Monthly Archives: August 2017

varieties of jade

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Category: Crystal Healing

Certain stones have more than one identity, and jade is one that many people find confusing. And it’s no wonder! Real jade comes in a variety of colors and textures, while at the same time other green minerals that aren’t true jade may be labeled as if they were.

True jade is always one of two minerals: jadeite or nephrite. While they’re similar in hardness, weight, and other physical properties, there are some differences between the two:

Jadeite is made up of small, granular crystals, which give it a “sugary” appearance. Pure jadeite is white, but inclusions of other minerals can give it wide range of greens, pinks, blues, lavenders, and other colors. Green jadeite gets its color from iron inclusions, and parts of it may age to a rusty color. Imperial Jade is a high-grade, semi-translucent form of jadeite colored with manganese. Since jadeite is the rarer of the two forms of true jade, it will usually be marked as such in stores.

Nephrite is the more common form, so if you see something simply marked “jade,” it will usually be nephrite. It’s got a fibrous inner structure, giving it a silky appearance. The color range is more limited than that of jadeite; nephrite is usually the classic “jade green,” though if it’s dark enough it may appear black. There’s also a white variety known as “mutton fat” jade which (despite the sort of gross name) is very valuable. Another variation is Inca jade, which is nephrite with inclusions of pyrite.

To make things more confusing, other minerals that aren’t really jade at all are sometimes called jade. Here are a few we’ve run across, along with what they actually are:

  • New Jade (serpentine)
  • Indian Jade (aventurine)
  • Olivine Jade (peridot)
  • Infinite Jade (serpentine)
  • California jade (vesuvianite or serpentine)

Also, just about any green mineral you can think of will sometimes be labeled as jade: “amazonite jade,” “olivine jade,” “serpentine jade,” etc. Reputable dealers will always tell you what you’re really getting, but between all the colors and names it can get really confusing! The most common false jade, serpentine, even looks a lot like nephrite jade, though it’s quite a bit softer.

Because true jade a hard, dense stone, it has been used for tools, jewelry and ornamental objects for a very long time. Until trade developed, most jade used in both China and Europe was nephrite. But once China started importing jadeite from Myanmar, it became very popular there. Conquistadors brought jadeite home to Spain from the new world, where the Incas used it to cure internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. They called it piedra de las ijadas (stone of the loins), which through translation and time gave us the name “jade.” Interestingly, nephrite jade had also long been used as a cure for internal organs; in fact the name comes from nephrus, Latin for kidney.

The Chinese traditionally associate both forms of jade with health, longevity, prosperity and power — especially when carved into associated figures such as dragons. The ultimate stone of good fortune, its name is yu, heavenly stone. Jade was considered to be yang energy in physical form. People wore jade bangles for protection against illness; if they became seriously ill, the bangle would break and they would recover. If they were wearing the bangle and were involved in an accident, they would come out unharmed. People even ate powdered jade, and it was sometimes used in burials with the idea that the body would be preserved.

Jade is also called a dream stone, and is associated with astral travel, dream states, and encountering the spiritual world. Because of this, and because of its traditional association with rejuvenation, some people sleep with jade. You can even find jade pillows online, though unfortunately we don’t carry them at Mimosa!

One special variation is black jade. An intensely grounding stone, black jade may be either nephrite or jadeite (though nephrite is more common), and gets its color from inclusions of graphite or iron. This is a powerful protective stone, a great tool to help avert harm from psychic or energetic “vampires.” And as it helps defend your energy field, it also acts as an aid to looking inward for self-knowledge and access to the world of spirits, especially through shamanic journeying.

About the photo: Our header photo shows the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace. This Buddha, weighing more than four tons, was carved from a single piece of nephrite jade. The slab of jade came from the Canadian arctic, brought to the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Australia, and carved by Thai artisans, using a Buddha at the Mahabodhi Temple in India for its design. A truly international endeavor! After being blessed by the Dalai Lama, it took off on a world tour to raise awareness about Buddhism and to promote world peace. The public domain photo was taken by Douglas J. Benson

The sun is in Virgo. What does that mean for your sign?

