Some options for creating a ritual or ceremony

The handout I share when I am teaching ritual and ceremony is an outline, and a sort of shopping list. I have learned from many expert teachers who know how to make a ritual rock. So this is a distillation of what I learned and what came from within or through me. It is meant to be passed on in the context of a class, yet I felt was useful to a greater audience. If you would like me to help you craft a ceremony or to facilitate a special ritual for you, I am available through Mimosa several times a week to consult. (I am interchanging the words ceremony and ritual in this brief article.)

There are lots of choices on this crib sheet. What is selected and how it varies is a matter of the type of ritual, the audience, size of location and whether it is a solitary, small group or large group ritual. (And yes, even solitary rituals have an audience: the non-humans we invite.) A wedding, a child blessing and a memorial service are ceremonies. There are seasonal rituals, ceremonies honoring beloved ones, initiations and other rites of passage — and many more. Yet they all follow the same pattern for me.

Ritual is ceremonial and custom. When something called a ritual is codified, stagnant, I think it becomes more of a rigid practice than it is a true ritual or ceremony at all. Yet, many true new ceremony weavings can contain elements of regular practice and share traditions for their type. A wedding includes vows. A memorial includes memories shared. A seasonal ritual works with elements of time, location and is generally communal. It is a paradox.

The esoteric elements of ceremony are generally experienced and handed down orally. It is also important to note that a spiritual daily, weekly, monthly practice is not ritual or ceremony. It may follow a similar form yet the intention is much different. The intention is to improve the quality of your spiritual life. Rituals also do that, yet the intentions are much more narrowly focused and reap transformational benefits of a different type. Improving on something that anchors, nurtures and sustains is a practice. Ceremonies are one of a kind, even mixed with some traditional or repeatable elements as a part of the whole. And of course you can use some things from your spiritual practice in ritual or ceremony. Especially when you share practices with kindred.

The lines blurry some, and I wanted to be specific in language to distinguish the two. Not all people who can facilitate ritual have a regular practice, though it may be rare. Not all people who have a regular practice can, or choose not to, do ritual and ceremony.

Essential Elements of Ritual and Ceremony

Intention: It’s best to focus on one, or two at the most. State your intention clearly.

  1. Create sacred space
    1. Cast a circle
    2. Call in deities
    3. Call in Elements
    4. Drum with intention
    5. Welcome and Greeting
    6. Create an ambiance
    7. Meditate
    8. Chant communion into being
  2. Focus energy
    1. Chant
    2. Focus on talisman
    3. Repeat affirmations
    4. Read a poem
    5. Listen to a song
    6. Invoke or Evoke, Aspect
    7. Guided meditation
    8. Visualize, speak and will
  3. Become magically active; raise energy
    1. Like waves
    2. Like a peak
    3. Drumming
    4. Singing
    5. Sharing from the heart
    6. Dancing
    7. Guided Visualization
    8. Charging objects
  4. Direct energy
    1. Use Feri Flame
    2. Reiki
    3. Will and visualization
    4. Shout it out
    5. Blow it out
    6. Hum
    7. Chant
    8. Stop drumming
    9. Crystal bowl
  5. Open sacred space, ground and center
    1. Poem
    2. Music
    3. Touch the Earth
    4. Guided visualization
    5. Alignment
    6. Tree and Root
    7. Devoke, Hail and Fare Thee Well
    8. Give thanks
    9. Share
    10. Open Circle
    11. Blessings
    12. Feast
    13. Praise
    14. Hugs

* State intention(s) clearly upfront.

* Use as many sensory elements as possible.

* Preparation of space and tools is simply a pre-ceremony task, after Intention and adding or changing after outline is complete.

* The first rituals were Sacred Theater to connect with / honor the ancestors and mark important individual and communal life events.

Copyright by Mari Powers 12-10-2018

Recipes for natural body-care products

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Category: Aromatherapy Recipes

By Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA

The whole person and all of their experiences interact and influence well-being (mind, body, spirit, energy, environment, social, sexual, occupational, etc.). The old holistic paradigm of just mind/body/spirit does not adequately represent the whole person. True holistic healing addresses EVERY aspect of being human. True “wholistic” whole person care. Addressing a person on all levels of their being can maximize health and wellness.  Each dimension is equally important. If one area of our life is off balance, it can lead to dis-ease and disharmony. An important (and often neglected) part of holistic wellness is self-care. Self-care is basically “taking care of yourself.” It can involve many things like eating well, exercising, getting good sleep, setting aside alone time, getting a massage, getting your hair and nails done, and doing things you enjoy. We are all busy and finding the time to take proper care of ourselves can be hard. We often put others first and make excuses for our own well-being. But if you don’t nurture yourself, it won’t be long before your battery is drained and you are exhausted, sick, stressed out, and running on empty. Regular self-care is mandatory. Spring is almost here — a time of rejuvenation and renewal. So it’s the perfect time to splurge on ourselves a little bit, have a self-date, and create a home spa day!

Since aromatherapy is a holistic method that treats the entire person and is the art and science of using essential oils, for psychological, spiritual, and physical well-being, a holistic spa day would not be complete without aromatherapy! Below are some ideas for a day of rejuvenation and my favorite aromatherapy recipes for some pampering and relaxation. So enjoy, relax, unwind, and de-stress!

  • If you have children, ask friends of family for help taking care of them so you can have a day to yourself (asking for help is an important part of self-care)
  • Sleep in late
  • Stay in your pajamas all day
  • Eat breakfast in bed
  • Turn off your cell phone and computer
  • Do something you really enjoy but have not done in a while…paint, read a book or magazine, etc
  • Take a nap
  • Pamper yourself…..

Now on to the spa recipes!

Tropical Vacation Bath Soak:

Add 10 drops jasmine essential oil and 10 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to cup of coconut milk and mix well. Add to hot bath then get in and soak! Consider playing some soft music and lighting some candles to set the mood.

Brown Sugar Body Scrub:

1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons honey
½ ounce Sweet Almond or other carrier oil of your choice
10 drops Vanilla Absolute essential oil
5 drops Sandalwood essential oil

Using a metal spoon, stir together sugar, oatmeal, honey, and oil in a glass or ceramic bowl. Drop in the essential oils and stir until thoroughly mixed. In the bath, massage the sugar body scrub into your skin using gentle circular motions and then rinse, towel dry and moisturize.

