Thursday, April 19, 2007

Larvikite


The first Larvikite that I met tried to sneak into my life. A single gem had managed to hide itself amongst a large shipment of mixed gemstones. It was the first time I ever went through a shipment twice. My son had just joined the Air Force and its bright steel blue flash instantly brought comforting images of my son and his new path. In fact because of that moment, I gave the gemstone my own nickname (and Larvikite has lots of nicknames), "Air Force" stone.

Larvikite is a soda, lime rich Feldspar, also known as a plagioclase. In this grouping of Feldspars the sodium aluminum silicate and calcium aluminum silicate combine into a three way crystal system. This crystal formation contributes to the flashes found in Larvikite and other plagioclase siblings like Labradorite and Rainbow Moonstone.

This unusual member of the Feldspar family was named in 1890 by W. Christofer Broegger. He was a petrology professor at the University of Oslo at the time. Most geologists believe this unique crystal is only found around the Fjords of Larvik Norway. Though it has shown up in other locations, these smaller "deposits" have been linked to human intervention.

Larvikite stones range in color from a lighter blue (Blue Pearl), to a darker blue with an almost steel colored flash (Emerald Pearl).

At this time it is the belief of most geologists that Larvikite does not form actual crystals. The majority of deposits have been large blocks and massive boulders. Some of the boulders found their way to the English coastline around East Yorkshire. They are among a number of exotic stones found in the area that were once used to help defend the beaches (against Saxons or Vikings?). The East Yorkshire Boulder Committee call these "human influenced erratics" and have taken great pains to notate the locations of these out of place stones.

This will help future petrologists understand how the Larvikite got there. As the sea and drift break the boulders down, it will create smaller round pebbles. Eventually it will become more and more difficult to separate these human deposits from similar glacial deposits (which have been known to deposit crystals in places they are not suppose to be).

Similar deposits of Larvikite found in the Lake Ontario region are believed to have made their way to North America as ballast aboard ships bringing grain from Europe. In this instance, ballast refers to crushed stones used to balance an uneven load. Larvikite was used this way during the 30s and 40s of the last century.

While Larvikite's history is still pretty new (barely over 100 years), the gemstone has picked up a number of nicknames during this brief span. They include Birds Eye Granite, Black Moonstone, Blue Norwegian Moonstone, Blue Pearl Granite, Blue Granite, Norwegian Pearl Granite, Emerald Pearl, Pub Stone* and even Labradorite. And that is a short list.

Unfortunately, attaching a name like granite to Larvikite is extremely misleading. This gem is not a Granite by any sense of the definition. However its extensive use in buildings (*including its use as a facing stone for a number of pubs in England) has led to the stone receiving its granite sub title.

This flashy feldspar made its public debut at the World's Fair in Germany during 1890. Nations participating in the fair were asked to send their two best decorative building stones to be judged by architects. According to the Norwegian legend, Norway only produced one building stone at the time and was desperate to find a second stone to send. Broegger, who had just registered his new stone (according to the myth, it "winked at him in the moonlight") was asked to suggest a second stone. Immediately he recommended the new discovery, which the architects eventually choose as the fair's best building stone.

Larvikite was used in the construction of the United Nations building in New York. A bust of Thor Heyerdahl (the Kon-Tiki sailor) carved from Larvikite sits in Larvik Norway. Countertops, door knobs, book ends, paper weights and carved gemstones are some of the other decorative uses for this crystal.

There appears to be very little study of Larvikite as a healing or magical gemstone. Though, I suspect there are probably some ancient unwritten Norwegian histories on this crystal. Unfortunately this means I don't have the luxury of getting back up confirmations to my personal readings from Melody, Maya Heath or Scott Cunningham. We are on our own, treading new territory with our Larvikite guide.

Larvikite may prove to be the perfect companion for those times when speed is of the essence. If you need to expedite the completion of a project, goal, task, settlement, bring some issue to closure, try working with this stone. Please be forewarned. Sometimes, issues and situations are meant to resolve themselves in a timeframe that may be different from yours. Use caution and good judgment when asking the Universe to hurry along.

My crystal accompanied me during the most stressful month of my move. These were the weeks I spent searching that perfect "second" job in a city I do not know (yet). In moments when I felt lost, I could watch the cool blue flash on my Larvikite and regain focus. You may find that your crystal will help you keep on track. If you tend to stray away your highest good, Larvikite will assist you by keeping your most perfect path well lit.

Working with Larvikite will help you to see behind the faces that people wear. If you are a healer or a reader, it can be a very powerful companion. The stone will aid you to more quickly and easily understand your client's needs. You'll be able to hear the real message between their words and see the true desires within their hearts. It will also help you to communicate a path or healing that will have the correct impact on their lives.

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Lapis Lazuli


Lapis Lazuli, a mineral consisting of lazurite, silica, aluminum, Calcite and Pyrite, is the result of stones like Limestone and Granite becoming liquified by flowing magma. Many of the finest deposits are found embedded in layers of these stones.

It is one of the very first gemstones mined. Ancient mines in Afghanistan have been worked, according to one resource, since 6000 BC. Some of these mines are worked today using the same techniques utilized thousands of years ago.

In rare instances, Lapis will form tiny rhombic dodecahedron (12 sided) crystals. Usually not much larger than a peanut or fingernail. It has been found in greens, reds and violets, but the blue has always been the most prized color.

The historic mines in Afghanistan are still the most productive source for Lapis today. Significant deposits have been found in Chili, though these tend to be more green. Smaller occurrences of this precious blue gem have been found in Turkey, California, Canada, Russia and just outside Rome near Mt. Vesuvius.

Originally called Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli’s history is long and colorful. During the middle ages in Europe powdered Lapis was used to create a distinctive blue pigment known as ultramarine. This brilliant blue paint was used in many masterpieces and to decorate the hand written manuscripts of the day.

The Egyptian Book Of The Dead describes a monthly ceremony using a Lapis Lazuli carved in the shape of an eye and decorated with Gold. It was believed that Ra, their supreme God, would put a similar image on his forehead at the same time.

Egyptians also used the gem to create the original blue eye shadows and as a dye for clothing. It was extremely popular as a carved scarab and countless pieces of jewelry have been found in the pyramids with Lapis stones.

King Solomon was given a Lapis ring by an Angel which enabled him to control legions of demons. He used this powerful ring to build his great temple.

The Romans used pulverized Lapis Lazuli as an aphrodisiac; it was also taken as an antidote to poisons.

A word of caution if you enjoy wearing this gemstone in jewelry. Lapis is very soft and easily affected by cleaning agents and solvents. Even wearing it in a hot bath can change the color or damage the stone. It can be scratched by almost any other stone, so it is recommended that it be stored away from other pieces.

Lapis Lazuli is a frequently imitated stone. There is a man-made stone call Gilson Synthetic Ultramarine that is very convincing as Lapis. Jasper from Switzerland is often dyed blue and sold as “Swiss Lapis” and a synthetic spinel has been grown in laboratories that recreates the grainy texture of the true gemstone.

The sparkling Pyrite inclusions against the deep blue backdrop of Lapis creates a striking resemblance of the night sky. Early spiritual uses of the gemstone included prophetic dreaming or inviting a peaceful sleep.

This is an excellent meditation tool. Lapis Lazuli is highly effective at opening the Third Eye or 6th Chakra. The stone will allow for better communication with the different dimensions or use it for looking into the future. Keep this psychic stimulator with your divining tools such as Crystal balls, Tarot cards, pendulums etc.

Sleeping with this gemstone can help you see the meaning in your dreams more clearly. Allowing you to use the messages or information that your subconscious is providing.

Lapis Lazuli will attract true friendships into your life. If your youngster is painfully shy, a small piece of Lapis will give them courage. Use it yourself for better judgment and insight to make tough decisions or to see the truth in misleading situations.

A perfect wedding stone, Lapis promotes fidelity between partners. The same is true for business partnerships. It will give you wisdom and protect you from dangerous emotions like envy and fear.

It can also be worn as protection against danger or to change destructive energies into useful ones. The stone will assist you in balancing your yin yang, allowing you to take advantage of both male and female strengths within you.

As a healer, Lapis Lazuli will aid in overcoming insomnia and as mentioned earlier, used as an antidote for poisons. It can assist in treating eye disorders or pulverized and mixed with water to create a poultice.

Lapis will reduce fevers, help with diseases of the blood or aid in repairing broken bones. It imparts physical strength to the arms and legs and can be used to tranquilize frayed nerves. It provides relief from pain or help you overcome melancholy.

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Labradorite


Labradorite is a magical gemstone. It has the ability to capture light. Once trapped inside its crystal prison, Light dances a brilliant ballet of colors

The geological reason for this is as fascinating as the effect it creates. Labradorite consists of silica, alumina, iron, lime, soda and potash. When these minerals have been melted together, their chemical structures are very compatible. As they cool, however, they become incompatible creating varying crystal layers that have separated at different depths. This inter growth or structure is called lamellar.

When light enters a Labradorite, it literally becomes ensnared in these layers. Reflecting from one layer to the next. When the light finally exits the stone its wave length has slowed considerably.

The thickness of these layers and the speed of the light wave determine what colors you’ll see in a Labradorite. The most familiar color is blue. Rarer specimens will reflect red, gold, green or violet. Labradorescence or Schiller effect are terms jewelers and geologists have given this amazing phenomenon

It is unusual for Labradorite to form crystals. When it does, they are triclinic (similar to Tourmaline crystals) and often twinned. Usually the gem is found as huge masses in metamorphic or igneous stones.

Labradorite is a member of the Feldspar family. Its history is much younger than its siblings Moonstone and Sunstone. The gem was discovered by missionaries along the Labrador coast in 1770. Some of these first stones (one slab was two feet by one foot) were presented to the British Museum in 1777.

Today specimens are found in Canada, Scandinavia, Finland, Madagascar, Russia, Romania, Australia, New South Wales and Newfoundland. Unique, clear Labradorite specimens have been found in Utah.

Though it has only been among humans a short time, Labradorite was quickly adopted as a power stone. It is associated with both Moon and Sun energies. Appropriate when you consider the stone’s dark appearance, until light is captured within.

This balance of light and dark make Labradorite a powerful tool. Use the strength of perfect balance to persevere through obstacles and emerge with a brighter spiritual light.

Use transformative properties in the gem to understand your destiny, then know and make the changes needed to achieve it. Allow your intuition to become part of your thought process.

