Zoisite and Zen Cats…

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I borrowed “Zen” for the sake of alliteration here, for although I have my own belief system, personal to me, I like the 21st interpretation of the word. “Zen” has somehow evolved to mean calm and centred, possibly derived from the practice of meditation in Buddhism. There is much to be learned from the art of meditation: it is both calming and grounding, even if you don’t at first achieve a state of enlightenment. It can help to deal with depression, stress and anxiety as you are within yourself, and at one with yourself.

Cats are masters at the art of meditation. I have sometimes mistaken Ting’s deep, contemplative state as one of her shifts at her part-time job of being a garden rock…

No! I’m not sleeping! I was a paw step away from total peace…”

Oh, sorry, I thought you were just sleeping…”

Charlie is an excellent meditation partner – she likes to sit on my legs to ground me and purr soothingly, while I refresh and re-connect. Sometimes we are joined by one or two of the other cats, just sitting, and purring, sitting and purring…

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Zoisite, therefore, is an excellent stone for meditation, and one that I mean to try for myself, rather than my “Go-to” stone of Rose Quartz. In The Autumn Of My Life did a wonderful post about her personal experience of Zoisite, go and check it out…

A typical interpretation of this stone is that it is positive and uplifting, it can transform negative energies, dispel lethargy and give you a hotline to the spiritual realms, so to speak. Zoisite is a stone of direction, enabling positive character traits and focus. Ruby in Zoisite is a combination stone, bestowing the benefits of Ruby too as it is linked to the Crown Chakra. It can help to access the soul memory and facilitate spiritual learning, maintain your connection to other people whilst amplifying the biomagnetic field around your body, protecting your sense of inner peace and calm.

A little piece and serenity can go a long way to self help and healing, not least making you feel better after a long, horrendous day. Then I look forward to sitting down, cup of tea in hand and cat on knee; after a few minutes, the stress oozes away, the dark depressive cloud lifts and I can see a way forward.

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My cats are both calming and restorative to me, there have been quite a few articles written about the health benefits of owning a pet, with scientific proof, but as well as being good for the body, they are also good for the soul. What you see is what you get with a cat, there is no artifice or deception, they don’t understand – or care – about how people perceive them, they just know that they are cats. They sometimes aspire to greater things, but ultimately they accept themselves for what they are and are at peace with that:

If there were a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr.”

Barbara L. Diamond

Murder… most crispy

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I didn’t mean to do it. Honest. And I feel awful too, absolutely horrible. I have killed my son’s Bonsai tree.

Bonnie-as she was known-was purchased from a special market that only comes to our city twice a year. They have wonderful stalls, one that makes French crepes, a subtle flick of the wrist and your pancake is done to perfection, sugar or syrup added and it is presented to you in a paper cone. No bits stuck to the ceiling as you try and flip, no acrid black smoke drifting through the house…A hand made chocolate stall, rich and dark, glistening with the sheen of luxury and finished with points of nut, sugared flowers…ethnic stalls with clothes and bags, bright zigzags of colour against the usual dull grey of the market square. An amazing Baltic Amber stall, chunks of the past polished and made into wonderful things…like trees…Yes, I know, I’m evading the issue…

My son and I were wandering entranced through the stalls when his eyes fell upon one previously unnoticed, selling Bonsai trees. His face lit up and he set off with determination. Even then, my heart sank a little, as I am not the world’s best gardener and any houseplants I am given are usually re-homed for their own safety.

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Moss Agate – the ‘gardener’s talisman’ and beneficial for increased plant growth… 

However, these little trees were robust and jolly. Perfect miniatures of their giant counterparts, tiny leaves of emerald and jade, glowing with health and vitality. Some even had little flowers, dainty and delicate, that looked as if any minute a tiny fairy would pop out from behind its gnarled trunk.

After much debate and conversation with the stallholder, my son decided upon a Chinese honeysuckle. Not quite as aged as the others, her delicate trunk bore aloft fine branches and tiny twiglets, carrying miniscule leaves that shone green in the sun, bursting with health and vigour.

Proudly, my son bore her home, studied the instruction leaflet assiduously and installed her carefully in the optimum spot in his room. He named her Bonnie, spoke to her tenderly, watered her carefully and gently dug in the pellets of feed.

At first, Bonnie seemed to relish the attention, she stretched out more branches that my son carefully tweaked away to maintain her neat shape. Then something went wrong. She had a little accident where the cat sat on her…but nothing to DIE about. Her leaves lost their gleam. She seemed somewhat pallid and unhealthy.

