Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Few Helpful Stones

Black tourmaline and aquamarine
Stones and crystals... I adore them and have been collecting them since I was a child. I can remember when I was ten or so, receiving a "geology kit" for Christmas. It had a small collection of stones, a little hammer with a pick on one side and a book. I used to go into the woods nearby and look for stones. A neighbor once went to Herkimer, New York and brought me my first Herkimer diamond. Somehow, I knew those stones were calling me, speaking to me, they were alive.

Some people think working with stones and crystals is too new agey, but I don't agree. Ancient people worked with stones and knew of their magickal/occult/metaphysical properties. For me, the stones have a spirit, just as plants, trees, the Land, do and I am able to communicate with those spirits. 

Here are some stones and their properties that are very healing to work with and not difficult to find, nor expensive. You can combine them or add clear quartz to amplify their energies. Combining the stone with silver, by wrapping with silver wire or wearing on a silver chain, will also intensify the stone's energies.

A couple of other important points: Cleanse your stones by smudging with white sage or other herbs or incense. I don't believe that stones will impart anything negative, but they need the refreshing that cleansing brings, especially if you are working with them during healing sessions with others. While most stones can be cleansed with running water, I don't recommend it as some stones will dissolve in water. Salt can scratch the surface of stones. Smudging is extremely effective without any damaging effects. Respect the spirit of the stone by requesting its assistance and letting the stone know what you need. I like to gently awaken the stone by ringing a bell before working with it. Sometimes a stone will let tell you what is can do and you will not find that information in any book - that's good, no validation is needed, the stone is speaking to you so listen. Handle your stones regularly, keep them out, placed around your home; they are part of your life, your family, don't shut them away.

These are just a few stones that I use regularly besides clear quartz and Herkimer diamonds which are I am very drawn to. Actually, I've never met a stone I didn't like, but quartz and Herkimers seem to have an especial connection for me, however I'll talk about them another time. You will find that certain stones resonate for you more than others and this can change as you change and evolve. 

Carnelian -  High energy but stabilizing, motivating, inspiring creativity, sensual and lusty. Carnelian, a stone for the root chakra, fortifies us with vitality, life force, power and passion. Whatever holds us back, this stone's energy can give us the jolt to blossom and bring into being our ideas. It will kick up vital life force energies, strengthening the physical body bringing good health and the desire to take care of ourselves. This orangey red beautiful being will support us as we strive to make our physical selves healthy and beautiful, breaking addictive habits that harm us, bringing in the radiant life force that heals. Look for the places in your physical life that can benefit from an infusion of carnelian's gift of vital life force. Open yourself and take that energy in like a lover.

Rhodochrosite - Fire and water are the elements of this stone, connecting the root and heart chakras, energizing and balancing. Pale to deep pink, it is a stone of self-healing, working on all levels of our being, assisting us to maintain physical health and emotion well-being .  It soothes, comforts and brings joy. This stone truly comes from the heart of the Great Mother. Rhodochrosite bestows nourishing, healing energies, filling us, embracing us. Whatever our day brings, by wearing or carrying it, we have the support of this stone to keep us in a place of love and balance, its gentle guidance carrying us through the day. 

Turquoise - a master healer, stone of wholeness, with the purist of energies, turquoise  benefits us on all levels. It reminds us that all parts of ourselves reflect the Divine, there are no "bad" parts - all parts of us are sacred. Turquoise reaches its gentle energy toward us so that we are reminded we are beautiful, we are sacred, every bit, inside and out, around and about. 

Emerald - another stone of the water element, emerald's energy is about love and abundance. It helps us stay "in the heart" so that we express ourselves with compassion, acceptance and gratitude. Emerald opens us to all the blessings that our world has to offer and assists us in understanding that we are worthy to receive. Emerald's energy opens us to the love and abundance that is ours; we need only open our hearts and accept it.

Chrysocolla - This stone is a beautiful blue-green turquoise color that proclaims feminine power from the watery realms. It brings calming, cooling and balancing energies that soothe and heal. I call it a priestess stone because its empowering energy is strength tempered by wisdom and love. Chrysocolla  is also a stone that assists us in speaking our truth whether with words or by silence. It connects the root, heart and throat, so the priestess in us speaks openly,  confidently from the heart. This stone will cool and balance any chakra that is over-excited as it will emotion. It brings forth our wise, healing priestess, giving ourselves and others the benefit of the elemental powers of earth and water. 

