Rainbows And Rabbits

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Succulent rabbits…. 

I have shared my life with quite a few animals so far, each bringing their own special brand of joy and love, family members each and every one. Apart from rabbits… I’ve only ever had one pet rabbit myself, who I absolutely adored..

Back in the day when there were still such things as live meat markets here, my parents and I were walking through one (strange place to take a four year old… but there you go…) when I saw a large wild rabbit who was destined for the pot confined in a tiny cage.

Of course, I burst into tears and begged Daddy to rescue the pretty rabbit (Dad = veterinary surgeon = animal saviour… it’s all so simple when you’re little) so he bought her, having first informed the seller that no, he did not want her “necking”.

Sorrel was as wild as they come, a large doe who bit and scratched everyone; yet strangely, would let me kiss her, cuddle her, carry her around, dress her up… She annoyed the life out of my father as when she was out in her run on the lawn, she would dig complex tunnels spoiling its pristine green velvet…

My sister, not unnaturally, requested a rabbit of her own. A second rabbit was duly purchased and introduced to the household. Personally, I think it was actually a hybrid of piranha and hyena. I was terrified of it, yet my sister persevered until one day, the rabbit charged her.

It ran at her like a demon and sank its teeth into her achilles tendon at the back of her leg, just at ankle height. It wouldn’t let go. It growled and scuffled… my sister coaxed… then pleaded… then started screaming… She and the rabbit were engaged in a deadly duel – she spun around, quite elegantly, on one leg, while the rabbit sank its teeth further into her flesh till finally my father rescued her. And re-homed the rabbit. Swiftly.

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Not sure of its proper name but I call it Rabbits Ears

I have never had another pet rabbit, but even so I remember Sorrel with love, as she made me happy, much like a rainbow makes me happy. I am always fascinated by the natural light show created by rainbows and I am lucky enough to own several crystals that contain these sparkly bits.

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Crystals that have these rainbow shimmers have an added quality of joy and optimism to them. They’re pocket vials of loveliness and hope, tangible reminders to us to look for the beauty in the smallest of things.

The spectrum of colours can be used in crystal therapy and healing to help us deal with the pain of loss and overcome sorrow. There is comfort to be found in these multi-coloured sparkly crystals – they remind us too, of a Promise made for continuity and love.

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When our fur family members leave us, we say they have gone over The Rainbow Bridge; for even though we are sad they have left us behind, we know they are turning over a new page in their own Book Of Life. But we know they’ll wait for us, and when we have reached the end of our own story, they will be there to greet us and love us. Always.

With love from all of us here at CrystalCats to Jean, Bill and Shoko – thinking of you

Carnelian And Comfort Cats

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When I was a little girl – a very little girl – I had a teddy bear called Pinky Bear. I acquired him as we were walking through a market, my father carrying me, and I apparently reached out and neatly snagged this teddy bear from a toy stall. I refused to be parted from him – indeed, Pinky Bear had many individual adventures, including being lost on a train – and his soft, marshmallow pink fur epitomised comfort and security for me.

I no longer have Pinky Bear, but somehow, the colour pink retains an air of love and comfort for me… Carnelian is not normally a stone to which I am drawn, although I have written about it before, as it is a useful addition to any crystal collection, but Lizian’s latest order caught my eye…

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Pink. Wonderful, striped shades of pink, some reminiscent of smoked salmon – I like that too… And I have also discovered recently that Carnelian is a wonderful stone of comfort. It deflects rage or anger that is directed towards you and helps your own anger or resentment to be gently dissolved, and a workable resolution reached.

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Carnelian can help to lessen the bleakness of a situation where you feel emotionally isolated, and yes, bring the comfort you may remember from a much-loved childhood toy. Carnelian helps to restore the love and faith you have in Life, accepting the never-ending cycle of Life and Death, but not fearing it.

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It imparts courage and confidence, the strength to carry on and can help to sharpen mental focus. Red Carnelian, as shown in some of the pictures, is useful for energising body and mind. Pink Carnelian, as soothing and warming as a cosy blanket, helps to restore trust and love, a comforting, happy stone.

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Having shared the majority of my years on this Earth with a cat, or two, or three… or even four, it is safe to say I derive a lot of emotional comfort from the presence, love and companionship of my cats.

My old cat, Walter, was perhaps the supreme Comfort Cat Champion; his soft grey and black fur saw plenty of tears in his lifetime:

There, there… tell me all about it and let’s see what can be done.”

