symbolic language

zodiac symbols

The other night, a friend, who is also an astrologer, made a comment that stuck with me. It wasn’t some deep, profound prediction. It was just her observation that “astrology is a symbolic language.”

Astrology is not a language that makes sense to me – yet. I am reading and learning more about it. The Enneagram makes more sense, simply because the descriptions of Nines hit home in a way that my zodiac sign never has. But just because I can’t see it – yet – doesn’t mean it isn’t real. A poem can have layers of depth and meaning, even if the reader just shrugs and tosses it aside. One day, the same reader might open the book again, or hear the poem read aloud, and suddenly get it. Not with their thinking mind, but with their heart, or their gut. There are many ways of knowing.

symbolic language of love using zodiac symbols. bronze necklace.
Isn’t it odd that hearts, our culture’s dominate symbol for love, is worn almost exclusively by women? That’s why I make zodiac necklaces for couples: to symbolize love in a way that is personalized and free of gender stigma.

Part of the problem, as any astrologer will tell you, is that the pop culture version of astrology seen in daily horoscopes is just a tiny part of the picture. A person’s sun sign doesn’t dictate everything about them – there is a whole chart of ascending planets and houses and I don’t know what all else to consider.

Our culture doesn’t really respect symbolic language. We seem to want to take everything symbolic, ethereal or ineffable and turn it into a rule. Something solid, predictable and orderly. A one-line promise of how our day will go: love, money, etc. Just the highlights. And when this dumbed-down version is wrong, we dismiss the whole thing. I see this in the Enneagram stuff I see online, and it makes me sad, particularly when it comes to the heart.

The heart is a symbol of love, sure. In the Enneagram, it is also a symbol of emotion in general. Humans are emotional creatures. We need to understand that reality, and respect it. But instead, I hear and see “rational” arguments as to why the heart is important – it has a bigger magnetic field than a brain! And the gut has so many nerve endings, it has to be important, too!

Have you tried living without a heart, or a body for that matter? Obviously, the brain is not the only thing that matters. Rationalizations like these drive me insane. In the head, which is my dominant way of perceiving the world (even though I’m a 9, a body/gut type). Did you know, Aquarius is an air sign? That somehow makes sense to me. Air represents intellect. And I know from experience that relying too heavily on my intellect doesn’t turn out well.

I need the input from my heart and gut, even if those are just symbols for parts of reality. We are not going to become a more loving and embodied species if we keep insisting everything – even symbols for emotions and instincts – measure up against the “important” qualities of the brain.

nature has symbolic language too
I love nature. And if that heart on the cactus is a symbol, then I say nature loves me back.

This year, I’m going to look more deeply into astrology, and Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda, and poetry – at everything that looks at the relationship between things as a dynamic process. This includes the Enneagram (and yoga!) but not in the pop culture version of it, where there is a simple formula for each type to follow, or in the case of yoga, one handstand to rule the world.

Nothing is that simple. There’s just messy life, and it is full of symbols and messages, whether you appreciate them, ignore them, or misunderstand them entirely. Why not have fun with the mysterious web of if all, instead of trying to reduce it down into something that “makes sense?” That’s my plan, at least. I’ll let you know when I have anything worthwhile to share from my zodiac/Enneagram studies. After all, a symbolic language is only useful if it is shared.

Nine ways of believing I am enough

i am enough

I am enough: three little words that have great power. But how can you believe it when you coulda, woulda, shoulda? In the end, that’s up to you. But here are nine ways of believing I am enough to get you started.

First, it helps to recognize we all have our own way of defining “enough.” The Enneagram helped me identify my own specific way of feeling like I wasn’t enough, and to notice how my way is both similar and different than other people’s version of not enough.

I’ve had “i am enough” necklaces in my Etsy shop for maybe eight years (?) now. It remains one of my favorite affirmations because it is true on so many levels. Below are nine ways of believing I am enough, based on the Enneagram triads.

nine ways of believing i am enough silver necklace
I am enough, in my head, my heart and my body.

I am enough for Enneagram Heart Types (2 3 4)

2: People will always need more than I can possibly give – yet I am enough.

3: Win or lose, profit or loss, happy or sad – my circumstances do not define me. I am enough.

4: Emotions can feel overwhelming at times, yet I’m not “too sensitive” or “too dramatic” – I am enough.

I am enough for Enneagram Head Types (5 6 7)

5: There will always be more to learn- yet I am capable now. I am enough.

6: I see all the ways things could go wrong, yet trust I’ll handle whatever comes. I am enough.

7: I’m not missing out. I’m happy and I am enough, right here and now.

I am enough for Enneagram Body Types (8 9 1)

8: There’s nothing to defend against. I am enough as I am.

9: I can see everyone’s point of view and still maintain my own sense of self. I am enough.

1: The world’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, perfection is impossible – and yet, I am enough.

Is I am enough not your style?

I get it. Maybe it is just my Eight wing talking, but some days I feel the need for something with a little more punch. That’s why I have my FYeahJewelry Etsy shop – to house messages like these:

just fucking be kind necklace
Be kind, be kind, be kind.

The message is the same. I am enough, you are enough, we are all enough. So let’s be kind to each other. It feels a lot better than the alternatives.

do crystals have healing properties?

My answer to the question of whether crystals have healing properties is short: maybe.

I’m not saying there aren’t people who can feel a different vibration from different crystals – I’m just not one of them.

We live in a world where trained dogs sniff a person’s breath to diagnose cancer, and monarch butterflies manage to find the one milkweed plant in an entire neighborhood on which to lay their eggs. There is all kinds of information – chemical signals, radiation wavelengths, etc. – that pass right through us, every second of every day. Not noticing them doesn’t make them not real.

Given all that, its likely I really am missing something when it comes to the healing qualities of rocks and crystals. For awhile, I tried to fill this gap by learning about the metaphysical properties of the gemstones I use to make my jewelry. But here’s the thing:

I just don’t care.

I like what I like (in jewelry, at least) simply because I like it. It is an instinctual or sensual thing. That doesn’t make it wrong to choose jewelry for intellectual reasons. I just don’t (maybe because I’m a 9w8 on the Enneagram). And since I can’t actually discern whether rose quartz (which is almost always dyed pink, regardless of the claims) holds a different vibration than rock quartz or tourmalinated quartz, I’m uneasy about passing along information about how a rock can change your life.

To me, it feels like a game of telephone. The message we want to hear might not have any actual relationship to the information source. It has been passed through too many dealers, advertisers, wholesalers and retailers. In short, there is just as much pressure to move product in the “holistic” or “spiritual” realm as there is in any other marketplace.

I’d rather stick to what’s real to me: the color, the shape, the words.

Your affinity for a color or message or design is what makes it special – not the other way around. If you want to wear red to call attention to your root chakra, great – but it is your intention that has magic. All the rocks in the shop can’t do a thing for you if you are moving unconsciously through the world.

copper pendants with gemstones crystals healing properties
The words on these pendants are far more healing to me than the gemstones (turquoise, agate, kyanite, jasper & quartz) they are adorned with.

The question “do crystals have healing properties?” is interesting, but it might not be the most useful one. After all, everything we come in contact with has the ability to be healing or distressing. It is all a matter of degree. Some better questions might be:

Does it matter whether or not this crystal/rock/etc. has healing properties?

Would I want to wear it if it didn’t?

And if it does, is it the most effective way for me to get the healing I’m seeking?

I sincerely hope that the jewelry I make is meaningful to the people who give it, receive it, and wear it. However, healing intentions are not something you buy – they’re something you live, whether you love crystals or hate them.