SAFE TRAVELS bracelet

Safe trip: “Have a safe journey and travel safe”. How often do we hear wishes like that, or want to give a gift to wish safe travels to someone we know?

Christmas is just around the corner and many people are looking for that ideal and meaningful Christmas present. Folks are also planning their next year’s vacation or holidays: So it could be a good time to combine a gift for travellers with a simple present at Christmas . . wishing friends or loved-ones be holiday safety, and have a safe journey.

Travel safe
Travel safe: Bracelet gifts

The most common gift to wish safe travels, is some sort of protection bracelet or safe travels bracelet: It is simple, easy to carry when travelling (on holiday for example), usually low cost (so not a huge disaster if lost) and meaningful. As gifts for travellers go, a safe travel bracelet is it!

And we have just launched this!

Safe travels bracelet
Safe travels bracelet

But “Of what does this travel bracelet consist?”, I hear you ask: A simple lucky talisman strung on a bracelet? Or perhaps it is something more meaningful: A piece of spiritual or religious jewellery perhaps?

In this respect, when it comes to travel, people tend to look for something that offers a form of protection. And even in these modern times, many people (whatever their faith or religion) still believe in some sort of divine spirit watching over them, acting as a guide, a guardian or protector: It could be a God, a Saint, a Guardian Angel or a simple religious symbol of faith. In the Christian or Catholic world, the St Christopher talisman is a good example of this – and St Christopher bracelets are common gifts indeed. But there are other examples of safe travel bracelets too, and this one features the cross of St James (Saint James is the patron Saint of pilgrims, and travellers in general, whereas St Christopher is patron of all sorts of travelling (and especially long journeys)).

St Christopher symbol jewelry
St Christopher jewelry for safekeeping

It is said that good luck travelling and a safe return home is not a matter of fate, but of faith. And even for agnostics who maybe prefer some other form of lucky symbol to accompany them on their travels, a safe travels bracelet featuring a powerful symbol like a Saint, couldn’t do any harm!

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to gift something to a friend or loved-one travelling to wish safe travel and safekeeping that really worked! And in a way, you can: By giving a friend or loved-one a Safe Travels bracelet (for example), they will be REMINDED of your concerns while they are travelling and so, hopefully, take extra care. And this is the most important thing.

Tennessee Williams said that “Luck is believing you are lucky” and many people admit that there is a power in a thought made positive by a lucky charm symbol – being a constant reminder of purpose and desires. And so it is also with a lucky charm travel bracelet (or other piece of jewellery) to wish someone a safe journey: In addition to any value in the lucky charm symbol itself, or the religious faith that it might represent, a gift to wish safe travels can actually act as a REMINDER TO BE CAREFUL. And this can be very important and a powerful aid to staying safe whilst travelling away from home.

 

Anyway, as we approach Christmas, when the Christian faith is foremost, a safe travel bracelet (or other piece of religious jewellery perhaps, like a necklace or earrings) based on a Christian symbol can be very appropriate as a meaningful Christmas present.

So please go over to our online shop to see some safe travel bracelets ( as well as other travel  jewellery to wish luck and safety on a trip  )

Have a safe trip! May God guide you and protect you on your journey, and fulfil all your wishes. Have a wonderful time, enjoy your travels and keep safe ♥

 

GIFTS for someone WALKING the CAMINO

What is it about gifting? Why do we gift? Why is gifting important? And why is Camino de Santiago jewellery often given as a present for someone walking El Camino?

You could say that we give gifts to each other because we’re supposed to, and this is often true – particularly on special well-known occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and so on. And we also give people presents when someone has achieved something – as a form of recognition (eg, acknowledgement of an achievement, or goal attainment). So, for example, we could give a friend or loved-one a gift for having walked the Camino de Santiago because we are recognising something they have done or achieved – an accomplishment; or, because they are a fan of El Camino.

And we have a lot of gifts like that!

Camino gift
Camino gift for fan of El Camino

But, giving someone a gift because they are ABOUT to do something? Is this normal? (For example, giving a present to someone who WILL be walking the Camino in the future?) What does such a gift represent?

