Uncategorized

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

Standard
Uncategorized

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.

Standard
Uncategorized

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

Standard
Uncategorized

Blue Lace Agate: A Stone for April

Polished blue lace agate

Polished blue lace agate

Blue lace agate, like chrysoprase from the previous entry, is a member of the chalcedony family of silicates. Characterized by beautifully soft bands of shades of powdery blue, this variety of agate emits an undeniable tranquil and pacifying energy. Perhaps because its gentle hue suggests cloudy skies or the gentle rippling waves of the ocean, the blue colour of this stone envelopes us in a calming state and works to subdue anxiety and stress. Despite the softness of its colour, blue lace agate is extremely nurturing and strong, lending stability to the space of peace.

Vishuddha Chakra

Vishuddha Chakra

Blue lace agate resonates with Vishuddha Chakra—the Throat and Thyroid. This is our seat of sonic expression and communication. It is through the throat that we express thoughts into sound, releasing into the world our unique insight and perception. The layered rings of blue lace agate link strongly with the notion of vibration, one of the primary energetic signatures of the Throat Chakra. Vishuddha—which means especially pure—is represented by the Blue Ray of Peace and Tranquility. When working with the energy of this chakra imagine the ripples of a pond or the waves of the sea that gently reverberate from an epicenter and travel outward to reach the shore. The sand of the beach is washed smooth by the waves of water in much the same way sonic sine waves can work to calibrate an energetic field. The vibration of sound works to gently dismantle any energetic structure the frequency of which is not in harmony with the therapeutic sound. The layered structure of blue lace agate is especially pertinent when considering it in relation to the structure of the auric body. The human energy field is similarly composed of energetic layers—or subtle bodies—extending up to six feet, or more, from the physical body. These energy bodies have varying densities and signatures. Within the first six inches of the skin is the energetic component of the physical body. This is the most dense layer of the auric field, and it is through this layer that physical pathology manifests into the human body. Next is the emotional body where our experiences, hopes, fears, or trauma can exist. It can often be convoluted by physical symptoms of the body, and vice versa, because the transition between it and the physical body is extremely permeable. The emotional body gives way to the mental body. This is the layer of our mind and intellect—the Genius. We often are taught to believe that our mind exists within our brain, when, in reality, the mind is not as individual as the body. It is not as ruled by Ego and its boundaries are not so clearly defined, hence the Jungian idea of the Collective Subconscious. As sentient beings, our symbols, myths, dreams, and ideas exist as part of a magnificent nebulous collective from which we draw and to which we contribute. No thought or idea manifests from nowhere, likewise, they do not vanish. They coalesce and form archetypes and egregors. Finally, the mental body dissipates into the most ethereal and extra-dimensional of the energy bodies—the spiritual body. The spiritual body, much like the notion of the soul, can be massive like a flowing river. It is transpersonal in nature, transcending time and space and provides links to other realms and beings beyond what we know in the three-dimensional world our bodies live in. As we move from the physical body to the spiritual we experience and acquaint ourselves with what I like to call our Meta-Being. The structure of these expanding bodies can be likened, to an extent, to the rings of agate within a geode. The energy body, however, doesn’t possess a defined boundary like the outer surface of the geode. Rather, it flows infinitely, reaching and sharing tendrils into a great collective ocean.

Agate geode

Agate geode

Blue lace agate links us with primordial Tefnut—the ancient Egyptian goddess of morning dew and rain. To a desert culture, this was a precious natural occurance around which sprung an entire mythology. One of Egypt’s earliest deities, Tefnut was the moisture of Shu—the air and sky—condensed into liquid form. This primordial liquid was pure, life-giving, and sustaining. The goddess’ moisture descended through the atmospheric layers—reflected in the blue bands of the agate—and manifested into something beautiful and nourishing for the physical world. The great watery realm of the Collective Subconscious—where swim the figures of myth and magick—also seethes with potentiality. The astral realm is the birthplace of anything that comes to be in the physical world which is why thoughts and intention are so crucial to the manifestation process. Once the thought-form—the seed—has been planted in the astral, the metaphoric tide will ebb to reveal the fruits of the mental intention, likewise do the clouds, heavy with rain from condensed vapour—the element of Air—the Mind—come to shed the moisture of Tefnut upon the Earth—Malkuth—the Middle Kingdom. Rain is the catalyst for growth and renewal. The watery associations with blue lace agate also bring to mind the Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue—the verdant goddess of fresh flowing water. She is the rivers and streams seeking the great ocean and watering the earth and its creatures along the way. She is also the energy of baptism—of using water as the great Initiator to make the transition from one stage of a journey to another—to proverbially wash clean—not because of sinfulness or shame—but simply to provide a fresh slate for the new experience. In Tarot this is the energy of Trump 0—the Fool—setting foot on a new path, seeking truth. For me at this time, Chalchiuhtlicue is the fresh April rain washing over and fertilizing future growth. She and her waters can be called upon to flow into your life and bring about a spring baptism.

