Water in a Stone

Water in a Stone

Water in a Stone

I’ve long had a fascination for rocks; indeed, I considered studying geology for A level. I’ve been collecting rocks, fossils, crystals and gemstones for a long time now. I started when I was about nine or ten, becoming entranced by the cat’s-eye effect (chatoyance) of the semi precious stone Tiger’s Eye, and buying several pieces of the polished gem, one to wear as a pendant I still wear occasionally today.

It wasn’t until I was about fifteen and was visiting the Natural History Museum in Frankfurt that I really got hooked. One exhibit was a piece of rock crystal that was about the size of a small car. I remember walking round and round the massive rock, astounded that such a thing existed. The museum gift shop sold cheap gemstone jewellery and I found myself a piece of polished clear quartz set as a pendant. I have it still.

The Greeks thought rock crystal was ice that had frozen so hard it could never be thawed; in a way, they were right. Quartz does start out liquid, deep in the earth, but it’s only over time that it solidifies, growing into fabulous forms that are exquisitely lovely.

For me, any rock is a wonderful mystery: where did it come from, what is it made of, how did it get where it is today? I can walk almost any beach and find you a fossil. I pick up stones everywhere, and it occurred to me that I’m probably looking for the philosopher’s stone. I’ve dreamed about stones doing magical, wonderful things, and I meditate with them, often placing certain crystals on my forehead and holding them in my hands as I contemplate deep and impenetrable matters (I often fall asleep, to put that into perspective!). On one occasion, somehow or other I caused a crystal balanced on my forehead to light up from within, witnessed by one reliable source.

I’ve got boxes of rocks, ones that friends have sent me from special places they have visited, and dozens of crystals of various sorts, sizes and colours. There is something innately pleasing to me, at the very least, in the order and beauty of crystals; the fact that they form, either over aeons or spontaneously in milliseconds (no one is quite sure; some have been seen to grow slowly, others leap into being) regular, geometrically perfect solids is a sort of comfort to me. When I go to Austria, the hotel I usually stay at has a cabinet of fossils and rocks for sale; I’ve bought several, including a trilobite now named Josef after the hotelier. Like any collector, my collection is never going to be complete. There will always be something different to look out for.

I’ve not mentioned much the whole “woo woo” factor, because while I do believe there is something to it, it’s not something I really want to go into here. There is too much room for ridicule. Suffice it to say that I believe that rocks can be a source of healing.

Anyway, on a day trip to Ely a month or two back, I visited a stall on the market there that I’ve known for many years. She usually has unusual things, and isn’t extortionate in terms of prices. I spotted a couple of nice little things and one reasonably sized double terminated* quartz piece ( *it comes to a point at both ends), and liked it. It had a brilliant clarity and beauty that drew me. A few weeks after buying it, I spotted something very unusual indeed.

Inside the crystal was a bubble of liquid that moved when you turned the stone. Enhydros are quartz (and other stones) that contain water (or other liquids) from the time when the stone was forming. Sold as such, they’re fairly pricey; not precisely rare but unusual. A magnifying glass has shown there are other bubbles within the matrix of the rock; imagine the moving bubble of a spirit level and that’s not dissimilar.

Given the level of frozen-ness of my inner spirit and my life, and the fear that all the bubbling-over of images, ideas and stories might have dried up, finding this tiny reservoir of ancient, forgotten water deep inside a rock, is to me a symbol that perhaps buried so far down that I can’t even feel it, the water of life still shines.

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Tumbling through life ~ a survival guide

Tumbling through life ~ a survival guide

I have a small confession to make.

I love rocks.

Rocks, crystals, gemstones, fossils, pebbles. Any size, any shape. I’ve been passionate about rocks since I was a kid. I started collecting tumble polished semi-precious stones when I was about ten years old. The sight of a quartz point the size of an Aga in the natural history museum in Frankfurt when I was fourteen made me a lover of crystals. I’m not bothered by precious stones for their value, or even their alleged beauty because to me sparkling diamonds are not terribly interesting. Properly cut gems seem oddly homogenised and for all the glitter, rather dull. Until you get to the jaw-droppingly massive ones, they all look the same.

