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