Monthly Archives: August 2013

Where Do Crystal Properties Come From?

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Category: Crystal Healing
Written by Mimosa
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Many of us use crystals to help us with a host of issues in our everyday lives. When intelligently used, crystals can help us work with our own hopes, fears, shortcomings and dreams. So it’s no surprise that one of the questions we’re most frequently asked is, “What are the properties of this stone?”

But there’s a more basic question that comes with this: Where do crystal properties come from? Who decides what a crystal is good for, and how do they know?

While intuition is part of the answer, it’s far more complicated than that. The history of crystal healing and crystal magic goes back to a time before recorded history, and stones have helped people in every part of the Earth. Our problem in answering customer questions is deciding how to sum up a crystals metaphysical properties, neither ignoring history nor burdening our customers with a book’s worth of information.

Three main sources of information come into play:
1. Historical uses of the stone. In considering crystal properties throughout history and throughout the world, we look for common threads. The Chinese, Persians, and Aztecs may each have a dozen different ideas, but it’s the one they have in common that gives us the most to work with.

2. Intuitive impressions from trusted crystal experts. Here things get a little subjective. Anyone can look at a stone, hold it in their hand, and bring forth intuitive ideas about how it might be used. But how much of that is useful for anyone else, and where do you draw the line between intuition and imagination? There is no easy answer. But over time, certain experts have earned our trust, because many people have found them reliable. And when we compare their advice, again, we look for commonalities.

3. Chakra associations/color magic. Chakras are the figurative “wheels” of energy associated with the human body. The word comes from Hindu tradition, but the concept crosses cultural lines. For modern purposes, when we discuss chakras we usually mean the seven energy centers that run from the base of the spine throught the crown of the head, each of which is associated with a color and an area of human experience and health. Simply by looking at a stone, anyone can know certain basic properties if they’re familiar with these color associations.

When we advise people about how to work with a crystal, we’re drawing from all these sources. The hard part isn’t coming up with information, it’s knowing how to put all this knowledge into people’s hands without boggling their minds!

“A Little Bit of Luck: Choosing, Preparing & Using a Talisman” by Cathy Douglas

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Amulets and talismans are not the same thing, but they’re closely related. An amulet is protective, whereas a talisman mainly brings good fortune–though of course it may dispel negative energy as part of the package. A talisman may be a piece of jewelry, a stone carried in your pocket, a lucky coin, or anything else that carries personal significance.

Rune Pendant : FEHU (Photo credit: Linden Tea)

Rune Pendant : FEHU
(Photo credit: Linden Tea)

While many things make fine talismans, lots of people choose crystals, runes, or a totem animals. A small totem or religious symbol carved from stone combines luck from two sources. Crafting your own talisman is especially lucky, but buying one is also fine, as long as you fill the item with your intention.

What is intention? Simply the purpose you have in mind for the talisman. For example, if you want to attract love, it’s not enough to purchase a rose quartz heart and throw it in a drawer. You will need to focus your will on the specific thing you want your talisman to do. This may be a one-time purpose–say, finding your true love–or may be some general purpose, like developing a more loving attitude within yourself. Think of each talisman as an individual; it has a personality, and the two of you are going to have a relationship.

Here’s one of the many ways to prepare and use a talisman:

1. Cleanse the talisman: Once you get your talisman home, set it either outside or in a moonlit windowsill overnight. In the morning, sprinkle a little salt over it, then hold it under running water.

2. Charge the talisman: Hold the talisman with cupped hands, focusing your concentration on it. Allow energy to flow in from the Universe, while at the same time directing your intention through your touch. You may also call on deities or spirit guides to help.

3. Knowing when the talisman is ready: You may be able to feel this directly as you work with the talisman. If you sit half an hour and still don’t feel an energetic change, it could mean you need more than one session to charge the talisman. Or if you have one, a pendulum can help you know when the talisman is charged; simply hold your pendulum over the talisman and ask if you’ve fully communicated your intention.

4. Using the talisman: Whether you carry the talisman or keep it in one place depends on its purpose. A talisman to attract money might stay on your desk if its main purpose is to help your business; however, if you wish to attract abundance to yourself more generally, you’d want to wear the talisman or carry it in your pocket. For most purposes, consistency is important–keep the talisman either with you or in its honored place as much of the time as possible.

