3 – It’s a God-awful small affair…

A pounamu is a Maori talisman carved from New Zealand greenstone. The Maori believe that it is the pounamu that chooses its wearer, not the other way round. In other words, one cannot buy or carve his own pounamu, it had to be given to him. This is not a fit place to describe how I got into possession of my pounamu, let’s just say that someone still very dear  brought it back for me from his visit home to New Zealand and I felt very honoured and privileged at the time and I still do.

Pounamus come in many shapes and each has e specific meaning. Mine is a double twist, which means love, strong friendship or bonding of two cultures; and is finished with a “koru”, a spiral that symbolizes a young fern opening to the sun, a new beginning. It remains the most beautiful gift I have ever been given.

A couple of days ago, my pounamu snapped. It slipped from my hands and broke into four pieces. The gem is probably repairable, I could easily glue it back together, however, the Maori believe that when a pounamu breaks, it means that the person is not meant to wear it anymore, as the spirit protecting it wishes to be reunited with its brethren and the pieces of greenstone should be returned to a river in New Zealand (which is a tiny bit difficult at the moment, but maybe one day…).

However, the remaining pieces of greenstone can be re-carved into a new talisman, with a different meaning. Although I am very upset about the destroyed pounamu, and I have been gently reminded that I should not be concerned about superstitions of a culture that is not even mine, the incident looks rather appropriate after all. It is the twist that broke, while the koru remains intact. The bond ceased to exist, the love is gone (though I am still hoping for the life-long friendship), but I have still been granted a new beginning.

I generally don’t believe in signs. But if this isn’t one, nothing is.


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