Crystal Hearts And Cat Hair

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I’m loving the shaped crystals at the moment. When a crystal is shaped, a focal point is added to its energy, making it easier to direct, and as we know, the heart is traditionally a symbol used to convey affection and compassion, emotional intelligence and love.

In Egypt, the heart was regarded as the life essence, the first part of man that sparked into life and the last to be extinguished. As well, the heart can be used as a sign of encouragement meant for others, and in crystal work, when coupled with the individual benefits of the crystal from which the heart is shaped, then you have something wonderful and warm to work with, that leaves a feel-good residue as lingering as cat hair on your favourite sweater…

21081989_169843050237569_459617910_o (2)A Selenite heart for tranquillity and peace, on the left a Reptile Skin Jasper for protection, calm and harmony, and an Aventurine heart for luck, love and prosperity…

There is a protein in cat hair that can cause allergies for some unfortunate people, but keeping your cat clean and well-groomed can go a long way towards keeping it under control.

I look at my cats and every hair is a little coloured wonder… Charlie’s hairs are individually banded in shades of grey and brown, with a little ginger thrown in, just to be alternative, giving the tabby effect.

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Lily is, at first glance, just an ordinary little black cat; but in the right light, she reveals her secret… she is, in actual fact, a chocolate coloured cat, with burnt ginger stripes.

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Tooty’s outer hairs are very smooth and sleek, yet underneath she is fluffy and grey.

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Ting is all edible shades … caramel, chocolate, vanilla and biscuit… a delicious little cat.

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Only Charlie’s fur seems to possess the delectable fragrance that is essentially her… warm and comforting, somehow a mix of me and her.

I remember when my old cat, Walter, passed, I was so heartsick and sore, so utterly bereft without him… and yet, I was comforted to find a whisker that I knew was his. Undoubtedly. And I have it still.

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Flat Stones and Fluffy Cats…

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Flat stones, or palm stones as they are more commonly known, have a satisfaction to them inherent in their shape and a comfort all their own, that can be immediately felt as soon as you pick one up.

Being flat, they are obviously a lot easier to transport in pockets. They are lovely to balance in each hand during meditation for convenience as well as reaping the benefit of the crystal’s own individual properties; likewise, they are ideal for using during a session of Reiki or crystal healing.

mdeMoss Agate… calming and empowering, connected to Mother Earth

Again, as they are polished and shaped, the crystal energy can be contained and directed. A little exercise I like to do in times of stress, not mindfulness exactly, more like giving yourself space to breathe and time to collect your thoughts…

19074484_137204760168065_305902843_oJade for wealth, wisdom and peace…

Hold your palm stone, and just have a quick look at it, to fix its visual appearance in your memory. Then just hold it in your closed hand and re-trace, in your mind, every aspect of its appearance, every little inclusion, every flaw, every irregularity and travel the landscape of your stone in your mind.

mdeFluorite is protective and calming and varied in colour…

Just really, as I said, a little exercise to give yourself a moment’s pause. I found out something lovely the other day – (I’m really sorry, but I can’t remember where it came from, so thank you unknown knowledge benefactor…) – that all these little chips and cracks in your crystals are called empathy flaws, and are said to mirror your own emotional journey.

These palm stones have a lovely, tactile comfort to them as well… just like cat fur… My four girls all have different textures of fur, none of them really have the long coat that I would call fluffy. Their fur is still wonderful all the same! Much to my regret, I am allergic to rabbits, event though I had them as pets as a little girl…love fluffy bunnies…

Tooty has a very thick undercoat to her fur, with a sleek black overlay, and just the one spot of white…

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Ting has wonderful shades in her fur, ranging from from coffee through to mud, even though it is quite coarse to the touch on her back, her tummy fluff is quite soft – even her whiskers are bi-coloured!…

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Lily has fur like a little fire demon, soft black and glossy, yet when the sun catches it, shades of burnished gold and chocolate.