Chalchiuhtlicue - Goddess of Flowing Waters

Chalchiuhtlicue – Aztec goddess of flowing waters

To experience this energy further go out for a spring walk and collect some fresh water from a natural spring or brook. You could also collect rainwater from a storm, or certainly some water from the ocean. Water is extremely receptive to psychic intention so this ritually collected water has the potential to be used in a variety of magical ways. If you have a desired outcome or energetic shift to accomplish in the spring season you can write your intention out on paper—be as specific as possible— and attach the paper to the glass jar in which you’ve collected the water. Always use glass when using water in this way. Plastic has a very permeable and convoluted energy that will transfer into the water. Glass causes nearly no energetic interference since it is more naturally derived. You could even paint your intention in the form of a sigil or mandala upon the jar itself. The more creative you are, the more you infuse your intention into the work. You can charge the water beneath the light of the moon to purify and charge it. You can also encode it with crystal energy by placing a blue lace agate—or another stone or crystal—in the water to create a gem elixir, infusing it with its unique energy that will work to amplify your intention. When creating gem elixirs in water use caution when deciding what stones or crystals to use. Some crystals—such as selenite—are soft in terms of the Mohs hardness scale and will begin to absorb water molecules and disintegrate. Others can even be potentially toxic if consumed in large quantity. While intuition is important when working with crystals and stones, always research the scientific properties of them as well just to be sure. I prefer to only use members of the quartz silicate family in water elixirs. Their hardness—approximately 7 on the Mohs scale—is such to prevent them from being tarnished by being placed directly in water and they also will have no unwanted reaction with the water itself. One last suggestion is to place the water in a crystal singing bowl. When the tone of the specific bowl is played the water will become encoded with the energetic frequency of the harmonic tone. Once you’ve infused the water with intention in a way creative and meaningful to you, place the water in a bath in which you can relax and allow the unique energetic signature to permeate your auric field. This brings the influence of the water, crystals, and anything else used in the magical working directly into your life in a very palpable way that you will begin to feel immediately. If the water was collected from a fresh spring that is safe for consumption you could drink the water as well. You could also use it to water your plants to provide them with the special magical energy you’ve created.

Whatever your specific intention, enjoy the tranquil, purifying energies of the April rain. Should you choose to work with blue lace agate during this season may it bring you creativity, peace, and the freedom to express your inner vision and take the steps to bring that inner vision into your day-to-day reality. This is the energy of Vishuddha Chakra that allows us to vibrate—not just with our voices, but our entire being—to the frequency of our own unique authenticity. If we’re willing to lend this voice to the collective song we will begin to shift the planetary frequency by leaps and bounds during this very auspicious time. Blue lace agate holds the energetic promise of the peace and bliss of the New Aeon of which we are standing on the threshold. It’s up to each of us to find strength and uphold our integrity to empower ourselves to step into this light.

blue-lace-agate-318-p

Standard
Uncategorized

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.

Standard
Uncategorized

Danburite: A Stone for February

danburite 5

Clear danburite termination

Danburite is a crystal of intense clarity and high vibration. It often forms in colourless chisel-shaped crystals and transmits a very high spiritual frequency. It is named after Danbury, Connecticut where is was first identified in 1839. For me, it carries the energy of a crisp, clear winter sky— unencumbered by clouds, yet very much ringing with the brisk, cleansing forces of air and wind—the mental faculties of intellect and intuition. Danburite is pure starlight crystallized. It carries the message of innate divine wisdom—that all organic material in the Universe is a manifestation of the same waves of pranic energy—quantum strings—forged in the furnace of the Great Central Sun in the moments before the Big Bang. All material in the Universe originated within an infinitesimal space, and has been expanding ever since in the great Spiral Wheel. Danburite sheds light to remind us of this, bringing its message of love, assisting in the ascension to fifth-dimensional One-ness.

On a more personal level, danburite creates room for lightness of being. I feel it is an appropriate crystal for this time of year because of this cleansing ability it lends our consciousness. We often begin bouts of “spring cleaning” in our physical spaces—the home or office—but seldom do most people consider the value in clearing the space of the mind. The mental space uncluttered and intentionally cleansed in this way creates room for expanded awareness and for us to safely embark on further astral work—creating experiences and setting goals in the astral realm as a means of future manifestation. The astral planes are the realms between pure consciousness and physical reality. When we visit this place with our minds, we plant seeds of what can manifest, provided we invest the correct energy on the physical plane to facilitate its manifestation. Danburite allows this expansion to take place. By working with this crystal’s majestic, clear energy, we open the window of the mind and allow mental chatter and clutter to be cleared as if with a refreshing breeze. Eliminating the accumulated debris of the mind, we are able to eradicate that which is unnecessary for future growth.

