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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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musing upon a piece of jewelry
So, I have this Tibetan bracelet that I habitually wear. I wear it for a lot of reasons- not the least of which is that it looks cool, plus it's a show of solidarity for a people whose courage and resilience I respect a whole lot. Recently, a couple of people were asking me what the writing on it meant. It's Ranjana script (an ancient Indian writing system) for the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum". The approximate translation is "Hail the Jewel in the Lotus, Hum".

So I got to thinking… what does that mantra mean to me? I don't chant the mantra or use it in any other way. I'm not a Buddhist, or even close, so the most that traditional interpretations can do is guide me and inform my decision. So, caveat lector: this is personal interpretation. It isn't anyone's doctrine, so don't take it that way.

"Om" is also represented as "Aum", the three letters of which have been equated to Creation (Brahma), Preservation (Vishnu), and Destruction (Shiva). For me, it also keys into the "Three Worlds" concept: Underworld, Middle World, Upper World. "Om" is also one of the syllables I most often use when raising power in groups; it comes from the throat chakra and seems to work very well in weaving together the energies of the group.

The Jewel in the Lotus- the union of opposites. It can be the Jewel of Matter in the Lotus of Spirit, or the Jewel of Intellect in the Lotus of Emotion… the Lotus can certainly be seen as a female symbol, so I suppose you could look at it that way. One thing I like about this is that the Jewel is in the Lotus; Union without Dissolution.

"Hum" for me empowers the mantra, recapitulating the initial "Om" and bringing it all together.

The mantra has also been called "the horse of the air," at least in Tibet. I'm not sure what the official explanation is for that, but it appeals to me. It suggests a holdover from shamanistic practice, where the shaman's drum or other musical instrument was identified with a horse that was ridden into the Otherworld.

The bracelet also has Tibetan "dorje" or "thunderbolt" symbols- for me, symbolic of the gods-given flashes of insight one can get, even at the darkest times; the electric connection from the upper realms to our world of manifestation.

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I always thought the "horse of the air" reference was representative of the effect the mantra has as a point of focus, and a point of carrying... much as a horse is used to carry a rider from place to place, the mantra is used to convey energy, and breath, through the body.

Just my interpretation...

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