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And of course, Madame La Princesse. She has the softest, most delectable fur… if Keats were still alive, I’m quite sure he would write an ode entirely devoted to the quality of her covering… it’s soft, it’s silky and if I could bottle the way it smells, I’d make a fortune.

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Like the palm stones, there is a comfort and warmth in the very shape of a curled up fluffy cat; a continuity symbolised by the roundness of their shapes, flowing and infinite.

mdeMulti-layered Red and Golden Tiger’s Eye for courage, determination and protection

Bees and Boys

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‘Oh what a wonderful thing to be,
A healthy, grown up, busy busy bee.
Whiling away all the passing hours,
Pinching all the pollen from the cauliflowers’

I have a fondness for Arthur Askey and his songs, as well as the old – time music hall and variety acts; but I must attribute my liking for this particular song to my Grandad. He used to sing this to me when I was little and to this day I have a respectful affection for these furry insects that play such an important role in our world.

2016-11-01-2My Grandad… and me… quite a long time ago x

I have passed this regard on to my younger son … when he was tiny, one of his favourite stories used to be about the big lavender bush in the garden of the house where I grew up; how, on those golden summer days of childhood, I would watch the bees, amiably buzzing and walking around on the tiny amethyst flowers, happily drunk on nectar. How, if I was very careful, and gentle, I could actually stroke a bee’s fur, as soft and delicate as the fur behind a cat’s ear. All the while, they would wave their antennae and legs in what I would like to think were words of encouragement …

Oh yes … right there – no, no, down a bit …”

But were probably:

Quick Bert – RUN! That mad child’s here again, oops, overdone it a bit on the nectar …”

This story fascinated my children, and I remember one day, when my older son was little, we were out with the dogs. It was a pleasantly sunny day, and the bees were out in force, going about their business.

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Obviously, my bee story made more of an impression on my older son than I realised … His innocent, four year – old finger poked enquiringly at a bee that was investigating a clover flower … The bee bit him. Yes. Bit him. My mother didn’t – and still doesn’t – believe him or me, but I saw the bee’s jaw parts (?) open and clamp shut around my poor son’s finger …

He yelled and shook it off … I laughed … as you do … the bee flew indignantly away:

Honestly, you can’t just go around POKING people … I don’t get paid enough for that!”

My older son has a healthy respect for these creatures … genus “Bombus” … now.

On the other hand, my younger son is fascinated by them and constantly seeks to engage with them.

When can I stroke a bee, Mummy? Shall I stroke that one?”

No, darling, that’s a wasp, I’d leave that one alone, and perhaps we shouldn’t really touch them, not since your grandmother told me she’s allergic to them … and we don’t know if it’s inherited or not …”

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Undaunted by possible anaphylactic shock, my younger son has pursued a relationship with bees. All bees. He loves their colours and unique abilities. I have watched – from a safe distance – as he has carefully picked a bee up, that was weak and fatigued, and carefully fed it sugar water.

Mind how you go, now …”

Cheers, Guv’nor … thanks for ‘elping a bloke in his hour of need ….”

He has, of course, photographed them. I was entranced by the delicate wings as he captured one mid – flight; and he aspires to keeping bees of his very own. When he’s left home.

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Imagine his delight then, when he found this crystal, Bumblebee Jasper, his crystal lady informed him. The yellow is actually Sulphur, and the grey, Hematite (obviously in its unpolished state, it must be handled with care since Sulphur is poisonous.) However, it is a wonderful crystal that works with the Sacral and Solar Plexus chakras.

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This means it can help you with accepting change and discovering new opportunities. Bumblebee Jasper can help you increase your self-esteem and make logical decisions.

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It can also be used to help with allergies. I’ve never been stung by a bee. Or bitten. Nor has my youngest son. I’m not as physically brave with them as my son is, but I do show them the same respect and care he does, and will never use anything that could harm a bee.

