Simulants and synthetics in Crystal Healing

Crystal Healing with Lab Created Gems (aka simulants or synthetics)

The above video showcases a 374 carat Lithium Niobate simulant gemstone from Hashnu Stones and Gem’s YouTube page. (For Hashnu Stones and Gem’s website, click here).

As I mentioned in the article I published a few days ago, it wasn’t that long ago that I would have refused to work with lab created crystals or gemstone like this, simply because it wasn’t naturally occurring/dug from the earth. Over time and through direct experience, that self-imposed rule has been challenged. And boy am I glad those challenges have come, asking me to question my beliefs.

Growth, healing, and evolution happen when and where there is humility and malleability.

When we create a rule or belief from a thought or label, we box ourselves in (especially when the definitions and parameters are determined by someone else). In that box exists only so much room for growth and expanded awareness. Should we come to a place where our rules or beliefs no longer serve, we will undergo a deconstruction period that, depending on what you built your box out of and how attached you got to what you put in it, might be fairly time and energy consuming. Ask me how I know. (Insert smiley face here). 

I suppose without intending to, my THEME for the month of January has been this:

If someone or something challenges your understanding of yourself or the world, LET IT.

It doesn’t hurt to consider another perspective. And allowing ourselves the space to question our own premises doesn’t mean we are necessarily going to shift or change. It just means we are open to considering other perspectives. We are humble enough to not believe we have it all figured out (and none of us do so who do we think we’re fooling?). When we are wise enough to recognize that inner resistance is probably indicating an opportunity to become more aligned with our true self, life becomes easier. Sometimes the challenge will resonate and open up things for us. Sometimes not. Either way, we gain clarity and an opportunity to realign with our hearts.

But back to the crazy-beautiful gem above…

So here I am, with this amazing opportunity to work with this amazing simulant gemstone. How do I get to know it better? The cool thing about the crystal healing methodology that Michael Gienger teaches in his book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing (a required text for my crystal therapy certification course), is that it empowers me to work with lab created synthetic gemstones (sometimes called simulants depending on their purpose) from a deeply grounded place. Lab created crystals or gemstones such as these are often not listed in metaphysical crystal prescription books. So if you have the opportunity to work with a gem like the one above, how would you know what it might be offering in terms of healing properties?

The energetic message a person receives through their heartspace when working with a mineral is the ace of spades. It trumps all other externally-received information. So if someone asked me the above question, I would first encourage them to allow the gem to convey its energy directly. Meditate with the gem, carry it around (carefully), sit with it. Journal with it. Hang out with it. Play with it. It doesn’t have to be serious. Just pay attention however you pay attention.

If you do that and still desire to know more, or desire to know the physical aspects of the gem more definitively, this is where the methodology Michael Gienger created comes into play. It is rooted in geology, mineralogy, and crystallography. In other words – the sciences. While I would never call the art of crystal healing (which is an art for a reason) a scientific or scientifically-proven alternative healing modality (it’s not), we can still more firmly ground our understanding and experience of crystalline energy in what we can learn about stones through the lens of their geological, mineralogical, and crystallographic facts.

Crystals are crystals are crystals. There are 5 conditions any mineral must meet to be considered a crystal:
1. Naturally occuring
2. Inorganic
3. Internal atomic structure/1 of 7 crystal systems
4. Definitive chemical composition
5. Solid

This lithium niobate gemstone is not a crystal, technically, because it is not naturally occurring. While lithium niobate does exist in nature, it does so only microscopically. (It isn’t even listed on Lab created lithium niobate is mostly applied in the optics and electronics industries. It has a high refractive index (2.3) and was at one time used as a diamond simulant. With a Moh’s hardness of 5.5 however, Lithium Niobate is not ideal as a diamond substitute.

Let’s look at one of the above physical aspects this gem DOES have, which happens to be my favorite: the chemical composition. Lithium Niobate is LiNbO3

Based on his clinical studies as well as his knowledge of chemistry, Gienger provides healing properties for many elements individually in his textbook. This means that anyone can check out the chemical composition of any crystal and find out from the crystal itself, how it might be applied in crystal healing.

Lithium is an element which has been used in pharmaceuticals dealing with mental illness such as depression. Gienger mentions this and also attributes a general physical calming of the motor nervous system and nerves; improved memory; spiritual devotion and humility, as well as surrender to that which we cannot control.

Niobium (Nb) is a less common element in the crystal healing world. As such it is not listed in the textbook and when this happens, I head over to and read up on niobium uses and occurrences. Specifically, I pay attention to the Uses, Reactions, Geology, and Biology sections. Niobium is an element that assists me energetically when I am focusing on becoming more grounded, calming my mental auric field, and drawing that grounded earth energy up into my heart space.

Oxygen (O). Spoiler alert! Oxygen is the most common non-metallic element in the most common crystals used in crystal healing. We don’t even have to look at the book to know that oxygen is life-giving, life-sustaining, and is necessary for energy production. If someone is feeling especially unmotivated or experiencing an overall dullness, work with stones that contain a high oxygen content.

I spend maybe 15-20 minutes of checking out the most basic chemical information on the elements that make up the gem I want to work with, and I’m provided some insight that is extremely grounded and crystal-centric. This is but ONE way to uncover the healing properties of crystals in a truly grounded way. A crystal’s internal atomic structure, its mineral class, its manner of formation also tell us a lot about the various ways each crystal can become a crystalline ally in our subtle energy work.

*(Some might be wondering, “Why would I put stock into MG’s listed healing properties for elements, but not the healing properties for crystals found in common crystal healing books?” There are two clarifications I’d like to make. One: crystal healing books that are prescriptive in nature, have their place and purpose. They are not bad or useless or incorrect. The source of the information is simply different: this is important to some and not important to others. Two: the healing properties Gienger assigns to individual elements (as well as a number of crystals in the back portion of the book) are based on 2 important things: his study of chemistry at university, as well as the clinical studies done over a 5-year period in concert with a variety of medical and wellness professionals. These controlled clinical trials, which he speaks about in the forward of his book, were completed with a wide variety of people presenting with a variety of imbalances. Michael Gienger’s clinical studies are possibly the closest we’ve come to in terms of a long-term, clinical study for an as-yet scientifically-unprovable subtle energetic healing art).

Registration opens February 13 for this amazing, comprehensive, fully-facilitated, fully-guided crystal healing certification course. If you are drawn to crystals and have a desire to learn about the mineral kingdom’s effect on the subtle body from a deeply grounded perspective, please check out the course description page HERE
Students come to this course from a wide variety of vocations and practices:  gemstone faceters, massage therapists, jewelry designers, Reiki practitioners, Healing Touch practitioners, as well as those who want to practice crystal healing independently.
The course offers an affordable Independent Study track, as well as a certification track. Be sure to check out the Program Options and Tuition for more details.

My personal Arkenstone

Choosing our crystals – and letting them choose us

I’m a great example of a person whose crystal preferences have changed quite a bit over the years. When I first started working with crystals in crystal healing, I only wanted 100% natural crystals. If they came right out of the earth with a bit of dirt on them – even better. Turns out, this was a good preference to have in the beginning because I learned how to identify different minerals, as well as their home of origin in many cases.

Eventually though, I realized the benefits of working with polished and tumbled crystals: easier to carry, they don’t snag clothes, nice to hold during meditation, easier to place on the body during healing sessions.

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Okay, I started accepting polished and tumbled, but I still didn’t want to work with synthetics, faceted crystals, or non-crystalline material, like smelter Zincite or obsidian. Yes, Zincite is the stone featured on my logo and website. I chose it to remind me of Humility. That Zincite is the piece that taught me to not be such an assuming snob when it came to stones that were non-crystalline. (I was astonished to realize through direct experience with that Zincite that it can be just as powerful metaphysically as “natural” crystals). Since that knock-me-on-my-butt lesson, I have worked with many non-crystalline stones such as petrified wood and obsidians.

crystal healing obsidian

Okay, fine, but I am not interested in cut quartz. You know those super fancy, extremely faceted pieces? Vogel-type wand? No, thank you. Faceted gemstones? No, thank you. I wanted to work with natural quartz points. Natural citrine. Natural smoky quartz. I didn’t need fancy and I hadn’t yet figured out how futile and limiting it can be to keep drawing lines in the sand.

But then, one day, I was at a local crystal shop – one of the few that rehomed Diamond Light Wands to subtle energy workers. I watched from across the showroom as the shop owner placed a DLW in each hand of my friend. For the first time in my life, I saw an aspect of her subtle energetic field light up. And I thought, “Oh, okay, I need to see what that is all about.”

crystal healing

Diamond Light Wands

My last hold-out was lab-created synthetics. I wasn’t going to work with anything lab-created. There are areas of my life where I am so clearly the one getting in my own way – and crystals – all sorts from all sorts of places from all sorts of sources – have been such amazing teachers to show me how to give myself permission to experience life in fuller, richer ways.

Sometime last year, I had the opportunity to work with synthetic, faceted rutile.

crystal healing

Picture does not do this gem justice.

And very recently I was given an extraordinary opportunity to work with a faceted Lithium Niobate.

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374 carat Faceted Lithium Niobate by Hashnu Stones. Click photo for direct link to Hashnu’s website. 

The video featured in the International Gem Society’s article, “What is Gemstone Dispersion?” shows this gemstone off beautifully.

I share this tale to encourage each of us to compassionately consider the ways we might be holding ourselves back from experiencing life fully and learning all we can. What rules are we imposing on ourselves (and usually others)? Are they real? Are they necessary? Are they limiting? I’m grateful for Humility’s role in my life over the years – showing me that my assumptions and biases are unnecessary. There is so much more to celebrate when I’m in a posture of open-heart/open-hand/open-mind.

(I hope to write an article about my experiences with this Lithium Niobate soon).

Registration opens February 13 for this amazing, comprehensive, fully-facilitated, fully-guided crystal healing certification course. If you are drawn to crystals and have a desire to learn about the mineral kingdom’s effect on the subtle body from a deeply grounded perspective, please check out the course description page HERE
Students come to this course from a wide variety of vocations and practices:  gemstone faceters, massage therapists, jewelry designers, Reiki practitioners, Healing Touch practitioners, as well as those who want to practice crystal healing independently.
The course offers an affordable Independent Study track, as well as a certification track. Be sure to check out the Program Options and Tuition for more details.

Crystal Care Questions Answered – Part 1

Your Crystal (Healing) Care Questions Answered

I’ve been working with crystals in subtle energy work for nearly a decade. And I have learned that the relationship each person has to their crystals is unique and personal. In this article, I share with you my personal perspective on crystal healing crystal care: specifically cleansing and charging. I provide my very pragmatic reasoning for this perspective, but let it be said: the only “right” way to take care of the crystals you’ve been entrusted with is YOUR way. Whatever that looks like to you.

One of the top five questions I am asked is, “How do I cleanse my crystals?” So I’m going to share my personal lessons learned, some things you might want to keep in mind before choosing a particular cleansing ritual, and I’m going to challenge the status quo a little too.

It might surprise you to learn that I don’t cleanse or charge crystals and I explain why in the next section. I work with crystals everyday. I create essences, crystal grids, I do distance healing sessions, in-person healing sessions, and never once have I gotten an impression or received a message that the crystal masters I am called to work with have become dirty, weaker, or out of tune. Quartz is a bit of a different situation because of its unique programming and storage abilities. Even then, a simple request to clear is usually all it takes before I can work with it for another purpose.

I understand that the rituals of cleansing and charging crystals are an important part of being in relationship with the mineral kingdom, metaphysically speaking. When I’ve asked people about their crystal cleansing or charging rituals, what I’ve found is that oftentimes, the ritual is more for the crystal caretaker. This ritual of “resetting” a crystal in any capacity is actually an opportunity for the subtle healer to express gratitude, and to personally reset themselves; to realign and rebalance which is really beautiful. Also, just as I’ve rarely had a crystal communicate a need to be recharged or cleansed, others have! So I’m not here to judge anyone’s practice of crystal cleansing or charging. If you are drawn to the practice – for whatever reason – and it feeds you in some way, keep doing it!

If you practice either of these rituals, there are a few factors to consider before choosing a method: primarily each crystal’s physical properties. This is so that the crystal is not accidentally damaged during the ritual. In this 3-part article, I’ll review some of those factors. In Part 1, we will explore why we cleanse crystals and I’ll address the issue of toxicity. In part 2, I’ll briefly describe the most common cleansing methods and I’ll talk about the KISS Methods (never-fail, works for all crystals). In Part 3, we’ll explore the different properties of crystals that we want to be aware of when choosing a cleansing ritual.  Ready?

Part 1

Do we need to cleanse or charge our crystals?

That’s a great question and one that often goes unasked. It is one of those assumptions in the crystal healing community that of course (!) we cleanse and/or charge our crystals. But why? Well, generally there are two reasons:

  1. to get rid of negative energy that the crystal has “picked up”
  2. to help the crystal recharge its energy

Let’s consider these reasons in light of the working theory of crystal healing.  It is understood in subtle energy healing that crystals are valuable tools because they have a strong, constant vibration – stronger than our own weaker and constantly changing vibrations. We place crystals in our subtle fields, along our subtle channels, and on our chakras in order to help that field, channel, or chakra regain balance. It’s resonance through entrainment.

This working theory depends on the crystal having a strong,  stable vibration which is evidenced by the rate of entropy of most minerals. And not just strong and stable, but stronger and more stable than the vibrations of our subtle anatomy. If the crystal’s vibration were weak and easily influenced – we wouldn’t rely on them as co-creation tools in our subtle healing practice.

When an aspect of our subtle anatomy is unbalanced, a CCTP will choose the crystal (or crystals) which carries the vibration that the unbalanced aspect would be singing were it in a healthy, balanced state. That crystal’s vibration, being the stronger one, will entrain the weaker subtle body vibration until it matches the vibration of the crystal – until the crystal and the subtle aspect has resonance.

I think it can be difficult sometimes to remember that our day-to-day physical-plane existence of cause and effect does not necessarily apply to our subtle-plane existence. When we use a dish, wear clothes, drive our cars, use our cellphones, what happens? They get dirty and/or they need to be recharged. So we wash the dish, launder the clothes, wash the car, and charge our phones. When we “use” (and here I much prefer “work with”) crystals, we don’t have to assume the same cause and effect is occurring.  This work is mysterious and happens in subtle time/space so the usual way of things don’t necessarily have to apply. And yet we’ve been teaching each other for decades now that if we use a crystal we have to clean it/charge it afterward. The natural inclination toward this cause and effect makes perfect sense until we remember that because we’re working in the realm of subtle energy, it doesn’t make any sense at all.

The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not crystals require your help to recharge, release, or get clean after you’ve worked with it. The answer to this question for me personally is “no,” but we are perceiving our experiences differently and so it stands to reason that your answer may be different.

crysta care

Okay, I do cleanse and/or charge my crystals. How should I do it?

There are a lot of different cleansing and charging practices to choose from and if you design your own, all the better! When we  understand how the mineral kingdom responds to certain environments, it is very helpful so that we don’t accidentally damage the crystals. Crystals, depending on a lot of factors, can breakdown in various ways when exposed to certain light, heat, acids, moisture, and other compounds such as salt. We also want to be aware of the elements in our crystals’ chemical compositions – we don’t want to expose ourselves to heavy metals or toxic elements. (Understanding the chemical composition of your crystals helps you in numerous ways).

crystal careToxicity
Most crystals that energy healers work with are perfectly safe. Especially when those crystals are highly polished or tumbled.  When a crystal is labeled “toxic” – you don’t have to get rid of that crystal. There are minerals that are highly toxic, that’s true. Most of those crystals on that short-list are not easily acquired. Still, some hear the word “toxic” and get overly nervous. For example, I know some who refuse to work with Malachite because they heard that Malachite can be poisonous. This is true when Malachite is being cut by a lapidary artist. The dust is toxic and special care should be taken to ensure that it is not breathed in or ingested and so people who cut or polish Malachite are urged to wear masks and eye protection.

Polished Malachite – the form we typically work with – is not dangerous. Rather, we ought to work with it mindfully. Do not lick Malachite. Do not create a crystal essence with Malachite unless using the indirect method. If you have a piece of rough, unpolished Malachite, handle very carefully and wash your hands afterward. Do not handle those forms of Malachite and then touch your face or eat or put your hands in your mouth.

These are good guidelines to follow whenever working with most minerals. 

Same goes for other:
– copper-bearing (Cu)
– lead-bearing (Pb)
– arsenic-bearing (As)
– mercury-bearing (Hg)
– antimony – bearing (Sb)
minerals such as Stibnite, Cinnabar, Realgar, Orpiment, Chrysotile, Galena and others. You’ll note many, many crystals contain Aluminum which is also considered a toxic element. As such, I simply encourage all crystal essences be made using the indirect method and that people do not touch their face, eyes, or mouths when handling their crystals and to wash their hands after. The minerals listed specifically above require extra care and this list is not comprehensive. Handle minimally if at all. I have Stibnite, Cinnabar, Galena, and Orpiment in my collection, but they are on the top shelf of my mineral cabinet and I do not handle them. As always – keep out of reach of children.

Please know that while you might find various toxic crystals lists online, there is no definitive list. New minerals are being found and no list can be comprehensive. If we learn about the elements that make up the crystals we work with, we won’t need a list because we’ll understand how to read a crystal’s chemical formula and we will understand not only if it contains toxic elements, but much, much more.

Got questions? Comments? Email me at

Click here to read Part 2

I will be accepting new students to the Crystal Therapy Program next month (February 2018). If you are drawn to crystals and have a desire to learn about the mineral kingdom’s effect on the subtle body from a deeply grounded perspective, please check out the course description page HERE
Students come to this course from a wide variety of vocations and practices:  gemstone faceters, massage therapists, jewelry designers, Reiki practitioners, Healing Touch practitioners, as well as those who want to practice crystal healing independently.
The course offers an Independent Study track, as well as a certification track.

Crystal Healing with Lithium Quartz

Lithium Quartz: a rare type of quartz from ONE location in the world

crystal healing lithium quartz

What exactly makes quartz “lithium quartz”? And does it matter? Aside from wanting to know what I’m really working with in my subtle energetic practice, there is also the price factor. “Lithium quartz” can have a higher price tag because it is more difficult to come by: it is mined out of only one region in Brazil. Add to that – only a specific amount of this material is allowed to be mined each year. (I’ve searched the mineralogical corner of the Internet for information about this to verify and weirdly, only reputable metaphysical sites offer the same information. If you have verifiable information that offers different facts about “lithium quartz” – please let me know in the comments).
You might be wondering why I type quotation marks around the words “lithium quartz.” It is because there isn’t a lot of readily-available, concrete information about quartz with lithium inclusions. And what we think of when we hear “lithium quartz” – quartz with lithium – can be misleading. Whether the element lithium is actually present and to what degree is debatable. The only way to identify an inclusion for sure, is through lab testing. Of course it would be very expensive to test every piece of quartz that might have Li in it, so we don’t. Which means we don’t know for sure which elements are present and in what quantities to create that lavender-mauve phantom.
What we in the metaphysical corner of the world call “lithium quartz” is quartz that comes from a specific region in Brazil. It doesn’t come from Madagascar or South America. “Lithium quartz” may have inclusions of lithium, manganese, iron, kaolinite, and/or iron. That’s what we can know for sure.
I see a lot of “lithium quartz” on social media that is not “lithium quartz” IF we are talking specifically about Brazilian quartz with inclusions creating that mauve phantom or coating. One of the most common types of quartz misidentified as being “lithium quartz” is candle quartz with hematite. Candle quartz refers to formation. It is a quartz point that has a specific look to its side terminations. Below are 2 photos of a candle quartz I sold a couple years ago. You can also do a Google Image search to check out more.
crystal healing
crystal healing
Neither are “lithium quartz.” Both are hematite coated quartz from Madagascar.
Sometimes, when hematite is present, candle quartz can look like “lithium quartz.” The coloration can be similar – check it out here. I’m not saying that the crystals featured on that page are not “lithium quartz.” What I do know is that I often see photographs of crystals on Google Image search and in social media that are claiming to show or offer “lithium quartz” that, because of its location, is unlikely to actually be “lithium quartz.”
The important thing – the idea I most want to convey – is that because other quartz (primarily hematite-bearing quartz) can also look like Lithium Quartz, it’s important to buy Lithium Quartz from a reputable, knowledgeable dealer. This is also true of Ajoite and Sugilite, and other minerals which are rare, very expensive, and have look-a-likes. 
One mineralogical website writes that “lithium quartz” is a common trade name (like a nickname – see my post on Trademarking for more information about nomenclature), for quartz that contains a “pink/purple translucent to opaque variety of quartz, possibly containing inclusions of a lithium-rich mineral such as lepidolite – however it could equally be a misleading/incorrect name, and should be regarded a simply a coloured quartz until further investigation on this material is done.” I don’t often refer or link to this website because of the members’ attitude toward the healing arts is mocking and close-minded. But being that it is an actual mineralogical website, providing actual mineralogical information, it bears noting.

So what does “Lithium Quartz” from Brazil look like? Lithium Quartz is quartz that has phantoms of a mauve-hued mineral. Sometimes it has a whitish coating on the outside of the point. I was very fortunate to be able to acquire this very large, double terminated “lithium quartz” a few summers ago that exhibits both:
crystal healing lithium quartzWhile the assumption is that “lithium quartz” contains lithium and is therefore a great stone to work with when transforming stress and anxiety, we don’t know for sure that these quartz points actually contain lithium. They probably have at least trace amounts if they were formed in a lithium-rich environment. But other crystals and minerals contain lithium for sure – and are much easier on the pocketbook and easier to obtain. When you understand the role of the chemical composition in your crystal healing practice, there’s a lot less guesswork involved. Check out what Web Elements has to say on Lithium’s page:
Lithium does not occur as the free metal in nature because of its high reactivity. Deposits are known all around the world. It is a minor component of nearly all igneous rocks and is a component of many natural brines (see below). Large deposits are located in California and Nevada (both in the USA) in several rock forms, particularly spodumene. The four main lithium minerals are spodumene, lepidolite, petalite, and amblygonite.
If you want to check out what other minerals contain lithium and in what quantities, you can check out this page and scroll through the list. You’ll see Sugilite, Montebrasite, and Elbaite.
lithium quartz crystal healing
When metaphysicians and healers encourage meditating or working with “lithium quartz” they are doing so because lithium is a known element applied in pharmacology to alleviate manic depressive disorder. If this is our primary impetus for working with lithium-bearing minerals, I’m going to recommend lepidolite everytime in place of “lithium quartz.” I have experienced anxiety since I was born and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in my early 20’s. Anxiety – regardless of diagnosis – has been a center-stage Teacher in my life. And I have turned to the mineral kingdom to help me as I learn how to work with that energy and allow it to show me what I want to know. While I have some lovely “lithium quartz” pieces available to me, each time anxiety has arisen, I have grabbed lepidolite. Botryoidal, sheet mica, or tumbled, lepidolite has been a great crystalline ally for me.
Botryoidal Lepidolite
crystal healing
Lepidolite “book”
The role of a mineral’s CLASS:
Unlike quartz, which can MAGNIFY energy, lepidolite – being a sheet silicate (aka phyllosilicate) – has a unique role in its shielding and mirroring properties, metaphysically speaking. Depending on how you wish to work with the energy arising, you can incorporate lepidolite in your healing to shield you from outside influences, or you can use the mirroring aspect to help you see how these seemingly external energies are internally co-created. For this reason alone, lepidolite seems a better crystalline ally. But then, it also has the lithium, so while regrouping or assessing, the energy of lithium is also present.
Regardless the crystalline ally you choose, I hope this post helps you as you determine which minerals to incorporate into your healing work and helps you in your identification quests.
Grace and peace,

I will be accepting new students to the Crystal Therapy Program next month (February 2018). If you have been feeling drawn to learn about crystal healing and its effects on the subtle body, I welcome you to check out the course description page HERE
The course offers an Independent Study track, as well as a certification track.