Pink danburite

Pink danburite

While the best quality pieces form colourless terminations, danburite is often an opaque white, and frequently tinged with a subtle pink hue. This pink variety of danburite resonates particularly with the heart. It facilitates a protected space of healing from past emotional or spiritual wounds. It emanates the energy of self-love in order to hold the heart space safely and securely. By extension, in its ministry of Cosmic One-ness, it teaches love for all sentient beings.

In much the same way as garnet, as I explored in the previous post, links the Heart and Root Chakras, danburite links the Heart and Crown Chakras. Its higher frequency doesn’t imply a better quality, but rather that it works to open channels between the emotional and spiritual bodies more so than between the emotional and physical bodies. It is important to honour the movement of energy in both directions in order to achieve balance and harmony in all aspects of life. Linking the Heart and the Crown is a very important endeavor, as it opens our capacities to receive and transmit love as fully conscious beings. On the Tree of Life this is the pathway between Tiphereth and Kether that takes us from Eros—physical love—to Agape—spiritual love. Danburite facilitates the opening of the Crown Chakra and links us with the Soul Star, a transpersonal energy centre about 12 inches above the head. This is the Fountain of Golden Light that generates the halo—the conduit of Sahasrara—the Thousand-Petalled Lotus. In this way, danburite links us with the angelic realm, connecting us with the Higher Self—what the Theosophists called the Holy Guardian Angel—known in ancient Egypt as the Khu. Danburite also transmits communication with the Star People—the Pleiadians, Sirians, and Arcturians—light beings of higher dimensional realms than our own. These astral relationships are forged to facilitate paradigm shifts as these entities bring to our consciousness insight that we, in the third dimension, don’t usually have accessible to us.

"Paradiso" from Doré's illustrations of Dante

“Celestial Rose” from Doré’s illustrations of Dante’s “Paradiso”

To work with danburite and become acquainted with your Holy Guardian Angel, I would like to offer a guided meditation, one I call the Crystal Stair. Create a safe and sacred space for yourself. Turn off your phone, play music if you feel it aids your relaxation, light a white candle—do what you intuitively sense to establish an environment unique for the work you are about to do. Sit in a comfortable position, or lay down, and close your eyes. If seated hold the danburite crystal in the palm of your hand or to your heart. If laying down, place the crystal on your brow. Begin by focusing on your breath—inhale deeply through the nose, allow your abdomen to expand. When your intake of breath feels complete, slowly contract your diaphragm and exhale through the mouth. Take each breath as a count of one—follow your own rhythm—and repeat to the count of ten. Slowly begin to focus inward and allow any daily ambitions and distractions to fade away. Begin to envision a silver cord rising from the crown of your head, if seated, from your brow if laying. This silver cord is your soul’s connection with cosmic consciousness. If, at any time during this meditation, you feel lost or confused you can return to a waking state via the silver cord—it is your personal connection. Sense your consciousness gently rising from its physical container—beyond your home, rising above your street, your city—through the outer reaches of our atmosphere, look back at the Earth—the Gaian bubble—our mortal home. Allow your consciousness to hold an awareness of the earth’s sacred power—as you look down hold this awareness of family, of ancestry, of evolution. Be aware of your part in this evolution. As you pass through our solar system hold an awareness of our sun’s great power, but also that every star you see ahead of you in the cosmic depths is also a sun. As you enter the sparse reaches past Pluto and Eris, greet the guardian spirits of our solar system—the many bizarre objects of the Kuiper belt—the exoplanets science continues to discover—they traverse the threshold into galactic space. You see our system’s nearest star—Proxima Centauri—as you pass further regions, perceiving the great spiral arms of the Milky Way. Beyond our galaxy you feel yourself shift away from physical, bodily awareness—you become an etheric being of pure consciousness. As you float watching a sea of distant galaxies, the silver cord extends beyond you and transforms into a crystal staircase ascending into a cascade of starlight. The destination ahead is safe and your consciousness is drawn up the stairs and passes through the veil of light—this is a dimensional transition and you sense your awareness permeated by the pure radiance. On the other side of the starlit veil a guide has come to greet you. Take a moment to acknowledge this being and what they have to offer you. What do they look like? How do you interact? Is there a message? A gift? This being escorts you along a path of starlight. You reach a destination and stand facing each other. In this moment you are One. Sense the great light at the centre of all existence, in the core of every star, in the nucleus of every cell, within your heart, and within the being before you. Spend as much time as you like communing with this guide. Know that in this space of higher awareness you possess the ability to allow all concern and worry to fall away—you are safe and looked out for. By reaching beyond the starlit veil you, in effect, swept away unnecessary mental clutter in order to take the next steps into this realm. When you feel the time is right, walk back with them beyond the starlit veil. Thank them for their wisdom and guidance and descend the crystal stairs. Once again becoming aware of physical space, you see the distant galaxies before you and your consciousness begins to return to a bodily state. You follow the silver cord back to your home and sacred space. Become aware of the danburite crystal and know it contains the energy and information of the astral journey on which your consciousness just embarked. Take note of anything you feel is important from this meditation. The guide you encountered is an energetic being—an Invisible—that you can develop a relationship with. Repeat this type of meditation as often as you feel compelled. You can continue to use the danburite crystal as a catalyst for these experiences, or carry it when you wish to remember your astral journey. The crystal will help create an energetic link that you can always employ in order to revisit the Crystal Stair.

