Halite and Hydrated Cats

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Halite is a wonderfully different crystal with an interesting history behind it. It is part of the Salt family of crystals, and salt traditionally has a lot of symbolism attached to it, as well as many practical uses.

Salt can be offered to show hospitality – sitting above or below the salt in mediaeval times was an indication of social standing. It can be used as a symbol of purity and has its place in the armoury of protection against dark outside influences.

Salt was used to preserve and dry meat or fish, was a valuable trading commodity and can obviously just be sprinkled to enhance flavour…

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As a crystal, Halite draws on all of these family qualities. It will draw out any spiritual impurities and restore inner balance while helping you to assume a more objective perspective. Halite can open your eyes to the existence and guidance of a higher self, and will draw upon its historic background of protection to guard against any negative outside influences or dark energy attachments.

salty-4My son’s Pink Himalayan Rock Salt lamp…

Halite can help in the banishment of negative thoughts, soothing anxiety and encouraging emotional well-being. It can be used in acupuncture and acupressure to ground and magnify the healing properties of other crystals. As salt, it is used in water and sugar solutions to restore the balance of electrolytes in the body. ( Just a quick mention… Halite is NOT a crystal to cleanse under running water as it will do as salt does and just dissolve … leave it in moonlight or in a bowl or a pouch with another cleansing crystal such as Carnelian.)

Mankind has long known about the benefits and uses of all forms of salt; Halite is equally as useful for the spiritual body… soul seasoning, if you will.

Water and Salt are important elements in most forms of life and obviously any animal needs a constant supply of fresh water – this is number one in the list of Animal Freedoms : “FREEDOM FROM HUNGER AND THIRST – by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigour.”

cam00595Ting likes to keep a bottle handy

My mother’s dog, Erin, has a 2 gallon bucket of water to drink from – I’ve had many an impromptu wash from this as I have changed it for her… My girls have a water fountain, two bowls of fresh water, humans ready and willing to turn the tap on so they can sit in the sink and have a quick drink… and yet they will still quite happily drink out of a muddy puddle or even the pond…

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My cats have all, at some point, spent hours in the bath-not full of water obviously – fascinated by the drips from the tap. I have spent time in the bath or shower being closely observed by the cats and, upon occasion, followed, much to my alarm and the cat’s surprise…

photo-0101Lily in the kitchen sink…

Suffice it to say, Water, like Halite, which also balances and purifies, is a vital element to the life and health of every living creature.

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Chrysocolla and Coughing Cats

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In all my years of sharing my life with cats, I have never seen a hairball. Not that I want to, particularly, they sound terrifying and somewhat grotesque to be honest.

I am usually extremely alarmed when my cats cough…the outstretched neck… the bulging eyes… the pained “Heek-heek-heek-HURHH!” Then the gentle clearing of the throat and reproachful look in my direction, as if to say:

Well, really! Whatever did I do to you to deserve that?!”

Suffice it to say, whatever it is that makes my cats sometimes cough, it isn’t a hairball.

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(“Miss Murdoch, sometimes cats do just want to cough… like people. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with them…”)

Similarly, my mother is possessed of a truly awful smoker’s cough, from her 30-a-day habit. And although I have recently stopped smoking myself, I am not going to become a nicotine nazi… However, I do feel that perhaps she could be a little less… rude when I show my concern for her or attempt to press a herbal remedy on her:

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, a piece of biscuit went down the wrong way…”

As a student in a city in the rain shadow of the Pennines and notorious for its inches-per-month count, I swore by a proprietary brand of cough medicine to get me through lectures without hacking up a chunk of lung. Any effect it had on me was probably due more to its high alcohol content than any actual healing ability.

Chrysocolla would have been just the thing, really… This blue-green crystal has the wonderful appearance of Mother Earth as viewed from space, and it manifests her presence in its tranquility and strength. It draws off negative energies of all kinds and gives you the strength and peace of mind to accept situations that are constantly changing. It is a pacifier for uncertain relationships and can help with cleansing and aligning all the chakras, opening them to the awareness of the divine.

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Chrysocolla is a lovely crystal to give the wearer/owner self-awareness and sensitivity without being too “precious” about it.

It can also be used to help with lung problems, it re-oxygenates the blood and maintains the cellular health of the lungs. Perhaps this is why it reminds me so much of Mother Earth, her blue-green colouring attributed to the oxygen in our atmosphere.

