crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Tanzanite: A Stone for April

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Gem quality tanzanite

Tanzanite grants clarity, that everything becomes crystal clear and your abilities of perception are honed and developed. It activates the seat of our inner wisdom, our intuitive selves—the Third Eye—the pineal gland, Ajna Chakra.

So often we lose the ability to tap into this seat of inner vision, becoming clouded by the illusions of maya surrounding and outwardly informing us in the three-dimensional world.

Awakening the Third Eye isn’t necessarily about developing overt psychic abilities like telekinesis or clairvoyance, but rather learning to trust your own inner wisdom, your innate knowing, without deferring to others for validation.

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Rough tanzanite piece

This relationship with tanzanite and learning to hear your wisdom and recognize the moments when it’s coming through are important in resolving issues with trust—mistrust of Self and others—especially if you have experienced situations of being discredited, questioned, or gaslighted. Because our culture is built on competitive drives and models of scarcity, from an early age we are taught there are finite opportunities available in the world, that there is room enough only for the visions of the powerful, we often become pitted against each other in the drive to accomplish and achieve, rather than support and endorse the perspectives and insights of others. This process of learning to trust the information that filters through the shields modern culture has systematically erected in order to dissociate us from our inner knowing, our awareness of our inextricable connection with everything.

This process of stepping into safer spaces by trusting yourself, discovering self-compassion, allowing your wisdom through is also a process in redefining power, how to claim it yourself by living your own inner vision, by manifesting your unique truth in day to day reality you will undoubtedly step into the wisdom of the universe of which you are an integral and wholly valuable part. Sungazing, especially during this time of waxing sunlight, is an amazing technique to begin the awakening of latent energies of the mind. 

Allow the sunlight to fall on your face to shine across your brow warming the skin and bringing a sense of vitality. Sunlight is one of the most powerful forces we can experience on a physical level. It precludes, inititates, and animates all life on Earth, providing for and sustaining through its pranic energy. There are moments when this connection between the pineal and pituitary glands themselves receive sunlight and information. Sungazing in this way even for only short periods allows sunlight to reach these inner structures of the brain, moving through the osseous structure of the head—the frontal and parietal bones. Permeating deep into the central brain to the seat between the cerebellum and the hypothalamus and at the base and central root of the two hemispheres of the brain.

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crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Green Fluorite: A Stone for March

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Green fluorite’s cubic structure

Fluorite is a colourful and vibrant crystal of the mineral calcium fluoride. Its crystalline habit is often cubic or octahedral, producing beautiful geometric structures. It occurs in a rainbow of colours—green, violet, yellow, blue, etc. Sometimes several colours occur at once, producing what is known as rainbow fluorite. As each colour variety of fluorite has unique energetic patterns, I will, for the purposes of this entry, be focusing solely on green fluorite and its wonderfully vibrant and uplifting quality. The name fluorite derives from the Latin roots fluor and fluere which mean “the flow of water”. Often with crystal healing, I like to turn to the etymology of the names of the crystals themselves, especially if the name possesses roots from ancient languages, often, as with most of the sciences, Latin or Greek. These root words give much insight to how the ancient and early modern cultures interpreted the meaning, purpose, and energetic quality of a stone or crystal. The –ite suffix of most crystals simply means “stone” or “rock”. Therefore, fluorite means “flowing stone” or “stone flowing like water”. Anyone who works with crystal energy can tell you how appropriate a name this is for the subtle quality of fluorite. On the Mohs scale of hardness, fluorite is quite soft—a 4—which also lends a very special nature to the energy of this lovely mineral. Also, fluorite, and its frequent colour change under ultraviolet light, gave its name to the phenomena of fluorescence. A further unique quality of fluorite is its habit of occasionally growing on top or along side of other minerals. This speaks to the crystal’s extreme adaptability and versatility. For all these reasons, fluorite is often recommended as a fundamental crystal for any healing collection, or for someone who is interested in beginning an exploration of crystal energy. In general terms, fluorite—like calcite—is readily available and quite inexpensive—with the exception of rarer varieties and formations.

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Cubic green fluorite cluster

Green fluorite resonates strongly with the Heart—Anahata Chakra—the deep-seated Heart of the Earth—of Gaia Herself. For me, a piece of green fluorite embodies the biosphere of Earth wholly within it—the Macro within the Micro. The soft expansiveness of green fluorite is like a heartbeat in the way its energetic emanations flow from within. It allows our hearts to begin the process of shedding ego and stepping into a place of authentic vulnerability. It holds a space of safety and refuge from the outside world, enabling an exploration of our inner landscapes. Green fluorite can aid in developing trust—trust of one’s self and trust in others—so that vulnerability can be inhabited without seeming like such a high-risk stake. This exploration of vulnerability is paramount to any exploration of the Shadow. Green fluorite is an appropriate crystal to work with during the spring—the season of stepping out from the hibernation of winter. As the buds and blossoms of trees begin to unfurl, so does green fluorite coax the Heart from its protective vessel following deep journeys to the Underworld following the Winter Solstice. It brings softness and aids the diffusion of residual tension or traumatic stress. Green fluorite’s energy is highly is nurturing and expansive, fostering growth, safety, and trust.

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Fluorite octahedron

The approaching Vernal Equinox affords us a time of balance and evaluation, providing an opportunity to synchronize ourselves with this energy and let go of things no longer serving our development and create space for new experiences to be formed. Green fluorite will aid this transition, promoting from within only those things which grow from a heart-centred space of love and trust. Fluorite can hold for us the strength and stability of the crux of the solar glyph—the astrological sigil of Earth, peace, and equilibrium—as we shake off the doldrums of winter, creating space and freshness within our being, and cultivating the confidence to move forward with inner trust. One of the keywords for green fluorite is gentility. Just as the spring awakens subtly below the below the ground and within the buds of trees and flowers, so too can green fluorite facilitate the awakening of latent energies within us. This crystal possesses a strong sensitivity, it is not going to allow forces to come crashing into your life, rather hold you in a state of safe awareness and the need for change becomes clearer.

I work extensively with crystals and stones to access information and insight from archetypes, and green fluorite is no exception. For me, the energetic signature of green fluorite resonates particularly strongly with Hathor—the Egyptian goddess of love, beauty, peace, aesthetics, and humanity itself. Hathor is an energetic archetype particularly present during our current tumultuous era to assist with the shift of consciousness taking place on Earth. She is aiding the return to Oneness and overseeing the dissolution of binary systems that fixate factions against one another, creating only tension and turmoil. Hathor’s energy channeled through green fluorite can be felt dramatically. The softness and gentility of this crystal is the perfect conduit to invite and hold the essence of such an archetype. Likewise, I also find green fluorite has aided my relationship with Green Tara—the Tibetan bodhisattva of the Earth itself, from whose essence the world is engendered. Both these entities exist within a high vibrational field elevated beyond the mundane, yet still readily accessible to those to seek them and green fluorite can assist this communion.

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Green Tara—Tibetan bodhisattva of the Earth itself

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Lemurian Quartz: A Stone for February

db_LemurianPhantom_MAIN1Legends the world over describe an ancient civilization, advanced in its philosophy and technology, existing in various ambiguous locations—islands, mountaintops—lost in the vague curtains of time, but nonetheless, having made its impression upon the collective memory of early human culture. These evolved, opulent cities were the abode of a human-like—or human-appearing; humanoid—race of extra-dimensional beings known as the Lemurians. Just as Atlantis occupies the mythos of many European and Mediterranean cultures, so do legends of Lemuria occur among the Pacific Islands and Americas. These lost continents always exist in a heightened position—at the climax or twilight of an evolved society—wielding wisdom and technology unknown on Earth.

