*Natural Afghani Lapis
*Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
*Jet, Mother of Pearl, Amber
*Sterling and reticulating silver settings
*Signed, numbered, dated

Size:  7/8" x 1 1/2"

Buddha Eye Amulet Necklace

Buddha Eye Amulet Necklace
Buddha Eye Amulet Necklace Back
Dawa's Buddha Eye
Buddha Eye Amulet Necklace
Hover to zoom, Click to expand

In Loving Memory: Phill Michael 1970-2011

The remarks below were written in early 2008 and give a glimpse of what Phill Michael was like and why we developed our amulet project to support his Seven Summits expeditions and his other projects. If you followed his blog, you know that in the last few years of his life he conceived and began development of the Sherpa School, and we expected to offer these Buddha Eye amulets in support of the School. At this writing the fate of that project is uncertain due to Phill's untimely death.


For those of you who are wondering what I've been doing for the last two months, well... here it is. Two small amulets. You expected more? If you've ever done inlay perhaps you'll understand! Each one has between 45 and 50 pieces of stone, each little teensy piece has at least one or two curved edges. These amulets were made for Phill Michael, leader of the Secret Spot Seven Summits Expeditions and Ang Dawa Sherpa (check out their photos with amulets below). Each represents an eye of the Buddha. Phill ordered the dark lapis background because it reminded him of the sky above Mt. Everest. On the back are the footprints of the Buddha (Buddhapada) overlaid on reticulating silver which crinkles up to look like rough terrain. There is a representation of the wheel (dharmachakra) on each footprint.

Many of the Secret Spot Seven Summit expeditions, such as the traverse of Mt. Everest, will be minimalist climbs. Any summit attempt on these extraordinarily high peaks requires a support team, but the actual traverse will likely be accomplished by Phill and Dawa alone. To accomplish such feats requires that the pair balance and support each other like two eyes working together to perceive the world. Using the Buddha's eyes includes the biological metaphor but symbolically adds the spiritual dimension. They wear the amulets to reflect the bond that joins them as high altitude climbing partners who literally hold each other's lives in their hands.

The eyes are fascinating to study. The occipital lobes (the most massive system in the human brain) are at the back of the brain and the optic nerves trace a complicated path to get there. The information from both eyes must be integrated to give us a single 3-D picture, this processing requires that information from each eye must get to each lobe. To accomplish this, the nerves from the nasal side of each retina cross at the optic chiasm (so called in the Wikipedia article on the "visual system" but named "optic chiasma" in my anatomy book) and wander through various mid-brain structures before connecting to the ocular lobe on the opposite side of the brain from the eye. If you think about this, you will see that the right half of our field of view is processed on the left side of the brain and vice versa. Thus the right eye symbolizes left brain functions including calculative, logical thinking and the left eye symbolizes right-brained artistic and intuitive functions. (These relations seem to me to extend beyond the merely symbolic. Study people's faces and see how the left and right eye look in people with different professions. Some have two eyes which both seem awake and alive, some have one or the other that seems to be asleep. Scientists often criticize the view that the brain is highly lateralized, but even they have found certain general rules and will distinguish between "analytical" processing on the left and "holistic" on the right.)

Phill is an accomplished outdoorsman who regularly leads trips and expeditions to the four corners of our little blue planet, to the depths of the sea and the highest summits. Phill is climbing the "seven summits" (the highest mountain on each continent) to bring attention to the incredible scientific and medical advances that can improve and restore quality of life. He considers the ability to pursue one's dreams to be true freedom and a privilege, a gift to be cherished. By living his life to the fullest, leading trips, climbing the highest peaks and documenting his adventures, he hopes to encourage others to expand their horizons, set the highest goals for themselves and not impose imaginary limitations on their potentiality.

