Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Usually bad things happen because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time or a decision we made has led to the circumstances we now face.

It certainly isn’t because we have upset a higher power. How do I know this? Because if our chosen gods were that involved in what we do there would have been no Adolf Hitler or any other dictator of a similar ilk. Lightening, if it were to strike anyone, would surely have struck Hitler or any other past or current leader who has done or currently does that amount of harm to so many.

Bad things happen because, well, they just do. It’s part of the web of life.

I don’t believe bad luck befalls us because we have asked for it or deserve it.

Some might argue there is always a plan. That our chosen deity has put these people or difficulties in our way to challenge us individually or as a species. Hitler certainly did more than challenge and it appears very few of the lessons humanity was taught by Hitler have done anything to make a significant change in the here and now. In 2017 I would say we are even regressing when it comes to racism, bigotry and committing genocide. Hitler got in to power because he was charismatic and he pandered to greed, power and superiority complexes not because a deity put him there to teach us a lesson.

Some religions would have us believe if we don’t do as the ambassador for that religion dictates then we will be punished by deity for our actions. I don’t subscribe to this nonsense at all and believe it is simply a way for religious leaders to control those people who choose to hang on to their every word.

I have had some horrible things happen to me (and to those in my family) in my lifetime so far. This isn’t because we deserved these things to happen nor because we attracted this bad luck. They happened because we made some questionable choices which resulted in these things happening. This isn’t self-pity by blaming myself or them, this is a simple fact. Every day we face choices and every day consequences of those choices are felt. If we fall over a crack in the pavement then we should have watched where we were going. Years ago we would do these things, laugh with some embarrassment or cry with pain and move on.

These days we look to blame others and be compensated.

We are building a culture of blaming others and taking no responsibility for ourselves.

When we blame bad luck we are turning the focus from our own choices on to the Universe and blaming that instead. Anything rather than just accepting that sometimes s*** happens or that we really should have thought more about the idea which led to our present circumstances before taking action.

Next time, hey?

How we deal with an upsetting event in the here and now is what will potentially shape our next few weeks or years.

It probably won’t change the life of whom we blame. In fact blaming someone else or something else can often result in the emotional impact living with us for decades because there is often no come back, no compensation and no karmic return and this can lead to depression, shame and regret. Sometimes even going so far as to destroy lives.

What bad things do give us is an opportunity to look within and grow as people. We can use these circumstances to better ourselves as individuals and come out the other side stronger and more able to face further challenges in the future. It also gives us the tools to help others who have similar things happen to them and it gives us a clearer perspective of our own blessings. If you have ever been hungry, truly hungry, you will appreciate every meal after that. If you have been cold, you will notice and appreciate the heat of a warm home. If you have ever wondered if you have a true friend then any bad times you have will make this clear one way or the other.

If you can learn to appreciate the small things around you that bring life and sustenance then you can find joy, peace, happiness and love for yourself and for others who cross your path.

Those things are ultimately the good parts of when bad things happen. If we let ourselves look at the hard times in that way, by looking inward for growth rather than looking outward for rewards, we will become more able to see the joy and be in our truth.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Protecting ancient trees

From the blog of Nimue Brown…druid, author and woman of words. Nimue urges us all to get involved with saving our ancient woodlands from development. I spend a lot of my free time in such places. Please support!

Druid Life

Right now in the UK, the government is considering a change to the law that would see ancient woodland and aged and veteran trees added to the list of the nation’s assets that should be explicitly protected from development. You’d be forgiven for thinking that these unique and precious woodlands would already be protected, but they aren’t, and there’s been a dramatic increase in threatened loss of ancient woodland from development in recent years. Four hundred woods in England are under threat as I write this, which is a devastating number.

 Any loss of ancient woodland or aged and veteran trees should be viewed as unacceptable, to my mind. This is not an infinite resource and we simply can’t replace it or offset the loss. Planting some new trees some other place does not offset what’s destroyed when we sacrifice ancient woodland in the name of profit. The subtle…

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Your Spiritual Cement Mix

When you are building the foundation for your life path you are going to want to make sure your cement mix is well-balanced so your cobblestones stay fixed 😉

Your mix may consist of many things, here are a few of mine, not in any particular order, apart from the first. Meditation is one of my foundation corner stones.