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The lost continent of Lemuria/Mu

Western European folklore is full of mythic islands to the west—the direction of the setting sun—of transition and decline. Ys and Lyonesse in the Celtic lands of Brittany, Cornwall, and Wales; Hy-Breasil in Ireland. In Somerset, Avalon—the Isle of Apples—suggests an Otherworld where food aids the transition through dimensions. This consumption of magical food to pass over has a long folkloric history, from the popular prohibition against eating the food of Faeries, to Lord Tennyson’s “mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters” and Lewis Carroll’s use of food (“Eat me”) to assist Alice in her journey beyond the looking glass. Ynis Witrin—the City of Glass—today Glastonbury, describes the fragile nature of these Otherworlds. They exist only as phantoms shimmering delicately in the memory of a cultural group. In Xanadu, Kubla Khan’s stately magical palace, Coleridge places an idyllic pleasure-dome. Shambhala and Shangri-la, mythic cities in the Himalayas, exist on both a heightened geographic and spiritual plateau, only accessible to humanity through pilgrimages into the high mountains. Mu and Lemuria were primordial land masses in the Pacific Ocean, underlying the vast archipelagos of Polynesia and Micronesia. This is even what Lovecraft was tapping into with his idea of R’lyeh. Theosophists Helena Blavatsky, Charles Leadbeater, and Annie Besant describe the original 7 root races on Earth (including the Lemurians, Atlanteans, Hyperboreans, and Aryans), from whom modern humans are descended. Explored by Plato in Timaeus and Critias, and mentioned by Herodotus in Histories, Atlantis and Hyperborea (respectively) existed off the maps—in the zones marked hic sunt dracones—where the borders of the mystical and the mundane touch and mingle.

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Lemurian Seed Crystals

Following the deluge of these great cities, the survivors of Lemuria were said to flee to Easter Island and the western coast of the Americas, contributing their wisdom to the cultures of the Maya, Olmec, and Inca, and founding the cities and temple complexes of Tiahuanaco and Teotihuacan. In northern California, indigenous legend tells that Mount Shasta was populated with the spirits of a lost civilization from the Pacific. Much like the Celtic sidhe and their underground realms, the Lemurians are said to inhabit the very mountain itself. Likewise, the diaspora from Atlantis brought them to the British Isles, where they influenced the Celtic tribes, giving rise to the sect of Druids and the monolithic construction of sacred sites such as Stonehenge, Avebury, Carnac, Chartres, etc. The Merlin and Morgan—also known as the Lady of the Lake—were spiritual offices among the Celts held by priests and priestesses of the Atlantean lineage. This notion is explored and developed by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana Paxson in the Mists of Avalon series. This mythos serves to tell us that out of the mists of time come these characters to maintain the energetic presence of Atlantis/Avalon on Earth through the Arthurian sagas. In the later 19th century, the Spiritualists and Theosophists did much to channel this knowledge from the astral vaults, bringing awareness once again of these ancient cultures. Throughout the 20th century, many people have explored these ideas, developing theories of the hollow Earth and dimensional ascension. Interest in the ancient astronaut theory was brought forward by Erich von Däniken in the 1960s.

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Pleiades star cluster

In this way, these stories are reminding us of a time—a historic moment—when contact was made between humans throughout the globe and extra-dimensional intelligence. This contact resulted in the ubiquitous archetype of the Star-People—the gods of the sky— come down from heaven or come through the veil/portal of reality with wisdom for the advance of human evolution. Many say the Lemurian and Atlantean races originated in the Pleiadian star system. In some cases, these interactions with humans were sustained and great knowledge was brought through and encoded in human memory—Thoth and Hermes Trismegistus are such characters existing in the intermediary space between Heaven—the stars—and Earth. The Emerald Tablet of Thoth—an ancient hieroglyphic document invested essentially with the wisdom of the Universe—exists not in the physical world, but in the etheric realms, the less dense ripples—the folds and unfolds—of the curtain—the veil—undulating through what we experience as primary, focused, observable reality. These documents are apart from what we can measure, name, categorize, and quantify.

Lemuria is important because it teaches us not to accept things as they are—that we—as humans—possess abilities to alter our consciousnesses enough to manifest diverse and multifold realities. Dissent is breeding in the collective psychology of an entire generation, seeking alternative models. These legends of the Lemurians and Atlanteans provide inspiration that shifts in our collective behaviour and understanding are possible. That in our ancient genetic blueprints are models for the possibility to shift away from power-over models and step into individual empowerment—to allow unuseful paradigms to slough away.

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Golden Healer Lemurian cluster

The Lemurian crystals themselves are very special, high-vibratory quartz from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. New beds of Lemurian quartz have been discovered elsewhere, however, the original deposit was unearthed in Brazil. Lemurian crystals themselves are quartz from special beds that were deposited and encoded on Earth with the wisdom of these beings. They were planted specifically for that purpose—to hold for humanity the wisdom that characterized these mysterious, ancient peoples. The crystals themselves are often etched with barcodes—striations across the crystal’s face—creating a palpable series of ridges that can be read by touch. The faces of Lemurian crystals also often contain record-keepers—small pyramidal etchings onto the crystalline surface. These unique features of Lemurian quartz encode it deeply with subtle information—the Lemurian crystals are teachers and guides awaiting to be uncovered and brought into communion with spiritual seekers.

LemurMainDepending upon the presence of other minerals and elements within the quartz itself, many Lemurians have subtle, yet distinct colouration. From tangerine, to lemon yellow, and rosy pink, Lemurian quartz is available in a wide range of energetic frequencies to aid very particular spiritual work. These colourations are due to the presence of iron ores such as hematite and limonite within the crystalline structure. Tibetan quartz is another of these specialized quartz crystals encoded with extra-dimensional information. Found exclusively in the Himalayan mountains, Tibetan quartz is clear with inclusions of carbon, giving the crystal ink-like wisps of black throughout its structure. It is very grounded and detoxifying. Overall, Lemurian quartz carries the vibration of pure light and perfection. In this way, it irradicates doubt and fear, creating space only for love to exist. They are crystals intentionally encoded and left with information and wisdom for future species on Earth to read and use. Conveying crucial information via download, Lemurian crystals are bringers of significant wisdom for our time. To work personally with a Lemurian or Atlantean crystal is to welcome powerful insight and propitious change into your life. The amazing aspect of the Lemurian quartz is its ability to then provide you with the emotional and psychological support to receive this change into your life openly and with grace, maximizing the potential for shift and development. In the same way reality shifts from perspectives in the mind, so do the Lemurian and Atlantean crystals aid the possibilities to perceive and build things anew.

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crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Labradorite: A Stone for January

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Polished labradorite palmstone

Labradorite is a majestic stone of strength, protection, and transformation. A member of the plagioclase family, it is comprised of feldspar and was named by Moravian missionaries to Labrador in 1770. This stone’s remarkable physical appearance lends to its magickal and spiritual applications. According to Inuit legend, the aurora borealis was once trapped inside this stone, until some of its light escaped into the sky and became the magnificent northern lights. This legend speaks to the play of light and flashes of colour within labradorite’s structure. The stone itself is an unremarkable grey-green colour and somewhat translucent. The wonderful iridescent display—specifically called labradorescence—is the result of separated and layered intergrowths within the stone. The depth and orientation of these layers, along with the angle of the light source, determine the effect. The colours range from bright blues to sea green, golden yellow to copper, and sometimes even violet. While first identified by Europeans in Labrador, it has since been mined throughout the world. Much of the labradorite on the market today comes from Madagascar. It is a very popular semi-precious stone used in jewelry, and has also more recently been used to produce stylish floor and kitchen tiles.

aurora borealisOne of the primary energetic qualities of labradorite is its capacity to aid us in finding our own inner spiritual strength. The bright colour display of this stone emanates from deep within its crystalline layers. In this same way, it can become a powerful ally in our own journeys to discover the radiance within. When observing the stone closely, the emergence of colour and light informs each stone’s individual quality. A piece displaying mostly blue will have a slightly different personality—or energetic signature—than one rich in yellow tones. No two are alike. Forging a relationship with labradorite can also be a journey in discovering our own latent spiritual gifts. For me, a primary keyword for labradorite is Protection. By this, I mean it strengthens and fortifies the aura, bolstering it from within so that you may deflect negative, inappropriate, or unwanted influences. We are always in co-creation—sharing healthy amounts of energy with one another and all of Nature—however, some empathic and highly sensitive types have much more permeable energetic boundaries. If you sense that your empathic nature drains you, labradorite can be helpful in constructing a more autonomous field. This is not to say that you must sever bonds with the world around you, but often we can be unaware, or unconscious, of unbalanced energy exchanges, especially over long periods of time. For those in unhealthy relationships with others—or oneself—this is very important. Only in understanding and strengthening our boundaries are we best able to discover our true selves. So often we fall into relationships that demand we mask or hide our authentic selves for the sake of a job, to satisfy family members, to please a partner, to meet the expectations of self. Working with labradorite can help the process of finding your voice and identity in a world of others seeking to do the same, which often results in many adhering to models set by popular culture and mass media. By strengthening the auric field, we establish safe space within our own being to be unedited and inhabit if the energy of others is too draining or demanding. This personal space is so important to allow breathing room to assess ourselves fully and honestly in a way we don’t often permit or find time for. By projecting a strong auric boundary—strengthened by labradorite’s shimmering light—we can grant ourselves the freedom to be vulnerable and explore insecurities that have perhaps long haunted us.

