Amethyst and Active Cats

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Amethyst is a commonly found crystal and as such is often used in jewellery, which is useful, considering it is most beneficial when worn over the throat. Amethyst is my second go-to crystal, as it is highly protective and will both absorb and deflect negative energy. It is a clarifying stone and can help with making decisions, awakening common sense. Its name derives from the Greek word ‘amethustos’, meaning sober – supposedly the wearer of Amethyst is protected against inebrity and if you drink from an Amethyst vessel you will never become drunk… not going to try that one.

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Amethyst is a good stone for focus and concentration as it calms the mind whilst helping you concentrate, thus balancing the highs and lows of emotion to find the steady middle. From this centre, Amethyst can be used in dealing with loss, dissipating anger and encouraging selflessness, opening the doors to spiritual wisdom as it is linked to the Third Eye chakra. Ultimately, Amethyst deals with energy, drawing off the negative and employing positive energy for the benefit of mind, body and spirit.

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Cats are renowned for their ability to sleep and conserve their energy for short bursts of activity, perhaps a remnant from their wild history, where hunting for prey was of paramount importance. Thus, with food uncertain and the finding of it often long and wearisome, any cat’s instinct, from the domestic feline to their larger cousins, the lions, is to sleep and recharge…

Moments of activity and play are wonderful to watch and participate in, I admire my cats’ elegance and grace as they twist and leap lithely with balletic charm, every inch of furry body alight with positive energy.

I would just like to say thank you to Xenia of Whippet Wisdom for inspiring this post and encouraging my son to pursue the action shot. Thanks also to my son’s mentor and friend for his patient instruction on the technique…

“We are Siamese if you please…”

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Ever since I was a little girl and I heard those immortal words from the classic Disney film ‘Lady and the Tramp’, I was besotted with Siamese and overcome with the desire to have one for my very own. When I was a little girl they weren’t exactly a common breed, but when my old cat passed, my parents moved heaven and earth to find me a suitable replacement. A Burmese. Don’t get me wrong because I adored him, and my fondness for Siamese faded into the background.

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I have had a succession of cat family members, my most recent being the four ‘Girls’, the ‘Big Girls’ and the ‘Little Girls’. I have already told the story of how we acquired the ‘Little Girls’ in an earlier post and how I finally came to own a Siamese.

image[9].jpeg“Yay! My forever home!”

Granted she has no pedigree to prove her background, but she is the sweetest natured cat I have ever had the pleasure to know and love. Admittedly she is not the brightest of cats, but from the tip of her chocolate kinked tail to her brown leather nose she is every inch an elegant Siamese to look at. And hear.

CAM00115.jpgIn my son’s bed – I’d just changed the sheets!!

Waaaaahh! I’m here! What’s happening!”

It is heart-rending when we have to go out… a puzzled brown face and slightly crossed blue eyes watches our departure and her howls echo after us… even round the corner…

Waaaaoooh! Whyyyyy! Nooooah! Don’t go! Please! Come back…”

The look of sheer pleasure on her little face as she comes running to greet us, purring thunderously and then flopping at our feet so we can rub her tummy. She will roll ecstatically from side to side, grabbing at our hands with her paws and mouth – never to bite or scratch, although there have been a couple of accidents where she’s snagged me… The devastated look on her face afterwards has me comforting her!

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She is certainly the most talkative cat I’ve ever had, and will keep up a running commentary on whatever she sees me doing:

Hi! What shall we do Oh, you’re going to clean the bathroom, that’s always good for a laugh…”

My partner chose her name… he likes ‘Little Britain’ and doesn’t have to take the cats to the vets…

Ting Tong! Ting Tong Maccadangdang!” muffled snickers from the – of course – crowded waiting room…

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She adores having her photo taken. The other girls don’t mind and will quite happily pose for a while, but Ting actively loves the camera…

Oh yes! He’s got the whirry box! Me! Look! I’m here right now! I’ll waive my fees…” as she tramples over Lily to get to my son and rub her face lovingly on the camera.

She is the sweetest, most loving cat. From the lost little kitten, she has grown into a happy, confident cat who never fails to put a smile on my face as she gazes at me with love in her – slightly crossed – sapphire blue eyes.