Tiphereth to Kether—Christ consciousness

Tiphereth to Kether—Christ consciousness

Standard
Uncategorized

Garnet: A Stone for January

Garnet is the traditional birthstone of the month of January. Largely invented by the 19th-century jewelry industry, the system of birthstones as we popularly know it today is based on a poem published by Tiffany & Co. in 1870. While I have never given much credence to this notion of birthstones due to its history in the early roots of modern consumerism, garnet kept coming through as I was meditating on a stone for January.

Garnet in matrix

Garnet in matrix

The tradition of birthstones in general terms has a long and developed history. Some credit the idea to the twelve magic stones adorning the breastplates of the Israelite high priests as outlined in the Book of Exodus. Other ancient mystical traditions, including those of India and Mesopotamia, attribute stones to each of the zodiacal signs, roughly corresponding to the twelve months of the Gregorian calendar. While many birthstones have been changed or added throughout the centuries due to fashionable trends, garnet has been steadfast as the sole stone associated with the month of January since the 1500s. Garnet also has strong magical associations with the planet Saturn, the ruling planetary influence of Capricorn. As Chronos—the ruler of time—Saturn focuses an, albeit sometimes somber, energy of maturity through garnet. A very rooted, pragmatic energy emanates from this crystal. The deep burgundy coloured almandine garnet naturally forms in beautiful dodecahedrons on a rock matrix. The sacred geometry of the number 12 links us with perfect completion—the solar and zodiacal cycle of the year. The rough nodules, once removed from the matrix, can be cut and polished to showcase this stunning natural geometry.

Almandine garnet's dodecahedral shape

Almandine garnet’s dodecahedral shape

Some of the interesting characteristics of the garnet family are its myriad forms and colours. Most of us think of a blood-red stone when it comes to garnet, and that certainly is the most common variety of the crystal on the market, especially in jewelry. The word garnet originates from Middle French and refers to the pomegranate’s red colour— grenade. However, garnet occurs in a variety of other colours: notably green, orange, and black. Uvarovite is an especially intriguing green variety of garnet from Russia that forms aggregations of very finely sized crystals. The black form of garnet is known as melanite. Another, called spessartite is an orange garnet that forms usually in dense crystalline clusters on smoky quartz. Almandine garnet, the red dodecahedral variety, is the one associated with the month of January and the one I wish to explore further for the purposes of this entry.

Spessartite on smoky quartz

Spessartine garnet on smoky quartz

Just as in my previous post about citrine—and its associations with fire and sunlight—all crystals and stones can be associated with an elemental power—one of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. Ancient cultures from Greece to China had a system of elements, the raw forces of nature as perceived in the day-to-day lives of the people. Each element developed its own mythologies, magical folklore, and personifications. The four classical elements listed above, as most commonly understood in Western Hermeticism, were developed largely by Aristotle, and later Paracelsus. Considering this, I intuitively link garnet with the Earth element—with deep roots and solidity—as heated by Fire. The garnet’s dark crimson speaks of the primordial earth’s molten core, tectonic force, as well as the eternal smouldering flame from which new fires are awoken. I also strongly associate garnet with the Gnomes, the elemental rulers of Earth. Since these mythological creatures are the guardians of all the gems and minerals within the Earth’s surface, one could associate them with all crystals and stones. However, something about the energy of the deep red garnet has always reminded of me these staunch, gentle creatures and their underground kingdoms. The ethereal Fey—the fairy folk—have always been associated with beautiful underground realms where unwitting humans are easily carried away for lustful trysts and luxurious feasts, or for darker, more nefarious purposes. For me, garnet embodies the energy of what is underneath—underneath the earth’s surface like the kingdoms of the Gnomes and Fey, underneath our own skin, and, in the month of January, what is underneath the frosts and snow. In this way garnet is the blood beneath the surface of our skin, the bones giving us strength, the thudding and throbbing pulse of the earth’s core and our hearts of flesh and blood. Garnet represents the hushed breath of the hibernating creatures beneath the blanket of winter, the bulbs and rhizomes of plants slowly and patiently waiting, laying the basis for what will sprout in the spring.

