|Red abalone shell|
The connection to the sea also lends mother of pearl to be a symbol of the past and emotions, often compared to tears, and associated with the primordial oceanic creative forces of life. In this sense it is sometimes seen as a feminine substance, and often used to symbolize ancestral connections and memory.
|Native American Bracelet copper abalone c1890 Tlingit Alaska|
Mother of pearl is also a stone associated with time and travel. The abalone shell has been traded tribally throughout human history, this is evident especially within the Native American tribes, to whom abalone has been used as a sacred decoration, especially in jewelry. In fact, some tribes in prehistory used discs of abalone shell as a type of coinage before the creation of the metal coin.
In the Chinese culture, mother of pearl is a substance which is commonly used in the practice of feng shui. Mother of pearl is used as a means of attracting wealth and luck. Mother of pearl is often incorporated in the production of other charms and objects which are created increase the owner's wealth. It is also given to the traveler as a token of good luck, perhaps recalling similar connections between trade and travel which have existed in relation to mother of pearl throughout history.
|Smudge Stick and Abalone shell bowl|
Though it may be a more modern rather than ancient connection, the abalone is often used as an ash catcher or dish to contain the traditional smudge stick, typically used in the process of purification. Though there is no way for me to know if the abalone in particular was used in this process for convenience or spiritual value, I see purification and protection as modern associations with mother of pearl. The traditional pearl itself is longstanding in it's connection to innocence and purity, so this seems like a reasonable connection for mother of pearl in general.
For Vanic and Pagan practitioners, nacre in all it's forms can be a potent magic amulet which allows us to connect to the myriad gods of the sea. I personally would associate nacre with the sea god Njord, and I possess a large asymmetrical pendant of natural nacre that is one of my prized possessions. The moment I saw it I felt Njord's presence, when I wear it it has a great calming strength which is symbolic to me of the qualities of nacre and mother of pearl.
When purchasing nacre in it's forms, if it is for spiritual purpose, be sure that what you are getting is natural rather than imitation. The best choice would be natural sea pearls, but of course most of us cannot afford them. Natural freshwater pearls are usually less expensive, yet I would recommend some research into the company producing them, as some of them are notorious for unenvironmentally friendly practices. Be aware there are many who produce fakes, and cheap plastic imitations. And of course, in my opinion the best nacre one can use is that which is found at local lakes or beaches, washed up along the shore.
I hope you enjoyed this post,