This weekend I am celebrating my 30th year!
The story of the beginning of Amulets by Merlin actually takes place over a decade earlier. I have been interested in the making of jewelry and sculpture for most of my life. In the early days of High school (1971 I was in a Madrigal group, singing A cappella with a small host of other students. I wanted to make something for the girls to go with their formal gowns. For a few years before I have been beading and creating beads and charms for my own amusement as well as sculpting in clay. For the Madrigal group I decided to forge ahead and fuse bent wire in the shape of the word: “Mads” to be hung on chains. The girls loved them and thus I began a journey in discovering their fabrication end of jewelry making.
As life does for so many of us, I found myself getting married and taking on jobs such as construction and later working as a draftsman, truck driver and other forms of employment. I continued to focus on the arts in sculpture and painting, but still attempted to make rings, and necklaces.
In 1985 I refocused my efforts to to transform images of the Tarot into small sculptures. Because of this fascination I attended (a year later) an exhibition of La Lioue jewelry. I was inspired and in mid April of 1986, I took out my first business license and began to form my own line of jewelry. I then began my public presence in a shop called “The Crystal Cave” in Costa Mesa, California with the blessings of Karen Tate. Slowly I built up my tools and shop.
After a severe accident, I found myself no longer able to drive a truck and so focused on jewelry design full time in 1990, the next year I received training at the Gemological Institute in California. My first big festival was Marshal Scotties Renaissance Fair in Southern California. After several festivals on the west coast I moved to Virginia. By 1992 I completed the jewelry line for the Tarot, also developed a lot more featuring God and Goddess images, natural themes such as trees and flowers. I had also taken on a number of custom pieces. By the time the digital age came into being, better photographs were available to me and by 1998 I started my first online presence, all the while attending art festivals, gatherings and other events up and down the East coast.
After decades of being on the road, I have now focused more on custom designs and staying in my shop as much as possible. You may still view my work at the Mystic Moon in Norfolk Virginia or on line at Amuletsbymerlin.com.
It has been a very long and strange road, indeed. In a couple of weeks I plan to release a new piece! Watch for it, it’s a big one!
A bee rests on a musical notation: the Flat. This carving of a bee poised on the flat sign may be worn as a pendant: the jump ring is hung from her antennae.
The Flat Symbol is used in musical notation to indicate the note being played is to “go down” (in tone) one half step. In a key signature, a single B Flat is the key of “F” or “D” minor.
I have a hive in my yard and have been fascinated by the Bees tending our gardens over the past couple of years. This is my First “Bee Jewelry” offering.
One inch tall, available in Silver or Bronze.
This musical amulet was originally designed as a gift I created for my piano students and the dear ones in my family for Yule.
After waiting a few months I have decided to offer this piece as a part of my musical line of jewelry.
To get yours, please visit my Bee Flat Amulet page,
More musical notation jewelry may be found on my Music Jewelry Page.
You may recall I have been making Isaac Bonewits designs in my jewelry line for some time. I have recently developed his classic Druid Awen as a Brooch.
The Awen Isaac created is more than the simple dot and stave seen in the old writings: this is a wreath of oak leaves with the Mesopagan Druid symbol of the “three rays of light” emanating from three acorns and staves (like wood) completing the design.
I have augmented the piece by making it a functional Penannular Brooch. the Brooch Frame is of knot work of my own making with a pin mounted and able to “travel” around the frame.
To learn how to use a Penannular Brooch and learn more about this new piece, please visit my page The Awen Penannular Brooch.
To see more of my designs of Isaac Bonewits, please view my Bonewits Collection.
Shortly after I founded Amulets by Merlin in the 1980s, I was commissioned with a project: to develop a piece combining the two basic images used in the Sun and Star cards of Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot Deck. In the Sun card the main focus is the Sunflower: a common symbol harnessed in many other Tarot Decks, but this one was special: twelve segments, each divided into two aspects. This represents the houses of the Zodiac divided into their active and passive principals. In Crowley’s deck he also used the seven pointed star to symbolize the the Star Card: associated with Tazaddi (a Hebrew letter) often considered in Qabalah as “the fish Hook”, meaning the process of meditation is akin to lowering a “mental fish hook” plunged into the depths of the Great Unconsciousness (Akesha).
Combining the aspects of these two ideas produces the simultaneous process of seeing all of creation in all of it’s glory and yet being “passive” enough to understand it’s subtleties.