Again, we must look to the health of our planet, and protect and nurture our atmosphere as we would our lungs…

Just in case anybody fancies having a go, this is my tried and tested and actually quite nice cough syrup. (“Don’t be stupid, Samantha, who in their right mind…”) You need boiled water, fresh thyme and honey. Pour the recently boiled water over about 2 – 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme and let it steep, until colour of strong tea without milk, or until about room temperature. When it’s cool, strain out the thyme leaves and add a cup of honey. Stir well and put in a suitable glass jar to use as needed. Maybe about 2 tablespoons in the morning and late at night, when the cough is most bothersome.

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As for coughing cats. I still haven’t seen a hairball, as when they cough, it is not usually a ‘productive cough’ as my doctor would say. It’s still my fault though… and I don’t fancy my chances of administering cough medicine to my cats. Perhaps a custom-made collar of Chrysocolla.

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Howlite and Hauntings

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I’m not a great sleeper. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleep, I’m just not very good at it. I mentioned this in passing to my son’s lovely crystal lady Lizian and she suggested I try some Howlite, placed under my pillow.

It’s not the most beautiful crystal I own, but it is certainly one of the most useful. It has a cool, silk texture and a satisfying feel to the hand, one of those crystals that conjure “mind pictures”, and I at once thought of a tall glass of milk, cool, soothing, calming.

I was unsurprised to learn, therefore, that it is in fact, a wonderfully beneficial stone for those with insomnia. I use it in conjunction with Selenite, and these two crystals combined allow me a glimpse of the Promised Land … Slumber.

Howlite stills the mind, turning down the volume of everyday life and allowing serenity and calmness in. In that breathing space, reasoned communication can be achieved as it allows your open mind to receive attunement and wisdom; its patterning of soft grey lines almost showing you a mental map, a way forward, to release selfishness and criticism and fulfill your own positive spiritual and material ambitions.

img_8998Dyed Howlite (or Turquenite) balances mood fluctuations and brings inner peace 

My appalling sleep habits started when I was tiny, and although I have gone through weeks, months even, when I have slept all right, the demon of Insomnia returns to pluck at the edges of my consciousness …

I had the most terrible nightmares when I was little, perhaps about two or three years old. I can remember to this day the metallic taste of my own fear, the creeping terror that chilled my limbs and numbed my brain, while the blood pounded and thumped its slow sluggish way through my heart…

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My parents had finally earned enough to move out of the veterinary practice house, and buy a house of their own, for themselves and their two daughters. It was a brand – new house, built in the late ‘60’s, when the city we lived in had a rise in population and people moving away from the city centre to the suburbs. The sandy coloured bricks were clean, the woodwork shiny white and fresh … an immaculately kept front garden, four bedrooms, good sizes, beautiful modern bathroom and a fitted kitchen with all mod-cons. My mother loved it. I hated it.

She set about making this house into our home, and yet … and yet …

Looking back, this house had the fetid fug of unhappiness clinging to it, like the shredded remnants of a corpse shroud. And I began to dream … and what dreams. Nightmares of being stuck in a multi – storey car park. Hiding desperately behind a car, hearing the tick – tick – tick of its cooling engine, and knowing that out there waited a sword – wielding maniac with clothes that smelt of blood and a laugh like poison.

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Dreams of ogres, that clawed and dragged their way up the stairs of this house ; not cute ogres, but creatures of terror and despair, yellow rotting fangs in a mouth open wide to tear my body apart, so afraid, so frozen with fear I could hardly scream or breathe, clawing my way back to cold, sweating wakefulness with tears of sheer horror clinging to my face.

I developed asthma and a reluctance to go to bed. Every night, at a certain time, my parents in the front room – my bedroom was directly above it – would hear a thud, and then footsteps, going from my room across the landing and into the bathroom. The dogs would raise their heads and watch the footsteps travel across the ceiling … My father tried to pass the noises off as my cat, jumping off the bed and walking across the landing. My mother kept the cat in the front room with them, and yet the noises still happened. Whenever my parents went to check on me, I was in bed. Asleep.

And then one night I had a convulsion and stopped breathing. On this particular night, I had already been unwell, wheezy and tightchested, but had gone to bed, soothed by the promise of regular checks from my mother. At the usual time, she heard the footsteps and rushed upstairs to check on me… I remember to this day the awful sensation of trying and trying to expand my chest and simply not getting enough air… and that’s all I remember about that night.

Apparently, I gasped and stopped. Breathing. Panicked, my mother shook me whilst screaming for my father to ring the doctor. The breath came back to me and I was all right, I was breathing, but the doctor came anyway and gave me an injection …

At work the next day, my mother was relating the tale of my brush with Death. A colleague said to her:

Well, I was quite surprised actually anyway, when I heard you had bought that house…”

My mother, pounced on this statement, perhaps thinking of the faulty damp course and demanded an explanation. The colleague obliged.