“Self healed” Quartz

What does “self-healed” mean as a descriptor? Can it be applied to all minerals or just quartz? (Loads of photos below)

I’ve seen some confusion about this on social media and on some sites, so I thought I would write an article and add to the confusion. Just kidding. Though, honestly – it can be all a bit subjective. Do I think there is a definitive way to identify self-healed quartz? Sure. But there are those who would disagree with my identification standards. Here’s my take, should you be interested in it.
First, let’s get clear about “floater” crystals – which are not the same as self-healed crystals. Let’s look at what says:
Floater crystal
Crystal that formed without being attached to a host rock or matrix, and thus fully developed without any contact points. All sides of floater crystals are usually fully intact without damage being that they don’t have a fractured attachment point.
A floater crystal may also refer to a crystal that lacks any attached matrix.
Minerals of all types can be floater crystals – not just quartz. You see a lot of minerals labeled as floater that have etching from hydrothermal solution and this points us to the fact that defining “floater” is not so cut and dried, as can be seen in many online mineral collecting forums, such as this one.
(The more I researched the physical properties of crystals, the more I realized how little the scientific community finds 100% agreement when it comes to definitions and classifications. I think that’s important to note – not to discredit the value of science! – but to remind ourselves that as much as we yearn for “THE” answer – for solid, inarguable facts and figures – the reality in most fields is that definitions and boundaries are oftentimes affected by one’s personal perspective. I personally find a lot of relief in this and remind myself of this whenever tensions rise between people or groups over the “right” view of any given thing. Potato, potahto).
At any rate – I digress. Back to the show, which is about self-healed crystals. If you buy crystals from social media sites like I sometimes do, you see a lot of mis-identified and mis-labeled minerals. (Lithium quartz is a BIG one – and I’m going to write a post about that soon). When it comes to quartz and its numerous formations, there is a lot of room for confusion: what constitutes a Cathedral Quartz or a Devic Temple Quartz or window quartz/timelinks or Lemurians or Isis Quartz or self-healed? We can do an Internet image search and see some wildly different specimens – all claiming to be the same formation.
Before I get all nitpicky about self-healed quartz, it’s really important to note that at the end of the day, for metaphysical purposes, it doesn’t have to matter. We can choose how much stock we put into these labels. Not unlike the way we use labels and categories in other areas of life to distract us from what’s true and important, these metaphysical labels we apply to quartz really don’t matter. If you’re a crystal person – someone who feels very strongly drawn to crystals, someone who has energetic experiences with crystals – what matters is the experience you have with your quartz. That’s it. Is that experience determined by the number of facets the piece has? Or if there are ladder striations on the sides? Or if the quartz has rainbows or fractures, is skinny or fat, big or small, from Brazil or Namibia? Maybe, maybe not.
More importantly, is your experience determined by how someone else has defined the experience one will have with a quartz that has a seventh facet/ladder striations/rainbows/fractures/etc? Most of us come to our crystals through an initial resonance experienced through a “first look/first feel” before we even notice that 7th facet or think to ask where the specimen was mined. Hold onto THAT. Go where THAT energy takes you. Who cares what I might have to say about it? I’m not the one having the experience with that unique piece!
Sometimes we put too much stock into what the metaphysical crystal books have to say – what we can expect when we carry a garnet or lay a rose quartz on our heart chakra or meditate with a Lemurian quartz, for example. Upon reading about these fantastic experiences, we set off to the local new age shop or get online and start hunting for that experience. And we spend a lot of money chasing after experiences that cannot be guaranteed.
It begs the question: what exactly are we trying to achieve, gain, or experience? And it also begs the question: what kind of relationship with our crystals do we wish to have? 
Are the crystals our employees? Do we approach them with expectations that if not met then, what? Why should I expect a Lemurian to do with me what another Lemurian supposedly did with Crystal Healing Book Author? Or my friend? Or my crystal teacher? This, right here, is why I’m so hesitant to talk prescriptives and generalities. Because when I pick up a Pink Himalayan Quartz cluster, I have X experience – then that evening, I have Z experience. Two weeks later I have C experience. On the very same day, in the very same moment, I could pick up the cluster, receive a blessing (energetic information) of some sort, pass it to my friend, and he could have a completely different experience! Whose experience was right? Whose experience was more meaningful? Neither! And what if we had just read about Elestial Quartz from a metaphysical book, then started working with Elestial Quartz and find that the energetic information we were tapping into had NOTHING to do with what the book told us to expect? Was our experience less worthy or meaningless? Absolutely not.
I’ll tell you, in my personal experience, crystals tend to clam up on me when I approach them with a pre-determined desire. One of the Big Ideas crystals have imparted to me is how important it is to remain neutral and unassuming when stepping into a relationship or encounter. When I do, there is all this room for a multitude of blessings to come rushing in. When I approach anything or any event with an expectation, I miss out. If the energy can’t fit or flow into my expectation, I can’t possibly experience it – I miss out because I was busy looking for something else instead of being open to what is.
I know, I know, once again I digress. I would apologize, except I can’t with any authenticity because I feel really passionately about this – that each of us is our own expert of our own experiences.
Now, self-healed quartz. This page defines and shows photographs of what constitutes and does not constitute self healed quartz. Some metaphysicians include internal fractures in their categorization of self-healed quartz. I do not, personally.  A couple rare instances have popped up for me when I came across a quartz which had, during its formation, experienced a total break during seismic activity and over time the piece rejoined. In this case, there is a fracture that wend around the entire point (or very nearly the entire point). I had a cathedral quartz which I sold that was internally self-healed in this way. To this day, it is one of the pieces I wish I had not re-homed, though I trust it is exactly where it needs to be. It was pretty cool and very rare, having also some trigonic markings. Here is a photo:

I would include this trigonic cathedral as a self-healed quartz. But they are pretty rare.
Here are some other examples:
This gorgeous, bright, clear cathedral quartz has a bottom which shows the beginning stages of healing:
And this Quartz piece from Nepal is fully self healed, in some areas exemplifying multi-terminations. 
Here is an Arkansas point which also has a self-healed bottom:
Here is a Himalayan Quartz point which is not self-healed:
And here is a “Lemurian” quartz point that is also not exhibiting any self-healed markings:
If you are someone who works with crystals in a metaphysical sense, then you might be wondering what self-healed crystals offer in terms of energetic support. Again, I’ll briefly reiterate that the best way to know what YOUR crystal is communicating to YOU is to spend time with it and keep your ears, mind, and heart open. Whatever comes through always trumps what any book or definition will tell you, including mine.
Generally speaking, self-healed quartz are known to be powerful teachers of our own personal healing. It’s pretty straightforward – having gone through the process of healing itself, self-healed quartz can be meditated with, slept with, carried, etc., as we, each experiencing imbalance, learn how to heal ourselves. They make a great addition to any healer’s crystal set and are lovely crystals to work with individually.

Beauty in fresh starts and crystals to support us, part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about a paradigm shift I’ve been experimenting with (thanks to the wisdom shared by a friend) about new beginnings, re-dos, re-starts, etc. I also mentioned that I was going to try something new this year: to write follow-up posts about the crystals I was working with specific to the subtle energy topic in the previous post.
If you read Michael Gienger’s book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing, (required book for my course), you’ll understand why I have been so hesitant to share my personal experience with crystals in healing. Not only is each mineral expressing different energies based on different aspects of itself, but each person might be resonating with one or two aspects (which means one or two information frequencies) at any given time, based on their unique need at that moment. This means we cannot solely rely on crystal prescriptions to know how to work with crystals in subtle energy healing, unless we’re okay with working only in generalities, which by its definition, cannot serve us in deeply nuanced, specific ways.
I’m going to share with you which crystals I’m working with personally for the topic I’ve written about with the caveat (that you’re sure to get sick of seeing) that just because these are the crystals I’m working with doesn’t make them THE crystals everyone else *should* be working with for the same energetic support. I’m simply sharing my personal experience which may or may not resonate with you. What it can be is a jumping off point into your own personal discovery which can manifest your own personal crystalline experience.
As I think about my intention for this moment: To be present, open, and compassionate toward myself as I surrender to the understanding that all is well and exactly as it should be and that nothing needs fixing…. The following crystals speak to me: Obsidian (any form), Phosphosiderite, Villiaumite, and Cathedral quartz
Let’s take a look together.
crystal healing obsidian
Obsidian – there was a time I was intimidated by this one. I was taught at some point that only people really ready to dive into their Holy Crap should work with obsidian because it was “ruthless.” And herein lies an example of the ways carrying past ideas around with us can sometimes become a hindrance, as well as exemplifying the way individual experiences cannot always be good indicators of the experiences we will have with the same minerals.
Last year I was drawn to obsidian more and more. I decided to delete the previous programming (old thought forms) about obsidian and approach it from a new place and see what it would have to say to me. My friend, Nicholas Pearson (The Luminous Pearl which you can find and follow here and here), wrote about obsidian in his book, The Seven Archetypal Stones: Their Spiritual Powers and Teachings, and says of the stone:
Obsidian is an amorphous solid; really, it is just a super-cooled liquid that as a glass lacks the long-range order that characterizes true minerals. Its composition is mostly silica, but the rapid nature of its cooling process prevents its constituent compounds from ordering themselves into neatly organized, regular structures. Obsidian is therefore disqualified from being counted as a true mineral because of its lack of crystalline structure. Although under close magnification obsidian shows evidence of short-range order—minute clusters of molecules that began to arrange themselves in crystal-like ways—these groupings do not add up to a complete crystal lattice. This incompleteness is part of obsidian’s beauty; it has one foot in the realm of the mineral kingdom and the other in the void of becoming.
This spoke to me – feeling like I had one foot in one realm, and the other foot in a different realm. And I then understood why I was suddenly so attracted to the stone. As I was becoming aware of this feeling and creating a study around it – to integrate the All and see how I could feel whole in the midst of it all – obsidian came alongside me to support that subtle energetic working. Given the way conflict, divisiveness, and duality have been so center stage over the last couple of years, it makes sense to continue this study.

crystal healing phosphosiderite

Phosphosiderite is a gorgeous lilac-purple mineral that has become more available recently. A monoclinic mineral containing iron, phosphosiderite is a lovely stone to carry as an energetic ally when a person is feeling or experiencing life in a rather manic way and seeks to create balance and a more sustainable energetic experience. The iron content is very grounding which can be helpful to those who experience life too much inside their heads.  When I want to get out of my head and into my heart, I enter into a study of getting into my body, doing some earthing, and sensing the energies of my root, sacral, and solar plexus chakras, and merging those energies with my throat, third eye, and crown. As I draw those energies toward center – toward the heart, I pay attention to the way each chakra informs the others to find myself realigned. This is a great stone to hold when doing a meditation or body work around this study. It’s a great stone for someone who can jump from peace to “hot headed” rather quickly.

crystal healing villiaumite

I first came to know villiaumite, a rather rare Russian mineral, through one of my suppliers. A cubic halide, Villiaumite can be a great mineral to support a person who is in a study of releasing that which no longer serves. If a person is aware of “things” in their life which is no longer supportive, working with halides can be helpful allies as the person releases those “things.” Concepts, items, beliefs, labels, relationships, anything that we can hold onto really. Now, this is true, generally speaking, of any halide, given that it’s a mineral class. Villiaumite in particular, has two important distinctions: it contains fluorine and it is a deep, blood red color.

crystal healing villiaumite

Applying chromotherapy principles to the mineral kingdom can be problematic. So I’m going to skip over villiaumite’s color and talk instead about the element. Fluorine is an element which, according to Michael Gienger, increases flexibility. This is seen in each aspect: physically (joints), emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. So as we do the work of releasing, we also have support in not becoming married to a replacement of that thing we just released. We remain supple and open.
Just a note – villiaumite is a toxic mineral: I wouldn’t recommend handling it. Set it in a place where you meditate or study, pray or read and allow it to be an energetic support within that sacred space. If you do handle it – not to worry, simply wash your hands thoroughly before eating or touching your face/skin.

crystal healing course

Cathedral quartz is one of the crystals that is a constant in my personal work. There are 5 which I have the pleasure and honor of working with, this smoky being one of them. As it sits tall in the wooden stand, all 16″ inches of it, I am daily reminded to stand tall in the awareness of the interconnectivity of all things. All energies. When I cannot energetically reside in that knowing, I know to lay down and enter into my body for a study. As above, so below. If I see or sense disharmony externally, it surely can be found within and that’s okay. It’s simply an opportunity to rest, be still with myself, and to become acquainted again with my true self. Only then can I conceive of standing up again, rejoining the Whole from a place of peace and trust and humility.

2018 brings new opportunities to those who are interested in working with crystals for subtle energy healing. I can accept up to 16 new students to the Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work Program this year. I will begin working with new students, one-on-one, as soon as February. Visit for full details about the program and how to get started.

Beauty in fresh starts and crystals to support us

New Years is in every moment: crystal healing support during new beginnings.

crystal healing
A friend recently shared her expanding awareness about how each moment is a fresh, new do-over. She’s not talking about waking up every day with a clean slate. She’s talking about being aware that each millisecond, each breath, is a new, fresh moment of opportunity. If we allow it, if we can embrace each moment afresh without referring back to the past or worrying over the future, we can tap into a groundswell of joy and peace.
The gift of this lesson appeared through her relationship with her daughter. There was tension. There were words spoken. And so, each time they came back together, there was the habit of hauling in previous tensions and words from past experiences. But it occurred to her one fine day – she could choose to meet her daughter as though for the first time, every time. It occurred to her that she doesn’t know her daughter in her present iteration – in the now moment. Who could possibly forecast who her daughter would be this time – in this moment that hadn’t even yet arrived? And her experiment was a huge success! The next meeting of these two amazing souls was fresh, light, joy-filled, and peaceful for my friend who didn’t carry an outdated understanding of her daughter into a fresh, new moment.
Imagine that…. think of a person with whom you feel tension or anger or disappointment or some other uncomfortable feeling. Imagine the next time you encounter them – see how it might feel differently if you reframed your experience as though you were meeting a new friend for the first time?
This story came to my mind as I was witnessing the annual new year’s resolution posts on social media. I’m not someone who finds a lot of meaning in New Years, usually, but it seemed an important occasion this year for a reason I couldn’t quite grasp. On Instagram, a friend asked what our new year’s resolutions were, and one of his followers responded:
“My res is to keep my thoughts open and unbiased while encouraging and loving those around me.”
And I thought, “YES!” Open and unbiased. Being present with who I am with in the moment. This is a harkening to my friend’s beautiful lesson mentioned above.
To achieve this, we would come to an internal agreement to stop worrying about achieving. (The paradoxes are limitless). We would agree to stay present, not referring to the past – past beliefs, past experiences, past hurts, past successes. And we would remain trusting that the “future” will be exactly what we need when we stay rooted in the here and now. We can trust that the future is taking care of itself. We don’t have to create a story about it before it’s even become real.
Were I to look back, just over the year we have labeled “2017,” and if I were asked to label it using one word, the word would be “difficult.” People were challenged in numerous ways, on numerous levels. Ailments arose: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. A lot of crap came to the surface for us to look at and that crap manifested itself in a wide variety of ways.
  • Relationships with ourselves, our partners, our friends, our co-workers, our communities were challenged and in some cases, broken, oftentimes because of mental imbalance – each of us giving too much power to our mind and its unending output of judgment.
  • Our bodies were challenged by the stress of feeling untethered and manifested through death and illness and chronic pain.
  • Our spirituality was challenged by the way we perceived external events and how we chose to relate to them – how we chose to allow ourselves to identify with them.
  • Our emotions – originating from our beliefs derived from the mind, about ourselves in relationship to our relationships, bodies, and spiritualities created a persistent feeling of being challenged, defeated, and overwhelmed.
It was a wringer of a year. If you were doing the inner work of becoming more authentic, more aware, more honest with yourself, more centered and grounded – this year put you through a wringer. At every turn, there was an opportunity to come face-to-face with those aspects of ourselves we dislike and try to ignore or deny or cover up, or worse, dress up as something valuable so that we could maintain an identity we have of ourselves, nevermind that that very identity is what was slowly chipping away at our souls.
They often demanded to be seen through our interactions with each other – our politicians, social media, culture, and sometimes through aspects of our lives closer to home like our teachers, students, friends, and family. If there was a button to be pushed, someone was pushing it.
“Love and Light” wasn’t enough anymore. Suddenly the darkness we so fervently denied or tried to “protect” ourselves from was undeniable. Because if we really believe in oneness, in nonduality, then we were part of that which we determined was “dark.” It was part of us. It was, literally, Holy Crap. 
So of course, the collective is anxious for a “new year.” To begin “anew.” Though these ideas, these concepts that we’ve created of a “new year” and “fresh beginnings” being tied to dates or the moon phases or any other such event, is just that – creations, which means we can change them. We can see them through a different perspective. The truth is that we don’t ever have to wait for a new moon, a new year, a birthday, or some other event to wipe the slate clean and begin again. All that is required is a willingness to cut ourselves slack as we maintain our awareness and continually realign with our truest selves.
And cutting ourselves slack is going to be key because that Holy Crap isn’t going to go away just because we’re typing 2018 instead of 2017. The darkness that arose to be seen (that was always there) just yesterday? Yeah, it’s still there, still waiting to be integrated. There is no magick-ing this away with mantras of light and love. The magic is found through our courage: courage to see and be seen in every aspect and to surrender to truth in all its forms – regardless how it makes us feel. A key truth to remember might be that feelings are fleeting, often unreliable indicators of Truth. The ego thrives on feelings – our emotions, those borne of mental activity, are oftentimes the food of the ego.
That isn’t to say there is no merit in New Years celebrations or in birthday goals or in new moon rituals. These can serve as helpful realignment events if we want them to. Just know you aren’t limited by a calendar or moon phase or birth date to start anew. In every moment you have an opportunity to take a fresh, deep breath and choose to start again. You get to choose which beliefs, perspectives, ideas, and feelings you want to carry with you in every moment. What freedom.

A friend and I were talking a few months back and she was generous to allow me to ramble about a problem I couldn’t see my way through. You see, I know that I teach this amazing crystal healing course and so I *should* be writing about crystals and crystal healing here on the blog – that’s what seekers of crystal healing information would want, right? But the thing is – I just couldn’t seem to do it. Because after the above post about being Present and cutting ourselves slack and being courageous – the natural question is, “What crystals would be good for me to work with as I work to become more present and courageous?” To which I would respond, “The crystals that call you.” And that’s not typically what people expect or want in an answer to that type of question.
So this year, I’m going to try something – I’m going to share which crystals I’m working with personally for the topic I’ve written about with the caveat (that you’re sure to get sick of seeing) that just because these are the crystals I’m working with doesn’t make them THE crystals everyone else *should* be working with for the same energetic support.
That post will be published tomorrow where I’ll give an overview of obsidian, phosphosiderite, villiaumite, and cathedral quartz.
crystal healing obsidian crystal healing phosphosiderite crystal healing villiaumitecrystal healing villiaumite

Keep an eye out for it, or if you’d like it sent to you directly, be sure to sign up for blog updates (in Navigation on your mobile device, or in the left-hand menu on your desktop/laptop).
Until then, grace and peace.
(And if you’d like to check out the 2018Crystal Therapy Course opportunities, click HERE). 

Discomfort is one of the best teachers

In normal, day-to-day experiences, resistance and discomfort are two ways the Universe asks me to change my mind. I used to live in fear constantly and I’m not being hyperbolic. I was drowning in anxiety on a daily, if not hourly basis for the first 3 decades of my life. My foundational beliefs – which served to identify who I was – had to go through a huge seismic event for me to begin to find peace because shockingly, these foundational beliefs served as a weak place from which to view the world and my place in it. While I clung desperately to each of these beliefs that guaranteed me eternal bliss, I struggled in the here-and-now in every aspect of my life. And the struggle was a direct result of the aforementioned beliefs.
I finally came to the realization that nothing was working: I had reached the end of my rope years ago, so something needed to change. For years I had been instructed to not question the beliefs that had been imparted to me and I held to that as long as I could until desperation overwhelmed me. Then I took a hammer to those foundational beliefs and threw those pieces in the air like confetti. (At that point – I had nothing to lose). As each belief rained down in slow-motion, I would reach out and grab one at a time and consider it – question it. “Is this true?” “Can I know for sure that it is true?” “No?” Shoot. “What if this isn’t true? What does that mean?”
As it turns out, and much to my surprise, setting aside my beliefs only created freedom and that freedom was very quiet and still.
The sky did not fall. The earth did not swallow me whole.
And so I sat for a while in a daze from the anticlimactic nature of what I was sure was to be my eternal doom.
For a while I really enjoyed saying, “I don’t know!” What freedom to finally be able to admit that I didn’t know anything for sure. What freedom to be able to finally admit that if I didn’t know for me – I couldn’t possibly be responsible for knowing for the rest of the world. Questions came at me fast and each one, I could just sit with, letting the words play in my mind and heart. I read books, listened to new ideas, explored, and explored some more.
But then I started to wonder, “Who am I in relationship to anything?” I couldn’t define my experiences based on a belief system anymore and that was troubling because my experiences defined ME. When the void became uncomfortable, instead of sitting with the discomfort, I began to seek out new filling. I replaced chocolate with strawberry and lime for pistachio. All those new spaces in my brainbox where the old beliefs used to sit started to get filled with new beliefs, new “truths.”
Before you knew it, the anxiety was back. Not so much the fear. But the anxiety always lurking just below the surface as I applied different labels to myself.  What good is a belief if it doesn’t help define who I am?
While I dropped the identity of “evangelical,” I picked up the identity of “empath.” I dropped the identity of “responsible” and picked up the identity of “nonconforming.” Imagine my surprise when the new identities turned out to be equally suffocating! Each label comes with its own cultural baggage, group-think, and list of “cans” and “can’ts.” I didn’t realize that at first. It was confusing. Similarly to the “old” group I used to belong to, where everyone believed X, in my “new” group, where everyone believed Z, people seemed pretty happy! Yet I was not. Again.
The last ten years have been an exercise in picking up and dropping back down. As time has passed, I’ve become more immune to the picking up part. I have come to appreciate the deliciousness of taking in what is in the present moment and in not tying myself to ideas that die just as soon as they come into existence.
Now when discomfort arises, I take stock of the mental goings-on. What am I believing? What about my perspective could use a good quake? How can I change and expand my perspective?
I’m a big believer in questioning the premise and in self-inquiry. Just because my brainbox comes up with an idea, that doesn’t mean the idea is good, true, or tenable. I am liberated by my ability to sit inside a question. I am empowered by my ability to question my own thoughts and the thoughts of others. When I experience anything, and I feel discomforted by it, I have three choices:
1. Pretend it isn’t there – usually by talking myself out of what I’m feeling. (Old paradigm).
2. Recognize whatever is present and run. (Old paradigm).
3. Recognize whatever is present and be with it fully. Rise to the situation if you will.
I know #3 sounds difficult. It can be; depends on the situation really. But here’s the deal: the first two choices aren’t really choices at all.  #1 is denial and #2 is denial with cardio. When I was willing to come face-to-face with this truth, my life changed in drastic ways and it all started with my mind. I had to change my perspective regarding “negativity” and “positivity” and “light” and “darkness.” I had to let go of the belief that I was an “empath” and “sensitive.” What do those words mean? Are they helpful or limiting? Do they keep me rooted to duality and therefore in conflict with myself and others? Or do they create freedom and liberation?
Easy to figure out, don’t worry. If my ego whispers any of the following to me:
“I can’t”
“It’s too much”
“I don’t have a choice”
“It’s just the way it is”
“I was just born this way”
“No one understands me”
“No one will understand”
“I have special circumstances/needs/requirements”
or anything similar….then the belief is an unhelpful illusion from my ego who is worried about losing control or influence.
Those thoughts are signals to get out my hammer again and started banging away. Because I love discomfort? No. Because discomfort is my greatest teacher. Discomfort leads to self-inquiry which leads to liberated living. I get in my own way – rarely is it something or someone external to me who is blocking the pass. But I don’t have to stay in my way if I’m willing to question the premise. If I’m willing to release an identity. If I’m willing to look, see, and acknowledge, and then shift my perspective – change my beliefs.
When I say, “I can’t,” I want to say it because it’s true: “I can’t because I don’t want to.” Not “I can’t because something is stopping me.” To whom or what am I giving my power away? Funnily enough, it’s usually almost always ideas – these wisps of nothing that can turn on a dime and become larger than life in our minds. If we let them.
Grace and peace.

The 2018 Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work Program details are now live. If you’ve been considering taking a crystal healing course next year and are looking for a program that is grounded, comprehensive, accredited, and provides real-time, one-to-one instructor support, I welcome you to check out the details about the program’s classes, benefits, and approach here


A love note to you and to me.

I have met you in the All where you are free and I am free and we are joy and peace. I have met your True Self – the existence beyond personhood vibrating with faith and compassion and strength. I hope we are meeting our True Selves everyday more and more and more. I hope we are experiencing a liberation from our past and future, from memories, from preconceived ideas, from ideas, identifiers, and concepts that bind. I hope our wings expand and grow strong as we release our attachment to who we think we are so that we experience the becoming of Who We Are. I have deep faith that this way of experiencing life is available and closer than our own skin in every moment.

Please leave your shoes outside…

…Oh, and one more thing, please leave your mind outside

This is a powerful Satsang for those of us who want to experience the peace and joy that doesn’t go away. Is it possible? How might we experience this? How might we become awake and free?  Mooji provides an experience of freedom through the essential “isness” of each Being.  The experience begins around minute 40:00 and lasts to around 1:20 in the video.

You can also access this as a podcast (38 minute audio only) here:

The Subtle Anatomy: Messages and Maps

© Used with permission from the Essential Light Institute

The subtle anatomy is a multidimensional, multilayered energy body. From the physical-plane perspective, it is both internal and external. The subtle channels, called meridians or nadis, run throughout the entire body. They act as a kind of superhighway and when traffic is running smoothly in all directions – things are good. If there is a backup, the lanes get clogged and that’s where meridian therapies comes into play, such as acupuncture. Of the three primary aspects of the subtle anatomy, the meridians are most closely related to our physical body. In other words, when we are experiencing a physical body issue such as an imbalance in the liver or excessive headaches or numbness in the extremities, meridian therapies can be the best alternative healing option when worked in conjunction with a licensed medical care provider.

The other two primary aspects meanwhile, are more psycho-spiritual in nature. (Here is a good description of psycho-spiritual work). The chakras originate from the center of a person’s being and emanate outward in a vortex of energy specific to different aspects of our experiences. One of my teachers refers to these as “lessons.” Each of the chakras (and here we’re speaking primarily about the main 7) provide different lessons throughout our lives. When a chakra is perceived to be out of balance, there is an opportunity to tune in, pay attention, and expand our understanding in some capacity. These lessons, when not integrated, may become more physical in nature, expressing through the physical body, but can be sensed, seen, and integrated at the psycho-spiritual level.

A lot of energy healing modalities teach about the primary 7 chakras and stop there. However, each of these 7 primary chakras offers us much more information when seen through the auric fields, or layers. The auric fields govern the different aspects of our existence in a big picture way. For example, we may learn various lessons about our identity as it relates to work through our solar plexus chakra. Yet that “I am” energy is expressed through the physical, etheric, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of our being. In other words, when we view chakra imbalances through the different auric layers, we begin to see nuance that allows us to work with that energy in a multidimensional way.

Another example is depression and anxiety disorder – a diagnosis that has skyrocketed in recent decades. If someone approaches a crystal healer and asks, “Which stone should I use to help me with depression?” that crystal healer will provide a much more applicable recommendation when they ask a follow-up question such as, “Where in your body do you most acutely experience depression?” or “Tell me how the depression affects you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually?” Because the energy of depression will express itself differently (and thus, be experienced differently) through each of these aspects. We may find through further inquiry that the person experiences depression only in certain circumstances (rather than all the time for a period of time). We may find that the depression is attached to a relationship or a thought form/belief. We may find that what has been diagnosed as depression is really a specific fear as yet uncovered and unseen.  As a subtle energy healer who works with the mineral kingdom, my recommendation for crystal healing is going to look radically different depending on this additional information.

© Used with permission from the Essential Light Institute

This is one of the reasons why I don’t provide crystal prescriptions. When people email or call me and ask a question such as, “What crystal is really good for arthritis?” I email them back asking for more information. What they need is a healing session that allows me an opportunity to make a proper assessment of their subtle anatomy. Sometimes this irritates people who want a quick answer but if I provided a quick answer I could be giving them unhelpful recommendations and then they are back to square one – only more frustrated. If people are willing to work with me, I can then tune in to their subtle anatomy and learn where in the auric fields and at which chakras an imbalance might be occurring. That’s right – I may find that arthritis (or depression or fear or judgment or control issues or anger or….) is an imbalance found within their subtle anatomy at numerous chakras and in numerous fields. And based on this energy information, I can then make crystal recommendations that are nuanced and comprehensive (helpful).

Often, when a more comprehensive assessment has taken place, I can create a plan for the client to work with. I may find that I want to recommend they work with multiple crystals and the best way to do that can vary from mineral to mineral. I may recommend that they work with a particular mineral for two weeks by carrying it and meditating with it. Then, after those two week, set aside that initial crystal and work with two other minerals. But this time, I will recommend that one of those two minerals be experienced and integrated as a crystal essence. See how together we can create a more nuanced plan that provides different types of energetic support as you heal through your experience? That feels really good to me.

