Hope

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Thank you Alex for the use of your lovely photo

It was cold. So very cold. The bitter, biting dry cold where the sky was icy bright blue and the very air sang and sparkled with ice crystals.

The little one waited, huddled in the scant shelter of a dark hedge.

The cold was intense, so cold it made your teeth ache and your bones snap. And still the little one waited.

Night came. Someone was near, watching and sad, filled with worry for the little one who waited but whose spark was now very frail. Hope was nearly gone, abandoned before Life was even really started.

The Watcher could bear it no more and stepped down, down from the dark, down in the singing cold as the stars spun in their icy waltz, down in the bleak night to appear before the little one.

She scooped her up, gently, feeling the little life left in its delicate shell and cupped in her hands, and breathed warmth and life into the little one.

Not very far away, a woman lay, sleepless in the dark and the cold, sleepless in the night while tears froze on her cheeks, warm in her bed but cold in her life. Suddenly she thrust back her duvet and thought she would look out into the calm dark, see if it would ease her pain.

She slipped on her dressing gown and went downstairs to open her door into the night, and there on the step lay a little scrap, a tiny thing.

The kitten looked up at the woman and meowed, faintly, hopefully. She bent down to pick her up, and as the little one purred so the frost in her heart began to thaw.

The Watcher returned to her place and told Him what she had done. He smiled and was pleased for although some may be lost there is always Hope.

Blogposts And Birds**t…

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Bizarre combination, I know, but trust me, it’ll work…

Firstly, I must both apologise and thank everybody who has wished my son well and given him support since he was introduced here on my blog. You’ve wished him luck in his “A” levels, then for his Theatre Foundation Course, and now university, which he left for on Wednesday. Thank you, everybody, for your love and support – it means a lot.

I must apologise for being hideously BEHIND on my comments, replies and followed sites – there has been a number of personal issues with my older son and my mother which have left me feeling quite drained, and to be honest, unwell. Still, not going to dwell… and then, of course, there has been the sorting and packing of eighteen years’ worth of things that my son decided needed to accompany him, from Gino Baboo, his very first special stuffed toy, to his camera and God only knows how many crystals and clothes. Add to that things like duvet, pillows, saucepans… I am extremely grateful to his father’s brother-in-law who helped us convey all the essentials of student life to university for us.

Thank you, everybody, for bearing with me during this time of change here at CrystalCats.

Now. A little confession. Alex – my son – used tolook after the technical side of the blog for me, as tose of you who know me well know that I’m a bit… technically challenged. I do the writing, and I mean writing, good old-fashioned pen-to-paper stuff, and typed it and painstakingly learned how to save it to a memory stick; but Alex used to take the pictures and add them to the text, transfer the text to the WordPress site, schedule etc… (imagine me gasping for breath and wiping away a panicked tear…)

So. I have had to learn how to use WordPress properly too… Yesterday’s post was done mostly by me with a little prompting… so please bear with me, I’m learning all the time, although the picture quality and content may go downhill… expect photos of fur blurs running away… startled looking shots of me…my feet… I am now on Instagram which has helped my erratic photography skills. I do tend to get sidetracked a little with all the fab crystal and cake pictures, not to mention the life hack and cake icing videos. So please, bear with me…I’m learning and Alex has very kindly written out instructions for me in words of one syllable that I can easily understand.

As for birds**t. We have a budgie, Lucky, (Alex has left him with me. Yay.) so I am reasonably used to being crapped on. However, Alex and I were going to the shops the other day when a passing bird, possibly an albatross judging from the resulting splatter of yuk, crapped so copiously on his head that a piece rebounded and hit me on the sleeve. Fortunately, I am usually well-equipped with tissues, wipes and sanitiser so we were able to clean ourselves up. Apparently though, being crapped on by a bird is considered good luck…

Right. I’ll go with that. Good luck Alex, in your university career, I have every faith and confidence in you. And of course, love. Always.

Peridot And People

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Obviously, as a true “catlady” (the crazy part can be added depending on whether you know me or not in real life… ) I regard my cats as people. Not the human variety, you understand, (I’m not completely bats… ) but as distinct little persons – in fur – with their own foibles, personalities and responses to the world around them.

