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Shells Bells, Aphrodisiacs and Some Rocks

20 Nov

Aphrodite_Anadyomene_Louvre_CA2288There are beaches and then there are beaches…today’s vision of a beach is the type which features sand as the main star and naturally as best supporting actor…stones. Stones and shells.  I’ve not been to a beach in ages.

Luckily a bag of shells, as supplied by Em, in addition to a potter around the local neighbourhood with my aforementioned intrepid guide, to find the best hangouts for stones means that I can recreate a part of a classic beach scene from my very own adopted living room.

The scallop shell is my favourite ex body part of a marine creature.  In myth it is synonymous as the vehicle of choice for Aphrodite when she decided to beach herself on mainland Earth.  But shellving my beach motif for a minute, to include a bit of old school folk-lore musing and divining something about Greek mythology; Aphrodite also has such diverse symbols as: goats, rose quartz, Venus, the ocean, artichokes and the colours of violet and silver.  The word Aphrodite is derived from the Greek word for foam, which gives rise to foam arisen, the only way for a classy shell to travel.

Many cultures derive different things from the sea shell, in India they are a symbol of fertility, in China they represent good fortune, especially in the after life and in Christianity they represent baptism.  For me they represent nostalgic days on the English East coast, with its tasteless brightly coloured wind breaks and interestingly coloured sea.

Akkulam_shanku

Huge seashell sculpture Akkulam, Trivandum, India.

I did mention rocks in the title and the closest I can get to a God of rocks is Bethel, a middle eastern God of mysterious origins who was associated with the veneration of sacred stones.  Although references to a Biblical town on the West Bank are also in the mix for the name Bethel, I decided to explore further and as usual a quick dive into etymology reveals that Beth-el means House of God, Beth is also the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and was borrowed by the Greeks for the letter Beta, interestingly.

The point of which he finally gets around to – if there even was a point other than the enjoyment of exploring antiquity – after a rabbit trail around the wondrous (and fun) world of learning, is time.  Rocks and shells speak to me of time, antiquity, eons and ages, the witnesses of so much, or so little depending on your point of view.  So holding such geological and natural marvels of history in my hands, turning them over and feeling their textures seems to give a physical meaning and presence to my thoughts for today that perhaps transcends the usual depths of my mind’s wanderings.

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25 Comments

Posted by on 20/11/2013 in History, Life, My Writings

 

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25 responses to “Shells Bells, Aphrodisiacs and Some Rocks

  1. colemining

    20/11/2013 at 10:04

    Ste J- great connections between the gods and those things that evoke continuity and time. I have rocks and shells- collected over the years- that I have preserved as things of beauty or particular remembrance. Hardly surprising that such things become associated with divinity.
    Great post!

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    • Ste J

      20/11/2013 at 10:07

      I think that natural and old feeling of shells and rocks, resonate with us as beings that have a fleeting existence. I do love to connect things and the Gods baggsied all the best things. Beautiful things are great, except when it comes to dusting!

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      • colemining

        20/11/2013 at 10:10

        SO true! Not as big a fan when it’s cleaning day, that’s for sure!

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        • Ste J

          20/11/2013 at 10:12

          That’s why I am a happy collector and occasional cleaner of books, although the dust does add some character to it.

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          • colemining

            20/11/2013 at 10:14

            This it does. Not great for the allergies though. I honestly thought I did a pretty good job keeping the library dusted over the years- until it was time to pack it up for storage…

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            • Ste J

              20/11/2013 at 10:17

              Storage is always sad…the unpacking will be glorious though!

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              • colemining

                20/11/2013 at 10:20

                I’ve already missed a couple of books. Considered going and digging through the boxes to see if I can find them. Came to my senses.

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                • Ste J

                  20/11/2013 at 10:24

                  Senses…that is debatable my friend hehe.