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I was so desperately lonely and bereft when his time came to cross the Rainbow Bridge… but now I have my quartet of princesses, the Furry Four, Mummy’s Girls, of which Charlie, Madame La Princesse, is undeniably Number One.

And when I am overwrought, or emotional, then I know there is comfort to be had, and love, in the presence of a warm, furry purrer…

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Unakite and Uplifting Cats

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!!”

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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.

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Tears and Tabbies

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Apache Tear is the name given to a form of black Obsidian. It doesn’t have the hard black gloss to it like its cousin, but instead, a softer, more tactile feel and so it is correspondingly more gentle in its metaphysical uses.

Rather than the “LOOK AT THIS AND CHANGE” message you get from Obsidian, Apache Tear still shows you the negative energy or thought pattern that needs altering, but in a way that doesn’t shock or scare you, gently introducing you to the idea of change so you can process the knowledge and put it into effect.

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Apache Tear will help you put thought into action and remove the boundaries you put on yourself, the “I can’t possibly do that” attitude… whilst lending a gentle cloak of protection to the aura and grounding and cleansing the earth chakra.

Apache Tear is wonderful for mopping up grief – it is believed to shed actual tears during times of extreme sadness, hence the name – showing you the source of distress and giving you the emotional strength to deal with this and carry on… think spiritual handkerchief…

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I cry a lot. At a lot of stuff… certain pieces of music, the John Lewis Christmas adverts, books, films (NEVER watching “Hachi” again) I also do that thing where you yawn, and your eyes water, then they’re mistaken for random tears for no apparent reason…

But I also cry with laughter – literally. This has got me into some sticky situations, I can tell you …

I cried when I brought Charlie home from the vet after she had been neutered. She had damp rings around her eyes that I convinced myself were from crying because she’d been scared and frightened, even though logically I knew it was from the pads the vet placed over her eyes to keep them moistened … but … still… I felt so awful.

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Charlie has kept that handy trick of being able to produce tears of any variety at the flick of a tail, with an unexpected bite or unlooked for cuddle, when she nestles sweetly against me and purrs melodically…

However, she is a wonderful comfort-cat, tender and pretty when I am stressed or down.

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My old tabby, Walter, was another kind and empathetic cat, possessed of a definite sense of humour… my partner was having the sort of conversation you do with a toddler:

AND LOOK! HERE’S WALTER! HE’S A CAT! WHAT DO CATS SAY WALTER?”

My cat looked at my partner, holding our son, opened his mouth and replied:

MOO – OO!”

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Fathers and Funerals

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I’ve only ever been to one funeral… and I’ve only ever had one father too… there’s a link already… No. Seriously. Although I don’t really see my father now – second wife syndrome – we do exchange cards at Christmas and I do have some fond memories of him when I was younger.

I used to enjoy going out with him on his farm visits and seeing the different animals, I’ve seen quite a few lambings, calvings and foals being born … He always used to carry a roll of extra strong mints in the car and the challenge was to see how long I could keep a mint in my mouth without screaming and spitting it out…

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My partner and I moved to our current house in order to be near his parents, his father in particular, who was elderly and infirm. In due course, the expected happened, and this led to my first experience of a funeral. Admittedly, I found my partner’s father somewhat … challenging and we were never exactly… close, but I found the funeral both distressing and traumatic.

To begin with, there was a disagreement about cars, as to whether I warranted a place in the “daughter-in-laws” car since my partner and I are not married. Then, at the service, another section of his large, extended family arrived without invitation and tensions were evident…

The cemetery was cold and desolate. Windswept and stark. My nerves – never great – were shredded and I did not want to go and stand by the graveside. Instead, a neighbour and her daughter stood with me and we looked at the wreaths.

It just seemed wrong, somehow, leaving the old man there. Yet I have my own memory of him, that I am blessed with, that I chose to share with my partner to try and comfort him…

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He had left his father in his wheelchair, after his last stroke, by our pond to look at the fish, while he went inside with his mother to discuss something. His father didn’t know I was there, but I saw, I remember… my little dog, who was a bouncy, jumpy-up sort of dog, went quietly up to the old man and lifted her face up to him.

He laid his gnarled old hand on her head and patted her, a smile lighting up his face. Just that. A simple moment, but a little moment of joy that the old man and my little dog shared, a comfort and a knowing.