Human beings are complicated creatures. We are emotional, we are mental, we are physical, we are spiritual. These different aspects of our lives and experiences aren’t standalones. Each affects the others and so when we begin our healing work, we are best served when we take all of it into consideration.

Have questions? Email me at

Want to learn how to become a crystal therapy practitioner and learn the methodology described above? Head on over to this webpage: to read about the program. Then give me a call or fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page to get started. Registration is currently open through September 15th at 4pm PDT.

Trademarked Stones and Crystals

“Why don’t you sell or work with insert-trademarked-name crystal?”

Truth is, I’m often working with stones and crystals that, had I purchased them from a particular dealer, would have been labeled with a trademarked name. We’re all probably working with trademarked stones and don’t even know it. It isn’t that I won’t work with a specific mineral because of its other name – it’s that I won’t work with a crystal based on a trademarked name and its accompanying story. Neither will I sell anyone a crystal by its trademarked name. (For example, if you contact me desiring to work with Anandalite ™, I will tell you that I can provide you with a naturally iridescent quartz geode from India sometimes trademarked as Anandalite ™ but also called Aurora Quartz, Rainbow Quartz, and 7-color Quartz, and I can save you a bunch of money because I’m not buying or selling it from the company that trademarked the name ‘Anandalite ™’). 

A couple years ago I visited a rock and mineral shop in Sequim, owned and operated by a gentleman who had traveled the world for 40 years, personally collecting just about every item in his store. It was a sight, let me tell you. I saw he had “Cinnabar in Quartz” for $5.00 each. Not having any Cinnabar and knowing that Cinnabar is toxic, I thought, “This would be a cool way to work with the energies of Cinnabar,” so I bought 1 one tumbled, again for just 5 bucks.

When I purchase a new-to-me stone, I come home and start researching the mineral’s properties: chemical composition, internal crystal structure, formation origin, mineral class, etc. The first thing I do is a Google Image Search to make sure that yep, I’m actually holding what I was told I was buying. (This can be tricky and not always the best way of identifying stones, but more on that at another time).

I keep scrolling and JACKPOT! There it is! Only wait a minute, these pieces – similar in weight and size – are being sold for $64 and $32. What???? How did my $5 pieces suddenly become worth $30-60?

And then I see it – the Trademarked Name. 

And I’ll admit, I get a little irritated when I come across this and for a few different reasons, not least is because usually when someone applies a trademarked name to a stone, they remove any actual helpful information about the stone such as manner of formation and chemical composition. In the place of this factual, objective information (from which we then get to experience the stone individually), they sell the stone based on their personal, subjective experience. The prices for what are usually very common minerals (easy to obtain) suddenly go through the roof. People often pay more than they need to for lack of knowledge. It’s problematic on a lot of fronts.

Why do I get so bothered about these applied trademarks?  There are a few issues at play. 

Nomenclature confusion

Sometimes minerals already have multiple accepted mineralogical names from within the mineralogical community. Then there are trade names – names that aren’t necessarily trademarked but is a name sometimes given because the mineralogical name is complicated to pronounce. Then the new age/healing community will sometimes give minerals what I refer to as a nickname. For example, in some circles, Malachite is known as the Midwife Stone (in other circles Moss Agate is called a Midwife Stone). As you can see, the nomenclature is already confusing enough without adding another group of names to the mix.

In recent years, there are a few who have taken it upon themselves to assign yet another name – the trademark name. Oftentimes, the name hides all mineralogical information from the buyer in lieu of a story about a spiritual experience to be had. There are exceptions when a trademark is helpful like when the trademark name helps us identify a common mineral’s location that, because of the location, the mineral’s chemical composition or physical appearance makes it uncommon.

From a purely practical perspective, with all of these names for minerals floating around, it can be difficult to ID and research crystals and stones. It was tricky before, but now with the trademarked stones, I’ve noticed it has gotten more complicated. Generally speaking, these pieces being sold under a trademarked name have descriptions that make fantastic healing claims and are labeled “high vibration” (another pet peeve of mine). There are rarely any notes given of the actual mineralogical name, let alone chemical composition, crystal system, occurrences, manner of formation, etc.  Why? Well, I’m spitballing here, but if I can buy a tumbled blue onyx stone from an Etsy seller for $7, why would I buy a tumbled blue onyx stone called “Ocean’s Rapture” from another seller for $30? But if I don’t know that “Ocean’s Rapture” is actually blue onyx, I might be more willing to roll the dice for that beautiful blue mystery stone suggesting a rapturous experience. See what’s happening here?

Trademarked crystals are sold with suggestions that the stone will offer heightened mystical experiences and are often sold as having been “super activated.” The stone usually arrives with an authenticity certificate and it should be noted that, generally speaking, this certificate authenticates only that the stone in question came from a specific dealer/shop. It is not typically guaranteeing elemental makeup and of course, no one can guarantee an experience so neither is the certificate guaranteeing specific energetic qualities. Which leads us to ask, to what end? 

(Clarification: the stones themselves are not trademarkable. It’s only the name that is trademarked. For example, I cannot now sell my Cinnabar in Quartz stones under the trademarked name I found online because I did not acquire them from the person who owns the trademark. Make sense? It’s like Nike can’t stop Adidas from selling running shoes, but they can stop Adidas from selling running shoes using the Nike name and symbol).

I need to be clear here about something – I don’t question that someone has had a specific experience with any stone. That’s not my place to question other people’s experiences. But it is my place to remind myself and others that one person’s experience does not guarantee another person’s experience. The prescriptive culture of healing (ironically similar to the Rx culture of traditional medicine which is often eschewed in subtle healing circles) is antithetical to everything I have learned about subtle energies and the way they interact through my personal healing experiences, study, and professional practice. I am not questioning another person’s healing or mystical experience. I am calling into question the idea that it is transferrable, buyable, or one-size-fits-all.

Let’s dig deeper – and it harm none? 

There are ripple effects that I see playing out in the crystal healing community that come from this trademarking/marketing. From where I sit, the practice of assigning specific roles and a “hierarchy of specialness” to crystals is disadvantageous for a few reasons:

One – it is disempowering to people seeking their healing who work with crystals as allies. How do people come to know a thing from an empowered place? They get facts like mineralogical names which lead to chemical compositions, crystal systems, manner of formation – in other words, the crystal’s story – rather than only the stories of other people’s experiences (Third Eye awakening! Quick ascension! High vibration!). The facts about the crystal allows the crystal to tell its own story and those facts inform our inner wisdom and allow us to discern with nuance what energetic messages are being conveyed for us in that specific moment in time.

“Wait, you mean a crystal can provide different energetic support from moment to moment?” Absolutely. I might pick up a Zambian Citrine and work with it for one purpose on a Tuesday morning, but Thursday evening, for many, many reasons, it is communicating something entirely differently to me. This is but one example why I don’t read  crystal prescription books anymore. In the subtle field, where this work is done, where this energy exists and accessed, there are no hard and fast rules, definitions, or labels.

When we approach crystals from a prescriptive stance, it’s like going to a meet and greet with a friend whose mouth you’ve duct taped shut. You walk around introducing people to your friend, telling others all about your experiences with your friend based solely on your personal, subjective perception. The friend meanwhile, never really gets known on her own terms and the people meeting her don’t really have a true sense of the kind of relationship they might have with her.

When I understand the process a crystal went through to get from its seed to my hand and all of the elements included and its sacred geometry and more – my intuitive experience with that crystal is much more heightened, grounded, and most importantly – Heart centered. (There are no egoic hopes and dreams hanging in the balance, getting in the way of my healing work).

When I was new to self-healing and crystals as allies, I glommed onto anything that promised a quick healing/awakening or an amped up experience of any kind. I was eager to grow and expand my awareness. I was a sponge and I soaked up EVERYTHING I read or was told about each crystal and I was so anxious to evolve that I didn’t question where this “information” was coming from. I didn’t yet realize that healing and evolution is almost always a process – a meandering journey – with no quick fix. I also was still under the illusion that I could be “fixed” by someone else/something else outside of me. I wasn’t taking responsibility for my healing. So of course I read the books that told me what crystal to use for which issue presenting! Which brings me to number 2:

My personal concern about this marketing method is that it may take advantage of people who have not yet honed their discernment skills. Discernment – the ability to judge well – is so important and is something learned over time as we get more familiar with our Selves and our Hearts. The more honed a person’s discernment skills, the less flitting and fluttering, the less grasping about there is; the more grounded a person’s experience will be with deeper, lasting healing taking place.

Discernment is about being able to recognize when something is truly resonating with your Heart or when something is feeding an aspect of your ego. It’s about being able to recognize when I am trying to take the easy way to healing which is a short road full of disappointment and confusion. It’s like those weight loss ads – “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days with this new fad diet!” We all know that for most, generally speaking, losing weight in any real, lasting way requires a well balanced diet of limited caloric intake and a consistent exercise schedule; in other words – it takes work, much like lasting personal growth and healing.

And three – it places crystals in the role of quick-fix servants. They aren’t our toys – being used to play out a scene. They are the teachers. We don’t tell them what they do – they show/tell us how to work with them for the highest good. Remember when you were first drawn to crystals and realized they had the capacity to help you evolve? Wasn’t there wonderment? For me, it was an understanding that there was something here to uncover in/about me; there was no urge to categorize or figure out what this object was going to “do for or to me.” As I began exploring, I learned to see crystals as quick-fix, one-size-fits-all tools from various sources within the community. I had to unlearn that in order to find the wonderment (and respect) again.

The aim of this article isn’t to suggest that all trademarked crystals and purchases of trademarked stones is bad or wrong. This article is about being aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. There are some instances when trademark names are informative. When we hear, for example, Auralite 23 or Aurora Quartz, we automatically know, oh, that crystal is amethyst from that specific mine in Canada or, oh that is quartz from India. So yes, I have an Auralite 23 and some Aurora Quartz. But I also know that Auralite 23 is Amethyst with inclusions and that Aurora Quartz is quartz often found as plates of small points, having an iridescence. I know the price reflects availability and not an experience.

Fair questions any consumer might ask:

  • Am I buying into hype? Have I considered working with this stone from my Heart Space or is my brainbox and Solar Plexus on overdrive right now?
  • Am I drawn to this crystal because of someone else’s experience, hoping to bypass important self inquiry?
  • Am I expecting this crystal to provide a quick-fix in my healing journey?
  • Does the seller freely give important information like mineralogical name, chemical composition, and crystal system? (Which can also inform us of important safety information like toxicity).
  • Does this energy exchange feel empowering or does it feel like I am relying on someone else or something else?
  • Does this exchange increase my feelings of dependence on the seller?
  • Is there a mark-up that is not in line with current market value? Why?

Have questions? Email me at Remember that I don’t identify crystals and stones through photographs, but I’m happy to answer any question related to the above.

Crystal Healing Course

The crystal healing course – what is truly being offered

“Healing” means different things to different people. Being a “healer” then, also has varying levels of significance from one healer to the next. For me, over the last ten years, words around healing have come to convey different ideas at different times. The same has occurred for me regarding “crystal healing” specifically.

It might feel like a contradiction when I say that no one needs to be healed. And if a person does feel they need to be healed, no one can heal them. It would be natural for a person reading these words here – on my healing website, where I offer healing services and classes and a course in the subtle energetic art of healing – to feel confused. But that’s where the last ten years has brought me.

Words do us a disservice when speaking about spiritual concepts and emotional matters. We talk about healing and energy medicine and therapies and of course these words are borrowed from the medical and mental health communities. In efforts to gain both accountability and respect, as well as accessibility, we borrow terms that are already known, that carry a weight unto themselves. The problem is that healing and medicine and therapies are words that oftentimes apply to mechanics, to the world of duality, to cause-and-effect. And in that place, these words have proper meaning, conveying accurately what can be expected (most of the time).

In the world of subtle energy healing, which is, at its core non-dualistic in nature, these words do not fit. Subtle energy healing arts offer us a way to become more aware of and relate more deeply to our psycho-spiritual, emotional, and mental aspects. There are a million ways to do this on the physical plane and so there are numerous modalities through which this type of journeying is accessed. Reiki, EFT, massage, bio-feedback, Healing Touch, yoga, kirtan, meditation, prayer, qigong, and others. And yes, relating to the mineral kingdom, aka, crystal healing. On the physical plane – where duality rules (and can serve as an organizing force) – when we get sick or break a bone we seek healing. Cause and effect. Expectations are automatic: we see a doctor who either discovers or confirms an ailment or breakage, who then determines steps to cure the ailment or breakage. But on the subtle plane, nothing is wrong, nothing is broken, nothing needs to be fixed. All is present and All is simply being observed. There is no hierarchy or good v. bad. All is. All is a part of the awareness, wanting to be seen and integrated. Energy is energy is energy. And so, no, I do not, as a healer actually heal anyone. I create a space for someone to come into their own awareness, should they desire support while doing so. I do not bring balance to their subtle anatomy – they do, by surrendering to a moment in time and being willing to be with all of the energies present in that moment and observe what arises. We work with one another because we each have different perspectives, tools, and wisdom to share with one another that further illuminates our awareness. Iron sharpens iron. We also work together because, let’s face it, sometimes this awareness can be difficult to integrate and having a witness and someone holding a space of compassion for us while we are deep in it can be one of the most beautiful experiences of this life. crystal healing course


Getting to the place where we can become willing to acknowledge and then explore that kind of awareness involves a great dance with our egos – “who” are also a part of the whole. During this dance, we allow ourselves to truly see the different aspects of ourselves, sometimes meeting “them” for the first time. Eventually we can, if we allow it, come to a place where we wonder, as Mooji so often asks, “Who is the “I” that sees/feels/hears/knows/desires/hurts/hates/loves?” Who is the one speaking/thinking/feeling? In the realm of the subtle there is no place for judgment, only neutrality. It can feel disconcerting to the person who is attached to their stories, to their suffering, to their identities. But this beautiful, all-encompassing awareness can also unlock a door to freedom and a new way of moving within the physical plane that allows for greater compassion and surrender and faith. crystal healing course

This is the underpinning of the courses offered here: acknowledging and learning how to be with energy from a place of neutrality such that we might be better equipped to live in and integrate with the physical plane through our hearts – an always-open gateway to The All. Those of us who are drawn to and have a sensitivity to the mineral kingdom, may want to explore how crystals can support us in our ever-expanding awareness. When we identify as feeling out of sync in some way – understanding how crystals are communicating to us (without the need of an intermediary) and how to work with that offered energy can be extremely grounding and helpful. crystal healing course

And that’s what the Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work offers. In addition to learning how to sense and discern the energy (information that vibrates) of different minerals on the minerals’ terms, we also explore our beliefs about healing, healership, and wholeness. Together we put thought forms on the table and consider them in light of what we come to know-through-experience about non-duality and ourselves as part of the greater Whole. For those of us called to the role of healer, this is an important, clarifying, releasing, and empowering process. We have this unique opportunity as human beings, to learn how to be simultaneously on the physical plane according to its rules and ways while also knowing and integrating a broader knowing of the interconnectivity of all things. crystal healing course
Crystals then, in this course, are not approached as things that “fix” ailments, fears, or offer protection (from what do we need protection if all is energy being seen and integrated?). Crystals are treated as Light Beings who are offering us energetic support on the subtle level in a multitude of ways through a multidimensional compilation of elements, structure, origin, and more. There is so much to learn about the mineral kingdom that helps us learn how to receive that energy and apply it in an empowering way. From this perspective, the mineral kingdom becomes a true ally for those who are journeying toward themselves, seeking community with All through the All.

If you would like to be one of the four new students to register for the crystal healing course called “Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work,” please call me at 360-620-2681 so that we can chat and make sure all of your questions are answered.

Grace, peace, and gratitude.

Plant medicine and ritual during the eclipse

plant medicineMy dear friend, Tara Sage, has written a beautiful article providing information about the different ways different cultures have interpreted and worked with eclipse energy. She also provides recommendations for integrating plant medicine into your sacred rituals around this eclipse. Even if you have no plans to do anything specific during today’s eclipse, this article is chock-full of information about the different ways different plants are worked with in ritual to promote cleansing, purifying, manifesting, and more. Tara is, in my opinion, a wise and deeply knowledgeable teacher about the sacred art of smudging and incorporating ritual into our lives. Her background of study is deeply grounded, honoring and vast.

Tara has become my teacher in all things smudge-related. I also acquire my smudging tools and plants from her, knowing that she is growing many of the plants on her own property, growing, cultivating, harvesting, and selling with the highest integrity and respect. Visit her Sacred Land Sage store here.


Heart centered – what does it mean?

How we each find the best ways to live a heart centered life

Language can be problematic when speaking about spiritual and healing work. Someone recently said to me (paraphrasing), “I understand that being heart centered is important, but some people have bigger fish to fry on a day to day basis.” I have thought about that statement a lot over the past few days. It prompted so many questions – “Am I missing something?” “Do I need to do better, be clearer, be more….something?” – and provided important clarification for me about how I move forward.

What do I mean when I use the phrase, “heart centeredness”? What does healing and living through the heart mean to me?

I talk a lot about heart-centeredness because when my teacher explained the role of the heart to me, my life turned upside down. I walked into that healing workshop a terrified, insecure, people-pleasing, anxiety-ridden person, and left with a key to something life changing. Ever since, my life continues to be changed through the explorations and lessons of the Heart. The whole of the subtle anatomy is an important teacher to be sure, and all aspects work together. The Heart is the Leader of the pack – or it can be, when we understand it and its role and how to access and live through it. When we learn to trust everything to it. 

The heart, when known experientially, and when deferred to in all areas, changes everything: perception and perspective, judgment, reactions and responses, emotions, thought forms, actions, beliefs, attitude. It changes our relationship to our own responses and internal experiences, as well as to external events and how we respond to them. It changes the way we engage in relationships with other people, how we view our individual places in the world, and how we see ourselves in relationship to each other – it creates a cohesiveness in a shocking, humbling, faith-filled way. The heart can be a diffuser of escalation and a doorway into honest inner examination.

Heart centeredness has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day imagery, or any aspect of a faux spirituality. It is not about always maintaining an attitude of love and light and positivity. It is not about feeling good or happy. In fact, heart centeredness often disturbs the waters, showing us how we might get out of our own way and experience more peace, how we might be more compassionate. It is not all or only about learning to receive and give unconditional love. There is so much to explore before we could ever claim to have experienced that kind of love, that kind of Grace. The heart is about humility, trust, compassion, faith and surrender – experiencing these energies in a tangible, multi-dimensional, knock-us-on-our-ass way and then finding ourselves surprised because we realize we didn’t understand what humility, trust, compassion, faith, and surrender really were either. And this realization happens over and over again. It isn’t theoretical, it is demanding – compassionately demanding.

A person who makes an agreement to engage in the ongoing work of healing their heart by learning about those energies through direct experience of calmness, compassion, faith, surrender, trust, and humility, is doing extremely challenging, illusion-busting work. There is nowhere to hide from the self and all the stories we have created. There is no room for bullshit or lies, denial or blame. There is no room for pride or excuses. There is absolutely no room to hide from our shadows – that which we are embarrassed by or ashamed of or “unaware” of. This healing work is a deep excavation and involves being willing to see our own bullshit and the illusions we playact within our lives. It’s where everything is called into question.

It is also where we find our power and not some mealy mouthed, self aggrandizing faux power.

Seeing true that we are stronger together.

This isn’t about power over someone or something, this is about a power experienced as a humble warrior that can’t help but empower others to find that same energy within themselves. It breeds freedom within the self and for others. It’s the kind of power that makes it possible to “pick up our cross” and follow Love to the ends of the earth and beyond. This power is limitless and there is enough for all. No one person or entity is doling this out. It is always there, coming from within, and when realized and accessed, is like a battery that never dies. And every time that power is accessed and wielded, it is the most humbling experience. This power is the kind that when accessed and wielded, scares the shit out of the “powers that be.” We have seen heart centered leaders murdered for coming into this self awareness and deigning to spread it far and wide. Why? Because it is truly empowering and who can the ego-maniacal manipulators control if everyone is grounded in their power? Who do they become?

For me, heart-centeredness has to be the underpinning of every aspect of my life. If an area of my life is unhealthy, challenging, scary…. it means I have allowed the underpinning to become weak, or I have not yet examined that aspect of my life through the lens of the heart. This is the kind of work I want to do with others who are also seeking this kind of bone-deep, expansive knowing and power, compassion and grace, peace and surrender.

I don’t know how to stop the mental and emotional barrage, get grounded, and tap into calmness, compassion, faith, surrender and trust, without filtering everything (especially the most challenging experiences life throws at me) through the lens of my heart. In other words, I don’t know how to turn to another person and say, “What’s next? I’ve got your back, let’s go make this world better together.” Or, “What do you have to teach me? Show me what you want me to know,” without being centered in the truth of the heart. Because when the heart is not the leader, (when the ego through the brain/mental field is large and in charge), I’m a confused, angry, fearful, frustrated, self-victimizing weakling of a mess. When the known and experienced heart is handed the reigns – healing, flourishing, expansiveness is experienced.

So changes are coming and I look forward to experiencing what blooms together should you feel drawn to it. If you want to talk more about the heart and healing – if you have questions about anything I’ve written here – feel free to email me. Maybe we can set up a time to chat too.

In peace, through Grace,


Chaos and anxiety having its way with us…

Social media, egos, and the missed opportunity.  


The following may not have been your experience over the past few days. I hope it hasn’t been, even though that means this article will be confusing and meaningless to you. For those who can relate, you aren’t alone and this can change for us.

You know, I haven’t had much time to contemplate lately how I might engage with people who identify as nazis or white nationalists. I also haven’t had a lot of time to investigate how I might help to dismantle racist (overt and covert) public policies or institutions. And that’s really a shame (and shameful) because that’s exactly what I ought to have been focusing on these past couple days after racists took to the streets with confidence and thought nothing of inflicting violence and death. I believe that we have the opportunity to influence each other when we engage with each other with calm hearts.  Unfortunately, I’ve (my ego) been very busy worrying about not doing enough according to how other people view me and the way I conduct my business, and defending myself to people who have the same ideologies as I do – instead of engaging with those I fear, or with what I fear in myself. Instead, we turned on each other and wasted time and energy with infighting and judgment. This is a fantastic example of spiritual bypassing.

Taking to social media is not the same as taking to the streets (or whatever productivity looks like to people). And yet that’s the first thing we do when something happens – state something about it on social media and anxiously await validation. Then we get trapped, reading and re-reading, clicking and commenting over and over, thinking that this will somehow do good or help us feel better, safer, calmer. Oh how we have allowed ourselves to be trained….

I read many articles and memes and Facebook wall postings this week (instead of being productive and grounded) battling insecurity when a member of my choir would step out and shame the rest of the choir for not singing loudly enough, not singing the right songs, not singing to the right people, not singing in the right venues. And then I watched myself and others waste precious energy being concerned about being perceived as “good” people doing “good” in the world instead of actually tending to ourselves and others in meaningful ways.

And then we look at each other and wonder why we’re exhausted, why we feel paralyzed and inept, and why we can’t see one proactive task checked off our to-do list over the last week. I’ve been reacting to reactions rather than responding to the inner call of my Heart.  I talk a lot about the Heart – a lot of people do. I talk a lot about the heart because it brooks no bullshit. It is the center of truth. It is the access to the All. Had I drawn all this energy into my Heart space sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of frustration and confusion.

Make no mistake – what is happening right now in the world is a wake up call. But here’s the thing – we don’t get to decide what kind of wake up call it’s going to be for other people. Hell, we don’t even get to demand that other people notice the alarm bells, let alone care about them. Despite the way social media has engineered it to appear, we are not all the same, going through the same lessons, experiencing the same life. So from person to person – different things are being integrated and learned. And other people don’t get to dictate what kind of wake up call this event is for others. We don’t get to control the narrative or the way events are perceived by others, nor how they are influenced by said events. Never before has the phrase, “Keep your eyes on your own yoga mat” been more applicable.

And if I am allowing the judgment of others to pull me out of my Heart space, I’m not keeping my eyes on my own yoga mat. I’m going to give social media (and my ego) less time and stop giving away my energy to judgment. It’s time to stop worrying about responding in a way that pleases everyone (impossible). I know who I am and I know what I stand for. Now is the time to actually BE that and allow my actions to communicate that. Not everyone is going to be pleased  – I am going to make mistakes. I’m happy to learn from those who desire to show me a better way of being and moving in the world. I’m listening, paying attention, and moving forward.


Brene Brown’s Facebook Live “We have to keep talking about Charlottesville” from 8-15-17

Heart-centered, courageous inspiration in action: KKK members leave Klan after befriending black musician

You are always “doing your best.” And so is everyone else….

How Grace is the antidote to judgment when we allow it in

Since embarking on this spiritual and personal wellness journey, I’ve come to realize that I used to talk a lot about concepts that I really didn’t understand because I hadn’t truly experienced them. Concepts like grace and faith and compassion. These aren’t just words, these are experiences of energy. For me, particularly when Grace and Compassion rain down (or arise, or envelope) – it’s a tangible experience. I can feel it arrive, inviting me to surrender into it. It invites me to rest, to trust, to breathe.

Grace visited me a lot in July. I spent that month constantly failing at being a “great” human being. At every turn, I was not doing a great job at being patient or having a soft Heart. And I was seeing it at every turn, getting a chance to practice acknowledging the weaknesses and choosing to respond differently, without judging myself or others. Isn’t that the usual go-to when we realize we’ve made a mistake? One way or another, we have been conditioned to beat ourselves up. We replay the error over and over again, sometimes apologizing over and over again. At the very least, we stand in judgment of ourselves in our minds, putting ourselves through a mental flagellation for being so weak/wrong/stupid/mean/insensitive/etc.

Many great spiritual teachers talk about how people are always doing the best they can in any given moment. I remember when I first heard this, I thought, “That’s the stupidest mumbo-jumbo I’ve ever heard. If people were always doing their best, the world would be in a lot better shape.”

I’ve slowly come to understand that these wise ones are trying to convey the simple truth: that people find themselves in circumstances – each of which have unquantifiable variables, most of which they cannot control. This fact, coupled with the varying modes of “awakeness” (for lack of a better phrasing) each of us experience means that people are doing the best they can in any given moment. These teachers aren’t saying that people aren’t ever messing up or failing miserably. These teachers are conveying a really important lesson about how judgment is a total buzz kill for experiencing Grace because judgment places a false narrative on reality. 