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Polished labradorite sphere

The shimmering flashes of labradorite connect us with Bifrost—the rainbow bridge between Heaven and Earth in Norse mythology. Being a channel—a conduit—between the archetypal essences of Earth and Sky—Yin and Yang, etc.—is the primary goal of much shamanic practice. The shaman—the magickal practitioner—seeks to balance within their being these energies; to possess the ability to shift, to step from one world to the next—from one mode of conscious awareness to another—with grace and ease. All is subject to the shifting, changing flow of the Cosmos—from the grand scale of galaxies, to all minute, atomic structure—and we are as much participants as observers in the fluid Universe. I consider labradorite to be one of the prominent shamanic stones—a crystalline guardian to altered states of awareness. Becoming acquainted with the nature of shapeshifting is to initiate oneself into the realms of the non-linear and the non-local. Labradorite can help with becoming accustomed to inhabiting this transitional space. Just as in the light the appearance of the stone shifts to reveal rich flashes of colour from what before was a dull grey surface, so does our being shift and metamorphose as we explore our existence among levels of consciousness. As we awaken Kundalini and explore the Tree of the Life within our own being, our vision can be trained to turn inward and gather insight from our subtle bodies and the non-physical world. Versions of ourselves exist on the Inner Planes as much as the outer, 3D reality of Malkuth—Muladhara, the Root Chakra—that we inhabit throughout normal, waking consciousness.

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Ajna Chakra

Shapeshifting can be a vital lesson in non-attachment—that the true nature of the Cosmos is not concretely objective. It is this changing perspective—evolving modes of seeing—that links labradorite, for me, to Ajna Chakra—the Third Eye. Associated with pure Light, Ajna means “Command” in Sanskrit and is the seat of our mental command—the centre of pure intuitive, spiritual knowledge. The lotus of Ajna Chakra has two petals representing the union of Ida and Pingala nadis as they rise up the spinal column and unite in divine wisdom at the energy vortex of the forehead. This reflects the perfect synthesis of polar forces, just as the union of Sky and Earth in shamanic practice. From this place of balance and awareness we may begin working to see with inner vision and learn to trust our intuitive, innate wisdom to create change in our outer lives. The ephemeral veil of the aurora borealis as it shifts and dances across the sky can teach us to release our dependence on concrete answers and finite, observable reality. Rather, it can aid in opening us to the realms of divination, imagination, and dreams. By trusting the world of our inner dreams and desires we become the Fool of the Tarot. The Fool is 0, the empty capacity of all things to come into being. The Fool is not silly or aimless, but rather bravely inhabits the process of the journey fully, setting foot out the door, embarking along the path ahead with intuitive trust, openness, and wonder. This is a fitting match for the month of January and stepping into the new year. January is named for Janus, the two-faced Roman god of transition and the new year. Janus looks back from where he’s come, but also casts his gaze to the future, inhabiting both to gather wisdom and clarity. Janus inhabits all worlds, accepting plural realities and the possibilities of All. This is the wisdom of labradorite. It can teach us to hone and develop our inner vision—building intention in the Astral Field so that it might manifest in denser form upon the Material Plane. Now that 2016 has dawned, we step into the growing light of the Sun as it waxes toward the Vernal Equinox in March. Harness this energy to develop your psychic sight to align the highest desires and greatest joys of our inner being with the world around you and walk the bridge between dreams and reality. Embrace change as a means for growth and expansion and work with labradorite as an ally to fortify your personal light as it mingles with the light of All That Is.

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Janus, Roman god of the new year

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crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Selenite: A Stone for December

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Rough clear selenite

Selenite, sometimes called Satin Spar, is a crystalline form of gypsum that is extremely unique in its structure and capabilities. When you hold a piece—a sphere or palmstone—in your hand it will quickly absorb your body heat and seem to radiate energy itself. A 2 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, it is so soft it can be scratched by a fingernail and will slowly crumble if left in water. Because of its soft, pearly white lustre, selenite was named after the Moon, selene, in Greek. The goddess of the moon, Selene was the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia and sister to the sun god, Helios, and goddess of the dawn, Eos. Selene was given the epithet Phoebe, meaning bright. Selene herself is one guise of a triple lunar goddess—Selene is the face of the full moon, Artemis the waxing crescent moon, and Hecate the waning crescent. In legend, Selene fell in love with Endymion, a mortal shepherd. In order for her to be with him, Zeus caused a death-like sleep to fall on Endymion, who Selene nightly visits in an eternal tryst.

4931: Selene and Endymion (ceiling). Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Selene & Endymion, Erasmus Quellin 1897

Likewise, the mineral selenite can bring to our unconscious selves, our subtle bodies, and psyche great peace and tranquility. It is an indispensable spiritual tool for soothing and calming any stale, outmoded, or negative energy. The story of Selene strongly connects the mineral with the magick of moonlight—the Otherworld, the Astral, the non-physical. By clearing our energy fields and providing a suitable, sacred environment it connects us with the Higher Self—the Holy Guardian Angel according to the Theosophists. This is the extent of our personal etheric body, it is the most angelic, Christ-like nature of our individual consciousnesses.

Selenite, because of its ability for absorption and diffusion, will radiate pure Light through the darkest period of the solar year. As the Sun approaches its nadir at the Winter Solstice, selenite will aid in providing a soft and kind reminder that the shadows of winter are not all-encompassing—that on the longest night, when the darkness seems impenetrable, there remains a soft, silky flicker of white light. Selenite can be used to cleanse and charge the aura with this pure Cosmic Light. It will work to bring space to the auric field, decompressing any densities that have accumulated during the active part of the year. Here at the Winter Solstice, we find ourselves in moments of quiet stillness as the light of the Sun decreases, the seasons of snow and rain commence and we turn inward to reflect on the preceding season of growth and activity. The darkness of the Winter Solstice—Yuletide—is an appropriate time to begin work to remove lingering shadow elements from the psyche. The rebirth of the Sun is an auspicious time for new beginnings and the setting of intentions. It is important to harness the natural energies of the Cosmos to aid and guide our own journeys. Work with selenite to remove stale influences, unproductive thoughts, and addictive patterns.

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Carved selenite spheres

Selenite wands can be extremely helpful with clearing unnecessary and unwanted energetic blocks from the personal auric field. Because of its natural structure, selenite is very readily carved into long wand-like shapes. The purpose of the magick wand is to act as an extension of your own will, to gently command your intention into being by channeling it with the flow of Universal Energy—prana, qi, or ki—through the wand. A selenite wand itself will draw in and collect energy densities in the same way cotton candy sticks to the baton. Whenever I feel an incorrect energetic build-up around me, I like to scan my body with a long, flat selenite wand. As I do this I imagine in my mind’s sight that the soft, shimmery selenite is dissolving all worries and concerns, leaving space available in the field for new growth. As a result of this work, your aura will scintillate, expand, and hold a greater affinity for newness and initiation. Where space has been created, new energy will flow. This method of aeration will bolster and buffer your own energy field— if you feel depleted it can refresh and tone the energies in your life. The power of selenite to then dismantle and dissolve the densities it absorbs from your field is nearly miraculous. It is often called the only self-clearing crystal. While this is said by many, I still clear selenite with sound every time I use it. In my experience, I have found that because of its softness and tendency for simultaneous absorption/diffusion, selenite itself is a vulnerable substance to the influence of the energy around it. For that reason, I always clear selenite with the crisp sound of Tibetan tingshas.

