were extreme.
In order to bring a better understanding
between the three “faiths of Abraham”
as my father put it,
he assisted in the creation
and assumed the role as
Vice President of the Academy of
Judaic Christian and Islamic Studies.
The goal was to develop line of communication
between the religious leaders in Orange County, California.
The Academy sponsored meetings
giving a forum to clear misconceptions,
air out differences
and reach mutual understandings between the Faiths.
Feeling the importance that the Ideals
were to be grounded in some material form,
my Father asked me to create
some kind of Amulet
that would symbolize their efforts.
“It needs to be comprehensive: start with the letter A”, he told me.
The result was the simple block letter,
the two sides solid and in a form of the triangle,
one of the most stable structures in architecture.
The ribbon holds the letters “JCI”
representing tenuous lines of communication
and a reminder of the effort required
to keep those lines open to each other.
As the first Iraq War heated up,
the Academy became a hot bed of controversy;
however it kept the religious community in close touch
and provided them with the necessary links
to defuse many misunderstandings.
With the passing of its founders
and a host of other problems,
the Academy of Judaic Christian and Islamic Studies
eventually dissolved as an organization,
however the friendships continued.
It is my hope that the amulets
are a reminder of how open communication
is a step towards peace and prosperity.
If you are interested
in learning more about custom work for your organization,
please visit my How to order custom page
I met my friend Kevin in the late 80s. Among his many talents, he creates Knotwork designs. Kevin typically creates very complex, free form knots and then tools them into leather for his garb for the Society of Creative Anarchisms (SCA) of which he is a part.
Unlike the typical border work of a more standard, symmetrical knot, Kevin’s style is to create broad sweeps and then tiny inter-weavings to populate a design or free form shape. Creating knots of one, two and three strands, depending on the use of the knot and can become very complex because you are not using any formulas or pre-made patterns.
I had asked him to design a cross for me and he smiled. “I will design this knot and teach you how it is done so long as we call the amulet: “Joy”, for my friend” he told me. He had not seen her in years yet wanted to dedicate the design to her.
He drew it in one sitting: smiling the entire time. It is an eternal knot: one strand from beginning to end forming the cross with the circle of spirit in the center: the “Empty Cross” (He is Risen) design. Though Catholic: “she won’t mind” he told me; “Think of it as a compromise.” Kevin isn’t Christian!
And so I present to you a cross dedicated to friendship and Joy.