By nature, I am a solitary person, but on occasion I am called upon to converse and interact with others. Don’t misunderstand me – I find other people endlessly interesting, everyone with their own story to tell and their own chapter to add in this Book Of Life.

Sometimes, the lovely Lizian asks me to look after the shop and really, I am not going to pass up the opportunity to babysit all the wonderful crystals… And the people… the people I’ve met who want to stop and share their story, have a chat, touch base – I’ve got used to the disappointed looks from some people when they realise it’s only me…

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There is one particular gentleman and his wife who are regular visitors and he was only too delighted to find a new (and captive) audience. To be fair, though, he spoke entertainingly and well – I laughed in all the right places and gasped in others as I learned of his days in the armed services and how he met his wife… a real Romeo and Juliet story.

I was privileged to meet a truly lovely lady who has had various serious health issues yet met them bravely and with determination – helped by a few crystals, of course…

And there are the lost ones, the ones who have at some point been beaten rather badly by Life and seek refuge and comfort from the shop and the reassuring figures of the owners. All these people are worthy of a more in-depth blog post, although obviously I would have to ask permission as really, these stories aren’t my own to tell, but I can try to help where I can, otherwise, what’s he point? To quote a well-known phrase – from various sources – ‘We’re all in this together…’

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Peridot is an appropriate crystal to choose, as it is commonly associated with the month of September, and it is also a transitional crystal, by which I mean it’s one of those stabilising ones that will ease the passage of Life from one stage into the next. It is good to encourage independence making up your own mind about things without too much pressure from external influences.

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Likewise, Peridot will help you to see when you’re wrong, about a person or a situation and helps to resolve any anger or guilt you may feel. Peridot has a strong protective quality to it and is also a good cleanser for body and spirit. By removing these ideas that be cloud intellect, Peridot opens the mind to recognising negative influences and detaching yourself from them, using your own intuition to see your way forward.

Above all, Peridot shows us how to accept our stories, learn from them and move on.

Sometimes we can choose to stop and share these stories or keep them to ourselves. Either way, everybody has a story to tell, and sometimes it helps to lend an ear.

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Moonstone And Mewsings…

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Moonstone is one of my favourite crystals, and I have written about it before…but there’s nothing wrong with a little repetition. I think it’s also especially appropriate for this time of year, as Life, like the Moon, goes through phases.

My friends in the U.S. were lucky enough to experience an eclipse, a significant lunar event. The last full eclipse we had here was about eighteen years ago. We waited expectantly, I remember, armed with special glasses and cameras, and gathered outside in the garden to witness it…the moment approached… we waited, breathless with excitement…it got a bit dark. That was it.

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Similarly, we had one of the largest earthquakes here in the Midlands about ten years ago…my son’s Transformer toy fell off the shelf. That was it.

Just as we see the Lady Moon in her different shapes, from full to crescent, so Moonstone can change depending on the light. As a mineral, it is formed in layers which gives the crystal its wonderful iridescence, reflective golds and silvers, that hold an aura of mystery and ethereal splendour.

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No surprise to learn then, that Moonstone helps us to access our intuition, that deeper sense of knowing something that is almost-there, temporarily concealed behind the veil of conscious thought. Moonstone can open our hearts and minds to inspiration and impulse, and help with sleepwalking too.

It is a wonderfully empathetic stone that can help men attune to their divine feminine – women must wear it with heightened awareness, linked as it is to our own bodily cycles.

And once again we come to a new phase and a new chapter… my own life is on the cusp as my little family is dissolved. My older son now has issues of his own… my younger is leaving to start his university degree and I find myself alone again.

The Moon may sail alone in seeming solitary splendour, but she is surrounded by stars that anchor her to her path… I’m not the Moon, but then I’m also never really alone… not with cats and love. Always.

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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Opalite And Opinions About Cats…

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This form of Opalite, as shown in the pictures, can also be known as Tiffany Stone, Opalised Fluorite and Purple Opal. It is, in actual fact, a man-made glass compound and opinion is divided as to whether it is a genuine crystal with any metaphysical benefit.

However, it is a pretty stone to look at, and make things from, and as a wise lady I know always says, it’s good to work with colours. It has a milky, opalescent gleam to it, and like most crystals, it is useful as a focus for meditation. It has a subtle energy to it that is said to help clear any spiritual blockages and lend support during life changes.mg_4255-1

Opalite encourages both strength of will and character, and is said to bring inner peace and calm. It is credited with improving communication channels and encouraging us to voice our thoughts and feelings.