Oh yes, it was such a tragedy. The family that lived there before you, they had a little girl about Samantha’s age. I think she had asthma too… well, anyway, poor little thing. One night she had a really bad attack and died… Couldn’t do a thing for her…”

The house went on the market that same day and my family returned to the practice house.

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***

(As a post script to this story, I Googled the address of this house where we used to live. I was interested to see it was up for sale. Again.)

Home

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In her day to day life she coped. She managed. In the workplace, her co-workers noted her for her dedication to her job and her determination. No-one knew what lay beneath. At night time alone, alone in her bed, she hungered. The memory of his touch burned her skin and branded her soul. Above, she was as calm as the proverbial millpond.

Occasionally, the passion that simmered beneath burst through like bubbling lava. It manifested itself in outbursts of temper, quite unlike her usual moon-calm self, as sudden and unexpected as a desert storm. Her colleagues noticed.

When she woke from sleep heavy eyed and angry, she could bear it no longer. Never one for the doctor, she had no wish to bare her soul to the kindly old man who had known her since birth, and turned instead to a more “New Age” solution.

Her colleague, a wispy woman who spent most weekends at spiritual events, had taken her aside once, confidingly:

“You’re an old soul, my love… has anyone ever suggested hypnosis to you? Perhaps you have some issues from a past life that need resolving…”

She thanked her colleague politely and gently removed the woman’s hand from her arm.

The idea, however, took root. Waking yet again from another dream where her soul was left yearning for she knew not what, she took matters into her own hands. She researched thoroughly the credentials of each hypnotist she found – she was that sort of person, ordered and methodical. She determined that she would find the cause of this underlying distant unhappiness and eliminate it. It had no place in her life.

Her appointment time arrived and she dressed with care. Comfortable loose clothing and an open mind. The pleasant woman hypnotist welcomed her in and directed her to a padded chair. She sat down and surprisingly, for one who considered herself so strong minded she was there. He was waiting. She was lost in his deep, dark gaze and her body knew him and mourned his passing.

But he was there, arms outstretched and as they enfolded her she went home.

***

The hypnotist panicked. Unable to recall her, she ran for her phone to call emergency services. If she had stayed and watched, she would have seen the woman’s chest cease to rise and fall; the faint smile that curved her lips as she stopped breathing.

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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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Calcite and Clever Cats

_mg_8943Honey Calcite tumblestones – useful for enhancing confidence, memory and intellect, linked to the Sacral and Solar Plexus chakras, helping to align the two

Calcite is a wonderful, all purpose crystal that comes in a variety of colours – much as cats do – and is a positive reinforcement of beneficial emotions – much as cats are… well at least when they’re in a good mood. Careful placement of calcite throughout the home or work environment ensures a calm flow of energy that circulates, bringing serenity and carrying away stress and negativity.

_mg_8975Aids mental healing, and can dissolve ingrained beliefs and thought patterns. Can stimulate the immune system and absorbs negativity

Calcite improves energy flow and cleanses it at the same time, removing emotions that may have stagnated and linking to the higher consciousness. Calcite is both active and stimulating – be prepared for a burst of physical and spiritual awareness as it encourages spiritual development.

_mg_8961A powerful detoxifier, it can be used to facilitate new beginnings and cleanse and align all chakras

Calcite is found in a rainbow of colours that can work with your chakras, in addition to their metaphysical properties of cleansing and energising both the physical and spiritual bodies and their environments. All the rough pieces pictured have been acid-treated to enhance their colours and give a soft tactile feel to the stone.

_mg_8948Linked to the Base chakra, this crystal increases energy and releases both physical and spiritual blockages

However, although it is an active crystal, it is also stabilising and supportive, encouraging belief in oneself and allowing you to face your fears and formulate solutions to setbacks.

_mg_8938Mangano/Pink Calcite, a stone of forgiveness and love that can release past fears to allow forward progress, linked to the Heart chakra

Calcite calms the mind, allowing clear thought and analysis and establishes a link between emotion and intellect… I have had quite a lot of cats during my life so far, every one of them a joy in their own individual way.

_mg_8983Blue Calcite is gentle and soothing, helps recovery, removes anxiety, lowers blood pressure and enhances communication. It filters and returns positive energy…

However – and this is not just a proud mother speaking – my cat, Charlie, or Princess Charlotte Oddpaw to give her full name and title, is undoubtedly the most intelligent cat I have ever known. Ting, my Siamese, is definitely the sweetest, but she’s not exactly the brightest sandwich in the tool box… I look at Charlie and sometimes I am a little intimidated by the very aware, non-human intelligence she possesses.