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                  • colemining

                    20/11/2013 at 10:28

                    Time will tell if I cave and go get them. Just might happen…

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  2. shiningstar85

    20/11/2013 at 10:13

    VERY deep! I know someone who was going to call her daughter Beth as it comes from Breath, as in breath of life because it was not an easy birth but she called her Zoe which means life instead.

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    • Ste J

      20/11/2013 at 10:16

      Ooo, I like that, very clever. I like to trot off on tangents like this every now and then…finding stuff out is always great and of course the more you learn the more you realise the less you know.

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  3. Letizia

    20/11/2013 at 11:10

    Every once in a while, I’ll read a line in one of your posts that will make me smile with glee and nearly howl with laughter. Today you had me with : “The scallop shell is my favourite ex body part of a marine creature”…… Oh how I love your writing!

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    • Ste J

      20/11/2013 at 11:14

      I like to take the romantic and make it a bit less so. I was remembering your comments of yesteryear a while back and wondering if I had lacked that sort of humour recently in my posts, so thank you for confirming otherwise. Happy days for Ste…I wish i would have posted this on Monday now.

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  4. Elizabeth Melton Parsons

    20/11/2013 at 13:18

    That shell sculpture is outrageous. Love it and love your post on seashells. I haven’t been to a beach in a long time either, but I have a large jar of shells and rocks, as well as several large conch shells.. They take me back to my years in South Florida. .

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    • Ste J

      23/11/2013 at 09:07

      It seems quite a lot of us bloggers don’t get out to the beach quite as much as we should…beach party it is then. There is something truly magical about a bit of dead marine creature.

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  5. gargoylebruce

    20/11/2013 at 19:40

    Funny things, beaches. Apparently somewhere in the world is a beach comprised entirely of thongs. The footwear, not the undergarment. Something to do with tidal currents and the weight of the rubber or some such.

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    • Ste J

      23/11/2013 at 09:02

      I did not know this…I find it interesting and far more mind boggling that it isn’t the undergarment although if it were the tabloids would have been all over that one years ago.

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  6. anna amundsen

    21/11/2013 at 07:55

    Stones are also a Chinese symbol of longevity. Related to yang principle.
    Dig more on Japanese Zen rock gardens if you’re still into it 🙂 And write another post on rocks, if I may ask for it… I cannot but remember Sisyphus, too..
    Loved this one.. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      23/11/2013 at 09:03

      I will do something more for you soon my friend as you ask…I am always up for keeping you guys happy and shall commence a draft titled post…wait for it…..NOW!

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  7. Cody McCullough

    23/11/2013 at 01:39

    Fantastic! I love the imagery, and I love sea shells!

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    • Ste J

      23/11/2013 at 08:55

      I do like a tangent and it was a nice break from all the Doctor Who stuff…I wonder what awesome things that I once adored I shall be reminded of next…

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  8. RoSy

    24/11/2013 at 11:53

    I like the feel of shells. It reminds me of a place I’d like to be right about now – somewhere beachy, warm, & sunny!
    Hope you’re staying warm these days. What are the temps like up there? It’s very cold here (for me). Yesterday we were in the 20s. Brrr…

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    • Ste J

      24/11/2013 at 20:19

      I think we hit 14F the other day..or night, I forget…or want to forget! I thought we could all benefit from a nice post that conjures up somewhere warm with good memories. I spent so much time looking at the shells that I didn’t really consider the tactile nature of them, perhaps next time….

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  9. LuAnn

    30/11/2013 at 11:00

    Love how you dig deeper into those subjects that most don’t give a second thought to. Great post Set J. I have been away and will continue to be for these next few weeks until this work misadventure has come to an end. Trying to catch up on a few posts, of which I see you have many! 🙂

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    • Ste J

      01/12/2013 at 10:51

      Ha, misadventure! That made me laugh. I like to give you a bit of variation to read…I have about 108 drafts at the moment so hopefully quite a few of these will be out there this month. I do like the aspects of combining lots of different areas of a subject to flesh it out and forge links I had previously thought of or not looked into enough. I have the urge to do that quite often…

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