The Immaculate Heart

The Immaculate Heart

In a similar way, garnet vertically links aspects of our energy bodies—the below with the above. The gentle but confident strength of garnet builds a bridge, connecting Muladhara—the Root Chakra—directly with Anahata—the Heart Chakra. This is a unique pathway between these two energy vortexes. It allows us to anchor into the earth— the sacred womb/tomb— the otherwise boundless energy of love generated by the Immaculate Heart. It facilitates a conduit for an otherwise naturally diffuse energy to ground and manifest. In Qabalistic terms, this pathway joins Malkuth—the three-dimensional kingdom of bone and blood—through the astral, lunar sphere of Yesod—the Sacral Chakra—directly to Tiphereth—the pure realm of unconditional compassion for all sentient beings. Tiphereth is the Sun/Son—the Christ/Buddha consciousness—the place of divine union where we become the anointed ones. In Hebrew Gematria, the link between Yesod and Tiphereth is the energy of the letter Samekh, which in Tarot is Temperance, the reconciler. This sacred pathway between root and heart allows us to explore the polarities of Love and move freely between Agape—spiritual loveand Eros—sexual love. Garnet enables the transition in grace between two aspects of love that seem estranged in our modern state. Too often in our culture we create spaces for only one or the other to exist. Orthodox religious institutions deny sacred sexuality and, in so doing, perpetuate the virgin/whore dichotomy—that we must commit to celibacy to experience the divine, or walk a path of shame and guilt, tarnished by lust. This is the sacred endeavor of Temperance, to unite two opposites to form a tempered whole. By exploring this pathway we combine a lower, base form of reality—which doesn’t mean bad or sinful—with a higher, more spiritual reality. We begin to acquaint the Mundane Self with the Higher Self so they no longer remain estranged or at odds. We blend in the crucible of Temperance our psychic atoms to become a unified whole. Garnet is this crucible—warming and nourishing our hearts through the wintry month of January from its deep roots in the earth.

Trump XIV: Temperance

Standard
Uncategorized

Citrine: A Stone for December

natural citrine

Polished & cut natural citrine point

The clear warmth of citrine motivates and nourishes us. It is the energy of Manipura—the Third Chakra—the Solar Plexus. This region of the body is our umbilical link in the womb, so too, as adults, is citrine our link to cosmic nourishment through the Prana of the Sun—the ambrosial manna of heaven—nectar of the gods. In this way, citrine is an appropriate stone to work with at this time of year because it represents the spark of light born out of darkness at the winter solstice. It is the energy of sustenance and renewal. To the ancients of the northern hemisphere December 21 marked the date when the days cease getting shorter, the sunset ceases to consume more daylight, and stands still on the horizon line for three days, until December 25, when the tide turns and, once again, daylight begins to grow. Sunset is slowly pushed back, day by day, as hope returns with the promise of spring. During this time of year citrine speaks to the allegory of the Returning Sun, the solar child born at the winter solstice. This ancient myth is still commemorated by modern Neopagans during this time of year.

isisIn this myth, the sun is the energy of the Infant Christ born of the Virgin Mary through union with the Holy Spirit. That said, Judeo-Christian mythology was inspired by the older, nearby Egyptian and Mesopotamian pantheons. Mary—Mother of God and Queen of Heaven—is a powerful remodelling of one of the greatest female deities worshipped throughout the longest periods of recorded history—Isis of the Ten Thousand Names. Herself giving birth to the solar child Horus, only after consummating with the resurrected body of her consort Osiris, she is the primordial matter—Mater=Mother—of the Universe. The story of Isis and Osiris fittingly speaks to the seasonal triumph of light over dark just as Osiris’ brother Set killed his brother and dismembered his body. Isis magically resurrects Osiris and gives birth to Horus who is hidden from and hunted by Set. This story later informed those of Cain and Abel, the child Moses set adrift on the Nile, as well as Herod’s massacre of the Holy Innocents. The Persians also had a similar story in which Ahriman—the Lord of Darkness—is overthrown by Ahura Mazda—the Lord of Light. In any of these cases, the Holy Spirit, Osiris, or Ahriman, all represent the ghost of the previous year, all that which came before. Now channeled through the dark womb of winter, there regenerated like the dismembered body of Osiris, and resurrected into a new energy to propel life forward into the coming agricultural season.

Etymologically, citrine comes from Latin and means lemon-yellow. This root, of course, also gave rise to the word citrus and, in many ways, citrine, energetically speaking, carries the same attributes as the citrus family. It is invigorating, fresh and cleansing. It is also a crystal very well suited to setting our intentions on achieving a goal. Citrine is of the quartz family, so is piezoelectric and a great amplifier of whatever intention is projected through it. I’ve carried citrine many times with me to job interviews, exams, and apartment viewings. For me, it gives an extra boost to accomplishing your own desire. Citrine could be added to an essential oil blend containing sandalwood, mandarin, and frankincense in a base of jojoba and sunflower oils. Wear it to carry citrine’s unique vibration, amplified by the corresponding oils and appropriate for the seasonal energies.