A good stone to tie in with the title – this is the follow up post to “Obsidian And Older” where a very interesting debate arose, essentially: do cats’ personalities change after hey have been neutered.

I must thank everybody who was kind enough to share their views, opinions and personal experiences,  and as much as I would like to say I have come to a definitive conclusion, the overall answer is as varied as cats and owners themselves… Some cats are just basically grouchy, while others are furry angels and some are a combination of both…

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I must emphasise, though, that unless you are a professional breeder, then ALWAYS have your animal neutered. The over-riding urge to reproduce is removed, as are all the accompanying health risks, and the overflow of unwanted babies is not an issue.

There are outside factors to consider, such as whether the animal came from a home, a farm, or a feral mother, for example. One kitten may be warm and playful, while its litter mate is shy and timid. Another point – I had my four girls spayed at three different vets with varying results. Charlie’s operation actually cost the most and when she recovered, I did notice a personality change. Although still reasonably loving towards me – after she’d got over the indignity of stitches and a bald spot – she would have very little to do with Lily, when previously they had been close enough to curl up together to sleep.

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Ting and Tooty still remain close, and while Ting is loving, Tooty is quite timid. Age. There’s another factor… cats’ personalities continue to develop as they get older – as indeed do dogs. Erin can be grouchy maiden-auntish, but will drop into puppy play… if she feels like it.

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My old cat, Walter, was the last kitten from a litter his mother – also my cat – had, by accident. Unloved and unable to find him a home, I ended up keeping him myself, and he went on to become one of my most beloved cats. So… Nature vs. Nurture – a favourite point of debate. Are cats born with their own inherent natures, to develop as they age; or does circumstance, upbringing and what they learn from those around them have a bigger influence?

Thank you to everyone again, who shared their views, experiences and opinions; although ultimately, I suspect, as with Opalite, opinions will remain inconclusive. I do know one thing for certain, though… cats definitely learn from each other. I’m surprised I’m not ten feet long, being wrapped around so many furry paws!

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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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Obsidian and Older…

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There have been quite a few losses this month, here among the people I know and call friends on WordPress – I’m not naming names or giving details as it’s not my place, but I just want to let them know our thoughts and love are with them.

July is both mine and my son’s birthday month, a bittersweet one this year as it was his 18th and as my regular readers know ~ many thanks too for all your good wishes ~ he received a Distinction in his final performance, allowing him to take up his place at university this September.

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All part of getting older… you move on and leave certain things behind to make your own way in the world. I was forcibly reminded the other day of how I am getting older – my mother’s dog Rocky tripped me up so I fell smack on my face. My knees took the worst of it, but I was rolling on the floor in agony… ( I know some very bad swearwords…) laughing… while my mother stood and watched and my son tried vainly to help me.

Don’t touch me!”

I roared through tears of pain, laughing hysterically… yeah I know, a confusing reaction, but I just needed a minute’s solitude to inspect my knees which felt like they should be a bloodied mass of shards of bone and shredded skin, and ascertain whether I needed an ambulance.

I didn’t. But… oh my God, my knees still feel like they’ve been snapped and put back together the wrong way. One consequence of getting older is that you definitely don’t recover from physical injury as quickly. My girls too, are getting older now. Charlie is a matronly seven years old, with the sometimes temper of a particularly grouchy ninety three year old; yet still she retains a kittenish sweetness that makes me pick her up to cuddle and play with.

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I think Ting, at four, will always be a perpetual kitten – she’s just one of Life’s optimists, unfailingly cheerful and ready to play. Lily, at seven, is slightly stiff in the joints now, requiring special attention in the colder months, while Tooty can be prone to catching cold.

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However, they are still all Mummy’s little girls, but as with any living creature as it ages, they require a little more specialised attention, whether it’s diet, supplements, medical attention or just a bit of peace and quiet in a warm place for an extra snooze.

Along with getting older, there is the inevitable sadness that this can bring… the Obsidian family can help to manage this. Obsidian will bring up negative energies and emotions so they can be dealt with and resolved.

