Blogs, Birthdays And Blues…

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Well! Who would have thought it! As an additional Mother’s Day gift, I received this notification last week – the header photo, saying that I have been blogging for a whole year… I also got perfume – I love perfume, crystals, of course, and cat-related objects, naturally…

My little blog that started at my son’s suggestion has survived a year… I’ve posted regularly (never thought I had so much to talk about really) and I have met some truly WONDERFUL people, real friends who would be welcome for a cup of tea at my house… not the sort of people where when you see them coming you switch the lights off, draw the curtains and lie on the floor behind the sofa… just me on that one then..?

I have enjoyed the reading of blogs, the new knowledge and shared experiences and talking, really talking. In “real time” I am actually quite shy… at your average socila gathering, I would be the person sitting in a corner by themselves, trying to look interesting and aloof but really dying inside…

All I had to do was talk, even if it was something totally banal, just to break the ice. I always feel bad for someone if they are giving a talk or a lecture , and ask at the end “Any questions?” usually to a deathly silence… I generally blurt out something completely stupid and unrelated like “Do you like ice cream?”

One of my Mother’s Day presents was this… blue Goldstone. A man-made crystal of glass with tiny flecks of copper suspended within that create the sparkle. Opinion is divided as to whether it has any actual metaphysical benefit, but it is reputed to be protective and uplifting, shielding psychics from empathetic residue and bringing vitality to speech. I like it… it’s pretty, and sparkly and I’ve been told it’s always good to work with colours.


And this is Angelite, a stone of awareness that links, as its name would suggest, to the higher realms, and enables you to speak freely and with love.


All blue crystals are generally associated with the throat chakra, and with that in mind, promote communication.


So then, as I think about my own blog’s birthday, I inevitably consider my own… notorious for being horrible occasions – I was homeless on my 21st. The actual day is not until July and I am now at that stage of my life where I have lived the Maiden years, nearly completed my Mother years and am approaching the Crone years… Silence at the back there!


This essentially means I should be able to look back on my decades of accumulated wisdom and share little gems of my own… I would start by saying talk more. I wish I’d talked more, shared worries and asked for help… My oldest son has made some life choices that I am diametrically opposed to… I do wish we could have talked more – they are his choices to make, granted, but at least I could have offered him an alternative opinion… so talk.

Even silences can be “speaking”… and sometimes that’s all it takes…

Hey! Hey! Do you like ice cream…?


Desert Rose And Destructive Dogs… !

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This wonderfully sculpted crystal is actually a relative of Selenite and, as such, has the ability to bring peace into your life and help judgement and insight…Legend has it that these flowery crystals were discovered by Arab nomads wandering the deserts, giving their camels comfort breaks and discovering the Desert Rose in the resulting puddle…

A charming but mostly untrue story, however as a crystal, it does bring relief from old habits that are blocking your progress in life and can help you to find a better, more fruitful way of thinking.

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As Desert Rose stabilises emotions, it also strengthens your sense of purpose and determination, making you more open to receiving love in a positive equal relationship.

This crystal, particularly apt for Mother’s Day, helps to forge a positive healing connection with Mother Earth and restore her protective energy grid where it has been disrupted in areas, for example, where heavy industry may have taken place.

Speaking of mothers – appropriately – and earth (humorously), I rather think my mother has forgotten just how … into everything a puppy can be. Erin is now a dignified lady of seven years and regards all the chewing and dragging out of cupboard contents as a little beneath her…

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As Rocky trots into my mother’s front room clutching a dead plant in his jaws from outside and gaily scattering dried compost everywhere, or emerges from the cupboard gleefully crunching a peg between his puppy teeth, Erin looks at him with the outraged and somewhat disbelieving expression of an elderly maiden aunt as if to say:

WELL! Really! The youth of today – absolutely no respect for anyone or anything!”

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To date, Rocky has destroyed the sweeping brush, the mop, the clematis, the passion flower, the bird table, my oldest son’s work boots…but we won’t talk about that … and dug two very large holes in the back garden.

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Despite all this, Rocky’s total joy in life is infectious and utterly charming – Erin is devoted to him, and Mum enjoys the “busyness” of two dogs… and me? Well… I’m just hopeless with baby animals…. Yes, I do the baby talk…”Who’s handsome? Does ‘oo want a biccy..?”