5. Saying goodbye: If the talisman is for one specific purpose, you will no longer carry it when that purpose is achieved. Once you’ve found the love of your life, you don’t need another one! At that point, you will thank the talisman for helping you, as well as any other powers you’ve called on. Then find a “place of honor” for it. You may bury it in the Earth or put it in a quiet part of your garden–anywhere suitable for your talisman to “retire.”

Traditional Talismans

Here’s a chart to help anyone interested in choosing a talisman. Please keep in mind that this is simply a brief listing; most of these items have more than one purpose, and most of the purposes could have more than one charm in each category.

What you wish to attract
(in a worldly or spiritual sense)
Animal Stone Rune
Evil eye (protection from) rabbit malachite isa
Happiness butterfly garnet sowilo
Health beetle amethyst, kyanite berkana
Intelligence snake citrine ansuz
Life energy bird clear quartz ehwaz
Longevity turtle, tortoise or snake ruby mannaz
Luck (general) bee jade, turquoise dagaz
Love, Relationships frog or toad rose quartz gebo
New starts phoenix carnelian perthro
Prosperity ladybug citrine fehu
Protection dog black tourmaline algiz
Purity dove amethyst berkana
Sensing the invisible cat opal laguz
Strength horse bloodstone tiwaz
Success pig ruby wunjo
Travel elephant moonstone raidho
Unexpected blessings spider diamond gebo
Vision lizard emerald ansuz
Wealth fish aventurine fehu
Wisdom owl lapis lazuli kenaz

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“A Re- Examination of Astrological Compatibility Theory” by Shelley Jordan

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Category: Astrology
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Among the questions I hear most frequently are those that involve astrological compatibility, the idea that some signs are better for us than others. For instance, Aries is said to get along with Leo but not with Scorpio. Cancer should avoid Libra but is good with Taurus. Why is this? What thinking lies behind this astrological segregation? Zodiac signs in circle.

The answer can be found in the gender of the sign. Half the signs of the Zodiac are traditionally labeled male, half are female. The fire and air signs are male, the earth and water signs are female. Plainly put, male signs should avoid female signs, and vice versa, or so traditional astrology would have you think.

This view of conflict between certain signs is one of astrology’s worst old wives’ tales. Using gender to categorize, then separate the signs really doesn’t help one gain insight into the meanings of the signs. In fact, it is a hindrance to chart interpretation. Assigning gender to the signs of the Zodiac creates limitations on the imagination and scope of the astrologer’s perceptions. It is difficult to avoid ingrained attitudes toward gender. For example, historically, fire signs were described as heroic and confident (they’re masculine), while the water signs were vulnerable and insecure (they’re feminine). There are plenty of hackneyed value judgments attached to the signs based on gender. Just read an old astrology book’s description of Pisces as the dustbin of the Zodiac, or Scorpio as mean and difficult. Both are water, therefore feminine, signs. On the other hand, the male signs are associated with courage (fire) and intelligence (air).

I have seen many successful relationships and marriages between people whose charts would send traditional astrologers into fits if anxiety and cautionary warnings about the inevitable failure of the relationship, simply because the signs in their charts are not “compatible”. While most astrologers don’t realize it, gender is at the bottom of this presumed incompatibility. This notion of the irreconcilable differences between certain signs originated with the ancient Greeks, who did in fact, socially separate men from women, and were also responsible for much of today’s astrological theory. They passed this cultural gender prejudice onto the astrological theory of their day, where it has remained unquestioned for centuries.

Is there any truth to the idea that some signs are better for us than others? The answer is NO! Forget compatibility based on signs. Don’t look to astrology to determine whether a relationship will work out or not. Instead use astrology as a way of understanding another human being, not as a way to create more barriers and limits in our hearts. Sometimes we are drawn to people who are just like us, in which case there may be a lot of overlay between the charts – shared signs, houses or aspects, or other indications that there could be some interior similarity. At other times we may be drawn to people who are entirely different from us because some kind of complementarity is occurring and each partner supplies qualities that the other lacks.

