Today has just been the start of Chinese New Year - and Year of the (Metal) Tiger, so I've been told.
To commemorate it in a witchy way, I've pursued a superstitious mission assigned by my friend Linda, the marvellous author of charmingly naughty books and Sinology Queen of the Antipodes.
Linda told me to wear something red around "wrist, ankle, neck or waist" for the duration of the Year of the Tiger ahead. This is to channel, I presume, the energy and ferociousness of tiger spirit into my endeavours. As this is the year that my first book comes out, you can imagine I'm happy to indulge in any folky practise if it keeps me symbolically focused and gives me something to do instead of panic wildly.
Consequently, I've been looking for some weeks for the right thing to tie around myself. Playing on the fabulous Etsy a couple of weeks ago, I came across this lovely item:
It's obviously very pretty, and quite to my girlie tastes. Those heart-shaped red rocks you see are red jaspers; The Crystal Bible states that, amongst the stone's many properties of nurturing and detoxifying, red jasper will help dream recall if its placed under the pillow, and also that it "stimulates the base chakra". Translated, this means it's the stone to wear for a passionate Valentine's Day.
I bought the bracelet - not because it's what I'm going to wear around myself for the whole year (it's too precious for that; I picked up a clasped red ribbon in a bead shop in the West End that's now tied around my ankle). I bought it because of this passage in my novel, Burnt Snow:
“What is it?” I asked.
“Open it,” he said. “I don’t mind if you look.”
I tumbled the contents from the bag into my hand. It was a small bracelet, made out of red strings wound together and threaded through red stones, with a slipknot instead of a clasp, beads at its end. Looking more closely, I saw that the three large stones on it were heart-shaped, and made of red jasper.
Red jasper, I knew, I was a nurturing stone. It encouraged the heart and – as soon as I remembered this, I blushed – the sexual organs. Whoever had made the bracelet knew that red jasper was a love stone, but I could sense no magical charge on it.
“It’s pretty!” I said, sliding it back into the bag.
Okay, so it's not the same bracelet, but they ARE the same stones. Tomorrow, I'll be wearing the bracelet on a date with the Boy Next Door.
I'll let you know how it goes (!)