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Raw selenite wand

I’ve been combining my work with crystals lately with elements of practice from Tantra and Kundalini, namely mantra and pranayama. Both of these spiritual tools will increase the flow of energy in and around your aura. Both focusing and controlling the mind and breath with these techniques, you can infuse your intention for the new year with the power of your vital essence. Pranayama—breathwork—and mantra—chanting—work to manipulate and increase the flow and quality of prana. In Vedic tradition, prana is not just the breath, but your vital life force, what in China is called qi and in Japan ki. One of my favourite ways of balancing the energy channels of the body is Circular Nostril Breath pranayam. This simple exercise brings balance to the central energy highway of our bodies—the spinal column—by charging us with alternating breaths from each nostril. The left nostril is associated with Yin—Ida nadi, the Feminine—and is named Chandra bhedana after the Moon. Likewise, the right nostril is linked with Yang—Pingala nadi, the Masculine—and is called Surya bhedana after the Sun. Circular breath is accomplished by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged asana with the tongue pulled to the roof of the mouth. Close your eyes and focus your inner attention at the Third Eye in the centre of your brow. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Draw breath in through your left nostril, hold. Remove your thumb from the right side, and now close your left nostril with your index finger. Exhale through your right nostril. Keep the left side closed, and inhale through the right side. Release the left nostril and continue to repeat the process for as long as you need. Three minutes is long enough to put you in a refreshed and transformed state.

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Om Mani Padme Hum

A pranayama practice can be combined with mantra to further enhance the experience. Chanting mantras stills and focuses the mind. The slow vibratory nature of the chants refreshes the aura with our own unique pure sound. You can recite chants along with music, or entirely on your own. You can chant silently in your head, or out loud, depending on your needs and desire. The mantra gives our mind something to focus on with sacred intent, allowing the accumulation of hectic mundane reality to fall away and recede for the duration of the practice. One of my favourite mantras is to the Bodhisattva of Compassion—Avalokitesvara—who is depicted with 1000 hands as a gesture—mudra—of limitless and enduring blessing. OM MANI PADME HUM are the six sacred syllables of this Tibetan mantra which means “I honour the Jewel in the Lotus.” The jeweled-lotus is an image of the bodhisattva, and also refers to our inner reflection—that the innately distilled jewel within each of us illuminates the world. There is also a longer version of the Avalokitesvara mantra that I have become particularly fond of:

Namo Ratna Trayaya, Namo Arya Jnana,
Sagara, Vairochana, Byuhara Jara Tathagataya,
Arahate, Samyaksam Buddhaya,
Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay,
Arhata Bhyah, Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah,
Namo Arya Avalokite, Shoraya Bodhisattvaya,
Maha Sattvaya, Maha Karunikaya,
Tadyata, Om Dhara Dhara,
Dhiri Dhiri, Dhuru Dhuru,
Itte We, Itte Chale, Chale,
Purachale, Purachale,
Kusume, Kusuma, Wa Re,
Ili Milli, Chiti Jvalam, Apanaye Shoha.

Mantras can be recited with a mala—prayer beads—to count the 108 standard repetitions per cycle. By adding these simple practices with crystals, breath, and sound to our daily lives we can begin to usher in new modes of consciousness, new understandings of self, and, as a result, new understandings of each other and our relations.

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Avalokitesvara—bodhisattva of compassion

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Shungite: A Stone for November

Raw shungite

Raw shungite

Shungite is a mineraloid from Karelia, Russia and named after the village of Shunga near where it was discovered. It is 98% carbon which relates it energetically to jet, another mineraloid with a similar carbon composition. Deposits of shungite have only been found in regions of northern Russia. Extremely light to hold, the density, texture, and luster of shungite is very unique, setting it apart from other minerals and stones immediately upon touch. The purifying effect of shungite has long been known. In 18th-century Russia, Peter the Great established a spa in the region shungite was mined to advocate the use of the mineral’s water-purifying capabilities. Its properties can be most easily used to create a crystal or gem elixir. An elixir is created by energetically charging a glass or jar of water with the transmutational capacities of shungite. By placing a tumbled piece in a glass water bottle for at least 12 hours, you can energetically filter the water before consumption. Shungite is also excellent for dampening electromagnetic interference from cell phones and wifi. If you are sensitive to EMF radiation, placing a grid of shungite around your apartment, your bed, or just a wireless router will absorb much of the unhealthy inference you may feel in your personal subtle field. By extension, shungite allows our bodies to detoxify themselves from negative conditioning in order to prepare us to align with the true spiritual nature of Light. Shungite subtly works to restructure our bodies on a quantum level.

Shungite pyramid

Shungite pyramid

Due to its carbon fullerene composition, shungite connects us with our most ancient genetic ancestry. Carbon, present in and fundamental to all living organisms, gives us an organic blueprint to trace our most ancient genealogies. It taps us into the evolutionary lineage of Earth itself, linking us directly with the primordial single-celled invertebrates swimming in the dark Precambrian seas—back in the depths of unfathomable time. In this way, shungite will aid us in ego-dismantling endeavours, taking us to an aeon of abundant emptiness—pre-culture, pre-language, pre-industry—long before human interference. It is here our collective consciousness can rest—nameless, faceless, formless—and exist as Pure Being, inextricably linked to All. Shungite, being such a potent detoxifier, can also facilitate unprecedented healing with the capacity to clear millennia of genetic programming. In order to make the shift into fifth-dimensional consciousness, there is first a necessity for repairing our very DNA that carries these programs of behaviour and thought. We have unconsciously come to embody the Patriarchy to such an extent that we carry it in our genetic structure. Written in our very bodies, too long have we been encoded with its incorrect paradigm for our current time—that the primary mode of being is one fixed on scarcity and competition, and thereby predicated solely on survival. The alternative to this is cooperation and communication as tactics for communities to form around collective goals to generate abundance and prosperity for all sentient beings.

Kundalini rising up the Spinal Column

Kundalini rising up the Spinal Column

Shungite can work to aid us in dismantling centuries of ubiquitous conditioning and begin to slough off the husks of subjugation and create new sacred and sovereign habitations within us—ones in which we honour the importance of remaining aware of the power of our individual spiritual agency. We all possess the ability to shapeshift out of/away from the patriarchal, capitalist illusion that seems to permeate Western culture, thereby dominating the current Collective Dream on Earth itself. However, as shamans from all world traditions have been saying, we’ve been dreaming the wrong dream for too long and can see the horrific repercussions manifesting everywhere. There is a need to grant permission for the new dream to form—admittedly amorphous—with the potential to usher unprecedented freedom and expression. This can only be arrived at and truly claimed by the individual through their own experiences and desire. The challenge is certainly great, to shrug off the yoke of slyly engrained forces and inhabit a much more unknowable mode of being. Shungite can aid this process. It can facilitate the stripping away of the unhealthy advances in technological evolution—providing a direct link to our most primordial essences. The one common element we share with those earliest vertebrate ancestors, is the spine, and even before that, simply the fluid motion of undulation. This is the movement of Shakti—of Kundalini. By connecting with shungite’s deep, grounded Earth energy, it can begin the emancipation of the Sacred Spiral within our being and its coiled dance as it ascends the spinal column—from the Micro scale of the helical structure of DNA, to the Macro revolutions of planets around stars, and the wheeling arms of great galaxies through time. The rising Kundalini lends power to awakening Shakti within us from her long reticence, further empowering the spiritual wisdom of Sophia descending from above. This union of the Sacred Feminine manifests at the heart and emanates outward to the world. The serpentine symbol comes to us from other traditions as well—the Caduceus of Greek tradition is the staff carried by magical Mercury/Hermes Trismegistus. Up the central axis—the spine—are coiling two serpents representing Ida and Pingala—the feminine and masculine energy channels of Vedic and Tantric pranayama. Also, it is the Ouroboros—the ancient primordial serpent, coiled about the World Egg—from the beginning of time and consuming its own ending into eternity. We see this movement of energy in the coiled motion of the Serpent through Eden—seeking out Eve to whisper to her ideas of wisdom free from the patrilinear bureaucracy of God and Adam. Without consulting her sacred consort—out of whom she was reverse-birthed—Eve accedes to wisdom through her own ambition and will. Like Eve, we have to claim this wisdom each for ourselves. It can only be acquired from within—connecting with Muladhara at the base of the spine—the coccyx is the tip of the snake’s tail—allowing our energy to ground into the solid foundations of Gaia, opening the Sacred Gate—mula bandha—the perineal lock—so that we commune in oneness with this ancient essence.