Astrology is a useful way of gaining insight into the interior world of another person. Insight into other people’s character can heighten our compassion and understanding of what motivates another person. Astrological charts can help to explain why someone acts the way he or she does. When we understand what drives someone’s conduct and behavior, it is easier to not personalize it, judge it or be hurt by it. Astrology’s greatest gift lies in its ability to help us understand and empathize with our loves ones. It should not be used as a way of deciding who we should or shouldn’t get involved with. Like predicting the future and fortune telling, traditional chart comparison based on compatibility of signs is a function that 21st century astrology can leave behind in the ashes of the past.

“Kwan Yin: Compassionate Rebel” by Cathy Douglas

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Category: Buddhism
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Kwan Yin is a goddess of compassion, whose name means “One who hears the cries of the world.” She is regarded as a feminine bodhisattva, an enlightened being. Her worship took its current form when Buddhism came to China. Spellings vary, with Quan Yin and Guan Yin common; in Japan she goes by Kannon. Kwan-Yin-178x300

Very large statues of Kwan Yin are traditional in China, Japan, and many other Asian countries. Here’s a picture of a Kwan Yin Statue from Guangzhou, China If you like that, here’s a website with many more very big religious statues. (In Asia, gigantic statues of Kwan Yin, Buddha, Shiva and others are common around temples and large cities.) As the female analog of The Buddha of Mercy, Avilokiteshvara, she’s loved by all.

Still, people of certain walks of life and situations traditionally seek her favor, and many of the symbols we see on statues reflect this. Here’s a key to some symbols and other features of statues, along with their meanings:

  • a dragon to for ancient wisdom
  • with a baby, for the goddess as mother
  • a lotus for contemplation
  • a bottle for medicine, sometimes with a stream of water for healing
  • a sea serpent as a protector of sailors
  • a waterfall for compassion (symbolizing tears)
  • the sprig of foliage is from the weeping willow, also signifying tears
  • a rice bowl for adequate material goods
  • hand cupped in the yoni mudra representing the universal feminine
  • pearls of illumination

And that’s just a start–there are a lot of representations out there! In Feng Shui, it’s traditional to keep a small statue of her in each room of the house to maintain harmonious energy.

Travelers and sailors also carry a small statue of her with them for safety and luck. Larger statues are common in gardens, as well as personal and family shrines. And representations of Kwan Yin in public areas, like the one linked above, are among the largest statues in the world.

Here’s one traditional Chinese story of Kwan Yin’s origins:

Back in Confucian China lived king, whose third and final daughter was so radiant that he named her Miao Shan (radiant goddess). The girl lived up to her name, preferring a life of contemplation, while renouncing fine food, clothing, and all other trappings of royal life. When it came time for her to marry, she adamantly refused. Where, she asked her father, was there a husband who could give her the gifts of the Buddha–freedom from the fear of sickness, old age and death? Miao Shan reminded her father that even a king had no protection from these things.

The king didn’t like that much. In fact, he was so enraged that he put her into a Buddhist nunnery, threatening the nuns with torture and death unless they subjected his daughter to the harshest of treatment. Miao Shan willingly worked at menial tasks and suffered privation, though she chastised the women for fearing her father’s threats. Next, the desperate king decided to kill her. But when he tried to have her beheaded, a blinding thunderstorm came, and a tiger rushed in at the last minute and carried the girl away.

The king decided to wait awhile before trying again, but before he could decide what to do, a terrible sickness came to him, reminding him of his daughter’s warnings about the things even kings fear. A passing beggar advised him that only a potion made from the willing sacrifice of two human arms and two human eyes could save him. Without much hope, he sent out his ministers in search of a person who would willingly give up arms and eyes. Miraculously (to them at least), they found such a person; the potion was made and the king saved. Of course, he was filled with remorse when he found out it was his daughter who’d been mutilated.

She comforted her father with prophetic words: “Do not worry, Father. Mortal eyes give way to diamond eyes, and mortal arms to arms of gold.” He ordered a statue made of her, and in her honor he commanded that it have no arms and no eyes. But the sculptor misunderstood his words, and gave the statue instead a thousand arms and a thousand eyes. The king knew then that Miao Shan could do anything with so many arms, could see anything with so many eyes. Her compassion comforted him, and now he was willing to extend this comfort to all people.

After she died and became the goddess Kwan Yin, she requested permission to come back to Earth, to be with us until the day when all suffering may cease.

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