Girasol Quartz and Gentle Cats

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This was another new one for me, but I was at once drawn to its gentle vibration as my son placed it in my hand having borne it home in triumph from his lovely crystal lady Lizian. Despite its deceptively simple appearance, clear and translucent, like a good quality champagne jelly, Girasol Quartz is a stone of hidden depths. Its reflective qualities are due to the aluminium present in its chemical composition, adding an extra dimension to this crystal.

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Girasol Quartz can also be known as Moon or Blue Opal, or Opalised Quartz, even though it is not actually an Opal. It is a gentle but powerful crystal, which can enhance and reflect feelings, therefore extremely useful for the guided direction of energy. It also enhances communication skills and is useful for dream work, visualisation and imagination.

It is a good crystal for anyone working in the creative sectors and it will forge new channels of communication between group members, gently resolving difficulties and illustrating solutions. This gentle crystal can also take a step backwards in past lives to heal negative experiences that affect the present day, wiping the memory clean to allow positive progress. It has physical healing properties that help on all levels and may be useful for metabolic disorders and fatigue.

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Holding my Girasol Quartz, I had the wonderful sensation of gentle warmth and spring rain… a freshener for the soul if you will, with a vibration as light and soft as cat fur…

I love my four Girls dearly and although they are not particularly ‘bitey’ or ‘scratchy’ cats, they do not have the same innate quality of gentleness that I loved so much in my old cat, Walter. The Girls are strong, independent women of the 21st Century with their paws firmly, but daintily, planted in the modern world, while Walter possessed a gentleness of spirit and manner that seemed to belong to earlier, gentler times.

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Walter’s life started, inauspiciously enough, on the 17th March 1993, when my tabby gave birth to a litter of four, two black girls and two tabby boys. The others quickly found homes, but Walter remained with me, through accident or design, I can never be sure…

He grew up to be the perfect gentleman, impeccably housetrained, kind and courteous. Pleasant to my dog, although not above wrestling her to the floor and giving her a good kicky scratch if she presumed too much upon his person. (She was a little dog and enthusiastic cat-lover when she was a puppy, although as she grew up, she learned to value Walter for his companionship and comfort.) He was the perfect cat to teach my sons respect for cats, never objecting to sticky fingers in his fur and only placing the gentlest of restraining paws on hands when the stroking got a little too enthusiastic…

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My cat Walter was my partner’s first introduction to feline friendship, as he was really more of a dog person, but Walter’s courtly manners, dignified presence and pleasant behaviour soon converted him. Recently, viewing the shredded back of the sofa, with artistically clawed wallpaper, I heard him sigh disappointedly:

Walter never used to do things like this, why can’t you… just… behave Charlie?”

My Tiger Princess smirked at his disappointment…

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During a routine appointment to check his teeth, a lump was found in Walter’s jaw. Upon further investigation, it was found to be inoperable as it was pushing the bones of his lower jaw apart. It broke my heart. It absolutely broke my heart. But, I knew I had to do the kindest thing and let him go; a dignified, calm sleep, little enough repayment for the 16 years of love, comfort and companionship that my wonderful cat had given me. So it was, on a bitterly cold February morning, the 17th to be precise, in 2010, I held my precious cat in my arms and told him I loved him, thanking him for being the best cat in the world as my tears fell in his elegantly striped black and grey fur for the last time. That was it. For the first time in 16 years I was officially catless.

It took nine long days to find a kitten, because at that point in my life, I needed a kitten, that would be my world and keep me occupied, stem the burning tide of grief that threatened to overwhelm me. And I got her – my fierce little princess, as different from Walter as chalk to cheese… I sometimes dream of him still, think I feel his paw patting my face gently, catch a flash of grey and black fur from the corner of my eye. Every time I see a striped tabby with white shirt front my heart turns over… I hope he’ll be waiting for me, first in line with all the other members of my fur family that I have loved and lost throughout my lifetime…

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Brrrpp! Mam-ma!” My attention is imperiously summoned back to the present as Madam Princess requires food, comfort, love, treats, play and not necessarily in that order. I pick her up and am rewarded by her sweet purr, a gentle comfort that both echoes and heals the hurt of Walter’s going; bringing us back to the calm, gentle crystal that is Girasol Quartz.

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Dalmationite and Dogs

For Alex…

My family’s dogs were a big part of my life when I was a little girl. I learned to stand, clutching fistfuls of fur and hauling myself upright against our German Shepherd Nikki, who bore my maulings good naturedly. I created miniature worlds between his paws as I sat and played, marching little animals across his shoulders… He also taught me my first adult lessons in grief… Returning home from school to find him gone, it broke my heart, but I thank him for his gentle love and guidance. In comparison to myself, my mother has always been a ‘dog person’. I am primarily a ‘cat person’ but I love dogs too and have had a couple who have co-existed happily alongside my various cats.