I keep reminding my mother it’s all a matter of perspective, and how you look at things, or to put it simply … out of sight, out of mind. Just put things out of a little one’s eyeline or reach – they soon forget about it and find something else more appropriate for kiddy canines to play with.

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This is a frame of reference left over from when my sons were little-anything they shouldn’t have had was placed away in a secure cupboard, or on top of something out of reach. I still find myself doing this, although my youngest son is now considerably taller than me at 6’1”.

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Works for most animals and children, although perhaps not cats… as I type this, Charlie is busily engaged in helping herself to cat treats from the jar, having unwrapped my Mother’s Day presents for me…


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Princess Charlotte and The Runaway Hen


It was one of those rarest things, a pleasantly warm and sunny afternoon. I could hear little birds singing happily, a bee buzzing in the roses, and Charlie was sitting under the fuchsia, eyes and ears alert to the comings and goings in our garden. I was sitting outside, enjoying a cigarette, and watching a hen, walking around the pond, stopping every so often to examine something in the grass and peck at it, clucking contentedly to itself.

What was wrong with this scenario? For one thing, we don’t have any hens…They are a creature that has never appealed to me as a pet, their eyes are shiny, hard carnelian discs and I am always somewhat afraid of the curved horny beaks and long muscular legs ending in scaly strong feet armed with claws to grip and tear. So…why was there a hen in the garden?

I leaned over and carefully put my cigarette out, not wanting any sudden movement to warn this avian intruder of my presence. Slowly I stood up. Charlie’s ears at once swivelled in my direction, swiftly followed by her emerald eyes. She rose delicately to her paws, obviously wanting to see for herself what had attracted my attention.

Meanwhile, the hen had finished surveying the area around the pond and began walking up the garden path towards us, stopping every so often to examine me, its head cocked to one side, rather like an imperious Edwardian lady sneering through her lorgnette. It was quite a large hen. It was completely alien, not something you expect to see in a suburban back garden, a dinosaur relative of the farmyard picking its way amongst the lobelia and lambs ears… It shook its feathers out contemptuously, and I was momentarily distracted by the healthy gleam of its attire, black and vibrant with a sheen of green where the afternoon sun hit it.

Charlie was, by now, very aware of our unexpected visitor and dropped into her hunting crouch. This was no ordinary sparrow, no mere mouse, and, by God, she was going to bring this creature down and boast about it at the girls’ club.


“Call that a sparrow? Now this, THIS is a sparrow!”

She inched carefully towards the hen, who was engaged in picking its toes, tail fluffed out like tabby tinsel, intent and purpose written clearly in every line of her tense little body.

“Oh no, darling, you don’t want that, come back! It might bite you!

Ignoring my panicked protestations, Charlie’s hunting creep went from stealthy stalk to all out capture mode, as her little paws carried her carefully towards the unwary hen. It looked up, and a flash of alarm crossed its hitherto imperturbable feathered face as it gathered its plumage around itself and turned away, scaly legs moving slightly quicker as it realised something very bad could be about to happen…

Into this farcical scene, a head. Popped over from the hedge at the back of our garden and a rather indignant tone of voice:

“’Scuse me love. Do you think I could ‘ave me chicken back?”

Cheek! Like I had purposely enticed the creature into my garden!


However, the strident voice shattered the moment. Charlie charged at the hen as I made a somewhat tentative attempt to approach the hen in a semi-purposeful way, arms outstretched to try and clasp the feathery fugitive to my breast but Charlie chose that moment to charge at the hen, jaws open and paws outstretched to seize the mega prey item. The hen spread its wings and…and…it flew off! Obviously I was aware that as it had wings it had a high probability of being able to fly, but it was somewhat like watching a steak and kidney pie grow legs and run away from your knife and fork.

It was most ungainly in flight, rather like a roll of binbags escaping from a shopping trolley, but flew it did. Over our fence and in the direction of the road. The owner of the hen gave a despairing shout and his head disappeared from the top of our hedge.

Charlie and I looked at each other, and the expression on her face must have mirrored mine exactly…shock, surprise and a degree of annoyance that a seemingly easy prize had behaved so unexpectedly-by escaping!