Staurolite - This little cross shaped being brings much assistance for those of us feeling stress, depression and addictions. It is also known as the fairy stone and a stone of good luck. Staurolite helps us travel astrally and enter the fairy realms. Balancing and grounding, it connects all the realms enhancing our psychic abilities to see into them. It is also an aid in ritual and magical work. Staurolite lets us know that there is more to our world than just the physical and it is important to tend the garden of our spiritual lives. The other worlds are there if we choose to enter. Adventure and wisdom await.

Chrysanthemum Stone - Creation and manifestation is the energy of this beautiful stone, softly black bedecked with white "flowers." It inspires us to bring to fruition our ideas and desires. Whatever we wish to create, chrysanthemum stone can provide the loving nudge needed to begin, pushing aside that which may block the creative flow. It is a true stone of good fortune and abundance on many levels. Chrysanthemum stone is also an excellent stone for shamanic and healing work, even astral and time travel. This stone's energy assists us in pushing aside whatever discourages and obstructs our creative flow and achievement,  bringing a revitalizing surge of abundant fertile, positive energies. What ideas, projects or spiritual work in our lives need this loving push? Chrysanthemum stone offers to take us by the hand, a companion, guiding and inspiring.

Garnet - The deep velvet maroon Garnet has many positive powers to assist us. As I held it in my hand this morning I remembered that the word garnet is from the Latin word granatum, which means pomegranate. This brought to mind the Goddess Persephone who, to be honest is never far from my thoughts. At this time of year, we await Her return from the Underworld, inspiring Her mother, Demeter, to bring growth and fertility back to the Land. 
Garnet, with it's earthy nature brings the excitement of sensual romantic love, but it also brings non-romantic love energies: love of self, most importantly. We can only love others in a healthy way when we love ourselves in a healthy way.  Not over-stimulating, not overwhelming, just appropriate love and devotion, balanced, healthy love is what garnet brings to us. Garnet stirs love around us, but more than that, it shows us the enduring nature of love, through times of trial, separation, loss. Love remains and always is; love is always to be found and will always find us.

Lapis Lazuli: Looking at its deep blue surface flecked with gold and white, in Lapis Lazuli we see the Universe, space, the Otherworlds, all worlds. Here in our hands we hold a key, lapis, to many gates: the gates to spiritual guidance & inspiration, the gate to enlightenment, the gate to self-awareness,  the gate to our intuition and many others including the gate to our highest purpose. The amplified  energy of lapis surrounds us, encouraging us to take the key in hand, reach forward and open the gate. As priestesses and witches, we know that when we open one gate, it will lead us to the next and the next and the next.  When we use lapis in our ritual, shamanic or meditative workings, our journey is enhanced. Where will we start, which gate will we choose? We invoke the Lady's inspiration and step forward.

Danburite: Pale pink, the energy of Danburite is one of connection with the Goddess and release of stress and worry bringing serenity and peace. This stone connects the heart to the higher chakras aiding communication with guides and the Divine. This stone's energy intensifies our connection to the Goddess through our hearts. We feel Her loving energy and know that no matter where we travel during those workings, She will be there, the spirit of this stone, assisting us.

Unakite: This pink & green beauty's energy is one of gentle releasing of repressed negative emotions and bad habits. Unakite assists  us in finding the issues that contribute to illness & negative feelings, then truly release the behaviors that result - not just the emotions. Like a loving mother, this stone works gently and gradually, without  trauma. We can use Unakite's energy to gently bring to the surface that which does not benefit us, but we hold on to. We can peacefully let go of those feelings and habits that do not serve our highest good. 
Unakite is the perfect stone to add to any healing working. I have found it especially effective when combined with other energetic healing modalities.

Black tourmaline: This is a stone of great protective and repelling unwanted, harmful or negative energies while keeping one grounded. I wear one everyday and have larger pieces around my home. It makes a very effective grid for ritual work or home/office protection. Place a small piece in each of the four corners of the home to form a protective grid. This can be done outside, placing the tourmaline in the ground or inside.

There are just a few stones that I have found to be powerful allies. I would love to hear what your favorite stones are.

(compiled from various sources such as Melody's Love Is In The Earth, The Crystal Bible, Vols. 1 & 2 and personal experience.) 

