When I was a little girl, my grandparents had the most wonderful buddleia bush in their garden – a truly magical place for me to visit and explore , and populate with my imagination, aided of course by a feline friend.
I can remember sitting beneath the buddleia’s silvery arching branches and looking up into the natural architecture of the tree, an intricate fretwork and interlacing of branches reaching upwards, an arboreal cathedral.
The flowers! Sumptuous, heavy-headed spikes of tiny purple flowers, overflowing with intoxicating fragrance; the scent irresistibly drawing crowds of various butterflies and bees to feast like gluttonous courtiers at Henry VIII’s table.
I remember my grandmother carefully deadheading and pruning this wonderful shrub, and my father – perhaps in a fit of envy, or perhaps to please me – visited every garden centre in the region to procure our very own buddleia.
He even managed to get an orange buddleia (“Golden Knight”) which was quite rare in those days… even though the man down the road has one in his garden. Nowadays, everywhere you go you can see buddleia growing prolifically – apparently it’s quite invasive, it self-seeds on waste ground, hence its nickname of the “bombsite plant.”
Not bad going really, for a bush whose origins lie in China. Of course, it’s a great source of nectar for all sorts of creatures – some have even evolved flowers designed specifically for a hummingbird.
Buddleia is also known as the “butterfly bush” and it was originally named after an English botanist called the Reverend Adam Buddle.
This year, I’ve tried my hand at a little gardening, and to be honest, I have both enjoyed it and found it therapeutic. I’ve even joined a Facebook group for gardeners… Throughout the post I have included some pictures of the visitors we’ve had – I hope I’ve managed to recreate a little of the magic in my own garden that I was lucky enough to experience at my grandparents.
Not that I would ever engage in that myself… no… Alex and I visited a new crystal shop last week, a lovely lady with some unusual rough pieces of crystal in stock. I am often asked, which is better for using, rough or tumbled crystals and I always reply that there is no right or wrong – it’s simply a matter of taste, personal preference.
Obviously, if like me, you carry a lot of crystals on you – my partner always warns me to stay away from water… – then tumbles are a lot easier to shove in your pocket and off you go. That’s purely practical though…
I asked Liz the same question and she gave me a lovely explanation that completely made sense and that I’ve been able to pass on to other people who ask me without getting too confused.
Rough crystals are basically a mass of energy – polishing them into tumblestones, wands or palmstones, helps to contain and focus the energy and healing benefits. Liz used the example of walking into a room and turning on the light, or using a flashlight. Focus, direction – that’s what polishing does, perhaps making the energies a little more accessible too.
Sometimes, though, rough pieces are simply too beautiful or too unusual not to have… my very first crystal, courtesy of Alex, was a piece of rough Rose Quartz, whose loving, warm energy was a big help at a rough time.
My relationship with my sister is a good example of rough and tumble, although now we are a little older, not literally of course! We have only just – well, about two years now – really started speaking after a fall out of ten years, that ended up being one of our more epic sister scraps….
When we were younger, our rough-and-tumble was slightly more physical. Anyone ever tried an onion fight? No? They can be quite good fun, providing your opponent is smaller and weaker than yourself… The aim of the game is to seize a piece of cut onion and hold it to your adversary’s eye, for as long as possible – or without being caught by your parents.
As my sister is ten years older than me, you can probably guess who came off worse on a regular basis. Like a cat, then, I made stealth my skill… and crept up beside my sister to shriek “BOO!!” in her ear just as she was taking a roast chicken out of the oven… it ended up as an involuntary foot covering.
It’s a joy to see the family link between Ting and Tooty, there is a definite bond of love, affection and sisterhood that is exclusive to them and not shared with the other two girls. It doesn’t stop them having pretty spectacular kicky scratchy fights and slapping matches where tufts of fur fly as do the hisses.
But as with most relationships in Life, as long as you respect one another you learn to take the rough with the smooth…
He was born to her in the middle of the year, when she was bright and warm, full of love and hope. He slipped easily into the world from her body and at once she felt his absence within her.
However, she nurtured him carefully in the outside world and poured all her love and hope and soul into her son, with his eyes as blue as summer skies, hair as gold as ripe wheat and smiles as warming as the Sun himself.
Mother and son formed the perfect unit of two, never needing anyone else, their spiritual footsteps so closely linked they were like one person. Her son grew and thrived.
When does it begin, the slow inexorable divorce of child from mother; the loving, inevitable withdrawal, as he chose his own paths, his own way, and the life that was once so closely bound to his mother’s diverged.
He kept a part of himself for her; but her boy, her bright boy, into whom she had poured her life and soul, left her.
Autumn crept into her bones and winter settled in her heart; yet still she hoped he would return to her sometimes, and bring a little brightness with him, restoring a little of her own youth.
She was grateful, then for the windows of social media that allowed her to look through at her son’s life and glimpse a little.
Eventually, the soul cold winter triumphed and she gave in on a day not unlike the one on which she welcomed her son into the world. It was only later, when he was checking his messages, that he found out she had died.