citrine 1

Heat-treated citrine

Most of the citrine on the market, however, isn’t true citrine at all. Often, citrine purchased is, in fact, heat-treated amethyst. When baked to high temperatures, the purple/lavender colour of amethyst—which is also a quartz—changes to the deep yellow/orange hue we associate with citrine. As a result this variety is more marketable. Natural citrine is much rarer, mined mostly in the Republic of the Congo, and, consequently, is more expensive to purchase. It is a mellow honey-yellow and is less striking in colour. However, the orange baked variety is much more fragile especially in cluster, or druzy, formations. In my experience, I prefer working only with natural citrine because I find the energy truer. Nonetheless, for someone just getting started with crystal work, the heat-treated variety is adequate but carries a slightly different, less genuine frequency considering it originated as amethyst, which transmits an extremely pacifying energy that when heated industrially, I feel gathers static. All that aside, if a particular citrine calls to you, natural or treated, it is your intention in working with it that matters most.

Natural rough citrine

Natural rough citrine

If you have a piece of citrine, perhaps a tumbled crystal or a even a cut citrine set in jewelry, allow me to suggest this meditative exercise to align yourself with its energies at this particular time of year. Perhaps run a bath with the essential oils mentioned earlier and focus your breath in the warm water and candlelight. Lose your current identity, shed your name, your address, your job title and flow back through time, freed from such constructs. Imagine your Paleolithic self. Find yourself before culture, before technology and industry, sitting alone in a dark cave. You are unaware of science, so nature unfolds as a grand and fantastic mythos. You’ve sat here throughout the preceding two months, gazing deeply and wholly into the pure dark, unafraid with only starlight for guidance. This has been a period of reflection and contemplation, your body tested against the harsh elements of nature, your mind tested against the terrors you face in the darkness. This darkness is both the black of night and the darkness of your psyche. You hold vigil here during the longest, coldest night of the winter solstice. The sounds of wild things carry on the icy wind outside the cave. The only defense you have is your own body. Finally, the bitter night begins to melt away and rosy hues of tangerine and pink begin to push back the wall the night. These nimble fingers of light slowly spread into the sky, until the first beam of sunlight filters into the dark cave from over the horizon. Feel the light on your face. This is the purest energy we know—solar light, prana, vitality—soft but strong. You feel something inside yourself quicken, like a tiny seed, after sitting silently in the darkness deep within you. It awakens with a soft flutter. This golden warmth on your face is the blessing caress of Aurora—the dawn—and the angel Lucifer—the Bringer of Light. Hold out your hand and allow the golden light to settle in your palm. Feel the light enter your blood and travel throughout your body, energizing it. It permeates you down to your cellular structure, nourishing you. The light in your palm begins to coalesce into a solid form. It crystallizes into a pulsing piece of citrine. Feel the essence of the newborn sunlight within the crystal structure. This will be your key to overcoming the remaining winter months and moving toward accomplishing new goals. Within the citrine’s structure is contained the cosmic solar furnace, which is every star in every galaxy, not just our sun. It is all Creation, all universal matter in microcosmic form. It is the moment of the Big Bang, it is the divine voice whispering structure out of formlessness. Feel yourself expanding with every breath, expanding with the Macrocosm. This is your motivation, all from a small golden crystal. Keep it close, it is a true treasure on a cold winter morning and remain mindful of that subtle, internal flutter and all that is represents.

Standard
Uncategorized

Obsidian: A Stone for November

Tezcatlipoca

Tezcatlipoca – Aztec god of magic

Many of us are familiar with the smooth, glossy black stone called obsidian. Truly, obsidian isn’t a stone at all. Rather, it is a naturally occurring glass that forms when lava from a volcano has cooled under special conditions. Because of its fragile nature, obsidian fractures with sharp edges which is why it was used as a weapon by ancient indigenous peoples who fashioned obsidian shards into arrow and spearheads. Among the Aztec culture, obsidian was sacred to Tezcatlipoca, the god of magic and divination. Large black mirrors were made from obsidian that were used for prophesying during shamanic ceremonies. The black jaguar was sacred to Tezcatlipoca and, because of its colour, was connected with the magical associations of obsidian as the black mirror used to pierce through the illusions of the world to see our true, refined essences. The tectonic crucible from which obsidian originates also links it with Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. Lava was sacred to Pele as the primordial matter that is always regenerating, melted down deep in the earth’s core. As raw, kinetic essence, it bursts forth in grand spectacle, often clearing whatever path is necessary and then shapeshifting once again. Congealing into solid form, it takes on a new identity as a shiny, smooth black glass—the mirror of the magician. The stone of the shaman—the jaguar shapeshifter—obsidian today is especially appropriate and appealing for those who walk the boundary between definitions, refusing categorization—holding a space of openness, one-ness.

