Monday, January 25, 2016

... a devil in the trees, Oh My!...

“The devil's most devilish when respectable.”
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The truth is I do not believe in the devil. I suppose as a Catholic I believe in demons but I haven't had to face any that weren't created by man. With so many complaining about the recent blizzard, I have to be grateful that we were safe, healthy, and pretty much happy. When we were shoveling, one of my neighbors mentioned that he was bored. Huh! I can think of a zillion things to do on snow days. Today I did some course prep and answered work emails. I shoveled and I also walked to get the mail which was a bit challenging. 

While I still have Christmas on my mind, I'm already planning for next year's season but I'll get to that in a moment.

Today is the Jewish holiday Tu BiShvat, also called "The New Year of the Trees.” While it is considered a minor Jewish holiday and I’m not at all Jewish, I have a profound respect for holidays and I love trees!   But this post is not about the holiday. It just so happens that today I have trees on my mind albeit in a materialistic way. 

But before I leave my discussion of the holiday, I want to note that in the Middle Ages, the New Year of the Trees was celebrated with a feast of fruits. By the 16th century, Tu BiShvat seder was established in which the fruits and trees of the Land of Israel were given symbolic meaning. The idea behind this was that that eating specific fruits and drinking “four cups” of wine (whoa, easy now! I hope they mean 4 oz.!) in a particular order while reciting a particular prayer would bring humans and nature closer to spiritual perfection. That’s kind of beautiful if you think about it. 

When I walked out to pick up my mail, the brooch that I ordered from the Czech Republic arrived. The brooch is described on the Etsy page as a cute brooch of a devil made in Gablonz around the 1970s according to original patterns from 1930s. The glass stones are hand-soldered with the legs and tongue completely movable. He’s completely adorable!

This little devil is going to be used in an amazing Kay Adams design for next year’s Krampus! (I know! I have a tendency to plan ahead.) Pictured above I have the new brooch sitting alongside the Weiss Christmas tree pendant that I purchased last year. It's another old piece that is new to me. 

My inspiration piece was Kay Adams’,
my favorite jewelry necromancer in Richmond, tree necklace. Swoon!

Now that I've written this post I realize that some may take it as completely sacrilegious.  I absolutely mean no disrespect by the juxtaposition of the holiday and my brooch. I simply love the idea of having a holiday where we connect with nature (outside of Arbor Day which is more about planting and caring for trees) AND this little devil reminds me of all the fun of Krampus events. I imagine my future necklace will have him frolicking in the woods (of a necklace, that is). So Yay to holidays focusing on our spiritual connection with nature; and, Yay to fun baubles. And, Boo to all the power and credit that some give to the ultimate scapegoat.


  1. Your new little Krampus guy is adorable! (You already know that I think that Kay is a genius.) Sacreligious? Not in the least. It shows a lot of respect to consider holidays and traditions in this perspective, and I totally get it.

    1. Thanks. But you know, folks can get offended over the most well-meaning statements and sometimes reading something on the internet doesn't come across clearly.

  2. That Krampus is fabulous!

  3. With that little guy in the mix, I'm sure the necklace you end up with is going to be spectacular!

  4. Yes, it is lovely having a holiday about trees, fruit, spiritualism and closeness to nature!

    Ha ha the Krampus/ devil is so cute! Definitely not offended! Given that the devil is just a demonisation of a nature god anyway, it kind of suits the post!

    1. My intention was to focus on Krampus but some will only see a devil and toss me right to hell ;p

  5. Your jewelry posts always makes me smile - and that multiple yule tree necklace is amazing!
    There is finally something on it's way to you in the snail mail now - I hope you like it :)

  6. I love the idea of a feast for tress too! And that devil brooch is adorable.