The Colouring Book

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Thank you very much, Aunt Patricia, it’s lovely,” the little girl repeated dutifully.

She stared down at the book that lay on her knee, the pretty flowered wrapping paper slipping to the floor. The book was called “Magical Animals” and the little girl ran her fingers across the plain white cover.

It had a pleasing gloss to it and the words “Magical Animals” were imprinted in gold. Her aunt – well, her mother’s friend from University, actually – winked slyly at her.

Wait till you’re by yourself and then try it.”

The little girl smiled politely, never quite sure what to make of this large lady, with her flowing scarves and velvet dresses, rather dashing high heels and striking makeup.

The party took over and it wasn’t until several days later that the little girl remembered the book. She retreated to her bedroom and shut the door, reaching for her better quality colouring pencils… somehow she felt that this mysterious book would be contemptuous of her supermarket pencils.

She opened the book to select a picture and was at once swept away by the possibilities as the wonderfully detailed line drawings flooded her vision, just waiting for her to bring life and warmth with her pencils…

A unicorn! That would just have to be silver and pink – a little frog, she had several shades of green that would work for him… The animals got larger and more menacing as she turned the pages – a tiger, ready to spring from the book alive in orange and pitch black … an alligator, swamp green and brown; and then a creature she didn’t recognise, with deceptively soft drawn fur and claws like knives…

There was a little paragraph of writing underneath the drawing:

All animals, no matter how soft or tame they seem, have hidden wildness. Your pet cat can be a tiger, your dog, a wolf. This drawing is to show this wildness in every beast, to remind us to treat our animals, Mother Earth’s children with respect or -”

The little girl slammed the book shut, unnerved by the way the crouching, snarling monster had seemed to loom out of the pages towards her.

She opened the book again, careful to stay in the foremost pages and selected a picture of a rabbit. She worked hard on her colouring, wanting to bring warmth and a sense of life, of “fluffiness” to the picture – she’d had a pet rabbit when she was a very little girl and remembered with pleasure the soft warm fur.

She used a russet and a chestnut brown, colouring carefully the curved back, shading gently over the delicate ears and choosing a lighter brown for the large, round eyes. She sat back, and looked, pleased with her colouring, vivid and detailed, the little rabbit really seemed –

She laughed delightedly as he shook himself awake from the paper and leapt from her desk to the floor. He shook coloured pencil dust from his fur and sat back on his haunches as if to greet the little girl.

Shocked yet thoroughly pleased, she reached out a hand and gently touched the rabbit on the head, feeling soft warm fur and a living warmth. The rabbit hopped carefully around her bedroom, pausing every so often to examine a book, a discarded shoe.

Darling? Are you busy? Dinner’s ready!”

Her mother’s voice startled both her and the rabbit and quick as a flash he bounded from the floor to her chair to the desk and straight back into the pages of the colouring book.

Coming, Mummy!” the little girl called back, stopping momentarily to check the pages of her book. Yes, the rabbit was there again, captured in paper, the colouring exactly as she remembered doing … She touched the book wonderingly and smiled, a secret smile to herself, as she left her bedroom.

That night, before she went to sleep, she slipped the magical book under her pillow.

Tomorrow,” she thought, “tomorrow, I could try the unicorn!”

With images of wonderful silver horses dancing in her imagination, the little girl fell asleep, smiling to herself …

Only to awaken, later, heart thudding in fright and panic.

She could hear footsteps. They didn’t belong. These weren’t the careful, light steps of her mother, or the firm tread of her father … these were… creeping. She felt a wriggle from under her pillow and remembered her book. She pulled it out and dropped it frightened, to the floor, as the creeping footsteps crept and paused. Outside her door.

The pages of her colouring book stirred … and her coloured rabbit sprang from the pages of the book, followed by something much wilder and darker that slipped through the edges between reality and dreamtime … and between the hinges of her bedroom door and onto the landing.

A startled gasp – and then a scream of pain, followed by pounding footsteps that fled downstairs with her father’s voice roaring in anger…

Later, much later, after her mother had comforted her, and explained that a bad man had got into the house, but it wouldn’t happen again because he – well, it just wouldn’t happen again … the little girl looked for her colouring book.

