Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Magic of Lapis Lazuli

The incredible golden and azure-blue beauty of lapis lazuli has caused it to be valued for millennia as one of the most sacred of stones.

Lapis lazuli is a mixture of hauyne, lazurite and sodalite in a matrix of calcite, with pieces of pyrite providing the golden flecks. Its name means "sky stone," from the Latin "lapis" meaning "stone" and the Persian "lazward" meaning "blue" or "sky". It has been used since at least 5000 B.C. and was very popular with many ancient cultures.

Revered Stone

The Egyptians powdered lapis lazuli to make the color ultramarine and used it as eye shadow. The Greeks called it "sapphire sprinkled with gold," which lends some support to the theory that many ancient reference to sapphire actually referred to lapis lazuli. The stone was often used to represent the heavens, and the earliest reference to it is in a Sumerian hymn describing the Moon god Sim as having a "long, flowing beard, bright as lapis lazuli." It is also one of the biblical gemstones used in Breastplate of Aaron, the High Priest, and at one time Lapis jewelry was only worn by royalty.

Beloved of the Egyptians

Lapis lazuli was one of the favorite stones of the Egyptians. It was thought to be sacred to the star goddess Nuit of the heavens and to Maat, the goddess of truth and beauty. Judges in Ancient Egypt had to wear small lapis lazuli pendants of Maat on gold chains--as a sign of the responsibility of their office. If you wish to call upon one of these goddesses, place a piece of lapis lazuli as an offering on your altar.

Stone of Symbols

The Egyptian Sun god Ra was also described as having lapis lazuli hair, which was symbolic of the heavens. This association may have come about due to the golden "Sun" flecks in the blue stone. The stone continued to have such positive symbolic associations into Late Period Egypt, becoming known as "kheshed", which meant "joy" or "delight". Protective amulets and talismans were often carved from this precious stone.

Using your Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli has wide-ranging uses in crystal therapy, being useful in cases of eye strain, difficult, pregnancies, trouble in expressing yourself and for tension.

Ease Eye Strain

Lapis lazuli has long been associated with the eyes, since the Ancient Egyptians used it for eye shadow and for making the sacred Eye of Horus symbols. An Ancient Greek cure for eye problems was to place a piece of lapis lazuli in a bowl of warm water, leaving it under the night sky for a few minutes. The water was then used to bathe the afflicted eye.

To Ease Pregnancy

According to ancient records, lapis lazuli has been used to ease pregnancies throughout history. The ancient Greeks called the "Stop Stone" due to its use as an amulet for preventing miscarriages--a practice that continued through to the Middle Ages.

* In the 17th century, ultramarine pigment made from crushed lapis lazuli was added to a potent medicine called Alkermes Syrup and given to women who experienced difficulties during childbirth. The relaxing and harmonizing energy of the stone can help the body or reduce the physical stresses caused by pregnancy.

* If you are pregnant, wear or carry a piece of lapis lazuli around or near the waist to protect your unborn child.

* Make a charm bag using blue silk and fill with pieces of lapis lazuli. Keep it on your person if you are pregnant to benefit from the relaxing energies.

The Voice Stone

Lapis lazuli was sacred to the goddess of love and war, Ishtar, (the Akkadian counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna, and also known as Astarte in the northwestern Semetic regions). She is adorned in lapis lazuli in the "Descent of the Goddess" legend, which recounts her journey to the Underworld.

Lapis lazuli works particularly well on the Throat Chakra, and as such it's a good stone to use if you repress your vocal energies. This may be shown by speaking too quietly or by being reluctant to speak your mind in situations either at home or at work.

If you have trouble speaking from the heart and saying what you really feel, anoint a piece of lapis lazuli with cedar oil (which is sacred to Ishtar), and ask for help in expressing yourself.

For Relaxation

There are many ways you can use this stone as an aid to relaxation.

* Lapis lazuli can be held or worn to help you with meditation, or it can be used to help you practice meditating if you find your mind is easily distracted.

* Whenever you find your attention wandering, think of the lapis lazuli for a few moments and visualize its golden flecks in your mind's eye. This will help you to bring your focus and attention back to the subject or purpose of your meditation.

* Lapis lazuli can also help if you suffer from insomnia. It can be worn as a pendant while you sleep or placed under a pillow. Also, anoint your lapis lazuli with a few drops of lavender oil before going to bed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Hazel Moon: August

The Celtic name for the hazel tree is "coll" meaning "nine", and the Hazel Moon is the ninth month of the Celtic Tree Calendar. A myth tells how nine nuts of wisdom fell from the hazel tree into a river where a magic salmon ate them. The salmon then became a prized catch, gifted with shape-shifting powers and infinite wisdom.

A time for learning

The Hazel Moon offers you an opportunity to connect with your inner reserves of wisdom and intuition. Study of all kinds is blessed during the Hazel Moon, so magic that uses ancient knowledge is most effective now.

This is also an excellent time to learn to read Tarot Cards or Runes because lunar energy will enhance your memory and psychic powers. Maintain an optimistic approach and follow your enthusiasm.
Protection and Renewal

Rods made from the wood of the hazel tree have traditionally been used for divining water and earth energies. The wood is pliant and supple and is immediately responsive to subtle change.

Fertility Charm

As well as being an excellent source of protein, hazelnuts have long been used as a magical fertility charm. Carry one with you if you wish to conceive or collect a small bag of nuts as a gift for a bride.

Good Fortune

Hazelnuts are also a symbol of good luck; if you find two hazelnuts in the same shell,eat one and throw the other over your left shoulder to make your wish come true.
Hazel Moon Magic

You can used the qualities of hazel in a variety of ways in your magic working:

* Make an all-purpose magical wand from a straight twig of hazel wood the length of your forearm. Charge under the full Moon.

* Draw a circle around your bed with a hazel stick to keep nightmares away.

* Eat a feast of salmon and hazelnuts before an exam to heighten your powers of concentration and boost your memory.

* Make an equal armed cross of hazel wood tied with ribbon as a good luck charm.

Hazel Energy in Your Life

Bring the creativity and inspiration of the Hazel Moon into your life, both at work and at home:

1. Enroll in an evening class. Now is an auspicious time to learn a new skill--try painting, learning a language or dance.

2. Keep a journal. Just writing down your wishes and experiences will help you tune into your inner wisdom.

3. Go outside at night and look at the Moon. Staying connected to nature will bring powerful insights and help you remain grounded.

4. Feed your mind: buy a book of inspiring quotes and read one each day to stimulate your intellect and sharpen your thinking.


Practicing this meditation will help you to move through creative blocks, get inner guidance and develop intuition.

+ Approach a hazel tree from the north. When you are within the circumference of its branches, introduce yourself and ask permission to come closer.

+ If it feels right to proceed, circle the trunk clockwise.

+ Try to sense the spirit of the tree and open your heart.

+ Sit with your back against the trunk and breathe deeply. Empty your mind and try to attune to the tree's energy.

Make a Divining Rod

You can use the magical powers of the hazel tree to make your own divining rod:

*Cut a forked twig, less than a yard in length.

*Give thanks to the tree by pouring nourishing water onto its roots

*Pass your rod through incense smoke and state your intention to learn about the mysteries of nature.

*Hold a fork in each hand and pull them apart so that the twig is under constant pressure. As you walk over a water source or energy line, the rod will twitch in your hand.

*Use your divining rod to explore the energies of sacred sites, old buildings and even your own home.