Labradorite is a great stone for teachers. Especially teachers bringing a new message of love and light for humankind’s advancement. It will illuminate your lesson and aid assimilation.

It will also eliminate illusions, light a clear path to your goal. Keep a Labradorite near to stimulate your imagination, or when your inner child needs play time. You may find some bright new ideas shining through.

I know a couple of light workers that are highly attracted to Labradorite. Both are trying to awaken the imprisoned light within and bring about enlightenment.

An excellent gem for Journeys or meditation, allowing you to calmly move through various dimensions of being.

Use the Moon and Sun energies in Labradorite to bring your physical and spiritual bodies into alignment with the natural cycles of the Universe. Building this bond with the universal cycles will instill the confident knowledge that you face nothing alone.

If you deal with a stressful job, the stone will help replenish your physical and emotional stamina. These calming energies are wonderful for lowering blood pressure.

Other healing energies from Labradorite include for relief from cold symptoms. I can attest to its effectiveness. Friends and family have been falling victim to a recent cold virus. All this week I have carried a Labradorite (something I do for each article I research), and have barely had a sniffle.

You may find some relieve for rheumatism and gout with this gem. It will bring your body into a healthy regular cycle, aiding digestion and elimination. It can bring clarity to patients suffering from brain disorders.

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Kyanite


You may be familiar with Kyanite in its most common state. A flaky blue crystal that exhibits shiny Mica bits that on occasion will include a Garnet or Sapphire crystal. Did you know that Kyanite can also forms a beautiful, lustrous gemstone that in ancient days was often mistaken for Sapphire?

Kyanite is a Aluminum Silicate. There are three different crystals that share the exact Aluminum to Quartz formula; Kyanite, Andalusite and Sillimanite. Pressure and heat will determine which of the three crystals will form during the metamorphic process that creates them. If the temperature is high, Sillimanite will form, low pressure results in Andalusite and Kyanite will form under the most extreme pressures.

The crystal is available in these metamorphosed Aluminum rich stones and throughout veins of Quartz that run through them. Garnet, Sapphire, Staurolite, Biotite and Muscovite are found in the same regions and often attached to Kyanite. Kyanite has also been found in Kimberlite pipes. The same kind of pipes that Diamonds are mined from.

In blue specimens, traces of Aluminum are replaced by Iron and Titanium. Crystals found in Kimberlite have traces of Chromium.

Kyanite crystals have a variety of unique features. The crystal itself has a dual hardness. Cut along the axis of the crystal, it is extremely soft, however when you turn it at a 45 degree angle from that axis, the crystal is almost as hard as a Diamond (7.5 on the mohs scale). Kyanite gemstones also have a perfect cleavage, meaning it breaks cleanly and easily. These attributes make the stone quite a challenge for faceting and cutting.

Crystals containing Iron can exhibit magnetic properties. If hung by a hair (not sure if it has to be a "hair", but the references that mentioned this quality, used a hair in their example), the Iron-rich Kyanite crystal will follow the Earth's magnetic field.

When the rare Kyanite crystal does form it has an unusual habit. Along two of the crystals faces, striated lines will run horizontally, along the other two faces the striations will be vertical. Crystals can also be lightly pleochroic, meaning it changes colors by shifting the angle light is reflected off the crystal.

Blue is the most common color for Kyanite, and the one the gem is most noted for. It can occur in a wide range of blues to green, plus white, gray, black, brown and a rare pink.

Some of the most beautiful Kyanite gemstones in the world come from Switzerland, it is also one of the earliest locations for mining this crystal. Kenya, France, Italy, U.S., India, Myanmar and in the alluvial sands of Brazilian rivers are a few other regions where the stone is mined.

Over the years, Kyanite came to be known by a variety of names. Two names come from Greek words. Kyanite comes from the word kyanos which is blue in Greek. A more scientific name, Disthene come from a couple of Greek words, di - means two and stenos which means hard. Disthene refers to the two different strengths of this crystal. Sappare became attached to Kyanite after a French mineralogist (Saussure) misread its label, thinking it was a Sapphire. Even after the mistake was recognized, the nickname stuck. A less known name Rhaeticite is sometimes given to white specimens of Kyanite.

Its ability to withstand high pressures and heat has made Kyanite useful in some industrial applications. It is used in spark plugs plus a variety of ceramics utilized in extreme temperature applications.

History seems to have overlooked this unusual, energetic blue crystal. Perhaps its very early confusion with Sapphires and Spinel caused this oversight. Today, however Kyanite is an important tool among the healer's crystals.

The blade like structure of this crystal will allow you to use it to slice through blockages in both a patient's aura and Chara system. It opens and aligns all the Chakra, making it a versatile tool. More importantly to the healer, Kyanite does not absorb the harmful energies removed during the healing process.

Kyanite is a powerful ally for enhancing your psychic skills. It works on both the Throat and Third Eye Chakra, helping to both open your "sight" and clear the way for communication with your guides and Angels. Allowing you to more accurately interpret what you are sensing or "seeing".

Have your dreams been speaking to you? If you are working to understand messages coming through your dreams, keep a Kyanite under your pillow. It will help you to remember your dreams then assist you in cutting through to the deeper meaning and understanding.

If you have a hectic lifestyle, Kyanite can provide a calming meditation at the end of your day. Leaving both your psychic and physical bodies feeling refreshed. While the crystal is helping you relax, it is also working to clear your Chakra, allowing your body and mind to perform better.

Is your body recovering from a recent shock or trauma? Keep a Kyanite with you during the healing process. The crystal helps with your recuperation by revitalizing your energy. Kyanite's affect on the Throat Chakra may help relieve breathing blockages caused by sinus problems or seasonal allergies.

Kyanite is a very useful gemstone, but be careful not to develop a dependance on it. If you use it in your work, don't carry it as a companion stone. When you are needing its company, set the crystal aside every couple of days. You'll find that your body has been teaching itself the crystal's healing pattern and will often behave as if your Kyanite is still with you.

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Jasper


Jasper belongs to that nearly infinite Quartz family called Chalcedony. The Jasper family itself is rather extensive, sparkling in every color available in Mother's spectrum. Members have wonderful names like Picture Jasper, Ivory Jasper, Picasso Jasper, Fancy Jasper, Royal Plume Jasper. Some members are unique to certain places like the Mook or Mookite Jaspers from Australia.

Jasper is a crypto crystalline Quartz. Simply put, the crystals in Jasper gemstones are so dense and so tightly compacted that they are invisible to the naked eye. The biggest difference between a Red Jasper and a Citrine is that there is probably 20 to 30% more Iron in the Jasper. One of my geological references termed it a "dirty Quartz", I like to think of them as crystallized Earth.

Jaspers are found all over Mother Earth, in a stunning variety of colors and multicolor. All gemstones in this family are form in massive chunks. Most develop close to the surface under cooler temperatures (which is why the crystals are so compact) and much lower pressures. Some form as hydrothermal replacements (hot water interacting with local minerals) others as sediment crystallized over the millions of years it took Earth to reach this current state.


The name Jasper comes to us from the Greek language. Jaspis or the ancient spelling Iaspis was the name of a mythical stone found in the head of the adder snake.

Early shamans from both European and the North American First Nations viewed the Jasper was a very sacred stone. Blue colored Jaspers were used to travel safely back and forth to the Spirit World. Red Jasper represented the blood of the Great Mother and was used to connect with the Earth in healing ceremonies. Greek warriors carried one to give them courage in battle.

Green Jaspers were used to call the rain (though I've had great success using the Brecciated variety for this purpose). Early christians also used the Heliotrope (green Jasper with red, yellow and blue colorings, aka Bloodstone) for carving crucifixes and martyr scenes. There is a legend that the red spots formed when the blood of Jesus dripped on the the plain green stone beneath his crucifix. In some texts it is referred to as the Martyr's stone.

An Egyptian king named Nechepsus had a Dragon carved onto a green Jasper then set in a ring to help with his infamous digestive problems. It is also one of the stones in Aaron's high priest breastplate.

Damigeron and other authors during the 11th and 12th centuries wrote volumes about the protective powers of the Jasper. It was written that the gemstone could drive away evil spirits and protect the wearer from the bites of poisonous snakes and spiders. Texts recommended placing the stone over the bite and it would draw the poison out of the wound. The porous quality of some Jaspers would make them slightly absorbent which would give them the ability to draw in some liquids (like venom).

Even if you don't have to worry about snake or spider bites, you will find Jasper makes a marvelous companion. Its Quartz energies will allow you to use your Jasper in an infinite number of ways.

You can utilize its rainbow spectrum of colors to help improve the flow of energy through your different Chakra. You'll can easily find the right hued Jasper to correspond with each Chakra. It also is a great gemstone to use in combination with other crystals. The microcrystalline structure can serve as a mini-charger, much like a large Quartz cluster can charge stones. It assists other stones in fulfilling their intentions by sharing its strong vibrations.

If you find yourself in many dangerous situations (driving the back roads of the Ozark hills can be quite dangerous - no one seems to understand what that center yellow line is for), this is an important stone for you. It will improve your insight to help you keep out of trouble. When trouble is unavoidable, it will increase courage and heighten senses so that you can think and react quickly and correctly.

Is your work environment unhealthy, either mentally or physically? If you are surrounded by negative co-workers, or those political types that are always trying to thwart your efforts, place a Jasper on your desk. It will protect you from the harmful intentions of others, plus keep you from reacting in ways that will ultimately do you harm (like trying to take revenge).

Green and Red Jaspers are especially helpful in toxic work environments. Their absorbent quality will help draw toxins away from you. Plus they will make you smarter, aiding in preventing accidents and being able to act intelligently when things do go awry.

Social workers, counselors and other who provide guidance will find this an excellent companion. It aids in building nurturing energies, giving your knowledge, strength and insight in helping others to break restraints and habits that are holding them back. It can make you a "bringer of joy".

If you are preparing to become a mother soon, the Jasper is believed to protect both the mother and the child during labor. It should also relieve some of the pain associated with labor.

A Jasper can help you keep your energy up during long illnesses or stays in the hospital. Those practicing fasting may also take advantage of this stone's energy boosts.

Other health benefits include rejuvenating worn or deteriorating organs like the kidneys, bladder, spleen, liver and stomach. It also calms and relaxes, providing a healthy release of stress (which can cause much physical damage). Jaspers will also balance your body's essential minerals like iron, zinc and manganese.