Aromatherapy Body Butter:

(Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups whipped butter)
1 cup organic raw shea butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond oil
60 drops total of essential oils (You can use whatever oils you wish)

Melt shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Stir in almond oil and essential oils. Place oil mixture in freezer or outside to chill. Wait until oils start to partially solidify then whip until a butter-like consistency is achieved. Place in clean, glass jar and enjoy!

Aromatherapy Face Cleanser:

1/3 cup Lavender hydrosol
1/3 cup Rose hydrosol (rose water)
1/3 cup Geranium hydrosol
2 tablespoons Vegetable Glycerin
8 drops Lavender essential oil
1 drop Geranium essential oil
3 drops Chamomile essential oil
4 drops Rose essential oil

Pour all the ingredients into a clean, sterile 8oz dark glass or PET plastic bottle. Shake well. To use, dampen your skin with warm water, then gently massage cleanser into your skin. Rinse, pat dry and moisturize.

Face masks:

Oily skin: (1 TBSP green clay, 1 drop rosemary, 1 drop lavender)

Dry skin: (2 TBSP mashed avocado, 1 drop roman chamomile, 1 drop rose)

Normal skin: (1 TBSP oatmeal, 1 drop geranium)

Mix above ingredients well and moisten with green tea or water. Apply to your face and leave on for 10 minutes. Then wash face well and moisturize.

Face Moisturizer:     

½ ounce jojoba oil
3 drops carrot seed essential oil
3 drop Roman chamomile essential oil
3 drops rose otto essential oil

Blend together ingredients in a glass bottle or container. Wash face and hands thoroughly before use. Massage liberally into the face and neck, concentrating on dry patches.


Want Our Free DIY Aromatherapy Spa Recipes?

Interested in learning more about aromatherapy and herbs? Join Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach for ‘Holistic Healing with Herbs,’ a 6-month certification program starting April 14, 2018 in West, Bend, WI: https://mindsoulandself.com/herb_classes_wisconsin_illinois/

About: Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA is a Spiritual Counselor, Holistic Health Consultant, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, Master Gardener, and Reiki Master Teacher with a PhD in Health Psychology. Her business, Mind, Soul, and Self LLC is based out of Wisconsin. For more info on Dr. Christina and her upcoming Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, or Natural Perfume classes or to schedule an individual reading or appointment, please visit mindsoulandself.com. Many Blessings and Be Well!

 

Neroli for Serenity, Peace & Comfort

By Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA
mindsoulandself.com

Life happens. Things beyond our control and things within our control. A loved one may pass away. We don’t have the money to pay a bill. Our car breaks down. We get into a disagreement with a friend. Stress at work is unbearable. We have too much to do and not enough time to do it. We all experience hard times. Sometimes it seems like nothing can go our way and we think the universe hates us. We ask “why me?” We just want to scream and cry in frustration.  Neroli essential oil offers comfort, calmness, and a warm embrace to help you cope with and recover from difficult times.   

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) is distilled or solvent extracted from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree. It is also known as orange blossom or orange flower. It is native to India and China. It has a florally citrus aroma; soft and beautiful. Neroli essential oil can be pricey due to the number of flowers required to produce the essential oil as well as the production process itself. But it is a wonderful addition to your natural health care. Neroli essential oil is very relaxing and can relieve chronic anxiety, depression, fear, shock, agitation, and stress. Neroli Oil is a powerful sedative and is regarded as one of the best antidepressant remedies. Neroli resonates with the Heart Chakra and can evoke higher emotions like peace, joy, love, compassion, gratitude, and serenity. It can relax and soothe the soul and uplift the spirit. It brings balance to the mind, heart, emotions, and soul.

Recipe for Serenity, Peace, and Comfort

  • 3 drops Neroli Essential Oil
  • 1 drop Lemon Balm (Melissa) Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Mandarin Essential Oil
  • 1 drop Rose Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Cedarwood Essential oil
  • ½ ounce vegetable oil like coconut, almond, or grapeseed
  • A little bottle, bowl, or container to mix oils in

Directions: This blend is meant to be inhaled. As you prepare the blend, have the thoughts and intent that you are inviting calmness, serenity, and peace into your life. Put a few drops in your hands, rub together, cup over your face, and deeply inhale several times. As you breathe in the aroma, state the affirmation: “I maintain my calm with inner peace and strength. I maintain my inner calm in the midst of chaos.”


Interested in learning more about aromatherapy and herbs? Join Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach for ‘Holistic Healing with Herbs,’ a 6-month certification program starting April 14, 2018 in West, Bend, WI: https://mindsoulandself.com/herb_classes_wisconsin_illinois/

About: Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA is a Spiritual Counselor, Holistic Health Consultant, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, Master Gardener, and Reiki Master Teacher with a PhD in Health Psychology. Her business, Mind, Soul, and Self LLC is based out of Wisconsin. For more info on Dr. Christina and her upcoming Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, or Natural Perfume classes or to schedule an individual reading or appointment, please visit mindsoulandself.com. Many Blessings and Be Well!

blue tiger’s eye for power + communication

Like other forms of tiger’s eye, the blue variety (often called Hawk’s Eye) is a form of quartz in which silky asbestos fibers have been trapped, giving it a distinctive sheen. The form of asbestos is crocidilite, and iron-bearing mineral that’s normally blue in color. When that iron rusts before it gets trapped within the silica, it turns brown and results in golden tiger’s eye. But if the silica infiltrates the fibers before the iron has time to rust, the blue color is retained, resulting in blue tiger’s eye.

Combining the raw power of tiger’s eye with the blue color association gives an interesting and useful combination of metaphysical characteristics. All tiger’s eye is great for removing habits that no longer serve, plowing through details of your to-do list, and getting down to business. It can make you feel grounded, empowered and protected. Along with this, the blue variety boosts the power and effectiveness of all forms of communication. When it comes to setting and achieving goals, communication is an important factor that’s  sometimes overlooked. Another traditional use is for averting the evil eye.