Camino de Santiago jewelry
Camino de Santiago jewellery

It is quite normal to wish someone well with their challenges and adventures – verbally, or perhaps with a quick WhatsAp message. But how often does this translate into a gift?

good luck gift

In our Good Luck Gift  Shop  we actually see this quite a lot, particularly with Camino gifts. We can tell, because people often include a short message with a gift when they buy it, and we ship the present direct to the recipient with the message as requested. These messages often refer to the meaning of the gift – whether as a piece of Camino de Santiago memorabilia or souvenir, or because the recipient is a fan of the Camino, or more often than not, as an inspirational piece of Santiago de Compostela jewelry because they are about to walk the Camino.

And we have a lot of Camino de Santiago jewellery too, in our online shop!

gift card for fan of camino
Gift card for fan of El Camino

So, Camino de Santiago jewelry is being gifted to someone walking the Camino in Spain, France or Portugal, as a way of offering encouragement, and willing them to succeed and have a successful journey, and a safe trip.

But, returning to the original question (and seeing as we are in Novemebr): Did you know that one of the main reasons for giving and receiving presents at Christmas time, is to remind us of the presents baby Jesus received from the three Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh? Yes, we all know that gifts are important at Christmas – but probably not for that reason nowadays!

There are of course many reasons for giving a gift. For example, we sometimes give people gifts to show them that we are grateful, and that we value the role they play in our lives. In this case, we give a present willingly without wanting anything in return: So, making someone feel special is as important a reason as any to bestow a gift.

And then there are Birthdays: As regards Birthdays (another of the traditional gifting occasions), history tells us that originally it had something to do with offering protection to the recipient.

People have always believed in good and evil spirits, and folklore has it that spirits gather around a person who is celebrating his or her birthday – dating back to the time when they were born. Years ago (and even nowadays in some parts of the world) everyone was afraid of these spirits, thinking that they would cause harm to the birthday boy or girl. And so, friends and relatives would gather around and wish them “Happy Birthday” so that their good wishes would protect them. In fact, in the UK, many years ago, when Britain was ruled by Rome, there was a God known as Apis (originally from Egypt and also pronounced as Hap-Hapi-Hapy), and it is believed that the word ‘happy’ in the birthday greeting Happy Birthday, dates back to this word ‘Hapi’ in Old English. For this reason, when you wish someone ‘happy’ birthday, you are actually wishing the God Apis to bring them protection and good fortune.

Gift for protection and good fortune

It appears therefore that, as in many things, it is tradition and folklore that lie behind a lot of today’s celebrations and commemorations and, in the case of Birthdays, it is probably because of yesteryear in ancient Britain when giving a birthday present was believed to bring protection, that the concept of the birthday party (and of giving birthday presents in general) has developed.

In very early days, only kings or prominent men were thought important enough to celebrate their birthdays in this way. But as time has gone on, us ordinary folks now celebrate birthdays too.

But perhaps we just want to give somone a present to say something special . .

gift saying I love you

. . like “I love you”!

Overall, hardly a day goes by without us wanting to pass on our best wishes for one event or another to a friend or loved one, and a symbolic gift is a good way of doing this. And seeing that walking El Camino is viewed as such a big event, people often give a little present such as a Camino de Santiago bracelet, necklace or earrings to send their friends or relatives on their way.

We have all grown up with various traditions, superstitions and beliefs. Whether you choose to believe them or not, it is undeniable that faith influences a lot of people, and much of our modern day gifting has roots in faith and belief.

 

Lovers re-united in Teruel make great VALENTINE JEWELLERY

The lovers of Teruel – Los amantes de Teruel

In eastern Spain – to the northwest of Valencia, there is a small city famous for its lovers – Los Amantes de Teruel, the lovers of the city of: Teruel:

Many people visiting this part of eastern Spain want to see the “Lovers of Teruel” But what are they? And what is their story? It’s worth a look because it’s wonderful stories like these that lie behind much of the jewellery in our online shop – whether based on fables, or folklore or religious beliefs.

It all supposedly happened in the year 1217 in the city of Teruel, in Aragón, in eastern Spain, where a young boy, Juan Martinez, of the Marcilla family, and a girl, Isabel (of the Segura family), who had grown up playing together, suddenly fell in love.

Los amantes the lovers
Jewellery with meaning and for inspiration

Of course, they wanted to marry. But, even though the Marcilla family was important, they were not as important as the Segura family, and Juan was the second son, meaning that he would inherit nada (nothing). There was no way he could marry the only daughter and heiress of the great Segura family. So he struck a deal with her father: He’d go to war (meaning la Reconquista against the Moorish arabs who had occupied a large part of Spain), fight hard, rise in rank and earn great wealth . . in five years. If in that time he returned rich, he’d marry Isabel. So, on that promise, he left Teruel to travel and make his fortune.

