Simulcra ‘faces in the stone’ at Stonehenge, perhaps the most iconic sacred site in the world. c. Jeni Campbell/www.angeladditions.co.uk
This is another of the articles I’ve recycled from The Other Side magazine. As Mercury is retrograde it is a good use of the energy. I hope you’ll enjoy the sacred journey to Pipestone, a very special place of peace.
Sacred tourism is increasingly popular but not everyone can travel to a location that may be in the most inhospitable of places. Fortunately you don’t need to. You can journey there from the comfort of your armchair. Crystals are the key to harnessing the power of place. Rocks – and crystals – are imperishable, immutable and incorruptible in direct contrast to the frailty of human life. In ancient times, stones such as meteorites were regarded as the primeval God manifesting its presence on the earth, symbolising the cosmic origins of life. Small wonder that they were so revered.
Sacred sites have naturally strong earth energies created by geophysics, leylines, underground water, telluric currents and the like. Places of awe, mystery and wonder, sacred sites are located because of a combination of geological, aesthetic, geodesic, geomagnetic, symbolic, astronomical, mythological and shamanic factors operating in the landscape and the belief system of those who constructed them. Sacred places were an integral part of ancient cosmology: a holistic paradigm that takes spirituality, astronomy, mythology, theology and creates an integrated world view. Gods speak, places empower or awe, the land reflects the sky, and the world can be forever changed in a heartbeat. Crystals form an integral part of sacred geography as they link sites together by resonance. This property can be used to tune into crystals and landscape.
Most sacred sites are underpinned by crystal bones or have minerals in their sacred waters. Virtually all sacred sites incorporate pure quartz or rock with high quartz content. Quartz is a storehouse for energy. It vibrates at a very specific rate. When struck or compressed it creates an electrical discharge visible in the dark. When light shines through it, refraction produces a rainbow. It also transmits sound – think of early crystal radio sets. To the ancients it must have seemed magical indeed. Piezoelectric, Quartz is highly conductive of electricity and other forces. It, especially when combined with granite, has been shown to assist the healing of bones. Small wonder then that sacred sites were often associated with healing.
However, when I was asked by my mainstream American publisher to write an atlas of sacred site crystals, my saying ‘that’s not possible’ was greeted by stunned silence. I had to hastily explain that, although most sacred sites grew up because of unique geological features such as crystalline rocks with naturally strong geomagnetism or simulacra (faces in the rock), indigenous people treat their landscape with great respect and most view mining as a desecration and are aware of how it disrupts earth energies.
In ancient times everything – land, rocks and crystals – was perceived as alive, divine and home to the gods. There are one or two sites that willingly offer up their crystals. Pipestone (Catlinite) is mined in a corner of Minnesota. The sacred stone, a form of clay, has been used to make ‘peace pipes’ for hundreds of years. Holding it gives you a powerful connection to a deeply sacrosanct place and locks you into Native American traditions and their respect for the earth as a sacred, living being. Sedona Sandstone links to powerful energy vortexes and, by opening and attuning your third eye, accesses a portal to ascension and higher consciousness. But perhaps the most famous of healing stones are the Bluestones carried from Preseli in the Welsh Mountains to Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain. Using this ancestral stone takes you on a unique shamanic healing journey. Simply holding a piece no matter where you are in the world connects you to the matrix.
However, fortunately crystals need not come from a sacred site to have an energetic resonance as all crystals of a particular type enjoy a powerful connection. The crystal oversouls see to that! So, I offered a book exploring the inter-connection between landscape, geology, crystals, divinity and power. I invited the publisher – and you – to become an armchair traveller and join me on a journey into sanctity. Our journey takes us on a sinuous path around the planet following the dragon lines and crystal bones that underpin our world. Some of the sites well known, others barely heard of. But all are on an important energy line.
Crystals and the sacred have a natural interaction that has been drawn on for millennia. Part of Australian Aboriginal initiation rituals involved swallowing quartz and driving crystals into the body to store power. They, and other ancient peoples, took pieces of their sacred rocks with them when they relocated just as the Stonehenge builders did with Preseli Bluestone. You don’t need to go this far, but you can hold quartz and other crystals to activate power in yourself. Fortunately my proposal was embraced with passion and Crystals and Sacred Sites was the result.