If you had visited his Secret Spot portal you would have found an astonishing array of video and still images on his Secret Spot TV site, his Baja site (where you might even find me!), his blog and all the rest. It's hard to believe one person has travelled to all these places, and even more impressive when you realize that just a few years ago he needed an artificial heart valve to repair a congenital defect. Major cardiac surgery hasn't slowed Phill down a bit, in fact it has enabled him to continue his passionate exploration of remote areas, sometimes under severe conditions. It was just such a trek that prompted the U.S. Department of the Interior to grant him their Citizen's Award for Bravery in 2008. Turns out they had to talk Phill into accepting the award (he didn't think he did anything unusual) by explaining to him that the publicity surrounding the award would help to educate the public about the dangers of Mt. Rainier and help prevent the tragedies that occur there when folks venture onto the mountain without adequate equipment or experience.

So... what happened?? The story begins after Phill had summited on a beautiful day. On his way down, the weather changed abruptly as it can on Mt. Rainier. The wind blew up as a major storm moved in and he thought the wind sounded like voices in the distance. Or were there voices in the distance? He couldn't be sure. Conditions were deteriorating rapidly, but rather than continue down the trail and get back for a hot meal (which he could have done easily since the trail is well marked), he decided to venture off trail over extremely dangerous terrain in the direction of the voices, still unsure whether he was actually hearing people in the distance. Conditions continued to worsen as he picked his way across slopes laced with hidden crevasses. In near white-out conditions, he emerged as if by magic out of a wall of flying snow before the desperate hikers. I can only imagine how startled they must have been to see this apparition, then how relieved! They had no shelter from the freezing wind, rain and snow nor any provisions. They were completely lost, disoriented and terrified. The rangers did not know they were on the mountain because they had filled out their permit form with incorrect vehicle information and had compounded their error by listing each other's cell phones as contact information, unaware there is no cell service on Rainier. Their relatives contacted the rangers when the couple failed to return, but the car they listed was not in the parking lot so everyone assumed they had left the area. Even if the rangers had known they were on the mountain, conditions did not permit a search party to set out. Phill rigged his guide tarp to protect them from the storm, fed them well from the overabundance of rations he always carried, and kept everyone warm during the blizzard under his expedition sleeping bag. Two days later when conditions improved slightly, the rangers commenced a search to look for Phill because he had not returned after his trip to the summit. They met him coming down the trail with the two hikers in tow. The video of the awards ceremony fills in the details and shows Phill's footage of the area and the weather conditions. Unfortunately it is no longer available on-line. In my copious free time I'm going to try to find it using the Wayback Machine and other tools...

Whew, are you back from that thrilling adventure? If so, we should talk about the stones in the amulets. Simmons and Ahsian agree that lapis lazuli activates psychic abilities. Ahsian notes "pyrite inclusions assist in acting upon one's highest ideals and one's visions." She also indicates that in the physical realm, turquoise helps oxygenate the blood and increase the amount of prana in the physical body. Kunz mentions that turquoise has long been thought to protect against falls. Simmons mentions that jet is a grounding and purifying stone, it assists the will in directing energy. Amber, as a form of solidified sunlight, brings warmth. These stones appear to be ideal for mountain climbing expeditions.

Update - 2018

After the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal in 2015, it took months to re-establish contact with Dawa. He had been leading a group on a trek across Nepal, bagging a few peaks along the way. Dawa is a Sirdar summit climber, Trekking and Mountaineering Guide, and Executive Board Member of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. BTW: I'd be happy to put you in contact with him if you're planning an expedition or trek in Nepal! His group had stopped in a tiny village for lunch. It was a lovely warm day and they were in tee shirts when the earthquake hit. The ensuing avalanche swept the village away. Fortunately everyone in his group survived, but they lost everything and even his amulet was torn off. When we finally connected, he asked me for another (I felt honored!). However, shipping to Nepal can be a problem, so years went by before my dear friend Barb decided to take a trip to the area and agreed to carry the new amulet to him. Here's the darling photo they sent from Kathmandu which as you can imagine made me feel very happy:


Amulets are available by special order...

If you would like to have an amulet, please contact me.

Dude, we miss you! Godspeed.

Phill Michael and Ang Dawa Sherpa at 13,000 ft on Denali's West Buttress.

I think there's a snowboard under all that powder

Phill staying connected via his beloved BGAN satellite terminal.

Everest Freestyle Expedition

Seven Summits Expeditions