by Laura Bickle
From an anthropological standpoint, a fetish is any tangible object that has been imbued with religious or mystical significance. It can be an idol, a charm, a talisman...any of these things in which one believes power or the Great Mystery resides.
Heh...you didn't think that we were going *there* with this weeks' theme, did you?
I suppose that I have a tendency to gather things that I think are interesting. I have a lovely collection of stones and crystals that grows slowly. A couple of weeks ago, I found a raven feather that had been mangled in a lawnmower. I have a couple of shells that I gathered on a long-ago trip to the ocean, and I can still hear it in them.
But these are nature-made things. Of course, it would follow that something of nature still remains in them. But fetishes are specifically considered to be man-made. Humans make vessels to hold something outside of themselves. A fetish is more than a found object: it's something carved and created, painted or drawn. It's art. A home for something powerful.
I have a lovely bracelet that a friend brought back for me from Turkey. It's a little gold bracelet that has an enameled Evil Eye charm dangling from it. It's called a Nazar, there, worn by everyone from babies to elderly people to ward off bad luck and send it back to where it originates. It's really beautifully made, and I can see how much effort went into creating it for its intended purpose of deflecting misfortune.
Much art, I think, is sacred in its way. I often think of the process of writing as being a conduit, a temporary vessel for a story. I think that we provide hands and ink and let something else move thorough us onto the page. I often feel this way when I'm working through a project and make that connection to an old archetype that I didn't know well before. And sometimes that old power gets released to speak to a reader.
I guess, in that sense, a story is a fetish. It's a man-made work of art that holds power. And some mystery.
Image: Lavoview / FreeDigitalPhotos.net