These are some of the objects I keep on the dashboard of my van home.
I see them whenever I’m sitting in the driver’s seat.
The skeleton is from a Playmobile pirate set. I found it (I can’t say if it’s a he or a she, since I’m not the kind of anthropologist who knows a male pelvis from a female pelvis) at the mega super thrift clearance center, along with a canon and one or two pirates from the set. (Those went to a kid that the Lady of the House knows.)
In the middle is Kwan Yin. According to http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/beings/kuan-yin,
In Buddhism, Kuan Yin (also spelled Guan Yin, Kwan Yin) is the bodhisattva of compassion venerated by East Asian Buddhists. Commonly known as the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin is also revered by Chinese Taoists as an Immortal. The name Kuan Yin is short for Kuan Shih Yin (Guan Shi Yin) which means “Observing the Sounds of the World”.
Due to her symbolising compassion, in East Asia Kuan Yin is associated with vegetarianism. Chinese vegetarian restaurants are generally decorated with her image, and she appears in most Buddhist vegetarian pamphlets and magazines.
I first learned about Kwan Yin when I went to Malaysia. I was told women pray to her for healing of the female organs. I got this statue for $1 too, at a second hand store in Taos.
Next to Kwan Yin is a guardian angel that I got from a woman selling at the Bridge. She had a $1 table, and the guardian angel was on it. I didn’t have many dollars at the time, but I figured I needed all the protection I could get, so I bought the angel. She reminds me of the little statues my grandmother and great-grandmother displayed when I was a kid. We kids were never allowed to touch the breakable figurines, so I think it’s kind of cool to keep something similar on my dash. The guardian angel must be tough because she hasn’t broken yet. She was actually my first figurine and survived the move from my last van to my current van. (I think any guardian angel of mine better by tough, because it must be a hard job to keep me safe.)
Next to the angel is a yellow question mark flecked with glitter. I also rescued it from the mega super thrift clearance center. It was part of some board game, but I thought it was pretty cool on its own. It’s a constant reminder for me to question.
Behind Kwan Yin is a Navajo vase one of my vendor friends at the Bridge gave me. He’s not Navajo, and he doesn’t make the vases; he buys them from Navajo women and resells them. This one had some problem with the glaze, so he gave it to me. The dried flowers in it were given to me by one of youngest friends, a delightfully funny girl I knew at the Bridge when she was five, the summer before she started kindergarten.
I can’t say that I actually believe any of these objects offer me protection. They’re more like good luck charms, although I don’t know if I believe in luck. (Lately, whenever something unfortunate happens to me, I do think about the three mirrors I broke in the span of three months last winter and wonder if maybe bad luck does exist.) I guess more than anything, they offer me comfort. The angel reminds me of my foremothers. Kwan Yin reminds me to treat others with compassion and mercy.The skeleton represents all things Grateful Dead to me. The question mark reminds me to keep searching and asking. And the vase makes me think of my friends.