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All photos were taken by my son!

Skulls

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Think of a skull and what do you see in your mind’s eye…? The dry skulls of longhorn cattle, abandoned and forlorn, lying in a desert…the years’ old skulls of dinosaurs, hanging and monstrous…the greasy skull of a zombie, threads of rotting flesh and slimy hair still clinging to it…

I visited an ossuary once, and was overwhelmed by the neat stacks of dried and powdery human skulls, piled carefully in alcoves. And everyone at some point in their life will have seen the heaps of skulls, carelessly tossed aside, the markers of one or another despot…

Powerful symbols that imprint on your memory and it is precisely due to these negative connotations that one remembers them… In Art, skulls are sometimes referred to as deaths heads and used to symbolise the impermanence of humanity. Commonly believed to be the seat of the soul, the material vessel of the spirit, the skull was often used by alchemists as a container for use in transformation processes. It is precisely because the skull was held as the seat of intellect, the soul, the essence of being, that the practice of “Anthropophagy” evolved.

IMG_6924 (2).JPGLeft: Carnelian, promotes creativity, positivity and confidence. Right: Stromatolite, fossilised microorganisms, helps you to understand life’s lessons and ‘go with the flow’

There’s a word to conjure with… Anything with “anthro” in it is usually to do with humans, ‘phagy’, eating… so yes. Cannibalism. It was a common practice within some ancient tribes who believed that they would absorb the strength and intelligence of their enemy by consuming their brain and flesh; and sometimes, the leader or shaman would be sacrificed and eaten for that same reason, as well as being an offering to the gods. Therefore skulls are a potent symbol of strength, intelligence – and death.

IMG_6918 (2).JPGFront row: Lepidolite, Preseli Bluestone and Carnelian. Back row: Stromatolite and Lapis Lazuli

My introduction to crystal skulls was through my son’s lovely crystal lady Lizian, who encouraged me not to dismiss them out of hand as gory piratical symbols with a bloodstained history… Instead, regard them as a metaphor for all the positive aspects of humanity, light and love and intelligence. A vessel yes, but for a higher purpose, as this representation does not relate to physical death; rather, it is a key to access the information retained by the collective human consciousness. It is said that by working with the particular vibration of crystal skulls mankind can expand its own consciousness whilst adding to the general pool of human knowledge. The skull is a tangible reminder of this and when coupled with the properties of the crystal from which it is carved, it is then a beneficial and potentially powerful tool.

IMG_6904 (2).JPGLeft to right: Dalmationite, Fluorite, Mookaite, then artistically out of focus unidentifiable skulls

So then… crystal skulls are a reminder of our own humanity. Not in the sense of physical death, but a bit like tying a knot in a handkerchief…We only use a small proportion of our total brain capacity, the skulls are a way of encouraging us to use more, expand our horizons and learn more, utilising them as a way of accessing knowledge left to us from previous civilisations and becoming part of a human “whole” again.

Thank you to In The Autumn Of My Life for the idea for this post, and thank you to Lizian, both for the beautiful examples which my son photographed, and letting me pick her brains for information… if you pardon the pun…!

IMG_7157 (4).JPGPreseli Bluestone… this is the same crystal that Stonehenge is made of, a magical crystal with an ancient vibration… 

All photos were taken by my son!

 

The Thought Mouse

Mousie (3).jpegWhere’s a real mouse when you need one? Still… you get the idea…

The old lady sat in her chair and looked out of her window, over her back garden. The front garden was little more than a token, a slip of green and a stone step, enough on which to set a pot of cheerful seasonal bulbs. But her back garden brought her pleasure: crammed with old fashioned roses that lounged against the walls or reached joyously upwards, spilling silky petals and heavy scent.

The potted jasmine threw lacy designs against the trunk of the old lilac tree, growing delicate white flowers, the shape of an elegant lady’s shoe that overflowed with perfume. As the old lady’s sight had failed, she had come to value her other senses more dearly and had taken care to grow plants that spoke to her with their smell and touch. She reached absent-mindedly down to the side of her chair, reached for the soft warm ears and rounded head of her dog, then sighed as she remembered. He had passed from this world and into the next a couple of months earlier, lying in her arms while the nice young lady vet spoke soothingly.