In the November issue we'll examine some of the energies of specific Jaspers. You'll also find articles on Bloodstone and Jasper in the ORE FEATURES

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Jade/Nephrite


This is not a simple tale to tell. The story of Jade is the story of two very different, yet quite similar gemstones. So similar, that it took over 5,000 years to realize our error.

For centuries Nephrite and Jadeite were considered to be the same stone, Jade. Not until 1863, when a French mineralogist demonstrated the chemical differences between the two gems, was any distinction made.

Both are aluminum silicates; Nephrite contains calcium magnesium and Jadeite includes sodium. Varying amounts of iron are present in both stones. The term Jade, comes from a spanish phrase "piedra de hijada", which means "stone of the loins" and was believed to be excellent medicine for the kidneys.

In an effort to simplify the information (I learned a lot researching this geological puzzle), we'll review Nephrite and Jadeite in separate articles. Jadeite in the next issue, and the more ancient Nephrite in this article.

Nephrite Jade was the original Jade so honored and treasured by the Chinese. However, Nephrite's ancient history is not limited to the Chinese culture. All over the world this extremely tough, yet soft mineral was popular as a material for fashioning tools. The huge numbers of axes, knives and other instruments found worldwide, carved from this gemstone, has given it the nickname Axe-stone.

Nephrite comes from a Greek word, nephros, which, coincidentally, means kidney. While this gemstone rarely forms in a crystal structure, under a microscope, it becomes obvious that the composition is actually that of millions of intertwined monoclinic crystals. These crystals are exactly the same as the Actinolite (some references say that Nephrite is Actinolite), except they have been pressed into a compact, fibrous mass. A few theories conjecture that the pressure needed to create this type of formation came from glaciers moving through Europe and around the world following the Ice Age.

The gemstone forms in huge blocks, and is found frequently as boulders and pebbles in rivers. The largest polish piece of Nephrite is in the Mineral Gallery of the British Museum of Natural History and weighs 1,156 pounds! Raw pieces found in the wild can easily weigh 1,000 pounds before cutting.

Iron is the major influence of color in Nephrite Jades. Normally the gem is found in varying shades of green, from a grayish green to the most sought after emerald greens. Occasionally it will be found in yellows, browns and in rare instances, black or white. It is often found with white streaks of Magnesite across the surface and can contain minute amounts of lime and soda.

Nephrite is found in China, Canada, US, the Alps, Taiwan, Russia, India, Germany and New Zealand. The Moari tribes of New Zealand carved Hei Tiki from the gem. These ancestral carvings were believed to protect them from disease and attack and were used in special ceremonies.

Nephrite is the type of Jade used in ancient Chinese carvings and medicine. They believed this gem would preserve the physical body after death. One emperor's tomb contained a whole suit constructed of Jade. It was also valued as a stone of love and virtue, often considered a symbol of status. The rare whites were the most treasured of the Nephrite colors.

When Jadeite was discovered in nearby Burma during the mid 1700's, the Chinese dismissed it as an inferior stone, often lacking the darker greens found in Nephrite. They would refer to it as that "kingfisher stone".

Though Nephrite Jades was used extensively as a tool by early Europeans, it was not until the Portuguese and Marco Polo began opening trade routes, that it became a decorative gem outside China.

The history of Jade as a power stone is as muddled as its geological history. Only two of my personal metaphysical references made any distinction between Nephrite and Jadeite (Melody and Maya Heath). With the help of a Nephrite specimen I've been carrying this week, I hope that I've manage to cull out the information that is specific to this gemstone.

Information from the Chinese on Nephrite's power is actually very reliable, since this was the stone they held in high esteem for several millennia. A butterfly carved from Jade (Nephrite) was often worn to attract love, it was also a common engagement gift from a man to a woman. Men would present a statue of two men carved from the stone to bond their friendship.

Dishes for food and drink were often carved from Jade. The gem was believed to prolong life and that substances contained in those vessels would absorb that energy. Talismans of bats, storks, and bears were carved to promote a healthier, longer life.

You can also utilize this life-giving energy in protective medicine. Nephrite will help you maintain alertness, so that you can avoid accidents caused by inattention. Or wear one in a Spirit Pouch for assistance from your ancestors (as the Maori did) when needed. The iron inclusions make this a wonderful stone for balancing and aligning your base Chakra and opening your heart Chakra.

Are you stuck in a tense, uncompromising situation at work or home? Use a Nephrite in meditation to help find common ground for both parties. This stone will also promote a more unified environment so you may accomplish compromise. If your life is a series of one disaster after another, this Jade can assist in removing harmful energies and increasing beneficial ones.
It is also great for balancing male/female energies and for creating more balance in your relationship. Use a Nephrite Jade with other stones or store one with your magickal tools. It has an extremely powerful "blessing" energy, enhancing other gems, crystals and objects that come in contact. If you do healing work, you may want to keep a Nephrite Jade around for a quick meditation after each session. The stone provides an wonderful boost of energy that will revive you.

Nephrite has long been associated with healthy kidneys and other internal organs. It can also provide rejuvenating energies to give you new strength after a long illness or emotional trauma. The gem may increase white blood cells to help fight off dangerous organisms that attack your body. It will regulate your metabolism and provides women with relief from PMS, childbirth, and physical violence against our sexuality. If you have been a victim of rape or domestic violence, the loving energies of this stone will not only assist you in recovering from the emotional trauma, but will prevent the onset of traumatic illnesses that stress can cause.
In the next issue of ORE FEATURES, we'll review Jadeite.

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Jade/Jadeite

In the last issue, you learned that Jade is actually two stones, Nephrite and Jadeite. While it is true these are different stones, there are some similar geological characteristics and uses between them.

Both exhibit the same soft texture, with steel like strength. Both are aluminum silicates. Both are made up of intertwined crystals that have been smashed together under great pressures. Both were used extensively by our ancestors as tools and decorations. In some locations, the two minerals are found side by side. All these similarities led to centuries of confusion over Nephrite and Jadeite.

Unfortunately, before geology became a science, there was a great deal misinformation about gemstones and crystals. Many green gemstones were immediately classified as Emeralds, even though they were actually Peridot, Jasper, Moldavite and Jade. The Emerald Buddha in Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok, in reality, is constructed of a beautiful Imperial Jadeite. Which by coincidence contains the same traces of chromium that give Emerald its green.
Today, geologists classify Nephrite Jades in the amphibole mineral group and Jadeite is considered a pyroxene. While Jadeite begins as a aluminum silicate, like Nephrite; unlike Nephrite it also contains traces of lime, soda and potash. Sometimes, though, not often, Jadeite will grow in long prismatic crystals. Nephrite never crystalizes.

Jadeite occurs in a wider range of colors than Nephrite. Lavenders, rosy reds, white and a full cast of greens are fairly common in Jadeite. The rarest are the Imperial Jades that contain traces of chromium. Some white specimens are occasionally zoned with this special Jadeite.
Small deposits of the stone can be found around the world. Near Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Jadeite is found not far from deposits of Nephrite. Jadeite has been found by itself in other areas of the Swiss Alps, rounded pebbles are often picked up along Lake Neuchatel. In Eastern Turkestan, Jadeite and Nephrite deposits have been discovered interwoven together.

The highest quality stones are found in Mexico, throughout South America and in Burma. Huge boulders of Jadeite are just lifted out of the Uru River in Burma. Even after centuries of mining, the supply there seems inexhaustible. Red Jadeite, a very rare and highly sought after stone, only occurs in this region. Jadeite buried in thick layers of iron rich red clay has absorbed the iron and color from the surrounding soil, creating an extremely unusual stone.

Purchasing Jadeite is a tricky business. Jade dealers have to bid on the giant boulders, almost sight unseen. Normally, only a tiny window is carved into the stone, giving the buyer a very small glimpse into what they are getting. Not until they prepare the stone for market, will they really know what they have bought.

In the Western hemisphere Jadeite was a highly honored stone. Besides being worked into axes and other tools, it was also used for ceremonial masks, religious carvings and even collected as a tax.

The Olmecs, Mayans, Toltecs and Aztecs all left incredible artifacts carved from this stone. Right now, in Washington DC, The Museo de Arte de las Americas is featuring an exhibit called the Gold, Jade Forests. The exhibit includes 142 Precolumbian artifacts of Jade, Gold and more.

Jade has a rich spiritual history, however, none of the older records make any distinction between Jadeite and Nephrite. I have done my best to sort out the differences.

In the Americas, Jadeite was considered a stone of magic by the Mayans and Aztecs. It would bring the protection of the spirits when needed. The stone was also utilized in rituals to attract wealth and fortune. Jadeite statues of Mayan and Aztec Gods for abundance and protection were common.

Jadeite itself, has a very calming gentle nature. Green Jadeite vibrates in harmony with the Heart Chakra unlike any other stone. Giving you a pleasing sense of calm and acceptance.

Colors in the pink to lavenders are as effective as Rose Quartz in opening your heart and allowing you to express unconditional love. If you find you are distracted by the high vibrations of most Quartz, you may discover that Jadeite is more suited to you. You can use the white Jadeite as a substitute for clear or milky Quartz.

Around the office, you can use Jadeite to bring together diverse individuals and get them working towards a common goal. Utilize these same unifying energies to improve your relationships. I keep an Imperial Jadeite in my cash box when I travel with the ORE Store. So far, I am pleased with the results.

The darkest greens and black Jadeite (aka Chloromelanite) are excellent for opening the Third Eye and Crown Chakra. They help you see the unlimited love and gifting of the Universe, improve your intelligence and perception and aid you in making correct choices.

Men will definitely want to carry Jadeite for better health. It aids with muscle cramps, stabilizes muscle tissues and may be very effective at treating male reproductive disorders.

Use the stone to help broken bones or stitches mend. Jadeite's energies are wonderful for recreating bonds that have been broken, both physical and mental. Use it to relieve pain in your legs and hips.

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IOLITE


Like hundreds of others before me, when I saw my first Iolite I mistook it for a dark blue Sapphire. Fortunately, the dealer I was working with at the time corrected my error (not all will) and told me it was a less expensive, but no less beautiful gem known as Iolite.

Over the years Iolite has picked up a number of trade names. Water Sapphire, Lynx Sapphire, Cordierite and Dichroite. The crystal was first "described" (given a geological definition and it's chemical composition noted) by a French geologist, Pierre Louis Cordier in 1809. His definition and the stone's adopted the name Cordierite in 1813. However he is not credited with discovering the gemstone, just uncovering its geological description.