The book is based on the principle that you can draw power from a sacred site for healing, to expand your awareness or to catalyze your spirituality, connect to the ancestors or speak to your god(s), through a crystal. Sites, even those since abandoned, are imbued with palpable power. It is as though it is impregnated in the very stones or the Earth itself. It can be felt, touched, tasted even. You know when you are stepping into sacred landscape. The air tingles or is preternaturally still. The land beneath your feet has a special quality. You literally walk on sacred ground. These sites are multi-experiential and multi-layered, held within the landscape and integral to it.
This piece by Pico Iyer, a close companion of the Dalai Lama for the last thirty years, sums up the awe-inducing effect of a sacred site:
“I walked last night into a 12th-century temple set against the eastern hills of Kyoto. It was an illuminated wonderworld… Yet as I walked among the stone lanterns, along a narrow path beside a pond, my annual autumn pilgrimage, I noticed something even more remarkable. The college kids, grandmothers and other foreigners walking beside me were not at all the people I’d seen waiting on the street outside, 30 minutes before. They, too, were lit up, in less obvious ways, and newly hushed… It was as if they had stepped into a kind of natural church, and, whatever their tradition or belief, were ready to let something speak to them. Or even through them…
Certain places can so shock or humble us that they take us to places inside ourselves, of terror or wonder or the confounding mixture of them both, that we never see amidst the hourly distractions and clutter of home. they slap us awake, and into a recognition of who we might be in our deepest moments. I will never forget walking out onto the terrace of my broken guest-house in Lhasa, in 1985, and seeing the Potala Palace above what was then just a cluster of traditional whitewashed Tibetan houses, its thousand windows seeming to watch over us. I will never forget, too, visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem two years ago and feeling, whether I wanted to or not, all the prayers, hopes and complications that people had brought to it. The place is as dark, irregular and everyday as the fights it houses – as worldly and human as the Potala seems the opposite – and yet the very fact that so many millions have come for centuries to pray and sob among its flickering candles ensures that many more will do so, even if, like me, they’re not Christian or Buddhist or anything. Places have charisma, in short, much as people do.”
Foreword to 100 Journeys for the Spirit, Watkins Books
The energy at sacred sites is incredibly alive and highly responsive to interaction. It literally plugs you into the sacred: an enormous energy grid that takes in your body, your soul, the planet and the whole cosmos. It stays with you as an expanded awareness and heightened sensitivity, providing healing and catalyzing your spirituality. You can access this numinous grid with the assistance of crystals.
The geology of landscape influences us deeply, as do geophysical and celestial phenomena. Atmospheric conditions, the intensity of sunlight and temperature variations all profoundly affect our physiological and psychological functioning. The presence of concentrations of mineral ore, geomagnetism, volcanic activity and subsurface water all have an effect on and are, in turn, generated by rock. A high ratio of quartz allows rocks to create and convey telluric currents. Granite, which contains quartz particles, has low levels of natural radioactivity and such geomagnetic rocks have been shown to facilitate healing and contribute to the overall energy field of a site. The Earth is actually a giant electrical conducting system and crystals literally underpin our world. Indeed, many sacred sites, such as Machu Pichu and Mount Kailash, are rumored to have secret crystals caverns at their heart.
Psychogeology states that our mind is shaped by the landscape around us. Few of us stop to think when choosing a home that the geology on which it sits, or the material from which it is built, deeply affects our energetic functioning. But our ancestors were aware. They were finely tuned to each nuance of landscape and its underlying geology. They knew how to harness and manipulate natural forces to affect human behavior. That’s why they sited their sacred places not for easy accessibility but because the land itself was special: numinous, powerful, sacred.
Research has shown that parts of our brains, in particular the temporal lobe, are receptive to crystal power and to geomagnetic energies (research references are in Crystals and Sacred Sites and Earth Blessings). This is especially so in those who meditate or who work with energy or crystals. Tradition says that certain stones were used as a pillow to induce dreams, visions, altered states of consciousness and healings. They brought the gods down to earth. It may well have been that ancient humans had a particularly well developed sensitivity to electromagnetic and other natural energies which they used to enhance their spiritual experience and to navigate their way around their worlds – inner and outer.