My husband had major surgery last month and being his wife and all, I took care of him afterward. I thought I was prepared: I cleaned the house, caught up on laundry, sanitized the bathrooms. We made sure that the outside chores were all caught up and any major lifting/carrying/hauling had been taken care of.  We were very busy in the weeks leading up to the procedure because we knew he’d be out of commission for a few weeks to a few months. 

Unfortunately I didn’t get a lot of sleep which, looking back, was way more important than cleaning the bathrooms. I was nervous about the surgery, so I didn’t sleep well the week before. When the surgery was completed and everything turned out fine, my adrenals suddenly downshifted back to normal and I felt like I got hit by a mac truck. I was exhausted, achy and overly sensitive and emotional. This isn’t me being hard on myself – it’s just fact. When I don’t get enough sleep, I can get pretty ridiculous taking things personally. It’s like my shell just evaporates and nothing rolls off my back. I’m made of Velcro. Couple this condition of mine with my husband’s – on serious pain management medication and was adjusting to this new role of “patient,” and let’s just say the first couple weeks were rough.

Despite the rough road, my husband and I were doing the best we could. I was being the best person I could be in the situation I created. My husband was being the best person he could be in the situation he was in. And that’s the space where Grace gets a chance to enter the scene. Simple acknowledgment that “this is hard and we’re not perfect” is so much more productive than “this is hard and I’m failing.”

Do I look back and see where I could have done things differently to have had a smoother experience? Yes. Do I make a mental note of it for the future when similar situations might arise? Of course. Do I apologize to my husband for the moments when I wasn’t my best self with him in his time of need? Yes, of course. Recognizing that we’re all doing the best we can in any given situation isn’t about not taking responsibility or getting let off the hook or ignoring mistreatment or hurt feelings. It is about remembering that we are human beings being human. If the core of any given relationship is healthy and strong, these situations that arise in life don’t have to be defining or altering in any way. And we can rest in the fact that each person is doing the best they can always. This is where room for Grace is made – in the simple, “This is hard, we are doing the best we can, and above all else, I love you and am here for you.”

I’m grateful for the opportunity this situation handed me. Had I trudged down the well-worn path of self-and other-judgment, I would have missed the Grace and compounded the pain. It sometimes took effort to choose Grace because, well, I’m a human being, but each time I did, the effort was well rewarded.

A quick note about a new page on this site.

Because of this surgical event…
I took the month of July off from social media, writing, and accepting new clients. Now I’m slowly returning and amping up for September 12th, when registration opens for the Crystal Therapy Certification Program. I am really excited about this fresh start with a new group of practitioner candidates – we’re going to have a great time of learning and expansion together. I have only 4 spots left for 2017. If you are interested, please visit the link above.

I have decided to release some crystals from my personal collection.  I have spent the last two days creating a special Crystal Shop page here on the website. I hope to eventually offer crystal essence sprays and oils too. For now, the shop page will have only a handful of very special, one-of-a-kind crystals, as well as information about my crystal finder service. If you are hunting for a special crystal, I am happy to go on the hunt for you. Simply fill out the contact form found on the page to get the ball rolling.


Any questions? Feel free to email me at tana at tanaschott dot com.

With gratitude,

Identification with thoughts – more on mindfulness

Identification with thoughts – more on mindfulness

I’ve been talking a lot about mindfulness and meditation practices in my blog and just in general because finding, learning, and integrating these practices helped me learn how to be with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks differently.

I know people want to hear how they can ERADICATE or banish depression and anxiety from their lives. In my experience, there is no way to minimize the effects without first learning to be in relationship with these energies. In the same way we talk about being anti-something politically…that is until we meet and get to know someone who happens to be that something. You know what I mean? There is no boogieman but coming to this realization is having the courage to come face-to-face with that which we fear. You have that courage. And you don’t have to do it alone. Find a coach, a spiritual counselor, a healer, a good counselor.

So the question is always “how?” How do I meditate? How do I have a mindfulness practice? What is the point? It seems hard. I can’t do it. Etc etc Here, Teal Swan provides a step by step process and explains the role judgment plays AND explains about that ever important gap that begins to form between the identity and the thoughts. Give it a listen. You can choose to cut to the chase at 29:30

Mindrolling with Raghu Markus, ep 113


Crystal Healing Spotlight: Stilbite

Crystal Healing with Stilbite

crystal healing stilbite

Stilbite is often found in “wheat” or “bow-tie” formation

Stilbite isn’t a “sexy” mineral in the crystal healing world: it doesn’t garner the attention that say, Amethyst, Ajoite, Sugilite, and others enjoy. I don’t often hear people recommend stilbite to others or mention working with the mineral personally because, well, I don’t know. It’s a fairly inexpensive and easily obtained mineral both in rough/natural and tumbled form. And it’s a great mineral to work with when we understand its physical properties and know how those aspects might have effect on the subtle anatomy. (Real quick note – stilbite is sometimes confused with stibnite because the spelling is so similar. Stibnite is the silvery-gray mineral that contains sulfur (S) and antimony (Sb). Super different minerals with super similar names). 

Stilbite is actually a series name. Depending on the chemical formula, we might have Stilbite-Ca or Stilbite-Na. Stilbite-Ca is the most common type and the differentiation is usually not mentioned because without proper testing, it is impossible to tell the difference. The appearance and growth, crystal system, and manner of formation are usually the same. So -Ca is assumed when testing has not been done. Because it’s the most common and the chemical formula doesn’t deviate drastically, this article is going to talk about Stilbite generally.

Stilbite is found in zeolite deposits, often found alongside apophyllite when in matrix in its most common habit – that of bow-tie or sheafs of wheat. Often peachy in color, stilbite can also exhibit a pearly luster and is often mistaken for heulandite (and vice versa).

Stilbite stats:
Chemical formula: NaCa4Al9Si27O72 · 28(H2O)
Manner of formation: secondary/sedimentary
Mineral Class: tectosilicate, zeolite group
Crystal system: usually monoclinic
Mohs: 3.5
Crystal habit: thin, tabular aggregates in bow-ties or sheafs of wheat; can also be found globular

crystal healing stilbite

When in matrix, stilbite is most often found with apophyllite Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Each physical property listed above an inform us of the mineral’s healing properties. I’m going to take just three physical properties and break them down with you, to show you how the crystal itself is always telling us what its role might be in our healing practices. When we understand how to approach crystals in this way, it helps us make sense of the prescriptions provided in crystal healing books (in case you’ve ever asked, “But how do they know?”). It can also explain why you might have had a different experience than what is described in the crystal Rx books (no, you’re not wrong). It also, if we allow it to, deepens our understanding of and relationship to our crystals because when we learn about the whole crystal and each of its physical properties, we experience it in a multidimensional way that the crystal encyclopedias simply can’t convey.

I typically like to explore new crystals in this order: Manner of formation, mineral class, chemical formula/elements, crystal system. (Color rarely plays a role in my personal practice).

Manner of formation: secondary/sedimentary

The sedimentary (or secondary) MoF is about awareness of influences. Sedimentary minerals are deeply affected by outside influences – weather, erosion, water, wind, and more. As such, sedimentary minerals can be excellent agents of support when we want to become more aware of the ways we are influenced in our lives. Our thoughts, actions, and beliefs are formed and continually influenced by the world around us: our families, cultural mores, societal expectations and norms, religious upbringing, and more, these influences can affect the way we perceive and interpret the world around us which in turn, affects our reactions and responses to it. When we desire to change a thought pattern or belief or way of being in the world, we are often calling into question assumptions about life that have in fact, been taught to us one way or the other. When we begin the work of self-inquiry or calling into question our beliefs, sedimentary stones and crystals can be a supportive ally. Being a sedimentary crystal, stilbite can be a useful ally in this type of healing work. Let’s learn a little more about stilbite to get a more nuanced view of the stone and the specific ways it can assist us.

Mineral Class: tectosilicate, zeolite group

Simply put, minerals are organized into classes according to their chemical composition. Stilbite is a tectosilicate. Some classes are further subdivided based on factors such as appearance, the presence or absence of water, which cations are present and more. Silicates are a huge group and in the Dana class system, there are 6 subcategories, of which tectosilicate is one.  Tectosilicates, also called framework silicates, are 3-dimensional crystalline structures which according to Gienger, have an absorbing and reflecting energy. When tectosilicates are opaque in appearance, they tend to have a more absorbing effect. When having a translucency, a more reflecting effect.

Stilbite, with its pearly sheen and opaque appearance therefore, is a tectosilicate that has absorbing qualities that also have a calming and sobering effect on the mental and etheric aspects of the subtle anatomy. Stilbite is a great stone to work with then, when we are feeling emotionally or mentally overwhelmed, specifically by anxiety or fear. When we are beginning to look at our “stuff,” things can get overwhelming pretty quickly sometimes. If we’re ready to have reflected back to us that which we need to see to create change, we might want to work with a translucent tectosilicate. If it’s beginning stages of this type of personal healing work, and maybe we need to slow things down so that we can process the anxiety and/or fear that is arising, a tectosilicate that is opaque might be a more appropriate ally.

What does the chemical formula: NaCa4Al9Si27O72 · 28(H2O) tell us?

When we look at the elements a crystal contains, we can start to get a more nuanced view of how the broader categories of formation and class might be applied to healing work. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be an expert in chemistry to refer to a chemical formula for information. Let’s pull two elements from this formula and check out what Michael Gienger said about them: Calcium (Ca) and Aluminum (Al). Gienger conducted numerous crystal healing clinical trials with doctors and non-medical practitioners alike who tested the effects of different minerals with a wide variety of people. The results of these trials, together with his scientific understanding of the elements and their roles in geology and biology, provided a grounded and nuanced understanding of how elements can inform us about the healing properties of minerals. His findings are shared in the book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing. Application of crystals in any way is meant only to be carried or worn against the skin – never ingested.

Both calcium and aluminum are abundant elements in the earth’s crusts. According to Gienger Aluminum has physical, mental, and spiritual effects. Physically, Al promotes alkaline metabolic processes, supports absorption of iron in the intestines, and normalizes conductivity in the nerves. Mentally, Al has a calming effect on nervousness and fears, as well as feelings of guilt. Al also can support one in expressing feelings and releasing behavioral patterns – releasing that which no longer serves. Spiritually, Al helps with loss of identity and finding out who we really are and what our purpose might be in this life while also exposing illusions for what they are and helping us learn to deal with them (p 112-113).

Calcium’s physical support is in the metabolism of the cells and absorption of nutrient by cell membranes. Ca is necessary for the formation of DNA and RNA. We all have heard that strong, healthy bones and teeth rely on proper Ca intake. And Ca plays an important role in a healthy heart: regulating rhythm and strengthening the muscle. Mentally, Ca affects receptivity, is emotionally stabilizing, and lends self-confidence. When feeling confused and lethargic, grab those Calcium-bearing minerals. Spiritually, Ca regulates development. Where a person is sluggish, Ca speeds up and regulates that evolutionary process. Where development is happening too fast and there exists chaos, Ca assists in normalizing it.

In looking at two important elements in stilbite’s chemical formula, we come to understand that being a sedimentary tectosilicate, stilbite can specifically assist someone seeking energetic support in maintaining a healthy pattern of spiritual growth, who might experience fear and anxiety, who might benefit from some support in speaking their truth. Stilbite, as with other minerals that contain Al, can help someone who is feeling rather undefined and purposeless, who may benefit from seeing that there are aspects of their life which is holding them back from seeing their true self.


crystal healing stilbite

Stilbite is less commonly found as globular formations: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

crystal healing stilbite

Stilbite can be found tumbled

I have found great freedom in relating to minerals in this way. While these “properties” (I rather prefer the term “possibilities”) are, in my opinion, more grounded being that they arise from a less singularly personal experience (instead arising from different clinical trials combined with what we can learn from the geology and mineralogy of the stones), the most important information (energy that vibrates) that you can get from any crystal is the information it gives you directly when you work with it. I do this type of research with crystals I’m called to work with, but then I follow it up with a meditative experience too. At the end of the day the overriding message has to come from the crystal itself, through my heart space. And I encourage the same for you – give yourself permission to have your own unique experience with your crystals and stones and take their lead, regardless what any book or website has to say about it.

Grace and peace.

PS – Interested in approaching crystals in your personal or professional healing practice in this unique, empowering way? Check out my course here. Enrollment opens in September.
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If I hear “meditate!” one more time….Mindfulness in our healing work

If I hear “meditate!” one more time….Mindfulness in our healing work

Two interesting messages came through over the past week. The first was a criticism that in recent posts, I have been too critical of the metaphysical community without providing much in the way of alternative options.

I used to detest criticism. I was once a perfectionist who got a lot of gold stars and extra credit points. I was lauded by my teachers and bosses. When I would receive correction of any kind, I received it like a blow to the chest. I would cry, worry, and overanalyze. I would ping-pong between defending myself and berating myself. I do not doubt that I missed a lot of excellent feedback that would have helped me be or do better because I was too busy having an emotional and mental meltdown.

Now I welcome criticism, in the end. Oh don’t get me wrong, my gut still drops and I get light-headed and can’t take a deep breath for fear that I have been caught out. (At what? Depends on the situation. It’s insecurity, plain and simple). What I welcome is the result. After setting aside the complaint/suggestion/edit so that I can get back into my body, I pick it back up, refocus, and consider it. Sometimes, after consideration of the critique, I make changes. Sometimes I do not. Regardless, the critiques gives me a chance to consider something from someone else’s perspective which is an expansive exercise. It’s nice to see through someone else’s viewfinder once in awhile – to remember that when I see red, sometimes others see green or yellow or blue.

I’m sharing this with you because I believe that they way people choose to react or respond to criticism can inform them about their ability to do honest self-inquiry. If external criticism destroys a person, it is highly unlikely they are going to be able to critique themselves in an honest way. What if everything they feared they might be (loser, failure, bad spouse, bad daughter, bad student, bad anything, idiot, narcissist, ignorant) is actually true? When that fear lingers, the ego is running the show which only means that it becomes more difficult to get out of our own way so that we can find ourselves seated back in the heart.

So what might be a first step toward honest self-inquiry for the purpose of healing? Consider your reaction to criticism. Just think about it without judging it. How do you react when someone tells you that, from their perspective, you are either doing it wrong or could be doing it better? How does your body react? Your gut, your limbs, your facial expression, your brain, your lungs and chest? Observe it as a scientist would observe an experiment. A secondary exercise is to do this without judging yourself.

The second comment received was from someone who was frustrated because they would like to do self-inquiry and begin digging into their healing work, but they are tired of being encouraged to meditate or start a mindfulness practice to do that. When I received this feedback, I silenced my environment and meditated on it. (Which makes me giggle a little bit because I have a semi-warped sense of humor).


The reason why many teachers recommend a mindfulness practice, or meditation, is because learning how to be still helps us become better discerners. It teaches us to recognize thoughts for what they are (potential tools) and how to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful beliefs and stories. Self-inquiry requires the ability to be with the self so that we might know the self. When we become more acutely in tune with our physical bodies and get to know the different ways it communicates with us, over time we are less surprised by our reactions as they turn into responses.

Mindfulness or meditation practices help us get out of our minds and into our bodies, connecting with the breath. They help us slow down and access different parts of the brain. And there are many different ways to have a mindfulness practice. There are many different ways to meditate. Sure, some will insist that there are rules – do’s and don’t’s when meditating. Some will insist that their meditation practice is the only true meditation practice. Well, lots of people say lots of thing. Saying or insisting something is true doesn’t make it so. You get to decide. The payoff of a practice like this is that we learn how to train our brains to be tools of our Hearts. In a meditation or mindfulness practice, thoughts are merely observed: they are not go-commands or absolutes. Through simple observation, we can allow the thought to drop into our heart space where the Heart guides our awareness toward what to act on and what to lovingly set aside.

When I first started meditating I was very frustrated. I couldn’t do it. I would dim the lights, minimize distraction, light a candle, sit on a special pillow, and close my eyes in a sandalwood-infused space and just get frustrated. Time and again, I gave it honest effort for over 10 months, if memory serves, only to end up feeling weak-willed and spiritually lazy. I shared this with my spiritual counselor who asked me, “Tana, how do you spend your time on a day-to-day basis? What do you do and how do you do it?” I told her that I worked from home and that I spent my days researching or writing. She clarified, “So your day-to-day activity is generally done in quiet solitude and it is a very internal, mindful and disciplined experience?” I said that yes, it was. Then she recommended that I stop trying to meditate in quiet solitude because that was my usual way of being to do my job. She encouraged me instead to begin treating other day-to-day activities like doing the dishes, folding laundry, mopping the floor, mowing the yard, cutting vegetables as opportunities to learn how to still the mind. Watch thoughts come, detach, and let them go. Try giving all of your attention to the thing you are doing. Feel the water on your hands, the grass under your feet, the cloth against your fingertips, the knife cut against the board. Notice those physical sensations and get really inside your body. And you know what? It worked.

Before long, I found myself looking forward to chores because I knew it was going to be a chance to take a break from thinking and experience my reality through my physical body. I learned a lot about my physical body which began to teach me a lot about my subtle anatomy in time as well. The connections were starting to form because I was making space for them. Thoughts would come and I would breathe them out and come back to the carrot I was peeling. Thoughts would come and I would fall back into my legs and arms pushing the mower across the front yard. Thoughts would come and I would notice my body’s reaction. In time I was so fully inhabiting my body during these activities that the mind learned, “Oh, this is my time off. Catch ya later.” Once I had learned to fully inhabit my body, connected to my surroundings, connected through my breath, I was able to fall into that Oneness space I had heard so much about.

Something to keep in the back of your mind: the way you access this spaciousness may change over time. After a while, chores didn’t do it for me anymore. My life changed, I changed, my routine changed. I now access that space through another practice. Some people can start a practice and follow it everyday for the rest of their lives. Other people will pick up a ritual and put it down to pick up another one as needed. It’s all good.

We can experience a lot of judgment from others who are only looking to find validation for their own choices and practices. There is no one right way to do most anything. If this were true we would never see new inventions or innovative advancements.  When we talk about meditation, we’re not really talking about meditation. We’re really talking about learning to be with ourselves fully: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Oftentimes this involves quieting the mind so that we can clearly see how we’ve constructed our realities through a neutral perspective. However you get from point A to point B – I don’t really care and frankly, neither should anyone else. The important thing is that you figure out a way that works for you. If you’re tired of hearing that the answer to every question is to meditate, and you’ve tried to meditate repeatedly with no success, that’s okay. Figure out what meditation is supposed to provide and then figure out another way you can get there.

There are numerous rituals and practices to choose from. Journaling, attending a drum circle, taking a walk in the woods or a hike up a mountain – can you find your true self in these places where you can’t hide? Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong – can you drop into your center and detach and access the expansive all? Gardening, washing the dishes, pooper scooping the yard (no lie) – do these activities help you assess yourself through your body? What do you do that enables you to observe your thoughts from a non-judgmental space? To access the collective consciousness? To drop into your Heart center? Go. Do. That.

You might be asking why I keep bringing up self-inquiry as a part of the personal healing experience. That’s because the only person who can heal you is you. The only person who can honestly access and assess your actions, thoughts, motivations, reactions, responses, emotions, etc., is you. I can have my perspective about you and your experiences, but I can’t fully understand them because my perspective – based on my personal experiences – will inevitably cloud the view. If you desire to experience healing in your life, you have to be able to know in what way and in what capacity. And then you have to be able to consider what you’ve done, thought, believed, emoted, etc., and how these actions (or inactions as the case may be) have contributed to your perception of imbalance. That’s self-inquiry.

I believe we need community – healers, friends, coaches, counselors, teachers – to walk alongside this sometimes difficult terrain. Other people’s experiences and perspectives can shed light on our own in unique and deeply expansive ways. In the end I am responsible for my own healing work. I am responsible for making the choice to heal and for taking the steps. No one can cajole another person into healing. No one can control another person’s healing and force it. But we can come alongside each other and support each other’s work. Sometimes we need to hear each other’s stories to experience a breakthrough. Sometimes we need someone to be fully honest about how they perceive us because we have blinders when it comes to ourselves. Our self-preservation instinct is strong. But we have to make the agreement.

If you have reached the point where you’re feeling able to dive in and begin a new stage in your healing journey that includes self inquiry – good for you.  It seems that in just about every life scenario, there is an easy-out option that is not only available, but encouraged. And here you are, deciding to let your guard down and peer into the uncomfortable aspects of your life: your reactions, your feelings, your thoughts and beliefs, your routines, your everything. You’ve agreed to honest self-inquiry. As Pema Chodron and every great teacher has said:

Ram Dass’ Facebook Page

Embedded within every complaint I have about an aspect of my life is a choice to stop pushing back and truly be with what I fear, hate, dislike, or am discomfited by. We can’t learn from that which we continue to try to shove into corners or closets. We can’t learn from that which we continue to reject out of hand. Life is inviting us, through each and every experience, to engage with it and learn from it and explore ourselves through it. It is the entire spectrum of experiences and their correlating emotional and physical responses that we’re being invited to engage with, which means not every exploration is going to feel good or safe or comfortable or pleasant. Because all means all. When we try to avoid the less pleasant experiences, we are choosing to only partially engage with Life which means we are choosing to evolve only partially. And this affects not only us, but our families and communities. The complaints or concerns we carry around with us about our experiences, our emotions, our world, our family, our friends, our country, ourselves will only continue to bubble up until we’re willing to fully engage with them.

So it must be asked and only you can both ask and answer the question: do you find that you cannot meditate or find a mindfulness practice because you’ve been too limiting in defining what that might look like for you? Or….Or, do you stop meditating when you become uncomfortable with what arises in your consciousness?

But how do I not become paralyzed when I first start to see my stuff? 

I think one of the biggest lessons of all can come right at the beginning of this excavation process. The first time we choose to sit with an issue and be with it, our egos can really freak out and they try to distract us through judgment and guilt (more concepts/thoughts). This is particularly easy for the ego to do because people new to healing and self inquiry are usually still giving deference to their brains. And the brain usually hasn’t been trained yet to see situations multidimensionally. The brain, a terrific categorization and organizational tool, tends to live in Flatland where only 2 categories exist: good or bad.

The Heart is the place where everything can be held simultaneously. But we have to learn to recognize our Hearts and how to hand over the reigns to the Heart and that can take some time and practice of questioning our thoughts and beliefs and habits and perspectives.

Your “stuff” – whatever you’re seeing that you want or need to change – is not an enemy. It is not out to get you.

And you are not a horrible/bad/stupid/weak person.

You are worthy. You are loved more deeply than you know.

It’s just a rope. It’s just a rope. And we’re all hanging on it together.


So much grace and peace,
with gratitude,

PS: f you work with crystals in your healing practice, some excellent mineral allies include sedimentary carbonates. Calcite, Rhodochrosite, Magnesite (great for Heart work), Stichtite, Serpentine, Aragonite, Azurite, Eilat Stone, Malachite.

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Being empathic does not have to be a handicap

edited 6/18/17 – Before you read on….
Just today I was finally listening to a podcast from NPR’s Invisibilia, that had been sitting in my queue for a few weeks:
Apparently the link no longer works to the podcast, but here is the website with information to find the podcast:
And before reading on, I strongly encourage you to listen to it. It has everything to do with what I write below. It has everything to do with empowerment and not being a victim of your emotions or thoughts. You don’t have to believe me or trust my experiences of relieving myself of anxiety, depression, and overwhelming empathic experiences. You can look to the science.

And now, on to our regularly scheduled post.

How we choose to define an empath

There is a lot of information out there defining empaths according to the burdens they bear. Google “empath” or “being an empath” or “signs you’re an empath” and there are a lot of articles providing people with identifiers to cling to that simultaneously offer very little in the way of discussing how to become a healthy empathic person. If we’re willing to be honest with ourselves, the bad (or incomplete?) information which we keep regurgitating and sharing on social media often goes unchallenged because of our egos which rely heavily on labels and identification. And I think it is very alluring to the ego to feel special, which is what many of these articles proclaim about people who are empaths.
The articles and memes often identify empathic people as a unique class of human beings who have special requirements, while simultaneously bemoaning the weight empaths carry. Examples are prolific – just Google search “empath,” or “how to be an empath.” Here are some examples of problematic statements, which can be found in the mass of articles throughout the web. Sometimes the problem rests in the fact that the statement is delivered as fact without proof or careful inquiry. Sometimes the problem is that the statement makes victims out of sensitive people, providing no follow-up for freedom. Most of the time, the problem with these statements is both an issue of victimization as well as unsubstantiated “facts.”
– An empath is “unconsciously influenced” by other people’s thoughts, emotions, and/or physical sensations
Many of the statements made – the way empathic people are labeled and defined by the authors – are not followed up with questions or supportive advice. For instance, which the above statement, we might ask, “Why unconscious? Does it have to be unconscious? Does it have to remain unconscious? Would not a person become more empowered by becoming conscious/aware of the influences (and then do a second-level inquiry asking, “Is that true?”) Where is the article that talks about “and then what“?
– An empath is able to read people’s intentions and motivations and can tell when someone is being dishonest (usually followed by, “And we can’t stand being lied to.”)
Again, here we would benefit I believe from asking, “Is it true that people who identify as empathic never have to be concerned about projection, assumption, or “bad reads”? This human-lie-detector thing is also problematic because most people can tell when they are being lied to. People who are honest with themselves can tell when they are being lied to. This isn’t a special skill doled out to a select few: this is part of being a human being when the human being is self-aware and paying attention.
– Being an empath is not a learned trait – you either are or you aren’t. 
Is this true? How can we possibly make such a definitive statement? Let’s consider: from where does empathy arise within the subtle anatomy? Or the body? Or the mind? Are we suggesting that only a segment of the human race is capable of deep connection and access to the collective consciousness? How collective is the collective consciousness if only a few people have access to it? Help us all if empathy – a vibrational stepping stone toward compassion – is a rarified gift doled out only to certain people. And help us if we think that empathy is the ultimate goal.
– Empaths pick up and carry the weight of the world’s collective energy and karma.
Can we stop and ask ourselves why we agree to self-inflicted martyrdom? Again, I see no follow-up on how to change this experience and become empowered through discernment. Interestingly, in the dozens and dozens of articles and books I’ve read about empathic people, I don’t think I have ever read the word “discernment.” A spiritual person deep in their healing work is learning discernment. The solar plexus chakra in particular offers an important lesson in discernment which helps us see what we are carrying and from where that energy comes. Discernment is one of the most important and powerful spiritual skills: it teaches us to recognize BS – our own and from others. Discernment is one of the most important things an empath could possibly learn is to distinguish between their own energy and the energy of others.
– Empaths are affected by negative images.
Everyone is affected by negative imagery. And before you tell me, “But I feel it MORE than the average person,” please ask yourself how you could possibly determine that? Just because someone subjects themselves to negative images doesn’t mean they aren’t affected. What if the ability to be with negative images and violence indicates a more evolved way of being in the world? There is the chance that a person has simply learned how to hold a space of compassion for the pain and damage done in the world. Perhaps it means that when watching movies or television shows, or playing video games that are violent, some people can discern what is and isn’t real in a way that empaths have not yet learned to discern for themselves.
What do we do with this energy that has arisen in us? If we feel clear and are standing in our truth when we say that we experience feelings and emotions more strongly than others – okay. But then what? What does that mean? What do we do with that energy that has arisen? What is it teaching us?
What if this discernment enabled people to engage with the idea of violence in a reflective way? If we can’t be in the room with violence or anything else we perceive as negative, how are we ever going to learn how to integrate the whole to heal the whole? How are we ever going to challenge our dualistic natures? How are we ever going to learn to see our own culpability in the violence of the world? Not looking at it doesn’t make it less real or less in need of healing.