One way to use this stone: Blue tiger’s eye makes a great pocket stone — one you’ll want to keep with you throughout the day. It’s a great choice for a palm stone or worry stone, but a small polished piece in your pocket or bag can serve just as well. You might want to keep it on your desk as you work, study, and manage various projects in your life. Then when you’re done for the day, keep your blue tiger’s eye near your phone to “recharge” it overnight.

sodalite for mutual understanding

Sodalite increases empathy between speaker and listener, which promotes a more meaningful understanding between people who are trying to communicate. If you have anyone in your life who talks past you, talks over you, or just doesn’t seem to “get” you, sodalite can help make dealing with this person more manageable — possibly even pleasant! It’s also good for lifting the emotional “overlay” in certain conversations that can distort perceptions and make it hard to understand what the other person is getting at. Some people also use it to help prepare for public speaking, and/or give them confidence while giving a speech or presentation. On a more spiritual level, you can also use it to tune in to spirit guides, angels and other non-human guides. Sodalite is associated with all forms of communication: spoken, written, nonverbal, telepathetic, interspecies — basically whatever kind of communication is needed in a particular situation. In fact, some writers have found sodalite so helpful that it’s sometimes called the “poet’s stone”!

Metaphysical properties: Use at 5th chakra (Throat chakra) or at 6th chakra (3rd eye/brow chakra) for increasing accurate intuitive thoughts, to encourage successful stilling of the mind during meditation, to bring out the truth in any situation, to help you stand up for yourself, for protection from electromagnetic pollution, to enhance group cooperation, to aid in speaking your truth, to banish habits & negative thinking patterns, to aid in absorbing new information, to remove fear, to banish guilt, to encourage confidence, to promote a healthy metabolism, to remove insomnia, and to reduce fevers.

Click here to shop for sodalite.

Rosemary for clearing the way

by Christina Wilke-Burbach

Note: The Aura Cacia rosemary essential oil we carry at Mimosa is Rosmarinus officinalis grown in Morocco.

New Year, New You! The beginning of the year is traditionally a time for us to assess the previous year and to plan for the upcoming one. Many of us make resolutions and then abandon them halfway through the year. We start with really good intentions and begin the year highly motivated to bring change to many areas of our lives. But then discouragement sets in as we either get overwhelmed, stressed out, or unforeseen obstacles spring up along the way.

Rosemary essential oil can assist you in clearing the way and overcoming these barriers. Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) is a woody perennial aromatic shrub in the mint family. It is native to the Mediterranean area and grows well in the Midwest. The flowering tops are steam distilled to produce the essential oil. Rosemary can have several different chemotypes depending on where and how it is grown. Chemotypes are the same plant species, but the chemical makeup is different due to environmental differences like temperature, amount of light, elevation, etc. For example, Rosemary grown in Spain will have different chemical constituents that Rosemary grown in the United States. Due to the chemistry, each chemotype of Rosemary can have similar, yet slightly different uses. When a plant has a chemotype, it is designated in the botanical name. For instance, Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole has higher levels of the chemical 1, 8 cineole in it and is great for respiratory concerns. Rosmarinus officinalis ct. camphor contains more camphor and is better for muscles aches and pains. Rosmarinus officinalis ct. verbenone is a cell regenerator for the skin and is not quite as stimulating as the other two chemotypes.

Overall, all the Rosemary chemotypes are invigorating, stimulating, and refreshing. Rosemary empowers the mind and is helpful for overcoming mental fatigue and sluggishness by stimulating and strengthening the entire nervous system. It enhances memory, focus, and mental clarity while aiding alertness and concentration. Rosemary (especially the Cineole and Camphor chemotypes) can help you cope with stressful conditions and see things from a clearer perspective. Rosemary can also provide you with support and self-confidence to help you trudge forward during difficult times. Rosemary also helps clear negative and dense energy in both your aura and environment. Often times we are our own biggest barrier with self-defeating beliefs and self-talk. Rosemary can help clear this rubbish out of the way. Inhalation and diffusion is the safest and most effective way to use essential oils for memory, mood, and concentration. Always make sure to dilute essential oils in a vegetable oil if applying topically. Please do not put Rosemary essential oil near or on the face of infants and children due to some of the active chemical constituents in Rosemary.

Recipe for Mental Clarity:

  • 3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 4 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 2 drops Peppermint Essential oil
  • 6 drops Orange Essential Oil

Directions: This blend is to be used in a diffuser. As you prepare the blend, have the thoughts and intent that you are ready to release energy, beliefs, patterns, and obstacles in your way. Turn the diffuser on and breathe in the aroma and state the following affirmation. “My thoughts are clear and focused. I am motivated, energized, invigorated, and will break through any barrier that gets in my way.”


Interested in learning more about aromatherapy and herbs? Join Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach for Holistic Healing with Herbs, a 6-month certification program starting April 14, 2018 in West Bend, WI.


About: Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA is a Spiritual Counselor, Holistic Health Consultant, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, Master Gardener, and Reiki Master Teacher with a PhD in Health Psychology. Her business, Mind, Soul, and Self LLC is based out of Wisconsin. For more info on Dr. Christina and her upcoming Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, or Natural Perfume classes or to schedule an individual reading or appointment, please visit mindsoulandself.com. Many Blessings and Be Well!

Fox

Written by Mimosa
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Your first thought may be that the fox is cunning and swift, and that this might go for you as well. While foxes are both cunning and swift, they have many more qualities as a guide and totem. This quick canid is excellent at adapting to any situation or overcoming any obstacle with creativity and wit. Their wisdom and intelligence guide us to all possible ways to overcome problems and obstacles. With the fox as your totem, you are more introverted, as foxes tend to keep to the shadows and watch from a distance. While this may seem dark, it really just means you actively take an interest in the lives of those around you, and that you care enough to pay attention. However, this doesn’t mean that foxes can’t be playful or outgoing. While they may not exactly be a social butterfly, foxes do have a gregarious side. This goes well with your ability to adapt to any situation, including ones where you have to portray a different aspect of yourself. Seeing a fox in a dream may indicate that someone is deceiving or tricking you. But being a fox, this will give you the wisdom to overcome this trickery. Being a fox also means you may find yourself more active at night than during the daytime. As foxes are nocturnal, you may also find your creativity or wit working overtime during the peak hours of the night.  

The Sun is in Capricorn. What does that mean for your sign?

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Category: Current Transits
Written by Mimosa
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Capricorn: December 22 – January 21

As the third earth sign in the zodiac, Capricorn relates to practicality and purpose, but now not just for our self or those close to us, but for society.  Scorpio opens our heart to our soul. Sagittarius inspires us to find meaningful context for our soul. Now, naturally, in Capricorn, we want to apply our expanded, soulful beliefs to our purpose in the world. Through careers, philanthropic pursuits, businesses and other ambitions, we learn how to set goals, make plans, conspire with others, and manage time, people and resources. By bringing order to our vision, we ground inspired ideas into practical realities. This begins by taking charge of our own lives: accepting responsibility for our own emotions, applying discipline to our thoughts and actions, and holding ourselves and others accountable. Though we may feel driven to make our mark in our world and receive some level of recognition for our achievements, it is integrity that becomes most fundamental to our measure of success.  Are we living our lives in alignment with the beliefs and higher intuitive truths we’ve come to embrace and thus serving our soul’s intended potential for giving to this world.

