Tag Archives: Meditation

Spirituality Without Fanfare

Once you have been on your spiritual path for a while you will start to realise that it is best to not take yourself too seriously.

There are two types of people who practise spirituality, in my experience. Those who tell others how powerful they are or how enlightened they are or how good their expensive courses are…and those who just get on with it, quietly and without fanfare. Do a course for fun if you think you will get something out of it but do realise that the only thing really worth spending is time itself. Time to learn, time to experiment, time to let things simmer.

Unfortunately being bombarded with all these enlightenment sellers can put some potential newcomers off discovering more about themselves and their possibilities and that’s a shame as there is nothing to be nervous about. Don’t be scared by the hype, don’t be put off by those who dress themselves up as mystical beings who need to be adored. They are selling a service which is the spiritual equivalent of getting your nails painted…it’s fun but it isn’t an essential life choice. You can do what you need to do with a little online research, free resources, reading books and, most importantly, living the life and gaining the experience.

Those who are quietly spiritual know that everyone is an individual who will be spending years on their unique path, no expensive course is going to get anyone there quicker. Sorry. Sometimes it can even slow progress down as you are following someone else’s path not your own. Their way of doing things might not be yours.

Your path is your own and you don’t have to be doing A, B or C to qualify for any award. There is no award. There’s a reward for taking a spiritual path though. Several of them.

If you can successfully meditate you can make your daily life calmer and happier. This can take the edge off the hardest situation. YouTube has some really good meditations. Try Michael Sealey or Jason Stephenson.

Practising mindfulness will give you a better outlook on life and will make those challenges easier to deal with because you stay in the moment, at least long enough to have a break from your mind chatter. Here is a 8 week free course, run by Dave Potter a fully certified MBSR instructor.

Being able to work with the energies to heal yourself and others for free is your way to give back and to do your bit to help change one small part of the world which is suffering…whether that be an individual or a situation.  Learn how to give reiki to yourself with this previous article of mine Reiki For Self Love.  Where you go with it afterwards when it comes to helping others is for you to decide.

Ritual is a way to bring order to chaos as well as engaging in aged practices – whether you just count your morning ritual of shower, tea and toast before work or rituals used with your deity of choice, such as prayers. A good morning ritual sets you up for the day and most of us have several rituals which we enjoy. Perhaps yours is a candlelit bath or a cup of chamomile tea last thing before bed. A ritual is simply something you do at a certain time and, sometimes, for a certain reason. Getting a few rituals of your own in place will bring structure and certainty to your day and you will find you look forward to doing them. They will bring a comfort and a smile, a sense of well-being.

Learning how to work with herbs is another way that you can help yourself. Again there are many online courses out there for the basics but a good book will do you just as well too if money is tight. The work of Susun Weed is a good start if you are in the USA or Herbcraft by Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender is an excellent choice for those in the UK and Europe. Herbcraft gives a broad use for plants including medicinal and magickal as well as a bit of history for interest.

Learning which plants are edible is very important so do take care as there are some deadly ones out there too. 

Knowledge is essential when using herbs in whatever form you choose them. Several good books for cross referencing are essential and you should never rely on just one photo in a book to decide which plant is in front of you in the wild. Several good, clear close up photos are needed. Of course, the company of someone who already knows is ideal but few of us have that and so we must take things gradually and be careful with our choices by being sensible.

Here is a fun video done by someone just starting out using herbs. We all have to start somewhere…

Many of us enjoy a cup of chamomile tea or peppermint tea so why not take it a step further and start learning how to work with the energies of the plants in your vicinity, growing your own or even just in their essential oil form. Pure oils can be used for cleaning and sanitising your home, refreshing the aroma, getting rid of garden pests, used to heal yourself and pets and in a multitude of ways.

I have had no training in essential oils but taught myself gradually over many years and now use them in every part of my life. They are surprisingly versatile, useful and helpful and, of course, chemical free if chosen wisely. There are many articles online which will help you choose a starter arsenal of essential oils. My first three choices would be roman chamomile, lavender and peppermint. I have linked to an article for each to get you started if you are new to essential oils.

If you are starting off on your path and follow the signposts above and in my previous nine articles then together they should give you your first few footsteps. You will be on your way to a spiritual life which allows you to grow, gain confidence, deal with challenges, heal your everyday niggles and give love and strength to those around you. There will be days when it all seems too much and you will want a break. Be kind to yourself on those days and do whatever you need to do. Everyone has a spiritual crisis at some point in their lives…sometimes more than one…but this is good because this is where the biggest shifts happen.

My final suggestions are to enjoy life, love who you are and do what you have to do to make your life your own. Never be dictated by those who surround you or even those in your area of choice spiritually. Always trust your instincts and if you aren’t sure what they are saying then meditate and wait. The answer is there.

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

Update – Air Dry Clay Playtime: Herbal Impression Tiles and Earth Goddess

Just a little update to show you how the tiles I talked about in my previous post came out after painting. They aren’t quite finished yet as I intend to add some imitation gold leaf before setting them out as a large tile. I am really pleased with how it is going so far.

I am itching for my Earth Goddess to dry completely so I can cover her with gesso and start painting. I will be adding dried plant matter to this under some mod podge and concentrating on textures rather than detail before covering her with colour and some imitation gold leaf.

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I can really recommend getting stuck into some sort of craft project. Make the time to create. Find something which brings you joy. You don’t have to be an expert in it, the important thing is to get satisfaction from the creation and have fun doing it 🙂

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Earth Goddess…finished ‘for now’

In the end I really liked the way she looked as above and so I decided to keep her like this for now and see how she develops. Lovely energy from her!

Finding Your Safe Place

Lots of people have already found certain places in nature where they go to regroup or relax. This can be as simple as a tree in the local park where they can stop off whilst walking the dog to take in the view and taste the air.

My favourite place is by a particular tree which is generous enough to replenish me with its energy whenever I visit. I don’t visit quite often enough for my taste but it is a difficult tree for me to get to and so I savour it when I do get there. Not even my immediate family knows of my attachment to this particular tree. I keep that knowledge close to my heart because it is special to me and holds more power than if I verbally share it and its whereabouts indiscriminately. That’s what I choose to believe and that belief has served me well.

If you are lucky enough to have a public park near to where you work then do visit in your lunchtime. Take that half hour and your sandwiches and get outside. It will wake you up, increase your productivity and your mental agility too. Even if you haven’t got a whole park to yourself then a bench or somewhere peaceful outside is ideal to replenish a weary mind. It can also be the place you go to catch your breath when the human race has been particularly trying. It will become a place of regrouping, comfort and fresh starts.

If you don’t have a few trees handy then the next best thing is putting on a pair of noise cancelling headphones on and listening to sounds of nature or, taking it one step further, imagining a forest in your mind’s eye and creating your own place to escape to during meditation. You might want to start with a guided meditation first if this seems daunting. There are plenty of options on YouTube if you want to try this. How about this one from Linda Hall?

A place to feel joy, gratitude, love and happy memories and to make new ones.

A place to go to when times are testing.

A place where you can be yourself, without judgment.

However you find your sanctuary it will serve you well.

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

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.

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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The Wren – All The Best Things Come In Small Packages

 

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Last week Wren came to me as my messenger animal totem and I had fun drawing her and listening to what she has to teach me. I am not an artist really but I do enjoy pretending I am and playing with pencils and paper 😀

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I live as quite the hermit due to circumstances and responsibilities and Wren medicine is all about being part of what is going on. Amongst other things she tells us to get out there and be counted. Sing at the top of your voice and be heard above the crowd. She is nimble, agile and vibrant with energy. Wren talks of relationships with others and nurturing the here and now. She encourages adventure and living life to the full. Be bold.

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In the years before Christianity took over pagan festivals, the 26th December (or in some parts the winter solstice) was a day when the wren was hunted. Wrenboys would capture the King of Birds and would parade through the town with the bird asking for money. The money from patrons would then be used to put on a Wren Ball for the whole town or village. Songs were sung and you can view some here. Later the Wren was buried with full honours in celebration and pudding was served. This tradition is said to be the acting out of the tale of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, a hero in Celtic myth, who gains his name by tricking his mother Arianrhod into lifting her curse and naming him in a tale involving a wren. As he strikes the wren “between the tendon and the bone of its leg” Arianrhod says “the fair haired one with the skillful hand is his name now” and her first curse was lifted. She was to do two more, such was her annoyance, but each time she was thwarted.

There is a lovely description of the tradition of Hunting the Wren which can be found over on Pie Religion which speaks of the humour involved (as is in all the best traditions of this sort still followed) and Steeleye Span have a little ditty to share, both of which I shall leave you to enjoy.

 

 

The Perfect Meditation For You!

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When I first started meditating I found using guided meditations to be the best way to begin. Even now, especially when feeling a little weary, I will use a guided meditation rather than relying on my tired mind to keep the rhythm and flow going.

There are a few things which I wanted to start working on for self-improvement and none of my current guided meditations were ticking all the boxes so I thought why not record one myself? This was surprisingly easy to do as my iPod (it’s old but it still works!!) has a voice recorder on it. All I had to do was read from a self-penned script and fill in the blanks with what I felt was needed. I used rose quartz for unconditional love and black obsidian for protection as my two crystal companions for this meditation. Both strong and uncomplicated crystals which do what they are supposed to do.

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This is my basic outline –

  • Take a deep breath in for the count of four, hold for a count of four, out for a count of five. Do this cycle three times.
  • If you need extra help with relaxing then you could talk yourself through tensing and relaxing your body in sections from your toes to head as you wish.
  • Visualise a TV screen in your mind, see and mentally count down each number from 12 to 1.
  • Do a protection exercise here such as imagining being encased in a spinning pyramid of golden light which deflects anything which is not for your highest good. Ask for the protection of your spirit guides and helpers who love you unconditionally. They will come at your invitation even if you are not aware of them yet.
  • Here is the place in the meditation where you will state your intentions, say your positive affirmations, talk with your spirit guide or whatever else is the purpose of your meditation.
  • When that is done and you feel the tasks are completed it is time to ground yourself. Visualise a column of light coming up from the ground and exiting out of the top of your head. See the healing energy coming up from the Earth and send that energy to every part of you from head to toe. Healing, soothing and cleansing your core and your soul. Scan your body mentally and put any heaviness, tightness or emotion which no longer serves you into the column of light, sending it into the Earth to be cleansed and neutralised. Then reverse the energy back down into the Earth and visualise sending roots from your feet down into the centre of the Earth to anchor you and keep you connected to the soil and Mother Earth.
  • Next count yourself up from 1 to 12, seeing each number on the TV screen as before. Then wiggle your feet, stretch your body, open your eyes and bring yourself back into the room.

You will notice there is quite a bit of time spent on cleansing and body housekeeping, as it were. I think it is worth it when undergoing any meditation. This is your quiet time, your time to regroup and relax whilst working on those things your spirit craves you to find peace and closure on. Make the most of it and do a little spring cleaning whilst you are in the right frame of mind and place to do it.

It is very important to ground yourself when meditating. I choose to do it whilst still relaxed and in the meditative state because I feel at my strongest then and I know I am completely focused on the task at hand and will therefore be more successful. Intention is everything. Do everything in a way which you feel is the right way for you. There is no right or wrong way as long as all the ingredients are there somewhere. If it doesn’t feel right for you one way then try another.

I followed my above pattern and I now have a 30 minute mediation to use daily which is specific to my needs. I can tailor it again to whatever my needs might be in the future just by altering the portion of the script above in italics to reflect this and re-recording it at any time. The more often I use the meditation the easier it will be and the more successful the outcome.

As you read above, I enhanced my energy field with crystals. I lit a patchouli, cinnamon and sandalwood incense stick to connect to the Earth and sipped an infusion of catnip and lemon balm tea before the meditation. I do these rituals routinely to focus my mind and enhance the experience. Everything in its place.

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Easy, hey? And not as daunting as you might first have imagined. Keeping it simple but direct and tailored just for you.

You can use this meditation in times of stress, anxiety, worry or uncertainty. I hope some of you in America will find it particularly useful today. Written with my love and all my hopes.

Many Blessings!

The Road To Enlightenment

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For most of us it isn’t possible to spend 40 days and nights in a cave halfway up a Himalayan mountain. We have responsibilities and can’t, or won’t in my case, leave our families to go into a desert or to a retreat and spend a year in silence. So does the absence of these acts negate us normal folk from finding the same level of enlightenment or at least enough of a level to feel the difference?

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The enlightenment which is open to all of us, regardless of personal circumstances, is that which allows us to live in the here and now. That means that the majority of the time we are fully engaged in what we are doing in the present moment and we aren’t worrying about the future or regretting the past.

When I first thought about being in the now it concerned me a bit. How was I to plan for the future? How was I to incorporate the past in order to learn from it? Then I realised that these things can still be thought about and acted on. The one thing which should be given as little airtime as possible is negative thinking, whether that is about the past or about the future. That sounds so peaceful…could it be the enlightenment which many of us seek? I think it could be. Just as easy as that.

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By learning to choose our thoughts carefully and direct them somewhere else more positive when they go astray, we can lead lives which are easier to cope with on a day to day basis. If we think about the past it should be only to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes again. If we think about the future it should just be to decide how we can grow as individuals and as a species and about how we can treat the Earth with the respect it needs to enable it, and its inhabitants, to survive.

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There is one thing I am starting to believe. There is no actual path along which we are all meant to suffer and sacrifice in order to be the best we can be spiritually purely so that we can be given the gift of the touch of the Divine or whatever we ourselves feel enlightenment is. Enlightenment is here already, it is the divine spark we all have in our souls and we recognise it by the way we find it. For some that means sitting in a cave or walking across a desert. For others it may mean spending time meditating or in prayer in isolation. For the rest of us it could simply mean finding a way to BE with the challenges of living and still be in our truth. It is learning to live and not just exist and yet exist whilst learning to live.

I believe training ourselves to think in this way can make for better mental health and a more positive outlook for us as a species. I think it is unrealistic to expect happiness 100% of the time…life is far more interesting than that…but I do believe we can turn our everyday lives around by realising that enlightenment is simply being in a moment which is as beneficial to us and our surroundings at that time as it can possibly be and leaving other cares behind us in the past where they belong. The past is done with and the future is not yet here. We can change neither right at this minute. The only thing which matters, which we can directly influence right now, IS the here and now. This present moment. Let’s not waste it by immersing ourselves in regret, guilt, fear or ‘what if’s’.

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Do the best you can. Some days will be harder than others but be kind to yourself on those days not judgmental. Forget trying to be perfect, forget striving for the unobtainable, just concentrate on enjoying your life in the here and now and, despite outside trials or day to day challenges, seek joy in all you do.

Enjoy the journey, you have already arrived.

 

Self Help Books?

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I have come to the conclusion that when one reaches a certain age one starts to reach instinctively towards a self-help book. There’s a whole market of the things out there. Whatever your primary outlook in life there is a book or ten out there for you. All written so you can nod your head so vigorously at the contents you either get dizzy or need actually physio.

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I reached that certain age around 9pm last Tuesday (it might have been 10am the Sunday before…I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday sometimes) and I found myself book shopping. I bought Caroline Myss’s Sacred Contracts, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and F*ck Feelings by Dr Michael Bennett and his daughter Sarah Bennett.

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Sacred Contracts has been around since 2001 so I am a bit behind with reading this one. I also bought the card deck which Myss has done which goes with the book. The card deck is simply a printed set of all the different archetypes which are said to make up our personalities, the idea being that you go through them and pick another eight to go with the four we all have already. The four we all have, apparently, are Child (various sorts, pick one card), Prostitute (yes, my thoughts exactly but it isn’t that sort of prostitute!), Saboteur and Victim. I admit at first glance I wasn’t keen on making the Victim or Prostitute cards part of my package but there are much deeper meanings than a mere word can put over at first glance. There are light and shadow attributes with the light attribute being the positive one which, in the case of the Victim, “prevents you from letting yourself be victimised or victimising others”. After much wrangling I managed to find my other eight cards, at least for now, but it was much harder than I thought it would be and I am not settled on them until I have read the book and the more expanded explanations of each archetype contained therein. I shall see how it all goes 🙂

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The Power of Now is another one I am slow to discover, which to be fair is hardly surprising when I wasn’t looking for it. Written by Eckhart Tolle way back in 1999, it was a book which found its way by word of mouth to start with and then, after Oprah Winfrey got her paws on it and acclaimed it a sensation, the whole of America read it. Well, that’s sort of what happened. I may have embellished a bit there but Oprah certainly read it because it says so on the cover. As I write this I am on page 32 so I can’t give a fair review. There have been a few raised eyebrow moments for me so far but those moments are what keeps life interesting and I am completely open minded to begin with about anything I read. I don’t dismiss the ridiculous, I ponder it a bit first. It is funny the nuggets of truth which reveal themselves when this stance is taken.

F*ck Feelings is a more modern self help book and came out about a year ago. It promises to be humorous as the co-author Sarah Bennett is a comedian. I rather like that. I do appreciate a self help author who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. It is on my shelf in third position to read and is quite a chunky book so I am reading that last.

I think the reasons all this has come up for me as suddenly important are obvious in some ways. Here I am, a grandmother now, having had five children and a varied and interesting life so far. Some of that life has been difficult and has left the odd scar which now needs healing. Now is my older and wiser time. A time to, perhaps, look more closely at some of the things which have brought me to this point but which I had mentally boxed up because I had too much going on to deal with them. It might be painful, it might be comforting, it will be difficult. I am not sure which of these will rear its head first or if they will all be there together in the mix. What I do know is that it is like finally deciding to get up the ladder and clean the attic…one is not overly enthused at the thought but it needs doing and can’t be put off any longer.

Time to get the gloves on and reach for the duster…

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Septarian

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This beautiful Septarian (or Dragon Stone) was formed about 60 million years ago when dead organic matter was covered in sediment under an ocean. As time went on and the ocean disappeared the mud dried and cracked. Minerals formed including Calcite and Aragonite and gave this particular stone its distinctive appearance. No two Septarian are the same and so their metaphysical vibe will be slightly different depending on their mineral content and amount.

This stone is fairly common and not too expensive to buy. Popular in egg form as above, it makes a good stone to squeeze in your palm and get tactile with if you have something on your mind. Another nurturing stone, it is one which brings harmony between our often warring outer and inner selves as we struggle to balance the two in the world we live in. If you find yourself conforming far too often for your comfort then this stone may well bring you the strength to stand tall and do what is best for your inner peace and self esteem.

Septarian is said to be a very useful stone when communicating with others and enables you to be heard.

I like to use mine when I am undecided about something and weighing up the facts. I also use it in shadow work to balance my present with my past. This stone is said to be shamanic too and this is probably because of its connection to Mother Earth due to the way it was created and the time it takes to come into its glory in the ground.

Beautiful, hey?