Aswan Granite obelisk in the morning light. Karnak Temple, Luxor, winter solstice 2014. Originally the top of the obelisk was coated in golden electrum to catch the light. C. Terrie Birch/astrologywise.
So what does all this have to do with you? Well, simply by holding the appropriate crystals and attuning to their vibrations, you can travel in your mind’s eye to the sacred site to absorb the vibrations and speak to the spirits of the place. This energy can be used for personal or planetary healing and transformation. You’ll find much more information in Crystals and Sacred Sites but here’s a brief introduction – and see the Pipestone journey below.
Hold a cleansed and dedicated crystal that links to the energy of the sacred site you wish to explore. Close your eyes and breathe gently and easily. Ask that the energy of your crystal travel agent will take you to the site of your choice. Picture the site in your mind’s eye and hold your focus.
When you have absorbed the energy and the wisdom of the site, let your crystal bring you safely home again. Picture a bubble of protection around you and a root going deep down into the earth to anchor you in incarnation and to send healing energy to our planet.
To cleanse a crystal
Place it under running water or smudge.
To dedicate a crystal
Hold the crystal in your hands and say aloud ‘I dedicate this crystal to the highest good of all.’
[extracted from Crystals and Sacred Sites]
Or, you can take a sacred journey into the Place of Peace. We all need that in these troubled times.
An immensely quiet wooded site with few tourists, Pipestone needs to be approached in quiet contemplation to feel its great age and sanctity. The energy shimmers in the sunlight. Sacred for millennium, the site was revered for its unique position and the carvability of its accommodating stone. Oral tradition tells us that anyone who entered Pipestone put aside their weapons. The Great Spirit had declared the site sacred. Warring tribes quarried peacefully side by side for soft red clay to be shaped into pipebowls and ritual objects used in ceremonies across America. The Pipestone ridge runs almost due north-south which means its sides face east-west. An important equinoctial marker for the changing seasons, the moon rises and sets almost due east-west at the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, a fact that the Nations would not fail to have noticed given the importance of the four directions to their ceremonies. This is one sacred site that offers up its stone but only to Native American nation members. Pipestone is over 1.6 billion years old. A combination of Diaspore, Pyrophyllite, Muscovite and Hematite, all of which have potent healing and metaphysical properties. View the park here.
When you pray with this pipe, you pray for and with everything.
Pipestone is sacred to the American nations so must be approached with respect. It teaches that everything is sacred and joined in unity. That we are a part of Nature and Nature is an inseparable part of us, just as we are an integral part of universal consciousness which flows through our cells. Pipestone unites the spiritual and the physical worlds, sending prayers to the Great Spirit and yet grounding them into the everyday world. This stone brings everything into the present moment, the eternal Now. It helps you to walk lightly upon the Earth honouring its sacredness and that of everything upon it. Meditating with Pipestone creates a calm inner centre in which nothing disturbs your serenity. It enables you to radiate peace out into your environment.
This ceremony connects you to All That Is and helps to heal pain caused by the loss of land or people. If you don’t have actual Pipestone and only have only seen a picture, Pipestone calls you to its sacred home.
A drumming or chanting C.D. deepens this experience. Purify your stone with a smudge stick. Face each direction in turn and call in the spirit of the South, the West, the North and the East and Above and Below, blowing cleansing smudge smoke to them to sanctify your sacred space. Settle yourself in the middle of the room facing towards Minnesota. You may like to make an offering of tobacco to the Catlinite or light a pipe if this feels appropriate. If you do not have Pipestone, gaze at the photograph of the stone and attune to its vibration. (You could watch the slideshow on the Pipestone National Park website when asking the Oracle to guide your journey as it very effectively conveys you into a sense of place.)
This photo of the Oracle was sent to me many years ago by an unnamed Nation member via a Canadian friend.
[extracted from Crystals and Sacred Sites]
Crystal connections to sacred sites
Catlinite is available from www.angeladditions.co.uk. Email Jeni if it’s not on the site as we have some in storage.
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