If our ego is healthy and strong and has awakened to the awareness of our soul’s spiritual divinity, and we have attuned to a metaphysical wisdom, then we are more likely to hear and listen to that inner voice of divine guidance that gives intuitive and moral direction to our choices, helping us stay aligned to our soul’s plan. By doing so, we also align our self with the divine logic of a larger, higher, collective destiny, and in this way, the hidden forces of divinity can support the manifesting of our own unique higher potential, bringing us personal rewards while also furthering the collective evolution of our world.

If we have not yet awakened to spirit, then our Capricorn organizing energy is applied to more ego-driven goals and plans, still informed by the illusions of separation, death and fear and out of balance with the emotional needs of the opposing sign of Cancer. Personal wealth and power become the goals that promise more control, order and protection in our lives, even if it requires we become numb to the pain it causes in others and ourselves.  And to the extent we are still experiencing the unhealed wounds of our personality, our personal pain and shadows can fuel our worldly ambitions in ways that manifest much pain for others.   

Through the many experiences we have in pursuing our worldly purpose and contributions, sooner or later, we learn to become attuned to the collective rhythms of souls merging into creative synergy and we re-discover the feelings of belonging that reflect our divine oneness. Welcome Aquarius.

Look below for your birth sign (sun sign) to see what particular challenges/opportunities are being brought to your awareness this month. (These can also hold true if you have your Moon, Rising sign or a number of planets in the sign.)

Aries: As with the rest of your life, Aries, when it comes to career and purpose, you need plenty of autonomy and freedom to go your own way. In your career, it’s best that you lead or are given your own track. Or perhaps be an entrepreneur. In any case, it’s your ability to assert your unique identity that informs your goals, your associates, your style and your success. During this time, you may feel a surge in ambition that can set your course for some time to come, so be sure to check your ego and ask your higher self for direction.

Taurus: As another earth sign, Taurus, your steady and practical approach is helpful to reaching goals that are grounded in reality. For this reason, colleagues and clients find you reliable and trustworthy. This is a good time to promote those qualities in yourself. At the same time, watch for signs that your vision and goals may be too conservative, too cautious. Is it possible to think bigger without falling off the edge?

Gemini: if your professional life lacks stimulation and activity, you will feel frustrated more during this month. Your desire to learn, share, and communicate need a purposeful outlet, so set some goals that will honor that. It may take more than one profession or maybe some extra philanthropic activities. Make sure your intellectual strengths are recognized, yet be discerning with it. Sometimes, wisdom equals silence.

Cancer: Cancer is opposite Capricorn, so your challenge during this time, Cancer, is to integrate your sense of responsibility and outward achievement with your sensitivity to emotions and nurturing of others. This is a good time to examine how well you balance your work and home lives. Do you know when to stop caring about your colleagues’ personal troubles? To get things done in the world we usually have to remain a bit aloof from emotions; ours and others’. You’re probably better off in a profession that incorporates your feelings.  Your soul kind of wants that.

Leo: This is a good time to shine your individual light into your profession. You have power, strength and leadership skills to bring to the table. Let your playful and creative urges inform the goals and plans you and your team choose. You can inspire others by being yourself, and by being in tune with your soul, you act as a catalyst for positive change in the world.  

Virgo: Ok Virgo, this would be a good time to do a reality check around the goals and plans that you and others have set. Perhaps you’ve already seen some room for improvements. Now, more than ever, is the time to share and apply. Your critical and exacting style needs to be recognized and if you offer your insights with a soulful sensitivity, you will bring appreciated order to your ambitions.

Libra: Now is the time to notice if your professional environment and relationships feel balanced and in harmony. More importantly, is what you are doing creating more fairness and beauty in the world? Your social skills are important to what you bring to your worldly purpose, so make sure you are in a place to use them. This Capricorn month is a good time to draw attention to your own strengths and how it serves others.

Scorpio: You may feel an intense need for recognition in your work during this time, Scorpio. Others may notice your ability to dig deep, do the research, find the resources, and handle crisis situations. When you are connecting to your soul, you are a catalyst for transformation in the world. Be conscious during this month of how much drama you experience or create. Your own willingness to show vulnerability may allow others to be more authentic, enhancing their worldly purpose, too.  

Sagittarius: During this month, Sag, you will be more sensitive to the limits of your work environment and mission. If you are not feeling plenty of room for adventure, travel or deep meaning in your work, now is the time to take note and make goals for changing that. If you are bored, ask for change. Freedom to wander, literally or figuratively, is key. Your natural enthusiasm contributes greatly to your success in life, but is contingent on your goals having deeper meaning to you. Help others remember the bigger picture, too.

Capricorn: This is your time, Capricorn. Seize the day. Set those goals. Make those plans. You are a manifestor and your soul is counting on you bringing order to all you touch. As you keep aligned with your soul’s intuitive guidance, you attract those who can serve your cause well. Be mindful that they are whole human beings, with feelings and needs of their own. However important the goal, the best plan of action is one that respects everyone, so include people’s feelings into the plan, at some level.

Aquarius: Changing the world is at the heart of your self-identity, Aquarius. You see so much that needs innovation and redesign. And you have original and ingenious insights to answers. Does your career path honor you this way? Now is a good time to ask these questions. Are you serving the right people that align with your values? Are you ready to create your own unconventional career path? More than most of us, you want to contribute to humanity, so make sure you are creating your life as you need.  

Pisces: Engaging with the world at large with purpose and ambition is not your natural state, Pisces. Yet, your compassion for humanity draws you onto the world stage, nevertheless. If you can stay attuned to your deep soul wisdom, your heart will guide and protect you. If during this time you are aware of confusion, fantasy or a need to escape, look to the people who surround you. Make sure you have colleagues who are grounded, to whom you can delegate practical tasks, on whom you can rely for practical advice, and appreciate your sensitivity and need for tranquility.