The old lady felt a shove of grief, as vicious as a mugger but pushed it aside and resolutely peered into her garden, seeking distraction at the bird table. Bold starlings chattered and bustled, while little brown sparrows darted in to seize a beakful of seed and deliver it to their half-fledged babies, chirping sweetly and fluttering their wings imploringly

But what was that? A sudden scurry, a swift rush, sharp enough to catch her old eyes. A little mouse! He looked cautiously from behind the geraniums and darted a little closer to the food. The old lady smiled to see him select a sunflower seed, holding it in his tiny pink paws and nibbling at it delicately. She watched as he wiped his whiskers fastidiously and left, following an obviously familiar route along the old brick wall. Weeks passed, and it grew to be a regular event.

“Come on then, cheeky,” she would call and a small brown head would pop out of a crevice in the wall, black beady eyes alight with interest, The old lady waited for his visits and he brightened her hours, for as summer progressed, she knew she hadn’t long left.

One day, she left a little piece of chocolate by the bird table, a particular treat for herself and something mice preferred above all else, she recalled hearing somewhere. She waited for the little mouse. He arrived, following his usual route, but instead of seizing his chocolate and retreating, he sat up on his haunches and regarded her steadily.

“What is it then? You’ve got a look in your eye like my old Rex when he wanted a stroke!” Gently the old lady reached out and touched the tiny head. Smooth warm fur, soft as silk met her fingertips and the old lady smiled.

A sudden flurry of wings startled the mouse and he left rapidly, with a whisk of his tail. The old lady got to her feet – for all her age she had remained fit and limber, thanks in part to careful eating and regular walking. Suddenly tired, she returned indoors to sit in her chair, and enjoy the evening sun as it set over her garden.

“I’ll just close my eyes a minute, then I’d better see to dinner,” she thought. As her eyes closed, she felt again the warmth and fragility of the little mouse head under her fingertips and smiled, as the last of the evening sun fell upon her tired old face.

***

The house was empty and clean. Airy and welcoming. The young couple marvelled at the price and high ceilings, loved the mortgage and picture rails.

“All untouched, so perhaps if you fancy a good make-over project, rip out the garden and extend the kitchen into this area…” The man and woman looked at each other. It was peaceful, happy and welcoming. No one had lived there for months and it would be a lovely house to raise a family, pleasant and untouched.

And yet, if anyone had cared to look, as the smart young estate agent swept the hopeful young couple out of the room, they would have seen a trail of tiny pawprints, along the old skirting board and disappearing outside.

Words and drawing Copyright © 2016 Samantha Murdoch

Lepidolite and Long Cats

IMG_7191 (2).JPGA beautiful example of rough Lepidolite, thank you Lizian!

Lepidolite is one of my favourite crystals, one of my ‘worker’ group. It has a comforting, rough grained texture to it, and can vary in colour from pinkish purple to lilac. The sparkles in it are actually mica, and as Lepidolite is formed in layers, it can work on several different levels to alleviate problems. I have two pieces, an egg shape and a piece that reminds me of a book… It’s a very good crystal to wear in contact with the skin as it actually contains lithium, a chemical used in the manufacture of certain anti-depressants.

I have depression and in the long, drawn-out hours that stretch before me, Lepidolite is a lightener, a mousse for the soul that lightens, if you will, that can help in some of the bleaker moments. It can be used to clear electromagnetic pollution and is a motivational crystal that will only let itself be used for the highest purpose.

A typical interpretation of this stone is that it will dissolve negativity and restore calm and balance. Lepidolite is associated with the heart, crown and third eye chakras, opening your consciousness to cosmic awareness: embracing the whole can help resolve troubles from past lives and aid progression into the future. As I have already mentioned, Lepidolite can help with reducing stress, lighten depression and get rid of dependencies. This calming, positive stone is restorative and beneficial, helping to re-organise potentially harmful psychological and behavioural patterns.