Then one day when my son was at college and the sun was shining, I thought:

Perhaps she’d like a change of scene. The fresh air and sunshine might cheer her up.”

I carefully placed her on the garden table and left her. Overnight. I forgot.

When my son left for college the next day I rushed out and brought Bonnie in. She looked…crispy. As I looked, a couple of leaves fell off. I elected for the coward’s way out and replaced her in my son’s room still looking…crispy. Later, my son said:

Bonnie’s not looking too well, perhaps I’ll water her, and give her a bit of Reiki. Maybe gridding her with Clear Quartz points and Moss Agate will help.”

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Numbly, I nodded my head. Personally, I thought it was too late as Bonnie had probably already left for the big forest in the sky…

I love my son. He’s had some unpleasant incidents in his short time on this earth, but he remains calm, kind, immensely compassionate and forgiving… I told him what I had done. A brief look of pain crossed his face. Then he said:

It’s all right. We can get another one when the market comes again.”

A weight lifted off my conscience, but the black stain of murder remains in my mind. I’ll buy him an Amber tree…what could possibly go wrong with that?

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MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award

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I must thank A Floating Speck for nominating me for this award – please go and visit her blog for emotive poetry and evocative pictures…

 

ABOUT THE AWARD

The MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers for quality content, originality and presentation. The intention of this award is to encourage connectivity and support in the blogging community and to increase exposure for individual bloggers.

THE RULES

If you have been nominated for the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award and choose to accept, write a blog post about the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog. Take a moment to positively promote the person who nominated you.

2. Display the award on your blog by adding it to your post and/or displaying it using a widget on your page (Save the image to your computer and upload it to your blog post).. Don’t forget to use the tag #MyUltraAward when you make your post!

3. Answer the following MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award questions.

 

What is your name?

Samantha

Where are you from?

England

How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

26th March 2016 – I used to write a lot when I was younger, but, you know, life happens and I lost confidence in myself… to cut a long story short, my younger son is friends with a wonderful man, who has been his mentor and guide. He’s involved with Copper Staple, an independent online publishing co. I asked him whether he thought I could write something for it… and he said yes. The man who said I can. Also my son was writing typing a letter for me on the laptop – I’d hurt my elbow and couldn’t grip a pen (I smoke with the left hand – ha ha!) and he was laughing aloud as I dictated. He said I should start a blog, as did his lovely crystal lady Lizian – whose stones  and insights feature in some of my posts. Long answer, I’m afraid, but there it is, a combination of three people, who I must always thank for their support and encouragement.

What are you most proud of?

My sons. 
What are your blogging goals?

To entertain, make people look again at something in a different light and perhaps even inform a little…
How do you spend your free time?

Generally just faffing about… dusting crystals, ironing, reading, writing, feeding my cats… oh dear that’s not very exciting ! Sorry!

img_6448-2Yellow Roses… for friendship.

4. Nominate 1-8 blogs that you feel deserve the award and provide links.

 

5. Provide 5 random facts about yourself (optional).

  • My great grandmother, grandmother and mother were all nurses. I’m not.
  • I had two pet tortoises when I was a little girl called Pecky Number One and Pecky Number Two.
  • I’ve never been stung by a bee.
  • I once dyed my hair pink… by accident.
  • My favourite book EVER is ‘Ferney’ by James Long

 

6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here).

 

7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award and provide a link for them to your post.

 

You do not need to be nominated to make nominations!

3 Day Quote Challenge #3

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Day 3 and the last day for me… final thanks go to Nikhil of Weirdly Wired for the challenge. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading…

So, rules:

  1. Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
  2. A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  3. Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…

Don’t forget to let your nominees know on their blog… 

TAG, YOU’RE IT!

 

The theme today is crystals and the quote is from my oldest son’s favourite scientist/thinker…

In crystal we have a pure evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and although in spite of everything we cannot understand the life of crystals – it is still a living being.

Nicola Tesla

My final nominations are:

  1. In The Autumn Of My Life
  2. Granny Moon’s Morning Feast
  3. Crystal Clear

 

Obviously, there is no pressure to accept – it’s just a bit of fun:)

3 Day Quote Challenge #2

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Day 2 – thank you again Nikhil of Weirdly Wired for this challenge… drop by his blog and have a look at his lovely writing!

