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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...
We did not come to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves like the trees,
The trees that are broken
And start again, drawing up on great roots
A Home in Dark Grass, Robert Bly
Rebirthed from midwinter
I’ve waited to post this blog until the light has begun to return to the northern hemisphere once more. The spring equinox is a point of balance when light and dark have equal weight. It is a fitting date to publish it. But the blog was actually created in the misty depths of midwinter.
It arose out of two things, an old friend, astrologer John Wadsworth sending me his book Turning the Wheel of Your Zodiac Soul: Twelve Gateways to Wholeness to endorse – in which he uses Robert Bly’s quote above. John’s excellent book utilises the wheel of the zodiac as an experiential round for the growth of the soul – much as the ancients did. It begins with the young soul entering the incarnated world in Aries – which begins on the vernal equinox – travelling through the signs until it reaches Pisces and the end of the soul-growth journey. I love that approach and use it myself in astrological retreats, so the book struck a cord with me. The Bly quote reminded me that it was time to move on.
There is a wheel turning in you. It is a wheel of time and a wheel of initiation. It is a wheel of lived experience that is reflected in the cyclical passage of the seasons, and in the play of light and shadow that conditions and shapes your life. It is your own personal imprint of the wheel of star constellations that turn around you every day. It is the wheel of your zodiac soul.
And then there was my getting lost in the New Forest for two hours on a freezing, foggy winter’s night illuminated only fleetingly by the half-moon’s light. The beam of my headlights made little headway into the tenebrosity surrounding me. The dark luminescence was all enveloping.
This was unknown territory. The major road I take home after having crossed the eastern half of the forest was shut – for the whole of its length. Something that’s never happened before in my experience. A few exit or access roads blocked, necessitating a short detour maybe. But the whole major road to the West deliberately closed? Never. I later learned that I wasn’t the only one who found themselves on an unexpected detour. But at the time, it felt like I was the only person left alive in an uncertain world. Even the petrol station was closed. So, no opportunity to fill my empty tank. I couldn’t take my usual back road escape route either as it would bring me up against a barrier I could not cross. So I turned north and set off to find an exit that would take me across the Forest to the West. Into what shaman-healer Yulia Surnima calls ‘a Bermuda triangle with ponies.’ One that doesn’t involve petrol stations but must, it seems, function on a more subtle energy or I’d never have reached home. Or was it the boxes of crystals in my boot?
It can be dark indeed in the claustrophobic reaches of the Forest and I never saw another car. What little human habitation there was was few and far between, lit only by security lights that flared and died. No sign of life within. It was way past the midnight witching hour. And the Forest is a summer playground. It would have been different had it been the night of the summer solstice. But it seemed that:
The forest has shrunk
And fear has expanded,
The forests have dwindled,
There are less animals now,
less courage and less lightning,
and the moon lies bare,
deflowered by force and
― Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry
Nevertheless, it was magical. The lights of the ponies’ collars darted like huge fireflies swooping out of the blackness. Foxes slid across my path with orange eyes gleaming, and low-slung tails swept away all evidence of their passing.
Enormous, and exceedingly, ancient trees were unexpectedly highlighted by my headlamps, only to fall back and disappear as though they’d never been. It was an experience I would have thoroughly enjoyed had not my petrol gauge been reading ‘empty’. I couldn’t help a lurking sense of ‘what if I break down here?’ creeping in. It felt utterly symbolic of the point I had reached my life’s journey. New territory to explore, without a map or a guiding light, or conventional fuel. No mobile signal either so I couldn’t call for rescue even had I had an emergency phone.
I had to take it on trust that I’d make it through. I was so focused on keeping the car going, I didn’t take out my camera to record the unfolding scenes as I would have done were the tank full. If I stopped, I might never get started again. The magical scenes are imprinted on my mind, but cannot be shared. Yet another of life’s lessons?
The beginning of John Wadsworth’s book felt particularly apt as I turned in and back and around on myself, trying to follow partially-glimpsed signposts on roads that apparently led nowhere. Lured on by half-remembered hamlet names that never appeared. I was aware that I was tracing out a great convoluted circle through this ancient sacred land. A soul dancing, colliding, retrograding and backtracking around the zodiac until stellar motion took it forward again.
The turn-off from going-in-the-opposite-direction-to-home had occurred close to the Rufus Stone, the spot where an English king, ‘Rufus the Red’, had either been accidentally killed in a hunting accident, been assassinated, or died for rather more Scorpionic reasons – sacrificed in a rite of kingship for the renewal of the land in the ancient way:
The idea of the Divine Victim was a widespread pagan belief that lasted well into the Christian era. The King is seen as a deity, who when called upon was expected to give his life and his blood to rejuvenate the earth.
(And see http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/mysterious-death-of-king-william-second.html for more on this story.)
Years ago, there was far more awareness of the turning cycles of the seasons, both in nature and in human life. Sometimes one thing had to be sacrificed to open the way for the renewal and a new flowering of soul intention. My Oscar Cainer horoscope for the day I wrote the blog reminded me that:
Nature brims over with new beginnings: new dawns, new seasons and new moons. The skies speak of change. It may be difficult to accept that this is needed, but it will lead to renewal, success and joy.
We may need the darkness of winter to break us down, die to the old, lie quiescent until the new emerges. So much can be transformed if only we let go of how it ought to be.
Sacred juniper tree, Netherlands. Attacked by forestry machinery. Its shattered wood will be repurposed by Anet into staffs, wands and drum-beaters.
Blasted by lightning, set on fire, torn apart, this oak beside a hunebed nevertheless survives. The Oak Spirit is indestructible even as it takes on a different form.
If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?
