crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Labradorite: A Stone for January

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Polished labradorite palmstone

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

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

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Polished labradorite sphere

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

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Ajna Chakra

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

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Janus, Roman god of the new year

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crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Selenite: A Stone for December

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Rough clear selenite

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

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

Selene & Endymion, Erasmus Quellin 1897

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

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

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Carved selenite spheres

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

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Raw selenite wand

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

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Om Mani Padme Hum

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

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

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

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Avalokitesvara—bodhisattva of compassion

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