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She is self-aware, which is apparently a marker for animal intelligence. This is tested by means of placing something on the animal you wish to test, like a sticky dot, or something, then putting it in front of a mirror, pointing the dot out to the animal, and seeing what happens next. Or something like that. I’m no scientist. (If you want to check… use Google and look for the Mirror Test, developed by Gordon Gallup in 1970).

In the spirit of scientific research, I stuck a little sticker on my cat – obviously not very sticky as it can cause fur trauma – and put her in front of my mirrored wardrobe. I pointed to her reflection, at her shoulder where I had stuck the dot, and said in a horrified tone:

Oh no, what has Mummy done to you?”

She looked at her reflection, looked at me, and delicately removed the sticker with her teeth and dropped it on the floor, her thoughts as plain to see as if she’d written them down…

Stupid woman. Did she really think I wouldn’t notice?”

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Charlie can open doors. With the power of her mind… No, not really… she has very dexterous little paws that she can use to good effect to obtain what she wants. She can hook her paw underneath the fridge, and press the rubber seal so it opens. She knows quite a lot of words – I lost count after twenty – and can even say some of her own.

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For example, she knows to run away quickly if someone approaches her saying:

Does Charlie want a kiss kiss?”

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And yet she will sit, regal and queen-like, as I do homage to her beauty…

Who’s the best cat? Who’s the most beautiful?…” blinking golden eyes, slowly and superbly, secure in the knowledge that we, her people, are putty in her dainty little paws…

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Prehnite and Paws

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When I first held this stone-it’s actually my son’s- I had a really vivid mental image flash into my head…an old-fashioned chemist’s shop, the ones with the large, ornate glass bottles of red and green liquid in the window, the shelves holding glass jars and the heavy, powdery smell of medicines.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, when I looked into it, Prehnite is actually a stone of healing, the ultimate crystal for any of those in the healing practices. Its clear green colour is reminiscent of sun shining through silver birch leaves, and as you hold it, you can feel the silver cord between you and Creation throb with life.

IMG_6875 (4).JPGThe sun hit this as my son was photographing it and gave it a heavenly glow…

A typical interpretation of this stone is that it lights the way forward into spiritual growth, preparing the path. It is a very serene stone, therefore good for use in meditation as it illuminates your inner knowing and enhances precognition. It is linked to the heart chakra and so opens your heart to both give and receive love, spiritually, mentally and physically. It can aid visualisation and deep meditation, connecting directly to the Universal energy grid-a charger for the soul, if you will…

Prehnite is another stone of unconditional love, like Rose Quartz, think of the love and trust a dog is showing you when it gives you its paw. I love my cats’ paws, they’re all so soft and dainty. Tooty and Lily have black toes that look like blackberries; while Charlie has two pink toes on her left paw, all the rest are brown.

IMG_6804 (2).JPGPerfect Princess Paws

It’s important to check the health of your animals’ paws, especially at this time of year when there are grass seeds everywhere. Vicious little pellets with stiff whiskers that can trap between unwary toes, causing irritation and abscesses. Check your dog’s paws and be careful where you walk. Broken glass pieces as small as needles can penetrate and slice tender paws, and all paw wounds bleed profusely…Apply pressure to the wound, and call the vet. Don’t take chances trying to remove anything yourself, just in case of infection, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

IMG_5254.JPGErin’s surprisingly dainty dog feet

My old cat, Walter, cut one of the ears on his “Mickey Mouse” pad as I call it, so deeply I thought he would lose it. I wrapped it up in a sock-straight to the vet, who said he was lucky and wouldn’t need stitches, but to keep the wound clean and dry. Right. The first thing he attempted to do was remove the dressing…so I hit upon the happy solution of giving him more to remove..light layers of kitchen towel taped gently into place and although the injured paw looked like a cushion compared to the rest of his elegant paws, it kept him occupied and gave his wound a chance to heal.

IMG_6754 (2).JPGLily paws… complete with deadly toe knives 

You can buy shoes to protect dogs’ paws, huskies generally wear them to protect their paws from the snow and ice. I think that’s a wonderful idea and I would love to buy Erin some…She, on the other hand, would have hysterics…I have also seen absolutely adorable shoes for children, that when they walk, leave the imprints of paw marks… I would have loved some of those when I was a little girl!

Paws and Prehnite, then, close to Mother Earth, and sealing and protective. Prehnite is a wonderful crystal for bringing calm to your environment and instilling peace and harmony with Nature… think on that as our cats knead serenely on our knees, and our dogs offer a paw in love, trust and friendship.

IMG_6926 (3)A beautiful example of Prehnite, buzzing with energy…

All photos were taken by my son!