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Category: Current Transits

August 21 – September 20

Virgo is an earth sign, ruled by Mercury. If last month, in fiery Leo, we were encouraged to bravely let our solar egos shine our unique soul light into the world, in Virgo we are asked to pause and consider the consequences of our inspired expressions. As the second earth sign in the zodiac, Virgo urges a grounded practicality to our life and an awareness to how we serve others. In Gemini, ruling Mercury aroused our intellectual curiosity about the world around us. Now, in Virgo, Mercury challenges our ability for mental focus and analysis, particularly as it relates to how effective we are as creators in this physical dimension. It’s by paying attention to the details, seeing the cause and effect, and understanding the logic of time and space that we grow into mastery as creators within it. Criticism and consequences are the feedback that helps us learn to express our unique soul genius more artfully, skillfully and completely.  A mature Virgo ego, ready for relationship, will welcome such feedback from others, discern what truth there is in it, and apply it wisely to improve one’s own life, relationships and to assist others.  A less evolved Virgo ego, still defensive, will hold judgment toward self and others, or become obsessed with details and analysis, missing the larger dimension of love that connects us all and gives context beyond logic and reason. One way or another, our Virgo self will lead us to what needs attention and we shall learn and evolve.

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: Routine and order is not your comfort zone, Aries, but during this Virgo time of year, see if there aren’t some parts of your life that could use a little more practical direction. Enthusiasm and inspiration alone are typically not enough. Invite some feedback from others about your goals and methods. You can’t see everything from your own angle, so get some objective perspective. In the end, you get to decide what works for you.

Taurus: As another earth sign, Taurus, this Virgo energy increases your need for stability and practicality. Use this Virgo energy to scrutinize your values, the things you have accrued and the ways you got them. How has this served others as well as yourself? Are there ways your things and finances can be more ordered? Pay attention to the details of that which creates stability and security in life.  Hint: they aren’t all material.  

Gemini: All right Gemini; time to focus that curiosity of yours. It may feel boring to limit your attention to less than three things at a time, but use this Virgo influence to look carefully at your priorities and make choices. Perhaps creating a schedule, a list or calendar would be helpful. Try to be precise and economical in your communications, and watch a tendency to correct other people’s speech.  Listen with discernment.

Cancer: The critical nature of Virgo can feel harsh for you, Cancer. Try not to take feedback from others too personally. And watch out that your emotional frustrations don’t turn into critical attacks on those you love. Are there ways that tidying your home or creating more order can bring comfort? Or perhaps you can offer your caring nature in service to someone who needs such help. It’s an excellent time to notice how emotions work. Be curious.

Leo: Leo, are you aware that when the novelty of daily work wears off, your enthusiasm wanes? That’s you resisting your own Virgo need for some routine and order to life. Use this time to notice how when you get your affairs in order and pay attention to feedback, there is more time and energy to play and create. Also, try applying yourself to some methodical games and pastimes. And problem solving can feel like a fun game right now. So use it for play and/or get things done.

Virgo: This is your time, Virgo, so go at it! Study, analyze, change a health habit. make lists, figure things out, improve, and invent. Bring order to the world, at least your world and if inspired, to others. Remember to embrace compassion and heart connections. Without that, your world can be harsh and cold. Others at this time are interested in feedback, so practice your skills of offering positive, loving and useful criticism. And be careful you go easy on yourself, too.

Libra: During this Virgo energy, Libra, your need for perfection or routine in your relationships may be heightened. So, watch a tendency to be cold or critical if people fall short of your expectations. Don’t confuse your way of doing things as the “right” way. Feel free to offer feedback and ask for what you want, but to maintain harmony and balance, let others do the same.

Scorpio: The watery, emotional world of Scorpio is not comfortable with Virgo practicality. Get over it. Get vulnerable, Scorpio, and give your attention to the workings of your relationships. Now is the time to create clarity about shared resources and intimate matters, knowing the exact details of any agreements, spoken or non-spoken. Perhaps there are health and hygiene habits involved that need addressing? Get it out in the open. Just be careful to not attack or accuse. Make it about your own needs and desires.

Sagittarius: Sagittarius, you are another one who dislikes routine and order.  Granted, you need plenty of space and time for adventure, but during this Virgo influence, allow some attention to the details of how you bring order to your thoughts and life. Invite some objective feedback. You may find that there are tools and systems that enhance the ease of your journey without limiting the choices and timing. In fact, some structure can boost the experience.  Also, this is a good time to invite critical thinking into your worldview. In your enthusiasm for meaning, have you compromised logic and reason?

Capricorn: Being the third earth sign in the zodiac, Capricorn, you may welcome the practical energy of Virgo, but beware: your already natural tendencies toward the well-organized, hard work of manifesting goals can go over the top and turn you into a bossy monster. It’s all right to apply your critical and exacting standards to life and work, just keep your heart connections alive so others (and you) know there is some tolerance and mercy. By doing so, you are more likely to succeed and get the recognition you deserve and desire.

