Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ll be using manicules (those pointing finger symbols) to direct your attention to something I’m pondering that delights or interests me. Each entry is somehow related to an unusual, obscure, or simply charming to me word.
H is for…
handsel – a gift or token for good luck or as an expression of good wishes, as at the beginning of the new year or when entering upon a new situation or enterprise. First known usage 14th century.
Etymology: Middle English (denoting luck): apparently related to late Old English handselen ‘giving into a person’s hands’, and Old Norse handsal ‘giving of the hand to seal a promise’, from hand + an element related to sell; the notion of ‘luck’, however, is not present in these words.
I really love this idea. While it may be a common, and likely somehow expected practice to give gifts at certain life points – house warming, moving into a new career, etc. – this has an entirely different feel to me, and is totally right up my alley.
Amulets, talismans and touchstones, often in the form of jewelry or altar pieces, are very much a part of my everyday life and my self-care. I’m a very visual tactile kind of person. I love wearing blessings; I love creating physical-object reminders to place on my altars; I love infusing creations with intention. I love the connecting to Spirit; I love the creating; I love weaving blessings into objects that ask us to remember. and then being present to those reminders.
I really do like to wear blessings/prayers/intentions. I think of it as active invitation in motion. I often make scroll beads, rolling up the blessing and tying it somehow. Sometimes I write the prayer/blessing on a triangular slip of paper and then roll it up, sealing it with lacquer. Sometimes I slip a scroll into a lampworked bead and wear it that way.
Here’s an example: using this beautiful purchased lampwork bead which has a relatively large hole that can accommodate a tiny scroll on which I’ve written both words and symbols. I’ve added one of my own herbal beads, both for the added scent and because it contains herbs and flowers that support the energy of my invitation.
I absolutely hold true these words from Hafiz :
“What we speak becomes the house we live in.”
I’m happy to interpret this as an invitation to wearing soul language on my personal body/soul house as well.
I’m never without an arm full of bangles on which are engraved with snippets of poetry that meaningful to me. You can see them on one of my apothecary chests below. I truly only remove them on occasion to polish them.
Here’s a peek at some of pieces I have hanging off one of the mirrors in one of my rooms.
One practice I’ve been working with for years that I find quite helpful is listening for some quote, some fragment of poetry, some lines of wisdom that really call to me for deep contemplation and consideration. I spend days, sometimes weeks listening and really delving in. And then I create a piece of art or a talisman or something tangible as a reflection of that contemplation – a touchstone of where my soul has led me.
I really love the practice as it feels both like a deep listening and then a co-creative effort – dancing with the energy I’ve been immersed in and finding an expression for it.
And I genuinely love the idea of giving each other handsels as best wishes and blessings at the beginning of new undertakings. Doesn’t that feel expansive and marvelous?
I’m committed to creating and living in a world where beautiful little amulets and touchstones help remind us of all the magic and light and wonderfulness we each carry.
What about you? Do you find the idea of handsels as lovely and powerful as I do? Have a touchstone you love? Have special messages written somewhere only you know about? Do tell – you know I love to hear.