The sound of the ocean soothes most people. Actually any movement of water seems to be a natural neutralizer of all stress and chaos within. People have had a love affair with water since life began. Why? We are basically made up of mostly water and we spend our beginnings in the womb emerged within a water of sorts. Although we don’t all feel safe in water, most of us feel a sense of well-being to be near it. And the waters of the world hold many treasures that we have only begun to discover. When we hold something or wear something that was born of water we naturally feel a wholeness or connection with it. This is one of the many reasons that Pearls, Abalone, White Shell, Wampum, and much more have been highly thought of and cherished for thousands of years in many different cultures.
There are almost as many stories of these riches from the deep as there are cultures. Chinese dragons were water creatures and legend has it that pearls may have been the tears of the gods falling from the heavens when dragons fought and died. And yet other cultures have said that pearls were “dragon tears” of the dragons that were left behind when man began to kill them. Pearls then became known for relieving sadness and grief, especially from losing a loved one. And abalone shell pieces tumbled by the ocean and washed up to shore were thought to be dragon scales and small tumbled pieces are still called that today. Since dragons have long been known to be strong protectors, and magical creatures, pearls and abalone have been traditionally known to be worn for protection and magic. White shell was worn by many Native American peoples to honor and remember White Shell Woman who is important to the creation story and was the wife of water. Aboriginal tribes believed, and some still do, that spiritual power can be gained by carrying certain shells. Also the people of Hawaii believe that Mana, or a person’s soul is deep within a person’s bones. Since shells, as bones, protect the Mana of the creatures of the deep, this community purports that shells represent protection for the soul. Wampum, a type of shell, was used as a form of money by Native tribes as it was a symbol of richness and honor. The longer a strand of Wampum, the more it was worth. Many times Wampum was beaded together with white shell beads made from Whelk shell. White shell had a spiritual meaning and was a symbol of truth and purity. Many tribes didn’t even have a word that meant lie until they learned what a lie was from the white man. More Wampum meant more stature and higher stature meant more wealth and higher wisdom.
The Pearl has long been known to be associated with the moon. It represents the ebb and flow of life and change within life. Just as the moon affects the tides so too does the Pearl affect the bearer in making beautiful change possible. It has been known to enhance personal integrity and provides a reflection of the self or reflection of the soul so that one may know themselves on a deeper spiritual level. It has long been used to increase fertility and ease childbirth. The Pearl also helps the one wearing it to connect to the Goddess and ultimate feminine energy. They are very calming and it is said that to hold a pearl will make one want to gently rock from side to side like being tumbled by gentle waves. The Pearl resonates with the solar plexus and heart chakras and can help bring harmony to relationships. Abalone shell can also make one feel a sense of security. It has gentle blue, white and green ripples of color that look like the waves of the ocean. It has also been used to increase intuition and imagination. Mother of Pearl is the white part of the Abalone shell, and Paua shell is the blue part. It is called Mother of Pearl as it is the shell or protector of the Pearl. The Mother of Pearl is often given to loved ones, especially Mothers as it represents connection to family. Young women within some Apache tribes wear Abalone for coming of age ceremony as it is the next step to becoming mothers. In China, the Pearl is worn for immortality, (dragons are immortal as they do not die natural age deaths but can be killed by man), enlightenment, and wisdom. All shells have been traditionally used for help with skeletal health, dysfunctions of the spinal column, joint disorders, calcium deficiencies, and also helps with hearing disorders.
A Pearl is made from a secretion of an oyster or mollusk that is produced to protect it from foreign objects. When a small grain of sand finds it way into an oyster or mollusk it is an irritant and the creature begins to produce nacre which is a shiny, shimmering substance that begins as a type of organic glue around the sand. This is the same beautiful substance that creates the inner shiny colors of shells. As the creature keeps coating this over and over a pearl is formed by the multitude of layers. With an irritant being the catalyst for the eventual beauty, Pearls have also been known to hold the energy of cleansing as the moon cleanses, gently dislodging “irritants” from our lives. Pearls can take between seven and eight years to develop. There are many types of Pearls including; natural-made without the help of man, cultured-made when a foreign substance is intentionally put into an oyster or mollusk, baroque-pearls with irregular shapes, blister pearls-pearls that grow attached to the shell of the creature, and freshwater-pearls which form in fresh water and resemble puffy rice.
Finally, it is important to mention that whatever one is drawn to is what one may need. Many people come into the shop looking for “birthstones”. There is nothing wrong with this and tradition is nice sometimes. But keep in mind that birthstones were “picked” out by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 and they really had no basis for their “picks”. They were just that, picks. And traditionally Pearls have been given on the 1st, 3rd, 12th, and 30th anniversaries. Again, tradition is nice but there is no substitution for choosing what your intuition says you or a loved one need. Listen to your intuition, it will never lead you wrong. Get something for yourself today that leads you back to your beginnings.