She turned, cautiously to the page where she knew the rabbit lived. Yes! He was still there! But what was that trace of red on his whiskers and about his claws? The slight dark shadow behind…

Thoughtfully, she closed the book and laid it carefully back on her desk.

She hasn’t used it again – yet.


Unakite and Uplifting Cats


This crystal ties in quite nicely with the theme of “uplifting” and “up” that I seem to have fallen into this week. It’s a seasonal changeover as we welcome in Spring and time to look both forwards and up into the future, I feel, in a positive and fulfilling manner.


Anyway… Unakite. This pink and green crystal works with the heart chakra and is a stone of balance and vision, promoting equality in matters both spiritual and emotional.

Unakite can be used to promote psychic vision, but it is also a good grounding stone, helping you to re-connect after meditation or psychic work. Unakite can also be used as part of a set of stones for scrying – foretelling the future – and is generally a good crystal to have about the house.


It has a gentleness and soothing warmth to it that melts away blockages from past lives that are hindering your current growth. It will help you face what is inhibiting you in your present life, transforming the negative to the positive so you can learn and move on, encouraged and uplifted by the gentle comfort of Unakite.


I’ve actually mentioned to a couple of friends this week about how if I were a doctor I would prescribe cats to instantly lift spirits and banish depression. My own furry four are always around to provide company and comfort, whether it’s the purring warmth and gentle snores of Tooty, tea cosied nearby, or the zany Siamese humour of Ting:


Look! I’m a horse! I’m going to canter loudly around upstairs on the laminate flooring yelling…”

Lily’s presence is a comfort at night times as she curls up at the end of my bed ready to savage any sleep ogres for me, while Charlie will tuck in next to me and purr a lullaby…

It is often said that laughter is the best medicine and indeed the physical action releases endorphins to lift your spirits. My girls are a wonderful source of humour, and even though they may not always appreciate the difference between being laughed at or with, sharing my life with feline family members has always been uplifting and comforting.


Feeling down? Hug your cat. Bad day at work? Hug your cat. They might not always appreciate you crying in their fur…

Did you REALLY just do that?? I just CLEANED there!!”


But a cat will, on the whole, accept you as you are and love you without expectation or criticism, providing you’re always handy with the cat kibbles, buy the right brand, supply plenty of catnip mousies… well. You get the idea.


“Per Ardua Ad Alta” ~ Or Basically When You’re Feeling Down, Just Look UP

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I’ve heard quite a few variations on the translation of this Latin motto, but the one I like the best is “Through struggle to the stars”…

This, to me, means although you may be weighed down with the care and worry of your life, just stop a minute. And look. Look UP. A lot of the time we are rushing through life looking at our feet and literally casting our gaze downwards.

Look UP and the actual physical action of turning your eyes upwards can lift the spirits as you notice something new…

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When my son was little, I always used to say to him “Look!” and point out things that I thought might interest him, something different. I’m pleased to say that he’s carried this forwards into his growing UP life as he is now a keen photographer with a good eye and uncanny ability to interpret my shouts of “LOOK! Quick! I need a picture of that…”

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He’s been kind enough to take the majority of the photos I use on my blog, and I’d like to share a few more… for the purposes of looking UP.

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These trees… lifting their arms heavenwards into the light, letting in warmth and positivity, returning negativity to Mother Earth where it can be recycled…

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Architectural details are another thing that fascinate me, and here where I live there are some wonderful examples of buildings created by the architect Watson Fothergill who designed over a hundred buildings in the Gothic Revival and Old English vernacular styles, here in the early 20th century, red brick fancies that hark back to an earlier time in the city.

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I was so pleased when I saw this wonderful glass interior dome of the Council House, designed by T.C. Howitt in the Neo Baroque style and completed in 1929.

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And look! Two wonderful gargoyles, just perched on the corners… hmm… might find a use for them…

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And of course, I had to include these angels, for their symbolic value and traditional association with “UP”… and because the pictured crystals are uplifting and joyous.

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Try it. Physically, lengthen your spine, square your shoulders – it opens your rib cage and frees up your diaphragm so you can breathe- and just look. UP.

Poetry Pimple…



My thanks must go to Gillian of Paper Puff for the idea for the name of what is becoming a regular ‘spot’ on my blog… if you pardon the pun!