Today’s theme is dogs…

So, rules:

  1. Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
  2. A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  3. Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…

Don’t forget to let your nominees know on their blog… 

TAG, YOU’RE IT!

 

I’ve seen a look in dog’s eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt and am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts

John Steinbeck

My nominees today are:

  1. The Mad Terrier & Me
  2. life with 3 dogs
  3. A Vegetarian Gammy Takes A Hike ~ Then A Permanent Detour

 

Obviously, there is no pressure to accept – it’s just a bit of fun:)

3 Day Quote Challenge #1

Thank you to Nikhil of Weirdly Wired for challenging me – do drop by his blog…

I have come across a variety of these challenges with varying numbers, but I am going to stick to this set… And add a theme…

 

So, rules:

  1. Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
  2. A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  3. Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…

Don’t forget to let your nominees know on their blog… 

TAG, YOU’RE IT!

 

Day 1 (as if you couldn’t guess)… cats

I adore cats. I do not mind them at all when they scrape their exquisite claws all down one’s best armchair. I have not the heart to reprimand them when they push a cold, purring nose against an ornament and whisk it off my desk… because their expression of faint disdain as they regard the ornament, after it has been foolish enough to fall to the floor, is worth any ornament that was ever made

Beverley Nichols, from ‘Down The Garden Path’

 

My nominees are:

  1. felinameow
  2. catsmeow123
  3. Cats&Grammar

 

Obviously, there is no pressure to accept – it’s just a bit of fun 🙂

Dalmationite and Dogs

For Alex…

My family’s dogs were a big part of my life when I was a little girl. I learned to stand, clutching fistfuls of fur and hauling myself upright against our German Shepherd Nikki, who bore my maulings good naturedly. I created miniature worlds between his paws as I sat and played, marching little animals across his shoulders… He also taught me my first adult lessons in grief… Returning home from school to find him gone, it broke my heart, but I thank him for his gentle love and guidance. In comparison to myself, my mother has always been a ‘dog person’. I am primarily a ‘cat person’ but I love dogs too and have had a couple who have co-existed happily alongside my various cats.

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Rosie was another notable character from my mother’s succession of dogs… my first sister dog, she taught my older son how to treat a dog. She would tolerate no nonsense, yet was loving and kind. When my younger son was born, I laid him at her paws. She sniffed him delicately, sensitive nose reading all the nuances of this new little person I had brought to her for inspection. Then she gave me a look as if to say:

Another one! Don’t you think I’ve done my duty?” However, she went on to become an adored auntie dog, to hug at the end of a hard school day and receive comfort and understanding from her wise brown eyes.

My older son was quite offended on one – he went towards his little brother, intending a play fight… he never reached him, as Rosie stood and pushed herself in front of my younger son. She bared her teeth – just slightly, but the message was clear:

Hey! We’ll have none of that here!”

She grew older as my son moved from toddlerhood into a little boy – he learned the same lesson I did at about the same age, our beloved animals never live as long as we want them to, but our lives are the better for having known them, and learned their lessons of love and loyalty that they have to teach.

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Next was Rowan, beautiful and golden. She took more to my older son, but had plenty of time to spend with my younger son. I watched them both, once, outside at my mother’s as my son drew complicated chalk pictures and explained them to her. She watched, fascinated, her ears twitching to the enthusiasm in his voice and eyes following every line of the chalk.

Good natured and loving, she also had a congenital heart defect that my mother was unaware of until it was too late. My son and I stood outside the vets while my mother said her goodbyes. As I comforted him, a tiny white feather floated down from the sky to land at our feet. I had my words:

Rowan was such a good dog, God could only lend her to us for a little while, then He needed her back. She’s left you a feather from her angel wings.” My son still has it.

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Now my mother has Erin, paler than the traditional Shepherd colours of black and tan – her father was white – show quality, but really just our little girl. She’s the most vocal dog Mum’s had, and can say things like “Horrible”, “Hungry” and “Harare”. Perhaps she’d like to visit. She’s loving, affectionate and trusting, my mother’s constant companion – I’d worry about her a lot more if she didn’t have a dog. Erin has one particular game that I find reasonably amusing… she shows me she’d like her toybox moving so she can look into it. Then I have to get her toys out, one by one, and show them to her. She’ll prod them with her nose and that’s a sign to put that one away. When I happen to choose the one she wants, she’ll grab it and run off… sounds quite tedious but the dog enjoys it! Another favourite is to chase my younger son around the garden, leaping and grabbing and SQUEEZING his bottom with her teeth to produce a scream…

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All these canine family members had, and have, love, loyalty, trust and an innocent sheer joy of life… Dalmationite helps you live in the moment, rather like a dog, encouraging you to enjoy this present incarnation and connecting to the base and sacral chakras. It is both protective and sensitive, a guard dog for the spirit, as it will enhance your awareness of danger but help you to remain calm and deal with it.