Obsidian arrowhead

The mirror-like quality of obsidian draws energy in, much like a black hole, to be devoured by its intense gravity. That’s how I perceive obsidian—a strong, yet gentle magnet that has the ability to dampen and absorb those energies no longer serving positive change. When working with obsidian it becomes impossible to remain stagnant, it doesn’t allow indulgence to linger. This is why I have chosen to discuss obsidian at this time of year. It embodies the type of shadow work I addressed in my previous post regarding the darkening part of the year as experienced in the months of October and November throughout the northern hemisphere. During this time of repose, it is fitting that obsidian offers us a true reflection of self—in its black mirrored surface we are given an unadulterated view of ourselves, a holistic view containing our strengths, glory, failures, and weaknesses. In its reflection we are able to perceive the shadows that hide in daylight. Obsidian allows us to peek behind the curtain of our preferred constructed identities and glimpse those elements that only come out at night, those fears and worries that came out of our closets and from under our beds as children when the bedroom lights were turned off. By working with obsidian we can foster a healthy relationship with these energies. Obsidian allows us to discern through the shadows, bringing them into awareness but while also acting as a sentinel to keep them in check. Just as Cerberus, the three-headed hound guards the realms of Hades, so does obsidian help keep these energies, thoughts, memories, or worries from taking over. Obsidian is, in a sense, dark matter. It represents all the unseen forces at work in the Universe, giving us structure and shape. What, to the eye, we consider empty space, is a vast world of dark energy and dark matter—the stuff of our dreams and nightmares. These ancient myths and fairytales exist in the vast chasms between the churning neutrons, electrons, and protons within the very atoms of everything we see and touch.

Obsidian outcrop

Obsidian outcrop

Obsidian can be readily found in most metaphysical shops. It comes in a wide variety of forms from small tumbled pieces, to raw specimens, to beautifully carved spheres and large mirror discs. I would recommend working with a piece of obsidian around this time of year in the following way: every night before bed sit with the stone in the palm of your hand, preferably by candlelight, firelight, or moonlight. Use the stone as a physical mirror, gaze into the light glinting on its dark surface, as if it were the vast reaches of outer space or the dark still waters of a lake at night. As you are gazing into its depths consider your dark energy. What does it look like? What is its source? When does it emerge? Does it ever get out of control? What do you fear could happen if it did? What holds you back? Keep a journal to answer these questions if you like. The act of writing in itself is sometimes enough to excavate and purge unwanted energy. As you contemplate what you see in the mirror, develop a relationship with the obsidian, it is the gatekeeper for you to acknowledge and contact your shadow self. As the month progresses use the obsidian in different ways: keep it beneath your pillow, place it in your water bottle, bury it in your garden, or place pieces in the corners of your bedroom and note the ways it speaks to you, the dreams you have, shifts in mood, etc.

Obsidian, because of its close ties with deep earth energy, is also extremely grounding. In this way it can send, like a taproot, any residual negativity or unwanted energy deep into the abyss to be broken down and regenerated. If you ever need to access this stabilizing power, reach for a piece of obsidian, carry it in your pocket, and visualize a great root descending from your sacrum and coccyx, down through your legs and the soles of your feet, into the tectonic forces of the earth. Visualize this mighty personal tendril anchoring into the very core of the earth itself. Here you are anchored, empowered by the gravity of the planet on whose surface we walk. This image can be called upon whenever you feel anxious, nervous, distracted, or unsettled. Simply close your eyes for a moment, bring awareness to your breath, stand or sit and bring the above image to mind and hold a meditative intention. Obviously, this type of visualization would be most advantageous if done outside on the ground, at the beach with your feet in the sand, or at the base of a tree.

Apache Tears

Lastly, a particular variety of obsidian, known as Apache tears, are well suited to issues of grief and recovery. Apache tears are small nodules of translucent obsidian found throughout the Arizona desert. So named because of an armed conflict between the Apache nation and the US cavalry in the 1870s during which the Apache were defeated. The tears of the mourning families were said to have turned to stone upon falling to the ground. These stunning specimens carry a very uniquely powerful energy to aid in expressing and transmuting grief and sorrow in both a literal or metaphoric sense.

As with any energy-based work, it is important to remember that crystals and stones are simply tools to be used to aid creative intent. With continued practice, intent is all that’s necessary, however, using objects like crystals and stones is appealing because of their beautiful and unique energies and qualities. Developing relationships with individual crystals and stones is an extremely rewarding experience, an experience I’ve been exploring most of my life.

Standard
Uncategorized

Crossing the River, Embracing Darkness

Today I walked to work amid a very heavy Pacific Northwest rainfall. As my feet reached over the currents of water gushing along the curb I was thinking about the river Lethe, one of the rivers bordering the Greek underworld, the river of forgetfulness, over which one must cross to pass to the other side. The other side of what you might ask?

