Dedicating jewelry to specific gods or goddesses and wearing it to honor them is something that many heathens and pagans do. Most heathens have a Thorshammer pendant, although for some of us it is not so much for Thor as it is just to identify as heathen. When I want to dedicate something to a god, I usually try to make it myself or repurpose something I already have, to use both less money and fewer of the Earth's resources (green living and frugal living usually run together.)
Approaching my 2 year anniversary with Odin on June 28th, 2016, I asked my ninefold god-husband what he would like for our anniversary. It was Lodhur who spoke. “Acknowledge me more.”
In my previous post about Old English béag, "ring, arm-ring, neck-ring, torc, crown," I was utterly remiss not to have mentioned what is perhaps the word's most obvious link with modern witchcraft.
The fairly obscure Gardnerian term bigghes refers to the High Priestess' parure, i.e. her matched set of jewelry: wristlets, necklace, crown. (Parure. Good old English: we really do have a word for everything. And if we don't, we just pick one up from someone else. Small wonder it's the sacred language of the witches.) The kinship with the Old English word is obvious.
Survival or revival? Wicca being a child of the 20th century, the latter seems indicated here. What it does show is that those early witches were doing their research.
Anyone who has ever tried to plow through Beowulf in the original Old English knows the word béag: “ring, circle.” It seems to occur on practically every page, so important was it to Anglo-Saxon culture.
The béag was the most important form of jewelry: not so much a ring for the finger, as an arm-ring, a neck-ring, a torc, a crown. Conferring wealth and status, it was also a basic form of currency. One's lord was preeminently a béag-gifa, a “ring-giver”: the lord as generous giver of gifts to his dright. Think of the Horned Drighten, his antlers hung with neck-rings.
The stang as icon has been around the Old Craft neck of the woods for decades (if not centuries) now, but the first (to the best of my knowledge, at any rate) to translate it into jewelry is silversmith Aidan Wachter of Tennessee. As even the most cursory glance at his on-line atelier Tveir Hrafnar (that's “Two Ravens,” for those of you who didn't happen to grow up speaking Old Norse) shows, his jewelry and sigils are characterized by bold, minimalist design and precision detailing.
Aidan, how did you come to silver-smithing?
I lucked into meeting and becoming good friends with symbolic jeweler Mark Defrates when I moved to New Orleans in the early 90’s. At one point he needed help in his shop and that is where I first learned the craft.