How labels stunt our healing

A few months ago I read an article being passed along on Facebook for the friends of an empath. It was a helpful guide to knowing an empath – what to expect, what to be aware of. In other words, it was a list of behaviors that certain people (empaths) should be let off the hook for. (I had to set this article aside for a time to get perspective). The overarching tone of the article suggested that empaths have inherent privileges over other people because of the way they suffer. I will limit myself to only 2.
If we [empaths] give advice, take it. If we take the time to listen to your dilemma, and give you heartfelt advice, just listen to it. We know what we are talking about and if you ask for our advice and ignore it, well, let’s just say it kinda annoys us to no end.
followed two bullet points below by: 
We can’t stand narcissism. If you are head over heels in love with your reflection, your money, and your ego- just stay away. We really can’t roll our eyes any harder.
Can we see the mirroring going on here? Can we see the lack of compassion? Can we see the judgment? I ask that as someone who struggles with judgment of these articles myself. But we need to be able to see it to heal it. I can’t fix what I don’t know is broken. I can’t shift what I am unwilling to see.
The number one thing these article and meme writers seem to want to convey is that empaths aren’t “too emotional” or “too sensitive.” They bemoan these labels while at the same time, providing a detailed list of all the things they need to avoid while implying that you should also be sure to not overstimulate or upset them with anything from the list. What I have learned from my experiences of being called “too sensitive” is that sometimes it is true and sometimes it is not. Regardless, it is another person’s perception of me which means how they are perceiving me is more about them than it is about me. However, sometimes, when it is true, it’s time to consider that I might be acting self-indulgent and expecting others to treat me the same.
I don’t like watching the news. It does upset me, especially when something tragic and violent has occurred. My husband watches the news. Do I insist that he not turn the news on in our house or when I’m home? No. I leave the room. It’s not his responsibility to manage my feelings by changing himself or his preferences. Being empathic (a label I don’t personally subscribe to anymore) is an opportunity to grow for me. It is not a tool I use to insist everyone cater to my unique “needs” of a quiet, low-drag lifestyle.
Abraham Hicks recently posted the following meme on Facebook and Instagram:
When we blame others or experiences for our emotional or mental state, we are giving away our personal power and othering. There is no freedom without responsibility. While responsibility can feel like a drag or can seem daunting – when we step into our personal responsibility, that’s when we find our liberation. From that place we can begin to question our beliefs and conditioning. When we place the responsibility of how we experience the world at the feet of others, there is no spaciousness for expansion of awareness.
People have approached me asking for assistance because they identify as empaths and feel overwhelmed, depressed, and/or anxious. I ask them the same questions I ask myself when these energies arise to help them clarify what they want their life to look like and feel like (something only they can know). I then ask them what about their life is prohibiting that from becoming reality (something only they can know). And when I ask, “What are you willing to change in your thought process regarding your emotions and experiences so that you might make your dream a reality?” I often hear crickets at this one. Our conditioning can be very strong. And we are most often conditioned to not believe that we have the power to change our lives, our circumstances. Moreover, culturally and spiritually, we have a longstanding tradition of being trained to give deference to our minds and giving our thoughts power over us. We are not encouraged to question and we are not taught to question ourselves except when it benefits the powers that be.
There is a different kind of power dynamic at play when we can identify as “X” and then blame something external for how we are perceiving our experiences because we are X. But it’s a false power that crumbles the moment someone in an empath’s life realizes, “Wait, I don’t need to cater to their special needs. I’m not responsible for their happiness or peace of mind. And frankly, as I give this just a modicum of thought, I’m realizing how uncool it is for them to try to put that on me. I’m out.”
And what if we allowed that self-empowerment of others to teach us how to empower ourselves. We could just as easily feel something or think something and rather than immediately believe it, say to ourselves,“Wait a minute. I don’t need to believe this. I don’t need to feel this. I can question this thought or belief and change it to reflect my truth in a more authentic way. I can acknowledge the experience of these emotions arising and then dismiss them.” Inner power – empowerment of the self – can’t be taken away because it isn’t dependent on outside influences. There are choices available to us that can enable us to create a healthier emotional and mental life. We have to be willing to ask ourselves which is more important: the identity of being X, which seems safer, or releasing ourselves from the bondage of labels so that we can expand and feel better in our bodies and in the world? If we truly want to feel better, do better, be better – if we want to truly evolve – we have to be willing to be honest with ourselves about the power dynamics in our lives. Question them. Challenge them.
Put another way: empathy, if we’re not moving through our experiences with discernment and awareness, can be a great way to shift the focus away from the person truly experiencing pain and put the focus back on ourselves. It can become a way to opt-out of service (should one feel called) and compassion and loving kindness because “I’m just not strong enough to be with that much energy.”  Who is the “I” who is not strong enough?
Do people who are more in touch with energy need to practice self-care? Sure. Can self-care include making decisions from time to time to opt-out of an activity because we are tired or overwhelmed? Sure! Does self-care include using that perception of heightened sensitivity as an excuse to remove ourselves from the world and situations where we might be uncomfortable? I hope not.

Is it really a gift?

Is everyone capable of empathy? I believe the answer is yes because every person has a beating heart, a heart field. Every person has the capacity to grow their intuition and discernment through awareness. Every person has the choice to pay closer attention and be self-aware. Every person can choose to become more and more heart-centered and grounded in their body and experiences, to learn and grow and change themselves. Every person can become more attuned to the energy around them.
Then my friends, empathy isn’t a gift. It is a birthright. And it doesn’t have to be a handicap.

What to do with empathy? 

At a retreat I attended a few years ago, the leader was asked, “What is the difference, vibrationally, between sympathy, empathy and compassion?” These three responses to pain are similar and can get mixed up with one another. But they each have their own unique vibrational information. They each come from unique places from within us and each has a different agenda and role to play.
To paraphrase, he replied, Sympathy carries a vibration from the ego, from the solar plexus chakra. Sympathy wants to pet someone on the head and say, “There, there, it will be alright,” or quickly fix the perceived problem in an effort to muffle the pain being expressed because it is making the observer uncomfortable. Sympathy comes from a place of wanting to be a caretaker and “help,” yes, but if we’re honest, it also comes from a place of self-preservation. 
When we try to fix or nullify another person’s pain, we are taking away someone’s opportunity to heal. The energy of pain has arrived – there’s a reason for it. And the person who is experiencing it (not second-hand as an empath) has the right to decide what to do with that energy regardless of how anyone else might be empathizing with it – regardless of how it’s making anyone else feel. We are each responsible for our own feelings and perceptions.
He then said of empathy, Empathy is a vibration that shares the heart chakra and the solar plexus chakra. Empathy is a vibrational resonance that leads to dis-ease. (That got my attention). Empathy is a person coming into contact with the pain of another, picking up that pain, and then choosing to walk hand-in-hand with the other, carrying that pain together. Which sounds comforting and loving, but is really just two people now in pain. 
BINGO. It’s allowing perceived pain to affect the way a person identifies himself in relation to others and the world at large. It isn’t a solution. It lacks momentum. Feeling empathy isn’t end game – it is a SIGNAL to move into compassion.
Of compassion he said, Compassion is a vibration of the heart. When we are in the vibration of compassion, we are not taking anything on ourselves, or trying to solve anything, or trying to erase anything. We are holding a space for the other person to enter into their healing work. Holding a space of compassion does not involve trying to fix, remove, or change the other person’s experience. 
So while we might be feeling deeply the experience of pain another person is having, we don’t have to hold onto it. Why would we? We can choose to become aware of it, release it as it is not ours, and turn our calm attention toward the person going through something and hold space for them to do their work. No judgment, no advice, no fixing. Just holding. Just open hearted awareness and be-ing with them as they continue to follow their path to healing.
Here’s what the articles I allude to above don’t often say – empaths DO have a choice about what to do with the “extra” energy they perceive themselves to be embodying or carrying. They don’t have to continue to carry it, or process through it, or fix it. Once made aware of the energy – of the reason for the moodiness, the anxiety, the depression, the exhaustion – once discerned that it is not their own energy, that energy can be dropped! Let it go. Breathe it out. Empaths don’t have to be victims. They can learn to be a part of the world without crumbling in the midst of all the energy present. They aren’t required to take it on and carry it around with them. There is no merit badge for carrying the weight of the world.
Once upon a time I missed out on fun ballpark experiences, and midnight movie showings of the hot new sequel. I didn’t go into the city with friends or attend healing circles. I wouldn’t watch TV at night because I couldn’t control what might come across the screen and movies were pretty much out for the same reason. All because I felt overwhelmed. Being told I was unique and had a gift didn’t provide me an opportunity to learn from those experiences and heal my perceptions of the world around me. And the truth is that I wasn’t special or more sensitive than my friends. I was simply perceiving the world differently, identifying with it differently, and I didn’t know how to cope because I didn’t understand energy. I think that’s a big problem in the metaphysical world: we talk about energy, we even talk about healing with energy – without really understanding it and our relationship to it.
It boils down to choice. Each of us can choose what to believe, what to carry, which perspective to identify with. Each of us can choose to release what no longer serves. Each of us can choose to spend some time doing honest self-reflection to determine which aspects of our lives, our thoughts, our emotions, our responses might no longer serve. We can learn to co-exist with uncomfortable emotions, images, and experiences. We can learn to hold space for anything that comes our way while standing boldly in our place, grounded in the heart. We can change our habits and thought patterns. Is it easy? Not necessarily.
Is it worth it? I would say it is. I “do life” again. I go to Mariner’s games and concerts and movies. My relationships are healthier because I hold myself responsible for my feelings. Clients and students and friends feel more supported in their healing work because their healing work doesn’t become about me in any way, shape, or form. When they are uncomfortable or in pain, I am not uncomfortable or in pain with them – rather, I can hold space for them to fully be where they need to be and experience what they need to experience. I’m not constantly exhausted anymore and anxiety, when it arrives, has less influence. Energy “vampires” aren’t a real thing in my life anymore because I am responsible for my energy and emotions. I am able to check in and determine if I have the capacity for an activity or not and then honor that without excuses or blaming.
In short, I experience freedom that was out of my reach when I wasn’t willing to look at myself honestly and take responsibility for my thoughts, beliefs, actions, choices. I had to become aware of it, then become willing to change it. Make an exchange if you will.
Grace and peace,

Working with Cathedral Quartz

cathedral quartzCathedral Quartz in subtle energy healing

Cathedral Quartz Information
Quartz are given unique names to help distinguish between different growth processes, environments, and appearances. Both the mineralogical community and the metaphysical community give names to different formations, for different reasons. Sometimes the names match, sometimes they don’t. And yes, that can be confusing. To make matters more confusing, metaphysical folks tend to apply names based on the energy of the piece, rather than its appearance and formation. This creates confusion about true rarity and quality, location, as well as price. In the mineral world nomenclature is a bit of a mess. Don’t worry, the more you engage with different communities, minerals, and sellers, the more comfortable you’ll get identifying minerals and quartz formations. It just takes time and experience.
A mineral’s price is (or should be) most affected by the availability of the mineral. The more difficult a mineral is to mine, or the less frequently it is found in excavations, the more expensive the mineral will be (before considering internal clarity, color, weight, and condition). When I first started studying crystal healing, natural, unheated Citrine was relatively easy to acquire and afford. In recent years, natural, unheated Citrine became scarce and the price jumped accordingly. Same with Sugilite. Ajoite, especially that from the most popular site – Messina – is no longer available except from collections and the price has gone through the roof. Should a new pocket be discovered for any of these minerals, we will see the price fluctuate accordingly.
Sidenote: (In my opinion, pricing a mineral based on subtle energy experiences is unethical. A personal experience cannot be proven, let alone guaranteed for anyone else, and conveying that minerals and certain quartz formations only offer X is misleading and limiting. Promising a specific energetic experience based on working with a specific mineral and then upcharging sometimes 10 times the actual value of the stone is taking advantage of the customer base, especially those who are new to the art. I have seen this done time and again and it breaks my heart. People are easily influenced and people who are hurting and seeking answers can be especially vulnerable.
Each of us needs to be empowered to have our own experiences: to build our own unique relationships to the mineral kingdom based on sound, grounded knowledge that helps inform the most important aspect of communication between a person and a crystal – that person’s HEART. Just because some people find Moldavite to be powerful doesn’t mean everyone will feel that way with Moldavite. And that doesn’t make either party wrong in their experience or interpretation of their experience. When we price a stone or mineral, the only ethical thing to do is price it according to availability and quality (as well as the hours and energy it took for us to source it. I’m not suggesting people cannot make a living or have a business selling crystals), and to provide the actual, mineralogical name, rather than a made-up and trademarked name that hides the fact that the mineral is actually very, very common and can be purchased elsewhere for pennies on the dollar).
I’d like to address what a Cathedral Quartz IS, because there are a lot of quartz being sold as Cathedral Quartz that are not, in fact, cathedral quartz. Elestial/Jacere quartz, sprouting/artichoke quartz, cactus quartz, candle quartz, and others are often mis-identified and sold as Cathedral Quartz. It’s confusing partly because the term ‘elestial’ has been a mineralogical identifier as well as a metaphysical identifier. Meanwhile other metaphysical names are flat out rejected by the mineralogical community. Knowing which names or labels are truly mineralogical (and therefore used to identify properly the types of minerals we have) can be tricky and just takes time and experience to figure out. Sometimes the mineralogical community will begin to use metaphysical labels when the label just won’t go away and becomes common, or, when they realize they can make a bigger profit selling certain minerals using the metaphysical labels. (Hint, when you know your stuff and can buy your crystals from rocks shops rather than metaphysical shops – you will save money a lot of the time).


But even without the mineralogical community, we in the metaphysical community can make things rather complicated all on our own. :) For example, Lightbraries are often known to be Cathedral Quartz, yet the Lightbrary name has since been applied to sprouting Citrine Quartz, once very popular from the DNC (Congo). If you do an Internet search for “Cathedral Quartz,” you will see images of Elestial/Jacare, Sprouting/Artichoke Quartz, Candle Quartz, even Quartz clusters and Cactus/Spirit Quartz. Different groups giving different names to the multitude of quartz formations can create a bit of confusion.
For example, if Crystal Healer Steve decides that Artichoke form should be called Lightbrary because of his personal experience with the stone, and then begins teaching about or selling Artichoke growth crystals as “Lightbrary” crystals, it makes sense that those who have read elsewhere that Cathedral Quartz are also called Cathedral Lightbraries start mixing up Artichoke Quartz formation with quartz that display the specific parallel-grown, stepped formation that we know as Cathedrals.
Artichoke/sprouting quartz are much easier to come by while Cathedral Quartz is rarer. The price tag often reflects this because not only is the formation rarer, but to find a Cathedral Quartz with good clarity and not a lot of damage can be difficult. Plus – Cathedrals seem to arrive in waves every 20-30 years. Right now, we are entering a drought. How long that drought will last is anyone’s guess. But past experience shared tells me that these special formations tend to be found in spurts before a long dry spell when none are mined. I do wonder if the time between showings is getting shorter. 
Though states that parallel, stepped growth formations of quartz are quite common, I have found that true Cathedral Quartz formation is one of the rarer formations of quartz growth and I know I’m not alone in that experience. It can take some time and experience to learn how to distinguish a true Cathedral Quartz – having a specific parallelly-grown, stepped formation – from other parallel growth forms but once you see it, you’ll be able to identify a Cathedral forevermore. (When I say “true,” I am not speaking about the crystal’s energy. I’m speaking about the formation requirements to be classified as a Cathedral Quartz).
What are the identifying features of Cathedral Quartz?
One very important identifying distinction is this: while it might appear that there are numerous quartz points which grew together (smaller attached to one primary larger center crystal), the crystal is in fact, one crystal. If you turn the crystal upside down, you won’t see lines where crystals fused together. Sometimes a Cathedral Quartz can actually be multiple Cathedrals which fused together in which case you will see those boundary lines on the bottom – but the individual points which fused, may still, in their own right, be Cathedral formation.

cathedral quartz

Elestial quartz is more of a patterning on the surface of the quartz. Sprouting or artichoke quartz has one center crystal with numerous, smaller crystals growing separately but attached to the primary point. In a cathedral, even though it may appear that separate crystals are growing off of a main point, in fact, it is all one piece.  A great website to visit is (specifically their Growth Forms page). This site is a wealth of information about quartz.
Parallel, step-growth occurs when a quartz crystal experiences a phenomenon called twinning during its formation. In the case of Cathedral Quartz, a double spiral rotation occurs which gives the point a multi-terminated appearance, though in reality, it is ONE crystal, rather than multiple crystals fused together during growth. This is KEY for identifying a Cathedral.
Cathedral quartz are interesting quartz specimens in that they can look like completely different pieces depending on which side or angle you are looking at. Consider that these two photos show the exact same piece – just from different vantage points. For this reason, if purchasing online, be sure to ask for numerous photographs from different sides of the piece if not already provided.

cathedral quartz   cathedral quartz

One more thing: Cathedral Quartz can be found in clear, smoky, and citrine
Cathedral Quartz Crystal Healing & Properties Information
I hope that more than anything you feel empowered to discern for yourself what your crystal masters are trying to communicate to you and through you. Crystals are not stagnant. They are pulsing energy sources with one of the lowest rates of entropy of any physical thing on planet Earth. They are always working with each of us individually in the NOW moment. Therefore, their messages to us will be unique from person to person and applicable to the NOW moment. Tying them down to a singular purpose or chakra or healing focus limits OUR ability to work with them to the highest good of all Beings and to evolve and grow spiritually.
Having said that, when we are learning something new, it helps to have a starting point, a spring-board, right? In the new age community, many have written down their personal experiences with crystals and published them so that we could have just that – a starting point from which we can begin our own unique work with crystals. Even when an author insists their understanding is THE understanding – I always encourage my students to hold these writings lightly, to not create dogma or true/false narratives based on other people’s personal, subjective experiences. The following information comes from Katrina Raphaell’s book, The Crystalline Transmission: A Synthesis of Light, pages 173-183. Katrina Raphaell is considered by many to be THE teacher for metaphysical work with Quartz. Many people resonate with her work and her experiences and so her books have, over time, become the go-to reference tools for learning about different quartz formations from a metaphysical perspective.
Here are some highlights from her section on Cathedrals:
  • Are “universally oriented…synchronized to universal frequencies.”
  • A Thought-Form gatherer and translator:
    • A tool to “…receive new waves of consciousness…” from the Masters. These messages are translated for our understanding through the crystal so that we can comprehend and integrate these messages. “…the wisdom of the soul can take tangible form in thoughts that the mind is capable of understanding.”
  • Exist to aid whoever comes to them, when the heart is open and the desires are in alignment with the Light.
  • Contains knowledge written in the language of Light. (Though is also said to be void of information until programmed – which is not my personal experience).?
  • Can be an access to the Hall of Records (Akashic Records – records containing every thought, word, and deed of every living thing throughout time).
  • Is said to be a “group” crystal (2 or more) though an individual can work with Cathedral Quartz imo
Recommendations for working with Cathedral Quartz
cathedral quartzGroup work
In a group of 2 or more like-Hearted individuals, who all share the intention of grounding Light to Earth, and bringing Universal Divinity into their joint endeavor. Sit in a circle with the Cathedral in the center, apex pointing up to the sky. Holding hands, focus on the inner world of the crystal. Imagine oneself within, focused on the common intention and desire, open to receiving knowledge from the Universal Masters.
Individual work
While many teach that Cathedral Quartz are not “personal” crystals or are specifically meant to be a Master Tool for groupwork, I have found that communing with a Cathedral Quartz can be a very expansive, powerful, empowering, and humbling experience. Holding the crystal or being near it, open yourself to the messages awaiting you. I recommend getting grounded first, firm in your Light, centered in your Heart before entering into this energy so that your discernment is clear. Setting the crystal on your Heart (if not too heavy), or placing the crystal at your feet pointing up, at your head pointing down, or however feels “right” to you in the moment, go into your meditation. Focus on your breath and allow your body to relax. Be open to receiving wisdom, assistance, messages.
Some people meditate while gazing into the crystal. This is particularly wonderful when the crystal has an internal clarity and lots of clear facets on its surface through which to look. Some say that each of the turrets or spires is a room of knowledge unto itself and that we can enter into these rooms and access Akashic Records or universal wisdom or enter into the collective consciousness through these “rooms.”

Personal share:
I do personally find Cathedral Quartz to be neutral, Universally-oriented, as Katrina Raphaell has mentioned. That resonates with me and my experience of the crystals. This may not be your experience – your message – from the Cathedral you’re called to work with. That’s perfectly okay. There is no one-way or right-way to work with the Crystal Masters. There is YOUR way.
I work with Cathedral Quartz when I am seeking clarity on a “big world” type of issue. Or when my mind is not serving my Heart and I am seeking to create a calm ebb and flow between the two with the Heart in the lead. I find myself reaching for Cathedral Quartz when I want to consciously, intentionally send waves of compassion to the Earth or to a specific group of people experiencing difficulties. I go to the Cathedral to ask for clarity; to see the Mirror being reflected back at me from my community, country, from the world. When I perceive the world to be “going mad,” I must ask how I might be going mad. How might I be contributing to the madness within and in my community? I find the Cathedrals to be powerful helpers in this. I also asked for help, guidance, and perspective-widening from my ancestors.
Because Cathedrals are Universally-oriented, they are about The All. Our work with them can often be to understand our place and purpose within The All.

When Spiritual-but-not-Religious is a load of crap

or, “How I found myself back in that damn box after clawing my way out”

It’s ironic. Years ago an article came out decrying the “spiritual but not religious” seeker. I can’t remember who wrote it and it doesn’t really matter, but for a while it drew people into a debate about how SBNR folks don’t get it and are deluding themselves; that being in community – the supposed purpose of religion (debateable unto itself) – was key to true spiritual growth. When I read that article, I wrote a response to it on my old blog and I pushed back a little bit. But there was something deep down inside of me that was saying, “You know, they aren’t wrong, but they aren’t right about the what.” But I couldn’t define what rankled me either and I think it was because I was only just beginning to catch glimpses of the religiosity of SBNR communities and people.
Now, years later I can identify the what. Until now, I didn’t feel it was my place to call anything into question broadly. And I was scared. I’m still a little scared, but not scared enough to not put this out there. (And I’m going to start marking my articles NSFW when there is language. When I’m with people I trust, I use “colorful” language so you might be seeing that NSFW more often because hey, if you can’t trust me and I can’t trust you, what are we doing here? I’m exhausted of policing my language for reasons that will become evident further down, should you decide you can roll with it).
Background which informs the present

