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Crystals, Astrology and Magic
This talk is part of my research into the history of birthstones for a Masters Degree in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology.
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Crystal Blessings – Revisited
It is always such a joy when I hear how crystals have changed people’s lives. When Joginder, who runs the Tree of Life in Birmingham, was introducing me last year he told the story of how he’d been in despair, feeling very lonely and finding it impossible to meet a partner who was on the...
As I write this, I am about to return to Egypt. Is it the eighteenth or nineteenth time in my present lifetime? I’ve lost count but it always feels like returning home. I know I’ve had many previous lives there. And this time it’s a very special trip, a pilgrimage to give thanks for the continuing life of my friend and publisher Margaret Cahill, who will be with me on the trip. Last time I went it was as a healing journey for Margaret who was undergoing treatment for mantle cell lymphoma (see her blog Under Cover of Darkness and the two reports of the trip on my website, Light Becoming and The Big P.S.) We carried her photograph from healing sanctuary to healing sanctuary along the Nile. We also carried two very special crystals. My big Smoky Brandenberg healer and a clear Quartz Record Keeper.
Take in thy pious hand the crystal bright.
Transparent image of the eternal light.
Pleased with its lustre, every god shall hear thy vows with favour and concede thy prayer…
The Lithica (4th century lapidiary)
That journey led to some amazing experiences, not the least the one pictured on the right.
As you can see, those healing rays are coming out of the goddess Hathor’s third eye, and from her heart on the column behind me, passing through my third eye and into the photo of Margaret and her partner Stephen ending at her throat, which was where the cancer was located. What you may just catch a glimpse of on the ledge behind me is the Brandenberg crystal that was channelling healing energy to her – she was undergoing massive chemo sessions. Hathor is the Egyptian equivalent of Venus, the goddess of love and compassion. Terrie Birch managed to capture what was a truly magical moment. We were in the sanctuary of Imhotep, the healer-priest who was elevated to the pantheon of Egyptian gods. Imhotep later appeared several times during healings for Margaret when I got back home. It was a rare and beautiful privilege to work with them both.
Imhotep. This statue is so alive it feels like it could step forward at any moment. Look into those eyes!
This temple, Philae at Aswan, is a very special place for me as, the first time I went to Egypt, my mentor Christine Hartley, who had recently passed to spirit, came to walk with me in the cool of the evening light. Christine reminded me of how we had been together there in the distant past. Philae was the last temple to be built in Egypt, at a time when the priests knew that the long, long era of Egyptian spirituality was coming to an end. But they left us plenty of clues in the pictures on the walls and in the energy that was impregnated in the stones. Hieroglyphs are so much more than mere pictures or sacred symbols. They resonate the energy. Although Philae Temple has been moved above the waters of the old Aswan dam, the stones are still imbued with that energy of ancient divinity and heka¸ Egyptian magical power. It is truly a place of sanctity and sanctuary. Terrie and I are so looking forward to accompanying Margaret and Stephen there just before the winter solstice. By the time the actual solstice arrives, we should be in Hathor’s temple at Dair el Bahairi, Luxor, watching the sun rise through the viewing box in the healing sanctuary at the top of the temple. What a wonderful moment of rebirth and renewal.
The healing sanctuary at Hapshepshut’s temple was in place way before the temple itself. It holds the essence of shamanic Egypt and its arcane rituals and you only have to look at the faces in the rocks towering above to see why this was a sacred place from time out of mind. Academics are slowly coming round to the understanding that Egypt ‘religion’ was shamanic in nature (thank the gods for Jeremy Naydler who led the way). When temple texts or the Book of the Dead tell us about Pharaoh’s journey to the stars, or through the Underworld at night fighting off his enemies, they are reporting on actual events. A journey of the spirit or the imagination, whichever way you want to look at it. The ancient shamans and pharaohs wouldn’t have bothered with the difference.
If you walk with conscious intent in Egypt, you cannot help expanding your awareness. You soon realise that you are walking not just on stone but on the stars as well. The as above so below principle is everywhere. Which is why it is such a perfect place for three astrologers to be travelling together. The cosmos is all around. Heka, power, is held in the landscape and in the sky.
I’ve been ruminating on how the fact that the ancient Egyptians didn’t perceive any separation between incarnated matter and the divine links into my crystal work. To them, everything was animate, alive, imbued with the life force that came from the gods. Statues were not just statues, they were the gods incarnate. Crystals also held that energy just as the planets and stars did. The research for my MA dissertation took me back into the original correspondences between planets/gods and stones. Many of the old texts tell us that Ra (the sun-god) is lapis lazuli and lapis lazuli is Ra, that turquoise is Hathor, carnelian is Horus (Mars). To me crystals are alive. They have a spirit, an oversoul as Mike Eastwood calls it, that connects them wherever they may be. I respect that, which is why I always ask crystals to work with me instead of trying to impose my will on them. Tuning into crystals lifts me up to a higher level, a frequency, a vibration, call it what you will. In vastly expanded consciousness I am only a tiny and yet integral part of a much greater whole and, with the help of the crystals, I can influence that whole. Which leads me into earth and distance healing such as we carried out on the Light Becoming journey and which form the basis for Crystals and Sacred Sites and Earth Healing.