The black night of my soul is drawing in,
As thick as blood and bitter as sin.

Bones are aching, teeth are grinding,
Passion dead, hatred binding.

Lost am I: lost in the pit
How can I be when I do not fit?

Torn to pieces, shredded and bare
How can I live when I do not care?

Reaching out, I touch your fur,
Feel your paw, hear your purr.

How could I forget that you were there?
My little cat, full of love and care.



Ametrine and Angry Cats


Ametrine is actually a favourite crystal of my son’s, and I personally don’t have any experience of it, other than to be intrigued by its combination of colours and personalities…it’s a mix of Amethyst and Citrine, brought about by exposure to heat, hence the colour change from purple to burnt orange.

As a combination stone, it has twice the effectiveness and it can give you insight into the cause of long-standing illness, to help heal and mend. Ametrine can give you the vision to connect to higher things, clearing stress and tension to bring calm and peace.

It’s a wonderful crystal to use in meditation as it helps to direct focus, in addition to which it can help to unite the male and female energies, bringing balance and acceptance, showing that we are all linked in some way in the world’s great energy web.


As part of the Universal Whole, it draws on this energy to instil clarity on its owner and promote creativity. Ametrine can help pinpoint the cause of anger, upset, dis-harmony and help you take the right steps to release it, as it is a powerful cleanser… a little exercise for you…

Sit yourself down, somewhere peaceful for a minute. All crystals carry good intentions but some are more suited for certain purposes… Ametrine, Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, these will help relieve tension and promote serenity. Make sure you’re comfortable and put your chosen crystal in front of you. Think about what made you angry and say why you feel this way, either in your head or out loud. Then pick up your crystal and simply say: “I release you”. Use your crystal as a funnel to channel the anger away from yourself. Visualise your anger draining away like bathwater, spiralling back towards Mother Earth who will accept this negative energy and transform it into positive energy that you can use to move on. Try it… and remember to cleanse your crystal afterwards.


So there you are. Ametrine is basically psychic Pepto-Bismol, soothing bubbling dis-ease, stimulating positive thought and restoring balance.

My cats are positive beacons of calm and hope… definitely no anger issues… well sometimes anyway. Sometimes it’s like living in a house with four teenage girls.

No, Tooty, you can’t sit on that part of the bed, that’s where Charlie sits and you’ll annoy her…” desperately trying to shovel Tooty up and to another spot – she’s quite a large girl and has a habit of oozing out of your hands and “Hnhghh”-ing in annoyance.


Ting is definitely the sunniest tempered of all four, the Pollyanna of the family, and as such, her unrelenting cheerfulness has earned her a few whacks from the other girls…


Charlie is a real diva, in petulant princess mode:

NO! You SHAN’T pick me up!!”


She will administer slaps with darling soft little paws and “Fuff” with irritation. You know where you are with Charlie…

Lily, as the smallest cat, is the most unpredictable… she is the owner of a truly terrifying snake demon hiss that has me yelling for my son to come and move her, yet at the same time, she has the sweetest meow and can be all:

Oh how wonderful! You’re picking me up for a cuddle… here, I’ll purr for you…”

Other times…

_MG_3746“F*@K OFF!!!!!!!!”

Please note, this reaction was captured on film as result of my polite request to leave the bed so I could change it…!

Sheep. Just… Sheep.

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Picture sheep and what do you think of… fluffy, cute lambs, gambolling innocently in a spring fresh green field, perhaps accompanied by a bunny or two, symbol of Easter, and the renewal of Life. Or, picture this, a flock of gently milling sheep, woolly and harmless, dainty – hooved and baa-ing melodically as they are guided into place by a clever sheep dog…

Well, you’re wrong. In my opinion, sheep are evil, cunning and duplicitous… but I can see you’re all still taken in by those innocent, curly-wooled faces and soft round eyes… Let me go back a few (well, quite a few) years to my child hood.

As my regular readers may remember, my father was a vet, and in true James Herriot fashion, many a waif and stray ended up staying with our family for a while, some even becoming permanent residents, like our rabbit, Sorrel, rescued from a live meat market as I screamed and screamed for Daddy to save the pretty bunny from Watership Down…

One day, my father returned home with a small, sickly lamb. My mother, being a Northern country girl and well accustomed to sheep, took it tenderly from him and wrapped it in a towel, placing it carefully in front of the fire with our German Shepherd dog at the time, the benign and benevolent Nikki.