Its Greek name comes from the work io or ios which means violet. Lynx Sapphire normally refers to the darkest blue gems. However this crystal is found in yellow, brown, green and gray, as well as the pale to deep midnight blues.

Iolite is a fairly complex silicate (Quartz) of Magnesium and Aluminum, with Iron replacing the Magnesium in some crystals, giving those stones more density (heavier). Traces of Lime and Water are also found in the majority of the gems. Its abundance and hard nature have made Iolite a very popular gem in jewelry. With colors rich enough to rival the more expensive Sapphire and the fragile Tanzanite.

Amazingly enough, some of the finest quality Iolites (those that are cut for jewelry) are found as river gravel in the gem rich river bottoms of Ceylon. Sapphires, Carnelians, Topaz, Apatite, Zircon and a number of other highly sought after gems are also retrieved from these gravel beds.

Most Iolite deposits are found as a mass in Granite, metamorphosed clay rocks, and some igneous stones (from volcanic activity). The rare crystal that does form is rhombic or orthorhombic (diamond like prisms with rectangular sides) in structure and usually found in pegmatites. Some crystals have been found in Granite formations however they tend to not be gem quality.

A couple of counties in Connecticut have yielded some exceptional crystals from pegmatites, large enough to cut two plus carat gemstones from. Brazil, Finland, Tanzania, Namibia, Madagascar, India and Russia's Ural mountains all have excellent deposits. Iolite containing Hematite platelets has been found as large chunks in Sri Lanka and Norway.

Iolite or Cordierite may not have gotten into the geological reference books until the early 1800's, but it was a much appreciated and quite useful gemstone long before Cordier wrote his scientific description.

The Water Sapphire has a very unusual characteristic. It is dichroic or pleochroic meaning the crystal appears different colors at different angles (hence another of its names Dichorite). Ancient mariners utilized this to aid in their navigation, making Iolite a sort of crude compass. It may have been an Iolite slab that helped to guide the Vikings to the Newfoundland and back home again.

According to some references, Iolite is bluest when it is held 90 degrees from the Sun. Others state that it was used like polarized sunglasses to locate the Sun by looking through the crystal into the sky. Supposedly this worked even on cloudy days. Unfortunately I don't have pieces large enough to test either of these scenarios.

Iolite has a long history as a talisman for safe journeys and a reputation for calming rough seas among the earliest sailors.

Today it is a popular gemstone for those wanting to develop their psychic skills and natural intuition. Iolite gently activates the sixth Chakra, allowing you to learn the depth of your inner knowledge at the pace that is correct for you.

If you have difficulty with meditation, or need assistance with a vision quest, this crystal makes an excellent guide. You'll let go of your expectations and learn more quickly to be at ease with just being. Once you stop expecting, your spiritual vision will become clearer.

Work with Iolite if you need to bring more structure into your life. This crystal teaches the power of responsibility. Taking care of yourself is an act of self-respect; would you allow another of Mother's children to go uncared for? Iolite reminds you to respect and be responsible for the gift of life you were given.

This is a great stone is recommended for helping you to bring more balance to your masculine and feminine spiritual traits.

In the past Iolite has been used to treat diseases that bring on high fevers like malaria. It may also be used to eliminate the effect of drinking alcohol and may be beneficial in ridding the physical body of toxins. Individuals with liver problems may see some improvement working with this crystal.

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Howlite


Snow drifted fence lines rolling across the plains into a distant horizon. This is the image the web of gray veins across the snowy white surface of a Howlite gemstone conjures for me. The fresh, innocent calm and utter silence left by a blizzard seem to be reflected in this stone's energy.

Howlite is a complex crystal that includes calcium, borax, silicon (Quartz) and hydroxide. This patient gemstone forms slowly as calcium and boran evaporate, creating massive deposits of Howlite in sedimentary stones. Under extremely rare circumstances this stone will crystallize into six sided tabular shapes, aggregated rosettes or bumpy nodules. Most commonly known for grayish veins weaving cross its white surface, Howlite can also be found with brownish streaks.

When examined under a shortwave UV light, some Howlite specimens will fluoresce blue or yellowish white.

The stone was first described/discovered in Nova Scotia in the 1830's by the Canadian geologist Henry How and is named for him. Since How first described the stone, geologists have been undecided over how to classify this relatively new specimen. Because of its silicate content some want to classify it with the huge, over populated Quartz family. However, others contend that Quartz is only one fifth the content of the stone and the Borax molecules far out number the silicon therefore Howlite belongs in the Borate group.

There also appears to be some confusion over the stone's relationship to Magnesite. Some references list Howlite and Magnesite as the same mineral, others list them separately. In the Audubon field guide Magnesite is described as a magnesium carbonate with iron and calcum. I would conclude they are not the same.

While this is a pretty soft gemstone (only 3.5 on the mohs scale), it has an extremely tough structure, making it very popular as a carving material. In fact, some of the nicest carvings I've seen have been done using Howlite. Its natural gray and brown veins add an interesting dimension to any shape.

Another popular use for this crystal has given it something of a bad reputation. Which is unfortunate. Because of the poreous nature of Howlite, it absorbs dyes easily and completely. Commercial dealers have become quite fond of dying Howlite to resemble Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli. Then not sharing with the public what they are actually selling.

An easy visual test for dyed versus natural material is to check for the consistency of color. Natural stones will have some variation in coloring across the stone. It will not be perfect. Since Howlite absorbs dyes so thoroughly, the color in a dyed Howlite is consistent and perfect throughout the stone. Ask your jeweler if you have any doubts.

In addition to deposits found in Canada, California also has numerous locations where the gemstone can be mined. Colemanite, Kernite, Ulexite and Gypsum (Selenite) are some of the other minerals found with Howlite.

You'll find that Howlite is an amazing gemstone for revealing the truth, especially the truth about yourself. Its bright light will illuminate all those reasons that you think are preventing you from reaching your goals as the little white lies they are. This crystal will show you the truth about your strengths, the incredible power you are capable of. But first, it will teach you to stop lying to yourself. So, be careful what you wish for.

Use Howlite to eliminate the tendency to react selfishly during stressful economic times. The woman who gives one of her last two pennies makes a greater contribution than the rich man that tithes a percentage of his income. If you tend to be highly critical of those around you, especially loved ones, this stone can help you reform the habit. In fact, you can use a Howlite stone to help you recognize any habits or behaviors that may be impeding your spiritual evolution.

During stressful conflicts, use the gemstone to bring a calm patience to your reactions. It will prevent you from becoming rude, or behaving in a manner that will only heighten angry emotions. You will find yourself more able to react with tact and communicate your concerns in an appropriate manner. One that will allow for a resolution rather than an escalation.

If you are starting school or undertaking new studies, Howlite will enhance your thirst for knowledge. It will heighten your perceptions, allowing your to absorb new ideas and information easily, and incorporate your new skills and knowledge into every day life.

Health benefits from working with Howlite may include a balanced absorption of calcium and stronger bones and teeth. It could provide relief from pain and the physical symptoms of stress.

I would love to hear about your experiences with Howlite. Please feel free to share, send them to stephanie@ozarkrockexchange.com or, better yet, post them on the ORE's Gemstone Bulletin Board.

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Human Crystal

You are pure magic. The physical body that supports you is a symphony of chemical and electrical actions and reactions that allow you to do the simplest of things, such as read this email or sip a drink. These chemical processes also insure that your heart will continue beating and your lungs keep breathing, without you having to give them a single thought.

There are many things that go into making the human body the magical machine that it is. You are probably aware of the importance of certain vitamins in your diet. Just as critical (maybe even more so) are the mineral elements that are necessary to support your machinery.

Many of the same minerals that are vital to your survival are found in the gemstones and crystals that you are attracted to. Minerals affect the way a crystal will grow, the colors it shows and its healing qualities. Minerals can affect how your body develops, your skin tone and health. Many crystals are electrical or can influence the flow of electricity; Quartz can actually create an electrical current. Your body functions because of electrical impulses that allow muscles, tendons, the spinal cord, brain and your other vital organs to communicate and function in harmony with each other. It is an electrical impulse that causes your finger to hit the mouse and scroll this page down to continue reading.

Minerals are at the root of these electrical actions. While vitamins are critical for your survival, without the assistance of minerals, your body would not be able to utilize some vitamins. For instance, you may take mega doses of vitamin C to help ward off colds this coming Winter. However, if your Calcium levels are low, your body will not be able to absorb or use any of it.

Minerals themselves require the presence of "buddy minerals" to ensure proper body function. Without Magnesium your body would not be able to metabolize (turn calories into energy) Calcium or Zinc. Without Zinc, your body would not be able to absorb and use Phosphorus.

Physical ingredients are not the only similarity that you share with crystals. The heat, pressures and metamorphic events that form crystals teach you an important lesson about living life. As you walk your path you will face difficulties that bring stress, hardship and changes. How you endure and work through these events will shape you. You can choose to be strengthened and enhanced or allow life to slowly wear you down. Minerals that have undergone cataclysmic changes usually become the most brilliant gemstones. Occasionally though, they just become dust. Unlike minerals, you have a choice in how you will be shaped by the forces in your life. Brilliance, or dust.

Here are some of the critical minerals that make up your crystal body. This is not intended as a dietary guide, but simply a list of these vital elements, some of their functions and a few of the gemstones that share that specific element.