During a shamanic journey some years previously I was told that interstellar dust was consciousness, and consciousness was interstellar dust. And, because we all contain elements from the stars within our physical bodies and elements of consciousness within our souls, we are both the stars and the stones made manifest. I like that idea!
One of the things I am also looking forward to on this journey is seeing what will new stones appear. Last time it was the amazing Nubian Temple stones. Quartz that has been imbued with the rich golden-red colour of the land of Upper Egypt. They have travelled for thousands of miles along a river that is still known as the mother of life and they hold kundalini power. These incredible healing stones transport you back through the past to re-access knowledge and skills that were gained in the temples and which can be applied to the present moment (see www.angeladditions.co.uk.) Finding them was an act of serendipitous synchronicity. My cabin steward recognised their potency and created a healing mandala, a kind of mini stone-encircling for Margaret.
I love the way this ancient knowledge seems to have passed down through the Nubian generations – the Nubians of Aswan will tell you that they are the original Egyptians and very proud of that they are too, rightly so. It shows that this knowing is part of our psyche, deeply embedded. Just as children pick up a pretty stone and treasure it, so human beings have adopted – or should that be have been adopted by – stones throughout history. They don’t need to be big, bold and beautiful. Just power-full. Over five thousand years ago in Mesopotamia a woman was laid to rest surrounded by twelve such pebbles. Nothing like them was to be found for two hundred miles all around. She must have journeyed far and wide. Picked up her stones and taken them home to treasure. Did she use them for healing or divination? The professor who uncovered her grave believed it might have been the latter. So intriguing.
I got really excited when I found that academic paper (I know, I’m a sad case but unless you’ve ventured into that world you’ve no idea how soul destroying it can be and this really was one of the brightest moments in my research), and even more so when I found a description of using Selenite and other stones for a shamanic healing ritual to drive out ‘the bad guys’ in a highly academic tome on the chemists of ancient Assyria from around the same time period. Back then chemistry, alchemy, astronomy, astrology and magic were all part of sacred science and had no artificial boundaries.
I thought of that woman and the ancient shamans while I was writing the Crystal Wisdom Oracle. It felt like I was tapping into very ancient wisdom indeed. Even more so when I came across the Lithica, an ancient stone book that describes an initiatory journey with crystals. I’m thinking of reconstructing the ritual with a workshop group one day to see where it takes us (if you’re interested let me know on the crystaljudyhall Facebook site). I’ve quoted from the Lithica in several of my books. It makes such fascinating reading as it gives us in detail the fourth century uses of crystals for healing and protection, which in itself carried forward much older knowledge. Many of which correspond to properties crystal workers today would recognise. Working with stones back then was a very serious business. How’s this for a way of charging-up your crystal amulet:
‘For thrice seven days the mighty wizard fled the bath’s refreshment and his consort’s bed. For thrice seven days a solemn fast maintained. Then in the living fount the gem he laves. And in soft garments like an infant swathes. As to a god, he sacrifices brings. And potent spells in mystic murmurs sings. Till moved by fervent prayer and mighty charms, a living soul the prescient substance warms. Then in his hands he bears the thing divine, where kindled lamps in his pure mansion shine. And as her infant son a mother holds, so in his arms the talisman he folds. And thou, if thou wouldst hear the mystic voice, thus do, and in the wondrous thing rejoice.’
That book proves that crystals have a very long history indeed, and provides an answer to those sceptics who say that it’s all a new age fad. I love what the Lithica says about from where crystals get their powers:
‘The wondrous lore that I prepare to show. For all the pests that out of the earth arise, the earth’s ownself the antidote supplies. She breeds the viper, but she to the sage the means presents to quell the viper’s rage. All kinds of gems spring from her bosom wide. And hapless mortals with sure help provide. For all what virtues potent herbs possession, gems in their kind have, nor in measure less. Great is the force of herbs but greater far the virtues that in stones inherent are. For in the stone implanted mother earth external force, unfading, at its birth.’
I occasionally get criticism from people who think for some misguided reason that crystals – and astrology – are ungodly so I was exhilarated by finding this piece in the Bible. The perfect answer – in addition to the Breastplate of the High Priest and the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem not to mention Ezekiel’s vision of the spaceship-like throne of God that rests on crystals. Except that a quick net search reveals that some people ignorantly insist that Satan is being told off by the Prophet Ezekiel instead of the King of Tyre (don’t get me started on that! You can justify anything if you cherry pick and interpret the Bible to suit. My first degree was in Religious Studies.). Isn’t this beautiful:
Thus says the Lord God:
You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God,
Every precious stone was your covering,
Carnelian, chrysolite [peridot], and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald;
And worked in gold were your settings and your engravings.
On the day that you were created they were prepared.
With an anointed cherub as guardian, I placed you
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked among the stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28:13-14 (NRSV))
It brings a whole new meaning to birthstones. This nostalgic picture of a king adorned with crystals prepared for him at his conception walking among stones of fire in the Garden of Eden is in the Old Testament, a book revered by three world faiths. Throughout the Old and New Testaments there are numerous references to crystals but this is one of the most poetic. I’ll leave you to ponder it while I pack for my trip. I’ll report back when it’s over and I’ve finished having Christmas fun with my great-granddaughter. The perfect way to end the year although by the time you read this the New Year will probably have begun. In which case you I wish you a prosperous, abundant, fulfilling and above all joyous year to come. Once in which you actualise rather than manifest your dreams. Enjoy!
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