Meditation Aromatherapy
Mindfulness Flipboard Creativity
Podcasts Tarot Cards Oracle Cards
Knowledge Audiobooks Laughter
Love Herbs Hugs
Understanding Gardening Appreciation
Reiki Photography Gratitude
Crystals Films Learning

These are just some of the things which, together, see me through life and keep me walking forward. Now there are still days when this lot aren’t enough and I allow myself a pyjama day. Yes, awful, isn’t it?Awfully GOOD! Do I feel guilty because I am having a not-so-good day? Nope. Life happens. One foot in front of the other. A tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is optional.

Getting your mix right is a lifelong challenge and when it works you won’t need to change a thing. Sometimes though you can come unstuck and then you may want to try other things. It is worth investigating potential things for your cement mix when things are going well. That way, on a difficult day, you don’t have to think too much. What about having something crafty to do on standby or go to somewhere like a park in your lunch break with a new book to read as you eat? Keep something to one side which you will see as a treat and something to fortify yourself with in times of greater need. I have a bar of Dairy Crunch on hand for emergencies. You may see a theme here…chocolate and ice cream are real treats for me and are also a bit naughty 😉

Whatever floats your boat and rocks your world.

Personally I don’t watch the news on television. I get the main headlines online and then I do some investigating if I want to know more. This not only means I choose how much negativity to bombard myself with, it also means I am more informed than I would be by just listening to one or two news channel’s narrow reporting. It allows me to read about both sides and make my own mind up rather than being told what to think.

For other news, such as science, nature or environmental issues, I simply use Flipboard to weed out the latest and then, again, research it myself if it piques my interest. It is amazing how much more you find out and, sometimes, how different it might be from what you have heard. The above video made me laugh, laughter is good, and yet the content is also so very true.

Once you have the right cement mix you can start building your path and then start trying out various things which enhance you and encourage emotional and intellectual growth whilst knowing your emotional core is strong. A strong foundation gives you the strength to be more independent in thought and more curious to try out new things. Find out what resonates with you and don’t wait for someone else to tell you what that might be.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Tolerance

You may have a designated religion or you may be like me and have no named religion at all. I have happily taken techniques from many practices around the world and I have used them in my own work to enhance what I do and to support my own growth – emotionally and spiritually. It’s all part of the fun when you allow yourself to follow an eclectic path.

One major ideal it also allows me is a greater sense of tolerance to those who follow a different path to mine. This is because I follow no actual rule book. I am constantly learning new techniques and finding things which interest me so I have nothing in individual form to hold up and insist this is – The Only Way.

This is quite a healthy stance for me because it allows a spiritual growth in a way which suits me and my lifestyle.

Humans are notorious for wanting to follow the crowd. There is a lot to be said for it, after all. We can feel accepted, supported, valued, heard and completely right if we surround ourselves with people who agree with us. If we find someone we don’t agree with we can get our chums together and see who can shout the loudest. It is difficult for some to turn away from such acceptance.

Wouldn’t it be unstimulating if we all agreed, all of the time? What if we all wore the same clothes, day in and day out? Grey, dull, uninspiring. We have to start seeing our differences as a fresh influx of interest which stimulates and nourishes, not as direct attack on ourselves.

Are we so unsure of our beliefs that one person disagreeing with us can shake or move our stance  and make a difference to us as individuals?

And if not then what does it matter if they don’t do as we do?

Is our foundation that unsteady?

If it is then we need to start questioning whether those beliefs are our own or someone else’s we have just picked up. When our own country’s highest governing body (by its policies or representatives) implies certain behaviour is suddenly acceptable it will bring many people out of the woodwork who may, for social standing reasons, have hidden their true feelings on the matter beforehand. I am in the UK and our biggest problem has been issues regarding immigration. Ever since we voted to exit the European Union we seem to have brought some very odd folks to attention and given them a platform which they aren’t hesitating to use. Many countries are having similar problems with social regression. Radical political parties which would not have been acceptable before are finding themselves with more ears turned to their words.