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Rosie was another notable character from my mother’s succession of dogs… my first sister dog, she taught my older son how to treat a dog. She would tolerate no nonsense, yet was loving and kind. When my younger son was born, I laid him at her paws. She sniffed him delicately, sensitive nose reading all the nuances of this new little person I had brought to her for inspection. Then she gave me a look as if to say:

Another one! Don’t you think I’ve done my duty?” However, she went on to become an adored auntie dog, to hug at the end of a hard school day and receive comfort and understanding from her wise brown eyes.

My older son was quite offended on one – he went towards his little brother, intending a play fight… he never reached him, as Rosie stood and pushed herself in front of my younger son. She bared her teeth – just slightly, but the message was clear:

Hey! We’ll have none of that here!”

She grew older as my son moved from toddlerhood into a little boy – he learned the same lesson I did at about the same age, our beloved animals never live as long as we want them to, but our lives are the better for having known them, and learned their lessons of love and loyalty that they have to teach.

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Next was Rowan, beautiful and golden. She took more to my older son, but had plenty of time to spend with my younger son. I watched them both, once, outside at my mother’s as my son drew complicated chalk pictures and explained them to her. She watched, fascinated, her ears twitching to the enthusiasm in his voice and eyes following every line of the chalk.

Good natured and loving, she also had a congenital heart defect that my mother was unaware of until it was too late. My son and I stood outside the vets while my mother said her goodbyes. As I comforted him, a tiny white feather floated down from the sky to land at our feet. I had my words:

Rowan was such a good dog, God could only lend her to us for a little while, then He needed her back. She’s left you a feather from her angel wings.” My son still has it.

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Now my mother has Erin, paler than the traditional Shepherd colours of black and tan – her father was white – show quality, but really just our little girl. She’s the most vocal dog Mum’s had, and can say things like “Horrible”, “Hungry” and “Harare”. Perhaps she’d like to visit. She’s loving, affectionate and trusting, my mother’s constant companion – I’d worry about her a lot more if she didn’t have a dog. Erin has one particular game that I find reasonably amusing… she shows me she’d like her toybox moving so she can look into it. Then I have to get her toys out, one by one, and show them to her. She’ll prod them with her nose and that’s a sign to put that one away. When I happen to choose the one she wants, she’ll grab it and run off… sounds quite tedious but the dog enjoys it! Another favourite is to chase my younger son around the garden, leaping and grabbing and SQUEEZING his bottom with her teeth to produce a scream…

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All these canine family members had, and have, love, loyalty, trust and an innocent sheer joy of life… Dalmationite helps you live in the moment, rather like a dog, encouraging you to enjoy this present incarnation and connecting to the base and sacral chakras. It is both protective and sensitive, a guard dog for the spirit, as it will enhance your awareness of danger but help you to remain calm and deal with it.

IMG_6222 (2)The black spots are Tourmaline – skulls don’t have to be scary, they are actually quite  a powerful symbol of new life and knowledge

A typical interpretation of this stone is that it can help you attune to the innocent child within, strengthening your sense of fun, helping to dissolve depression and restoring energy. Dalmationite can stop you from overthinking and help you get out there and just do it… At the same time, instilling awareness and the ability to plan for every eventuality. A good stone for children – what child doesn’t love puppies! – it encourages fidelity and stabilises emotions and can help you release the desire for revenge that could be potentially harmful to yourself. It’s another good stone to use for animals, enhancing the link between Mother Earth and her children.

I think we could learn a lot from our canine family, their unquestioning love and trust in us should be repaid in our care and love for them. Their ability for love and joy in life is one that we would do well to adopt ourselves… dogs just get along.

Walkies anyone?

_MG_6279“Hey! It’s good for all animals you know!”

Cats and Mice

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Cats love mice. A recognised fact, as any cat owner will know, who has cleared up chewed corpses and mangled remains left by a thoughtful cat, as a sign of their love for their owner. I love mice. I think they are dear little creatures, with their tiny pink hands, delicate tails and bright, beady eyes. I am always upset when I find dead mice, but such is the nature of cats, they are only doing what their instincts dictate.

However. I do not love mice – or the cat very much either – when aforementioned feline brings aforementioned rodent into the house whilst still alive and LETS THEM GO. Lily is actually responsible for most of the hunting in our household. I have watched Tooty chase flies and moths, Ting covet sparrows and Charlie, my cat, has never killed anything in her life. Perhaps because we had her from such an early age, she missed that part of her feline mother’s teaching, how to become an efficient hunter. Still, Charlie has plenty of toy mousies in fake fur and catnip mousies for pretend killing, so her acquaintance with the rodent world is limited.