CALCIUM - makes up teeth and bones; assists with nerve functions, muscle contraction and blood clotting; lack of Calcium can cause osteoporosis, rickets and form stones in the Kidney or Gall Bladder
Crystals with Calcium include Calcite, Prehnite, Labradorite, Grossular and Uvarovite Garnets

IRON - vital for the absorption of Oxygen from the lungs into the blood and other tissue; lack of Iron can cause anemia and increase the risk of infection; too much Iron can cause organ damage and deficiencies in Calcium and Magnesium
Crystals with Iron include Garnets, Bloodstone, Hematite, Amethyst, Citrine, Lodestone and Carnelian

MAGNESIUM - builds strong bones, necessary for the absorption of Calcium, utilized by 90 different enzymes within the body, assists with muscle and nerve actions; lack of Magnesium can cause weakness, muscle problems, PMS and irregular heartbeat
Crystals that include Magnesium are Iolite, Peridot, Pyrope Garnets, Spinel and Nephrite Jade

PHOSPHOROUS - makes up bone tissue, helps to form compounds that assist the body in converting calories into energy; not enough Phosphorous can cause weakness, loss of minerals in bones and breathing problems; too much prevents your body from absorbing important minerals like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc
Apatite appears to be one of the few crystals that contain Phosphorous

POTASSIUM - supplies the base ion that makes up intercellular fluids (which allow for communication between the cells and the nervous system), assists with the functioning of muscles and nerve tissues, lack of Potassium can cause muscle paralysis, too much can cause heart attacks
Crystals with Potassium include some Moonstones, Amazonite, Granite, Lepidolite and Apophyllite

SODIUM - helps to maintain the right volume of extra cellular fluids (which also assist with the flow of information along the nervous system), corrects the PH balance within your body, helps with muscle function; lack of Sodium can cause low blood pressure, weakness, fever, breathing problems; too much Sodium causes high blood pressure, dehydration and water retention
Crystals that include Sodium are Sodalite, Halite, Jadeite, some Tourmalines, Labradorite, Albite and Apophyllite

This next groups of minerals are found in very small amounts within your body. Not all the functions and disfunctions for these minerals are known or completely understood right now. I've supplied what information I could find.

CHROMIUM - works with the skeletal muscles, lack of Chromium can lead to depression, weakness and lack of patience
Crystals with Chromium include Emerald, Uvarovite Garnet, Diopside and some green Tourmalines

COPPER - helps to form collagen in the blood, is a part of important enzymes; lack of Copper can cause your hair to fall out, disrupt the nervous system, cause bone disease
Crystals with Copper include Turquoise, Malachite, Chrysocolla, pink Prehnite and Azurite

MANGANESE - works as an antioxidant, strengthens bones, nerves and muscles, part of the critical enzyme (CuZn SOD); lack of Manganese can cause rashes and skin irritations, deform bones, stunt hair growth; too much Manganese can cause Parkinson-like symptoms
Crystals with Manganese are Rose Quartz, Rhodonite, Rhodocrosite, Morganite, Spessarite Garnet, Cordierite and Sugilite

SELENIUM - is another antioxidant, assists the immune system, is the essential component of the glutathione peroxidase enzyme; a lack of Selenium can lead to disease in the cartilage around your joints and heart difficulties; too much can be poisonous
Selenium is rarely found in gemstones or crystals, but does crystalize on its own occasionally

SULFUR - helps to remove toxins from the body, one of the building blocks for amino acids, promotes healthy skin, hair, nails; the body needs so little Sulphur there is rarely a deficiency
Sulphur crystallizes on its own, normally on rocks or stones, it is also found occasionally in Quartz (especially from India) and Selenite

ZINC - helps over 200 different enzymes do their jobs, strengthens the immune system; lack of Zinc causes sores on the skin and cornea, increases your risk of infection; too much Zinc will prevent your body from absorbing Copper
Crystals with Zinc include Hemimorphite, Junitoite and Queitite

These are not the only minerals found in your body. Very small traces of Fluorine, Iodine, Cobalt, Molybdenum and Silicon are also present, though their functions are not completely understood at this time.

Most amazing of all (to me anyway) is the fact that these critical minerals you would not survive without are all an important part of Mother Earth. Within the Earth's crust, each mineral exists in proportions that are amazingly similar to the amounts your body needs to perform.

As Father Sky rains and his winds scrap across Mother, these minerals are weathered out of the Earth's shell and make their way into plants, water, animals and eventually our food supply. So not only is your body an amazing symphony of magical processes, but the entire planet works in harmony with you to sustain life. Once you begin to see these interrelations between all things on Earth, the words, "you are what you eat" take on a profound significance.

Your connection to the Earth is not just a spiritual state of mind. The "Web of Life" is not just a warm and fuzzy statement to make us feel good about each other. Your connection to Earth and Life's Web are very physical realities and maintaining the balance on Earth and for all life is essential to the survival of humans.

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Hematite


Hematite, the main product of iron, can be found all over the world. It accounts for 90% of the iron mined in the US. It provides the color in numerous sedimentary rocks, like Sandstone.

A totally opaque gemstone, Hematite is 70% iron and 30% oxygen. This bit of information, prompted me to get out a magnet, and yes, my Hematite stone did react. It began spinning in resistance to the magnet's pull.

Hematite can crystallize in plates, rounded botryoidal bumps or even in rhombohedral crystals. Often it will occur as a red inclusion in other gems or crystals.

It was the original stone to be referred to as Bloodstone. Some specimens, when cut, will "bLeed" oxidized iron, which is red. The ancient traditional spelling of this stone, Haematite, comes from the Greek word meaning blood stone

In Utah and Arizona it formed iron roses, hexagonal plates of Hematite spread out in disorganized patterns that resemble a rose.

Thick plate crystals have been found in Brazil, along with iridescent specimens called Rainbow Hematite. Italy's Elba Island also produces this brilliant Hematite. England, Spain, Germany, the Alps and the huge iron belt around the Great Lakes all boast large deposits of this gemstone.

Before more modern and cheaper methods were developed, Hematite was used as a pigment in red and black dyes. Dust for polishing softer gemstones and crystals has been manufactured from Hematite.

Hematite's use as a healing stone goes back into old Egypt and Mesopotamia. It has been found adorning cylinders and signet rings in the tombs of the Pharaohs.

As a power stone, Hematite is closely tied to Mother Earth. This makes it a perfect Base Chakra gem, aligning your physical energies with those of the Earth.

Hematite can help create a calm environment, allowing you to sort out mental conflicts. It will aid in removing self imposed limits, helping you reach for the sun while staying grounded in your expectations.

Use this gem to transform harmful energies into loving ones. Brings about your own inner peace, happiness and self control, making it easier for you to love others.

For students and engineers, it aids in solving mathematical calculations, improves technical knowledge, memory and mental dexterity.

Hematite is an excellent meditation stone for beginners. It will help you achieve a mild meditative state, while allowing you to remain safely grounded, preventing emotional disruption or shock.

Ancient healing traditions for Hematite were originally described using the name Bloodstone.
It was used to stop the flow of blood from wounds and drawing poisons from the body. You can still use a Hematite to draw fever or other illnesses from the body.

Hematite also makes a wonderful elixir. Use it to treat anemia, it will aid the blood in absorbing iron. It can also be useful for treating insomnia, leg cramps and nervous disorders.

Chiropractors can use a Hematite to aid in spinal alignments. It may also be helpful in healing broken bones.

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Gold

Gold is an amazing metal. It does not corrode, rust or break down in any way. It is incredibly strong. One gram of Gold can be stretched into a thin wire measuring one kilometer (5/8 of a mile). Of the known 80,000 metric tons that have been mined throughout history, most of it is still around in one form or another. Gold used in gilding has been hammered into paper-thin sheets. No other metal is as ductile, malleable or stable as this bright mineral.

Nor has any other mineral captured, corrupted, or enlightened the soul of Humans the way that Gold has.

Unlike other metals, Gold is rarely found included in other minerals. Though a type of Quartz with veins of Gold has been discovered in California. Where it is available, Gold is normally found in it's purest form. As a crystal, it can sometimes look like a glittering alien plant. Twins, cubes, octahedra and dodecahedra crystals are other common Gold crystal shapes. Near the vents where volcanic steam and heat escape from the Transylvanian mountains yield some of the most beautiful Gold crystals in the world.

Nuggets are the most common shape that Gold is found in. Gold initially emerges after magmatic or hydrothermal events. Huge deposits have been discovered near veins of Quartz, Pyrite and other minerals that form as a result of this type of geological activity. Silver, Copper and Iron are sometimes found in the same deposits.

Most of the igneous (magmatic) material that Gold is deposited in, has worn away over the millennia. The remaining nuggets wash into nearby streams and water flows. This is called an alluvial flow and a high percentage of Gold is still retrieved from these washes. Crystals and deposits that still remain in the host rock are called reef Gold. Alluvial deposits have also been referred to as placers and leads, depending on whether or not you were in the California or Australian Gold rush.

It is believed that the earliest known sources of Gold came from alluvial deposits. Shepherds along the Black Sea using sheepskin to pan Gold from the rivers that flowed into the sea, may have contributed to the legend of the Golden Fleece.

The first evidence of Gold being used for jewelry dates back around 6,000 years ago. An Eastern European culture used the metal to fashion decorative objects. It is believed the Gold came from the Transylvanian Alps. Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli and Carnelian set in Gold were found in Queen Zer of Egypt's tomb dating back to 3,000 BC.

Many of the Egyptians tombs were robbed of their riches long before archeologists began exploring them. Which is why the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb was so important. Because the tomb had managed to remain intact through the centuries, we are able enjoy some exquisite examples of Egyptian Golden craftmanship and artwork.

Humans enamored by its brilliance, and very conscious of its lack of availibilty quickly accepted Gold as a universal standard of exchange. Everyone wanted Gold, and eventually many would do anything to get it. Coins were first minted from Gold around 560 BC. History credits Croesus, then King of Lydia for kicking off this long-lived trend.

While history repeatedly illustrates the horrid effect that greed for Gold has had, no other culture suffered more from this greed than the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The impact of the conquistadors quest for the elusive metal basically wiped out the Incan, Mayans and other important Central American civilizations. Even as late as the 1830's the lust for Gold was still tearing apart native cultures. The infamous Trail Of Tears, driving the Cherokee Nation from the Carolinas to Oklahoma was the result of Gold being found in the Quartz veins of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ironically in the early 1700's, the Cherokee were first given those very same lands because they were deemed of little value.

This powerfully hypnotic metal quickly found its way into our spiritual cultures as well. The Libyian Desert is supposedly the result of Helios' (a Greek Sun god) son loosing control of his father's Golden Chariot and crashing. Moses was instructed by God to fashion Aaron's High Priest breastplate from Gold and a variety of gemstones. In rituals throughout Asia, statues were gilded in Gold in an effort to bring them to life. Buddha images were layered in the metal as a sign of absolute perfection. Byzantine painters used Gold in their art to illustrate the divine light of subjects like the Christ Child and Madonna.

Egyptians believed Gold was the flesh of the Sun and were eager to adorn their gods and pharaohs with the metal. Aztecs associated it with the Earth's new skin, just before Spring would bring rains and reawaken the fertile land. It was a symbol of eternal renewal. In West African traditions Gold was the Tree of Knowledge and the Throne of Wisdom.