Later, the wake was pretty awful. Excess alcohol and tears, and, all in all, what the day left me with was an overwhelming memory of flowers and feuds…

In a conversation quite recently actually, with my partner, regarding funerals, I was taken aback with the Victorian relish he greeted this subject…

Oh yes, I want everybody in floods of tears. You have to wear black … and a hat… with a veil… “

Me: “ … ???…”

The Victorians, most notably the Queen herself, introduced the lugubrious practise of death-relish; the yards of black crepe, jet mourning jewellery, wearing full black mourning for years, the effigies, the elegies, the monuments, the mausoleums…

I can appreciate the comfort this may offer, but my partner declaring “I want everybody to be miserable because I’ve gone” is not for me.

I’ve planned my funeral. Not in the morbid sense and not because I intend dying any time soon … but because I would like it to be a celebration of Life left behind, and for people to remember me with laughter and love.

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To this effect… my funeral music – although I prefer “celebration” music will be “Always look on the bright side of Life”, from Monty Python’s “Life Of Brian” and José González’s “Step Outside”- a truly uplifting and beautiful piece of music. I don’t really want black to be worn, unless as a tasteful accessorising handbag perhaps. People can bring flowers, but take them home, don’t leave them to die, and I would like the poem “Do not stand at my grave and weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye read out. It points out that death need not be the end… it is a transition… a becoming… a returning to Source.

I would like a selection of exotic teas to be offered to my guests… and cake. The most expensive, decadent, delicious cake that you wouldn’t ordinarily buy… And to end… “My Way.” By the Sex Pistols. Of course.

As that great comedian Tommy Cooper is reputed to have said: “Always leave ‘em laughing…”

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Clear Quartz and Caring Cats

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Most people in their lives may have come across Clear Quartz. It’s one of the most abundant minerals on the face of Mother Earth and as such is a commonly used crystal in most healing therapies and widely available to purchase. Its abundance does not lessen its importance however… completely the opposite actually. It is known as the ‘Master Healer’ because of its metaphysical properties and will also amplify the effect of any other crystals that you wish to use.

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Clear Quartz is a wonderful repository for energy; it can store, release and regulate the universal flow of energy, so it is a useful crystal for healing therapies. Its versatile vibrational quality will work at any level and can be personally adapted to the energy level of the person needing healing. Clear Quartz can reset the energy back to a time before its pattern was disrupted, restoring the flow and helping to cleanse the physical and spiritual bodies and align the all the chakras.

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Clear Quartz is a vessel for all the colours of the rainbow so will happily work with all chakras and in all levels of being. It retains information that can be accessed through meditation and can also be used for programming with intentions. By this I mean focus on the crystal, whilst holding it, and picture very clearly what you want. The crystal will receive this intention and store it, acting as a reminder and encouragement… a Post-It note for the Spirit, if you will…

Quartz crystals obviously come in all shapes and sizes, both naturally formed and artificially shaped. If they contain rainbows, then it is a symbol and reminder of happiness and can be used to help lift depression. Natural Quartz points generally have six facets at the tip that can correspond with the six main chakras. Spheres emit energy in all directions, wands focus it, eggs can detect and correct energy imbalances. Whatever the shape, these crystals were all part of Mother Earth and are reminders to us of her love and care.

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Cats are sometimes portrayed as uncaring and self-interested, only concerned with humans as a means to an end… all cats, like all crystals are individual with their own unique personalities. I have been lucky enough own caring cats… there have been times when I have felt particularly down, and my little cat will jump up on my knee, look into my face, as if to say:

It’s all right, I’m here now,” settle down and begin to purr her mantra of care and comfort.

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Cats do care for us, whether this is an adaptation evolved through association with us, or perhaps, cats have learned the meaning of ‘family’. I don’t know… that video on YouTube of the brave cat saving the little boy from the vicious dog was an amazing example of the way our feline friends care for us… made me cry…

Although my cats are pleased to see me when I come home as they know it’s teatime, I would like to think they are also pleased to see me because they care. When I have had to go into hospital, my partner has looked after my cats devotedly, yet has reported back how they refused to eat, or settle down, wandering in and out of rooms meowing…

Where’s my mother? Yes I know you’re here, but I don’t actually want YOU…”

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And even though they have completely ignored me when I return, I know it’s only because they care… Some people scorn the idea of animals having human-style emotions, and claim that we are anthropomorphising them, but I have seen a mother cat grieve for her lost kitten, my mother’s dog Erin greet our return ecstatically, happiness written clearly in every line of her wagging, wriggling body – just a couple of extreme examples… but oh yes, cats care.

Here, a chewed moth for you… never say I don’t bring you anything…”

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The Thought Mouse

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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