Take racism. This is a difficult topic and will usually get hackles raised quite quickly. What makes one skin tone think they are better than another skin tone? The same formula that makes people who follow one religion feel they are superior to those who follow another, I suppose. The human need for superiority, conquest and control of the subservient. The fire-in-the-blood excitement when the prey has been cornered. Since humans began taking land from each other and trading human lives, there has been this need to be superior to another at any and all opportunity. How small we can be.

If we are to grow as a species we need to realise that working together makes society grow and ideas flourish. Progress can be made in areas which will benefit all. If we can’t get past separation and greed than any progress will only be in the world of corporate money, great if you have the right shares, I suppose…

The question we all have to ask ourselves is simply this:-

What does it matter if your neighbour chooses to walk a different path to you as long as they are not hurting anyone?

Diversity is actually a good thing. It brings fresh ideas, big questions and gets things done more quickly and efficently. We need access to a multitude of ideas where one team can learn from the other instead of holding back progress to try and be more powerful than other countries. This slows progress up for decades. Take the space race between the USA and the then USSR. Competition got things moving towards a common goal much faster than if there was no deadline. Think how quickly things would have been done if ideas, experiments and results had been shared between both countries? The International Space Station is a good example of what teamwork between nations can achieve in cooperation with each other.

Which way is better for mankind?

Which way is better for Earth itself?

Sharing is what will make us all strong and we will all need to be strong if we are to survive as a species. We must let go of greed and stop stockpiling food for so long it goes off. Australia and Norway are two countries I can think of offhand who have produced a surplus of free power through clean energy means. There is enough of everything we need to survive – everything except tolerance and acceptance and they are our failings, not the failings of Mother Earth.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Your Spiritual Life

This week sees the start of a little series called Your Spiritual Life containing my musings about living a spiritual life. I am starting with the very basics of your foundation and then moving into all sorts of areas which will include articles on things which have helped me personally.

You can find this series in the menu at the top of my blog and I will put a heads-up on here when a new article has been posted.

Today you can find articles there on:

Personal Needs

Faith

Tolerance

Your Spiritual Cement Mix

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

See how these play their parts in creating a strong foundation which will help you to get the most out of your spiritual life.

In fitness a strong body core is often talked about but we also benefit from a strong mental core and sometimes we may find ourselves floundering a bit when we realise something is missing from our lives but we don’t quite know what it is. I believe that missing piece is our spiritual need, regardless of whether we have a religion we follow or not.

One point I must make is that I follow no named religion and have not written this to preach or turn anyone away from what they believe in already. My musings are to spark ideas and give tools to those who want to enrich their lives. It is for those who wonder and have a curiosity but don’t know where to start.

I respect all religions and the right of anyone to believe in what or whom they wish as long as they harm no other or themselves.

I hope you find the series of value 🙂

The Spiritual Way

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I find myself at a crossroads of sorts with my spirituality. I have a great deal of knowledge on various spiritual subjects and now is the time for me to decide what to do with it. I am thinking of having a free series on this very blog in the future, once I have written it and fine tuned it, which will help beginners self-realise their own spiritual potential. There is no ulterior motive to this, just a desire to share what I have learnt in the hope it will help someone else.

On a practical level I am working with the universal energies via Reiki to send free distance healing to those who ask for it and those whom I offer it to. I do this up to three times a week. I am finding this very satisfying as one of my beliefs is that the universal energy is there for all of us to tap into, not just those with enough money to pay for it. I know Reiki helps and I like to get stuck in there and walk the walk as often as time will allow. You can learn how to work with Reiki yourself by reading a previous article of mine here.

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It is really important to remember as you start on your path into the spiritual and metaphysical worlds that being humble is one of the most important things you can learn to be. Learning how to send healing or exercising your psychic muscle isn’t like an episode of Charmed and you won’t be banishing demons next. It is all about self-improvement and learning to help others. It is about listening. Feeling the emotions of other people and recognising them for what they are. It’s about taking responsibility for your thoughts and your actions and realising how those thoughts and actions make their mark in the collective consciousness.

