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 [email protected]. or call 608-345-2470.

sugilite for interpersonal harmony

Sugilite was named for Ken-ici Sugi, the Japanese petrologist who discovered it. Its rich pink-to-purple color comes from the combination of metal elements within it, including iron, manganese and aluminum. It’s uncommon, and usually comes in small pieces. It can be a very helpful crystal to use at work and in other situations where group cooperation is needed, because it can help clear away “negative vibes” that remain after discussions, competitive situations, and other uncomfortable interactions. Even if there are no special problems in your workplace, sugilite can help maintain a harmonious, cooperative environment.

Sugilite is also helpful for many spiritual purposes, including shamanic work and personal transformation. It’s sometimes also called Sugelite, Sugalite, Lavulite, Luvulite, or Royal Azel.

Properties: Use at the 7th Chakra (Crown Chakra) to aid in opening one to divine energy, to enhance meditation, to promote astral travel, to stimulate lucid dreaming and dream healing, to aid one in learning and understanding shamanic practices and rituals, to communicate with one’s ancestors or spirit guides, and to aid in working with the Violet Flame of St. Germaine.

One way to use this stone: You can make a spray mister to take to work to clear away negative energy and promote harmony. Just put a small piece of polished sugilite at the bottom of a glass spray bottle, and fill it up with purified water. If you plan to have it sitting around for awhile, you can add a little witch hazel or vodka to keep it fresh. Adding a couple drops of a purifying essential oil will make it smell nice and add an extra dimension of effectiveness; we suggest palo santo, sage, or an evergreen oil of some type.

The image in the square above was photographed by Ra’ike

sunstone for charisma

Sunstone is a type of feldspar, like moonstone and labradorite. It has a warm, sparkly look due to bits of hematite, goethite or sometimes copper naturally included in the stone. Sunstone has an extremely positive, warm, outgoing personality, making it perfect for people who have trouble putting themselves forward, either socially or in the workplace. It is associated with a sense of joy, and can be especially helpful for chasing away winter blues.

Lore: Sunstone is such an attractive stone that people have been noticing, collecting and wearing it for a long time. Some ancient people believed it consisted of pieces of the sun that had fallen to earth during a solar eclipse. Many cultures used it as a ward against harm, for example embedding pieces on the rims of plates and cups to counteract poisoning.

Properties: Use at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra/Spleenic Chakra) or 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra) to instill joy and happiness, to manifest abundance, to promote a positive self-image and self confidence, to encourage inner strength, to enhance feelings of gratitude and one’s willingness to share, to bring light to dark or negative thoughts, for psychological healing, to stimulate creativity, to aid in digestion and problems associated with the sexual organs, to counter the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), to warm the heart and soul, to balance the mind, body, and spirit, and to promote a positive attitude.

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:


Ametrine… (sigh) It’s complicated.

Ametrine is a naturally occurring combination of amethyst and citrine. Both minerals have the same chemical composition, but when exposed to high heat purple Amethyst transforms into golden citrine. In ametrine, that transformation was only partially finished, creating a beautiful golden-to-violet range of color, uniquely combined in each individual piece. The combination makes it an interesting crystal metaphysically, connecting the solar plexus with the higher chakras, connecting physical and mental planes. In fact, it’s a wonderful crystal for communication, especially when connecting with the spiritual realm. Most pieces on the market are heat-treated amethyst, since naturally occurring ametrine is uncommon. In fact, it was unknown in Europe until Spaniards brought some back from South America to the Queen of Spain.

Lore: There’s a legend that goes along with this origin story, saying that the ametrine mine was a wedding gift to a soldier marrying the daughter of the chief of the Ayoreo tribe. But soon it was time for the soldier, Don Felipe, to go back to Spain. His bride Anahi was torn between her husband and her tribe, but in the end decided to go back to Spain with Don Felipe. The tribe didn’t want to lose her, though, and some of them conspired to kill Don Felipe. Anahi warned her husband of the plot in time to save him, but was herself accidentally injured in the attack. As she lay dying, she gave Don Felipe a piece of ametrine, telling him the two colors represented her divided loyalty. He took some of the precious stone back to Spain, along with a broken heart. There’s still an Anahi Mine named after the young woman in Bolivia, where the stone comes from.