Now. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but as regular readers know, I am primarily a cat person, although I have several canine acquaintances, including a mountainous Dogue De Bordeaux. It’s some years now too since I had my own little dog, but my sister and my mother are both stalwart and faithful dog owners.
I have regarded my mother’s dogs, most particularly her German Shepherds, as sister dogs and daughter dogs, but it wasn’t until an incident the other day that I gained a proper and full appreciation of the true meaning of the love and loyalty of dogs.
Briefly – my mother has two dogs, her German Shepherd called Erin, and a (supposed) lurcher/whippet crossbreed called Rocky. He’s fun and bouncy, hurts like hell when he steps on your toes with giant clawed feet or sends you flying with a casual shoulder barge. I have played the extremely boring game of directing the laser pointer mouse so he can chase it, been on walks with him and saved pieces from my dinner to give him as he has sat gazing soulfully at me whilst gently drooling on my trousers.
I have suffered the indignation of his cold wet nose shoved unexpectedly down my top in friendly greeting and most recently, his bemused examination of my face and throat as I squeak and hoot at him with my laryngitis affected voice. However, what happened the other day touched me most profoundly and moved me – too often we underestimate the power of an animal’s love and emotion, the depth of their feeling for us.
Unfortunately, my eldest son has had some extreme personal issues and my relationship with him has deteriorated to the extent where physical violence was offered, after a lot of shouting between us. Rocky had watched the exchange growing more and more heated and unpleasant and when he raised his fists, the dog pushed himself firmly between us and growled at him. Fiercely and with meaning.
I won’t go into any further details about the argument – it is absolutely no longer my story to tell, but what remained with me was Rocky’s unquestioning defence and obvious love for me in the way he wanted to protect me.
So, in essence, then, I just want to say thank you to all our wonderful, loyal and loving canine friends. Good dogs!
Another crystal worth a return visit, and although it’s always been one of Alex’s favourites, I’m still getting to know it… we are in the early stages of our friendship.
All types of Fluorite are protective and cleansing, they will shield you from negative outside influences and psychic manipulation – that friend who always has your back – and it helps to draw away anything stressful and restore order and discipline – think spiritual spa day with your best friend.
Fluorite helps to sharpen intuition, giving you the confidence to trust your own judgement. It helps you to recognise and remove the old and stagnant patterns in your present life with kindness and empathy.
This crystal is useful for working with groups as it brings unity and purpose, while being stabilising and clarifying. Clear Fluorite is good for dentists’ visits (you can hit them with it – no, not really, it just helps to reduce pain, yours, not theirs…moving on…) and it also helps you to learn new information and process it.
Rainbow Fluorite brings its own special energy to the party, encouraging independent thought, mental agility and emotional well-being. Plus I like rainbows.
A mixed bag of crystals then with a variety of beneficial qualities – rather like your average family.
However, sometimes family doesn’t mean someone you are linked to by blood. Sometimes, a blood relationship counts for nothing and it can be as spiritually toxic as a septic flesh wound. Sadly then, we must admit defeat for our own sakes, and although we may always love that person and forgive what they did, or what they put you through, we can never actually forget and those memories continue to colour our responses towards them.
Sometimes, though, within your own family, you also find a friend, that person who just “gets” you. Friends and family both are my girly cats, they provide love and comfort (when they feel like it) and I provide cat food and unquestioning adoration, even as I pick up the scraps of shredded wallpaper…
They make me laugh, and they graciously put up with the things I sometimes ask them to do…
And then there are human friends – they step in to fill the gaps that family can leave. That’s the wonderful thing about WordPress too – I’ve had some difficult times, but the support, love and friendship from people here has been equal to and above that of family.
For which I am humbled and grateful. Sincerely – thank you. And, of course, Love. Always.
Some crystals I return to and write about more than once, particularly the ones that have had a lasting effect on me and have become personally special. One of these that has become a habitual pocket rock is Lotus Jasper, also known as Kiwi Jasper. The white version of this stone is known as Sesame Jasper – but for writing and alliteration purposes I will refer to it as Kiwi Jasper…
My partner bought me my first piece of Kiwi Jasper in a mixed parcel of points – a wonderful crystal stew of Mookaite, Dalmationite, Opalite…but the delicate green of this point caught my eye. Since I’ve had it, I’ve never taken it off, and it’s one of those crystals that have become essential and part of me – like brushing my hair.
Then, one day, Liz just happened to have just the one palmstone of this wonderful jasper. There are lots of varieties of jasper which can be used for different purposes but generally it is known as the supreme nurturer.
Kiwi Jasper has a comfort to it, a gentleness and love that I was drawn to and it’s a very popular stone for use in healing or spirit work. It enhances the connection to Mother Earth and the universal grid of Love, a nurturing and sustaining stone that brings peace and tranquillity.
Kiwi Jasper will cleanse and align the chakras, absorbing negative energies, whilst uniting and balancing all aspects of your life and bringing calmness and resolve to help you deal with any situation.