So many foxes crossed my path that night, in the forest and in the rather more urban area through which I ultimately passed. One almost went under my wheels as I approached home. I thought it time to look up the symbolism. It was a few nights before my 74th birthday and I believe omens seen at that time will be particularly significant for the year to come.
As I wrote the blog, a friend sent me the photo below. So I knew I was on the right track and that the spring equinox would be the right time to release it. Meanwhile, I wanted to take time out to smell the flowers!
I turned to my favourite omen-interpretation site, ‘what’s-your-sign’. There always wisdom to be had there.
It is noteworthy to observe the fox while it is on the hunt. We see its entire body is pointed like an arrow – straight and tightly aimed. This is a symbolic message for us to set a determined, and powerfully focused mindset in order to “hit the target” of our desires. The fox encourages us to think outside of the box and use our intelligence in different, creative ways. The fox also brings us a message to try to approach our circumstances differently that we normally would. Be aware of some of our habits, and try a different angle of action.
The fox also a reminder that we must utilize all of our resources (seen and unseen) in order to accomplish our goals. Sometimes this means calling upon some unorthodox methods. Furthermore, the fox is a sign to be mindful of our surroundings. Phenomenally effective shapeshifters and incredibly adaptable, the fox beckons us to not make too many waves but rather, adapt to our surroundings, blend into it, and use our surroundings (and circumstances) to our advantage.
All of which was incredibly apt. I’d just turned down a way-too-restrictive contract with a large American publisher in order to do my own thing. I was being impelled to take a new path. It felt like time to grow my creativity. That book would have presented a portion my MA research, fascinating material on the history and myth of stones that I long to share. But I’d have had no control over how it was actually presented and, if I wasn’t home to do the editing to their timetable, the contract stated that someone else would be drafted in with all the possibilities for misinterpretation that opened up. And I’d have to pay for them to do it! Ouch! Not where I wanted to go. Time to say ‘No.’
My intention for 2018 was to publish an already-contracted novel The Alchemy of Night with one of my old and much-loved publishers. We’ve come a long way together, moved through a whole zodiac cycle, the Crystal Prescriptions series and my first novel. So, now was the time to submit the non-fiction book that went along with the novel, an ancient Egyptian magical tantric sex manual ‘dictated’ to me by a nineteenth century occultist and brought up to date for the present day. Definitely a step outside the box. Although, naturally, it has crystal assistants within it. Would the publisher go for it? There was only one way to find out. As I wrote the Sun, the incarnated unfolding self, and Jupiter, the planet of expansion, were in Scorpio – the dark sign of sex, death, birth and regeneration – in the heavens above conjoining my Moon. So, the masculine and feminine planets conjoining. Perfect for a book on tantra and the mystic marriage. The book was snapped up and completed within a month. Both the novel and the enchiridion will be sent to the publisher on the winter solstice. Perfect timing!
“The candle is not lit
To give light, but to testify to the night.”
The Night Abraham Called to the Stars. Robert Bly
Realising that, on my forthcoming birthday, my age added up to the master number 11, I went back to www.what’s-my-sign for further clarification. It couldn’t have been better timing for a book on sacred marriage and tantric sex. Both the novel and the non-fiction manual are about integrating and transcending the duality inherent in creation. Perfect!
The number eleven carries a vibrational frequency of balance. It represents male and female equality. It contains both sun energy and moon energy simultaneously yet holding them both in perspective separate-ness. Perfect balance… As we deal with energy in our lives it is integral to understand we are at once a part of it, and yet the option to separate from energetic forces is present. The spiritual meaning of number Eleven deals directly with our involvement with the progression of life. When it appears, it references both our ability to be objective and subjected to life events – it is how we enter through the doorway of choice that determines the purity of the outcome. (Whats-your-sign).
…the number eleven represents a metaphorical gateway, whose entrance beckons the integration of the duality or opposition inherent in human nature … Equalibrium is available within the center of perceived opposition. This concept is a rhythmic theme drummed into every line of alchemical texts: Humankind must appropriately and mindfully mix the elements of duality together to conjure the elixir of enlightenment. (Duality Synchroblog)
Exactly what The Alchemy of Night is all about!
My birth day date at the dark of the year 2017 added up to 2, which is closely linked to the number 11, of course. More from Avia:
Reduced, the number eleven morphs into the vibrational resonance of number two (1+1=2). The meaning of number two deals with:
The meaning of Two is about balance. The perfect symbol for number two is found in the Tai-Chi-Tu also known as the yin yang symbol.
Here we see the perfect balance of dualities, dancing within a tidy contained circle – living harmoniously while each still maintains intact identities. The small counter-colored dot in each hemisphere is a symbolic reference to the fact that a bit of one is found in the other.
When contemplating the duality, balance, and karma we may find further insight by asking ourselves:
When you’ve completed The Alchemy of Night process, you, as I, will be able to answer all those questions – and so much more. And, to know why it is sometimes necessary to fall apart – to lose our leaves and become less whole – before true wholeness can be brought about.
For more insight, don’t miss the Duality Synchroblog by Avia, author of what’s my-sign: http://www.symbolic-meanings.com/2008/05/01/seeing-number-11-and-symbolic-duality-synchroblog-project/
As I went downstairs for a much needed cup of coffee after, as I thought, completing this blog, I switched on the radio and out floated the line:
‘To live another day.’
Couldn’t have put it better myself!
Both The Alchemy of Night and The Alchemy of Night Enchiridion will be available in time for Christmas 2018. Enjoy! Meanwhile, if you haven’t read my timeslip work before, why not try Torn Clouds.
I would be delighted to welcome you to the new members' community section of my website and to have the opportunity of sharing my many passions with you.