IMG_6222 (2)The black spots are Tourmaline – skulls don’t have to be scary, they are actually quite  a powerful symbol of new life and knowledge

A typical interpretation of this stone is that it can help you attune to the innocent child within, strengthening your sense of fun, helping to dissolve depression and restoring energy. Dalmationite can stop you from overthinking and help you get out there and just do it… At the same time, instilling awareness and the ability to plan for every eventuality. A good stone for children – what child doesn’t love puppies! – it encourages fidelity and stabilises emotions and can help you release the desire for revenge that could be potentially harmful to yourself. It’s another good stone to use for animals, enhancing the link between Mother Earth and her children.

I think we could learn a lot from our canine family, their unquestioning love and trust in us should be repaid in our care and love for them. Their ability for love and joy in life is one that we would do well to adopt ourselves… dogs just get along.

Walkies anyone?

_MG_6279“Hey! It’s good for all animals you know!”

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

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One of the questions I was asked during my responses to the Sunshine Blogger Award was: “Do you have any tattoos?”… and that set me to thinking… yes, I do. One. And it’s rubbish. I wish I’d never got it. It’s right on my shoulder, so it limits my choice of tops and it’s not even particularly well drawn. I got it when I went with a group of friends to Blackpool. Instead of a “Kiss Me Quick” hat or a stick of rock, we all decided, as you do, after a few light, alcoholic beverages to go and have tattoos done. It bloody hurt, (isn’t it funny the false bravery a little alcohol can instil…) but I do remember being quite fascinated by the scab as it came off, in a perfect facsimile of the actual tattoo.

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I’ve been watching a programme called ‘Tattoo Fixers’, where the tattoo artists are very skilled and sympathetic, and cover up the small, hideous tattoos of their customers with larger, more beautiful designs, varying in size and depending on the bravery of the tattoo-ee. The funniest one was where a man had a male chicken tattooed on his – ahem – gentleman sausage. I admired his stoicism, as not a tear left his eye, although he was rather sweaty by the end of the process… A cover design would not be an option for me… As well as being needle phobic, I am also an enormous yellow coward. Even the thought of laser removal frightens me, leaving what looks like, to me, a third degree burn.

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Tattoos have their uses though. Originally, I think, they were used to denote which tribe you came from, which position you held and that sort of thing. It’s quite an ancient practice, dating back to the Iron Age as various tattooed mummies have been found and carbon dated to around that period. I read somewhere that it was Captain James Cook who brought the popularity of tattoos back in the 1700’s as he explored the South Pacific. They went through a phase of being associated with sailors, and therefore somewhat vulgar, but the class distaste for them eventually vanished as people had bigger things to worry about, like World War II.

Not a great chapter in the history of the tattoo. The Nazis used them to number and label the people in concentration camps; for example, a triangle showed you were Jewish, there was a serial number to show which camp you were incarcerated in and a letter ‘Z’ marked you as a Gypsy. Everybody at some point in their lives has come across this information on the television, or in a book, or in a history lesson. I went to Israel when I was younger with my mother, (it’s an amazing country, a real ‘historical’ vibe there) and we visited Yad Vashem. This is a museum that commemorates the sufferings of the Holocaust, and I remember very clearly seeing the piles of old shoes, mattresses stuffed with human hair, lampshades made from tattooed human skin.

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History became life, a person, to me, shortly afterwards. My mother and I were in a supermarket in Tel Aviv, when an older lady behind me began talking to me. My mother apologised and explained we were English. The lady laughed and said:

But your little girl, she is so blonde, I thought she was Polish!”

A sweet and gentle lady, she and my mother chatted and as we said goodbye, her sleeve fell back and I saw her tattoo.

Nowadays tattoos are used as a somewhat more positive form of self-expression, although there is some debate about whether they are in fact a reflection of body issues… I was very taken with one girl’s tattoos, she had a trail of little pawprints across her arm – I noticed as she packed my shopping for me. Indeed, there are some wonderful designs reflecting both the skill of the artists and the determination of the customer…

So there you are. A little bit about one of the less extreme forms of body modification. As for mine – have you guessed what it is yet?! 