Blessings nine!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another Reading Challenge!

I am, once again, beside myself!!!! I know, that happens a great deal, but that's who I am! I have discovered another reading challenge - The Classics Challenge 2011! I will actually be able to incorporate my Gaskell Challenge into this since Gaskell's books meet the criteria and others are doing so according to the creator of the challenge. It began in January so I am a little behind. All other fiction will go by the wayside, I fear, because I would love to obtain at least the Master's Degree level in this challenge - well, we shall see. I really want the Ph.D, but with stitching and other crafts, brewing potions and casting spells as well as general and mundane life concerns,  forty might be pushing it a bit. However much I would like, I can't read all day, everyday! 

These are the levels of the challenge:

Student: Read any 5 classic books
Bachelor's Degree: Read any 10 classic books
Master's Degree: Read any 20 classic books
Ph.D: Read any 40 classic books

So, what will I read? I haven't a complete list, but here's what I'm starting with:

Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell (currently reading)
Wives & Daughters - Elizabeth Gaskell
Middlemarch - George Elliot
The Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens
The Aeneid - Virgil
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Evelina - Fanny Burney (currently reading)
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
Jane Eyre  - Charlotte Bronte
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
Lysistrata - Aristophanes
Thesmophoriazusae - Aristophanes

And yes, some of these will be rereads, but they are so enjoyable and it has been a while for most. Any suggestions? Just reply to this post! I will likely add one or two more novels by Jane Austen as I tend to reread them every year or two. If you are interested in participating, just click on the link under the picture at the beginning of this post.

Blessings nine!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good Journey, Merlin Stone

Merlin Stone, author of "When God Was A Woman" and "Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood" passed away today. Her books were the beginning of answers long sought for me and set me on a path that has provided  great spiritual satisfaction - as they did for many women. In the community of women's spirituality, a light of wisdom has gone out, at least in this world.

Blessings and good journey Merlin. You will not be forgotten. May you continue to guide us from your place among the stars.

Blessings nine!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Look to the Moon!

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it." 
~Roald Dahl

Full Moon Blessings!
Make magick, make merry!

Blessings nine!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"We Won't Go Back" featuring Lisa Edelstein

Each woman should choose for herself - not men in Washington, DC, who preach about morality while they are screwing around on their wives. If you don't believe in abortion, then don't have one, but don't try to make the decision for another. 

Blessings nine!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

(courtesy of Mariesfreebies.blogspot.com)

May your day be filled with hugs and kisses,
(both chocolate and otherwise!)
and lots of love!

Blessings nine!  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rough Week!

Whoa! What a week I have had!!! Woke up Monday morning to a note that a friend's mom had passed after a struggle with cancer. I posted a small tribute to her previously. The next email was from another friend who had moved to Texas. She had, we thought, successfully battled breast cancer a few years ago. She was in the hospital and had been told that there was cancer in her liver, lungs and bones. I immediately sent out a call to all the Reiki practitioners, healers and witches to send healing and energy. Latest note, she is home and the prognosis, with chemo, etc. looks good. X! Monday evening Mike received a call; his mother's cousin, whom he had seen the week before, had passed away! He was quite elderly, but still getting around and seemed to be well. Good grief, I think I've had enough.

I have suffered from anxiety since childhood and these sorts of events - normal life, I know - always knock me down. Luckily for me, being the big girl I am, I bounce pretty easily! Still, it has been a difficult week and thanks to close friends, my darling Mike (the man has the patience of a saint!) and Reiki, meditation, etc., I'm  hanging in there. Still, I'm feeling a bit like I want to run away to some magical place where I don't have to deal with my feelings. Oh ho, you say - me too! Not a good idea. But... life goes on, anxiety passes. After all, I'm a mermaid - I ride that wave and get along.

In other news, happier news, I have been keeping busy - stitching, reading, cooking, working at the crystal shop. Those crystals certainly take care of me! The energy of the shop is soothing, peaceful, healing. And, of course, there is my friend and boss, Sandy, and co-worker, Lucky, who can talk one through anything. Thank goodness for friends and a great husband. 

A couple of weeks ago Mike and I drove upstate to visit a friend who was visiting her boyfriend - they are both 81 and had dated in high school, but married others, lost them and found each other again! We had a great visit and they took us to a strawberry farm where I bought a mess of berries - strawberry time in Florida - and made some jam.

