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This listing is for one Heartspace Ritual™ handsculpted wild clay vessel from The heART of Ritual.


Each heart is made to order, handsculpted from a gorgeous creamy kaolinitic clay that I gathered by hand out on the land in the Balkans.


The heart is hollow in the center, has my botanical wheel of the year prayer mandala debossed on the front, and has a small opening on the rear.


There is an opening underneath the heart through which you can place little hand written notes, love tokens, or leave offerings that you would like to be held inside. Alternatively the opening also serves to make it easy to hang this heart on the wall if you feel drawn.


As much as this vessel can be worked with as a love token, this heart is a prayer dedication, and ritual tool for emotional release in one, and this is what I'd like to take a moment to write about here...


I made one for myself and gave hours to shaping it gently and meditatively with the tips of my fingers. Before I started, I had this idea that I would be creating this vessel as a ritual in forgiveness (for my mother), one through which I would hopefully release the betrayal and on the other side, send her love. When I eventually began though, it was the following winter, and world events were pulling on my heartstrings more than anything in my personal life.


Once I sat down to begin, my ritual became to hold space for hope (for ALL of humanity), to forgive the war we wage inside each and every one of us, to choose to put down my own sword, and to send love to those suffering as a result of war - on both sides, because death and displacement happens on both sides and we all bleed the same colour. I feel it is fair to say that this past year has been a particularly shocking and dark period in this regard and given the polarising public opinions on it, I felt I needed to acknowledge loss on both sides of the fence so to speak. Once politics are put to one side, the grief of the families of the fallen is universal language. So this heart ritual became something else while I worked, all the time observing what was coming up. As it takes me seven hours to hand sculpt these hearts, it was a long time to sit and watch and listen. When I finished, I placed it in my (lunar/feminine) sacred space inside (direction north) to dry, and the time between then and it being brought to the kiln for firing (solar/masculine) was truly a time of contemplation, reflection and integration for me.


When it came back from the kiln, there was a deep sense of serenity about it, a transformation through the alchemy of fire which brought out gorgeous white of this beautiful white clay. I remembered where I was in the Balkans gathering this by hand, I remembered the fact that this place too had a very long and painful period of war in the not too distant past. From where I stood gathering the clay, I could see a tower at the top of the mountain nearby which my (local) colleague told me was a monument of the war. This all all suddenly made perfect sense where this heart vessel and grief ritual was concerned, and when the time came, without planning it, I took it to the little waterfall and stream that comes from the spring in the rock face behind our house, I washed the vessel in the waterfall, and smashed it with a river stone.


Inspired by the Japanese tradition of 'Kintsugi', which quite literally means 'golden repair', I glued the pieces of the broken ceramic heart I had made for myself back together, leaving a gold seam which represented my now healed state. I used a rawhide glue that I make, and powdered muscovite as this is what I had to hand (and I do not buy colourants and commercial glues). The result was really beautiful and as much as I always planned to glaze these hearts, I understand now why they needed to remain raw. It was a reminder of why I always need to let The Work speak for itself, and not 'design' it per sae, and this is something I was very thankful for.


So as much as this beautiful ceramic heart vessel can be used as a love token for others, my personal interest was in healing heartache. To me, this ritual experience represented the release of emotional heart wounds, and reclaiming space for love and hope. I am not going to say this is a fun ritual to do, or that it's easy, but it is very worth it and this ritual has been key to making it the deeply meaningful, effective and healing path that it became by embracing this very evocative approach.


Whether worked with as a love token or release ritual, this work speaks of emotions and vulnerability. One experiences a flavour of vulnerability when making a declaration of love and wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve. Having the courage to heal heart wounds is also a flavour of vulnerability, and it too is emotional. This is why I always knew that this vessel needed to remain unglazed, those working with it needed to have access to its raw state of BEing. Just as much as masks are off when we speak truths, a glaze would have been superficial and masked the beauty and character that makes each vessel, and each one of us, unique!


In addition to this, there were also practical reasons - smashing a glazed version would produce glass like shards that could splinter and/or cut one's fingers whilst gathering up the pieces. Secondly, I wanted it to remain raw so it would be possible to draw, paint or write on the heart once it had been repaired, if one wanted to do so. And finally, I know from my experience facilitating groups, that people are drawn to certain colours for a reason. Oftentimes it is because they are familiar with the chakras and so will choose an object in the colour that relates with the chakra they are working on. Other times it can be because it is simply their favourite colour. Sometimes it’s because one assigns a certain meaning to a certain colour (most of the time because they read somewhere this is what the colour stands for). It is a very rare creature that actually chooses intuitively, every single time, and this is what I both invite and encourage. It is the only way you can truly discover what it is that you need in every moment. So in short, these vessels are offered to you as a blank slate so to speak, for you to embrace and work with in the ways that you uniquely should…and will!


I could write alot about this experience, but I do not want to colour or influence your own experience with this, I simply wanted to let you know that as heart work goes, this incredible tools has many different ways of proactively working with it.


I want you to know that each wild clay heart vessel comes with a complimentary mini wooden mallet for convenience, however I encourage you to work with whatever tools you intuitively feel drawn to work with. As mentioned above, when the moment came I was drawn to work with a river stone, and this speaks to water/earth and emotional release, which is exactly what I was in the process of really when you consider it.


Please note that you need to provide your own glue and gold powder as it does not come with this vessel. It is very easy to source online or at your local art supply store though....

Heartspace Ritual™ handsculpted wild clay ceramic vessel

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  • This listing is for one aforementioned product only and does not include any other decorative items photographed. These photographs are for illustrative purposes only.

    All titles, concept, description, text, and images © 2024 Niamh Criostail & The heART of Ritual. All rights reserved.


Our Autumn season shop opening takes place from
9am on July 21st until 6pm on August 9th

 All times are Irish time. Orders ship from August 19th onwards and are fulfilled on a first come first served basis. 'Made to order' offerings ship from August 26th onwards.