The dear Lady suggested I place this in my line of jewelry so the virtues of the piece may spread to others. This I have done and so I present to you one of my first commissions and amulets in my line:
The Sunflower Amulet
Te learn more please visit the web page featuring the Sunflower Amulet
Other Amulets may be seen at the
created and developed
by Kirk McLaren
of Amulets by Merlin
Oshun in the Yoruba, Efa and Santería religions, is an Orisha (not quite a “goddess”, however in the case of those who are not of these Faiths it is a close approximation) reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She may also be found in Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, with the name spelled Oxum. She is beneficent, generous and very kind. She does, however, have a temper which she seldom loses but which can cause havoc! In one of the stories about her, Oshun is said to have gone to a drum festival and fallen in love with Shango, and has been married to him ever since.
The Study of the Orisha is very complex and deeply rooted in the cultures from where they spring. If one is to trace it’s lore, you will find a path that leads over five thousand years into the heart of Africa and transcends time itself. I would encourage anyone who is interested in this subject to take the time for farther research.
I have some very close friends who have devoted themselves in these traditions and found a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and insight into the human condition. One of the jewels of my life is the introduction the the lovely and charming Oshun. On a visit to Florida some years ago I found myself strolling in an orchid garden and talking to a Dear One about Oshun and found myself gazing into one of the most exquisite flowers I had ever seen.
My friend pointed it out and said “the Orchid’s beauty is much like Oshun Herself: the flower’s beauty, fragrance and form holds a wounder that inspires a spark deep within you; it is that connection to Glory that invokes Her.” Love itself cannot be found: it must be inspired and generated within you, through that beholding one finds a path to Spirit.
In the Oshun Amulet, I attempted to capture the moment with a quiet face hidden a cluster of orchids, adorned with a small opal set beneath her. This would be for those who wish to invoke love and beauty in their lives.
The Oak Tree in Celtic lore
represents the door way between to another place,
a grove is a potential sanctuary between the worlds.
Pentacles represent powers brought into balance
and guided by the spirit.
In the design of the Oak Pentacle
I used a simple,
direct representation of oak leaf and branch
without a lot of other symbols.
In this way I have kept the piece open and free of restraint.
The personalization of the amulet
comes with the selection of stone:
set into a cluster of leaves.
Selecting the kind of stone
(color and type)
lends one the ability to “claim” the design
while maintaining the intent of the piece.
Oak Pentacle with Stone Amulet
Like some of my other other pieces,
I made the setting as a part of the design,
not a typical die struck setting of prongs and bezel:
leaves fold around the stone both securing it to the amulet
and protecting the stone from possible damage of a direct hit.
I developed these while designing on opal settings,
then expanded these protective enclosures to other designs.
Combining the focus
protection of the stone
and the Strength of the Gateway,
the Oak Pentacle provides you with a tool
of exploration of one’s self and the world.
This amulet is for these unafraid of the journey
of one’s life and the Truth that awaits.
To view the Oak Pentacle Amulet with Stone, please visit my website.
Merlin’s Balanced Star Amulet
Two woven stars interlocked: the six point star:
a composite symbol of the elements:
triangles with point up and down illustrating the alchemic glyphs of Fire Water Air and Earth;
and the five point star of the Adam Kadmon:
the first Man (hermaphrodite)
or “Father Time”;
Humanity in its primal,
perhaps perfected state of existence.
Together these two images represent the balance of forces:
Male (active) and Female (passive).
This is not to say that “all men are active and all women are passive”,
not at all.
In the material world,
we all contain these kinds of energies,
qualities and potential.
The terms are considered “classic” in the sense
of how our cultures have perceived the world
and provided descriptions of what has been observed.
Within the glyph,
I have provided the blending of the two in hope
to develop a “more realistic” manifestation of what is actually there.
In another sense
it is the material world
(six point star with all of its elements)
and the five point star
(what we decide to do with it,
the ability of proactive choice
(the five point star).
The amulet may be a reminder of how we affect the world,
the power of intent,
the purpose of our actions and their result.
A reminder that our “purpose” in the world
is what we decide it is rather than what is dictated by outside forces.
The symbol is intended to transcend the preconceived illusions
of separate religious,
and philosophical differences
and blend awareness of things into a single symbol.
The symbols are woven together:
just as the earth is a weaving together of awareness,
perspective and ability.
The Balanced Star Amulet
is intended to anyone to wear,
everyone who wishes to embrace divergence of ideas
and capability and bring balance to a troubled world.
Other Amulets may be seen at the
created and developed
by Kirk McLaren
of Amulets by Merlin