Now, for me, jam making has become a sort of Zen-like meditative experience, I love doing it and it leaves me with this wonderful feeling. I mean, just looking at the beautifully colored jars - ahhhh!  And, of course, the results are always good, but this batch - DELICIOUS! I'm not sure there will be any left for Christmas gifts!

Stitching bits:

One of the Small Fancies from Practical Blackwork, Acorns, along with Quaker Samplings III by Ellen Chester. I've also been stitching on, but no photo, Witch and Salem Remembered by The Primitive Needle among other bits. 

I  participated in the River of Stones project during January. I sent in five stones and one was accepted and posted to the Handful of Stones blog on February 8th. One of the five not accepted, actually my favorite, was about stitching:

Silver needle, threads soft, bright
My hand dances gently this way then that
Jewels appear on ivory linen
A task of infinite pleasure

copyright E A Kaufman 2011

Read and reading some books, as usual: Recommended by one of the Austen blogs I follow, Syrie James' Nocturne, which was good but not as good as her other two books, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and Dracula, My Love, which I recently read. I very much enjoyed India Black by Carol Karr, a mystery about a Victorian madam (yes, that kind of madam!) blackmailed into assisting Her Majesty's government in retrieving some important diplomatic documents from the French. Mystery writer Vicki Lane (a very favorite author) describes the novel as... "a kind of Fanny Hill meets Nancy Drew - through a world Dickens would have known." I agree and am hoping to read more adventures of India and her handsome spy sidekick. 

I also discovered, at my local library, The Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle. Holiday Grind was a light and enjoyable mystery. I'm going to read the others in this series. Cleo is the pen name for Alice Kimberly and her husband. Alice writes the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, which are fun to read - if murder and mayhem can be fun and Alice achieves that!

So, right now I am embroiled in the antics of caterers Bernie & Libby Simmons as they try to solve the murder of Anabel Cobert in A Catered Birthday Party by Isis Crawford. This is another series I will be reading. Both of these series include lots of recipes, and I'm talking really good recipes, just like the Hannah Swenson Mysteries - recently read Cream Puff Murder and was as fascinated by the recipes as the story! For chocoholics, the Chocoholic Mysteries by JoAnna Carl, packed with chocolate trivia as well as a good mystery - most recent read, the Chocolate Pirate Plot. This mystery reading goes on while working on my Elizabeth Gaskell challenge.

All of this reading, cooking and stitching was squeezed in with the usual potion brewing, spell casting, tarot reading and ritual work of a witch. As you can read, I've been busy and all that busyness makes dealing with the other stuff a bit easier. The pleasures of needle and thread, books, cooking and home... 

Blessings nine!  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good-bye & Good Journey

A friend's mother, Ruth, passed away yesterday after a long illness. She was my first real customer at beauty school when I finally started working on clients. I remember how encouraging she was - I was very nervous - and she just told me to relax, I was doing a wonderful job, she was so encouraging and nurturing. I'm very sorry she had to leave. My friend, I know, is going through a difficult time, so I am thinking of her and her family too, sending them healing. As I sat meditating and sending healing earlier, a lovely vision came to me and I wrote the following, which I'd like to share.

Very slowly the walls disappeared, moonlight lit the room.
A forest appeared, surrounding the place she lay in.
Her bed became a bower of flowers, vines, sweet scented  herbs.
There came fairies and nymphs, priestesses of the Great Mother,
... they came and carried her away to another place,
the garden of renewal and rebirth. 
Now she rests for a bit, tended by the priestesses as she dreams,
all her memories of joy, all else forgotten.
The nymphs brings flowers to lay upon her as she rests.
Now and then, when she wakes, they feed her a brew of blessed herbs,
 preparing her for the next part of her journey.

copyright 2011 E A Kaufman

Rest well and be renewed Ruth, your adventure begins!

Blessings nine!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Redefining Rape?

I was informed of this by Z Budapest on Facebook. It is appalling to think there are those in congress who wish to redefine rape.  

A far-reaching anti-choice bill, introduced by Republican Chris Smith and supported by 173 members of the House, includes a provision that could redefine rape in the realm of federal funding for reproductive health care.
Right now, federal dollars can't be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman's life is in danger. But the Smith bill would narrow that use to "cases of 'forcible' rape but not statutory or coerced rape."
As far too many women know, bruises and broken bones do not define rape - a lack of consent does. Please sign the petition today.
A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to your Senators and Representative.