Barry Kerr, a certified soul-based astrologer, has 36 years of experience with an international clientele, including many medical professionals and alternative healers. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, are owners/practitioners at Inner Essence Center in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. Barry offers astrology, energy healing and transformational coaching by phone, Skype or in person in Madison, WI. Inquiries are welcome – free 15 minute consultation to explore if this is for you.  Visit www.ChooseConsciousLiving.com for more information or email Barry at [email protected]. or call 608-345-2470.

 

Great Central Sun Chakra Aromatherapy Forecast

Written by Mimosa
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The Chakras are an ideal roadmap for personal growth and development.  In 2017 we are journeying through the Chakras and focusing on one Chakra a month. December brings us to the Great Central Sun Chakra, a transpersonal chakra and your connection to God Consciousness. It is the highest vibrating chakra…all that ever was and all that ever will be. It is where you access higher consciousness, your higher self, and the divine. This month, the Great Central Sun asks you – Can you find God (the divine) in everything and everyone? Do you find God in yourself?

Brief Overview of Chakras: The Chakras are the main energy centers in our subtle body. They are the openings for life energy to flow into and out of our aura or electromagnetic field. There are main Chakras, minor, subpersonal, and transpersonal Chakras. The Chakras’ function is to vitalize the physical body and to bring about the development of our self-consciousness. Each chakra is associated with certain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual interactions. Each chakra has personal growth themes, functions, and purposes.  The concept of the Chakras has been around for thousands of years; but the energy coming to us from the cosmos is changing. We are receiving potent and new energies of high frequency light from the universe. The 7 main chakras were appropriate for us these past 2000 years. As we move into a new era, new chakras above and below the physical body are forming and others are waking up from dormancy to help us evolve into our new future.

The Great Central Sun Chakra is a Transpersonal Chakra and is located at the center of the universe. It is not in our physical body, but in our etheric/energy body. This chakra is located in the highest dimension. It is the highest vibrating energy center. Its color is usually seen as ultraviolet or iridescent. The Great Central Sun is the Source and Center of the Universe. God Consciousness. The Universal Mind. It releases cosmic rays, light and love to all of creation and all of the cosmos. The Great Central Sun is doorway to the cosmos and beyond. It is full consciousness, where you become one with the source energy/creator of all. It is the point of origin of all physical and spiritual creation.

December 2017 Grand Central Sun Chakra Forecast: December is a month filled with religious and spiritual celebrations. It is perhaps the ‘holiest’ of all the months in the calendar year. For many people, December is a time to share with family and friends and celebrate the divine. But what does the divine truly mean to you? This month, as you celebrate the holidays (Holy Days), take some time to contemplate your own divinity. Can you find God (the divine) in everything and everyone? Do you find God in yourself? Can you connect to the divine? How? Do you feel connected with your higher self? Do you feel a strong connection with the universe/God/The Divine? Are you aware of and celebrate this connection all year, or only on certain holidays?

Message: “Listen to your higher self and sense what it is asking of you. Connect with the stars as you stand on earth and feel what your soul is yearning for. Open your mind and your heart to all that is out there and see what feels right for you. You are not alone and only you can define the undefined for yourself. Allow your connection to source to flow through you until you feel infinite peace” ~Laurel Virtues Water

Great Central Sun Chakra Aromatherapy Blend

  • 6 drops Lotus essential oil (Nymphaea caerulea)
  • 5 drops Sacred Frankincense oil (Boswellia sacra)
  • 4 Buddha Wood essential oil (Eremophila mitchelli)

This is a meditation blend meant for a diffuser. Prepare the oils in your diffuser and then lay down in a quiet space and close your eyes. Inhale the aroma and conceptualize/visualize what you think the source/universe/divine/God looks like to you. Visualize the center of the universe. As you do this, state the following affirmations: “I am connected to the Source and Center of the Universe. I honor the divinity inside me.”

If you are interested in learning more about the ‘The Grand Central Sun, your light body and merkaba, the ascension process, and connecting to your higher self, spirit guides, angels, and higher energies of the divine” please visit the Chakra Mini-Series page for monthly $17 online mini chakra classes https://mindsoulandself.com/2017-chakra-mini-series/

About: Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA is a Spiritual Counselor, Holistic Health Consultant, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, Master Gardener, and Reiki Master Teacher with a PhD in Health Psychology. Her business, Mind, Soul, and Self LLC is based out of Wisconsin. For more info on Dr. Christina and her upcoming Chakra Retreats, Chakra Classes, Chakra Bootcamps, or to schedule an individual reading or appointment, please visit mindsoulandself.com. Many Blessings and Be Well!

The Sun is in Sagittarius. What does that mean for your sign?

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Category: Current Transits

Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21

Sagittarius is the third fire sign in the journey through the zodiac. Having come through the crucible of egoic fear and surrender in Scorpio, we now have some conscious awareness of ourselves as spiritual beings, as souls. This new, sense of identity fuels our desire to explore and understand our expanded reality in spirit and invites a subconsciously driven idealism and hopefulness that reflects our true divine nature. Through travel and exploration, we are drawn to discover new horizons and unfamiliar environments which stretch our knowledge of people and life.  In the opposite sign of Gemini, it was enough to exercise our Mercurial curiosity by simply taking in information and data within a rational, logical process of dualism. Now, Jupiter stirs our mind to search for context and meaning in ever larger paradigms through the study of philosophy, science, religion, and spirituality.

If we have come through this zodiac journey thus far with a healthy, positive ego and have awakened to our transcendent self, our spiritual searching will eventually lead us to metaphysical perceptions that see beyond the polarities and dualities of this illusive time-space dimension of physical form. Though human religions may play a role in our spiritual growth, we will sense their limits and be ever inviting of deeper and more expanded awareness, willing to trust our own unique soul connection (Christ Consciousness) to find truth that informs our own moral compass and leads, eventually, to mystical enlightenment.

However, if when the emotional and psychological traumas of Scorpio intimacy has indeed awakened some awareness of spiritual divinity in us, yet we nevertheless remain mostly within the limited perceptions of our ego, then our search for understanding in Sagittarius will be limited to these narrow perceptions.  We will be attracted to religious or scientific belief systems that re-enforce duality and polarization, often dogmatic and with rigid rules of morality. Such philosophies and religions support our newfound hope of divine connection, but also continue to fuel the ego’s misunderstandings and fears that stem from the illusions of separation in the physical world. Yet, even within these more narrow-minded experiences, our Jupiter self is seeking out that which will lead to eventual greater consciousness.