Tumbled shungite stones

Tumbled shungite stones

Since it is so carbon-based, shungite possesses within its atomic structure the energy of once-living material upon the Earth—thus holding an energetic imprint of this spiraling movement through epochs and aeons. It is the result of great metamorphoses driven by the coiled serpentine essence laying dormant in all things. Like coal, shungite’s carbon composition draws in also the power of fire and ignition. By working closely with this substance of the deep earth, we begin to stir and awaken this ancient spirit. The profound transition through densities that occurs during the Kundalini rising aligns us properly with the sustaining quality of Elemental Earth and the material world itself. Our bodies become bridges between Sky and Earth to allow the rebalancing of these forces to take place within ourselves as microcosmic reflections of the Macrocosm. With shungite we can begin the process of delving deep into our ancestral past.

Caduceus of Hermes

Caduceus of Hermes

A significant part of taking this step requires us to allow ourselves to acknowledge spiritual anguish—in many cases hugely subconscious from generations of programmed amnesia. Western medicine invalidates etheric pain since it is not obviously generated by or immediately felt in the body itself. Nonetheless, if left unaddressed for generations it can manifest from the Astral into the physical body as a slow distillation. It is symptomatic of a lack of equilibrium in our lives, and the recent recorded—and not recorded—history of the world as a whole. What we innately know in our soul structure is not being reflected by the external world, thereby cyclically fuelling only a negative worldview focused solely on survival. By existing within such a restrictive paradigm, the possibility for alternate modes of being seems utterly unimaginable. Because of the culture of castration and crucifixion we are indoctrinated into from birth, we see only scarcity, competition, disregard, and apathy reflected back to us. Centuries of slow genetic trauma have been exerted upon us. When we experience trauma—physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual—a part of our soul vacates our being to return to Source. By tapping back into the primal essences of our being, we can begin the process of Soul Retrieval—to seek out the pieces that have left us—not just as individuals, but as a collective race and global organism. Our attention has long been misplaced, now seeking for it solely in all forms of materialism.

To begin to counteract this programming, we can begin to dismantle it first on our most etheric levels—in our least dense bodies. With progressive work, the shift will manifest successively through your subtle system into your physical tissue and structure itself—into your cellular, molecular, and atomic being. I propose a meditative journey to trace back through time—and in many senses, unknit—our genetic threads back to the deep primordial Oneness that pervaded all form and structure. We are beginning a conscious move back to the wisdom of the ancients, connected to the land, the sea, the sky, animals, and the very weather itself. We are moving away from the domineering and oppressive structures of the last 4000 years, and welcoming back the honouring, recognition, and integration of Shakti—the Sacred Feminine.

Sit in darkness, perhaps in a bath with sea salt mixed with vetiver and sandalwood essential oils and the light of a candle Line the bottom of the bathtub with tumbled shungite pebbles. Lay in the water and feel the ancient pulse of primordial Earth begin to awaken in the stones and stir and swirl in the water. Shift your attention inward and focus awareness on your breath. Continue with deep, rhythmic inhalations—drawing in the vital Prana of the Universe, of which you and your breath are an integral part. On the exhalation, remain aware of the opportunity to release that which is no longer necessary for your journey. Hold awareness that the water you are immersed in is absorbing this energy. The water is becoming a liquid portal that allows you to slip out of your current physical body and become merely an essence in the Astral, transcendent through time, as liquid as the water around you. Fix your inner sight on the space between your eyes, gaze inward and upward at your brow and begin to see with your hidden wisdom. Just as the Kundalini rises and stirs within you, it clears all your energy centres on its journey up the spinal column. This connection plugs you into your ancient awareness, free from the imposed jurisdictions of culture that have accrued, obscuring our ability for pure being. Feel the inner eyelid of Ajna Chakra beging to flutter like the sleeping eyelid of a great slumbering dragon. This is Shakti—the forgotten Ouroboros—the circling serpent about the World Egg, ready to birth the New Aeon. Count down in your head from 10 to 1. As you do so, connect with the serpentine energy radiating from the shungite, permeating the water, rising into your sacrum and beginning its journey up the spine. Feel yourself begin to shed layers, beginning with the most densely manifested in the physical world—your body and ego, your name, your career and status. As your spiral back through time, see yourself swirling with the Milky Way—dissolving—witnessing the backward procession of evolution. This is not a returning to ignorance, but rather a shedding of artifice. You are returning to your base nature—that passed on through time from one generation to the next—encoding us individually with the wisdom gathered by the experiences of those informing our makeup. Become aware of the infinite waves of ancestors from whom you are descended—from your grandparents and great-grandparents, back to Australopithicus and the earliest hominids. Travel back further still—mammal to reptile, vertebrate to invertebrate—the simplest soft structures undulating in the ancient briny womb of Tiamat—the primordial sea. Let the water drain from the tub and feel the surface tension—the meniscus—the fleeting edge of now—the moments pull back until you are one with the sediment at the bottom of the ocean—deep in the Abyssal Plane. Simply hold an awareness that here you are the Rainbow Bridge channeling the open, free, and healthy flow of energy between Sky and Earth—Yin and Yang—which we can think of energetic poles, animating the flow of energy between them in the form of the coiling Caduceus in every DNA molecule. When you are ready, lay the shungite stones on your body to allow your awareness to coalesce back into your physical body and move forward with this ambitious but necessary work.

Ouroboros

Ouroboros

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crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Rhodochrosite: A Stone for October

Tumbled rhodochrosite

Tumbled rhodochrosite

The month of October is certainly one of my favourites. Growing up in rural Nova Scotia, the forests and fields turn into swathes of ochre and gold, and the crisp night air and lack of light pollution reveal even the faintest stars in the dark depths of sky. Taking a lead from September’s post and the theme of Shadow Work, I’ve chosen a stone for October to help foster self-love and deep emotional healing. The “peering behind the veil” that undoubtedly takes place when we address the Shadow in Jungian terms can be a harrowing experience, dredging up emotion and memory we had long forgotten or stifled. The revisiting of past trauma or repressed emotion can be unsettling and unexpected. Key aspects of Shadow Work often reveal the true causes of repetitive negative or self-destructive behaviour. Whether self-harm, substance abuse, or unhealthy relationships, we can find ourselves repeating these negative cycles as a method of masking buried issues, often, but not always, from childhood or adolescence. I’ve learned over the years that journaling is one of the best ways for me to notice these repetitive behaviours, often I’ll find myself in startlingly similar situations from one year to the next, to the point where I must ask myself: “Where is this behaviour coming from?” and “What aspects of myself am I trying to mask or avoid?” I wanted to offer suggestions for a crystal or mineral to work with to aid in the journey down the psychological rabbit hole. If the Shadow Psyche seems too enveloping—sometimes the reins during this type of work can seem to be taken from our control—then fostering a strong sense of self-love is paramount to this undertaking.

Crystalline rhombohedral rhodochrosite

Crystalline rhombohedral rhodochrosite

Rhodochrosite is a mineral that offers this energy of self-love and deep healing. From the Greek word rhodókhros, meaning “rose-coloured”, rhodochrosite gets its magnificently rich pink colouring from the presence of manganese. It most often occurs in massive aggregate formations, rather than crystals. Specimens of rhodochrosite are most commonly identified by their alternating bands of rosy pink and opaque white. This variety is often found in crystal shops in tumbled form and is quite accessible and affordable. Especially sought after are the crystalline specimens of rhodochrosite. These occur much less frequently and form small rhombohedral crystals of deep red and hot pink. Scalenohedral crystals also sometimes form, and are the most rare. The colour of these crystalline formations of rhodochrosite is of such intensity they seem almost unnatural. I have one of these small rhombohedrons and the quality of the energy emanating from it is much more intensified than the more common banded variety. This is not to say the banded variety is inferior. I work more often with the banded massive forms because I feel it is more approachable and conducive to meditative and alignment workings. The crystalline specimens of rhodochrosite simply hold an extremely condensed version of the same energetic signature and may be more appropriate for people with greater experience working with crystal energy. Some people find the energy of certain crystals too intimidating or intense to work with immediately and need to develop a relationship with the crystal in question.

