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Chrysoprase: A Stone for March

Polished chrysoprase

Polished chrysoprase

Chrysoprase is a rich leafy green stone of the chalcedony family. The name itself comes from the Greek roots chrysós and prasinon meaning “golden” and “green”, respectively. This name perfectly describes the incarnation of vital Source Energy—prana or qi—in all of Nature. Chrysoprase embodies the warm golden light of divinity manifested in the plants, trees, and flowers—the living green elements. As the Sun begins to warm the Earth at this time, the energies of fertility and growth are awakened and the photosynthetic cycle begins to gather momentum. This season is marked by the Vernal Equinox, a time of perfect balance. As the Sun aligns with the Equator, the long winter nights shorten, the light grows back, and day and night are of equal duration. This phenomena is matched by the Autumnal Equinox in September when the reverse is true—daylight shortens, darkness grows longer, and Nature sheds itself in preparation for the Northern Hemisphere’s winter season. These seasonal tides of change are powerful moments for magical contemplation as they reflect, on a dramatically visible scale, the ever-changing face of the natural world. The symbol of the equinoctial shift is the equal-armed cross—or solar wheel—the planetary glyph of Earth itself. This symbol is one of great strength and power. The four arms represent the four seasons, the four cardinal directions, the four classical elements. The intersection of the vertical and horizontal axes represents the union of Heaven and Earth—the divine crux—the Sacred Heart. The cross is bound and unified by the circle, the shape of infinite movement and growth. This magical glyph represents the equinoxes and solstices because it speaks of a state of balance and shift—between Light and Dark—Sky and Earth. It is also present in the Wheel of the Year of Neopagan tradition, as well as the Medicine Wheel of North American First Nations.

Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel

In ancient Greece the seasonal change from winter to spring was marked by the Eleusinian Mysteries in which Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld, was ceremoniously welcomed back to the land of the living following her six-month sojourn in the gloomy kingdom of her consort Hades. Originally lured by Hades into his underworld realm, she fell victim to a spell binding her to stay there half of every year. Persephone’s annual return to the earthy domain of her mother Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, marked the return of warmer weather and the renewed fertility of the fields and forests and was a time of joyous celebration and reverie. However, at the end of summer Persephone once again descends back into the land of Hades to rejoin her husband and jointly govern the dark season as the fields lay fallow. While the autumnal energy is one of solemnity, the wheeling seasons—a microcosmic reflection on Earth of the great spiralling gyres of the stars—carry the eternal promise of the returning light, the sprouting leaves and budding flowers with Persephone’s emergence from the cave.

Rough chrysoprase

Rough chrysoprase

It is in this moment of growing sunlight that the golden-green energy of chrysoprase begins to bubble from the Earth and from our bodies. It harnesses the energy of Manipura—the Solar Plexus Chakra—and channels it up the pillar of Sushumna—the cerebrospinal column—just like a seedling sprouting from the ground reaches for the Sun—the radiating energy of Tiphereth. The Green Ray energy of chrysoprase is held at Anahata—the Heart Chakra—and when it is charged with the rising energy of the season, as sap in a tree, it flourishes like the buds and blossoms of spring. The channel between Manipura and Anahata is the crux of our physical being, and as such is cleansed and strengthened by this returning flow of vital energy. It runs upward through the abdominal core along the spinal column and provides us the vitality and motivation to emerge from any energetic husks that might have formed during the cold season of stillness.

Blodeuwedd by Welsh artist Christopher Williams

Blodeuwedd by Welsh artist Christopher Williams, 1930

The burgeoning of spring heralds a moment of potential transformation on all levels—not just the obviously physical that we see all around us in Nature—but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual. The Vernal Equinox marks a time when the conscious gaze shifts from its inward focus to once again engage in external growth and transmutation. We shift our lives from the grey survival mode of winter to the fresh out-going ventures of spring. We dust off ideas and dreams that we’d been holding onto during the deep hibernation and once again allow the inspiration to flow forth. At the equinox we can harness the power of the shapeshifter—the shamanic force of slipping between worlds—between the defining guises that too often hold us captive in outmoded patterns. It is the shapeshifting Blodeuwedd from Welsh mythology who often comes to my mind during this transformative season. Fashioned by the magicians Gwydion and Math from the blossoms of meadowsweet and broom, Blodeuwedd—whose names means flower-face—embodies the gentle, lush power of nature at this time of budding and blossoming. A uniquely magical creature, she is ephemeral just as the fresh flora suddenly sprout themselves into being fed by the nimble rays of the Sun. Blodeuwedd’s corporeal form shifts from flower to human, and later to animal, as she is consequently transformed into an owl for conspiring to kill her husband.

One of the best ways to celebrate the arrival of spring is to get out into Nature however you can in your location—walk in the forest or park, visit a local botanical garden and appreciate the signs of spring. Here in the Pacific Northwest the cherry trees are in full bloom, carpeting the streets and sidewalks in pastel pink petals. The crocuses and daffodils have opened and the magnolia trees have just lent their large sweet-smelling flowers to the air. While walking contemplate this dramatic transformative display and how it can manifest in your life. Imagine your hands and fingers transforming into leafy tendrils— your feet and toes sprouting roots into the moist soil and moss—your face, the flowers drinking the fresh spring rain. Shapeshift your being in and out of what you’ve come to know. You can easily bring this fresh and vibrant energy into your living space by creating an altar to the muses of spring—Persephone and Blodeuwedd. Gather some fresh running water from a spring or brook in which to place some wild harvested flowers. Whisper to them your affirmations for change and sleep with a chrysoprase beneath your pillow. The shy Fairies will come out from their hiding places in the flower buds and douse your sleeping mind with spirited inspiration for the coming months.

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