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At the very least you can learn to become much more aware of what is going on around you and more appreciative of the little things in life that you might have otherwise rushed past. Mindfulness is an excellent example of a technique which will help you be more in the moment. There is a completely free online 8 week course in Mindfulness which you can access here. Trust me, it is well worth the effort.

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Being spiritually aware isn’t about just sitting bolt upright, cross-legged and meditating. Where the humbleness also comes in is admitting that sometimes you can cock-up being all Zen and in fact get just as mad, irrationally or otherwise, as the next person. Nobody is perfect. The stoppage is having the control to think about what you will do next before instinctively just going for the primal option and acting without thought, potentially doing great harm to yourself as well as others. Guilt and remorse tend to stick around in their black gooey state, particularly in those quieter moments, and can be very difficult to rid yourself of. Why have the bother?

Having faith in whatever deity or truth you choose to believe in can be very empowering. When you have that sort of faith on your side it will give you the strength to walk away from toxic people or those who would harm you. It gives you the backbone to say ‘Enough!’ and leave. There is nothing fluffy about true faith and belief. It gives you the courage and feeling that you are never alone and that you are heard.

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One final thing I will put at the end of this blog – every religion is the right religion for the person who chose it as their own, as long as it harms no other. Faith gives us strength but we should never assume it will give that same strength to another, their needs may be different to ours.

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Now, more than ever, we must try to live in harmony and embrace other people’s differences and unique ways. We are all equal. We must learn to share what we have with each other, freely and with love, for the betterment of us all.

Staverton Thicks

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Even on an overcast day in February, Staverton Thicks near Woodbridge, Suffolk is still the ultimate fairy tale wood of childhood stories in its bare bones of winter.

This place is tucked in very near to the very popular Rendlesham Forest (yes, the place where the UFO is said to have popped by for a visit next to the former USAF base) but few people seem to know of its existence.

It is a place which sets pen to paper. Robert MacFarlane talks of it in his book The Wild Places where he recounts a tale told to him by the late Roger Deakin of naked dancing deep in its heart. Sara Maitland tells of her own visit in her book Gossip from The Forest: The Tangled Roots of Our Forests and Fairytales where she had an encounter when she strayed off the path.

We didn’t see any cross landowners whilst we were there although I was prepared to sacrifice one of the teenagers to the cooking pot should the need arise. They are SO expensive to keep these days, aren’t they? Fortunately there was no need and we proceeded unmolested, enabling us to ask the spirits and elementals who dwell there for a few twigs and feathers to take home with us.

I took so many photos that I have decided a gallery is the only answer to fully share this wonderful and very magical place with you.

As my adult daughter with learning difficulties said of the trees “They look like paintings, Mummy.” and she was right, they do.

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When The Menopause Bites Back

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I am feeling quietly pleased with myself as I have just changed the keyboard on my laptop all by myself. I grant you it isn’t a really difficult task for a normal person but I am menopausal…tying my shoelaces on my own these days is a real achievement!

I’m joking…kinda 😀

Today I wanted to talk about the menopause. I thought I was nearing the finish line since Mother Nature hadn’t paid me a visit since last July. Then on the 6th of the month she called unexpectedly and overstayed her welcome. I was not exactly thrilled. Yesterday she popped in for a quick coffee yet again and now she has gone…with a flea in her ear, let me tell you!

There is plenty of information out there telling us about some of the symptoms of a looming menopause but not many websites talk about the days or even minutes of numbness, the crying for no reason and the crazy lady syndrome which can beset some of us. Now, let me be clear. Depression is a long lasting condition which needs medical care. If you have it, you will know it. The type of low mood I am talking about is one which comes and goes. The low mood, brain fog, irritability and crying we get periodically on and off in the months/years leading up to the menopause is very different from full on depression and is very similar to PMT at its worse in my experience. It is just more irregular in appearance and can strike at any time and go away just as quickly, sometimes even in a day.