For me, rhodochrosite represents the Heart—not so much romantic or sexual love, but self-love. It is this relationship with the Self that many of us struggle with and attempt to displace by investing in relations with others before taking the time and doing the work to build a strong sense of self-love and respect. The colour of rhodochrosite emits such gentility and warmth—it is both comforting and soothing. I consider self-love as the core of being, only from which can love for those around us emanate. We cannot hope to love others if we cannot first love ourselves. This love for Self is not to be confused with narcissism or vanity. It is our deepest, foundational relationship with Self, without which our actions, words, and thoughts become superficial, seeking meaning and validation only outside ourselves. This denial of Self is largely what contributes to emotional and psychological issues that manifest later as destructive behaviour and nihilistic thought cycles. By holding within ourselves a strong foundational core of self-love, we work with the Law of Causation and send out the same love to the Universe, much like the ripples of a wave in a body of water.

Cross section of rhodochrosite stalactite

Cross section of rhodochrosite stalactite

The concentricity of the banded rhodochrosite speaks strongly to me of the heartwood of trees and growth rings. If we have a solid, steadfast relationship with Self, we can then emanate love to others—to the Universe as a coexisting Macrocosm—and likewise receive emanations of love back. The rosy ringed bands of this stone also remind me of notions of past and future. Often we think that what is past is past and that the future is unknowable. While from certain perspectives this may be true, I feel we can project intention back to our earlier selves to aid the healing process, and likewise send intention to our future selves. We can use rhodochrosite to send emanations of love and wisdom back to our childhood or adolescent selves that perhaps suffered pain or abuse. Within Reiki philosophy, this is what is accomplished by invoking the wisdom of Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen—a symbol that opens a portal through space and time—allowing us to send intentional energy to our younger self, or to another location or time, future or past. This can also allow us access to healing our ancestral lineage and any grief or trauma that may have occurred in eras past. It is said that the emotional and psychological impact of such hardships can carry forward in genetics for up to seven generations.

Reiki symbol Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

Reiki symbol Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

For me personally, one of the most evocative symbols embodying this essence of boundless compassion and grace is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As the most pervasive—yet somewhat disguised—image of the Sacred Feminine throughout the last 1500 years, Mary is a powerful archetype to turn to for the healing of grief. Through her Seven Sorrows—represented by the seven daggers—Mary emanates transcendental compassion and wisdom—represented by the white roses or lilies. The symbol of the rose itself—and, by extension, rhodochrosite—is one steeped in spiritual tradition. In the Middle Ages, the rose as an abstract symbol was a representation of the womb of Mary—the sacred vestibule—the Holy of Holies—sanctified to carry the infant Christ. She is the merciful quality of boundless love in which we can share, be enfolded and embraced. If Christian mythology doesn’t work for you, Quan Yin—the female bodhisattva of mercy from traditional Chinese mythology—holds the same archetypal energy of compassionate wisdom. Her names means “She Who Hears the Cries of the World.”

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Remain mindful that the heart is the meeting place of the lower and upper energy centres. Is it at Anahata Chakra that we synthesize the grounded energies of Earth—pulled up through the soles of our feet—and the celestial energies of Sky—drawn in through the crown of the head. As such our bodies are conduits for universal energy, forming a toroidal field of continual flow about us, linking the Heart with the Above—Kether—the Crown—as well as with the Below—Malkuth—the Root. This energetic circuit completes the Middle Pillar of Qabalistic teaching. In this way we are linked with Source, as well as with the Earth itself. Maintaining this alignment is certainly a challenge since so much of our culture indoctrinates us to emphasize one or the other. In eras past, the emphasis was certainly on the spiritual centre, that all life on Earth was merely a transitory way station during our path to spiritual attainment. However, popular 21st-century culture is turning the wheel entirely, so that the only meaningful emphasis is placed on the acquisition of material goods, social status, and monetary success. We’ve been suffering the Matter/Spirit divide since Descartes—that the body is devoid of spirit, and that spirit wants nothing to do with the carnal sins of the body. By establishing a healthy Middle Pillar within our subtle body, we can begin to strengthen the link between the two realms. The importance of this move towards unification is reflected everywhere in the illusion of separation that continues to contribute to pain and suffering. Rhodochrosite can be a wonderful ally in the journey to meet the Shadow and the union and integration that can occur within our own beings, and also that on a successively Macro scale of global and universal harmony and wisdom.

Quan Yin, bodhisattva of compassion

Quan Yin, bodhisattva of compassion

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Amethyst: A Stone for September

amethyst-natural-crystal-point-8cm_3

Natural amethyst point

After giving some thought to what stone or crystal would be an appropriate energetic tool for the month of September, I kept coming back to amethyst. The traditional birthstone of the month of February, amethyst is usually more strongly associated with the springtime and energetic rebirth, however, I am currently appreciating its qualities for the transition into the dark half of the year. As the Autumnal Equinox approaches, the northern hemisphere shifts from the warm and bright days of summer, to the growing dark and cooler temperatures of winter. We move through a delicate celestial dance that unfolds between the two solstices—the zenith and nadir of the solar year. As such, I have always perceived the equinoxes as gateways—sacred instances of perfect balance in the spring and autumn—that usher us from one kingdom to the other—from Light to Dark. The equinoxes are especially auspicious moments on the Wheel of the Year because they represent the magickal in-between moments that cannot be quantified as absolutes. The equinoxes are the energetic equivalents of dawn and dusk—ephemeral moments that are no longer summer or winter, or day or night. These equinoctial tides are perfect moments to embrace change and shifts as we flow through the cyclical nature of the cosmos. The cardinal direction of the Autumn Equinox is West. Here along the Pacific coast the West has a special energetic quality considering it is the direction of the oceanic horizon over which the sun sets to begin its Underworld journey until rising again at dawn in the East. Thus, the Equinox, the West, and the ocean all carry the energy of Decay and Death—or Transformation and Transmutation—in order to aid us in the journey from one state of being to the next, in accordance with the seasonal forces.

As much as I like to embrace free agency in my spirituality, I also recognize that sometimes this notion of surrendering to the Universal Flow can be daunting and intimidating, if not terrifying. So this year, during the autumnal shift, I am enlisting the wisdom of a crystal guide—Amethyst—the Violet Flame and Sacred Gatekeeper. Moving through the threshold of the Autumnal Equinox—passing the horizon line—we approach the kingdom of death—the Other/Underworld—as we gaze into the violet dusk and deep indigo spirit sky—the realm so strongly linked with amethyst and its ethereal quality. This time of year, as the nights get longer and cooler, with stars bright and clear arching their way across the sky, we can prepare relationships with the spirit realms and the entities that inhabit these unknowable regions. The fey creatures that come to play in the darkening year, however, have a greater tendency for mischief and nefarious aims than the faeries awoken at the Vernal Equinox. The spiritual purity—so-to-speak—of amethyst helps keep us on the straight-and-narrow. As we immerse ourselves into the enfolding darkness, it can be inviting to completely surrender to this energy, especially following the open fullness of summer. For the past several years I have had to consciously guard myself up psychologically during the shift from summer’s end to the onset of autumn. Summer is a period of such unadulterated communion with the natural world—the sun, the sky, grass, earth, and water—that in the wake of this openness and the decline of summer’s buoyancy, I often require moments of spiritual grounding and guarding because this season of energetic openness often leaves me in a permeable state. The denouement of summer can allow a pale violet melancholy to filter my reality and leave me susceptible to the playful machinations of the Sidhe—the hidden, underground realms of the Faery Folk—the kingdom of the Unseelie Court as it is known in Celtic folklore. These creatures work to draw you off the garden path into unknown regions. This isn’t a problem, provided we have taken measures to acquaint ourselves with our Shadow.

I largely use crystals as aids in my own self-transformative psychodrama, as the seasonal energy of the equinoxes are certainly among the most potent times for transformation. By enacting rituals—spontaneous, intuitive, or dogmatized—we can manifest change in many ways in our lives—investigating regions of our psyches that have gone unexplored, delving into squandered interests, developing and expressing ourselves in new creative ways. That’s when a more subtle second sight can be developed—the link established between Matter and Spirit. The idea of transition and permeability is integral during this time and I feel amethyst assists in allowing us to transition realms or planes of consciousness—we’re able to soar with Zephyr at sunset into the violet skies which deepen into the numinous black sky of Nuit.

