Wednesday, March 2nd
New Moon in Pisces at 9:35 am PST
March Dark Moon
by Jess Schnabel Horkey
Welcome to the New Moon in Pisces, or as I and many others call it, the Dark Moon of March 2022. The Dark Moon is when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are in syzygy, which means they are in alignment, keeping the Moon from our view. There is no visible trace of it in the sky, though it is still there. On the East Coast of the United States where I live, we are approaching the spring equinox, a time when we are thawing from winter, and starting to feel the hope Persephone’s return from the Underworld brings. This liminal time between the coldest days of winter and spring is shrouded in a darkness of many kinds, and tinged with melancholia—many of us may be feeling currents of unnamable grief. As we pass the second anniversary of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, this grief may be precisely nameable, and to those of you still reeling from the loss of a loved one, I send my love and kinship.
In American and much of Western culture, grief has never been something we have had healthy customs for. In my experience, it has often felt like a solitary journey, a labyrinth we walk in alone, cautiously avoiding the Minotaur in the center lest it devours us in the abyss of its maw. We shoulder against death, against the grief of other losses: pets, friendships, romantic partners, how we view ourselves, our abilities, jobs, and other kinds of stability... grief is a spectrum and it can feel like a wound that never quite closes, sharp on some days, smoother on others, like a piece of sea glass riding the waves in your heart.
When I began my work, it was because I needed to feel comfort through objects, during the beginning of my own long journey with grief. I’m a tactile person and wanted to feel the weight and presence of jewelry on my body, I wanted to be able to touch and hold things I made when I was feeling overwhelmed by sadness and needed to center myself. These objects became talismans to me, allies in my grief. They were specifically tasked to assist and comfort me while I was lost in the labyrinth, when I felt ill-equipped to cope with the world outside the safety of my home, even my bed some days. They helped me in more ways than I thought possible and continue to do so.
In my ongoing work, I design and imbue jewelry with talismanic qualities generally pointed but not limited to grief work, through a cultivated library of personal and historical symbols that I’ve tethered to my jewelry. The concept of a “talisman” is ancient; objects have been used throughout time in a specialized way for a variety of magical means suited to their creators and users: for protection, for financial gain, for romantic luck, for use in the afterlife, for use during ritual, and so on.
I find that forging a relationship with a talisman, as one would with any other important living thing that helps or cares for you, can bring an immense amount of comfort, protection, and assistance to your life. This Dark Moon, consider making or consecrating a personal talisman for comfort during this collective time of grief, for personal grieving, or for any other specific goal of your own choosing.
Jess Schnabel Horkey is the owner and designer of Blood Milk; jewelry that is created with the intention to be talismanic vessels and balms to grief. She is also a writer and is slowly working on a book of essays that is structured as a cabinet of wonders. To learn more about her work, please visit bloodmilkjewels.com or visit her digital portal on IG: @bloodmilk.