Some years passed, and Isabel’s father started insisting that Isable get married. But, she refused, on the basis that she had to remain a maiden until she was 20, because no woman should get married before she learned how to manage a household. And her father, as any good father, that loved and respected his daughter, agreed with her.

However, when the five years passed and Juan didn’t return, Isabel believed him dead and agreed to marry Don Pedro of Azagra. But . . right after the ceremony, Juan returned . . and with great riches! Too late though!! His beloved was already married.

So one night, Juan sneaked up into her and her husband’s bedroom and asked her for a kiss: “Kiss me”, he pleaded, “for I am dying!”. But she refused on the basis that she would be acting unfaithfully to her husband. He asked her again, and again she refused.

So Juan just dropped dead!

Isabel woke her husband Don Pedro and told him what had happened. He was like: “But why didn’t you kiss him?!” So she told him that she hadn’t wanted to betray him. He retorted: “You are truly a woman worthy of praise!”

So the matrimónio (married couple) sneaked Juan’s body out of their home in the middle of the night and left it in a local churchyard, so the husband wouldn’t get blamed for the death.

The next day the funeral ceremony took place and Isabel came, dressed in her wedding gown, and leaning over Juan’s body gave him the kiss that she had refused him in life.

And then she too dropped dead.

Don Pedro then told everyone in the church his story and the town agreed to bury the couple together in the churchyard, so at least in death they would be side by side . . the lovers of Teruel.

Their remains were re-discovered in 1555 during repair works at the San Pedro church in Teruel. And since then, they have been moved into two marble tombs on prominent display in the church. And this is what everyone visits. And since that time, the fame of this story has spread around Spain and around the world.

Every February, Teruel pays tribute to its famous lovers and remembers this most famous romantic tragedy . .

. . just as we do at  thegoodluckgiftshop.com  with our lover’s jewellery

Jewellery gifts with real meaning! That’ll be us!

 

Camino Comfortable

Backpack taxis now available from Roncesvalles

Well this is an interesting bit of news!

For quite a while it has been possible while walking (or biking) El Camino, to send some of your “luggage” by Correos – the Post Office. But in the past, their have been delays, which has prompted the birth of a new Taxi-based system.

Camino Comodo taxi

A group of Taxi drivers have got together to form a chain connection for luggage through France and across the northern part of Spain into Galicia – each one handing over the bags to the next at a particular stage on the route – just like the old stage-coaches.

The phased delivery system guarantees that pilgrims can dispose of their luggage when they depart their lodgings / hostal, confident that it will arrive at their next destination in time for their next nights stay.

Camino Comodo van

The promoter of the initiative says that complaints of the pilgrims for the delay in the delivery of backpacks by Correos was what encouraged him to establish the taxi business. Now there are seven such services operating along the Jacobean route, Der Jakobsweg, including Correos. The cost is three euros per bag, per stage.

Walking the Camino – with the help of a Taxi!

 

Indalo Man, souvenir symbol of Almeria, or Mojacar?

Is the Indalo just a symbol in Almería? Or in the whole world?

There’s a lot of discussion at the moment about the little Indalo symbol . . and where it “belongs”. Well in our Good Luck Gift shop, we have quite a few! and most of them come from a small province in the south of Spain called Almería.

But some people get quite heated when they see the Indalo figure appearing as a souvenir symbol for places outside of Almería – or even outside of Spain.

The Indalo is indeed a symbol of Almería (both province and city) but does that mean it cannot also be the symbol of Mojácar, a small pueblo town inside of Almería? Or even of say, Vélez Blanco (also in Almería province), where the little pictorial symbol was discovered daubed on the walls of a cave some 5,000 years ago? But what about, for example, in Huelva, Tenerife, Málaga, or Barcelona, in other parts of Spain, or perhaps in Lisbon, Portugal, or France?