IMG_7231 (2).JPGDragon scales of Lepidolite, showing its layered formation… thank you Lizian

Lepidolite is also said to be good for insomnia. I have perfect examples of how to sleep surrounding me most nights when I begin my usual battle to force the gates into the Land of Nod…cats. Cats who relax completely and utterly, not even curled into a ball but L-O-N-G cats, stretched and blissful, asleep in the arms of Morpheus…

I love to see a long cat, because it shows me that they are completely relaxed into their environment, trusting there will be no mishap to disturb them. Some of the positions my girls manage to contort themselves into are practically a whole new range of yoga poses.

WP_20160112_22_15_09_Pro.jpgLily doing an example of “Twisted Dragon”…

WP_20160119_18_17_39_Pro (2).jpgErin’s interpretation of Twisted Dragon…

The long poses show off the grace and elegance of the feline body, supple and athletic. Charlie will stand up on her back legs to open doors, reach cupboard handles, or even tap me imperiously on the thigh:

Hey! Where’s my second breakfast?”

Long cats surround me as I sleep, stretched out by my side and by my feet, purring and soothing, sleep reaching and air kneading, showing me by clear example how to banish the long minutes of the night through sleep…

WP_20150512_22_40_11_Pro.jpgAaaand sleep.

All photos were taken by my son!

Accused…

WP_20150731_13_31_45_Pro.jpgSome beautiful varieties of Obsidian, all are truth-enhancing  and protective… A black Obsidian sphere and wand, Snowflake Obsidian palmstone and ring and a Mahogany Obsidian tumblestone…

I have two sons, one is now 17 and the other is 21, so at times there are four years between them, or sometimes five. There are ten years between my sister and I – she’s the older, and I know from personal experience that the older sibling generally gets the blame…


“W hy are Samantha’s gerbils in the fish tank?!”

Well, she wanted to know whether they could swim…” my sister replied, afire with the spirit of genuine enquiry.

But you’re older than her and should know better!”

The expected recriminations followed; the gerbils were dried and returned to their cage, none the worse for their impromptu swimming gala…

When my younger son was born, I made sure my oldest still knew how important he was to me and how loved, and how he would grow to love having a new baby brother, someone who would look up to him… and so on. The inevitable sibling squabbles ensued…

They get along well together now, but one particular incident from their childhood has stayed in my memory. My partner’s mother had given them both £5.00, a lot of money to a nine and four year old.

MAKE SURE YOU PUT YOUR MONEY SOMEWHERE SAFE” their father instructed.

My boys went to their bedrooms to play, and no more was said about their money until the following day. It was the Easter holidays so we’d planned to go out.

FETCH YOUR MONEY, YOU MIGHT SEE SOMETHING YOU LIKE.” said their father.

My oldest son went to get his, and duly returned. My youngest did not come back downstairs. He couldn’t find his five pound note. Of course, we asked him where he had put it and he said, a little hesitantly:

On the windowsill.”

So where is it now?” the next logical question.

I had the window open, and I think it must have flown away out of the window…”

I was somewhat flummoxed by this, but quite prepared to believe it – he had no reason to lie, after all. My partner, however, responded differently – and unexpectedly. He summoned my eldest son:

WHY HAVE YOU TAKEN YOUR BROTHER’S MONEY?”

My oldest, flustered by this, stammered

But I haven’t! I wouldn’t take his money! I’ve got my own!”

COME ON, OWN UP, OR WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE AND YOU’LL BE PUNISHED FOR BEING A LIAR AND A THIEF!”

But I didn’t take it, really!”

My youngest was in tears, insisting that it had flown away and his brother had nothing to do with it.

RIGHT, WELL IT SHOULD BE OUTSIDE THEN.” We all had to troop outside and search the area below the bedroom window.

Eventually, I lost my temper, and said:

No, he’s not lying. His brother’s obviously lost it, it’s no-one’s fault.”

