Heart Chakra Shawl Stick
Hand Made Fair Trade in Indonesia
Stick 4.25 inches
weight .4 oz
My design-partner, Agus, is Balinese and Hindu. This collection represents his visualization of the chakras as ornaments that can be used as knitwear jewelry. Agus and I are excited to launch this collection with the Heart Chakra, which is associated with unconditional love, compassion, and joy.
This visualization of the chakras follows in a long, tantric tradition of representation in which each of the different chakras has come to have a specific visual form that gets mapped onto the body in paintings, carvings, and ornaments. Agus’ representations of these chakras, which focuses on the number of points that is emphasized in Balinese representations of the chakras (rather than colors) comes out of his internalization of a Balinese visual vocabulary, as well as his own practice of Hinduism, in which awareness of the chakras is implicit.
Before bringing the first of these chakra shawl pins into production, Agus consulted with local ritual specialists and confirmed that this use of the concept and representation is ‘safe’ from a spiritual standpoint and does not violate local codes for conduct or offend local religious sensibilities.
While doing my PhD fieldwork in Indonesia, I studied Balinese Hindu cosmology based on esoteric palm-leaf texts about the relationship between the universe and the human body, conceptualized as analogous ‘worlds’ of different scales. These texts included anatomies, recipes for love magic, tantric meditation maps that charted the locations of the Hindu gods within the human body and the methods by which to mobilize the chakras. In addition to this textual work, I attended and studied Hindu life-crisis ceremonies including weddings, tooth-filings, and mortuary rituals and studied the contents of ritual offerings.
In all of these examples of Balinese Hindu practice and ideology, the chakras appear. This collection pays homage to these beautiful ideas about the relationship between the human body and the universe. Many visitors to Bali describe the physical beauty of its landscapes, art forms, and people. For me, the most beautiful aspects of Bali are invisible - they are these ideas about the complex interactions and exchanges between our bodies and the cosmos over the course of a life.
There are poignant and highly timely lessons for us to learn about ourselves in relation to the environment from these Hindu Balinese teachings that have led me to reflect on some ways we can make a positive difference as makers in the work of protecting our planet and our children's futures. Agus and I will be bringing this collection out one Chakra at a time over the next months. As we do, I would like to use this collection as an opportunity to share some of these teachings.
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