IMG_4783 (2)“Don’t even GO there…”

The Brotherhood Of The World Award

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I must thank Xenia and the wonderful whippets, Pearl and Eivor for nominating me for this award. Thank you for thinking of me and I can highly recommend the blog WhippetWisdom for haikus, hounds and harmonious pictures and words.

EPSON MFP imageMy Whippet Misty and Burmese cat from when I was a little girl

The Brotherhood Of The World Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers.

The rules for the Brotherhood Of The World Bloggers Award are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

  2. Answer the questions sent to you.

  3. Nominate around ten bloggers.

  4. Create your set of questions for your nominees.

  5. List the rules and display the Brotherhood Of The World logo in your post and/or blog.

Question 1: Which blog post do you consider your best one so far?

I hesitate to say ‘best’ – I always have a crisis of confidence when I’ve finished writing anything. Perhaps I could say enjoy most? I enjoy writing the occasional short story, and I always enjoy writing the Crystals and Cats posts… sorry, I know that’s not really a proper answer!

Question 2: What is the best comment ever on your blog?

Best ever comment? That’s a hard one. I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment, and I have had some fabulously funny conversations as well as interesting insights and information from other people.

Question 3: Did you make blog posts receiving much more attention than you expected? Which one, for example?

I am really pleased when anybody stops to have a read, but I think I was particularly pleased and surprised by how many people like Moss Agate and Motherhood… thank you everybody!

Question 4: Did you make blog posts receiving much less attention than you expected? Which one, for example?

I don’t really know… that’s the thing, you can’t expect everybody to like what you write all of the time. If I make one person smile, or think: “Ooh, that’s interesting!” then I’m happy.

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A gorgeous piece of Amber, great for unity and loyalty…

My nominees are:

  1. Key Image – Samantha – great name! – has a wonderful blog following the adventures of Bertie the bear and Croc. Filled with interesting places and facts, her blog is definitely worth a visit.

  2. Passionate Mom Honey Bee – a sweet and gentle lady with wonderful recipes.

  3. theutopiauniverse – visit Brooke’s blog for her words of wisdom and motivational tips.

  4. Castle Vets Reading – and invaluable blog filled with wonderful veterinary advice and helpful information.

  5. AngelsWhisper2011 – visit Binky, she’s beautiful, kind and picture purrfect!

  6. Space, Time and Raspberries – incisive, humorous and artistic, go and have a look at Sue’s blog.

  7. NiaSunset – I just love her, she’s kind, sweet, if you don’t already know her, go and have a look.

  8. ChloeDouglasblog – have a look for interesting insights and great book reviews.

  9. Floating Speck – beautiful pictures and lovely words, friendly and welcoming.

  10. And finally… anyone who has been interested enough to stop and have a read, who’s thought again, who’s cared. It’s the Brotherhood Around The World Award after all…

Brotherhood Questions:

1) What makes you angry?

2) What was your last random act of kindness?

3) What is your key to happiness?

4) What is your philosophy of life in three words?

As usual, there is no obligation or pressure to accept this award, it’s just a nice way to show appreciation and recognition to other bloggers, and pass it on.

Thank you, as always, for reading. 

cam00596“I only have sisters… can I pretend you’re my brother Mr.Bottle?”

Crystal Eggs and Cats’ Ears

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I love my crystals and often spend ages re-arranging them, dusting them, getting to know them… My first piece that really resonated with me was the Rose Quartz piece that my son gave me, and which I use as my Gravatar. Consequently, I feel naturally drawn to the rough chunks of crystals. I also have a lot of tumblestones, for various uses, from pocket rocks, to putting in spiral cages to wear as pendants or under my pillow.

I went through a phase of worrying about shaped crystals, like wands, eggs and hearts, whether it actually hurt or damaged them in some way… I confided this worry to my son’s lovely crystal lady Lizian with some trepidation – after all, who in their right mind worries about a stone? (I knocked one of my son’s crystal spheres over and I cried because I felt so awful… however it broke along a natural fault line and now has a nice flat base to sit on…) My son’s crystal lady listened to me with great seriousness and then gave me her interpretation which I found both comforting and reassuring.

