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Caduceus (my dreams)

Mary Godwin Shelley was so bright and quick of mind that her father nicknamed her 'Mercury'. Mary only knew her mother Mary Wollstonecraft for ten days: the brilliant woman died shortly after Mary's birth. Growing up, reading her Mother's texts, young Mary was inspired by an idealized model of female independence. Although Mary's father encouraged her, life at home became constrictive and difficult when his new wife appeared on the scene. Mary's mercurial, rebellious nature took hold and was to have a profound affect on the world of literature. At 16 Mary ran away with the poet Percy Shelley.  At the age of 18 she wrote Frankenstein - The Modern Prometheus.  This slim volume launched two of the greatest fictional characters in literature ; the tragic outcast and his conflicted maker.

The symbol carried by Mercury is the Caduceus: a winged staff entwined by a serpent. Because this tiny planet can only be seen at early morning and evening twilight, the ancients thought Mercury was split. Caduceus alludes to this split: there is a duality to the symbol. A conflicting pull between strength of purpose and action…. and a more dreamy, introspective nature. Mary was to feel this internal conflict throughout her life.

Mary’s Caduceus is created from pieces found in far off corners. A sterling, serpent earring wraps around a small glass bottle, connecting to an antique, silver-plated salt-shaker lid. Tiny steel feet from a vintage box have become wings. These wings connect us with the angel Raphael, an ancient symbol of Mercury. Inside the bottle is a a tiny shred of old, white cotton fabric containing a quote by Mary dreams were all my own



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