Whether we travel the world of Sagittarius in wide-open and loving trust of our inner guidance or with the self-imposed blinders of religious or scientific caution, we are preparing ourselves for the next sign in the zodiac, Capricorn, where we will step into society with a new sense of self, meaning, possibility and mission. Then, our Sagittarian paradigm will color what we accomplish.

Look below for your birth sign (sun sign) to see what particular challenges/opportunities are being brought to your awareness this month. (These can also hold true if you have your Moon, Rising sign or a number of planets in the sign.)

Aries: Fire meets fire here, Aries, so be aware at this time that your inspired enthusiasm and idealism is creating the adventures you need for your own growth and understanding. Books and “systems” may not suit you. Though you can be an inspirational leader, be ready to check any tendencies toward judgment and preaching. You are entitled to follow your own truth, and to go it alone if you must. Others may follow, but those who don’t are not your enemies. In your quest for truth, always ask “Who am I?”

Taurus: This is a good time of year for you check you priorities regarding material life and spiritual pursuits. It’s not that they are necessarily contradictory. Your natural tendencies toward material abundance and pleasurable comfort can be a fine avenue toward higher understanding if you are mindful to invite insights and wisdom around your human appetites. Once you set your mind toward higher consciousness, you can be steadfast, just avoid stubborn dogmatism. Some truths will change.

Gemini: Gemini is opposite Sagittarius in the zodiac. This is the time of year that most supports your integration of this polarity between rational thought and intuitive understanding. In fact, as a student of dualities, Gemini, this is a good time to apply your awareness of such to a search for meaning around them. Invite these insights through the books you read, the conversations you have, through writing, through travel and even academic studies. Your enthusiastic curiosity can also inspire others.

Cancer: With your sentimental attachments to home and family, the Sagittarian call to explore the world might feel threatening. Just as travel can put physical distance between you and loved ones, so can inner explorations of truth and meaning create mental and emotional distance from your past. You cannot force loved ones to follow you, but you needn’t stop loving them. Kindly share what you can, but make your home your sanctuary of truth. Your “spiritual” family will always feel welcome there and affirm the love that binds beyond bloodlines.  

Leo: As a fellow fire sign, Leo, this month of Sagittarius affords you a chance to bring deeper meaning to your natural passionate flare and creativity. If you are an artist, invoke high ideals as your muse. If you like children, invite their wisdom to teach you. If you enjoy competition and play, seek to expand your experience of intuition and love. The truths that you are gaining during this time relate to the purpose of having a strong ego and who is served. Ego or soul?

Virgo: This month may feel a bit scattered, Virgo, as you alternate between leaping into daily chores with enthusiasm, and departing from routine as you chase adventure. It’s best to acknowledge your need for exploration that requires a break from your routines, and design a schedule of travel or spiritual studies that appeals to your need for order and practicality. Just don’t shoot for perfection, as it will stifle the spontaneity needed for expansive insights and awesome surprises. Remember, most deeper truths do not come through analysis, but through open-minded and open-hearted awareness.

Libra: If you consider your life as a journey toward spiritual consciousness, ask yourself, “Am I traveling alone?” Whether partnered or single, you may be feeling more sensitive to your longing for spiritual companionship and the enthusiasm and fun that comes with it. A compatible relationship between ego personalities is not the same as spiritual partners and at some point falls flat. If you are partnered, this is a good time to introduce mutual intentions for meaningful adventures through travel or studies. If necessary, claim the freedom to explore on your own. Without a life partner who can share the journey, conscious friends will serve the purpose.  

Scorpio: When it comes to higher understanding, Scorpio, what is important for you is to relate it to the deep inner world of intimate emotions and psychology. Your “research” into meaning and truth is carried out within your own realms of sexual encounters, joint enterprises, shared resources and the like, where you can dig into the hidden undersides of power struggles, fears and intimacies. This strengthens your capacity to return more consistently to the surrender of your ego to your soul and grow a framework of cosmic awareness. Watch for judgmental and moralistic attitude as a key to the ego’s slipping backward into unconsciousness.

Sagittarius: This is your month, Sagittarius, so let yourself be free to follow your intuition and quest for expanded living. Whether it’s travel, study, philosophy, metaphysics, teaching or anything else that inspires you, you know it’s about learning about and understanding the world and the nature of reality. Now, more than ever, is a good time for you to question any over-reliance on limited logical thinking. Invite your soul’s guidance to strengthen your intuitive ways of knowing and your ability to channel wisdom to others.

Capricorn: As one who creates order and manifests achievements, Capricorn, this is a good time to consider just how much your “career” is reflecting your beliefs and adding to the meaning of your life. As you mature in spiritual consciousness, your sense of responsibility changes, aligning more with your soul’s perspective of divine order. This can lighten your ego’s sense of heavy personal burdens even as it can step up the challenges your ego is willing to accept in service to the world. Recognition comes without being sought after.   

Aquarius: Your spiritual understanding comes most easily within friendships and groups of kindred spirits. If you’ve longed to travel or study with a group, this is the time. The synergy you create with others is a primary subject of higher understanding for you. Fellowship, so to speak, is the path you travel to ground spiritual wisdom into full bodied mysticism. Invite your intuitive guides to surprise you in fun and innovative ways during this time of Sagittarius.

Pisces: Pisces often experience states of confusion in this physical world because you are attuned, if only subliminally, more than most of us, to the larger reality of divine existence. The confusion is typically for lack of ability in your human mind to be able to make sense of your experiences. Thus, as Pisces meets Sagittarius, it is a good time to commit yourself to applying your rational mind to explore metaphysical principles which will give your mind useful frameworks for sorting out the confusions. You will be delighted each time you are reminded that others have travelled your watery path and have created language to share it. Your centered peace, confidence and gifts will grow.


Barry Kerr, a certified soul-based astrologer, has 36 years of experience with an international clientele, including many medical professionals and alternative healers. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, are owners/practitioners at Inner Essence Center in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. Barry offers astrology, energy healing and transformational coaching by phone, Skype or in person in Madison, WI. Inquiries are welcome – free 15 minute consultation to explore if this is for you.  Visit www.ChooseConsciousLiving.com for more information or email Barry at [email protected]. or call 608-345-2470.