I came forward eagerly to greet the new arrival and hesitated… the lamb turned its head and gazed… malevolently… back at me. (I swear I heard the music from “The Omen” playing faintly somewhere…) I backed cautiously away… there was something about its smiling innocence that didn’t sit quite right…


Oh, yes, little girl… this is MY house now!”

The little creature thrived and grew, boy, did she grow. Named Lindy, she quickly became part of the pack of dogs, thundering up and downstairs with them, barging into the bathroom while I was on the toilet… whatever I’m doing in the bathroom, to be honest, I don’t really care for an audience…

Charlie: “My God! What are you doing in the water bowl??”

Me: “Oh please, really, I’d get arrested if I did this in the garden and Daddy wouldn’t be too pleased…”

Lindy had her own special bed in the kitchen that she stayed in at night time as I screamed when she chased the cat into my bedroom and jumped on my bed. Believe me, my family beat the concept of “Babe” by a good few years with our dogsheep. She had no manners and would quite happily walk past the table and swipe your bread and butter, chase the cat, bite visitors…

My father was a little annoyed when the postman would no longer deliver to our house… he had to collect our letters from the main post office in town as the postman flatly refused to enter the garden after he’d been chased for the fourth time by the sheep… I liked that postman…

The cat and I spent a lot of time up the willow tree in our garden or barricaded in my bedroom. And Lindy grew. When she reached the dimensions of a small dining room table with a head like a boulder, hooves like four circles of Hell and a fleece of wire (I was allergic to her too) her residence with us was abruptly ended.


My father had put up with her becoming my mother’s particular pet, guarding her and sitting on her lap, collecting the post from town and apologising to the neighbours on a regular basis as she (the sheep, not my mother) crashed through hedges and fences cartoon-style; but when she butted him off the edge of the raised patio and broke his ankle, he decided it was time for her to go.

And so she did. To a petting zoo, where there was a lonely male Jacob sheep… my parents visited her regularly, they were friends with the owner, and Lindy went on to produce many lambs and have a long and happy life.

My childhood peace was restored and though I am drawn to the undeniable cuteness of toy lambs, to this day I remain extremely wary of sheep…

Mummy, Lindy BIT me!!”

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, sheep don’t bite…”

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Earth Sandwich Anyone?


I had to have it…

What’s that…?” I asked, pointing.

Raw Tiger’s Eye”, my son’s lovely crystal lady replied…

Can I-”

She passed it to me to hold, and at once a wealth of images played through my head, rich golden honey, the dark, earthy scent of rye bread and cliffs… golden, soaring cliffs with a luminescent sheen…


I’ve written about Tiger’s Eye before, but this was the first time I’d seen it in the raw, so to speak. My son and I have quite a few pieces of Tiger’s Eye between us, and although I don’t generally use it, I am drawn to the richness of its colouring which is echoed in my cat Charlie’s fur…


Tiger’s Eye is possibly one of the most popular crystals as it is easily recognisable and people are drawn to its glossy beauty shaped and polished into tumblestones and… cats…


However, this raw piece called to me on a more visceral level. Tiger’s Eye is a member of the Quartz family and a metamorphic rock. This means that it is formed as the result of another process; generally, the original rock is subjected to very high heat, for example, and the chemical structure is altered… possibly enough science there, but I just wanted to mention that these altered formations are rod-shaped, all aligned in the same direction, which gives Tiger’s Eye its particular sheen, or “chatoyancy”… lovely word, the French word for cat, “chat” is in there, quite appropriate.


This raw Tiger’s Eye reminds me irresistibly of a honey sandwich, a crust of Mother Earth’s goodness broken off and presented to us. Tiger’s Eye is a good crystal for grounding, and is very protective, traditionally carried to ward off ill-wishers and curses. It’s a very good crystal for making decisions, in that it will help you to realise what you really need as to what you really want… bills before biscuits, that sort of thing.


Although these raw pieces are not ideal “pocket rocks” there is a pull to them, a draw… a different quality of energy just waiting to be harnessed…