I was raised by various people, and by my culture to believe in a doctrine ruled by a God which was slightly influenced by Prosperity Theology. For example, one of the versions of God I learned about was the God who punished me with clinical depression and crippling anxiety because I didn’t have enough faith, or because I didn’t study my Bible every morning the week previously, or because I skipped Wednesday night’s small group. That same God also tended to reward people with cushy, medical-issue-free lives when they were faithful to the tithing plate, to their daily Bible readings, and to showing up for small group. When there was any struggle (whether it be medical, financial, emotional, or other), it was explained by the authority/expert/chosen one that it was because I sinned and was too prideful to walk away from that sin and/or I wasn’t serving the church enough. (I mean cause and effect, right? Nope. Just plain old manipulation). There were creeds and doctrines and beliefs – checkboxes that if left unchecked, landed me in hell.
And purity was a BIG DEAL. There were a lot of rules around appearance and language and consumed media choices and sex and just everything. Everything was under a microscope and up for review. We were also always confessing our sins – to God, to each other, in prayer, in song, in everything we did there was sure to be a sin because we were born of sin so just hedge your bets and always be asking for forgiveness and never relax. Ever because – purity, but also, Jesus could come back at any moment and you don’t want to get caught with your pants down. (Gee, I wonder where the depression/anxiety combo came from)? It was very performance and image-based, despite being told that we were saved by faith, not works.
The environment was also extremely insular and therefore isolating which made us dependent on one another in unhealthy ways. We were told to “be in the world but not of it.” I learned that we had to suffer through being in this sinful, dirty, horrible world, with sinful, horrible, dirty people, and that to the best of our abilities, we were never to engage with it or them. (Unless of course, it was to save them). The church was comprised mostly of middle-to-upper class white folks. I was allowed to be a part of this group because I checked the right boxes on the form, and hey, I also happened to look like them and have the same privileges as they did. What does that teach us, even if inadvertently? Well, if the “rest” of the world is sinful, dirty, and horrible, and we are not because we are saved, then anyone who doesn’t look like us, live like us, and have the same privileges as us must be “of the world.” Dirty. To be avoided. (Again, unless we’re saving them).
I can’t forget to mention the ever-looming rapture theology where Jesus could come back at any moment, but not before a lot of really bad shit goes down like martyrdom. (Oh the stories I could tell about “preparing” for this). Watchfulness and readiness was a BIG part of my life. And I was already raised by a police officer who couldn’t help but bring home his constant surveillance skills, knowing what he knew (he was trying to keep us safe). (Gee, I wonder where I get my propensity for picking up on subtle cues and body language. I wonder where the crippling anxiety came from)?
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being groomed to become a privileged, “clean,” white savior of a world she was simultaneously encouraged to turn her back on. Confusing, no? I was taught to avoid critical thinking and to only engage in self-inquiry when it resulted in self-flagellation and continued servitude to the powers that be. I was taught to willingly hand over my power. I was to never trust my mind or to learn discernment through my heart; nor was I to come to my own conclusions or find my own answers based on my own inquiries and experiences. And it was very subtle. Most of the time.
The in between insanity and sanity
Yes, I had cognitive dissonance all the time, which I repeatedly shoved to the back of my deep, privileged, walk-in closet because if I questioned the teachings, I was warned with a small, disapproving frown, that this indicated a lack of faith and the devil was trying to steal my soul. And you don’t want to take a beat to allow a question to linger in the ole brainbox because what if you are questioning and then BAM! Jesus comes at that moment, or BAM! you get hit by a bus?
That cognitive dissonance didn’t stay hidden. The depression and anxiety didn’t leave me alone either – no matter HOW faithful I tried to be. I got married and moved away and before long I was in an existential crisis. But something great happened when I married too (in addition to being married to my husband who, in case you’re wondering stuck around despite the following). I moved from a very conservative state and insular experience to a very liberal state with nowhere to insulate myself. And thank God, because that forced me to meet people who were different! Like, pagans, people of different ethnicities, alternative wellness practitioners, atheists, libertarians, Unity church goers, non-church goers, gay people, democrats, people who lived together without being married, socially liberal conservatives, women who weren’t married and had kids, women who were married and didn’t want kids, women who had abortions, women who told their male partners what they thought and often took the lead on decisions big and small.
These people seemed pretty happy and they had what they needed. Things weren’t adding up. I was miserable and doing everything “right,” (I was saved) and these people, according to the teachings of my church, were doing it wrong and were happy. It’s hard to unsee a thing once you’ve seen it, so I left: the church, the association, the label, the doctrines, the misogyny, the patriarchy, the false image of God who was a bloodthirsty yet somehow unconditionally loving granter of goods and services only to the faithful. (My head still spins at that last one – what does unconditional mean)? I was miserable with anxiety followed by dark and long periods of depression followed by more crippling anxiety and obviously couldn’t meet God’s requirements anyway so why the hell was I trying so hard? For what?
Put another way – I was so desperate and miserable that I was willing to roll the dice on an eternal life of torment without access to God. And roll the dice I did.
Lest I give the impression that I “just” left
When I say I left, I mean that for 12ish years I continued to have crippling panic attacks while reading scholarly articles and books about the history of Christianity and the Bible, as well as dipping my toe into the history of other religions and spirituality in general (uh, that’s a big no-no where I came from). At the same time, I placed every single thought and belief I had ever acquired on the table for dissection and when exhaustion from that settled in, I would go into a 1-2 week depressive episode.
I forced myself to change ingrained, unhealthy mental habits like constant watchfulness for signs and constant self-doubt. This felt like wearing a 25-pound pack and scaling a mountain every moment of every day. All while also struggling with suicidal ideation because the question, say it with me, fellow Religious PTSDers, “What if they are right?!” lurked in the back of my mind the entire time, trying to lure me back. By then I knew too much to be able to go back, yet that question haunted me.
12 long years. 12 painful, barely-made-it-through long years where childhood and high school friends walked away from me because I was now “of the world” and a host of other personal and family difficulties arose.
I can’t believe I’m being pulled back into this again!
About 9 years ago I found myself empty. I had shed a lot and was asking, “Now what?” because there was a problem. If I hadn’t had some experiences throughout my life that were mystical and sacred, I would have rebuilt my perspective around a completely rational, scientific, possibly humanistic worldview. But I did have those experiences and continued to have them (huh, interesting, “God” or Source or whatever didn’t leave me!) and so I went looking for community and landed with some people who listened to me without judgment and had an accepting nature I had never before experienced. I could QUESTION! I could THINK! I could EXPLORE! I could have an OPINION!
At first.
We who have left organized religion, but have since found ourselves in spiritual groups, can often carry an air of self-congratulations and relief because, “Thank God we’re not still following THAT.” Yeah. Go us. Except for when we are.
The longer I hung around new age/metaphysical/energy healer groups, the more classes I took, the more books I read, and the more social media groups I joined, the more I noticed that much of what I had just extricated myself from had been relanguaged, rebranded, and was being taught and sold in the spiritual communities.
  • Talismans and prayer for stuff and security? Check.
  • Priests and go-betweens? Check.
  • Appearance expectations? Check.
  • Purity expectations? Check.
  • Rituals to appease or attain something from “Source”? Check.
  • Creating victims and then blaming the victim? Check.
  • “Gifts” given to the special chosen few? Check.
  • Defending one’s healing modality as the “right” or superior modality? Check.
  • Requirements to work with and be in communion with Source? Check.
  • Duality? Check.
  • All while preaching unconditional love, self-acceptance, and nonduality? Check, check.
(Dare I bring up the extreme pendulum swing of misandry while simultaneously bemoaning that more men weren’t spiritual in a few instances? Yikes, no. We’ll leave that for now).
So when I read the following in Rachael Rice’s article:
There’s also a military fuckton of Law of Attraction stuff that’s basically repackaged Christian Prosperity Theology for new agers without critical thinking skills….It’s an entitled orientation towards the extraction of resources because “I deserve it and the Universe is waiting to bestow wealth upon me” with little regard for how those resources were accumulated and are distributed. Wealth is de facto proof of being “in alignment with your soul’s purpose” irrespective of how grossly stratified wealth actually is. The inherent racism, classism + other -isms of LOA and The Secret, and other “mindset” and “manifesting abundance” programs are rarely thoroughly confronted.
I sighed with relief. I cried a little bit because she had the guts to call us out on our bullshit. We cannot heal until we’re willing to see our own bullshit.  The LOA has been problematic for me since day 1 and she encapsulates the reason so perfectly. I can imagine people thinking, “That’s not the LOA I follow.” Good! Then start sharing your more nuanced, deeply personally responsible, and widely accessible brand of LOA with the rest of us. Don’t hide that light under a bushel!
But also, can we take a moment to contemplate why we are so focused on manifestation and are so needy for stuff? What do we imagine X is going to solve or heal? What is our obsession with the idea of being able to attain a “perfect looking or perfect feeling life”? Why are we not working with what we got, allowing what Is Now to be our teacher?
Are we brave enough to ask ourselves, “Do I really need that, or am I using this activity of striving to achieve something as a distraction from the real work of healing myself?” 
Honestly a whole host of other questions about self-validity and self-empowerment opens up for us around these concepts, classes, workshops, certificates, and rituals. Trust me, as someone who teaches a course, I’ve thought about this a lot. And I turn people away who think that if they just take this course, get this certification, something will finally be fixed in them. Or they will finally find THE answer. Nope, you don’t need my course or to spend money to access yourself. But more on that later down.
To the person who is following LOA/The Secret and not experiencing abundance: it’s not your fault. You aren’t faithless or unworthy. It’s not necessarily because you haven’t been generous enough in your own life. In the same way that when I had severe depression, it wasn’t because I wasn’t a good enough Christian. You have been misled. Just as I was misled. In the awareness, what do we do next?
Here’s what we (broadly speaking) don’t seem to want to acknowledge: it’s not all Love and Light. It’s not all effortless and dreamy if we just think the right thoughts or clear our auras. When we heal ourselves it is WORK – especially in the beginning. Why? Because we are going against every innate and learned defense mechanism our brains, bodies, and conditioning can throw at us, trying to stop us from honest self-inquiry: a willingness to SEE and ACKNOWLEDGE our honest thoughts, feelings, and motivations to stop us from doing something about it. 

“Everybody wants to be perfect. Nobody wants to be reformed.” 

Carmen Spagnola of the Numinous Podcast (#67)
Do we want to be comfortable and superficially accepted, or do we want to be reformed – changed? Are we willing to do the work it takes to uncover and heal our karma, to learn how to be truly vulnerable and intimate with one another, to experience healthy community, creative expression, and self-actualization together? Are we willing to screw up in front of each other and let that be an opportunity for growth? Are we willing to learn how to observe our thoughts, to learn how to reshape them? Are we willing to stay in the room and learn from each other? Are we willing to learn how to embody love and compassion for ourselves and for each other? Do we want to be happy from time to time, or expand our perceptions such that we can access joy always?

If we are using spiritual principles and rituals as an escape hatch from reality, responsibility, or honest self-inquiry, it’s no longer spiritual.

There are other aspects of bad religion that has been relanguaged and rebranded so that it can be sold in spiritual communities. Another portion of Rachael’s article struck a nerve for its similarity to the messages I walked away from:
Anything you dislike in others is a reflection of something inside of you that needs healing. See also: you have a “story” resulting from a “core negative belief” about yourself
Oh the self-righteousness. Sometimes BS needs to be called out. And sometimes we are the creators of said BS. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world when we come into a realization that we’ve perpetuated BS. Nor does it mean we have to agree with the assessment! And our job is to stop, listen, and consider instead of manipulating the story to serve our egos. Let’s be compassionate with each other and honest. We can be both and if we don’t know how to be both compassionate and honest at the same time, well, it’s time we learned.
You should [have the means to pay and time to] try Landmark / Ayahuasca / Sweat Lodge / fancy detox / healing program / pilgrimage to a shaman / yoga or meditation retreat / Tony Robbins coal walking / etc. and fix your faulty “stories”
For the love of all that is good and holy, don’t let ANYONE ELSE should you. You’re probably shoulding yourself quite enough. And also? Our stories getting fixed – that’s an inside job. You need you. And a supportive, wise friend. But mostly a willing you. There’s not enough money in the world to fix us (thanks, Wall Street for proving that). Money and certificates and experiences can be helpful tools, but they are not necessary. And this is an uncomfortable truth because it reminds us that we can’t blame our lack of growth on not having enough money or enough opportunities to have mystical experiences.
Separation is an illusion; politics is separation consciousness, above these perceptions is unity consciousness, and you’re just bogged down in duality + divisiveness (the unity / oneness bypass in spiritual bypassing*)
Sometimes we talk about big ideas in very concrete and assured ways AT other people instead of with other people in a communal exploration. We aren’t even experts of ourselves. What makes us think we have the answers for other people? This, I believe, is a problem derived from our “insta-certified” culture. Just because we take a class and get a piece of paper doesn’t mean we are experts at anything, (or even qualified to start a practice in any way) and it also doesn’t necessarily indicate that we’ve evolved one iota.
And to be clear, I’m not claiming that I understand nonduality 100%. But I will tell you that what I do know about nonduality has a lot to do with humility and taking personal responsibility – two topics people do not like to talk about because it doesn’t feel “Light” and doesn’t make us feel warm inside. Nonduality encompasses it all. We have to be willing to see and engage with our shit. See our culpability with the problems within ourselves, our relationships, and our communities. But that isn’t fun, sparkly, rainbow-laden, et al. So we accept half-baked growth and evolution. Shame can be an important teacher.
Critique/anger/judgement are conflated with “fear” and are assigned “low vibration” energy
High vibration is not better than low vibration. If we understand nonduality and are truly viewing the world through nondual lenses, then why do we keep perpetuating this ascension and high vs low vibration myth?  Answer: to escape. The ascension talk I hear in some circles is a new brand of rapture theology. And rapture theology is very much about escapism from the pain of this world and taking any personal responsibility in working in community to heal it. Plain and simple.
While I was becoming acquainted with my new community of “spiritual but not religious/New Age/Alt Wellness/etc.” (I’m not being flip – it’s a WIDE umbrella which is part of its appeal) I started hearing other things that sounded similar to the old Christian paradigm I had just spent over a decade extricating myself from.
When someone got sick, I would hear, “Oh, what do you think the root emotional/spiritual issue is?” Huh, weird. That sounds an awful lot like, “You have depression because you don’t have enough faith.” Why can’t we ask, “What do you need? How can I help?”  instead of asking someone who already is struggling to stop and do a personal inventory and critique themselves. It’s not our job to assume that role. (I’m calling this out as someone who has done this to others).
Or, “Oh, you want to take that class but can’t afford it? Set up a manifestation grid!” which sounds an awful lot like, “Pray about it and leave it up to God.” It makes me itchy because while creating a crystal grid (and prayer) could be a great ritual to help someone get clarity around their intention and the motivation behind it, we need to also encourage each other to take actual real-time, physical steps to proactively create their reality, you know, changeand then take responsibility for it. We’re not victims of the universe or of God. Also, can we stop making things into tools that do our bidding? Crystals and God? Can we reframe our relationship with the world and each other as co-creators rather than as a means-to-an-end?
“Carry this crystal for protection,” is a different version of “Say this prayer and you’ll get to skip hell.” Why are we afraid of self-inquiry? Why are we afraid to explore why we feel we need protection? Why are we afraid to look at and be with and learn from things that make us uncomfortable?  By all appearances, we don’t really want to be in true communion with each other. We want to slap a Band-Aid on each other, and get on with our lives where we’re very busy distracting ourselves from our own shit.
And I’m going to say it because why not, I’m probably already up a creek with zero paddles… the whole concept of psychic attack and energy hooks and energy vampires necessitates duality, perpetuates self-victimization, is disempowering, and ignores free will. It smacks of the satan and demon talk which was used in my former life as a scapegoat for taking responsibility, and as a way to keep people disempowered and in fear. When are we going to step into our own inherent power and take responsibility for our actions, and how we choose to interpret our experiences?
I also started to see people talk about the “right” way to practice a ritual or healing modality, and the “right” teacher to study from, and the “right” tools to use. (See also “Original” or “true”). I watched on social media as energy healing practitioners went after each other for deigning to practice energy healing without having had an “authentic” attunement ceremony. Again, this sounds an awful lot like needing to pray the right prayer and needing to be in the right religion and needing to studying under the right pastor. Who do we think we are? And what lie are we perpetuating within ourselves that we think we’ve found the one and only, the “right/true/pure” Way?
Which leads me to learning about energy healing tools by relying on an “expert’s” personal channeled experience. We do not need a go-between to access God or energy or the universe. We do not need a go-between to learn about crystals. We do not need someone else to lay hands on us so that we might have access to the Light. We do not need to keep giving our power away. Look, sharing with each other is one thing – it’s a beautiful thing in fact. Attunement ceremonies can be beautiful, empowering rituals of celebration. But crowning myself or crowning someone else the expert or keyholder of X – that’s the old paradigm. That’s religious paradigm. That’s hierarchy. That’s a powerless people relying on a powerful few. Be willing to have your own experience without external validation. You can do it. You are worthy of it.
And the purity aspect. You know, at first I could not figure out why I got twitchy when I would read or hear someone insist that we had to be “clear channels” before doing energy work. Or that we couldn’t do or eat or drink off of a long list of don’ts. “Don’t eat meat! Don’t drink alcohol! Don’t drink caffeine! Don’t eat sugar! Don’t eat wheat! Don’t watch TV! Don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t.” All this in order to supposedly “be a clean and clear vessel!” Gosh, that sounds an awful lot like purity laws from the Old Testament and the purity laws instituted in 20th century religion.
It also sounds like there’s an expectation that everyone is living in the same body and having the same life experiences. (A la Rachael’s primary point). If we waited till we were “clear” channels, none of us would ever facilitate a healing session. Ever. And if someone has the self-righteousness to believe they are “clear” enough to facilitate a healing session? Are any of us totally reconciled unto ourselves? Are we suggesting that it’s possible to have looked under every rug and into every dark corner? Are we suggesting that in a human lifetime, a person can achieve perfection? Is perfection the goal? Is purity the goal? Is positivity-at-all-costs the point?
This has been there in the back of my mind for years. I haven’t written about this because I don’t want to come across as harsh or confrontational or… who knows how someone perceives this? That’s up to them. I share this from the perspective of someone who has been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Who has also found herself caught in one trap or another and brought others along for the ride before becoming aware of what I was doing.
So many times I’ve wondered, “Do I completely extricate myself from this community?” And, “Do I say something? Do I dare to offer a different perspective?” A couple times I did cautiously say something and that went over as well as you’d expect it to. So I did start to back away from the spiritual and new age and crystal healing Facebook groups. I unsubscribed from newsletters. I stopped going to circles. Not because I’m better or I have things figured out. In fact, it’s precisely because I don’t have everything figured out that I had to back away. If I’m going to continue being an open, honest, self-inquiring seeker, I better find open, honest, teachers and fellow sojourners who are also doing their own self-inquiry. What I was finding in this “spiritual and unaware of their religiosity” crowd was more of what I had just spent over a decade escaping and deprogramming myself from.
If you find a fire breathing dragon in one cave and have the good luck to escape that cave, when visiting another cave if you notice a sudden gush of heat that nearly knocks you over, you are going to slowly back out of that second cave. Even if that dragon’s fire might be glittery and magical. Even then.


Joy and Grace in Nondualistic Healing

Joy and grace can be present in difficult experiences – healing from a non-dualistic perspective.

I was listening to On Being’s podcast the other day, excited because Krista Tippett interviewed Richard Rohr. His newest book, Divine Dance, was recently released and Ms. Tippett asked him all manner of important questions and referenced his earlier works as well. As I always say after listening to an interview of Fr. Richard Rohr – I highly recommend it. (He has also been interviewed by Rob Bell and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve listened to that one interview 7 times. So far). I try not to fangirl over people. I recognize it’s not healthy for me or for the person I’m feeling awestruck about. Richard Rohr would be the first to agree, but if I had a chance to meet Fr. Rohr, well, that would be something else.
In this interview, he shared an experience that resonated so deeply with my experiences that I had to write about it immediately.
MS. TIPPETT: Just coming back to this both/and thinking that is a quality of the second half of life, of spiritual deepening, you talk about this quality of “bright sadness” that in that deepening, there is a gravitas and a lightness both. Say a little bit about the bright sadness.
FR. ROHR: I remember some of the times when I was most happy, after — I used to spend the whole of Lent in a hermitage alone, and I’d come back just sort of glowing, like a bliss ninny, for the next couple weeks. But when people would look at me, I remember again and again, they said, “Richard, you look sad.” And I said, “Oh my gosh, do I?” Because in fact, I’m feeling exactly the opposite….So it’s the strangest combination of being able to hold deep sadness and deep contentment at the very same time. So I discovered that in myself, and my most wonderful moments were also my most sad moments, which leads you to a kind of participation in what I called earlier “the one sadness,” that your very fact of enjoying grace and love carries with it a dark side that I didn’t deserve to know this, I didn’t earn this, and most people think I’m crazy if I try to talk about it. So the two intense emotions very often coexist in the contemplative mind.So that’s what taught me this both/and world view, that opposites do not contradict one another. In fact, they complement and deepen one another.
The act of intentional healing does not wipe away sadness or the other uncomfortable feelings. Rather, in my experience, as I heal, I learn to hold many seemingly opposing emotions or energies altogether, at the same time. Each is informing the other. The more grounded, Light-conscious energies are present and informing the other, less grounded, blurry energies. What is healed and balanced brings what has been in darkness into the Light so that more balance can be experienced. But this doesn’t eradicate pain or the shadow.
I recently wrote an article about depression and uncomfortable feelings. I shared a personal experience I had in early April with depression, including the depressive episode’s conclusion and lessons learned. I received a few messages from people who, after reading the article, wrote to express concern and care for me, hoping that I was feeling better. It’s very kind and I’m deeply grateful that I have people in my life who do care and are willing to express that. But I was also surprised to get this kind of response. In the article, I had shared that the experience was past-tense and even more important – it taught me so much! That’s a cause for celebration!
In trying to be a more succinct writer, I sometimes leave out important bits. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to stay on topic, maybe it’s because trying to put words to these types of experiences is very difficult. What I didn’t share about that depressive episode is that, in addition to it being a teacher, there was an enormous amount of Grace present. While it’s true that I didn’t – couldn’t – feel anything, still I was aware in a way I hadn’t ever experienced before during a depression, of an overwhelming okay-ness. I couldn’t directly access it emotionally, but I was aware of its presence and it was bigger than me.
As I’ve healed my emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects over the years, I have fallen into the trap of thinking after a particularly difficult lesson, “Okay, whew. That’s over and I’ve learned my lesson so I won’t have to go through that again!”  But that’s not how healing works. It’s not dualistic. It’s not linear. It is never completed – as in, “It is finished.” Nope. How many times have I had a particularly challenging time, gotten through it (rather than skirted around it), and thought “that’s over!” only for that lesson to reappear weeks, months, or years later? Many times. Depression and anxiety are two such lessons.
But! (I know, it sounds so dreary. “You mean this difficulty will never go away?” Well, no. But …).
The Big But is that as we intentionally heal and become more aware, we can’t help but experience each instance differently than we did before. Ten years ago, a depressive episode would have knocked me flat on my ass. I would have experienced what the pros call “suicidal ideation.” This time, many years and many similar-but-always-different experiences later, this depression was simply noticeable. This time, I didn’t think about death, rather, I noticed my previous aliveness and knew that would return. I thought, “Oh, you know what’s coming, that ALIVE feeling – pay attention and notice it more deeply this time!” I found the event so interesting even though it was a very detached interest. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have taken a shower for days on end, and I wouldn’t have left my room. I would have slept weeks away. This time, I allowed myself to relax, but I was still engaged with my life.  I slept normally. And instead of weeks, it lasted a total of 3 days.
Why am I sharing this with you? Well, because I don’t think we’re used to hearing or reading about our teachers’/healers’/coaches’ difficulties. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable when the “person in charge” doesn’t have their act together. Many of us have that inner aspect I call the, “Who do you think you are?” aspect. We ask it of ourselves and we ask it of others. Prove it! Prove your knowledge/health/awakeness/education/joy/etc. Prove to me that I should pay attention to you and what you say. Prove to me that you can help me heal/grow/learn. Prove it! And the Prove It mentality turns in on us too, and if we’re unaware of it, it can keep each of us from becoming more and more of who we are when in community with one another. If I can’t prove that I’m perfect at X, I can’t teach X or help others learn about X!
And so we expect that people who are in any type of leadership have it figured out. People who are in positions of leadership in the healing community  (especially?) let followers see only one side of their lives and only when that side is nice and shiny.
I am very wary of the teacher who stands (or sits) in front of a crowd and doesn’t express him or herself authentically – who doesn’t let imperfections and quirks shine. I’m confused at the idea that I’m supposed to learn how to be a healer from someone who doesn’t continually seek healing for him or herself. And so, I share my experiences with you not to make anyone uncomfortable, but because this is what is true. And I just so happen to be in a place in my life where, as I heal and expand, I can see it and learn from it and then share it with you. Leaders don’t lead by example by being perfect. Leaders lead by example when they are fully present, fully authentic, in their healing work.
I won’t ever share to garner sympathy or pity. By the time I can write about it, I have gone through it and have lessons-learned to share with you. And trust that even as I am going through my stuff, though perhaps not accessible in the same way, joy is present. And Grace. I am experiencing both/and. It is a bright sadness. And it is a holy moment.
We don’t need to require perfection from one another. We don’t need each other to always be happy and pleased and peaceful. We don’t need our teachers/leaders/coaches to have everything figured out. We can be authentic with each other, holding a space of compassion for ALL of it, without fear or pity, without extending sympathy. We do not have to feel responsible either for fixing anything or helping anyone figure out their stuff. This is a beautiful time of learning how to hold a space of compassion for each other and for ourselves. Allowing, allowing, allowing. This is where the both/and blooms.
With deep gratitude,