Aquarius: Aquarius, friends and community are essential elements of your happiness. Use this Virgo time to pay attention to the details of how well your social circle fits your needs, and you, theirs. If there are dissonances, address them by making choices. Mere criticism is unlikely to change the dynamics. Your fulfillment depends your own wise discernment of people. With those who do seem a good fit, invite some feedback on how you can better care for and serve the relationships. This is where your natural objectivity can accelerate your effectiveness in the world.

Pisces: Being opposite Virgo in the zodiac, Pisces, during this time you will feel the polarity between your inner, sensitive and mystical world of feelings and your compulsion toward outward practical perfection. This can feel like fear of letting yourself go in case your imperfections are revealed. It would be best to just accept your Piscean tendencies for otherworldly sensitivity, yet invite the feedback from life and people that may challenge you to become more grounded. Unconditional love and compassion are great, but if you cannot find ways to deliver it in real deeds, to real people, in real time, you are missing the point of being human.

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 for more information or email Barry at or call 608-345-2470.

Thoth, Egyptian scribe god

(rhymes with “both”)
Egyptian Pantheon
God of knowledge, occult wisdom & the moon. Patron god of scribes.
Also called Djhuti, Tehuti, Hermes Trismegistos
Husband of Maat, father of Seshat (though various versions of his family appeared through time)

His name carries two meanings: thought and time. We usually see him as a male figure with the head of an Ibis, but in the past he sometimes had the head of a baboon. Thoth invented the art of writing, and was the scribe of the underworld. Originally a moon god, he was associated with the phases of the moon, and thus with the ability to measure the passage of time and also with astronomy. In Khmun, his cult center, worshippers mummified and buried hundreds of ibises in his honor. He’s not the main character in many myths; more often, he appears as a wise counselor and a source of magical wisdom. He helped Isis bring Osiris back from the dead. Thoth himself is said to have written the most ancient parts of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. He was a favorite deity of the Golden Dawn, and Aleister Crowley invoked him and claimed to channel Thoth’s occult teachings through his Book of Thoth tarot deck. As the sun god Ra is associated with mortal life, Thoth is associated with the afterlife. He is the spiritual father of sacred geometry.


  • ibis
  • moon disk
  • papyrus scroll
  • often shown with baboons, or sometimes as a baboon himself
  • stylus & papyrus scroll

The Morrigan, Celtic warrior goddess

The Morrigan
Celtic Pantheon
Goddess of Battle, Strife, Victory
Her name may mean “Phantom Queen” or “Great Queen”
She is one of the Tuatha de Danann. In some myths she is a consort of Dagda

The Morrigan is a fierce warrior goddess, associated with life passages as well as literal battle. She is a shapeshifter who takes on many forms, human and animal, but she especially favors crows and ravens. In mythology, she sometimes use her shapeshifting ability to trick mortals into mistakes that would change their fates. She may also appear in various forms as an omen. Some consider her to be a psychopomp, escorting mortals between the worlds of the living and the dead. She also has an aspect a triple goddess — maiden/mother/crone, or birth/motherhood/death — though she’s mostly associated with the crone part of that trio. The Morrigan is strong and willful, and crossing her can be dangerous. But those she favors are able to draw from her strength, even if their own past has left them scarred. Some believe the Morrigan to be a precursor of the Morgan le Fay. Symbols:

  • Crow and Raven
  • Her sacred plants are mugwort and yew
  • Triple spiral
  • Art may show her as part bird, part woman

Artwork by André Koehne

Ganesh, Hindu god, remover of obstacles

Ganesh (गणेश))
Hindu Pantheon
Remover of obstacles, god of births & other beginnings, patron of arts and sciences, deva of wisdom
Other names: Ganesa, Ganesha, Ganapati
Son of Shiva and Parvati, brother of war god Kartikeya. There’s considerable debate about his wife, but two sons are attributed to him: Kşema (prosperity) and Lābha (profit).

Ganesh got his elephant head when, as a young man, he stood guarding his mother when Parvati was taking a bath. He did not know his father, so when Shiva came in, Ganesh blocked his path. Shiva’s angry glare burned his head to ashes. But when Shiva saw how sad this made Parvati he repented and gave his son an elephant’s head.

Ganesh is worshipped not only at the beginning of religious rituals, but also on secular occasions such as buying a new car or starting a new business. As the remover of obstacles, he is often called upon in practical matters, and invoked for the lucky beginning of all kinds of ventures.


  • One of his tusk is broken, because he used the end of it to write a holy text.
  • The color red is sacred to Ganesh.
  • In some stories the mouse at Ganesha’s feet, who serves as his mount, is the giant god Kroncha, put into rodent form to learn humility. In others he is tiny Mushika, symbolizing the god’s ability to accomplish things that seem impossible to humans.
  • Ganesh may hold a chakra wheel, a sacred conch shell, a lotus, a sacred thread, and an elephant goad

Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom & war

Athena (Ἀθηνᾶ)
Greek Pantheon
Goddess of wisdom, war, civilization, arts & crafts
Also called Pallas or Pallas Athena
Burst forth from the head of Zeus, armed and ready for battle. She swore to remain a virgin forever and never married.