Magicians used it to summon and project their power. Herbalists would use knives of Gold to cut plants to strengthen the healing and magical powers of their herbs. Gemstone rings, bracelets and amulets set in Gold aided in clarifying and manifesting the intent of the wearer. This is especially true of Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond.

Today Gold permeates our society. Each jet engine on a Boeing 777 uses two pounds of Gold. Glass is coated with gold for airline windows, telescopes and used extensively in medical implants. Everytime you touch a key on your computer's keyboard, the message is relayed to your computer using Gold circuits. Dentists use 26,000 pounds of Gold a year, just in the USA. This magical metal can even aid in pollution, helping to convert nitric oxide to a harmless nitrogen and CO to CO2.

Setting your favorite gemstone or crystal in Gold can bring a fiery new energy to your work. Inside Mother Earth is a molten fire that keeps our planet warm and safe for life. Gold is Mother's purest reflection of that energy. Nothing alters this metal, not Fire, Water, Air or the ravages of time. It remains as constant as the pure love of our Mother and Father for us.

Using Gold helps you to summon the power of this perfect love into what ever your intent is. It will perfect your aim so that you attain your goals with the fewest obstacles.

Gold assists you in clearly communicating your intentions into the gemstone you are working with. Its energy will drive both you and your crystal to achieve your highest potential. When placed over any Chakra, it will activate and magnify that Charka's energy as well as provide intense healing.

Gold also represents the divine light of Grandfather Sun and can be a wonderful spiritual guide, lighting the path to your highest good. As your sense of personal power grows under the brilliant influence of this metal, so will your confidence, courage and determination.

Just like Gold circuits in computers help energy to travel, the metal works much the same way with you spiritually. Allowing knowlege and wisdom to move easily into your thoughts and actions and sending your intentions reliably out into the Universe.

Regular Medical science has used Gold in the treatment of arthritis for quite a while. Dentists have employed it in their practice for centuries. Its durable nature has made it popular for implants and various medical devices.

Current holistic treatments utilizing Gold include aiding with skin disorders, heart trouble and removing emotional blockages. Gold's ability to conduct energy may be benefical in relieving autism, dyslexia, and epilepsy.

Be aware, the Gold you purchase in a jewelry store, will probably not be pure Gold. Because of its soft nature, jewelry of pure Gold can be rather fragile. Not that it will break, but it will bend, distort and scratch fairly easy. The purest and softest is labeled 24 karat Gold, and it is 100% Gold. It should also be handled with the great care.

Cooper and Silver are the most common metals mixed with Gold for jewelry. Iron, Zinc, Nickel, Tin and Manganese and also be used. The karats indicate how much Gold there is versus other metals. For instance, 18 karat Gold is 18 parts Gold to 6 parts Silver or Copper (normally) and 14 karat Gold is 14 parts Gold to 10 part other metal(s). Anything under 10 karats cannot be called Gold in the US.

Silver and Copper are mixed with Gold to create the tri-colored Black Hills Gold. The greens come from Copper and the white from Silver. The jewelry must be make in the Black Hills to bear the name.

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Garnet


Garnets are an ancient gemstone, originally known as a carbuncle. Found all over the world, they make up a family of complex silicates with a wide variety of chemical compositions, but very similar crystal structures.

Garnets form under the great heat & pressures that only metamorphic & igneous rocks can endure. Geologists may use garnets to gauge extreme temperatures & pressures in a specific area.

Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, & aluminum are among the more common metals found in Garnets. Regardless of the chemical content, Garnets always grow in symmetrical, cube-based crystals. The basic trademark shape of this gemstone is the rhombic dodecahedron, a 12 sided crystal.

There are 7 main classes of garnets & 3 sub-classes. A description of each class follows this article. Colors in this gemstone range from dark blood reds to brilliant greens.

Since these gemstones are so easy to find, (Italy, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Norway, Bohemia, Africa, India, Brazil, California, New Jersey, North Carolina & Arizona) they are not highly valued as a jewelry stone. Its value as a magical gem however, has a long & mythical history.

Garnets were believed to glow in the dark & Noah used a Garnet lantern to guide the ark at night. In both ancient Asia & the American Southwest, the Garnet was used as a bullet. It was believed that the gem’s blood red color would inflict greater damage.

Normally considered a January birthstone, Garnets also work well for those born under the sun signs of Aries, Leo, & Virgo.

Garnets are associated with the base chakra and are often used to stimulate the Kundalini. They can open the flow of energy from the base to the Crown Chakra, awakening the Kundalini.

In fact anytime you are working to control the flow of energies, Garnets are a wonderful ally. They can be used to store energy for later use, or assist in extracting negative energy & transmuting it into positive.

Garnets make a wonderful stone for business. They can implement creative powers & prevent chaotic & disruptive growth. This gemstone brings good news, builds cooperation & creates charisma. Use a Garnet to stoke your internal fires, strengthen your commitment & improve your self esteem.

You may also use Garnets to promote success in your spiritual journey. Garnets help stabilize the connection between the spiritual & physical world. They help bring about balance by assisting you in controlling your personal energy flow.

For healing, Garnets may be used in treating ailments related to the spine. They are powerful in helping repair cellular structure in the heart, lungs & blood. They also help the body utilize minerals like iodine, calcium & magnesium & vitamins A,D & E.

Garnets can be found in the Happiness Stone Power Prayer Pouch from Ozark Rock Exchange.

Garnet Classes

Almandine - deep red color with heavy content of iron. Used in older Victorian era jewelry

Pyrope - fire red, often the largest growing garnets, contain magnesium

Rhodolite - reddish purple with excellent clarity, combination of iron & magnesium

Spessartite - orange to orange/brown, heavy mineral content of manganese

Grossular - a yellow garnet from Sri Lanka, mineral content is calcium

Hessonite - yellow/brown, related to Grossular & containing calcium

Tsavorite - a sparkling green containing chromium (like emeralds)

Andradite - black, no value as a jewelry stone, considerable spiritual value, combination of calcium & iron

Demantoid - a lively green but brittle & soft specimen, like Andradite, its mineral content is calcium & iron

Uvarovite - another emerald green garnet, though its color is not always consistent, contains chromium & calcium

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Fossils

Fossils are a vibrant record of past lives. I remember the first time I held a Trilobite (prehistoric bug that inhabited the primal oceans) I could feel and almost see dozens of crawling critters. It was my first experience in "reading" a stone and it was quite powerful. Fossils have intrigued me ever since.

Depending on the reference you read, there are up to a half a dozen ways that an organic entity becomes a fossilized one. The simplest way to become a fossil is a method called unaltered preservation. These tend to be insects and other tiny creature that became imbedded in seeping globs of primal tree sap. Today these globs are known as Amber and specimens with intact critters bring the highest prices.

Amber itself is technically a fossil as well, though it did not undergo any of the processes described. Since a fossil is: "any evidence of past plant or animal life that is preserved in the materials of the Earth's crust". Amber and Copal are both evidence of primal trees and are retrieved from Mother's surface.

The next most common process is called permineralization or petrification. Trees and bones from ancient animals are usually preserved or fossilized through this manner. For an entity to become petrified it must be immediately buried and protected from the elements. As time works it's magic, the organic material decays in such a slow manner that mineral rich waters seep in and replace it, tediously turning it into a permanent stone record. Fossils formed in this way can take on some fantastic colors, depending on which minerals are in the location where petrification is taking place. It is not unusual to find Petrified Wood in reds, purples, yellows and greens because Iron, Magnanese or some other combination of minerals were present.

In some texts this is referred to as replacement. In one text it was cited as a separate process, but I really wasn't able to understand a difference.

Authigenic or cast preservation is an interesting process. In this scenario the organic individual is caught in sediment and immediately buried. However, instead of minerals replacing the organic material, when the trapped individual decays, it is simply washed away by percolating ground waters or rain. Leaving a perfect "cast" of the original creature. In some instances, minerals will fill in the gaps and eventually form a crystal replica of the entity. In Australia many authigenic preservations are filled with Opals, creating some brilliant imitations.

Trace fossils are sort of half casts, though they form in the same way. In many cases trace fossils are not completely covered and only portions of the entity are preserved.

Carbonization or coalification is the preservation process that gives us our fossil fuels. As an organism decays, it leaves only its carbon elements. Other elements like hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are evaporated or removed into the atmosphere.

In a process call recystalization as the organism becomes petrified it reverts to a more stable crystal formation. Sometimes growing into larger crystals. An excellent example of this is the Crystallized Wood that comes from Alabama. This was wood that was in the process of becoming petrified, but a sudden changed caused this material to grow tiny Smoky Quartz crystals along their surface.

Paleontologists believe that only a small fraction of dinosaurs, plant life and other critters from our prehistoric dates were preserved as fossils. The vast majority of primal life simply decayed and disappeared.

The oldest known fossils are bacteria that geologists believe are 3.5 billion years old. Mother Earth has been documented at approximately 4.5 billion years old and the oldest rocks are around 3.8 billion. These bacteria, known as cyanobacteria are believed to be responsible for the formation of our present day atmosphere. The fossils are found in Western Australia in Precambrian rock.

Primal cyanobacteria formed stromatolites, the very first reefs in the ancient oceans. The bacteria would take in the carbon dioxide from the surrounding waters, which would then "rain" over the mat of bacteria and calcify. As this happened over and over again, the growths called stromatolites would grow in towers. Once the cyanobacteria was above the water's surface it would photosynthesize and create oxygen.

Some Proterozoic oil deposits are attributed to the work of cyanobacteria as well.

The oldest multi-cell fossils are a mere 540 to 600 million years old, also found in Australia. In the Ediacara Hills of Southern Australia fossils of jellyfish, soft corals, worms and proto-arthropods are fairly abundant. The oldest vertebrate (a fish-like creature) fossil dates to around 530 million years ago and was found in China.

Fossils have long fascinated us. Some ancient traditions believed that these stone replicas of unknown plants and animals were gifts from the stars. Others believed that the life force or spirit of the dead creature was contained within a fossil.

They certainly are excellent tools for beginners to learn reading stones. I have always found the voices and impressions from Petrified Wood, Amber, Trilobites and other fossil specimens to be very strong. It is as if the primal voice of the first soul is still singing within the stone. Landscapes, smells and images are always vivid and real when I hold one.

If you are wanting to learn to recognize the stories and words that the crystal world is willing to share, a fossil is a great place to start. Pick something you are drawn to, set yourself up in a quiet space so that you can relax and achieve a meditative calm. Then just open yourself and feel/see what comes. You may want to bring a notepad with you and write down your impressions (so you'll remember later).