Suffice it to say that day we didn’t go out. I felt awful. Sorry for my youngest who had lost his money, and sorry for my oldest who stood accused. I didn’t doubt my children. Not for a minute. I have never stolen anything in my whole life – not even when I was homeless and those were desperate times – and I’d hoped that I had managed to instill the same morals in my own children. Had I failed? No. I pushed that tiny pin prick of doubt aside completely. If my youngest son had said the five pound not had flown through the window, that was exactly what had happened. My oldest had nothing to do with its disappearance as he stated, over and over again. I stood by my children and the atmosphere between myself and partner was, shall we say, a little strained. He’s a very… black and white person. There are no shades of grey and things are either wrong or right, except when it comes to our cats, the beloved ‘Girls.’

His unforgiving upset me. My oldest son remained steadfast in his honesty. My youngest son stuck to his account of events.

IMG_7271 (3).JPGLapis Lazuli – truth-enhancing and good for communication 

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

These words, an interpretation of Ocean’s Razor, via Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – danced through my head…

I went outside. I looked under a heap of dead leaves that had collected in the corner near the fence… directly underneath but slightly to the right of my younger son’s bedroom window. I disturbed a nest of woodlice, and after moving them aside, looking rather sorry for itself was the five pound note. It did fly away through the window. My partner never apologised.

In life, there are things that are overwhelmingly self-evident. All I’m saying is, don’t jump to the obvious conclusion. Leave room for the impossible… or even the improbable.

1421080994454“Yes… I touch it – it’s mine…

The Cleaning of Bathrooms

CitrineeThis is a beautiful example of Citrine, a marvellous crystal that NEVER needs cleansing…

I hate my bathroom. It doesn’t do anything particularly to merit my hatred, it just…is. It is, as tradition says, the smallest room in the house, so as logic dictates, it is painted white to give the illusion of size, space and light. Big mistake.

White happens to be one of my favourite colours, precisely because I love the illusion of size, space and light. However, add four cats to the mix and life becomes more… interesting. My cats have a weird fascination with the bathroom. I have no idea why. Considering the actions that take place in the bathroom, I like to keep it spotlessly clean. I use pet-friendly wipes to clean the floor, I use eco-friendly washing up liquid to scrub the bath and the sink and sheer elbow grease to polish the stainless steel fittings. Lemon juice is a big help and it also smells nice.

Yet despite my best efforts, circumstances, cats, children and partner all combine in one vast conspiracy to ruin my pristine, sparkling bathroom into a mud pit hair fest.

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Charlie as  a kitten… caught in the act!

From an early age, my princess Charlie expressed an interest in running water. My cats actually have a filtered water drinking fountain, but nothing seems to beat the taste of plain old tap water. It’s better still if you’ve already been outside, perhaps for a spot of light digging, so the fur between your toes still has granules of earth clinging to it, that you can mix with water residue in the sink or bath to produce a red medium through which you can express the finer aspects of your feline nature through the action of applying said medium to the wonderful white canvas that has thoughtfully been supplied for you on every surface in your room of self-expression. Yep. Muddy pawprints everywhere.

Our bedroom is just to the right of the bathroom door, and one day, as I was polishing the mirror, I happened to see Charlie in the reflection. She was looking particularly furtive and… yes, downright sneaky. She nudged the bathroom door open – I had been intending to do a quick clean in there as well – and disappeared inside. I had to see what my cat was doing.

I crept stealthily across the room and stuck my head around the door and – I’ve never seen anything like it. My little cat was standing on the edge of the bath, on her back legs, stretched up as high as she could reach. She was WIPING her front paws across the tiles and then examining the underneath with interest, as if to say:

Well, today I have managed to mix the finest shade of vermilion… notice how I use different pressures of my paws to achieve the desired textured effect…”

The look on her face was a charming picture of interest and excitement, but I couldn’t help the anguished shriek as I saw how she managed to express herself already across my previously gleaming bath. Charlie looked at me, shock in her eyes at this rude interruption, ‘Brrp’-ed loudly and ran away.

Citrenee 2“Somebody – open the lid!”

The other cats just sit. They sit in the sink. Or the bath. They like to watch while you clean your teeth, although I have mixed feelings about being observed while I am in the shower. Charlie, however, is a very different sort of cat. I am prepared to overlook her artistic endeavours in my bathroom because she’s my cat and I love her. I really hope my partner sees things the same way when he notices that the back of his favourite chair has been shredded. Art can take many forms…

Citrinee 1Can I help?”