With changes in our bodies and also possibly in our life circumstances emotionally and family wise such as children leaving home for university and parents needing care, this is a time for many changes not just THE change and we can be thrown off balance far more easily. We are still warrior women but we do have to remember this is a time to be kinder to ourselves and less judgemental of what we feel we ought to be. The Crone is emerging, the wise woman with decades of life experiences to share is settling in. We look to grandchildren now, the next generation to teach and nurture. We look to ourselves and our own needs a little more and this we MUST do, with no guilt attached, if we are to find joy and contentment with what our bodies and minds now offer us. Do you know who you are? Are you who you want to be?

Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain your Zen. I think it is important to be honest about how we feel rather than trying to make out these things are below us (makes it easier for the next woman who comes along to know she isn’t alone too) so let me share the following with you. Two weeks ago I was an absolute mess. The flu, migraines, anxiety, tears whether sad or happy (fluffy bunnies set me off!) and increased pain levels by about a good half. All a prelude to a time of the month I didn’t know I was expecting but it scared the heck out of me. I battled down with herbs, crystals, a blankie and a lot of mental thumb sucking and rode the wave out but, gals, I thought I was losing it at the time until the reason became clear when my period started. It was just PMT and a wash of hormones.

This week I mostly feel as I usually do (the flu is lessening…one hopes!) and what a relief it is! I also bought myself a copy of Susun Weed’s Menopausal Years and found it to be the perfect companion. Susun tells you about all the nitty gritty stuff and gives you the confidence to know that things will be alright even when you are drowning in the emotional riptide.

Your hormones are such fun companions but if they really start to bully you for more than two weeks then do get yourself to the doctors and find out what is available to help you. Get yourself informed about herbs and natural supportive treatments. Meditate. Do what you can to stay in the moment and don’t allow yourself to linger on unhelpful thoughts of guilt, shame and any other negativity which rears its head. Keep away from the news, social media and any other potential trigger of a drastic mood change and wait it out. If it lasts longer than a couple of weeks then seek help. The menopause is a natural transition, it is not something to suffer for.

Do yourselves a favour and buy a copy of this book. It is an absolute must for the shelf of the personal library of every women from 30+ years old and will save you from a whole heap of trouble later. Trust me. 

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

The best book on menopause is now better. Herbal solutions for osteoporosis, hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, flooding, fibroids, low libido, incontinence, anxiety, depression.

Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones.

Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD.

One of the world’s best selling books on menopause still comes on strong. Called “indispensable,” “incredible,” and a “treasure trove of information,” Menopausal Years is the “bible” for the 87% of American women over the age of fifty who want nothing to do with hormones.

Includes information and remedies for problems with premenopause — flooding, erratic periods, fibroids, spotting, water retention, muscle soreness — as well as menopause — hot flashes, sleeplessness, mood swings, headaches, palpitations, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and much more. Final chapters speak to post-menopausal women’s concerns: including ways to maintain heart health, prevent and reverse osteoporosis, deal with dry vaginal tissues and incontinence, ease aching joints, and maintain healthy libido.

The soothing, wise voice of Grandmother Growth guides each woman through the book and through her own menopause metamorphosis. Ritual interludes interweaves a spiritual dimension often lacking in other works.

Includes superb resource lists for menopause information, index, glossary, directions for using (and preparing) herbal medicines, complete descriptions of the most-used menopausal herbs (including nettles, ginseng, dong quai, red clover, oatstraw, and motherwort), recipes for heart- and bone-healthy dishes, and lots of illustrations. 

 

Breathing Wilderness

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So this week I am writing just a little update. All is well, I just have a few minor health issues…full blown flu, women’s problems (yes, I thought I was done with that too since July last year! I can’t express how glacially thrilled I am) and a migraine to be exact. Tacking that lot on to the less than perfectly working body I have these days and I am, as one of the children put it, an ill bean. Probably of the broad bean variety if my ever increasing girth is to be taken into account…

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I have been napping since Saturday afternoon, tis true, but in between I have been defying the double vision and reading with an eye covered…awfully clever, I thought, you’re impressed too, I can tell… and sliding into the world of Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places. What a joy this book is! Macfarlane shares my love of a vista, a hidden nook and a furious coastline. Whilst I have been languishing he has taken me on a journey across moors, up mountains and through holloways. We have collected pebbles together, drunk from crystal streams and moved bramble to get into sleepy hollows. We haven’t eaten bugs because this is the UK and here, in our wilderness, we rub two sticks together, get a pan out and heat up something delicious we brought with us. And we did. And it tasted even more wonderful for that. Although we didn’t use a picnic rug which I thought would have been only right and proper. I shall perhaps send an email and point this folly out.