Rough crystals contain an energy similar to that of a lightbulb – flick a switch and the whole room is full of light. When a crystal is shaped and polished into a particular form, such as an egg, then the energy is gathered and contained, for easier direction and intention, rather like shining a torch… Added to that, the egg is a powerful symbol of rebirth and renewal in itself, and crystal eggs are invaluable tools for anyone who works in crystal therapies. They can be used to detect and rebalance blockages in the energy flow of the body; the pointed egg-end is a useful reflexology or acupressure tool and apart from anything else, they are nice to hold. Did anyone else’s parents have some agate eggs, perhaps in a bowl on the coffee table when they were children…?

Obviously different crystal eggs will have additional beneficial qualities, for example, Agate, although slow working, is a stone of harmony and acceptance. It can aid with self analysis and overcoming negativity.

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Agate – stabilising, cleansing and can transform negative energies…

My oldest son bought me this beautiful Selenite egg… good for overcoming sleep problems and instilling a deep sense of calm. Helpful with meditation.

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Onyx eggs, beautiful and banded, Onyx is strength giving and supportive, yet good at holding secrets. Its capability for holding physical memories makes it good to use for past life healing issues that can affect the present day life.

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My personal favourite, Rose Quartz – in an egg! Stone of the heart, it is excellent for emotional holding, comfort, re-affirming positive intentions and enhancing empathy and sensitivity… as sensitive as a cat’s ears…

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Cats have thirty two individual muscles in their ears that allow them to move independently of one another. Dogs have around twelve, I think it depends on whether they have stick up ears or floppy ones.. Ears are so sensitive and such a vital part of any animal’s anatomy, I’m afraid I find the practice of ear-cropping absolutely abhorrent. It’s illegal now, here in the U.K. – but would you cut a baby’s ears into points to make it look fierce? Likewise tail docking: until only relatively recently, tail docking in certain breeds, such as the Dobermann, was allowed. Again, a barbaric practice as you are robbing the dog of an essential piece of equipment with which to express itself. Having said that, when I was a little girl, my father had to remove the last three inches of his Great Dane’s tail – he was a veterinary surgeon! – because she was an enthusiastic wagger. She knocked the tip of her tail off and it had bled so profusely it looked like Jackson Pollock had been in the house…Tails are also a useful way for humans to tell how the animal is feeling. Rant over.

IMG_5999 (2).JPGErin’s ears as God intended

Back to ears…cats’ ears can move independently of each other, and it’s funny to watch Charlie outside, her ears swivelling like miniature satellite dishes, as she tracks the progress of a dog around the park and listens to me at the same time…Her ears are so delicate and fine, you can see the sun shine through them, lighting up all the little vessels.

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She can’t see us, but she can HEAR US!

Another health point…as their ears are so delicate, if they do go out in hot sunshine, it’s advisable to put sun screen on their ears, especially if you have a white cat, as they can be particularly prone to melanoma. Ear wounds can also bleed a lot. My old cat, Walter, got into a fight and came off slightly worse – he’d never admit it, leaving him with a jagged rip in one ear that lent him a somewhat raffish and piratical air, although he was the gentlest of cats.

It is important to make sure your cat’s ears are clean. DO NOT stick anything in them to check, just look . That’ll do. Or smell. A healthy cat’s ears should have no visible dirt and shouldn’t smell, you should be able to see all the little channels and valleys I them. If they are dirty, or discharging or smelly, and you see your cat constantly shaking its head or pawing at its ears, then it could have mites or an ear infection Then it’s time for a trip to the vet – DO NOT attempt to stick anything in to clean them yourselves and NEVER use human medication on an animal.

Ear drops for a cat. They’re fun to administer. Not. If your cat is difficult (Tooty: “No, I’m just going to lie here like a giant lead balloon with my head tucked under my body..” Charlie: “I’m a lady! Don’t you DARE take liberties with my person!”) then ask a lovely, kind person, who won’t object to being bitten or scratched, to wrap your cat in a towel, then carefully insert the drops into the top of the ear canal. Then gently massage the back of the ear – the fur bean, as I like to call it – to work the drops down. Job done.

My cats’ ears are so expressive, I can tell exactly how they are feeling. Forward and up: “Hi! I’m so pleased to see you! Where have you been? Did you bring any food?”

Relaxed, ears side to side on the head, usually when sleeping. Laid back flat on the head, accompanied by tinsel tail: “That monster’s in the garden again! I’m not going out unless you get rid of it!” One ear, fetchingly turned inside out, like a fascinator on Ladies’ Day at Ascot: just plain silly.

So there you have it. Eggs and ears, delicate and expressive, useful symbols and indicators. Look after them both.

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Perfect, pointed… and actually quite hairy inside!