Although she is a goddess of war, she comes to the fight in a spirit of justice rather than anger. She is the patron goddess of heroes and artists of all kinds. She shows up in many myths as the helper of heroes; she helped Jason get the golden fleece, Theseus slay the Minotaur, Perseus slay the Medusa, and Herakles complete his seven labors. She took her chastity very seriously, and no man was allowed to so much as see her naked. A man named Tiresias came upon her while she was bathing, and she struck him blind; however, the one glimpse of her naked gave him the wisdom to see the future and understand the speech of birds. She was a favorite of ancient Greek writers, and shows up to help heroes of the Illiad, the Odyssey, and many other works of literature. As goddess of wisdom and learning, she came to be a symbol of civilized life.


  • Owl
  • Shield made from the head of a gorgon
  • Spear & armor
  • Olive tree
  • She often holds Nike, the goddess of victory, in her hand

sahasrara, the crown chakra

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. August brings us to the Crown Chakra, the center of spirituality, enlightenment, transcendence, oneness, awakening, and understanding. This month, the Crown Chakra asks you to explore your connection to all the dimensions around you — the spiritual world as well as the earth plane. Are you connected to the divine, humanity, and your higher self? Or do you feel alone in the universe, disconnected from the source and your soul?

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.

The Crown Chakra is located at the top of the head. Its functions and purposes include spiritual connection, enlightenment, transcendence, awakening, serenity, beliefs, morals, understanding, thought, awareness, knowledge, wisdom, universal intelligence, pure consciousness, karma, grace, and bliss. It is humanity’s connection to the universe and that, which is beyond death. In Sanskrit, Sahasrara means “thousand petaled,” because this chakra is said to be in the form of a lotus with 1,000 petals arranged in 20 layers and resides in the “plane of truth and reality.” There are over a thousand names for God, yet it remains nameless and formless. The lessons and goal of the Crown Chakra is to guide us into developing our spirituality, achieving enlightenment, and understanding the secrets of the universe as well as the bigger picture in our own lives. Crown Chakra needs that must be met for transformation and transcendence to occur include having a spiritual connection, faith, and oneness with all.

August 2017 Crown Chakra Forecast: As the center of oneness, the Crown Chakra asks for an honest inventory of your spiritual life and connection to the world around you. Are you fulfilled with your human relationships? Or is something missing? Do you believe in something greater than yourself? Do you have a strong relationship with the universe/God/Mother Earth/The Divine? Can you connect to the divine? How? Do you feel connected with your higher self? Is the divine a relationship you nourish or allow to sit on the backburner? Are you too busy in your life to make room for what is really important? This month, it’s time for your mind to step out of the way of your soul…..

Crown Chakra Aromatherapy Blend

  • 3 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops Myrrh essential oil
  • 4 drops Spikenard essential oil
  • 3 drops Palo Santo essential oil
  • 2 drops Angelica essential oil

The above blend is meant for a diffuser. Place the drops into the diffuser and as you turn on, deeply inhale the aroma and breathe it out through your crown chakra at the top of the head. Visualize your crown chakra beaming up to the heavens. As you do this, state the following affirmations: “I am integrated, whole, complete and one with the divine energy. I am connected to the source, guides, guardians, and my angels.”

About: Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA is a 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 Many Blessings and Be Well!

If you are interested in learning more about the ‘Crown Chakra and Connecting to the Divine through Meditation’ please visit the Chakra Mini-Series page for monthly $17 online mini chakra classes

Join us for our ‘Autumn Equinox Women’s Chakra Retreat’ in West Bend, Wisconsin September 15 to 17, 2017:


Protective Symbols: Hamsa, Evil Eye & More

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Category: Uncategorized
Written by Mimosa
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The “evil eye” is an interesting concept. It can be a way of resisting and reversing negative energy we may feel as a result of encounters with certain people, without the need for confrontation. This isn’t the same as when someone intentionally harms you or others; in those cases, confrontation may be unavoidable since the person’s wrong actions must be stopped. But sometimes we feel “bad vibes” from someone who’s not doing anything overtly wrong, and the idea of the evil eye can help us get a handle on those situations and put a stop to negativity.