Embalse Cuevas Indalo

It is not as if this symbol does not exist in other places around the world: Indeed, it is seen in many locations from Hawaii to North America, from Couscous in Chile, to Egypt, and Zambia . . in Incamacha in Bolivia, Sardinata in northern Colombia, at Nazca, Peru and in Patagonia, Argentina. At Valtellina, Lombardy, we see the metamorphic Rupe Magna rock, with engraved petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings) that date back thousands of years, featuring hundreds of Indalo-shaped figures. In Hawaii, many of the petroglyphs on Big Island feature similarly-shaped images believed to represent various aspects of spiritual life. One of these is known as ‘Rainbow Man’ and has special significance for the Hawaiian people: The arc is thought to represent a rainbow resting on a person’s shoulders and as such, is a symbol of the responsibility of each person to love and protect the earth – the ‘Aina’.

But it was in Almería (and more specifically, Mojácar) that the iconic symbol gained its name: “Indalo”. You can read more about how and why that occurred, on our website here: What is an Indalo and why is it lucky ?

So perhaps it is the use of the actual name “Indalo” in other places outside of the province of Almería, that is causing the problem – not the symbol itself. After all, what does the symbol itself represent? A man holding an “Arco Iris” (a Rainbow) above his head? But if you were to look on Wikipedia, you would see the Indalo described, rather miguidedly, as a ghost that could hold and carry a rainbow in his hands (thus the arch over the head of the man). And it goes on to say that “The American-based indigenous rights organisation Cultural Survival uses an Indalo symbol on its logo. “ Not surprising really, seeing as the Indalo figure (or “Rainbow Warrior” as the Native Indians of North America called it) is a representation to them of the Great Spirit – the Creator. They use the expression ‘Rainbow Warrior’ to describe a mystical being that will protect them by protecting their environment. The Rainbow Man or Rainbow Warrior of North America got its name from the Cree, Hopi and Sioux tribes. It features in sacred drawings of the Zuni and Navajo; and for the Indians of the Mojave desert of Arizona, the rainbow is one of the most powerful qualities of the Great Spirit, the creator of all existence.

No, it is the NAME Indalo that is more associated with Almería and Spain. It seems to have originated with a group of intellectual artists, mostly from Madrid (who used to visit Mojácar, Almería) who adapted the Rainbow Man symbol seen in the cave at Los Vélez as their logo. In Spain’s Civil War years, one of the group, Juan Cuadrado (a local man from Vera, and a celebrated Archaeologist – whose family still live and work in the area), proposed that his group of intellectuals be named after the symbol which he himself had christened ‘Indalo’ as an adaptation of the local Almeriense name Indalecio, which itself has its origins in San Indalecio, the missionary sent by Rome to evangelise the southern part of the Iberian Peninsular in the 1st Century AD. Indalecio is the patron Saint of Almería and the group of artists became known as Los Indalianos.

But, as already said, the symbol itself, is more widespread – and much older. Sr. Cuadrado knew this – as an Archaeologist he had visited the Caves at Vélez (now a UNESCO World Heritage site) and seen the cave paintings for himself. He is remembered in the city Museum in Almería capital.

But is that any reason to deny los Mojaceros, for example, their entitlement to claim it as “theirs”?

On the other hand, is there any reason to complain when it is used by communities in other parts of Almería, or of Spain (or indeed of France, America, Hawaii, etc)? Or indeed, when it is used in a way that does not even relate to Almería, let alone Spain? In Granada, we have Indalo Codex – a self-improvement medication system for integral health and for people seeking goals and happiness. The Indalo symbol is an integral part of the teaching.

As is noted on website Indalo Mart : “Primarily, the Indalo is the symbol of Almería in Andalucía, southern Spain. But, it is also recognised in quite a few places around the world as a protection and good luck symbol” It is said that, in old Iberian, Indal Eccius means ‘ Messenger of the Gods ‘ and the little Indalo charm is sometimes considered a guardian angel (a bit like a St. Christopher worn by travellers, or the St James Cross worn by many on the Camino de Santiago) offering protection from harm (and strangely, from floods as well, in this, the driest part of Europe).

So it’s true: The Indalo is a symbol (and therfore a souvenir) of Almería: It is also a symbol of good luck and protection. But, as the Native Indians of North America would attest (and the Rupe Magna in Lombardy, Indalo Codex in Granada, the Petroglyphys in Hawaii, etc, etc, too), it is also believed to represent Man’s ethereal connection with the spirits and with the universe. Overall, like many symbols, (like the Christian Cross for example) it represents what you want it to represent . . it is symbolic of what you believe.

Rainbow Indalo

For many, the Indalo is a great symbol of inspiration – a symbol with a story – and so it makes a great piece of inspirational jewellery – jewellery with actual meaning . . lucky symbol jewellery