As a beginner, be patient with yourself. All muscles need excersising before they achieve their best. Practice a little each day and keep track of your progress.

Fossils are also good tools for looking into your own past lives. If you are wanting to use a fossil to do past life regressions, be sure you do an initial meditation with your fossil of choice and explain your intent. Ask your fossil if it is able to assist you in re-learning old lessons.

You may also wish to use a fossil to help you connect with important animal or plant totems. As these fossils often carry the Spirit or Soul of the deceased entity.

Using a fossil for your health can promote longer life. They may also be beneficial for healthy bone growth and the absorption of calcium for strength. Petrified or permineralized fossils will take on many of the energies of the replacement materials. Petrified Wood for instance will carry many of the qualities of Quartz, Jasper and Chalcedonies in general.

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Fluorite


Fluorite was formed as the result of violently rising hydrothermal solutions (water & melted minerals) containing calcium & fluorine. As these solutions erupted towards the surface they formed dikes (pegmatites) & filled fissures & faults (metasomatic & igneous rocks) along the way.

Fluorite usually formed in areas noted for faults, rifts & volcanic activity. The massive deposits of Fluorite in Illinois are found at Rosiclar & Cave-in-Rock in the southern part of the state. The alkaline rich Wabash & Reelfoot rift zones, the famous faults responsible for the New Madrid earthquakes, are in the same area.

These Fluorite crystals began forming between 100 & 250 million years ago.
Colors in this crystal can range from clear to deep rich purples. The purest Fluorite, containing only calcium & fluorine, is crystal clear. The reds, greens, blues & purples come from inclusions of aluminum, iron or manganese. Some forms of Fluorite are fluorescent, these contain organic inclusions, rare earth elements or an unbonded fluorine.

Fluorite also has an unusual cleavage (refers to how the stone breaks when cut) pattern. Referred to as an octahedral cleavage, this crystal will break/cut in four identical directions (ESWN)

Rich veins of Fluorite are found worldwide; England (some of the most prized red specimens come from English mines), Spain, Morocco, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, - the largest deposits are in Illinois in the US & in China. Two Chinese mines, the Chenlou & Jianshan Fluorite Mines have known deposits of over 7 million tons combined.

Fluere is Latin for flow & is the origination of Fluorite’s name. While the crystal can explode violently when it is directly heated (many specimens contain vacuums & gas bubbles that expand when exposed to heat), when mixed with other materials, it melts very easily. This trait has made it a popular “flux” & is used in manufacturing steel & aluminum. Fluorite is also used to make hydrofluoric acids (used in pottery, optics & plastics), to produce opalescent glass & to apply enamel to cookware.

While Fluorite has a long industrial history, its use as a power stone appears to be fairly recent. This may be due in part to its unreliability as a gemstone. The cleavage pattern & brittle nature of the crystal has made it unpopular in jewelry settings. The majority of crystals & stones with ancient magical histories were also used in ancient pieces of jewelry.

I have found Fluorite to be a highly effective “brain” stone, allowing you to use your creativity to build wealth. It strengthens your ability to analyze situations with emotional detachment giving you truer perceptions.

Fluorite will strengthen your concentration, helping you bring order from chaos. Use it to create stable energies within groups, your relationship or even yourself. It can produce an energy that encourages intellectual & physical perfection, balancing the two.

If you are in college, or researching an upcoming project, Fluorite will help you absorb information quickly & conceptualize new ideas. I keep a Fluorite chunk on my desk & on my altar.

Use Fluorite with other gemstones & crystals in a medicine bag. It’s energy will help the powers of the other stones flow together, allowing them to work as one to achieve your medicine.

For healing, Fluorite will assist in overcoming the chaos head trauma patients suffer. Some have used the crystal for the treatment of tumors; Fluorite may prevent damage to RNA/DNA & repair present damage. It is useful with infections such as staph, herpes & canker sores. Use Fluorite following an illness in a purification ritual.

Fluorite is included in the Abundance Stone Power Prayer Pouch from Ozark Rock Exchange.

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Feldspar

Studying Feldspar crystals and gemstones is a fascinating journey. This simple Aluminum Silicate can range in appearance from a dirty, clay like material to gorgeous eye dazzling gemstone like Rainbow Moonstone and Labradorite. For many centuries this mineral that covers 60% of Mother Earth's crust was greatly under appreciated as a crystal family.

While Moonstones have a long, heralded history as a gemstone, Feldspars show up only as a minor mention in most mineralogy texts prior to the 1800's. During the nineteenth century geology slowly evolved into a more exacting science. The use of microscopes and other instruments allowed for more precise cataloging of crystal structures and chemical composition. Today most current mineral references recognize and provide descriptions for 40 different Feldspars.

The word Feldspar is a derivative of the older German Fieldspar. Spar refers to a shiny mineral that is easy to cleave or break. Feld or field means, um, well field.

This crystal family breaks off into two groups that are determined by their cleavage habits. Orthoclase: these are monoclinic Feldspar crystals that cleave or break at right angles or perpendicular to the crystal's axis. Plagioclase: triclinic crystals that cleave or break at an oblique angle (just off a right angle) to the axis.

Cutting or cleaving a Feldspar at the correct angle is critical to bringing out the Schiller Effect the gemstones in this family are famous for. The Schiller Effect describes the play of light within the crystal structure of gemstones like Moonstone, Labradorite, Amazonite and Sunstone. Each crystal has a unique way of interfering with light waves to create its individual flash.

Flashy Feldspars like the Moonstone are actually pretty rare in relation to other members of the family. The majority of Feldspar mining is for industrial use. The US alone mines and uses about 630,000 tons a year for plumbing fixtures, tile, pottery and glassware. In fact Feldspar mining in North America appears to be a very ancient tradition.

When mining for kaolin (kaolin is a clay material that results from the weathering of Feldspar) began in the Blue Ridge Mountains around 1875, geologists doing preliminary studies found evidence of old mica and kaolin mines. They believed that during the mid 1700's the Cherokee mined the area for kaolin and probably sold it to England where it would have been used in ceramics.

The gemstone Feldspars normally form in pegmatites, though they can also occur in almost every form of stone and sedimentary circumstance. In addition to their Aluminum and Quartz (Silica) content, specimens may also include potassium, calcium, sodium or barium. Most crystals tend to grow in flat tabular formations, frequently twinning in complex patterns. In some Feldspars two separate crystals will grow into each other. Moonstone, for instance consists of both monoclinic and triclinic Feldspar crystals.

Since this crystal family occupies so much of Earth's crust it can be found all over the world. Locations for the gemmy members of this family are a little more scarce, but still, pretty widely distributed. Moonstone, Sunstone, Labradorite or Amazonite can be found on all of the major continents. North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia all have healthy deposits of this crystal family.

Only two members of the large Feldspar family have old magical traditions and legends associated with them, Moonstone and Sunstone. While Labradorite and Amazonite were quickly adapted to energy, healing and creative work, their history is quite a bit shorter. Both stones were not discovered until years after Columbus opened travel to the Americas. Labradorite was discovered in Labrador, off the coast of Canada. Amazonite was found near the Amazon River in South America.

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Emerald


Much like Peridot’s past, that we learned about in the last issue, the ancient history surrounding the Emerald gets very cloudy. Long before geology became a science, gemstones & crystals were classified by color. Almost any gem with a rich green color was therefore considered an Emerald. A Malachite, or even green Jasper could just have easily been called an Emerald as the genuine stone.

In more recent history (the last 200 years or so), some of the more famous Emeralds have have been exposed as Peridots, Tourmalines, Alexandarite, Garnets & occasionally, a real Emerald.

Roman Emperor Nero reputedly had "sunglasses" made of Emerald. More than likely, if they existed, they were glasses made from the paler, more translucent Peridot.

Emeralds are members of the beryl mineral family, a very close cousin, or sibling to Aquamarine.

This ring silicate began crystallizing in one of two ways. Inside cooling magma, forming in pegmatites or through metamorphic changes growing between rocks with deposits of beryllium & chromium.

The crystal also contains inclusions of aluminum, oxygen, lithium, potassium & sodium. The much sought after green colors come from chromium oxidizing during the cooling process.

Perfect uniform coloring & translucency in Emeralds is rare. A faultless Emerald is more valuable than an equally perfect diamond. Most specimens, even those being used for jewelry settings, have inclusions & fissures. Microscopic enclosures of mica are not uncommon either.

The vast majority of Emeralds are opaque (as are Ozark Rock Exchange's) with occasional layers of translucent material.

The very first Emerald mines were in Egypt, dating back to 1650 bc. Queen Cleopatra was fond of engraving impressions of herself into Emeralds & presenting them to guests.

These ancient mines were so well constructed that they were still being worked in the mid 1800's. They are located in a mountain range along the West cost of the Red Sea.

Emeralds found in Pompeii & other Roman cities were believed to come from either the Egyptian mines, or mines located in very dangerous terrain in the Salzburg Alps.

The world’s most exquisite Emeralds, however, were found in South America, near Bogota, in Columbia. Europeans first learned about these perfect specimens when the Spanish invaded the continent in the early 1500’s.

The Ural Mountains of Russia, Australia’s Mount Remarkable, Connecticut & Maine in the United States are other locations where small deposits of Emeralds have been found.

Emerald Crystals are usually six sided prisms forming a basal (flat top) plane. Though sometimes crystals will terminate into points. Again, most of these crystal formations are opaque, with rare (& extremely valuable) translucent crystals occurring sometimes. Specimens are normally found still embedded in the mother rock, either a Mica-Schist or Granite.

Perfect Emeralds can be grown in a lab setting, taking about 12 months for the crystal to form. A fair percentage of commercial jewelry settings come from these types of gemstones. Be sure to ask your jeweler when purchasing Emerald pieces where the stones came from.

Emeralds have a rich history of mystery & magic. Ancient alchemists associated the crystal with Mercury, messenger of the gods & conductor of souls. Central Americans believed it held the energies of the rain. Hermetic lore claims the gem fell from Lucifer’s forehead when he was thrown from Heaven. In India it was used to frighten away Vipers or Cobras.

It also has a long tradition as a psychic stone, considered a source of divine inspiration. Emeralds will help you grow spiritually, clearing your thought patterns, bringing harmony & beauty into your day to day life.