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Lily, on the other hand, is a cat of a different nature altogether. She is a true witch’s cat, black as night with emerald green eyes. She is only a little cat, but the fiercest and the most deadly hunter, with the face of an angel and the soul of a tiger… Consequently, I see quite a lot of mice, more than I ever intended to outside of a petshop. It is thanks to Lily that I discovered we have two different species of mice within her territory boundaries, the little house mouse and the slightly larger, browner field mouse.

Strictly speaking, she is my younger son’s cat, so it is him she chooses to bless with the results of her evening hunting forays. Possibly she regards him as a somewhat ineffective provider – although he’s always ready with the kibbles when she calls – or she worries about when he leaves home for university and whether he will be able to look after himself there.

img_4793Lily, fierce huntress, looking like butter wouldn’t melt…

Either way, on this particular night my son and I had already gone to bed, and were fast asleep. Me, for once, not haunted by impossible dreams, tossing and turning, my son, deeply sleeping in his own room. My partner was downstairs watching the late film and having a last cup of tea.

Brrrp! Mahhh! Brrp! Meow!”

Patter, patter patter-we have laminate flooring- and then:

SAM! LILY’S GOT A MOUSE AND I COULDN’T STOP HER!”

My son and I, finely attuned to Lily’s “special” meow were already waking-my partner’s shout completed the job of jolting us into full consciousness. To be fair, he doesn’t like mice, and he does rescue me from spiders, regardless of size, so the least I could do was respond to his panicked yell…

However, we were just that little bit too slow…Lily shot past me, swerving with the skill of a seasoned footballer and dropped the mouse on my son’s bedside rug. Then it ran behind the unit. Having done her job, Lily left, leaving my son and I to haul the unit out in an attempt to capture the mouse. Moving the unit was no small job, stacked high as it was with crystals, books about crystals, college work, DVD’s, computer games…We managed to pull it out about a foot from the wall and saw the mouse, hiding between some cables.

HAVE YOU CAUGHT IT YET? YOU HAVE TO GET IT-THEY CHEW THROUGH CABLES AND THEN THE HOUSE WILL BURN DOWN AND IT WILL ALL BE YOUR FAULT!”

Me? I didn’t catch the mouse and bring it in. With my partner’s encouraging endorsement ringing in my ears, I lunged at the mouse and…and…missed. It slipped between my fingers like a wet bar of soap, skidded four foot up the wall, shot towards my son, leapt OVER his head and vanished under the door of the airing cupboard. I didn’t know mice could jump that high…

Now we were stuffed. Inside the airing cupboard is the hot water tank, solid and immovable, the central heating controls, not to mention my clean sheets and towels. Destruction heaven for vengeful rodent teeth. Other than passing a container and lid through the door, my partner was washing his hands of the whole thing:

THEY’RE YOUR CATS…”

We settled in to wait. As we waited, we discussed strategy. My cat, Charlie, tapped at the bedroom door, wanting to know where I was and why wasn’t I in bed, where I was supposed to be. Now, obviously, I’m biased, but Charlie is a very intelligent little cat… I thought perhaps we could use this to our advantage. We showed her where the mouse had been sitting and where it had gone. She sniffed the trail with interest, little pink nose moving delicately, eyes bright and alert. I opened the airing cupboard door and let her see inside:

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Look! Find the mousie for Mummy and then we can all go back to bed!”

Charlie crouched in front of the tank, then with lightning sharpness, her little arm shot out and into the gap…she pushed her face into the gap and when she withdrew her head she HAD THE MOUSE! Then she gave it to me. Literally, dropped it into my hands, I put it into the container my son was holding and he slammed the lid shut. My wonderful little cat gave me a look that clearly said:

My work here is done. NOW can we go to bed?” and asked to leave the room.

My son gratefully returned to bed and I conveyed the mouse downstairs, unhurt and probably unaware of how it had upset my evening, and released it at the bottom of the garden.

DID YOU HAVE ANY TROUBLE CATCHING THE MOUSE? WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?” my partner enquired.

Charlie caught it,” I replied, “so now I’m going to bed.”