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Mother Earth needs her little winged couriers… after all, Einstein is supposed to have said: ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then Man would have only four years of life left.’

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All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe (apart from Grandad)

Lyrics borrowed from ‘Busy Bee’ Arthur Askey 1937

Shaman Quartz and Shepherds

_mg_9193This is Shaman Quartz with inclusions of iron…

Both of these words have a similar meaning or essence… guidance, knowledge, nurturing. A conduit both for learning and teaching. Shaman Quartz is a wonderful crystal for bridging the gap between the spiritual and physical worlds. It aids the seeker on journeys and will facilitate visionary experience and spiritual healing.

Shaman Quartzes contain various secondary minerals that will help access the knowledge available from the higher realms. Chlorite Shaman Quartz is a lovely crystal – the chlorite shows as green, mossy patterning within the stone, clear as a mountain spring. When I held my son’s piece, I had a mental picture… aged forests and ancient guardians, the Green Man… Unsurprisingly then, Chlorite Shaman Quartz has strong links with Mother Earth, and as you seek your healing, Chlorite Shaman Quartz will help your own self-knowledge, cleanse your past and support you through Nature.

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Shaman Quartz can have various inclusions: Fluorite gives protection, Rutile, karmic diagnostics and Hematite dissolves negativity.

Shaman Quartz will clear cellular memory… it is believed that some physical ills present in this life can be attributed to accidents or traumas from past lives, thus clearing these imprints away will help you to make changes in your life and banish potentially harmful thought patterns.

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The essence of this crystal then, is guidance and compassion, key words when it comes to Man’s long association with canine companions. German Shepherd dogs have been the featured dog for most of my own life.

A relatively new breed in the eyes of canine history, Max Von Stephanitz, a German ex-cavalry officer, is generally credited with standardising the breed, in 1899, through careful breeding, designed to bring to the fore this breed’s best qualities of intelligence, loyalty and stamina, basically a working dog for guarding and herding sheep. Due to its German origins, the breed suffered a decline in popularity during both the First and Second World Wars, and was renamed the ‘Alsatian’ and it wasn’t until 1977 that the breed was re-registered as ‘German Shepherd’.

The breed has quite a few colour variations, black and tan, black and gold and even all black and all white. Erin’s father was white. They are also quite … hairy dogs. They – and their owners – are blessed with double coats. This means that German Shepherds have a long, dense outer coat that sheds all year round, with a woolly undercoat to keep them warm. Quite hard on vacuum cleaners though…

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German Shepherds are a popular breed for the military and police, because they are strong, brave and intelligent dogs. They respond to training well and are devoted companions. This makes the shocking neglect of some human officers to their K9 counterparts both heart wrenching and hard to understand. The wonderful Dee (of ‘A Vegetarian Gammy Takes a Hike ~ And Then a Permanent Detour’) has brought attention to bear on these shocking incidents of cruelty. Please, go and have a look. Dee is an amazingly brave lady, her blog is well worth a visit, as is that of her beautiful dog, Sasha, who has had some severe medical issues. Dee has challenged accepted veterinary standards and tirelessly sought the best care for her beloved dog… well. Go on and see for yourselves, please do.

I saw something you don’t see very often the other day… a German Shepherd guide dog. It was perfectly well-behaved, and looked after its companion with care and attention, but I had to smile at the thought of Erin as a guide dog…

Oh look! Quick there’s something behind that bush, now we have to see what’s in that garden. Quick, run across the road, oops, forgot to warn you about the kerb. Ah, the bookies… let’s walk very slowly past here because for some reason I find looking in the window absolutely fascinating. RIGHT! That’s far enough – we have to run very quickly home…”

Entertaining perhaps to watch, but not recommended practice for guide dogs.

All my mother’s Shepherds though, from those that have already crossed Rainbow Bridge, to her present dog, Erin, are linked in a timeless circle of love and devotion, protective and guiding, canine companions and family that remain faithful and loving, whether in this world or the next.