 

Metal Magic

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Category: Crystal Healing

While healing and metaphysical properties of crystals come from a variety of sources, what we know about the subtle properties of metals comes mainly from one tradition: alchemy. The first thing many people think of when we hear the word “alchemy” is experiments by ancient and medieval scientists trying to transform base metals into gold. But their research didn’t begin or end there, and along the way the human race learned a lot about both the natural world and subtle energies. And since astrology and alchemy developed side by side, it’s not surprising that properties of metals are strongly associated with the planets and their associated deities. Therefore, the seven metals of antiquity — lead, tin, iron, copper, mercury, silver and gold — line up with the seven traditional planets.

These traditional seven metals have been the base of everything from vedic jewelry to singing bowls. Like crystals, metals come from the earth, but metals are a more purified form of the same substances that give crystals their color, physical properties, and energy. Many gemstones are actually ores of these metals. In jewelry, the metal a gem is set in can serve to conduct, enhance, or mitigate the energy of the gem. As with crystals, you may choose metals that balance your weaknesses or ones that amplify strengths. In many traditions, as with vedic jewelry, stones and metals are coordinated for optimum combinations.

As for singing bowls, although they’re often called “Seven metals singing bowls,” they’re seldom if ever made of the seven tradition metals. (You didn’t really want to handle a bowl made partially of toxic mercury anyway, did you?) This goes for antique as well as modern bowls, hand-hammered as well as machine-made. Good-quality bowls are made of bronze, ideally a special type known as “bell metal,” which is about 78% copper and 22% tin. This alloy has been used in everything from church bells to percussion instruments for over a thousand years, because it simply produces the best sound and overtones. Some lower quality bowls and bells may be made of brass, possibly mixed with miscellaneous recycled metals, but you’ll immediately know the difference by the sound.

What are some other ways we can harness the power of metals? Here are a few ideas:

– Using objects made of these metals for ritual and meditation, and adding them to your altar

– Alchemy uses metals as a way of understanding personality. Each of these metals is associated with a personality archetype connected with its corresponding planet, and the deity for whom that planet was named. People are naturally drawn to one of these archetypes, or possibly a combination of two or three.

– Astrological bangles (which you may have read about in Autobiography of a Yogi) contain copper, silver and gold in proportions fine-tuned to the individual’s astrological chart. Less expensive metal bangles are an easier to find, less expensive option. For example, many wear bracelets made with copper and/or magnetized iron to improve circulation and control arthritis.

– Orgonite can be formulated with specific metals and metal ores. This is an especially helpful way to harness the properties toxic metals such as mercury and lead.

– Taking metals internally via homeopathic medicines

–  Use a mineral that is an ore for the metal you want to work with, or that contains some of that metal. This can include aura quartzes. (See the list of associations below.)

Each of the seven traditional metals acts as an archetype. We can work with that archetype not only using the metal itself, but also using associated metals, ores, gemstones including aura quartzes (quartz bonded with a colorful coating of vaporized metal). Since some of the traditional metals are either toxic or very expensive, it’s often practical to work with these associates:

Gold: Bronze, aqua aura quartz, ruby, garnet, pyrite, amber.

Silver:  Rhodium, angel aura quartz, pearl, moonstone, aquamarine.

Mercury: Electrum (a combination of silver and gold), emerald, opal. If you want to work with actual mercury, a safe form is polished cinnabar (mercury ore) in quartz; since it is a polished stone, there’s some degree of protection from toxicity.

Copper: Bronze, Brass, melon/orange/tangerine aura quartz, chrysocolla, turquoise, malachite, azurite.

Iron: Steel, champagne/sunshine aura quartz, hematite, magnetite, carnelian, bloodstone. An iron meteorite is an exceptionally strong form of this metal.

Tin: Citrine, amethyst, cassiterite. Tin itself is inexpensive and safe to use.

Lead: Lead-free pewter, galena, stibnite, black garnet.

And finally, here are a few other metals, with their associations and a few other interesting facts:

Titanium: purity, power, being a catalyst for positive change, repelling negative energy. Titanium can be found in rutilated quartz, and also in various stones with asterisms (star ruby, star sapphire, etc.) It’s also the metal coating found on rainbow, flame & titan aura quartz.

aluminum: self understanding, reflection.

Zinc: transformation of energy, calming of excess or nervous energy

Platinum: meditation, finding one’s true direction

Nickel: problem solving, attracting energy and/or intuitive information, banishing compulsive thoughts or actions. Some yellow/green aura quartzes are coated with nickel.

Antimony: magic, protection, healing, wild spirit. It’s often used in conjunction with other metals, and so is associated with cooperative and teacher/student relationships.

 

Soul Star Chakra Aromatherapy

The Chakras are an ideal roadmap for personal growth and development.  In 2017 we are journeying through the Chakras and focusing on one Chakra a month. November brings us to the Soul Star Chakra, a transpersonal chakra and the blueprint of your soul. It holds the record of all you ever were and all you ever will become. It holds all your past lives and your future lives. This month, the Soul Star asks you to explore why you reincarnated at this time. What are your soul lessons and life purpose?

Brief Overview of Chakras: The Chakras are the main energy centers in our subtle body. They are the openings for life energy to flow into and out of our aura or electromagnetic field. There are main Chakras, minor, subpersonal, and transpersonal Chakras. The Chakras’ function is to vitalize the physical body and to bring about the development of our self-consciousness. Each chakra is associated with certain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual interactions. Each chakra has personal growth themes, functions, and purposes.  The concept of the Chakras has been around for thousands of years; but the energy coming to us from the cosmos is changing. We are receiving potent and new energies of high frequency light from the universe. The 7 main chakras were appropriate for us these past 2000 years. As we move into a new era, new chakras above and below the physical body are forming and others are waking up from dormancy to help us evolve into our new future.

The Soul Star Chakra is a Transpersonal Chakra and is located about 6 inches above the top of the head, above the crown chakra. It is not in our physical body, but in our etheric/energy body. Its color is usually seen as white, silver, gold, ultraviolet, or iridescent. The Soul Star Stores the soul’s highest purpose above and beyond all individual incarnations. The soul’s blueprint.  It is through this chakra that a soul enters a physical body during incarnation.  After death, the seed of an enlightened being remains in the soul star. You enter the Soul Star when you die to gain perspective on your life. It connects to higher self, Soul purpose, life tasks, soul groups, soul mates, and pre-destined soul contracts. Our entire being’s karmic residue, those energy patterns that you have held on to for more than one lifetime, is held in the eighth chakra carrying thought forms created over the life of our entire being caused by other lives actions and community consciousness. When attuned and activated, the Soul Star allows access to the Akashic records, the soul’s intent in this particular incarnation, stores the soul’s highest purpose above and beyond all individual incarnations.