I have an eye for fossils too; take me field-walking and I’ll probably find you one within the hour. A trip to a beach usually results in me finding at least one or two small ones.

There’s something sensual about polished stones that I cannot resist. The recent popularity of so-called palm stones, (that is smoothly shaped and slightly flattened rocks, polished to a high sheen and often with a shallow indent in the middle that just invites the thumb to caress it) meant that larger numbers of beautiful stones became available for quite reasonable prices.

Natural crystal formations draw me too; I have a lot of clear quartz points in many sizes and shapes. I have jewellery made of stones, some I have made myself.

I’m a bit of an addict or obsessive when it comes to the mineral kingdom. There is great beauty in even the simplest of stones, and one excellent way to ground the jittery nerves is to hold and meditate on a rock.

Ten years ago I was given a stone polisher. This is a very basic device of a motorised pair of spindles that turn a small drum you fill with a mixture of different sizes of stone along with graded grits and polish and water, to mimic the polishing action of the sea. I’ve not used it a great deal, even though I’d always wanted to have one. It takes weeks of tumbling to turn rough rocks into smooth, shining ones; weeks of patient inspecting, changing the level of grit, topping up water, washing away the sludge. You also have to select your stones very carefully. All the stones need to be of about the same level of hardness on Moh’s scale.

This is for a good reason. Put a softer stone like amber in amid quartzite and you will destroy the amber without benefiting the quartzite in the slightest. The stones tumble and churn against each other, and the motion along with the water and the grit are what smooth each stone. Put one stone in alone and it will probably never polish; it needs other rocks to rub against. Put all the same size in and the polishing is uneven. But the key seems to be a mix of stones of the same hardness but of different sizes and shapes.

And some stones must never be put in a tumbler. Amber, opals and various other stones that have a high water content that make them soft are destroyed by the process and must be polished by hand.

It occurred to me that this is a metaphor for the growth of a human soul, its progression through life. Some people are energised and refined by the rough and tumble of life with lots of others around them, becoming polished and smoothed by the interaction with others. Some only thrive if those others are of the same resilience as themselves. Others, like diamonds, cannot be affected much by the rubbing and tumbling of others around them. Diamonds in the rough are unremarkable stones, despite their extreme hardness; their nature is such that they will crush others while their own surface remains untouched. Only by being split open with immense skill by something of the same or greater strength can reveal their shining facets. Some people however are only ever going to be damaged by constant unremitting tumbling around with others.

I think people are like this. Introverts are like amber or opal, needing gentle individual care to bring out their beauty without crushing them to useless powder. Extroverts are like jaspers and quartzes, needing a mix of others to polish them and to polish others in return. And there are some who, like diamonds, need to be fractured, cut and polished by very individual attention to show the world the beauty hiding behind unprepossessing faces.

What kind of rock are you?

Crystal Cave Meditation ~ for refreshment of spirit

I posted this about two years ago but thought it could do with another airing now.

Crystal Cave Meditation

 

 For this meditation you may like to have a crystal to focus on; a geode works especially well. Remember to turn the phone off and make sure you are not going to be interrupted. Using either soft music or a natural sounds tape of perhaps a stream will enhance the experience but is not essential as long as you have reasonable quiet around you.

Breathe slowly but without forcing it. Allow yourself to relax and become calm but alert. Let your eyes close naturally and become still.

You walking along in the cool air of an underground passage; the tunnel is lit with softly flickering candles in niches along the walls. The sweet smell of beeswax reaches you every time you pass a niche and your movement causes the candlelight to flicker. It’s very peaceful here and you sense that many people have come along here before; it’s totally safe. The carefully smoothed walls of the tunnel glisten and gleam in the candlelight; when you touch them they are slightly damp and slippery to the touch.