I returned wearily upstairs in the hopes of quickly regaining slumber, only to find Charlie neatly curled up in my space, the smile of the righteous curving her furry jaws. I didn’t have the heart to move her…

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A Meditation on the Beauty of My Cat

I may have said (!!) that I have four cats who I love dearly and have mentioned in previous posts. My tabby cat, or to give her her full name, Princess Charlotte Oddpaw, was sitting on my chest the other evening, sharing a meditation with me and the thought popped into my head: “You will write more about me… you will write more about me…”

I hesitate to call her a ‘cat’ actually as I am convinced she regards herself as a small, furry, superior human getting to grips with the complications of everyday life. She is scarily intelligent. Her calculated ambush attacks and pretend sweetness has reduced my son to tears (when he was younger, I must add, to spare his manly blushes) as he stumbled away, half-blinded by blood, drawn in by her deceptive purring and exposure of creamy chest fur, just begging for a tickle… To be fair, she has mellowed with age and my son has learned to treat her with the respect a cat of her standing deserves.

CharlieA little light bedtime reading…

She masquerades as a common or garden tabby. Not so: amazing colours are contained within her soft, elegant fur, ranging from the milk chocolate banding on her delicate legs, the silvery grey flashes of cheek fur to the abstract blotches of orange carnelian, strategically placed along her spine. Her tiny paws are carefully decorated in black, grey and mouse coloured hairs, alternating in a pleasing arrangement, apart from the quirky addition of three ginger toes. (Did God run out of pain for that part, or miscalculate the mix?) She has a small, finely shaped head, surmounted by two sail-like ears that bracket the beauty of her eyes. Her pink nose is dainty, adorned either side with splendid whiskers that she can push forward in annoyance or smooth back in pleasure as she achieves her goals…

Her eyes are beacons of hope, mischief or beauty according to her mood. Usually they are the palest emerald green, threaded through with iridescent gold, framed by lines of cream and brown fur that would befit any Egyptian queen’s attempt at eye makeup. Her eyes can narrow in rage as she chatters at impertinent pigeons, widen in innocence “Who me? I never that tore that chunk of wallpaper off from behind the sofa!” or half-close, dreamily, as she basks in her own ineffable cattishness.

CHUDDY BUDDYPrincess Charlotte surveying her subjects…

She definitely has a sense of humour. I have nursed many a scratched ankle, after making the bed, unawares that a tabby tigress lurked underneath, anticipating the perfect moment to lash out with miniature scimitar paws and engender a scream of pain and fright. You’d think I would have learned by now, but forgetting is part of the fun… possibly! One of my other cats, although a cheerful soul, is not the brightest individual and is often the unwitting victim of ambush attacks and set-ups. “Oh no, muddy paw prints on the worktop!” My princess smiles serenely, little dirty feet tucked cunningly beneath her as she practically gestures towards her stooge, engaged in removing a random lump of mud from between her toes.

My four cats co-exist amicably enough, and I have photographic evidence that shows all four sleeping together on my bed, although I do think that the others waited for Charlie to fall asleep before they dared to climb aboard the bed to settle, one at each corner. (Night times aren’t much fun, I’m a restless sleeper at the best of times and am often awakened by thundering paws across my chest as the cat population of my bed changes.)

However, having had cats since I was little, my first being a large, black parlour panther called Snoopy, I would undoubtedly miss their presence. They enrich my life and remain a constant source of amusement, much like my children… 

All photos were taken by my son!

Charoite and Cat’s Claws

Any cat owner will have undoubtedly been on the receiving end of a scratch from a velvet paw armed with scimitars… I’ve had my fair share; from my old tabby who rarely scratched but one day caught me with his back paw as I was wearing a low necked top and emblazoned me with a Zorro-like mark across my cleavage. It hurt at the time, but I have a permanent reminder of him scored into my skin. Most recently, my Siamese got her claw so deeply hooked into my skin it took my son to manoeuvre her out of my poor finger. It wasn’t done in spite, just an accident as she caught me instead of her toy. All coherent thought deserted me, I just remember thinking: “Oh, don’t scream, Samantha, you’ll frighten the cat…” I have a purple scar about a millimetre long on my index finger, but, oh my God, it didn’t half hurt!

Cats’ claws and their health are extremely important to our feline friends. I don’t hold with de-clawing at all unless there is something like an underlying infection, as you are removing a vital element of their self-defence equipment. Cats need to scratch to exercise their muscles and shed the dead claw sheaths, so a scratch post suitable for their height whilst on their back legs is an essential piece of house furniture. They can climb it, stretch up it, scratch it, pole dance around it… and it saves on soft furnishings and wallpaper! (There’s a bald patch behind the sofa that I am afraid to confess to…)

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Random dog paw – no, actually, it’s my mother’s German Shepherd’s paw with beautifully kept nails. Just a reminder, dogs’ nails need maintenance too, but don’t cut too close to the quick, very painful for them