Use this crystal to improve group unity, assist in making your relationship successful or promote domestic bliss. Exchange an Emerald with a friend to strengthen your loyalties & appreciation of each other.

Keep an Emerald in your work space. It improves your memory & increases your mental skills. The gem brings greater focus, allowing you to see the best solutions & motivates you to act. You can eliminate obstacles (mental or physical) that prevent you from succeeding.

Your Heart Chakra can be opened or activated using an Emerald. The gem may also be used in meditation to assist in maintaining your breathe’s rhythm.

The oldest healing use for Emeralds is a treatment for eye disorders. It also provides relief from respiratory inflammations, strengthens the immune system & helps you recover from infections.

Emeralds will stimulate the liver & aid in removing toxins from the body. Your heart, lungs & muscles can all benefit from the healing energies of Emeralds.

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Earth

There is no accurate record of how Mother Earth came to be. Despite that fact theories abound. From the simple creation theory of fundamental believers, to complicated big bang and expanding matter theories offered by the scientific community. None of us know for sure what spark started our planet's birth.

Even the history of the planet was shrouded in misdirection and false beliefs for thousands of years. The earliest attempts to accurately date our home were thwarted by the established church's efforts to make history conform to biblical dates. This went on until sometime in the 1800's when carbon dating and other scientific advances made it impossible to ignore the empirical evidence. Earth is some 4.6 billion years old.

In that very early beginning, there was no life. The atmosphere consisted of gases like methane and ammonia. For the first 800 million years the surface of our planet was molten. This period is called Hadean time. Meteorites and Lunar debris are the only physical remnants of this very distant past. Carbon dating puts the oldest of this impact material at 4.5 billion years old.

Archean time marks the solidifying of Earth. The continental plates form and photosynthetic bacteria form. The oldest stones come from this period, 3.8 billion years ago. Fossils of bacteria found on Archean stones in South Africa and Australia are the oldest evidence of Earth's birthing process.

The longest geological measurement of time is the Proterozoic period. It spans Earth's formative years from 2.5 billion to a more recent 543 million years ago. It was also the most violent time in the planet's geological history. The continents that formed during the Archean era began to move. Molten magma bubbling beneath the surface of these land masses was constantly seeking to escape. For the next billion years or so, our Mother would endure some intense growing pains.

To help you imagine how much things changed during this time period, North America, which would end the Proterozoic era in its current position began the era with the West coast of California laying in an East to West direction, parallel to the Equator. Africa was at the South Pole.

Life on Mother Earth would go through dramatic changes during this period as well. Oxygen began to build up in the atmosphere through the middle millennia. While this caused the extinction of some life forms, for the first time multi cell organisms began to appear and animals. Marking the beginning of Paleozoic time.

Over the span of these two eras many of the gemstones and crystals we enjoy today began their journey of birth as well.

Some gems are the remnants of the planet's primordial mountains. These prehistoric mountain ranges no longer exist except as minor bumps and hills on our modern landscape. Natural erosion wore down these ancient ranges while colliding land masses created huge pressures and heat which would transform the sediment created by the erosion. Hundreds of varieties of gemstones and crystals were born during this process. So, the next time you enjoy your favorite gemstone, remember that you may be holding the remnant of a once tall and proud mountain peak. Perhaps this is why so many crystals grow into points.

Some of the oldest mountains still visible on the planet are the Ozark Mountains in South Central and the Appalachians along the East coast of the United States. Both of these mountain ranges began forming as the result of colliding land masses between 650 and 400 million years ago. Africa ran into the East coast of North American and South American was slamming into the Southern area of the continent.

Remnants of even older mountains can be found around Mother Earth. Avarallis is a primal mountain range that can still be seen as hills around Delhi India. In their youth (1 billion years ago) the peaks of the Avarallis Mountains would have dwarfed the Himalayan mountains that we recognize as Earth's highest today.

The Himalayas are the youngest mountains on our planet. During the reign of the mighty Avarallis peaks, India was not a part of the European/Asian continent as it is today. According to geological theory, about 140 million years ago the Indian continent (aka Gondwanaland) began moving across the now extinct Tethyan ocean which separated it from Asia.

It took 60 million years for this land mass to complete its journey and conjoin with the Eurasian continent. Primordial sediments from the floor of the Tethyan Ocean, crumbled remnants of the Avarallis peaks and all matter of stone and debris from the contact area were thrust together to form the infant Himalayas (and untold treasures of gems and crystals).

Apparently Gondwanaland has not stopped moving (ultimately all of the Earth's land masses are in constant motion). Over the last 1 million years the Himalayan Mountains and the regions in its shadows have risen another 5,000 meters above sea level. Tibet is considered one of the highest regions on Earth. Today geologists calculate this area is rising an average of 10 meters every 100 years. In the last century Mt. Everest has grown 8.2 meters.

Our Mother Earth is in a permanent state of change. Volcanos are still erupting, continents constantly moving causing earthquakes. This is not a good place to come for peace and quiet.

Next month we'll explore Earth's role as one of our first deities.

In our earliest beginnings, before men wrote testaments, gospels, bibles or korans we sought out the Divine. In a child like effort to understand where life came from, how to survive it and why it could end so cruelly many of us sought comfort and knowledge from a maternal divine source.

Perhaps we defined our Mother God first because when we looked around, it was the female that produced life. Not just amongst ourselves, but in every animal and plant it was from the feminine that life sprouted. Even masculine monotheistic traditions recognized and honored some aspect of divine femininity.

The names of these Earth Mothers/Goddesses are plentiful. Some almost universal and their presence still touches us today in the names of places, rivers, lakes and mountains. Others were only known to their particular children and remain as a simple mention in listings of forgotten things. More are probably lost to us all together.

Despite the many names given Her, who She is seems to remain constant throughout the Earth Goddess mythologies. She is All that is Life. The bright sun light and the mysterious dark night, birth and death, the flowing River, the ravenous predator, virgin, mother and grandmother. Her cooking pot and collecting basket are never empty. Her presence is in the rainbow's many colors, the heart of each living creature, the scent of all flowers, the taste of all fruits and in every breath you take.

Danu appears to be one of the more (possibly the most) widely used names of the original Earth Goddesses. From the mythical Celtic Tuatha De' Danann (Tribes of Danu) to the Hindu's in India, Danu has left Her divine mark on an expansive list of cultures. Europe's greatest river, the Danube is named for Her.

In Celtic myths the Tribes of Danu would battle the Tribes of Domnu when they first arrived in ancient Ireland. In these myths Danu's children represent all that is good in humans and Domnu's children represent all that is harmful. In the end, there are no true victors and both aspects of humanity survive to this day.

The Churning of the Ocean is a Vedic creation myth. Danu is the essence of Life within the Primordial Waters. The Earth rose up from within and now rests on top of this Water. Danu or Life is awakened when these waters are agitated and the full potency of Her life-giving essence is released. Through chaos, order is formed.

Dana is an early Greek Mother Goddess, whose name in Sanskrit is Danu. Dana would ascend the throne of Egypt as King Danaus. As a male king, this Mother Goddess did not fare well, being driven from one throne (Egypt) to another (Argos), then finally into exile by the king of Phoenicia (who was also his/Her father).

Some scholars have concluded that Nanna (a Danish Earth Goddess, mother/wife to Baldur), Anatha (Syrian), Anat (Canaan), Inanna (Sumerian) and other derivatives of Anne, Ana or Anna were originally taken from Danu. Even Dinah from the Syriac Old Testament (di sometimes means divinity or godhead) or Di-Ana from Semitic may be just more variations on the same root name.

Hathor is Egypt's Mother creator. Visualized as the Great Celestial Cow Goddess She created this world and all that exists upon it. Her milk gives nourishment to the living and She greets the dead as they journey to the next life. As with many of the early Earth Mother gods, Her celebrations consisted of much music, merriment, dance and intoxicating liquids made from Her bounty.

Europa was also a cow goddess, giving birth to Europe. She was honored and celebrated in Crete and Mycenae.

Celebrations to honor Tara, a savior Mother Goddess were held in Ireland, Athens, India and Tibet. There was a grove in Ireland that was a sacred shrine to her genitals. In Athens the ancient celebrations of Her fertile blessings were dubbed the rioting because of the wild behavior that resulted. According to Tibetan Buddhist traditions, Tara is the Great Mother, a Boddhisattva. The enlightened One who has vowed to incarnate repeatedly until all have achieved enlightenment. And always to return as a woman.

Gaea is the Greek Earth Mother. Mother of all the gods, oldest of all the divine. Chomo-Lung-Ma was the original name of Mount Everest. She is a primal goddess, one of the oldest of India's deities.

Themis is the pre Hellenic creatress. She gave birth to Themistes and Oracles. It was Themis that founded the oracle of Delphi which Apollo would later take over. In Egypt She was known as Temu, the spirit that ruled the fertile Abyss which gave birth to all life.

Ala is the Mother Goddess of the Ibo tribe from Nigeria. The creator of life and ruler of the dead, She also sets the laws that provide for the survival of the community and society.

Mawa of the Dahomey tribe in Africa created humanity from clay and water. The Turks honor Aka as their Mother Goddess and the Great Mesopotamian Goddess Anatu ruled both Earth and Sky.

In Iran's ancient mythologies Aramaiti is the Earth Goddess, mother of the people made from clay. The language of the original gospels (Aramaic) is named for Her.

Tlalteutli is the Aztec's Mother of creation. In the very beginning of Time, Her body was the Universe. In Mexican mythology, Chicomecoatl is the Mother of all people, She is the Earth's beating heart. Seven sacred serpents were her messengers.

Long before the Celts arrived, when Ireland first emerged from out of the Underworld, Cessair ruled the primal lands. This Goddess/Chieftain brought with Her 50 women and three men to populate the virgin country.

The list of names given to Mother is long and the stories woven to explain our birth are a joy to learn. I wish I had time to explore and share every one of them here. More importantly than learning a list of old names and memorizing stories is recognizing and accepting the complexity of the Divine's identify.

Throughout my research one theme appeared to run constant through the majority of mythologies, that the Divine is in all things. You, your children, the trees in your yard, the aggravating neighbor or co-worker, the mis-placed wildlife in the new housing development are all manifestations of and residences for the Divine.

Regardless of how you choose to recognize Divinity, masculine, feminine, both or neither remember to also recognize the Divine within yourself. Whatever force first breathed life into this planet exists within you. Honor, cherish and use your Divine Source to be a true co-creator in your own Life Story.

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