Continue along; the floor slopes steadily but not alarmingly and after a while you come to an opening ahead of you where a light gleams. Go through the opening. You are in a large cave, lit only by candlelight. A single candle floats in a pool of very clear water in the centre of the cave. It seems far lighter in here than you might expect from just one candle and you look round for the reason.

The whole cave is lined with the finest and most lovely crystals you can imagine. You are inside a living geode, a bubble of earth where crystals have grown for centuries. The light from the single candle is reflected from each facet of the tens of thousands of crystals that cover every inch of the walls and ceiling of the cave.

It’s simply breathtaking.

You sit down near the pool of water, there is a low stool carved from oak and you find it very comfortable. As you sit and marvel and the cave, you notice something else. The pool of water is not still; bubbles rise steadily from the centre and you see now that water softly spills over one end of the natural stone bowl, and into a groove in the floor where it trickles away with a lovely sound like living music.

Sit quietly and enjoy the radiance of the earth-born crystals and the music of the earth-born waters. The air is cool and fresh and moist and any difficulties you may have had with breathing vanish in this pure healing air. You feel deeply peaceful and at one with the earth. Touch the water and scoop a little in your hand and bathe your face with it; feel the worries and cares melt away.

Stay as long as you wish, feeling the deep healing this place gives to any who visit, and when you feel it is time to return to the outer world, whisper your prayers to the cave. They will be heard.

As you leave, your movement sets the candle flickering and the light dances and casts rainbows across your face.

Return up the stone passage way and find yourself back where you began. Breathe deeply and when you are ready open your eyes. You are home.

 

A meditation

Crystal Cave Meditation

 For this meditation you may like to have a crystal to focus on; a geode works especially well. Remember to turn the phone off and make sure you are not going to be interrupted. Using either soft music or a natural sounds tape of perhaps a stream will enhance the experience but is not essential as long as you have reasonable quiet around you.

 

Breathe slowly but without forcing it. Allow yourself to relax and become calm but alert. Let your eyes close naturally and become still.

 

You walking along in the cool air of an underground passage; the tunnel is lit with softly flickering candles in niches along the walls. The sweet smell of beeswax reaches you every time you pass a niche and your movement causes the candlelight to flicker. It’s very peaceful here and you sense that many people have come along here before; it’s totally safe. The carefully smoothed walls of the tunnel glisten and gleam in the candlelight; when you touch them they are slightly damp and slippery to the touch.

 

Continue along; the floor slopes steadily but not alarmingly and after a while you come to an opening ahead of you where a light gleams. Go through the opening. You are in a large cave, lit only by candlelight. A single candle floats in a pool of very clear water in the centre of the cave. It seems far lighter in here than you might expect from just one candle and you look round for the reason.

 

The whole cave is lined with the finest and most lovely crystals you can imagine. You are inside a living geode, a bubble of earth where crystals have grown for centuries. The light from the single candle is reflected from each facet of the tens of thousands of crystals that cover every inch of the walls and ceiling of the cave.

 

It’s simply breathtaking.

 

You sit down near the pool of water, there is a low stool carved from oak and you find it very comfortable. As you sit and marvel and the cave, you notice something else. The pool of water is not still; bubbles rise steadily from the centre and you see now that water softly spills over one end of the natural stone bowl, and into a groove in the floor where it trickles away with a lovely sound like living music.

 

Sit quietly and enjoy the radiance of the earth-born crystals and the music of the earth-born waters. The air is cool and fresh and moist and any difficulties you may have had with breathing vanish in this pure healing air. You feel deeply peaceful and at one with the earth. Touch the water and scoop a little in your hand and bathe your face with it; feel the worries and cares melt away.

 

Stay as long as you wish, feeling the deep healing this place gives to any who visit, and when you feel it is time to return to the outer world, whisper your prayers to the cave. They will be heard.

 

As you leave, your movement sets the candle flickering and the light dances and casts rainbows across your face. 

Return up the stone passage way and find yourself back where you began. Breathe deeply and when you are ready open your eyes. You are home.   

 

         I wrote this after I found a geode on the beach today;  I was sorely in need of some peace and I hope that you will find some reading this as I did writing it.