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

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