Properties: (Also known as Bolivianite, Trystine, Amethyst-Citrine, or as Citrine-Amethyst) Use at the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra), the 6th Chakra (3rd Eye/ Brow Chakra), or at the 7th Chakra (Crown Chakra) for enhancing lucidity, to aid in decision-making, for personal strength, to increase knowledge, and to create a connection between oneself and the Universe. This stone is a combination of Amethyst and Citrine found in the same stone. This combination is due to uneven heating during the crystal’s formation. Therefore, it also embodies the properties of both of these stones.

One way to use this stone: If there’s someone on the other side you want to communicate with, you can use ametrine to help make that connection. Find some small thing that belonged to them, or a photograph of them, or if that’s not possible simply write their name on a piece of paper. Place the ametrine on top of this, and cover the ametrine with both your hands. Be very focused on the person you want to communicate with. You may feel a message coming from them, and/or feel called to deliver a message to them. This technique also works for connecting with animals, spirit guides, and other types of beings.

unakite for heart balance

Unakite is primarily green epidote, combined with clear quartz and inclusions of pinkish feldspar. It’s sometimes called Unakite Granite, and is named after the Unakas mountains in North Carolina where it was first found. Since it contains both pink and green, the two colors associated with the heart chakra, it can be the perfect stone for heart healing, balance, and other work with the heart chakra. This balancing effect can be especially helpful for couples working together. It’s also an excellent support stone for pregnancy and childbirth.

Properties: Use at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) for creating emotional balance, to stimulate compassion and empathy, to encourage gratitude, for spiritual ascension, to establish a connection with nature (especially with the plant kingdom), to balance chakra energy, to instill determination, and to facilitate feelings of love and friendship. This stone contains Epidote, so these properties also apply.

azurite for spiritual growth

Along with malachite, azurite is a mineral commonly found near copper deposits, where it can take on an astonishing variety of formations. You may see it as a crystal, a stalactite, a bright blue stone with lighter patterning, a midnight blue mass, a prickly little nodule, or in hundreds of other forms. Along with the variety of formations, it’s gotten a lot of different names over time, including Chessylite, Chessy Copper, Lasur, Blue Malachite, and Kuanos.

Lore: Because it is a soft stone with an intense color, ground-up azurite has long been used as a pigment. For example, priests in ancient Egypt would use it to paint the Eye of Horus on their foreheads. Its connection with the brow or third eye chakra is very strong, and it’s often recommended as a crystal to use for intuitive development and connection with heaven. In fact, ancient people of China believed it helped them find the Heavenly Gateway, the path between heaven and earth. It’s a good crystal to have near when you’re meditating, or when you want to connect with your guides and angels.

Properties: Use at the 6th Chakra (Third Eye Chakra/Brow Chakra) to enhance a connection with the Earth, to facilitate the growth of one’s nurturing qualities, to enhance psychic vision and mystical experience, for protection during astral travel, and to aid in acceptance of one’s natural intuitive gifts.

Safety and care: Be mindful of the fact that this ore contains a lot of copper. It may also give off harmful sulfur fumes when exposed to water, so please keep your pieces dry and handle them with care.


septarian for calm

Septarian shields are a formation where brown aragonite has formed into a concretion or nodule*, then cracked as it dried out over time. The cracks were then filled in with a solution of calcium carbonate, which hardened into a white-to-yellow mineral. When these nodules — a type of geode — are cracked open, we can see the two minerals have formed a fascinating pattern. No two pieces are the same. The name “septarian” comes from the Latin word for the number seven, because seven is a common number of main divisions to find in the geode. This formation is also called a Thunder Egg.

Properties: Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra/Spleenic Chakra) to promote bravery and courage, to calm fiery attitudes (anger, frustration, etc.), for grounding, to connect one with the energies of the fire element, to aid one in learning the importance self-control, to stabilize the emotional body, to aid in transformation (physical, emotional, and spiritual), and to help someone to become well-rounded. This stone contains Golden Calcite and Brown Aragonite, so these properties also apply.

Lore: Septarian shields are great for peaceful contemplation, but they originated from processes that were not peaceful at all. Way back in the time of the dinosaurs, when water covered a large part of what is now America, volcanic eruptions killed large numbers of tiny sea animals. After their shells sank to the bottom of the sea, mud balls formed around them. Later, when the seas dried up, the mud balls were left high and dry, and they cracked. But as they say, nature abhors a vacuum; in time, mineral-rich water filled in the cracks with chalky guck. The pretty patterns we see in the geodes we call septarian shields come from the conglomeration of all these sources: whitish calcite from in the center, brown aragonite from the shells, and grey limestone from those primeval mud balls. When you crack one open, you’re seeing a piece of the earth’s history.