I am always quite cautious with black Obsidian as it can be quite overwhelming, so I would advise caution yourself when using it; and because it is such a useful spiritual mop, cleanse it carefully after each use. Gold and black Obsidian are good for scrying and pinpointing the cause of distress which can then be resolved and new, more positive patterns put in place.

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Snowflake Obsidian is my personal favourite if any highly emotional issues call, as it teaches there is value in mistakes too – all part of the learning curve. Snowflake Obsidian shows that being by your Self needn’t necessarily be sad… Apache Tear is another useful crystal that is gentler and perhaps more comforting than black Obsidian. It’s highly protective and soothes grief.

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Silver Sheen Obsidian, a recent acquisition of mine, allows you to see the bigger picture, and your own part in Mother Earth’s never-ending cycle that even as we, ourselves grow older, continues to renew and regrow. I feel that there is comfort to be had in continuity. And love always.

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Walk your way with grace and care
Cherish every day
Be not afraid to enter Night
For Love will meet you there.

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Walk!

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As I no longer have my own dog and the girls pretty much take care of their own exercise regime, I help my mother walk her dogs.

Not only is this practical – she had a fall at the beginning of winter last year and lost a lot of confidence – but it also gives me a chance to poke about in Nature in our local country park, draw creative inspiration and my mother to do some training with Rocky while I occupy Erin.

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It should be a serene, calm time… but Erin generally has other ideas. The dogs know their walk time, and as I set foot on the garden path I see two eager faces appear at the front room window.

Then the drama starts. I’m trying to put my walking shoes on, Rocky is thundering about and Erin is jumping up and down screaming – literally –

YAROOO – AH! Wah! Wah! GRRRR!!”

This last growl at Rocky as he ventures too close…

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Dogs safely on leads, we are on our way. We have to walk down a particularly narrow, steep flight of concrete steps. A Staffordshire bull terrier lives in the house to one side and regards the whole area as his property. Rocky objects to this and consequently I am pinged back and forth between the two sets of fence like a pinball.

Mum and Erin descend in a generally more sedate fashion, Erin resembling a Victorian lady lifting up her skirts and tripping daintily down the stairs.

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Having reached the bottom and asked to sit, the dogs are given a biscuit each and allowed off the lead, and armed with plastic bags and more biscuits we set off.

I enjoy these walks as they are also an opportunity for me to practise my photography on my phone camera. I like to look at things in miniature and see the wonder of all creation in tiny scale, trying to capture it so I can share.

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However, I have discovered that photography and dogs don’t really mix. Well. Rocky and photography to be precise… I was tracking the flight of a beautiful butterfly, hoping it would settle for a photo – SNAP!

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No… not me. The dog. A tiny yellow flower, that caught my attention… SNAP! An empty pigeon shell, carefully nestled in the grass… SNAP!

But how can I be irritated, as despite my howl of anguish, Rocky beams at me cheerfully:

Come on! Let’s WALK!”

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Round To It… Or Getting Things Done

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Once upon a time there was a fairy, and her name was Roundtuit. She tried to be kind, and she tried to be good, so as a result of this, people were always asking her to do things for them.

She didn’t mind – how could she, for she was nothing if not a good-natured and pleasant fairy. Consequently, every passing squirrel popped in for a manicure, every travelling hedgehog, a haircut, and the neighbourhood foxes, a regular shampoo.

Added to this, the fairy villagers were forever popping by asking for help with little odd-jobs, like brushing the mushrooms and beating the dust out of the moss. All the poor fairy could do was say cheerfully: “Oh yes, I’m getting round to it!”

Her own house fell into disrepair, her neatly painted shutters began to flake and warp, while her garden became overgrown and unkempt.

After another day of helping everybody – she had re-varnished some ladybirds so they were bright and shiny again and helped several sparrows with their dust baths – Roundtuit came in, looked at her formally pristine and sparkling home, now shabby and dirty with piles of washing up left in the sink growing mould, she burst into tears.

And so it was, half an hour later, her friends found her sobbing on a heap of broken promises, spoiled dreams and dirty disappointments. Her friends’ names were Help, Hope and Reachout.

In no time at all, Roundtuit’s little home was sparkling and cosy once again, and all her jobs for the fairies and creatures of the community had been completed.

So, the moral of the story is: don’t always say you’re getting Roundtuit – Reachout in Hope and Help will be found.