Faceted pale violet Brazilian amethyst

Faceted pale violet Brazilian amethyst

The word amethyst itself is from the Greek améthustos and means “not drunk”. Among the Greeks, it was believed the crystal prevented intoxication by wine. As such, it’s energetic signature is one of mental clarity, precise psychic vision, attunement with Primal Source, stillness, and tranquility. It primarily occurs within geodes—gas bubbles in ancient lava—as crystalline masses or clusters. These hidden, internal crystal cavities reflect the hidden kingdoms of the Sidhe is Celtic folklore mentioned above. Very deep purple amethyst hails from Uruguay and India, while paler violet varieties come from regions of Brazil. Amethyst represents higher consciousness and integration of psychic awareness. The clean, clear vibratory frequency of amethyst awakens and stirs the Pineal Gland and its subtle visions and mysteries. Since within Earth-based spiritual systems the progress to the end of October represents the approach to the season of decay and death—always with the promise of rebirth at the winter solstice. In Ayurvedic tradition, the fall season is energetically that of Vata dosha—the Wind/Air Element. It represents the swift vastness of the mind and imagination. The intellect is quick and spacious, just as the expanding reaches of space. In October, the night air is dangerous, it grows hands and teeth, nimble feet for trickery. The spirit world shadows our own. Amethyst allows us to work with the mystic veil and begin a relationship with what lays beyond.

Dark Uruguayan amethyst cluster

Dark Uruguayan amethyst cluster

I would recommend getting two pieces of amethyst—one the lighter, more ethereal Brazilian variety—the other, the dark, rich purple Uruguayan amethyst. Begin the month working with the lighter amethyst, get to know what opening new realms of your mind is like, opening doors, getting glimpses of new rooms of the psyche. Sit with the amethyst in the light of the moon and allow its light to fill your field. The darker purple variety represents the depth of the journeying possible through its crystalline portals. As Samhain approaches, darker realms of the psyche can be visited with the help of goblin and gremlin companions. Like the goblins of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”, selling and boasting overripe fruit and berries of every kind, they attempt to fool and meddle with humans in many ways. You can enlist the peculiar aid of such an entity to explore an unhealed trauma or issue from the past which you have repressed. When working in tandem with crystals and elemental beings, always request that the forces at work are for the highest possible good.

Vera Cruz amethyst cluster

Vera Cruz amethyst cluster

There is so much to discuss on the subject of this lovely violet variety of quartz. In terms of amethyst, many shades and formations come from regions throughout the world. Some varieties deserve particular note for the purposes of working closely with intentions of spiritual attunement or exploration. Vera Cruz amethyst, unlike the massive structure of amethyst’s usual crystalline beds, forms individual elongated crystals of magnificent clarity, lustre, and subtle violet hue. The gentility of the spiritual energy emanating from Vera Cruz amethyst is excellent for harmonizing energetic imbalances and rifts. It can aid in diffusing densities in the auric field and mend spaces where the boundaries are thin or being compromised. For me, the lavender tones of the Vera Cruz crystals encourage and coax the divine within us but in a playful and blissful way. If we open ourselves to receive this truly unique energy, it holds the key for potential transformation by acquainting us with and developing bonds with the Inner Indigo Child—the Faeries, the Fey. While many crystal healers associate amethyst with the Third Eye, the highly spiritual energy of Vera Cruz amethyst I feel is more appropriately aligned with Sahasrara—the Crown Chakra and Thousand-Petal Lotus. Vera Cruz aids spiritual ascension, allowing us to perceive and witness those things which no longer serve our evolution to fall away with grace. Meaning “True Cross” in Spanish, Vera Cruz amethyst brings our awareness to where our personal energetic fields—or auras—merge with the One. A cluster of this particular variety of Mexican amethyst can be used above the crown of the head to open our connection with Universal Source and bring harmony and wisdom into our lives. The lovely long crystals will diffuse its energy in all directions and, in this way, can be used to clear and amplify the energy of a room.

Brandberg with phantom inclusions

Brandberg with phantom inclusions

Another specific variety of amethyst carrying a unique energetic signature is the Brandberg variety from Namibia. This amethyst variety is named after the Brandberg mountain range. The word itself is Afrikaans and means “Fire Mountain”. While I feel the energy of Vera Cruz crystals is more diffuse and are useful for mending the aura from within, my sense of Brandberg crystals, with their small size and dense, directed energy, are evolved to project extremely focused energy, particularly in the context of bodywork and crystal healing. Brandbergs are small, concentrated crystals or points that carry an energetic link to the deep primordial energy of the Earth, while still maintaining the etheric link characteristic of amethyst as a mediator to the spirit realm. What makes Brandbergs so special is their subtle combination of elements—they are a blend of amethyst, clear quartz, and smokey quartz, often containing interesting attributes such as mineral inclusions, phantoms, and enhydro bubbles. These special crystals are a useful tool for activating one’s Pineal Gland—Ajna Chakra. By gently spiralling a Brandberg above someone’s Third Eye you will quickly activate the channel and this very ancient and powerful part of our being will begin to awaken and lend itself to our vision. This is what I call Igniting the Violet Flame. In much the same notion as the primal divine spark—the Burning Bush—this small, condensed spiritual flame will burn steady once properly ignited and attended. Beyond working with the Third Eye alone and developing psychic sight, Brandbergs also aid in aligning our consciousness with the Cosmic Oneness we emerged from before our current three-dimensional incarnations.

There are also several spiritual and mythological figures who I feel can be incorporated into a practice with amethyst, and emphasize its wisdom and mission. Saint Peter is one of these figures. As a the holder of the keys to a life beyond the mortal coil, Saint Peter is the Gatekeeper—assisting passage from one kingdom—or density of existence—to the next. The Gates of Sight, the eyelids themselves regulate interior and exterior vision—the All-One—the All-Seeing Eye—the Monad. Another figure from a different spiritual tradition sharing much of the same hagiography is Papa Legba—a loa spirit of Haitian Vodou. Papa Legba is the Guardian of the Crossroads and is often syncretized with Saint Peter in their roles as spiritual gatekeepers who moderate our passage from various realms of consciousness and spiritual journeying. Papa Legba’s vévé, or sigil, features the solar glyph—the equal-armed cross—the symbol of the astrological and astronomical year. The four arms represent the solstices and equinoxes, as well as the four directions—the Watchtowers and Elementals. The vertical arms represent the solstices as the zenith and nadir of the kingdoms, and the horizontal arms hold the space of transition, the space of balance and equilibrium. They are the horizon line over which the sun rises into the bright sky—the kingdom of life—and beneath which the sun sets into the realm of darkness—the kingdom of death. The ancients considered the horizon an emblem of transition between birth, life, and death following the daily movement of the sun. Where the sun disappeared after descending from the sky was uncertain, it seemed to travel down beneath the earth, under the realm of the living, to emerge again by morning having traveled a full circuit. The solar glyph is also reflected in the depiction of Saint Peter who carries the crossed keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. These potent spiritual symbols form the same equal-armed cross as Papa Legba’s vévé.

Moving toward the Equinox, employ the wisdom and ministry of amethyst—as well as the equinoctial glyph—to remain mindful of our connection not only with each other, but with the Cosmos as a Whole. Meditating on our communion with the divine can become a crucial step toward self-transformation and embracing change. When we realize nothing happens outside of the Universal Wisdom, we can better move through our lives in a state of grace and reverence. The Autumnal season is appropriate in so many ways to turn inward and honour the cycles of our lives as reflected in the Macrocosm, and amethyst is a perfect spiritual tool to begin this work.