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On a couple of his journeys he had Roger Deakin as a companion. The two men together wandered as schoolboys in The Wild Places, squeezing into gaps most would pass by and using ivy to get into holloways which probably haven’t seen a human for many years. Deakin has also written some truly wonderful books with Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees being a particular favourite of mine. Printed after his death, it is a collection of his travels through woodlands in many places across the world as well as the UK. Moreover it is a book which brings alive every step he took so vividly you can reach out and touch the bark with him.

Macfarlane slept in the open air on the edge of island cliffs with birds roosting beside him and the ocean crashing on the rocks below him, lulling him to sleep with nature’s melody. He sought the fury of a storm on a mountain and the loneliness of a shingle bank (spit) out in the North Sea with a distant seal colony his only companions.

These books are about having fun whatever your age and going where your soul is nourished. For those of us who are called by the wild they are also a welcome respite from the sounds of the town around us. They are books which tempt you off the beaten track, which get you pulling out dusty maps from the back of your shelves and pouring over them. They are also for those of us who yearn to run our fingertips down the face of a granite outcrop again and marvel at the time it has been there. I miss my mountains.

We are here for as long as it takes a mountain to take a breath in. Make it count.

Red Apophyllite

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This piece of clear, red and green Apophyllite has been with me for a little over a month now and has been a real pleasure to work with.

It gives off a really palpable, strong energy which everyone who has held it has remarked upon, even those who aren’t earth energy minded. There is just a power to it which buzzes in the hand and it is a truly extraordinary piece. I would say it is on par with my Lemurian Seed Crystal for energy output and there is something ‘otherworldly’ about it too.

Apophyllite is also called the Reiki crystal as it is said its effect is similar to a Reiki treatment. I can certainly vouch for its healing energy which is very powerful. This crystal can chase away the darkest of days and brings joy and peace when held. When I have worked with it for longer I shall start to use it in my long distance healing work along with my Lemurian Seed Crystal and my Amethyst cluster as I feel this is the way it wishes to be worked with.

Apophyllite is a stone of truth and it is said it will help you see the truth of any matter more clearly. It is usually clear or green so it is unusual to find a piece with this red hue to it. It is simply the result of minerals near the crystal being absorbed into it as it is forming and it makes a unique crystal. The photos really don’t do this particular crystal aesthetic justice…the clear, green and red sparkly formations on their igneous matrix is really delicate and beautiful up close. I am pretty certain the matrix is basalt (giving strength, courage and fanning the fire within!), which hardens into a vesicular texture (similar to a pumice stone in appearance) and so this crystal is very light in weight too. It needs very careful handling as the crystal can flake and the matrix is very fragile. Don’t drop it!

Apophyllite can be worked with when seeking knowledge of spirit guides or power animals. It can clear a room of negativity and your aura too and is a perfect stone to have in the bedroom to help encourage a decent night’s sleep.  It is said to be a crystal which can heal family rifts, encourage togetherness and lift the vibrational energy of any room it is placed in. A stone of high vibration, it can be used to cleanse other crystals and can be easily cleansed itself by waving it through a wisp of incense and voicing your intention to cleanse it.

If you are a healer then I recommend getting a piece of this and experimenting with it. I feel it has great potential to significantly enhance my personal spiritual work and I am just about ready to jump in and see just how good these vibes really are 🙂

 

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Eclectic Spirituality

"A highly individualized spiritual belief system composed of selected elements drawn from various doctrines." -- Judie Sigdel

I CHOOSE TO INSPIRE

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