Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stones of the Earth

The human animals of the earth do not walk it alone. We share it with other animal allies, learning lessons on how to better ourselves through observing the ways they live in their habitats. It seems the more evolved our society got, the further from our primal connection to nature we moved. Our allies can help us rebuild that connection. There are more allies in the natural world waiting to teach us. We are surrounded by them: plants, trees, weather, minerals, gemstones, etc. My strongest natural allies are rocks, minerals and gemstones.
We walk across them every day. We kick them around, we dig them up, we build structures with them and we crush them down to be used in composite materials. Most people take little notice of them but stones vibrate for me. They have energy. They transform it. They act as a conduit for it. They store it. And sometimes they release that energy back into the world.
Predjama Castle in Slovenia contains a torture chamber that saw 700 years of violence. It stands now as a museum and is internationally known to be haunted. Employees and volunteers have heard the same voices repeating from the ether of the dungeon bowels. What was discovered beneath the fortress was a cavern of quartz, iron, salt and water, all of which are components for creating a quartz battery. They theorize that the combination of elements actually recorded sounds from when the dungeon was actively used. It is believed that the repetitive voices heard today are captured moments from a previous time, held within the quartz deposits.
Some world wonders are discovered accidentally. After pumping water out from underground in the process of mining for iron and silver, the Cueva de los Cristales, or Cave of Crystals, was discovered 300 meters beneath the Naica mountain in Mexico. The caverns are filled with gypsum crystals which had been submerged under water for 500,000 years. Under high temperatures and with the presence of mineral-rich water, the selenite grew to an awe inspiring size. The largest of the crystals is estimated to be about 600,000 years old and over 10 meters long. That’s 33 feet in length. Pollen removed from a water bubble in one crystal approximates that 30,000 years ago that desert was once covered in dense forest.
I haven’t been to either Slovenia or Mexico, but I’m fascinated by the world’s natural stone formations, especially caverns. Being surrounded by stone on all sides is an amazing experience, as was my trip to Howe’s Caverns in New York. At one point in the tour, we were adrift on a boat on an underground river in the pitch black… wonder-filled.
My experience with the physical world stretches as far south as North Carolina, as far north as Toronto, east to the coast of Maine, and west to Michigan, save for one flight to Texas. I am fascinated by caverns and also find myself drawn to the mountains over and over. I cannot stand on the mountain top and not feel the energy of the mass of stone beneath me. It sits beneath the soil, beneath the flesh of the earth. I am known for picking up random stones on my travels that speak to me through shape, color or feel. In fact, they’re littered throughout my home altars and outdoor garden.
Stones are the bones of the earth. I have stood on the spines of the earth where the smoky mountains meet the blue mountains. I have felt the pulsing heart of the mountain chain writhing above the lush green landscape. I have felt the firmament of planet beneath me, high above the other mountains and I have stood in that moment full of wonder at the world stretched out before me.
I have been to the shore of Maine, climbing over stone slabs that look like petrified wood, and I felt the calling of the ocean across its great expanse. The stones I stood on, slick with algae and years of seawater, were once joined to the Western bluffs of Ireland, before the plates split and shifted. I felt an ancestral stirring in my bones, beneath my flesh, standing at the edge. I wonder what the stone of the ocean floor feels like beneath all that water. The ocean is cradled by stone.
In the Narmada river in India, there is a place where seven currents converge. In this conjunction, the currents shape river stones into oblong spheres called shiva linghams. They are spiritually powerful stones, where the male shape is created by the female waters. I have found them to be wonderful stones to meditate with. I also have a preference for meditating with chunks of petrified wood, specifically for my ancestor work. The pieces I own are the bones of old sisters and brothers, the remnants and ghosts of long dead forests and groves, transformed into stone.
Our ancestors built stone cairns to mark their way, placing them on trails, mountain peaks and shorelines. Over the centuries we have covered the dead with stones and entombed them within it. Even now we use stones to mark the burial places of our dead. I use them to communicate with the spirit world. The simplest and most powerful ancestor altar I could imagine would be a small cairn built of a stone from every homeland my ancestors have known. Simple, no frills, but a structure emanating with the power of multiple landscapes, holding the memories of lands walked by those who came before.

Cueva de los Cristales, Mexico.
*Tune into my blog next week for a look at the stones I crafted to communicate with my ancestors.

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