Depression and other uncomfortable experiences

As we await the end of this long winter, as we learn to maintain presence in a world that appears to be going mad, and as we deal with our own private lives and the issues we personally face, we might be experiencing spiritual, emotional, and mental discomfort more acutely. I have chatted with a few people in the last couple of weeks who have shared that they have been experiencing low-level anxiety, agitation, anger, and depression, for what appears to be no reason.
When people ask me, “How do I get rid of this?”, one of the first questions I like to ask is, “How does this experience feel in your body?” In other words, where do you feel tension or discomfort, irritation or inflammation in your physical body when you are aware of these feelings? What does it feel like? How do you respond to these physical expressions?
Turning toward the body and extending it care and rest can have a huge effect on the experiences listed above. It is unusual for most of us to do this however, because we are a thinking species. We are quite proud of our mental faculties and our abilities to analyze and plan and fix and solve. When these uncomfortable feelings arise, we tend to go to the mind for answers to “fix” whatever is “broken,” bypassing the body altogether.
Always be willing to question the premise.
What if nothing is broken when these experiences come? What if there is nothing to fix because these experiences play an important role in our expansion and evolution? What if everything is exactly as it should be? What if, instead of going to the mind to ask, Why is this happening? How do I make it stop?  we chose to be present, focus on the breath, and get in touch with our body?
Choosing to pay attention to the body can help us ground and connect more deeply to our Heart. The mind can take a rest. We can stop thinking for a second, stop analyzing, and stop wondering why or asking how. When we are focusing on care of the body, our attention is diverted from self-judgment. And we can give the brain a little break from trying to form an escape plan. 
Many times over the years, when I have shared that I had a cold, felt blue, threw my back out, had a headache, or stubbed my toe with well-intentioned fellow healers, I have been asked, “What do you think the root emotional/mental/spiritual cause might be?” Many believe that mental and physical maladies are untreated subtle energetic imbalances in almost all, if not all cases. The idea is that if we identify the emotional, mental, or spiritual imbalance, by identifying it and then healing it, we resolve the physical issue.
On the face of it, it makes sense. I think how we go about it might not. What this well-intentioned inquiry does is remove me from my physical body and places me in the seat of the mind through self-inquiry. It puts me in the roles of Identifier and Fixer – mind activities – when my body is asking me to be with the body. Awareness is wonderful and can be very healing. I believe in the power of self-inquiry and a willingness to be with and examine myself. But I believe there is a time and a place for this and that it must be done through the Heart. When the body is crying out, when a person feels like they are in survival mode – this is the time for rest, love, support, compassion, grace, and above all else – no judgment.
And sometimes a stubbed toe is just a stubbed toe. We are human beings living a human life on this planet where everything we do affects one another and sometimes stuff happens. Determining whether or not an experience is a “stuff happens” moment, or the result of imbalance in the subtle anatomy, for me, involves surrender and time. If there is something deeper to explore, there is no forcing it. To become aware of the unconscious, “deeper” underlying issues that might be present, I have to trust that I will become aware of those when they are ready to appear. In the meantime, I care for my stubbed toe, stay present, and breathe.
My personal experience – with depression, anxiety, sadness, grief, and more – has taught me that there is no real and lasting escape plan that the mind can offer and that there is no eradicating the issue through the mind. In fact, trying to out-think (run away from) an uncomfortable experience can intensify and draw out the experience. I think this is because the energy wants to be seen and acknowledged through the Heart with compassion and faith. Sometimes a willingness to stay in the room and be with that feeling is all it takes for it to dissipate. Other times the energy desires more attention and time, and if we allow that – if we surrender to it, the experience is a lot less painful. There is more grace and compassion present.  
My recent reminder….
A few weeks ago, on a Thursday, depression descended out of nowhere. It had been years since I felt that plummet but suddenly down, down, down I was falling, unable to breathe deeply into my toes and suddenly unable to bring myself to care about, well, anything. I couldn’t make weekend plans with my husband because I didn’t care and I didn’t foresee a moment when I’d be getting out of my chair in the near future. My brain started to send warning messages, “If you don’t snap out of this, your students and clients are going to get upset!” and “Oh no, remember last time? This could last WEEKS!”  But it was too late – I couldn’t care. It’s not that I didn’t care. I literally couldn’t care – about anything. Depression is a strange and difficult thing to experience let alone explain. 
I had been here before. I recognized it immediately. Though I was surprised that it felt the need to visit, I shrugged, opened the door, invited it in, made it sit right in front of me so that I could look it in the eye and acknowledge it. “Hi. You’re here. It’s been a while. I see you.” And then I let myself off the hook, trusting that nothing lasts forever – even when it feels like it will never end (kind of like this past winter). I chose to focus on my physical body, turn the mind-games off, and just exist as-is. I decided to be be with that energy as long as it wanted to stick around. I decided to be kind to myself in the process. 
Over the next couple of days I noticed moments when my mind would try to sneak in and “take care of it.” How can we get rid of it? How can we heal it? What’s wrong with you, Tana, that this is here? Identify that and BAM! Problem solved! Each time my brain tried to elbow its way in, I felt the sensation – or lack of sensation actually – weigh more heavily. I backed off each time, saying, “I see you, you are here and I am here and we are here together.” I stayed with it, giving it and myself compassion and grace.
On Sunday evening of that same weekend, just as quickly as it arrived, it left. I caught my breath and I suddenly felt everything again  – concern, awareness, motivation, responsibility, desire, movement, appreciation. I also noticed something re-enter which I wasn’t aware of before the depression visited: feelings of insecurity I had been holding, worry that I was inadequate in a certain area of my life, and anger seated from a place of judgment I was holding against myself which I was extending , as tends to happen, to others. In this particular case – there were underlying issues that I wasn’t aware of that wanted to be brought into the Light for healing. I can promise you that had I tried to force myself to make inquiries or tried to “fix” the depression, I would have missed the awareness that arose as the depression lifted. 
That experience lead to writing this blog post, Burning Man – on being a healer and our responsibility to self, in which I share, “Love and Light” is a phrase often used. And it can have tremendous potency when uttered by a person who is intimately aware of their own capacity for “Hate and Darkness,” as well as all the energies in between. I have since learned that nothing can truly be swept under the rug or warded off with spells or talismans. The energy is present and it wants to be seen. This is the Age of the Mirror.” 
People sometimes look at me like I’m crazy. “Just BE with it? That’s your big solution? That’s how you heal?” Yes. It’s part of my healing. And it took years of clearing thought forms and beliefs, of learning how to ground in my own body, of experiencing the Heart and learning how to become more and more intimate with and trusting of it before I could “just” be with it. I fought it for a long time. There were a lot of thoughts and beliefs I needed to clear or transmute. The experiences of depression and anxiety showed up for me time and time again – giving me ample opportunity to lean into them and learn how to exist differently, how to shift my perspective, how to surrender and find in that surrendering great freedom.
I relied on mentors and guides and healers and teachers who helped me to reframe or release my inquiries, to show me where my thinking was blinding me from the Light of my Heart. It was a group effort, make no mistake. Can we go it alone? Sure. Sometimes we even have to. When we can ask for help though, I believe we thrive when we do. Asking for help is a lesson unto itself. As much as we’re wired to think our way through “problems,” we’re also conditioned go it alone. But that doesn’t make it the ideal way of being in the world. We’re allowed to buck the system. In fact, I strongly encourage it. 
If you’ve been struggling with finding your footing in the midst of challenging emotional, mental, and spiritual experiences, I encourage you to reach out. Find a heart-centered mentor, healer, coach, guide, counselor – someone with compassion and grace, who understands the role of the mind in relation to the Heart, someone who will be neutral and honest with you. Someone who will help you see the gifts of self-care, as well as self-inquiry. Someone who will help you consider when to cut yourself some slack and when you can dig deep. You can begin this search simply by asking your Source to send someone your way. Healing – it can be simple. And sometimes it is not. Both are accepted. Be kind to yourself in the meantime, and don’t forget to breathe.
With gratitude,

Burning Man – on being a healer and our responsibility to Self

One of the Practicum Assignments I ask practitioner candidates to complete is an essay that poses the following questions: “What does it mean to you to be a healer? How has your understanding of this role changed throughout the course? What responsibilities do you believe you have to yourself and to each of your clients as a healer?”
I ask this question because it’s important to get clarity about the roles the ego and the Heart might be playing as we begin to work with others. It is important to realize that our personal healing work is not complete and that in fact, the practice of healing we are about to embark upon is one of the biggest Mirrors we will face in our lives.
When I first started working with others in my healing practice, I was a different person than I am now. I took too much responsibility and in all of the wrong areas. I assumed too much. I spoke a lot of things at people and I didn’t ask enough questions. Subconsciously, I created goals for each of my clients. “They should be X instead of Y for optimal living and we have to get them there.”
I didn’t see that I was working from an immature perspective. I couldn’t see that truth because I hadn’t yet burned myself up – not enough anyway. Because make no mistake, I’ll never be done burning.
healing healer
Being a candle is not easy; in order to give light one must burn first.
~ Rumi
My candle was still fairly new looking.
I have experienced Grace through many experiences over the years. These experiences have shown me that healing isn’t about performance. There are no benchmarks to success. Healing isn’t a simplistic cause-and-effect, one-and-done experience. Healing is a process of becoming more and more familiar with the self, bringing forth all of our difference aspects, including what we might label the “shadows,” with gentle compassion and inviting each into the Light. Sometimes to be integrated. Sometimes to be released – to burn. Not having done enough of that in the early years myself, there was no way I could offer myself as a witness holding a space of compassion for others in their own burning.
That’s not to say it was all for naught. How else do we learn but by being in the experience? In each session, with each client, there was a give and take: each of us learned something from the other and in so doing, learned something about ourselves so that we might bring an aspect of ourselves into the Light. So that we might sit down with that aspect and look it fully in the face and say, “Hi, I see you. It’s nice to meet you. I’d love to know more about you – to truly see you so that you might be integrated more fully into my experiences, in a healthier way.” 
“Love and Light” is a phrase often used. And it can have tremendous potency when uttered by a person who is intimately aware of their own capacity for “Hate and Darkness,” as well as all the energies in between. I have since learned that nothing can truly be swept under the rug or warded off with spells or talismans. The energy is present and it wants to be seen. This is the Age of the Mirror. In my brief lifetime, never before has the collective consciousness been so exposed. And we have never been so ripe for our own healing – if we are willing to see ourselves in “the other.” To see ourselves not as separate or above or better than or smarter than – but to see ourselves as a part of our community – the whole, inclusive community.
In our personal work of healing – of Being Deeply with Ourselves – full of Grace and Compassion, we walk into the darkness sometimes. The grace and compassion, which sees and quells the Fear, comes from walking into the darkness, holding our candle with one hand and offering our other hand to our neighbor. (Feel free to bring a backpack of extra candles).
With gratitude,

Crystal Spotlight: Crystal Healing with Sugilite

crystal healing sugilite

Crystal Healing with Sugilite

Sugilite (less frequently known by the trade names lavulite or royal azel) is an increasingly rare mineral. It has been found in various places including Canada, India, Italy, and Australia; however the deposit in South Africa has yielded some of the most popular and sought-after material. Its gorgeous purple hues – sometimes bright and vivid like neon lighting – have endeared many a subtle energy worker to its energies. Oddly, the first discovery of Sugilite was described as an ugly yellow-green-brown rock-forming mineral, discovered in Japan by a petrologist named Ken-ichi Sugi in 1944. Sugilite’s prices rose dramatically in 1980 when the stone was classified as a rare gem after other deposits were discovered containing the gorgeous purple stones. (The correct pronunciation of Sugilite is with a soft “g,” having been named after its discoverer – Sugi (su-ghee), but the mineral was mispronounced by so many for so long that the common and accepted pronunciation is now with a hard “g”). 
Sugilite’s color range is somewhat wide, depending on quality and location. The most sought-after Sugilite is the vivid purple or dark magenta colors, but it can also be found with bluish-purple, dark-purple, and gray-purple hues. The color comes from the manganese and lithium content. The stone can have a layered, mottled, or veined appearance. Rarely occurring as individual crystals, Sugilite’s habit is most often massive. It can also be found in fibrous-massive habit. Its hardness on the Mohs scale which is 6-6.5. “Gel” Sugilite is extremely rare and quite sought after, considered the highest gem quality for its vivid purple hue and translucency.


Having a 6.0 – 6.5 hardness on the Mohs scale, as well as an indistinct cleavage, Sugilite makes a great crystal to set in jewelry and decorative pieces. It should be noted that the surface can still be scratched when in contact with minerals or materials with a higher hardness. Sugilite can be washed under tepid water and a very mild soap can be used if needed.
Working with Sugilite
In the metaphysical community, Sugilite is often prescribed for healing the Third Eye and Crown chakras. Said to carry the Violet Flame, it is a stone often recommended for those who are on a personal spiritual quest, seeking spiritual wisdom. It is also known as one of the premier love stones, aiding a person in accessing divine love and forgiveness – both of self and others.
Let’s look at Sugilite’s physical properties and see if they don’t help support these ideas.
Sugilite’s manner of formation is usually sedimentary, sometimes metamorphic, and rarely igneous. Crystals and stones which come to us through the sedimentary formation process offer support when we know that things are not going quite right, but we’re blind to our ability to change anything.
As we grow in our emotional, mental, and spiritual development, it is crucial to be able to recognize the ways we have been shaped by our society and culture, and influenced throughout our upbringing by family through tribal perspectives, religion, and politics. Our ability to recognize these influences does not necessarily mean we must change them; but understanding the root of our beliefs and behaviors enables us to at least examine how we got to where we are, and ultimately discern if any influences need to be released. We cannot let go of that which we don’t know we’re grasping.
crystal healing sugiliteWhen we consider this in light of Sugilite’s crystal system – which is hexagonal – we see how Sugilite might especially be helpful to those of us who tend to be efficient, rational, consistent, and driven by a strong personal set of ethics. While efficiency and honesty are helpful attributes to hold to, when clutched too tightly, they can cause a person to become inflexible and unforgiving.
And this is where Sugilite’s chemical composition Na3KLi2(Fe3+Mn3+,Al)2[Si12O30] can come into play. As a potassium sodium lithium iron manganese aluminium silicate (whew!), Sugilite has a complex composition. Let’s consider two of the major elemental players here: manganese and lithium. According to Michael Gienger, manganese offers specific subtle energetic support through increased empathy, generosity of heart, and forgiveness. It also helps us reframe our reality by helping us clear outdated consciousness. (It should also be noted that manganese supports heart function).
Lithium, according to Gienger, also serves to calm down the physical body, dampening physical and nerve-related restlessness. It is calming and soothing. Lithium also encourages self-confidence while promoting spiritual humility and devotion to that which we acknowledge is bigger than our individual selves. I have personally had great experiences working with crystals that contain either of these two elements.
Sugilite’s mineral class also supports the kind of work we might want to do with this rare gem. Cyclosilicates which are opaque, tend to have a “spongy” amorphous ring structure which is less conductive and more absorbing. (Other cyclosilicates, such as beryl, have a pillar structure which makes them excellent energy carriers (through and into).This makes Sugilite, with its spongy opaqueness, an excellent hexagonal crystal ally for someone who finds themselves clutching to their efficient, rational ideals.
The color of Sugilite definitely supports the idea that Sugilite carries the energy of the Violet Flame. Containing potassium, which supports the functioning of the pineal gland, also makes it a great contender for healing, balancing, and opening the Third Eye. And we now know that the chemical composition contains elements which support heart health and functionality at the physical level which can certainly help transmute imbalanced energies at the etheric and auric fields. Crystal healing with Sugilite can be a multi-layered, multi-field experience.
Sugilite makes an excellent meditation crystal and can be worn in jewelry. Aura sprays and crystal essences made from Sugilite (indirect method) are also very potent and effective ways of working with the energy of Sugilite.

Alchemy and Crystal Healing: the story of the Cinnabar Skull

Alchemy and Crystal Healing

I woke up one morning this past December, and in my mind’s eye I saw a crystal skull of Cinnabar in Dolomite staring at me. It was the first image I saw, it was the first thought I had that day. This is strange for 3 reasons:

One: My first thought upon waking is always, “Coffee. Now.” I would love to say that my first waking thought on any given morning is gratitude or compassion or a prayer for peace for the world. But no. It isn’t. It’s coffee. You should know this about me if we become friends.

Two: I hadn’t thought about or seen this particular skull in nearly a year. It simply wasn’t a part of my consciousness.

And three: I don’t relate to crystal skulls like other people do. I got the first (and I thought only) crystal skull because of a message I received. “It’s time to work with skulls.” I thought, okay, maybe students will start asking about them soon, and I need to know more. I’m not naturally drawn to them. I respect what they represent to many people. They can be excellent examples of gemstone art. But I’m typically not drawn to the more enigmatic aspects of crystal healing.

Because I want to become more and more open, listening and trusting, I texted D that same morning to tell her what happened and after a short conversation, she set the skull aside for me to pick up when next I visited her studio.

In the world of crystal healing, being called to a particular crystal is an honor. It means a lesson has arrived and we are ready to learn it with the subtle energetic support of the elements of the Earth. It’s a privilege: not everyone is drawn to crystals in this way. This has happened with many minerals – I’ve been called to them and then we do healing work together. I felt off-kilter about not being excited about working with this skull. Skulls have a magick about them that I can’t seem to grasp onto. And that’s okay – each of us has our “thing.” Skulls aren’t my thing, except they seem to be: there are four staring at me right now, after all. Perhaps my job is to provide a home for them until the person who is meant to work with them comes along. Who knows? In the meantime….

After the waking vision in December but before I actually picked up the skull in mid-January, I began re-reading the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. When I bought the Cinnabar skull, I was still in Book 1, A Discovery of Witches. A couple of nights after I brought the skull home, I was getting ready to read before sleep. I had placed the skull on my bedside table and there it was staring at me when I read this line:

“It is a wedding – the chemical marriage of mercury and sulfur. It’s a crucial step in making the philosopher’s stone.” (page 444 on my Kindle app).

Cinnabar, with a chemical composition of HgS (what the skull pictured is made from – cinnabar in dolomite) is mercury and sulfur.

I know it is fiction, but Deborah Harkness’ doctoral degree focused on the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700 (from her website). And fiction or not, I’ve learned to not only recognize but also appreciate “coincidences” wherever they occur and follow where they lead. We are being given opportunities to expand at every turn. It’s up to us to recognize them and follow-up. So of course I opened and looked up Hg and S.

Mercury – “It is a rather poor conductor of heat as compared with other metals but is a fair conductor of electricity. It alloys easily with many metals, such as gold, silver, and tin. These alloys are called amalgams. Its ease in amalgamating with gold is made use of in the recovery of gold from its ores.” (

Sulphur – “…is essential to life. It is a minor constituent of fats, body fluids, and skeletal minerals….Sulphur is found in meteorites, volcanoes, hot springs….Jupiter’s moon Io owes its colours to various forms of sulphur. A dark area near the crater Aristarchus on the moon may be a sulphur deposit. (

(See how understanding the chemical composition can be so helpful in crystal healing)?

Historically, the philosopher’s stone is essentially a quest to overcome death. It was a thing that was believed to be able to transmute base metals into gold or silver and heal any illness, prolonging the life of anyone who partook of it. Many alchemists throughout human history sought to create the philosopher’s stone.

For me, the philosopher’s stone is an important symbol. The sought-after riches and health represent a potential born only from a simultaneous awareness of death while at the same time living life fully present in the now through an open heart. What are we the most afraid of? Death. And what is death if not a loss of control. At a time when fear is running rampant throughout the States and echoing throughout the world, now is the time to look death in the face and say, “Come at me.” The Philosopher’s Stone’s offering of overcoming death represents a life lived fearlessly.

When my gaze rests on this interesting piece of art, I am reminded that in every moment I am offered a chance to transmute and resurrect. That’s powerful stuff.

An aside: Deborah Harkness and Diana Gabaldon have ruined my experiences with other authors and book series. This is a compliment to them and also a shaking of my fist at the sky.

Mercury Retrograde, Crystals, and Community

Yesterday Mercury went retrograde (12/19 – 1/8) and the memes started popping up on social media warning people off from making huge decisions, expecting their tech to work, or anything to go right.

Nope. No. Just…

Look, I’m not an astrologer. I’m not an astrologer in the same way I’m not a tarot card reader. I read cards for myself once in a while when I need my subconscious to become conscious and I watch Kaypacha’s Weekly Pele Reports because Tom Lescher (whom I don’t know personally) seems to be so heart-centered and gives a really grounded, inspiring, and pragmatic reports helping to put events into a wider perspective outside of my own limited one.

One of my personal mantras is, “Hold everything lightly.”

Given that I’m not an astrologer, take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt. This whole vibe around Mercury going retrograde causing chaos might be well-intentioned, but tends to be disempowering by way of the false narrative based on generalized assumptions.

Today on Facebook, I saw this post by OSHO right after I posted the following picture:

“Once you get identified with a certain idea, then you are sick. All identification is mental sickness. In fact, mind is your sickness. And to put the mind aside and just to see silently ? without any thought, without any prejudice ? into reality is a healthy way of being acquainted with reality.” OSHO

Mercury Retrograde Crystals Community
Here’s the deal: I don’t assume that the next two weeks are going to be hard for you or anyone else; at least, no harder than they would have been had Mercury not gone retrograde. The Lessons? They appear with every breath – not just when a planet goes indirect. Not just when we pull the Tower card. And what would happen if, instead of seeing calamity when Mercury goes retrograde or we pull the Tower card, we got excited about the possibility of change and expansiveness?

Are there better times than others – opportunities where our ability to be more awake and aware are heightened? Perhaps. Wouldn’t it be awesome if THAT was what the Mercury Retrograde memes advertised? I’m the last person anyone is going to accuse of being a Pollyanna. I’m not talking about the pseudo-light-and-love-it’s-all-going-to-be-wonderful-if-we-just-believe! attitude either. That feels just as inauthentic as the other warnings and dire predictions do.

I’m talking about being open to being awake, aware, fully present, self-reflecting, other-and-self-empowering, listening, open-hearted and unassuming, learning, seeing true. Regardless the planetary movements and other people’s ideas about them.

I believe in our ability to listen to our Hearts and follow the path it lays before each of us and to go the way of the Wise Ones we really are. I believe in our power which comes from a humble and trusting heart. I believe that every moment is a chance to choose, to take responsibility, to breathe deeply and be present and awake. Do we always live this way? No. That too is a lesson. These tools we use (astrology, tarot, etc.) are not tools at all if we allow them to become scapegoats for our challenging days or less than ideal choices or off-putting attitudes.

And here, bear with me, I’m going to go on a tangent because the following has been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks….

As well-intentioned as the spiritual community can be, sometimes we (not unlike religious communities) can be our own worst enemy. It’s part of the human condition to see dualism, to pick sides, to declare “good” and “bad.” It is also madness and counterproductive to what we claim our goals are.

We here in the States and elsewhere in the world, claim to mourn the loss of our ability to be a community of diverse people who lift one another up while in the same breath demonizing those who vote for a particular candidate, the candidate him/herself, support a particular organization, buy from a certain store, use prescription drugs, drive a certain type of car, eat a certain type of food – the judgments go on and on and on. Why? Because we identify more strongly with our individual ideas than we do with the people in our community whom we’re called to love and encourage and support.

The situation we find ourselves in as a community of America? Of the world? We’re all culpable. It took the whole of the community to create this chaos and separation and strife and it will take the whole of the community to heal it. But it requires us to each see our own culpability. No one is blameless.

Personally, in the last 6 months or so, I’ve been called to question every thought that flits through my mind; every judgement and declaration and idea. Where does this (fill-in-the-blank) idea come from? Is it true? Is it true for everyone? Is it true for all time? Who says? If it’s not true for everyone, maybe I can spend some time learning why – to keep my Heart open, to listen with my Heart to others who see the world through a different lens. Which is everybody by the way. The great irony is that we have our little enclaves of “like minded” people with whom we rally in the streets or on social media. And if we had an open, expansive discussion with them, we’d realize that we don’t see many things the same way even with the members of our own choir.

Our ideas that OSHO talks about above have lead to a sickness of the mind, yes, and of the ego. Our assumptions and self-righteousness close our Hearts not only to others but to ourselves.

Perhaps this Mercury Retrograde moment is a chance to be still with ourselves. To question our attitudes and beliefs and reactions and fears and angst and anxieties. Because until we are honest with ourselves about our own blinders and self-righteousness and closed hearts, we cannot begin to see and hear, care for and about each other through our Hearts. We cannot begin to heal our communities and the Community at Large. And whatever is coming in 2017 and beyond – we need each other. Not just people who we assume are like us – we need our communities, full of beautiful people with diverse ideas and beliefs and perspectives and histories and experiences. Iron sharpens iron – except when we refuse to engage with one another. We all need honing.

Crystals for self-reflection, for doing deep inner work, for getting real with ourselves might include sulfides such as chalcopyrite, pyrite, covellite, and sphalerite. Halides such as halite and fluorite for breaking down barriers, in this case of our own minds. Aluminum-bearing minerals can help us remember who we really are; copper-bearing minerals may resonate with promoting a more open heart – there are others, but this is a good start.

May 2017 be the Year of Opening Our Hearts. Dissolving our Fears. Empowering ourselves and one another.

With so much gratitude, through Light. Tana

Crystal Care Questions Answered – Part 2

Part 2 – Crystal Care Questions Answered:
the most common cleansing methods and the KISS Method

There are many different crystal cleansing practices to choose from. Here in Part 2, (click here for Part 1) I’ll cover some of the most popular, talk a bit about the purpose of the ritual and mention any precautions we want to take before exposing our crystals to these cleansing methods. You’ll notice that I won’t give specific instructions like how long to cleanse a crystal using a certain method and that’s because there are no rules. If you find a method or two you are drawn to, the right way to do it is your way. Spend the amount of time with the ritual as you are guided to.

And because I’m a gal who likes to keep things simple whenever possible, I’ll talk about the method we can employ that is safe for virtually every crystal.

Water is the universal cleanser and purifier. Water represents life – sustaining life, giving life. It is used in religious and non-religious rituals the world over and soothes the soul when we are troubled, sick, or cold.  Water mirrors back to us our thoughts – see Masaru Emoto’s important work with water here. No surprise then that for many, the first thing we want to do with a crystal that has come under our care, is to wash it with water. Holding under the tap, setting in a nearby stream, soaking in a bowl of purified water – there are many ways to cleanse crystals with plain water.

crystal careA few things to keep in mind: some crystals are water soluble, meaning they will disintegrate to some degree when exposed to moisture. Minerals that are in matrix, I recommend not soaking in water because depending on the type of matrix, it could crumble and fall apart. Other crystals will rust – iron oxides, for example. I go over this in more detail in part 3.

Also, we want to be mindful to not shock the crystal with too-hot or too-cold water. If the crystal has been sitting in the mailbox all winter’s day and you bring it in and run it under warm or hot tap, it might crack from the too-abrupt temperature change. Or if you bring a crystal in from sitting in the hot summer sun all day and run it under cold tap water, it may crack.

One more thing to keep in mind: water can leach toxicity from minerals, especially rough/unpolished ones. Be mindful of your crystal’s chemical composition and toxicity and be careful to not drink, soak, bathe, or expose yourself to water that has been used to cleanse your crystal if it contains any potentially toxic elements.

Salt bath/saltwater soak/ocean dipcrystal care
Salt has a long history of use in religious ritual. It is symbolic of the Earth element in pagan traditions and is featured in many other religious scriptures and rituals. Crystal healers, to help a crystal re-tune and cleanse itself, will place it in a bowl of salt, saltwater, or if one is lucky to live near the ocean, take it for a dip at the shoreline. This is thought to recharge and cleanse the crystal. (Again, it might be freeing to remember that crystals don’t “lose” power or energy, and in the subtle field, all is part of the greater whole and so there is no duality of “dirty” or “negative” to contend with).

There are a few things to be mindful of when using salt this way. Salt can be a harsh compound for certain other minerals. It can cause pitting, marring, or scratch the surface of some crystals. My personal recommendation to someone called to this particular practice would be to place crystals around a bowl of salt rather than place the crystals in the salt or salt water.

Burying in the ground
Some, in an effort to “reset” their crystals, will wrap their crystals in a cloth or place them in a box and bury them in the soil. The idea being that we let the crystal visit home again to regain its original vibration. In many traditions, we’re taught to bury our old energy – swipe it back into the earth to be recycled. As different soils have different pH levels – some more acidic than others – I would recommend placing the crystal in something so that it is not directly touching the soil. And of course, place a marker where you buried your treasure so that you can find it again. How long the crystal stays buried is up to you.

crystal careMoonbath
Ah, Bella Luna! Throughout recorded history, moon worship has been a feature of many earth-based religions and today the moon and all her shining glory still hold sway over many and for good reason. She influences many things here on planet earth from the ocean tides to human behavior (just ask a police officer if there is more activity on nights when there is a full moon). If you’re on social media and follow any crystal healer, on days preceding a full moon you’re likely to see posts about how you better get your crystals outside to get recharged. This is probably one of the safer methods, unless you live in a particularly damp climate – in which case you might want to keep water soluble minerals inside on the window sill.

The sun – powerful, masculine energy (except when it wasn’t in Baltic mythology where the Moon was the masculine and the Sun was the feminine). Cleansing, recharging, warrior energy. And it is a potent light energy. So potent that it can cause imbalances in the skin and overheat bodies. Working with the light energy of the Sun needs to be done mindfully, including when we set crystals in sunlight. This is especially true for those who work with crystals based on color. Many minerals, which I will talk about more in Part 3, will fade when exposed to various types of light. Sunlight in particular will fade certain crystals quickly such as amethyst and kunzite. Other minerals will actually darken when left exposed to light for too long. The effects of light on minerals will vary but it’s something to be aware of.

