The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, or Chaplet of the Seven Dolours, is a devotion to Mary as the Sorrowful Mother that dates to the 13th century. It became quite popular in Europe during the ravages of the Black Plague.
There are several methods for praying this chaplet. This particular piece reflects my preferred approach to the devotion (and my aesthetic sense). It consists of seven segments of seven cobalt-blue glass beads, each separated by a faceted Czech glass pater bead and a Mexican sacred/immaculate heart milagro. The septets are connected with a repurposed chandelier crystal, and the pendant terminates with a detailed milagro-style focal heart charm (no antiphon beads).
These little nicho ornaments are made with reclaimed post-consumer tinplate that’s hand-cut, hammered, and shaped to encase tiny print reproductions of antique and vintage holy cards. I embellish them from my stash of vintage, antique, and/or reclaimed fabrics, metals, beads, and trims. This particular shrine features an image from a French holy card of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and is embellished with resin rhinestones and pearls, reclaimed vintage brass rosary chain, silk ribbon, a silver-tone heart pendant, pearlized glass beads, and satin roses.
This handmade ornament is intended to evoke the Blessed Mother’s elegance and grace but without removing all the rough edges and scuff marks that are part of this icon’s history and that characterize the fabric of her devotees’ genuine lived lives.
This one of a kind chaplet bracelet is handmade with 5mm sapphire-blue glass beads, an ornate crucifix with a bronze-toned antiqued patina imported from Italy, a silver milagro imported from Mexico, and a holy medal of St. Lucy handpainted in bright and durable enamels.
St. Lucy is petitioned for all kinds of things related to vision and light. She’s the patron saint of the blind and also of electricians, and her devotees call on her when they need to see more clearly, whether literally or figuratively.
By extension, she’s considered a protector against the evil eye, can be called on to help you or someone you care about avoid the pitfalls of envy, and can be invoked for safe travel (fishermen in the Mediterranean have long painted eyes on the prows of their boats to help them navigate safely, and while this practice predates Christianity, it became associated with St. Lucy in many regions after her cult became enormously popular and widespread).
St. Lucy is an ally whenever you need clear insight or clear vision, and many folks working on their divination or clairvoyance skills will call on her as a patron of psychic vision as well (she and St. Clare of Assisi make a nice team for this purpose).
Good old chicken feet curios, a probably-New-World invention – at least in the painted, decorated iterations…
… that people nevertheless like to claim have been used in all kinds of magical traditions all over the globe for *centuries,* for everything from love to money to hexing the crap out of your roommate for leaving the toilet seat up.
(They’re used for protection, for the most part, though some pro workers use them in cleansing and healing rites as well. Not love or money, though, not that I’ve seen any evidence of – sorry.)
I’ve been making chicken foot charms for over 20 years now, but this batch is special.
I usually make them with commercially available chicken feet that come from the same source as the chicken you buy at the grocery store wrapped in plastic.
These are different. These come from a source I know firsthand to be cruelty-free and devoted to humane practices. I know for a fact these chickens had as good a life as it is possible to have as a chicken bred for meat. They were not cooped up their entire lives. They got to feel grass under their feet and sunshine on their feathers. And I know they were slaughtered cleanly and quickly with great skill and compassion. They did not spend their final moments in terror with the sound of machinery filling their ears.
Matter of fact, they were *individually prayed over* during the process and individually thanked for the gift of their life that in turn sustains other life. This is no assembly line anything. These birds’ lives were not taken for granted. No joke, I kind of had to do an interview about what I use them for and what kind of spiritual economy they’d be circulating within before this all got finalized. You can’t lie to the chickens, you know, and tell them they’ll be honored and appreciated if they’re just going to end up on the trash heap.
I don’t know how much she wants me to say about her in a public place, but they were provided by a family member who works at a very small organic, farm-to-table operation in Louisiana. In addition to knowing her way around farm animals, she also happens to be one of the most deeply spiritual people I know, and I mean the type that gets into the messy bits of life and deals with the real stuff instead of just isolating herself in an ivory tower where she doesn’t have to see and think about dirt and pain and poverty and death in the world (though she does have the ivory tower education – in theology, no less).
In short, I couldn’t dream up a more competent person to have made this a truly spiritual practice with genuine gratitude and deep connection, messy bits and all.
And while I totally get that not everybody is comfortable with materia magica like this, for those who do participate in the carnivorous economies and want to use these quite traditional curios, this is the most ethical way I can even imagine to obtain these things. And I am really grateful to be able to source them from a place like this – from someone I know to be a person of real compassion who is powerful in prayer and deeply connected to the life around her and the land under her feet.
Obviously I can legally make no claims guaranteeing you any particular results from your use of this charm, but I gotta say at the very least, if I were a thief scouting for my next target and I saw a chicken foot charm on a house, vehicle, or person, I would probably pick a different house, vehicle, or person to target instead of that one.
And yes, Louisiana folks, I can do the hot pink ones. I don’t imagine most folks are gonna get to Courir de Mardi Gras in 2021 with all this COVID craziness, but you can have your own little brightly-painted piece of Mardi Gras, complete with beads, trinkets, even a doubloon if you request a Mardi-Gras themed chicken foot, [*] to keep your spirits up until the day comes when we can all go back out there, swill beer, dress like very cheerful killer clowns, fling things at each other’s heads — sometimes on horseback — and have a grand old time scarfing boudin or funnel cake, depending on where you’re from, hanging out in the streets getting dirty and loud.
[*] And before anybody asks, no, it does not come with a Moon Pie.