crystal healing, Holistic health and wellness

Shungite: A Stone for November

Raw shungite

Raw shungite

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

Shungite pyramid

Shungite pyramid

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

Kundalini rising up the Spinal Column

Kundalini rising up the Spinal Column

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

Tumbled shungite stones

Tumbled shungite stones

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

Caduceus of Hermes

Caduceus of Hermes

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

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

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

Ouroboros

Ouroboros

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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