Most cats don’t go out of their way to scratch you, my Siamese and her sister sometimes get over-enthusiastic when they wrestle, tufts of cream and black fur fly, till one kicks just a little too hard… then both parties retire to nurse wounded pride. (By the way, I must emphasise if you are scratched or bitten, wash the wound thoroughly, apply antiseptic, seek medical attention if necessary… you know the procedure!) Some cats, such as Siamese, are unable to fully retract their claws, so they wear down naturally. We have wooden floors and my Siamese sounds as if she’s modelling the latest fashion in high heels:

Louboutins? Soooo last year… Everyone’s wearing cat claws…”

My tabby, although the fiercest cat, is also the gentlest when it comes to reprimands. My son has been the recipient of many a slap from a soft little paw, claws sheathed in precious toes, but the slap delivered hard enough to sting!

WP_20151011_12_42_50_Pro (2)My Princess’ precious ginger toes – claws carefully put away!

Charoite (pronounced Kar-oh-ite) reminds me of a delicate, hand-made soap. It is usually purple and white (its other name is Purple Seraphanite,) the main colour being white, with delicate lines of purple etched through it – not unlike the way a cat’s claws etch skin… A typical interpretation is that being a stone of transformation, it can help with overcoming fear and aid emotional and physical healing. It connects with the higher chakras and cleanses auras. Essentially, it will recycle negative energy into healing and can help with depression.

Charoite reminds me of lavender flowers, pressed between layers of finest cream soap. Another new stone for me, thanks to my son and his crystal wise lady (www.lizianblog.com) I was entranced by it the moment I held it and felt its waxy texture. As I traced its lilac markings, I could feel acceptance and positivity.

Curtains and cat claws, Charoite and healing. A lovely positive stone that vibrates at a high level to instill positivity and health, not unlike the proven benefits of owning a pet. I know I draw endless comfort from my cats, and even in my darkest moments, somehow the world seems a better place because I am fortunate enough to share this life with my cats.

All photos were taken by my son!

Moonstone and Meows

Moonstone and Meows

There seems to be the conclusion after years of research and various television programmes that cats only learned to use the meow to speak to humans… Sorry, but I beg to differ, although I am but a humble cat owner of many years, against white-coated scientific superiority…

My Siamese meows all the time. At the other cats. I know Siamese are particularly vocal, but she seems to delight in bellowing a meow in the faces of the others. Obviously she meows at her humans, but the other day she sauntered into the kitchen and “WAAHED”-ed at my older black cat. Was she asking her for food?

You’ll do, you’re a senior cat, open the cat food!” or just:

Hey how you doing?…”

Moonstone is a recent discovery for me, courtesy of my son and his crystal lady. I have several pieces, from rainbow to white to cream, all with individual benefits and the colours remind me irresistibly of cat colours… I aspire to owning a piece of black moonstone – take note, son!

My brown piece seems a plain brown stone until you turn it over and it catches the light, then it bursts into life with a golden sheen, reminiscent of my tabby as she rolls and reveals a golden tummy, delicately spotted with black… A typical interpretation of Moonstone is that it is good for promoting intuition, a stone of new beginnings, but serves as a reminder that we are all part of a continuing cycle of change, just as the moon waxes and wanes. It is primarily a stone of female energy that balances the male-female status. It soothes emotional instability, and provides emotional healing and comfort… much as the comfort and pleasure I derive from stroking my cats.

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My piece of Brown Moonstone with its golden sparkles… In the corners are Cream Moonstone…

Rainbow Moonstone is a beautiful stone that seems to hold the mysteries of the Universe in its depths. Even in the dullest light, there are sparks of blue and wondrous clouds that bring to mind the Big Bang and creation. Yet even as you wonder at the power of the unknown mysteries of the Universe, there is a reassurance to be felt from holding it, that you can BE so much more. Rainbow Moonstone is said to resonate at a higher level, in tune with the higher chakras to help develop your own psychic abilities.

A beautiful stone, both varied and versatile, pretty much like my cats’ conversations. They all have different meows; my youngest black cat sounds more like a honking goose, my oldest one, a squeaky toy. My Siamese has a constant ‘stream of consciousness’ going on: “Hi, where have you been? I’ve been outside and rolled on the pavement, then I saw an earwig, but it ran away…” My tabby, the smallest but most important cat, only meows when she has something important to say, so everybody will stop and listen.

My son was holding her up outside the front room window once, so she could see me inside – I saw her little mouth move, then when he came in with her, he was crying with laughter…

She saw you and said: ‘My Mama!’”

It’s a proud moment when your baby says her first words…!

All photos were taken by my son!