Submersion in Lethe - Gustave Doré

Submersion in Lethe – Gustave Doré

This time of year offers us a unique opportunity. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, this is the season, following the autumnal equinox, that the solar year begins to die. The sun rises and sets lower along the horizon each day and darkness infiltrates our lives. Today in particular we experience a solar eclipse as the sun passes into the Eighth House—Scorpio. Always coinciding with a new moon, a solar eclipse further enforces the energy of the underworld journey I was contemplating as I waded over puddles on a gloomy, grey morning. The new moon marks a monthly dark night of the soul, when the moon, having waned from full, seemingly disappears into the dawn. With no nocturnal light, the new moon offers us the darkest night, a night of deep reflection into the psyche. Today the new moon passes before the great solar disc to eclipse from sight even our great star itself. Ancient cultures the world over perceived eclipses as rare events when the sun was eaten by the dark shadow of the moon. This story of consumption speaks deeply to our mythological selves, our primal selves, through the story of Jonah swallowed at sea by the great whale, or even the nocturnal journey of the sun itself passing through the body of Nuit—the Egyptian goddess of the starry night sky. Furthermore, this image of Death prevailing is embodied in the cosmic energy of Scorpio itself. In the vernacular of Tarot, Scorpio is Trump XIII—the Death card—harvesting bodies like wheat from the field. This, of course, is symbolic death, metaphoric death, all that which must be sacrificed in order to make room for new growth. Just as the sun is now daily waning, it will be reborn at the winter solstice as the child of light, a fragile promise. Death and sacrifice must not be construed as ending or demise. Rather, the spiritual death for which Scorpio is a harbinger, marks the ending of all that which no longer serves. We can seize this energy in our lives by going within to recognize our Shadow, the aspect of ourselves that has long remained hidden for the fear of the power it may release if acknowledged. Addiction, pain, grief, anger, jealousy, etc. are all shadow energies better shed than secretly closeted. We cannot deny their presence, and function, in the human psyche, indeed becoming acquainted with and engaging these energies is often the best way to harness them as teachers during our brief incarnations on earth, the three-dimensional kingdom—Malkuth.

This season is also particularly auspicious as the holiday we popularly know as Halloween approaches. The night of October 31 is the traditional Celtic festival of Samhain, one of four great fire festivals marked by the ancient European tribes. The spooks and tricks of our contemporary, mainstream practices are a reflection of the original significance of the pagan festivities to mark the deepening darkness of the solar year, the death of the agricultural season. This night is an opening of the veil, so to speak, between the realms of the seen and unseen, the physical and the astral, life and death. On this night we can reach between dimensions. It is during this period of darkness, enforced strongly by the eclipse, that we are given a window of opportunity to align with the celestial hierarchy to work to actively affect change in our lives. Darkness is not the maligned cloak of night our medieval ancestors have taught us to fear through distorted fairytales, nor is it the hellish pit where dwells greed, avarice, lust, anger, etc. It is only by feeding darkness these personal demons do we allow them to thrive and fashion around us an imposing cell. Rather, darkness is the great regenerating void into which all things must flow in due course, to there decompose and be reformed into new structure and so drive the cyclical wheel ever onward, fuelling the evolution of Yeats’ great widening gyre: the spiral of our galaxy, the helix of our DNA.

Mark this season with small personal rituals and affirmative actions to align your conscious will with the great universal energies already at work, the energies we are all an innate part of, but often are cultured into switching off our perceptions of. By participating in this energetic co-creation we imbue meaning and subtlety into our daily activities. Go into nature to meditate, consider the fallen leaves as organic matter in the act of transformation, feeding the insects and fungi. Develop a healthy relationship with death as transformation so it no longer holds sway as the final plunge before eventual uncertainty. Use this time to transform energies in your life that are no longer fuelling your growth, which have survived perhaps unacknowledged for far too long. By sweeping away these influences we create space for newness to emerge. Be intuitive and creative with these rituals and ceremonies, paint a symbol on a rock representing that which no longer serves your evolution—be it a habit, a worry, an unhealthy relationship, an argument—and cast it into the sea on the ebbing tide to be washed away by the tenderly transformative energy of water. Write or draw your intention for release on paper—a simple phrase, a poem, a monologue—and offer it to the radically transformative energy of fire. Burnt offerings invoke the mythic power of the phoenix, reborn through fire and ash, rising on wings to the sky. These are acts of sacrifice, not a sacrifice in the crass sense of slaughter, but in the true sense of the word. From the Latinate roots sacer and facio, the word means to make holy, to transform something from the mundane into something special, to endow it with sacred meaning.

Fire-on-the-BeachIf nothing else, use the darkness as a mirror to reveal the husk that can be shed. Wade across the river Lethe. Allow the slough to fall from your being and emerge on the other side refined and focused for what is to come. This morning I was acutely aware of the aspects of myself left behind to be carried away by the dark water gushing along the curb beneath the low-hanging grey clouds. I watched as it flowed, mingled with sticks and leaves, into a small whirlpool as it found the nearest sewer drain.

Standard