This is the green of true Love to soothe anger, calm tension and dissolve grief. It balances the heart and sacral chakras and I love it… I asked Liz whether she could perhaps get some more and I was delighted to see a nest of my special favourite at the next Well Being event. I quite firmly believe that favourite crystals are just like cats and chocolates… you can never have just one. I told everyone about this lovely stone, the key words being Love, harmony, balance.
I met a wonderful gentleman at the shop, shortly after purchasing my palmstone, tested it with his dowsing rods. I didn’t know you could do this but apparently it works like a barometer of the crystal’s pure intent. Something like that. My palmstone was quite high and the man then showed me how to re-progamme it… then I was talking about it to a lady at the event and I mentioned what a kind vibe it has and how it never seems to need cleansing.
She put her hand over mine as I held it and said:
“It’s because it works in harmony with you – the Yang to your Yin… “
Kiwi Jasper brings emotional strength and awareness; with the awareness of Love comes the awareness of balance. We must give and receive in equal measures to achieve a happy state of wholeness.
I have found with age, I’ve learned a little about kindness, one of those indefinable qualities that can be hard to pin down. I don’t mean everyday kindnesses like washing up without being asked… more the sort of kindness that is linked with understanding.
For example: my mother is an almost-obsessive tidy upper and cleaner of her house – it’s a matter of pride, or so I always thought, especially since she has two large dogs. However, the other evening when it was just us, we talked…as grown up women, and the subject of cleaning arose. She told me that she cleans the way she does so I know she’s still capable and I won’t make her give up her house and put her in a home.
I was a little taken aback. I’ve never doubted her sensibilities or her physical capability and I was almost hurt by her even thinking I would do such a thing. Instead of taking offence, though, I tried to understand and reassure her that would never happen…(who would bake me bread then?)
So in conclusion then I suppose what I am saying is that although Love can be limitless and infinite, to be truly kind, you need to have the understanding too. Balance.
I may not have mentioned this, but my mother is quite… um… short. About 5’4” to be exact. My sons are both over 6 foot and I am a respectable 5’7”… (and ¾ but what’s in a quarter of an inch..hehehe… )
I sometimes tease her bout her lack of stature, although she can be quite fierce. Possibly a Lily, if she was a cat, deceptively small but also quite murderous. Today’s story took place while we were at the hospital, otherwise I would have been straight round to help, laugh a bit and probably even take some photos.
Mother’s day began well enough, and she thought she would do a little gardening, in the front garden. The dogs accompanied her – they do most places, the kitchen… the toilet… the bathroom… sometimes even in the bath to her annoyance. Erin sat like a lady, watching Mum as she weeded. Rocky watched for a little while, then decided that the life of Monty Don was not for him and legged it. He cleared the three foot high hedge like a steeplechaser and galloped off down the street.
What did my mother do? Well, what would any self-respecting 70 something lady do… she hurdled the hedge like a professional and galloped off down the road after Rocky, screaming:
“Come back you little $%&*@!!”
Knee problems forgotten – indeed, fallen by the wayside – my mother retrieved the runaway Rocky and marched back up the road. All this time, Erin had been waiting patiently in the garden – “Have a good run did you, Mum? Perhaps we could go in now, I’d quite like a drink of water and a biscuit…”
However, because the back door was open, the connecting door between the hallway and the front room had slammed irrevocably shut. No amount of kicking, swearing, jumping up and down and gibbering in rage (my mother) or furious barking and scratching (the dogs) could open the door.
Mum decided that the best course of action would be to shut the dogs in her bedroom so they couldn’t run off, and go down the alleyway around the side of the next door house to gain access to her kitchen via the back door. My mother bravely battled six foot tall brambles, creeping underneath them where necessary – whilst only wearing a thin t-shirt and trousers – and finally made it to the kitchen.
She tried the connecting door from that side. She couldn’t shift it, but worked out that the force of the door slamming had snapped the barrel of the inside mechanism cleanly in two and jamming the door firmly shut. Having access to tools from the kitchen she thought she might have better luck back on the other side, so, quite quickly, as she could hear the dogs thundering about upstairs and didn’t know what they were doing, she seized a hammer and a screwdriver and ran back outside to fight her way back through the thicket of thorns like some feminist Princess Charming bent on rescuing her incarcerated canines.
My mother burst out of the alleyway, leaves in her hair, scratches all up and down her arms, a wild look in her eyes brandishing the large hammer and screwdriver –
“All right love?” said her neighbour from over the road, eyeing her somewhat dubiously.
“No I’m $%^&* not!!”
Her neighbour is a lovely young man of about twenty five or so with a wife and two kids, but he at once summoned the help of his friend, a strapping bloke, and his well-equipped tool box. It took them over an hour to get it open. The dogs were delighted to be reunited with the rest of the house…
When I came round later that day after I’d been to the hospital, the dogs were sleeping peacefully in their beds and Mum was sitting innocently on the sofa. I noticed at once she had a bruise on her face from where her hands had slipped and smacked herself on the nose while trying to wrestle open the door.
The whole sorry tale came out – and her concluding words were:
“But look! I made bread!”
Really. She never ceases to amaze me, one way or another. I did tell her to make sure she carries her phone at all times though… just in case she gets trapped in a teacup. Or something. No telling what next…