Papa Legba's vévé, or magickal sigil

Papa Legba’s vévé, or magickal sigil

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Herkimer Diamond: A Stone for June

Double-terminated Herkimer Diamond

Double-terminated Herkimer Diamond

Herkimer diamonds are a variety of clear quartz crystals found specifically in Herkimer County, New York. The misnomer “diamond” is due to the high, brilliant clarity of these quartz crystals. They primarily occur in dolomite outcrops under extreme geologic pressure that gives them such extreme clarity—often called water-clear—and also explains their small size. Herkimer diamonds—or “Herks”—rarely form in clusters like larger types of clear quartz. They are often singular, double-terminated crystals, a structure that further influences their very unique energetic signature. They form under such intense pressure, they carry a highly concentrated vibratory frequency. I have always seen them as precious seeds of Infinite Space. That through this pressurized formation, the Herkimer diamond is a conduit of universal energy—as is all quartz—and condensed further and further into these tiny crystals. When holding these powerhouse crystals in the palm of your hand or to the Third Eye, the pulse of energy they emit is very palpable. I’ve always likened them to the “bounded nutshell” Hamlet experiences, yet still considering himself “king of infinite space.” The special energy of Herkimer diamonds embodies the “As Above, So Below” maxim of western occultism. Within the small space of the tiny, dense crystal itself is contained the entire Cosmos—all consciousness within and without our bodies—our planet—our three finite dimensions of physical space—but also the infinite, expanding dimensions of the Ain Soph—the limitless, unbounded realms of Pure Consciousness. By working with the wisdom of these crystals, we can begin to open the gates of awareness that connect us with the Cosmos—the All—and each other as infinite sentient beings.

June is the month when, in the Northern Hemisphere, we experience the Summer Solstice. I’ve chosen Herkimer diamond for this particular month as I sense the condensed cosmic spark contained within these quartz crystals is the same condensed cosmic spark our own Sun embodies on yet a more macrocosmic level. Whether the Sun of our planetary system, the gravitational centre of our wheeling galaxy, or the seat of our own individual, and collective, consciousness/es, these centres of being are the fiery furnaces of creation. It is at the Summer Solstice, on June 21, that we experience the zenith of solar power on Earth. At this time the Sun rides highest through the Sky, the days are longest, and we are filled with the animating, intelligent pranic energy of the Sun radiating upon us. During this time, we are able to plug in, in a sense—connecting and recharging our own energy bodies—emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.—and synchronize ourselves with Cosmic Oneness.

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Moss Agate: A Stone for May

Moss agate cabochon

Moss agate cabochon

The dark green dendritic tendrils of moss agate firmly link it in our minds with the growth of trees, forests, and the Earth itself. Unlike other agates, moss agate is not banded and forms abstract patterns. However, it is still part of the agate family—a variety of chalcedony composed of silica. It has long been used as a semi-precious gemstone due to its beauty and aesthetic appeal. Moss agate is primarily milky white with veins of iron or manganese minerals running through giving it tones of organic green suggesting moss or lichen.

Tumbled moss agate

Tumbled moss agate

The dendritic quality of the stone’s patterns reflects the branches of trees reaching into the sky toward the sun for light, as well as the roots growing deep into the soil for nourishment. Throughout many world mythologies, trees have long been considered sacred beings—the bridges between Sky and Earth. Moss agate holds this energy as well. It harmonizes Yin and Yang—Sky and Earth—bringing balance, stability, and growth. Likewise, in the human biofield it resonates with Tiphereth—the Heart Chakra—the mid-point along the energetic helix flowing up and down the spinal column. It balances the lower-frequency base chakras and the higher-frequency upper chakras—this place of balance is the source of compassion. When properly tapped into, moss agate will radiate for us the deep, strong pulse of Gaia—the Earth itself.

Yggdrasil — the Tree of Life

Yggdrasil — the Tree of Life

Moss agate is an appropriate stone to work with for the month of May because of its energetic signature suggesting growth and abundance. As the leaves begin to bud and unfurl we are reminded of the sacred cycle of Nature—the returning warmth of the Sun and the awakening fertility of the Earth. The month of May marked the great festival of Beltane among the pagan tribes of ancient Europe, as is still celebrated by Neopagans today. The word Beltane means “Fire of Bel”, a reference to the Sun. Bel, or Belenos, was a Gallic solar deity whose name means “Shining One”. Ancient people knew the return of the Sun after the long, dim winter would once again herald the warmer season of growth. They marked this auspicious time with the festival of Beltane and the tradition of the maypole. Still celebrated throughout Europe to this day, Beltane and the maypole dance represent vestiges of pre-Christian spirituality strongly immortalized in folk tradition. Symbolically speaking, the maypole represents the Tree of Life—what the Norse tribes called Yggdrasil—the bridge between Sky and Earth. Fertility symbolism aside, the maypole dance marks the time when the energy of the Sun once again radiates upon the Earth in order to encourage the growing season. By celebrating this time with ritual and dance, ancient peoples validated for themselves the turning of the seasons from winter to summer by revering the obvious forces of Nature—allegorically represented in various guises from region to region.

19th-century Maypole Dance

Edwardian Maypole Dance

The festival of Beltane is sacred to Nature spirits—the Devas and Fairies. These beings are the energetic intelligences of the Plant Kingdom. From beautiful, delicate flowers to tall, majestic trees, the Devas come out to play during this time of celebration and all of Nature is buzzing with life. The ancient peoples of Europe also knew these beings well as they developed artwork representing what we now call the Green Men. These leafy-faced creatures can be seen throughout the architecture of medieval Europe. Found primarily in churches, cathedrals, and graveyards, the Green Men of old were reformulated as local guardians of the Christian buildings set up on the sacred sites of the pagan peoples—Kildare, Glastonbury, Chartres, etc. Originally, local deities or guardian spirits inhabited sacred springs or groves—special locations where offerings and celebrations were made. These sites were appropriated by the Christian Church in the attempt to eradicate indigenous pagan practices. Despite evangelical efforts, the power of the pagan sites remained and continues to shine through the veneer of imposed Christianity.

Green Man carving

Green Man carving

The all-pervasive power of the Kingdom of Nature is perhaps best represented by the figure of Pan. Depicted with the hindquarters and horns of a goat, Pan embodies the lusty, verdant Rites of Spring. He is the unadulterated power of Nature. The name Pan comes from the Greek Paein, meaning “pasture” or “field.” In northern Europe, Pan was known as Cernunnos, whose Latinized name means “Horned One.” These ancient horned deities represent the transformative power of the shaman. In a time before widespread domestication, ancient peoples lived in close relationship with wild animals and valued them, yes physically for their meat and furs, but also spiritually as energetic totems on the Inner Planes. This is obvious from our earliest known artistic expressions on the cave walls of Lascaux and Chauvet. These cave paintings depict a host of wild creatures, some now long extinct, suggesting deep reverence and also mythic or dream-like potency. We also see mysterious half-human, half-animal figures who seem to bridge the confines of physical reality, existing in the magickal realm between definitions. During the Paleolithic, the split between humans and Nature was not felt the way it is now. Humans lived at the mercy of the weather and wild animals. Nature held phenomenal sway over the lives of our ancestors, which is why the four seasonal Fire Festivals of the Celtic tribes were of such great importance—they kept us in tune with the cyclical nature of the world in which we played only a small part. Unlike today’s notion that we have absolute power over every element—that we have the ability and right to engineer the world in which we inhabit—the shaman lives intrinsically tuned with both the subtle and awesome creative, and destructive, powers of the Cosmos. The shaman remembers that Pan is the encompassing All—the Pangenitor, the All-Begetter—and the Panphage, the All-Devourer. It is this rhythm the needs our respect. Too often we deny Nature’s power of destruction and attempt to harness it to our own discretion.

The green tendrils of the moss agate remind me of our lineage reaching back to pre-Christian times. My personal ancestry reaches back to medieval France, so the images on the French cave walls speak particularly strongly to me as the tribes of my ancestors painted them. No matter our personal ancestry, we can all trace our lineage back to a time before the Abrahamic monotheisms that have formulated the last 4000 years of our history. All of our ancient ancestors, the world over, were pagan shamans, living in a mysterious world governed by the forces of the seasons and the Sun—inspired by the tides of the ocean and the Moon—aided and guided by our animal and plant siblings. Their awareness was entirely local, and yet, what meaning they made of the stars we can never fully know. Despite the passage of thousands of years, and the advance of all-powerful institutions, when I sit quietly, alone in Nature, I feel the same inspired awe that must have moved the cave-painters to depict herds of elk, mammoth, and lions deep in the dark. It is these figurative roots through time that make moss agate such a special reminder at this time of year when lush, green life springs back to the Earth.

Lioness shaman — Chauvet Cave, 32 000 BCE

Lioness shaman — Chauvet Cave, 32 000 BCE

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