November 2017 Soul Star Chakra Forecast: Henry Bolduc was a certified hypnotherapist with almost 40 years’ experience in past-life research. Through his work, he believed “every soul reincarnates in a particular lifetime for one of three reasons. First, we may reap the benefits of grace resulting from the good we have done for others in the past; second, we may correct our faults, thus balancing our good and bad deeds – referred to as karma; and third, we may experience life in such a way that we can contribute to the ocean of life.” This month, the higher energies want you to explore your purpose in this lifetime and your reasons for incarnating. Are you here to receive blessings and grace for good deeds in a previous incarnation? Are you here to continue to learn soul lessons? Are you here a healer and visionary to raise the vibration and help heal the world and humanity during these difficult times?

Soul Star Chakra Aromatherapy Blend

  • 8 drops Palo Santo essential oil
  • 8 drops Elemi essential oil
  • 8 drops Frankincense oil
  • 8 drops Myrrh essential oil
  • 8 drops Angelica essential oil
  • 4 ounces distilled water

The above blend is meant for a spray or mister. Blend the essential oils into 1 teaspoon of vodka or witch hazel (to help disperse the oils into water) and then blend into 4 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle. Mix well. Spray the blend above your head and feel the mist fall down on you. Inhale the aroma and visualize your soul star chakra glowing brightly as a white golden ball of light about 6 inches above your head. As you do this, state the following affirmations: “I am connected to all my past lives and all my future lives. I am connected to my soul group and soul’s mates. I connect to higher self, Soul purpose, life tasks and predestined soul contracts.  I release my karmic residue.”


About: Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA is a Spiritual Counselor, Holistic Health Consultant, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, Master Gardener, and Reiki Master Teacher with a PhD in Health Psychology. Her business, Mind, Soul, and Self LLC is based out of Wisconsin. For more info on Dr. Christina and her upcoming Chakra Retreats, Chakra Classes, Chakra Bootcamps, or to schedule an individual reading or appointment, please visit mindsoulandself.com. Many Blessings and Be Well! Upcoming events:

‘Soul Star Chakra, Past Lives, Future Lives, the Spectrum of Consciousness and Journey to the Akashic Records’ please visit the Chakra Mini-Series page for monthly $17 online mini chakra classes https://mindsoulandself.com/2017-chakra-mini-series/

Women’s Energy Healing Day Retreat in West Bend, Wisconsin on the powerful day of healing 11/11 (November 11), 2017: https://mindsoulandself.com/wellness-day-retreats/

Group Past Life Regression/Future Life Progression experience in Sheboygan, WI on Saturday November 18th: https://mindsoulandself.com/past-life-regression-future-life-progression/

The physical properties of various metals

Many of us wear gemstones for their beauty and healing properties. But what about the setting the gemstone goes in, or the chain we wear with it? Often that’s the part closest to your body, and these parts are usually made of metal. And metals have their own individual characteristics and properties. Since it’s a complicated topic, this article will be a two-parter. This week we’ll talk about the physical properties of metals and alloys, and in a few weeks we’ll talk about the metaphysical properties of metals.

Metals may be either one pure element or an alloy, which is a mixture of metals. In jewelry, the latter is far more common. Elemental copper, silver and gold are quite beautiful, but they’re all soft on their own, which means they won’t hold their shape well as jewelry. So an alloying metal is added to make them more workable and stable. Even the types of metal we think of as “pure” may have something else in them; Sterling silver, for example, is actually 7.5% copper. And sometimes even Sterling may contain traces of other metals as well, including nickel.

That can be a problem, because by far the most common metal allergy is to nickel. While some people do suffer from all types of allergies, it’s likely that many allergic reactions to metal are due not to a separate allergy, but to the fact that so many alloys actually contain nickel. So if you have sensitivities to nickel or any other metal, you’ll want to avoid problems by knowing what jewelry is made of before you buy it. Hopefully the charts below will be a start, but there are some other things it’s important to know.

One is that metals are sometimes given confusing names. Metals called German Silver, Tibetan Silver, Inca Silver and other such things usually contain no silver at all. And items that look like they’re made of one metal may actually have only a coating of that metal. For example, often something that looks like copper will turn out to stick to a magnet. Copper isn’t attracted to magnets, so this shows the item is really steel with just a coating of copper. The same often holds true for “silver-look” and “gold-look” chains and other items. And some terms, like “white metal,” are simply a catch-all, and can mean just about anything.

Another problem metal is lead, a toxic element that can especially cause problems in children. Since lead makes a very good alloying material, in the past it was often used to make pewter and other mixed metals. Antique pewter jewelry is very likely to contain lead. Nowadays pewter produced in the U.S. is lead-free, but laboratory tests have shown that many inexpensive items currently imported from China — including cheap jewelry — do in fact contain lead. This should be safe enough for adults to wear; still, many of us would rather avoid it. And over-the-counter lead testing kits don’t always work well to test jewelry, since they may give a false positive to non-lead metals used to make safe pewter alloys.

Those of us who staff stores where jewelry is sold will do our best to let you know what kind of metal is in the items we sell. We can be pretty sure about items made of silver stamped 925, American-made pewter, brass and bronze. But in other cases, the truth is that we don’t always know, especially when it comes to lower-priced imported items. A lot of people enjoy wearing these things and have no problems whatsoever. But if you’re sensitive to certain metals (or have a baby that likes to suck on your chains) you’ll probably want to stick to metals whose content is known.

Another thing people ask is, “Will this metal turn my skin green?” Various metals may do this, the most common being copper and nickel — even if they’re coated with something else. For example, a lot of silver-plated chains are really copper with a thin silver plating, and for some people this will turn the skin green every time. But it’s not the same for everyone, and a lot depends of body chemistry. If you find a lot of metal jewelry turns your skin green, your body chemistry may be more sensitive than other peoples’. In that case, your best choices of metal may be things like stainless steel, titanium, an rhodium-coated silver. But there also are plenty of other handsome-looking options that don’t involve metal at all, such as cotton cord, leather, and ribbon. When you do wear metal, try taking off your jewelry when you exercise, or in other situations where the metal may get wet. Sweat causes even pure sterling silver to tarnish, and that tarnish may also stain your skin.