* Note: There’s a technical geological difference between concretions and nodules, but the septarian shields are commonly called both concretions and nodules.

rhodochrosite for releasing negativity

Like Rhodonite, Rhodochrosite is an ore of manganese. Although they are similar in color, you can usually tell rhodochrosite because it often forms as a stalactite, showing distinctive circular banding. But it can also take a gemmy, semi-translucent form. In whatever form, it’s an excellent stone for dismissing negativity, releasing our emotions from “the dark side” and restoring light to the soul.

Lore: Another name for rhodochrosite is “Inca rose,” and it’s said that the Inca believed it to be the petrified blood of their former kings and queens. They used this stone for funerary jewelry and items. It grows as a stalactite, often forming interesting bullseye, zigzag and circular patterns, and is found near silver ore. Great quantities of it were left behind in Inca silver mines — mines abandoned many centuries ago — untouched by the silver miners. This is perhaps not too surprising, since the elements in it can interfere with silver mining. In the US and Europe, rhodochrosite used to simply get tossed on the slag heap, until modern rock hounds started picking it out for collector specimens, jewelry and other decorative uses. Rhodochrosite’s association with the heart chakra comes from India, and it’s still valued nowadays as a crystal for love and for strengthening the heart. It’s also helpful for finding balance, and for regulating many inner organs. And rhodochrosite can also be beneficial for memory — which seems most appropriate for royal blood turned to stone! Rhodochrosite is the national stone of Argentina. In South America, it’s even said that somewhere under the Andes mountains lies a giant, heart-shaped piece of rhodochrosite, which “beats” once every two hundred years.

Properties: Use at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to stimulate the memory, to encourage empathy and a compassionate attitude, to instill confidence, and for emotional balance. Rhodochrosite is a good companion stone to Rhodonite. When used together, the two stones will enhance each other’s energetic qualities.

One way to use this crystal: You can use rhodochrosite in a drumming meditation to release negativity. Set the crystal in front of you, close your eyes, and drum to the beat of your own heart. (If you don’t have a “real” drum, it’s fine to use a box or piece of furniture as a substitute.) Gradually, drum louder and with more intensity, until you feel the negativity detaching from you, ready to be released. Slowly decrease the intensity of your drumming as you watch the negativity recede, until it is so faint you can no longer hear it. Open your eyes and thank the stone and the drum for helping you in this work.


rhodonite for forgiveness

Rhodonite is a silicate mineral, an intense pink ore of manganese, usually showing black veins where that manganese has oxidized. It’s often found in close proximity to rhodochrosite, with which it has both a physical and energetic bond. Both are quintessential heart chakra stones, well suited for emotional healing and connecting with the great River of Compassion that flows through the universe. When you need to release a burden of fear, shame, resentment or regret, rhodonite is a sure helper. It can also help you rebuild self-esteem and self-worth after psychological trauma.

Lore: A lot of rhodonite is mined in the Ural Mountains of Russia. People in that area called the stone “orletz,” or “eagle stone,” because it was claimed that the great mountain eagles of the area carried chunks of it their claw to place in their aeries. Area residents decided to do the same, placing pieces of rhodonite in their babies’ cradle, the idea being to make the infant as strong as a mountain eagle. In St. Petersburg, there’s a beautiful altar carved from massive rhodonite at the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood in the Winter Palace, pictured here. This church was built on the site where Czar Alexander II was assassinated. Rhodonite’s association with blood and with the heart seem to extend worldwide.

Properties: Use at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) for encouraging love, to promote group cooperation, to reveal all aspects of a given situation, for grounding, to balance the mind, body, and spirit, to encourage successful meditation using mantras, to encourage new friendships, to stimulate generosity and the spirit of giving as well as gratitude, to heal the physical body as well as the emotions, to facilitate independence, to encourage compassion, empathy, and forgiveness, to aid in healing form past life experiences, to bring peace and calming, to enhance confidence, to heal wounds and insect bites, to reduce arthritis pain, & to ease the symptoms of shock. Rhodonite is a good companion stone to Rhodochrosite. When used together, the two stones will enhance each other’s energetic qualities.