Ametrine and Angry Cats

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Charlie is a real diva, in petulant princess mode:

NO! You SHAN’T pick me up!!”

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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…

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

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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…

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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.

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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?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Mookaite and Model Cats

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Mookaite is part of the Jasper family, which I am gradually getting to know better… Jasper is also known as the “Supreme Nurturer” and is a wonderful stone to have about you in times of stress, as it lends emotional strength and support.

It’s a good stone for anyone who works in healing and it’s a charitable psychic nudge, just to remind people to help one another.

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In addition to the qualities of Jasper, Mookaite, also known as Australian Jasper, is useful in that it provides stability and balance, both mentally and physically. It can help support the immune system, promote healing and purify the blood.

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Mookaite is a good directional stone as it will lay out the paths open to you and help you to choose the right one. It encourages versatility, the desire for new experiences and the confidence with which to face them.

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Lily, our smallest black cat, is currently undergoing a new experience… All my cats carry themselves with the grace and elegance of a top supermodel… (watch out “London Look” girl..) but Lily is actually doing a spot of modelling.

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Gary – Fiction Is Food – happened to mention that his friend Marje of Kyrosmagica was in need of a black cat… not for any nefarious purposes, I hasten to add, but to aid with promotion. Marje has written a wonderful YA book and it just so happens that a black cat is featured. Lily was only too happy to oblige and hopefully the book will be published this summer. Please do go and have a look at Marje’s blog…

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Photographing black cats has its own particular difficulties, so my son informs me. The lighting has to be just right and preferably they have to have their eyes open, as Lady Joyful mentioned, otherwise you just have kind of a … furry blob. Some cats just don’t care to have their picture taken or can be a little over-enthusiastic… Ting loves to get up close and personal with the camera…

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Charlie, of course, as befits a princess, is physically incapable of being anything other than beautiful on camera… think the gamine sweetness of Hepburn, the shy charm of early Diana

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or the sheer “Look at me! You know I’m irresistible!” beauty of Elizabeth Taylor…

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Ultimately, though, despite the fact that my little cat draws on a parade of historic beauties, she is still my little cat…

Every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room.”

E.V.Lucas

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Country Ways and Castles…

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I am an advocate of the old ways, the old knowledge, lost things and forgotten truths… our eyes do not always see what was there and what still is, but hidden from the general 21st century scrutiny.

Consider our island, (the U.K.)… at one point in our past, the vast majority of this country was covered by ancient woodlands, home to wolf, wildcat and boar. Alongside these animals, so it is said, nature spirits lived… we could call them fairies, the Fey Folk, the Little People… They could be possibly be off shoots of our wilder ancestors… but as man grew and modernised so our ancient connections retreated and receded into the depths of our countryside where they remain undisturbed.

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Part of me longs for these old times, where Man lived closer to Mother Earth, in tune with her rhythms; yet as early as the Romans and their persecution of the Druids, as early as 1066 with William the Bastard, our land and the wild ways were chained and bound, held down by fortresses of stone.

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Gone were the wooden Motte and Bailey Anglo-Saxon constructions, longer still the Romans, although some of their roads remain as does a little of their DNA. Interestingly, I think I read somewhere that something like 0.5% of our current population carries Roman DNA from those long ago times.

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My mother’s family came over with the Normans… this was part of our family lore for a long time, until my wonderful uncle, when he retired, spent time and money to validate this claim… and yes, a distant ancestor did indeed travel with William from Normandy to invade England.

The Domesday Book is a fascinating piece of this country’s past, a thorough documentation and perhaps a warning of what was to come as everything was written down and described within an inch of its being.

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To complete his conquest, William threw a ring of stone castles around our edges to contain and dominate. And although as man encroached the wild ways retreated, I cannot help but appreciate these stones who have their own story to tell and their own place in history.

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Nottingham Castle is my local… although it resembles rather more the fortified manor house it became round about the 1700’s you can still see ancient parts that hold secrets, and who knows, maybe Robin Hood could have walked this way.

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There are still bullet holes visible from the English Civil War in this building, an unhappy time for the country as brother fought brother. Earlier, Good King Richard is said to have spent the night here on his way to Bosworth; and although there are echoes and imprints, Richard is long gone, his body in an alien place, his DNA an exhibit, an experiment, a project in the county of his death.

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Newark… the castle is now a romantic and picturesque ruin, another king another night… More echoes of the past from a castle that was once the centre of a thriving community.