Here’s an example: Imagine you build a swimming pool, and notice your neighbor looking over the fence, admiring it. He compliments you on how nice it came out and says things like “I wish I could afford something like that.” So one day, being neighborly, you invite him over to hang out by the pool. But even though everything seems pleasant enough on the surface, something feels a little “off” about the whole situation. After the neighbor goes home, you may feel a strong need to smudge the area, a sense of foreboding, or even notice a headache coming on.

Even though your neighbor’s not a bad guy, the negative energy attached to his feelings of envy have left their mark on you and your environment. Smudging and protective devices are ways to take back control of the situation. You don’t, of course, want to fall into the trap of blaming others for every bad thing that happens in life. But once you’ve taken responsibility for the things you truly can control, protective devices can help you make peace with other things and people that are otherwise hard to understand and elusive to handle.

Traditional amulets of protection go back to the stone age. The earliest ones we know of are arrowheads, and one of these (especially made of obsidian) still makes an excellent protective amulet. Over time, every culture came to use protective symbols of one kind or another. Many of these symbols use eyes, hands, and/or horns.

Hamsa: The hamsa is an ancient protective amulet that originated Northern Africa. Hamsa means five in Arabic, referring to the five fingers of the human hand. The amulet is also known as the Hand of Fatima, named for the daughter of the prophet Muhammad. A folk story about the origin of this name says that Fatima was cooking soup one day when her husband came home with a new wife. She was so startled, she dropped her spoon, but continued stirring the hot soup with her bare hand without getting burned. Since God protected her hand, that hand took on the power to protect others from harm.

The hamsa is part of Jewish tradition as well, where it may be known also as the Hand of Miriam. It has also been associated with Venus, and with Mary the mother of Jesus. The symbol has always offered special protection and luck to women, used by brides, those hoping to conceive, and as a charm mothers use to protect their children.

The eye part of the symbol represents the divine watching over us. This watchfulness protects us not only from external forces, but also from our own fears and self-sabotaging thoughts and actions. Some say when the hand is shown with fingers up, it is to ward off the evil eye, whereas fingers pointing downward indicate calling in luck and success. Since a mixture of religious significance are attached to the hamsa, it has recently become a symbol of what middle eastern cultures have in common, and therefore of peace, hope, and of mutual understanding, for the Middle East and for the world.

Nazar, or evil eye charm: One traditional Turkish talisman, the nazar, has come into wide use for protecting against the evil eye. This talisman, which itself looks like a wide, blue eye, can be worn or hung in a house or vehicle. Babies are considered especially vulnerable to the evil eye, so they may be wrapped from head to foot and protected with charms in their bedding, their clothes, or even braided into their hair. Other cultures, including Latin American ones, use similar charms.


Eggs: Another Latin American tradition is to use an egg to remove negative effects of the evil eye (mal de ojo). There, if the mal de ojo makes a person sick, a traditional doctor (curandero or curandera) may pass an egg over their body to remove the curse and restore health. It’s said that the negative energy passes from the patient into the egg. There’s some resemblance between an egg and a human eye, which is probably how this practice got started.
Wadjet eye, Eye of Horus, Eye of Ra: These ancient Egyptian symbols ward off evil and offer many kinds of protection. The Egyptians painted it on boats, carved it into pharaohs’ tombs, incorporated it into carvings, and wore it as a pendant, bracelet, or other piece of jewelry. The six parts of the drawing also represent the six senses, as defined by the Egyptians: taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing, and thought. Offering protection by way of the senses, the wadjet helps control the ability of outside things to affect us internally.
Abhaya mudra: This “gesture of fearlessness” is one of the most basic mudras, the hand symbols used in Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism. It’s simple to perform: raise your right hand with the palm facing outward, at about shoulder height. It can be interpreted as one’s own hand raised in a “stop” gesture, or the hand of God offering reassurance and safety.


Italian horn, also called the cornetto or unicorn’s horn, is a single curved horn usually worn as a pendant. The symbol is associated with pre-Christian goddesses, which is why they’re often made of either silver representing a lunar goddess or blood coral sacred to Venus. You sometimes also see them of gold, bone or amber (like the one in the image.) An alternative version is a pendant made of an uncarved piece of branching coral, especially one shaped like the horn of a stag.
Algiz rune: Among the runes, Algiz the elk rune is the one most generally associated with protection. People of northern Europe also also raise their hand in the shape of this rune for warding and protection. It’s also associated with Heimdall, the watchman of the gods who guards the rainbow bridge between the realms of gods and men. This rune and bindrunes created from it are powerful protective symbols.


There are of course many crystals associated with protection against the evil eye, including tiger iron, malachite, and obsidian. Basic protective stones like tourmaline and jaspers are always helpful, and you can even create a protection grid around your home using black tourmaline and selenite.