Click on this link to show your opposition:  

Go here to read about the bill and the removal of the forcible rape provision of the bill. 

If Chris Smith were to succeed with his agenda, it means a man could drug a woman, rape her and not face rape charges. All of this to limit Medicaid  paying for abortions in the cases of rape and incest. A sneaky Chris Smith attempting to limit women's right to choose. Does he have daughters? What is he thinking?

Whatever your opinion about abortion, this is NOT about abortion. Redefining rape harms ALL women and takes us back to a time when women who were raped were repeatedly raped again and again by police and the justice system. Rape is not about sex, it is about power over. Chris Smith seems to want power over women - what does that mean to you?

Blessings nine!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Modern Paganism

(image courtesy of mariesfreebies.blogspot.com)
A friend sent me an article to peruse about why Wicca is not Celtic as many Wiccans and Pagans believe. This set off a whole discussion with myself about how modern Pagans practice their spiritual paths and the claims some make. I am not and have never been Wiccan. I am a hard polytheist, Goddess-oriented, leaning heavily towards the Greco-Roman pantheon, but not exclusively. I believe in many goddesses and gods, not archetypes as some Pagans do, but that They actually exist as individuals. I am a witch who practices the sorcerous and shamanic artes. My beliefs are just that, mine and I make no claim that they are in any way better or worse than other Pagan's. I make no judgement of other Pagans' beliefs or practices, unlike many on a similar path - fundies and the holier than thou are everywhere. OK, that's a judgement, but hey, I'm human! There are, however, in my opinion, some very silly ideas out there about modern Pagan beliefs that are simply not accurate , as there are within any spiritual/religious group. I am not alone is this assessment. One commonly held belief is that we Pagans follow an ancient religion. In reality, we do not; at best we attempt to reconstruct, based on available historical and intuitive information, a way to honor the goddesses and gods we believe in. Or... we have created a new spiritual road that many have taken to - similar to what has happened before in other belief systems. All religions began with someone's idea about the spiritual, again, in my opinion. 

 At some point the Pagan population, I hope, will come to the understanding that while we honor the Old Ones, we are not following some ancient path that has been in existence for thousands of years. Our lives are completely and utterly different from these ancestors who believed in these same deities we do, therefore our experience of the spiritual cannot be the same. There are, in fact, so many differences that to say that we do is simply not accurate and nothing will make it so. We can honor those same deities, we can attempt to duplicate some ritual ways, but ultimately our personal experiences of spirit is very different. Also, we can not know completely how these people conducted their rites or exactly what it is they felt about the gods. We can only do our best to somewhat reconstruct a variation  and be as true to the goddesses and gods and our spiritual selves as possible.

For example, I will never know what the Eleusinian Mysteries actually were. We know something of them, but much is unknown -  yet they remain very important to me. I can surmise based on endless and ongoing study, but, in truth, I will never know for they were completely secret and participants were oath-bound on penalty of death. So what do I do? I could, as some sternly exclaim, not attempt to honor those mysteries, their feeling is that it is somewhat sacrilegious to try.  However, I don't agree with that because I am constantly drawn to them, there is a reason for that. I won't give up. I don't claim to know what I really don't - deluding myself that such and such goddess or guide gave me the information. I base my practice on intellectual, emotional and spiritual data, so to speak. I take what I do know, based on historical and archeological evidence, combine it with what emotionally, spiritually and intuitively I am drawn to do and finally, evaluate the results. If it brings spiritual satisfaction and some sort of result that indicates to me  I am on the right path, I continue along. If not, I make adjustments, but keep searching, moving along that road to wherever it takes me. And there are many roads with partially hidden paths to turn off onto - some lead nowhere and one must turn back, others lead to a wise one's cave.
This path I, and those like me, have chosen, is constantly evolving as we learn and experience our deities, the spirits, the Otherworld,  which is how it should be. Nothing in this universe remains the same. All is, one hopes, growing, blossoming, dying off, returning to seed and once again sprouting into creation, most especially ourselves. We keep searching because we need to, we are meant to... or, at least, some of us are.

Blessings nine!