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Some remain, some are preserved and restored but others crumble and die, the castles and great houses dying and long past preserving as the 21st century edges them away, modernity sweeping away past in progress supposedly.

And so I find myself responsible for my own destruction of the past… it was my mother’s side of the family who came over with the Normans. A DNA chain that has remained unbroken for ten centuries, a mother bloodline that is passed from mother to daughter only – mitochondrial DNA.

I have no daughters, so in a way I am responsible for the death of a family that’s been here since 1066. And although I feel a little guilty, sometimes these things just have to come to an end. The 20th century with its Industrial Revolution and all the rest of it tried to finish the job of those who went before and eradicate the wild ways, to control and landscape garden… but now.

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But now, it is time to walk hand-in-hand with the 21st century; a new age of love, of understanding, of kindness, of partnership between Man and Mother, Mother Earth.

Quick – look to your past and you might see a Fae, one of the Sídhe, slipping away in the turn of a leaf…

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The Alternate Path

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Oh, he’s here now, I’ll get the door!” the man called back to his wife.

She looked up at him over the top of her glasses and smiled, lovingly.

Thank you, you’re so good to me.”

He smiled back and went to answer the door. Her son stood on the doorstep:

Ah, good to see you, young man! Come in!” The older man gave him a quick hug and took his bag from him.

Your mother’s just through there, she had one of her heads yesterday. She still gets a little… unhappy.” The man laid his hand on the younger man’s arm.

I know, I know, don’t worry, I won’t upset her,” the son reassured the older man.

Darling, it’s wonderful to see you!”

He entered the warm, bright sun room as his mother rose to greet him. Small and gently blonde, she radiated happiness as she accepted her son’s embrace.

It’s good to see you looking so well, Mum,” he said.

Oh, it’s all down to him, you know, he thinks I don’t notice, but he’s so kind, always there; I – I’m not afraid any more.”

The older man re-entered the room and glanced sharply at the woman, both assessing and reassuring as he gently touched her arm.

Come through, my love, I’m making tea, and then we can sort something out for dinner while we catch up…”

The younger man followed his mother and her husband into the kitchen, another warm and inviting room and took a place at the table.

He watched his mother move about the kitchen confidently, putting dinner together, her husband passing her things as she reached for them and always tender, aware.

The younger man told funny stories about his friends and their escapades at university, scandalous enough to elicit gasps of delighted shock from his mother and humorous, reproving glances from her husband.

After dinner, a comfortable silence prevailed and the son was quietly pleased with his mother’s progress, as she leaned against her husband, watching some television programme.

He closed his eyes briefly and was instantly taken back to a small, dark, smelly room, his mother sobbing in the corner as the small fat man shouted angrily at her, berating her for yet another imagined slight. She shrank in fear as the small fat man, his father, raised his hand and –

Darling, whatever’s the matter? You’ve gone as white as a sheet!” His mother looked at him anxiously.

Nothing, nothing – I thought-for a moment, we were –”

No. No. That’s over.” Her husband leant forward and patted him comfortingly on the knee. “Look. Go to bed. You’ve had a long journey and you’re obviously tired.”

The son said goodnight and left, and as he did, he glanced back and was inexplicably moved by the tender way the older man lifted gentle hands to his wife’s face. He smoothed her hair and kissed her softly. For a tall man, he was quiet and controlled in his movements, calm and gentle to be around and as his mother leaned into her husband’s embrace the son watched and had a sense of truly coming home.

* * *

That night, he slept badly. Disturbed by dreams of past, loud voices and banging footsteps, screaming televisions, slamming doors and womens’ tears.

As he woke, he woke in a blur, cold sweat beading his face and sticking his armpits. It was early, but he could hear voices, so headachy and cross he went downstairs.

He opened the kitchen door, the door to his past and was taken straight back to the nightmare. His mother, tears rolling silently down her bruised cheeks, thin shoulders trembling as she stood in the corner, facing the small fat man who was his father, brandishing fists and words…

OR

His mother and her husband looked up from the Sunday papers they were reading, startled by his abrupt entrance into the quiet warmth of their kitchen.

Darling, would you like some tablets – perhaps the wine at dinner last night didn’t agree…” She looked concerned and put her hand on top of her husband’s. “Would you –”

I’ll get them. Don’t worry.” He rose to his feet and as he passed the younger man, briefly rested an arm across his shoulders.

Don’t worry.” He said again, and smiled, kindly.