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Fluorite and Fur

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Fluorite is one of my son’s favourite crystals. It is a useful and beneficial stone, as varied in its patterns and capabilities as fur, an animal’s natural clothing. Although it is a crystal I have no particular affinity with, I can admire it for its prettiness, much as I love fur… more of that later…!

A typical interpretation of Fluorite is that it is a highly protective stone on all levels. Psychically, it allows you to pinpoint negative outside influences and isolate yourself from them. It can cleanse and stabilise auras and repel negative energies. It enjoys order and will help you overcome disorganisation to promote progress. Consequently it’s a useful stone to have when working in a group as it unites individuals to a common purpose. Fluorite is an excellent learning aid, so very good if for students, (possibly why my son likes it), increasing concentration, quick thinking and the retaining of new information. It is a crystal good for balance, both emotionally and physically.

Different colours of Fluorite, in addition to the general properties also have their own individual qualities. Blue Fluorite enhances creative thought and good communication.

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Clear Fluorite is linked to the crown chakra and can energise the aura. It enhances the other aspects of crystals during healing and is useful when visiting the dentist.

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Green Fluorite absorbs negativity, grounds excess energy and can help relieve emotional trauma.

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Purple Fluorite stimulates the third eye chakra and is beneficial in psychic communication.

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As I said, as varied and beautiful as fur. I love fur, I think it looks better on the animals it was designed for and would NEVER under any circumstances wear or promote the sale or wearing of fur in any shape or form. To this end, I don’t even wear fake fur, sheep skin, leather or animal print fabrics. (Although I must confess to having animal print duvet colours – Charlie likes them as they remind her of her wild heritage…)

My love affair with fur began when I was a little girl. As a treat, my grandmother would let me stroke her mink coat and silver fox fur collar. As a tiny girl, I was entranced by the silky yield of the chocolate mink beneath my fingers, the banded beauty of the silver fox, elegant grey, tipped with black. As a slightly older child:

Nanny, why don’t the animals want their fur any more?” I recall clearly the fleeting look of panic on her face, then a smile as she resolved her answer:

Well dear, the little animals died of old age and didn’t need it any more, so they let me have it as a lovely coat… Let’s go and find you a biscuit!”

As an adult, I can appreciate her not wanting to upset me, but I must repeat FUR LOOKS BETTER ON THE ANIMAL IT WAS MEANT FOR. My girls all have beautiful fur of different shades. Lily and Tooty have Rainbow and Silver Obsidian fur: catch Lily in the sunlight and she turns into a dark chocolate tabby, banded with stripes of burnt gold.

Tooty’s fur takes on an overlay of silver shimmer, revealing a velvet dark undercoat of soft dusky fur.

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I could wax lyrical about Charlie’s fur – she’d love it – but suffice it to say she is the feline form of Tiger’s Eye, ginger, grey, gold, brown, chocolate, biscuit… her fur is the softest and silkiest (we had a trauma with overgrooming due to a stress related stray cat problem – many thanks to the wonderful Marc-André of Katzenworld, who gave me lovely reassuring advice and a link to Castle Vets… a great, useful blog, filled with help on caring for all manner of animals.) and within her textured contours she has an owl, an angel… Her fur is almost like one of those Magic Eye pictures!

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Charlie’s Angel…

My mother’s dog, Erin, is a continent of contrasts: the waterproof layer of her black saddle fur, coarse to the touch yet practical and weather-proof, hiding a wooly warm layer. Her back leg fur is soft yet bristly, protecting powerful muscles, but the fur on her head is soft, close-textured, her ear fur as soft as a cat’s.

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I love animal clothing on its rightful owners, whether it’s the shiny smart hair of a well brushed horse, or the bristly firm skin of a pig. Best of all to me is cat fur – I wear my adornment of shed cat hairs on my clothes proudly, the hair left on me, I count as a sign of their love.

All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe