We all know how to get acquainted with other people. What if we made an analogy between getting to know people, and better understanding our Stones? Why? Because Stones are people too…
“Where Are You From?”
The place we were born shaped much of who we are. Earth’s many cultures each have a flavour all their own. Perhaps culture comes in part from energies unique to that specific patch of Earth (under which our Stones were born too). Like people, Stones come from diverse places all over the world, carrying with them a heritage chock full of unique traits. What energies might you discover in an Amethyst from spicy Latin America, or maybe a Ruby dug from the snowy Himalayan peaks? If you work with a specific pantheon, Stones from which part of the Earth might best fit that pantheon? What herbs or animals, foods, music or dance might also come from that same region? Researching where your Stone was born can help you understand it better.
“Where Did You Grow Up?”
Stones form in many different ways. Pearls are the milky secretions an oyster paints atop a grain of sand, day after day, as a smooth band-aid to prevent the rough sand from irritating the oyster’s delicate inner membrane. Amber is age-old tree sap – not much different than the syrup we pour over pancakes! Diamonds are carbon, the basic chemical building block for all plants and animals on Earth (including people). Emeralds are born white, and ‘ripen’ into their rich green colour. Malachite is rich in copper, the same metal that links together your local phone network. Now that you know this, how might Malachite help you reach out and touch the magical energies you desire?
Examining our own past helps explain how we were forged into the people we are today. Likewise, knowing how your Stone ‘grew up’ might help you understand its properties. Shiny black Obsidian, formed by a violent volcano eruption, was cast forth – red hot and flaring. But like anything cast forth with sudden rage, the Obsidian cooled down over time, and gently settled into its present smooth state. How might pondering this process help us cope with life’s many flare-ups we may encounter each day?
Wherever your Stone comes from, remember that it is far from home, uprooted by a rather disruptive mining process. Ripped away from its homeland, from where it formed and rested beneath the Earth for ages, your Stone may have travelled halfway around the world, just to sit upon your book shelf.
“What’s Your Name?”
Names given to Stones often tell what we thought of them, many centuries ago. The name Amethyst comes from the Greek word Amethustos, meaning anti-intoxicant. This word is related to Methyl, a form of alcohol. People once believed that holding Amethysts in your mouth, or using an Amethyst cup, would prevent drunkenness. Crystal comes from Kyros, and means icy cold. The name Ruby comes from the Latin word for red. However, the Greeks called Rubies Anthrax which means ‘living coal’, like what you might find nestled in the warm afterglow of campfire ashes. Anthrax is also the name of a nasty disease causing ruby-red blisters! Garnet is related to the word Pomegranate, which has many Garnet-collared seeds or ‘grains’. Perhaps Sapphires are related to the same name used by the Greek poet Sappho.
Regardless of what ‘given name’ your Stone was born with, you might want to create your own pet names for the special gems in your life. Like the Dear Ones close to your heart, Stones become more personal, more intimate, once a little nickname is used for them, and only them. Can’t think of a pet name for your favourite Stone? Ask it and be sure to listen deeply for the answer that pops into your thoughts!
“Do You Have Brothers and Sisters?”
Like people, Stones come in families. Like any family, members share common traits and look alike, yet are still quite unique. Perhaps knowing which types of Stones are kin might help you plan for ways to use multiple Stones together. Experiment here. Play with the chemistry between Stones, mixing and matching between families.
When should you use Stones within the same family, versus outside the same family? Think about what activities ‘people’ do best when shared with family? Conversely, then think about those activities usually not shared with family members, where opposites attract. Be sly, and trust your intuition about these ‘social interactions’.
(Be sly – and the family Stone? 🙂 )
Think about your favourite Stones and research their family tree. Emeralds, Aquamarines and Alexandrites are part of the Beryl family of Stones. Beryl means the Stone contains the metal Beryllium, and may be related to the Germanic word for brilliant. Beryls come from six-sided crystals, and offer something to ponder for people interested in numbers. Rubies, Sapphires, Zircons, and Topaz are part of another family, called Corundum, and form via a mix of aluminum and oxygen. The Quartz family of course contains Quartz rock crystal itself, along with siblings such as Citrine, Rhine Stone, Amethyst, and many others. Quartz is made of the mineral Silicon, which composes nearly one third of the Earth’s crust (and the vast majority of its microchips)! How might Quartz affect your daily activities that involve technology?
“How Old Are You?”
Unlike people, Stones won’t take offense if you ask their age. Stones have a life span nearly immeasurable by us mere mortals. Formed over many millennia beneath the Earth, your precious gem (including the 99 cent rock from the mall) is by far the oldest thing in your home. Millions of times older than any herb or oil, your Stone is an honoured elder in any Tradition. As you hold a Stone in your hand, think of the time that has passed during its existence!
Liquid yellow Amber oozed out from a now-extinct species of pine 300 million years ago and is older than human culture itself. Remember their fortitude as you think about Stones. The gem you wear on your finger will continue on, long after that finger has turned to dust! Our Stones will survive eons after the winds of time have swept away every building, city, or temple ever built in our era.
The ancient Roman world has crumbled to a few tattered ruins, yet the Emerald that Nero peered through while watching gladiators has likely changed very little. Where will your favourite Stone be in a hundred years? A thousand? A million? How many functions will it have served; how many stories could it tell?
“What Do You Do?”
There are countless references over the ages about what Stones do. In addition to researching the books, try to feel which Stone is good for what purpose. And again, if you don’t know just ask it!
Historically, Stones were used in many ways. Some were even ground up, mixed with sugar and eaten. (Note: this could be dangerous and is not recommended). Ground Diamonds were once used as weapons, since they lodge in the intestine quite painfully. Amber was once smoked in a pipe and inhaled for medicinal value. Even today, it is customary for fine tobacco pipes to have yellow plastic mouthpieces, once made of Amber.
Over time, with practice, people get better at any task they repeat. Do you use stones for divination? Try using the same Stone over and over many times, for divination or any magical act. As you improve with practice, perhaps your Stones will too. If your Stone is an odd shape, let your inner nine year old try looking at the Stone like you might gaze at the clouds. What does that one look like? A fish? Maybe a rabbit? What do these shapes symbolize for you?
Down to Earth Folks
Not all Stones are fancy polished gems. Most are as common as dirt. But being ordinary makes them no less special. While they might not have elegant names or pedigrees, the Stones we encounter every day along our path can be very powerful indeed. Want to change some part of your home life? Could a Stone from your own back yard help better than some foreign import from a far-off land? Stones from our own back yard teach us to see the simple solutions, ones we may otherwise overlook. Think about the Stones you might find in the many places of your life: where you work or shop, your school, hospital or bank. What energies might these places hold?
A Familiar Face
Stones become memorabilia that bring us back to the people, places and things we love. Ever take a pebble as a remembrance of an intimate walk along the beach, forest or vacation? Whether we fly to an exotic resort, or NASA flies to the Moon, rocks are often what we bring home as souvenirs! Perhaps we innately sense how they absorb and store energy, recording a bit of what our own emotions splash upon them.
Stones in your home hear your every word. They have been there for every holiday, witnessed every occasion. As gifts, they often last longer than the person who gave them to you! As jewellery, they bask in your aura, become warmed by the heat of your body, and oh so gently touch your skin for hours on end… How many stories could that Stone tell about you?
Stones Are People Too
If you see this analogy, perhaps other objects can become more personal and take on new life too. The same questions we asked our Stones can be asked of any part of our surroundings. Perhaps all things (whether animal, vegetable or mineral) are part of the vast community of all things, a community larger than we ever realized and a community in which we too are a part.