Rice soakcrystal care
I cannot find any origin information on this practice and if anyone knows where and why it began, I’d love to know. I find a lot of recommendations for this practice, but not a lot of solid explanations for this practice. Some recommend placing crystals in a container of rice overnight (cover up the crystals, unlike the ones in the picture to the right) and some say it should be brown rice instead of white.

crystal careOther Crystals
Some crystal authors/teachers claim that certain crystals never need to be cleansed and that some of those crystals can in fact cleanse other crystals. The list of which crystals don’t need cleansing is different from one source to the next – there is no consensus. When seeking to understand why certain crystals are thought to not need cleansing while others do, the reasoning is based on crystal prescriptions passed along throughout recent decades. In other words, there is no explanation based on unique physical properties, mineral inclusions, etc. If I did cleanse crystals regularly, based on my research I would cleanse all of them. I wouldn’t have a list of crystals that never needed cleansing or that could cleanse other crystals.

As varied as the lists from one person to the next can be, there are a few crystals that make most lists: Selenite, Citrine, and Kyanite (Disthene). When studying these minerals’ properties, there is nothing to suggest that these crystals would not need cleansing while other crystals bearing the same or similar properties would. Nor is there any aspect of these crystals that indicates they might be excellent cleansers of other crystals.  Having said this, I know a couple crystal healers who practice this method and it works for them. And I always say, if it works – keep doing it. Remember in Part 1 I mention how the way each of us relates to crystals can be very unique and personal? It’s true and never moreso when it comes to the rituals we do with the crystals given into our care.

Should this method be one you’d like to try, it can be safe for most minerals but you’ll want to check the Mohs hardness of each crystal and remember that softer minerals will be scratched when rubbed up against harder minerals and do your placements carefully in light of this. Selenite, for example, is quite soft and most minerals might scratch the selenite plate upon which they rest.

Smudgecrystal care
Smudging is another ritual some people do to cleanse their crystals. If you burn incense or sage or other herbs, maybe some resins – you can hold your crystals in the smoke created for a period of time that feels right to you. Or, if you have shelves of crystals you want to cleanse, you can light some of your favorite smudge material in a heat-safe bowl and waft the smoke over the shelves. Sometimes I will do this after a particularly intense healing session or meditation as an act of gratitude to all the elements.

KISS method

This method is safe for all minerals. It is also thought to be one of the most effective methods of cleansing crystals which makes sense to me because it relies on vibration and what we’re seeking to cleanse or reset when doing these rituals is our crystal’s vibration. Sound tuning can be done in a variety of ways and here I’m going to talk briefly about two: vocal toning and using an external tool to create vibration.

Vocal toning
Vocal toning is a great, easy exercise for the throat and solar plexus chakras. It helps us with breath work and can be a really empowering exercise. It does not require a beautiful singing voice, thank goodness. When we vocal tone, we can sit or stand with good posture and begin by watching the breath. Notice your breath coming into your body through your nose, and going deeper into your abdomen each time you inhale. Once you’ve gained control over your breath and slowed it down a bit, begin releasing your breath by opening your mouth and throat and allowing whatever tone naturally comes to come forth. The tone does not have to be a particular note, nor does the tone have to remain the same through the exhale. It can modulate up and down – whatever happens naturally is what is supposed to happen. Take a deep, slow breath and on the exhale, open your throat and mouth and allow the air to pass through your vocal chords. That’s it.

This exercise, while simple, can be challenging for some of us who are not used to speaking our truth or expressing our emotions or opinions or thoughts. It can feel weird to breathe in and then make this long, sometimes guttural sound. With each breath, the sound can become more and more pleasant, but not necessarily. And that can cause someone to feel self-conscious, even if they are totally alone. I recommend this exercise especially to people who might feel self-conscious at the mere idea of vocal toning.

But what does this have to do with crystal cleansing? Great question. You can cleanse your crystals when you do your vocal toning by simply holding your crystal in front of your mouth as you tone. Do this for as many breaths as you like – whatever feels right.

Bang a pot
You can also create a vibration by simply banging a pot, pan, lid – anything that will make a consistent, loud noise – in the vicinity of your crystals. The vibration from the noise will quickly cleanse/clear your crystals. Some use a Tibetan Singing bowl and that is lovely but not necessary. We don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to create a loud, consistent noise (ask anyone who has a toddler). If you have a singing bowl – you can certainly use it for this exercise. I recommend holding the crystal with one hand while tapping the rim with the mallet with your other hand repeatedly. I do not recommend placing the crystal in the bowl and then tapping the rim to make sound. The crystal will likely gyrate along the bottom and it could chip or crack your crystal, depending on its formation.

crystal care
Got questions? Comments? Email me at

Part 1
Part 3

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Crystal Care Questions Answered – Part 3

Crystal Care: Mineral Care Based on their Physical Properties

This final section (click to find Part 1 and Part 2) is perhaps the most important because it is the most empowering. Knowledge is power and when we understand the minerals we are called to work with not only from a new age perspective, but also from their physical perspective, worlds can open up to us. We become less and less reliant on getting answers about how to do our subtle healing work from others, and instead learn to turn to our own Hearts more and more frequently for the answers to questions we ask.

We can look to a crystal’s chemical composition and get a lot of information without having to be experts in chemistry. We can look to a mineral’s formation origin and understand that mineral’s energy in a deeper way without being geologists. Understanding our crystals’ physical properties teaches us so much about their subtle healing properties. It also helps us understand how to better care for them.

Most minerals will react to various types of environments and in what way depends primarily on the mineral’s photo-sensitivity, Mohs hardness, water solubility, and chemical composition. Researching each of your crystals properties can save you disappointment from a faded Celestite geode, a dulled or disintegrated Selenite wand, a marred or pitted Malachite palmstone, or a scratched Fluorite sphere. Here will look at three of these properties as they relate to common crystal cleansing methods discussed in Part 2.

Photo-sensitivity – I have yet to find a definitive list of minerals based on anything and photo-sensitivity is among them. Photo-sensitivity has to do with a mineral’s susceptibility to fade or become darker when exposed to light. To make matters a little more complicated, different minerals will be affected by different light wavelengths: it’s not just sunlight that can cause a mineral to fade or darken. If you work with crystals based on their color, you will want to be especially mindful of how you store your crystals – away from direct sunlight, outside of UV lamp rays, preferably covered when not in use. My Fluorites and Spodumenes, for example, are always covered when I’m not working with them.

This forum on was especially informative about light sensitivity, how mineral dealers may temporarily “improve” a mineral’s color for shows, only to have it fade later, storing recommendations, and more:,5,115692,page=1

Of the minerals we are most likely to work with, the following can be affected (faded or darkened) by exposure to light:

Pink apatite
Hued barites
Hued selenites
All beryls
Certain calcites
Some are suggesting Disthenes (Kyanite) though that’s debatable
Hued quartz
Spodumenes (Kunzite and Hiddenite for example)
Hued topaz

As you can see from this list, the easiest assumption is to treat all of your crystals as though they might be affected by lightwaves and minimize their exposure as much as you can while not working with them. Many mineral collectors keep their collections in darkened rooms for this very reason.

Having said that, I know many people who understand that most crystals are photo-sensitive and they still set their crystals out in the sun every day. Sometimes the fading can take years, sometimes weeks, sometimes days. While we want to be aware of our crystals’ susceptibility to fading or darkening, we don’t want to protect the minerals at the expense of working with them the way they desire to work with us.

Mohs Hardness – Mohs hardness tells us how soft a mineral is and therefore how easily it might be scratched or break. You can do an internet search “Mohs hardness” and find thousands of websites or images that give you the Mohs scale.

crystal care

Used primarily as a way to assist in identifying minerals, it also tells us which minerals are easily scratched (Mohs of 4 or lower) and therefore should not be stored with other minerals which have a higher hardness. In other words, we might not want to throw all of our tumbled stones into one bowl where they might knock against each other if some of those tumbled stones are a 3 or 4 on the Mohs scale and others are a 6, 7, or 8. The softer tumbled stones could be cracked, chipped, or scratched.

Crystals of the same hardness will not scratch one another. The minerals listed are example minerals of that hardness and the list is certainly not conclusive. Wiki shows an intermediary list which is interesting and can be found here.

Water solubility – This is important to know if you want to cleanse your crystals using water in any way. Whether soaking in a water bath, setting in a stream or river, running under the tap, or setting out in the rain (which can also happen during moonbaths), certain crystals can become dull, dissolve, or become weak when exposed to moisture or water. Some of these dissolve more slowly than others. There is a “general rule” out there that says if a mineral name ends in “ite” that it’s probably water soluble. This isn’t exactly true, as there are a lot of minerals whose name ends in “ite” which are not water soluble. As this has a lot to do with chemistry, the subject of solubility (which can be referring to not only water but acids and other solvents) can quickly become complicated and muddy. This chart, for example, can be helpful, but if you read this forum thread that discusses the chart, you’ll see there are many factors undefined and thus, the chart is limited in its usefulness. Fortunately for us, we are not necessarily called to be chemists so we can approach this generally.  And generally speaking, the following crystals that we most commonly work with are to some degree, affected by moisture/water:

  • Some calcites
  • Halite
  • Hanksite
  • Gypsum/selenite
  • Trona
  • Villiaumite (a rarer mineral that is also toxic – not recommended for our purposes without extreme care in handling)
  • Fluorite
  • Metallics such as Pyrite
  • Lodestone/magnetite –  all iron oxides will rust when exposed to moisture

This list may not be complete. And because crystal healing rarely (ever) requires handling acids, we don’t have to concern ourselves with that either. (Though if you’re interested in how to mine and clean your own crystals, you will want to do some research on that topic).

And that about does it! Thank you for checking out this three-part article on cleansing crystals. I hope it was informative and helpful. Got questions? Comments? Email me at Information about the Crystal Therapy Course can be found here.

Part 1
Part 2

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For information about Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work – simply click here. 

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Why Crystal Prescriptions Can Leave Us Wanting More in Crystal Healing: An Allegory

Zina and her struggles with Crystal Healing

Zina, was struggling to know what her purpose in life was, so she went to her favorite crystal prescription book, looked up “purpose” in the Index, and…. Uh oh. It wasn’t listed. Okay, maybe “destiny.” Nope. “Fate”?  No, not listed either. Hmmm. Well, Zina knew from past experience that the next step was to scan the Index until she found a keyword that might apply. Then she knew that she’d find either a short list or a very long list of crystals associated with that keyword. She would then have to go look up and read about each one and try to determine if the general properties listed would help her with her specific and not-at-all-general situation. She could also do a Google search and see what various people on the Internet had to say – often contradicting and confusing, or she could try another book which usually bore the same results.

Zina loved working with crystals. She felt a deep connection to them and couldn’t give them up, even when it felt frustrating and fruitless. She wished there wasn’t so much mystery.  She didn’t want to have to rely on what other people said crystals “do” – especially when they don’t explain why and how. Moreover, she had a suspicion that crystals were not magical talismans meant to be carried and poof! problems would disappear but that’s the only kind of information she could find.

Zina has a lot of questions:

What exactly is crystal healing? 
What relationship do crystals have to our subtle anatomy and healing? 
How then, do we work with them from this paradigm?

The first thing Zina already knows but hasn’t realized she knows, is that crystals are not cure-alls. Anyone who has begun the study of healing knows that there is no such thing as a magical cure-all for any emotional, mental, or spiritual wound. That means the “carry X Crystal to experience Y result,” is too simplistic. It’s ignoring the energy from within that wants to be seen and engaged with. In other words, it’s a form of spiritual bypassing. (A quickie explanation of spiritual bypassing is  when we use spiritual/religious practices and beliefs to avoid the hard work of personal and evolutionary growth. Robert Augustus Masters has more recently written on the subject, since the term was coined in the early ’80s, and you can read his blog here).

In my personal healing work, it has always been through the pain, not around it, that has brought clarity and peace. The times I’ve either knowingly or unknowingly tried to bypass the work of healing have resulted in frustration and confusion and sometimes anger. The symptoms of imbalance get more pronounced.

When I agree to meet the symptoms of imbalance face-to-face, from my Heart, it might be uncomfortable at first, it might even be painful, but I also pass through a level of my study a stronger, more Heart-centered, more grounded person.

Most crystal resources present crystals as tools for spiritual bypassing, not healing. Have a headache? Carry Bustamite. Feeling blue? Carry a Lithium Quartz. Need a new job? Wear Citrine or create a citrine grid.

Not only that, these “need this, carry that” prescriptions are based on subjective, personal experience that’s been passed around long enough to have turned from “an experience” into “fact.” That’s happened with a lot of crystal lore that has been passed down through the ages as well. Not only are both of these resources highly subjective and too general (which limits our ability to fully work with them) but they are sometimes downright wrong depending on the individual seeking healing support.

Most of the time, Zina has much better luck choosing to work with a crystal intuitively yet she’s still wondering what more she can know about the crystal that is such a help to her. She wants to be more deeply connected to the mineral kingdom she so loves. Zina wants to understand crystals more deeply.

crystal healing

Cathedral Quartz – Pakistan

What exactly is crystal healing? 

Crystal healing is the practice of working with the intelligence (energy = information that vibrates) of the mineral kingdom to support us in our healing work and evolution. Crystal healing is energy medicine. We come into relationship with the energy of the mineral kingdom to find support as we do our healing work within.

This means that we have:
1. agreed to do our deep study, our deep healing work
2.already identified imbalances and areas that we need to pay attention to when we approach the crystal
3. taken responsibility for our healing and come into relationship with the crystal as an energetic ally.

Crystals are tools in our toolbag: ancient, powerful subtle tools from the Mineral Kingdom that deserve our utmost respect.

What relationship do crystals have to our subtle anatomy and healing? 

In crystal healing theory, of all the natural world, crystals emit the most stable vibration. Humans on the other hand have the least stable vibration. We take a cue from the concept of entrainment and, when applying the stronger, more stable vibration of the crystal into an aspect of our subtle anatomy (auric fields, etheric field, chakras) we suspect that the crystal’s stronger vibration guides the weaker vibration into resonance with itself.

How then, do we work with them from this different paradigm?

A key difference between the current, popular Rx approach to crystal healing and the crystal therapy approach outlined here has a lot to do with the level of personal responsibility someone believes they have in their healing work and how we each relate to the guides, tools, and teachers available to us. If we’re looking for a quick fix, a savior, a guru, dare I say a bypass…. the Rx model is the model that will be the most attractive to us. There is still a lot to be learned through that model. It’s where a lot of us start out.

If we understand that there is no quick fix or guru and that the work to heal comes from within, we can begin to relate to our external modalities, tools, and teachers in more authentic, deeper, richer ways.

Mineral Kingdom. I love that it’s called the Mineral Kingdom. Picture the Kingdom of Minerals in your mind’s eye. Who sits on the throne of this Kingdom and rules? Who are the lairds? (Yes, I’ve been reading too much Outlander). A world-renowned crystal author? A crystal healing teacher? A book? Or did you picture a crystal sitting on the throne of its kingdom? Crystals running the hamlets (mineral classes) and guiding the subjects?

In the library of this kingdom, do you see shelves lined with books written by people outside of the kingdom describing the Beings within the kingdom? I don’t. It doesn’t make sense. Autobiographies are so much more interesting than biographies. Why? Because I’d much rather hear from Shirley MacClaine herself about Shirley MacClaine’s life and experiences than I would anyone else who could only tell us how they interpret the life of Shirley MacClaine.

When I work with a crystal – the crystal is the guide: the teacher. I am the one doing the work, the digging of the well so to speak, and the crystal is the Director.

Every time I’ve tried to force a crystal into someone else’s box (X does Y) – everything goes radio silent. Crystals instruct me by “speaking” to me through the field of my Heart. Since I began to approach them based on what they tell me about themselves both physically as well as intuitively I have been able to work with them in deeper and more expansive ways than ever before. Confusion? Gone. Self-doubt? Gone. Lack of resonance? Gone. Before I found what I call the “Gienger Method,” I was frustrated by this feeling that I was missing some really important piece of the puzzle. That frustration is gone.

Crystal Power Crystal Healing, by Michael Gienger, teaches us that the crystal, through its own numerous physical aspects, tells us directly what its healing properties are. No middle man. No confusion. No generalities. When we understand what the physical aspects of the crystal are telling us about the subtle energetic aspects of the crystal, our work with them becomes more and more refined. We understand the various ways to work with crystals, why we’re working with them for a specific purpose or in a specific way, which crystals would work well together as an energetic ally with a singular purpose, and more. When we intuitively pick up a crystal, we do so understanding on a much deeper level what that crystal is offering to us.

crystal healingI encourage you to find Michael Gienger’s Crystal Power Crystal Healing if you’ve experienced the same kind of frustration Zina has had. It’s a required textbook when you register for the comprehensive, in-depth course that bridges crystal healing with the subtle energetic realm, the subtle energetic anatomy, personal healing, professional healing, and more. This course will not make you reliant on me. Its whole purpose is to empower you in your healing – personal and if applicable, professional. See more here:


What is my LIFE’s PURPOSE?

healing, life purposeHow do you feel about this message? What happens in your body as you read it? What changes in the expression of your face?

Personally, I’ve had to experience many times this lesson to realize that the concept of a singular, grand purpose is not for everyone. Sure, some people are born “to be” “something.” They find their niche and fill it in a grand way almost immediately, almost with little opposition or struggle. But is that the norm? Is this a healthy expectation to place on ourselves? On everyone?

Someone once said, “If you are striving, you are living outside of your Heart.” As soon as we yearn, grasp, struggle to reach for something, we’ve moved – if ever so slightly – outside of our highest alignment. I have tested this since hearing it and I find it to be a Big T Truth.

Can there be another way? Can we trust the Heart enough to let go of the illusion of needing to fulfill a master/grand purpose? Can we breathe into our Hearts and give ourselves permission to Be Present Now in more and more moments so that we don’t have to expend energy searching for our purpose, but rather, allow our lives to come to us, moment by moment?

I used to be very tied to the idea that one day I’d be a college English professor. I strived everyday throughout junior high, high school, and into college to Make That Happen. After numerous roadblocks (thank you, Universe), I had to give up. And if I hadn’t? Well, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I’m not talking about running EHAAT or teaching my course. I’m talking about being at peace that *wherever* I am and *whatever* I am doing – I am living my purpose when I am doing whatever wherever through my Heart space. Working a minimum wage job? Sure. Growing food for my family? Yes. Becoming a nomad and living out of my car? Absolutely. There is actually a lot less stress, a lot more joy, and definitely more peace in this new paradigm. As long as I’m in my Heart – I can’t go wrong. I’m not perfect at this by any means, but the joy from the lessons have borne enough fruit that I’m going to stick with this way of being and get back on track whenever I find myself wandering away from it.

Best to you on this fine day.

Protection and Shielding – part of our healing and evolution?

protection shielding Protection and Shielding – part of our healing and evolution?

“The words you speak become the house you live in.”
~ Hafiz
Words are incredible tools that reveal conscious and subconscious thought patterns. We carry these thoughts (forms of energy) around with us always, until we determine that the energy no longer serves us and we seek healing. Our thought fields are really subtle energetic manifestation generators. This means the words we choose to describe our experiences are important symbols.
I engage with people who are in the spiritual/metaphysical/healing (SMH) community-at-large and I read SMH blogs and articles. The SMH community is filled with people who express an authentic desire to help other people heal and to work on their own healing. They see this Earth and their life in it as a school of sorts, designed to provide opportunities for evolution.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed one particular recurring theme that reveals a need to shift subconscious thought patterns so that we can more accurately convey to each other and to ourselves what we desire – which is our personal healing and the desire to help other people experience healing. Metaphysical-based healing talk can have a self-victimizing energy. Here I’m speaking specifically to the concepts of protection and shielding – a belief that we need to protect or shield ourselves from “negative” energy. Whenever we point outside of ourselves for how we feel, we dis-empower ourselves and we bypass our healing work. Blaming external sources for our discomfort subconsciously perpetuates the idea that we are not fully responsible for our lives and how we choose to experience them.
I do think much of this is subconscious because when I speak to other subtle energy workers or clients of subtle healing, no one says they don’t expect to take responsibility for their lives or that they are looking for “easy healing.” Many acknowledge that this experience of healing is not for the faint of heart. People are willing to do the work.
I think what has happened is that humanity has evolved but our language has not. I think our realization of Oneness has blossomed but we’re still using duality-based, tribal language. What once felt empowered now creates a defeated and passive energy because we haven’t updated our word processing software.
Let’s look at some examples:
“What crystals should I carry to protect me?”
“How can I protect myself from energy vampires?”
“How can I shield myself before going into a store/session/family gathering?”
When someone asks me how to protect or shield, I ask, “What do you believe you need to protect yourself/shield yourself from?” and, “Why or how does X feel threatening for you?” I want to help the person (and me) get clarity about exactly what they are seeking to change and why. Through discussions I come to understand that the real opportunity for each of us is to learn how to maintain our energy and space by knowing ourselves deeply and authentically. Usually the person isn’t seeking protection or shielding at all; especially when their overarching desire is to evolve and heal. Protection and shielding are separators and rely on a foundation of dualism. To learn and grow, we require integration – being fully present in the classroom with everything that is present.
Let’s talk about separation for a minute. People who work with subtle energy experience physical time/space and subtle time/space. Physical time/space – our 3-dimensional reality of time – yields birth and death, growth and decay, and is dualistic in nature. Separation abounds. Subtle time/space is Oneness. It is where everything nearly exists simultaneously in harmony. All options are available, popping in and out of existence at faster than light speed. There are variations on this theme, but this is the gist. Subtle time/space is where we do our work, the “place of understanding” from which we experience healing. It is everywhere and nowhere. We experience our lives in multiple dimensions simultaneously so paradox, which is “both/and” is natural. This is important in healing work.
In The Gift of the Body, Jonathan Goldman writes, “The heart is truthful and clear; it refuses polarization.” When we are living from our Heart space duality feels uncomfortable. That feeling of discomfort is a signal that we’re being given a choice to move from response to reaction, from Heart space to ego. Duality is firmly in physical time/space and we see it being lived out in the way people choose to live and view the world. It is perpetuated by philosophies such as nationalism, tribalism, and is found in religion. Humanity is slowly shifting from dualism to integration. But we’re in Redwood seedling stage and we’re still relying on old dualistic language to talk about integrative, Heart centered healing.
Protection and shielding are words that by their definitions create “us versus them” energy which is a dualistic approach to a situation perceived as a threat. It is a reactionary stance. Seeking protection or shielding indicates you need to defend against someone or something that can harm.
Think I’m being overly pedantic?  (It’s entirely possible. I was an English major who wanted to focus on Rhetoric. Because there are so many career opportunities for English majors with a concentration in Rhetoric). But just for grins, let’s imagine we are standing in a park. You are barefoot, feet in the grass, at peace, enjoying the view. Someone walks by and says to you: Protect yourself. How do your body and mind react to that phrase? Do you take a boxing stance? Think of all the exit strategies out of the park? Cower? Look around for a table to hide under? Panic and wish you had a weapon?
Shielding is the act of creating a barrier between a person and something else for the purpose of providing protection. Its definition is also defensive, creating a dualistic and reactionary attitude.
“Wait,” I can hear people saying. “Are you suggesting that we not protect ourselves? Are you suggesting we actually interact with that which we perceive as harmful?”
Buckle in because yes, that is what I am suggesting – most of the time and when we are feeling strong enough to engage. Why would I suggest such a thing? Because perceptions are not necessarily truth and we are rarely in actual danger. There are certainly experiences which can end life or severely cripple us in some capacity and no, I am not suggesting we run toward that. However, we need to ask ourselves, for the sake of Heart-centered healing, whether we truly require protection or if we are simply uncomfortableThere is a natural tendency to treat anything that makes us uncomfortable as a threat. But 99% of the time, it’s simply a natural state of growth. Learning and growing and healing are uncomfortable experiences. If we are comfortable all the time, we’re in stasis.
When people ask me how they can energetically protect themselves and I ask from whom/what? The answers are usually something along the lines of:
  • I don’t like how I feel when I go to someone’s house/a public place/etc.
  • A person really makes me uncomfortable and drains me of my energy.
  • I don’t trust the energy of that person/place/thing.
What I’m hearing is, “I feel uncomfortable, I don’t feel like I’m in control, and I don’t know how to process it.”
“I don’t like how I feel at…” is an example of not feeling sure how to stay firmly Heart centered and grounded no matter where I am at.
“A person really makes me uncomfortable and drains me of my energy…” is an example of not feeling sure how to stay firmly Heart centered while being clear about my boundaries.
“I don’t trust the energy of that person/place/thing (or the energy is really negative/evil)…” is an example of not feeling sure how to stay Heart centered and grounded in my truth no matter where I am or who I am with.
When we are willing to face what we fear or what makes us feel uncomfortable and work toward understanding it, our perception of it changes and we open ourselves up to healing and transformation. To approach something from the space of our Heart requires letting our guard down. If we’re healers and we’re shielding ourselves, how are we engaging with our clients’ energies? I know it can feel scary to feel other people’s stuff or unfamiliar energies. But we need to be willing to learn to discern between feeling scared of what actually helps us do our work, and feeling scared because we are actually in danger.
As a subtle energy worker, I don’t teach people shielding visualizations. I personally find the practice disempowering. That is my personal experience. I know it is a helpful practice for others and if you practice shielding and it is helpful – I’m not telling you to stop. I tried to learn how to shield for a couple of years after I was first told that I was an empath because it was what I was told to do. I felt frustrated and stopped trying to learn the technique when I realized that in order to heal I needed to be with what made me feel scared. For me, shielding (or attempting to) kept me in a state of fear of the unknown which was actually quite knowable and usually not at all scary once I came face to face with it. The energies that made me uncomfortable for so long just wanted to be seen. All I had to do was look and acknowledge it and the fear dissipated.
As a crystal therapy practitioner/teacher, I don’t recommend crystals for protection. I don’t view myself or others  requiring protection and in my practice, crystals are not worked with as talismans. Crystals are fantastic subtle energy tools for those who are sensitive to them. They offer much in the way of subtle energetic support when worked with for the highest good of all. In my practice crystals help us see ourselves more clearly, help us get in touch with our subtle anatomy, our emotions, mental processes, and spiritual development as well as offer energetic support as we work toward healing. Crystals can help us transmute unwanted energetic patterns, yes, but before we can work with a crystal for that purpose, we need to understand what we want to transmute and why. If you ask me, “What crystal would you recommend to me as I learn how to become less fearful,” I can help you with that with some discussion.
So, okay, you won’t recommend a crystal for helping me protect myself, and you don’t teach shielding exercises. So what do I do?
Creating healthy boundaries is about becoming familiar with your own energy, learning how to maintain Heart-centered groundedness, and being clear about what energies you are willing and ready to work with. When energy you don’t want to engage with arrives, you can say, “I see you. Not now,” without experiencing fear or self-doubt. It’s the difference between feeling fear and victimization, or being firm in one’s autonomy, willing to take responsibility for their experience of life. That’s what we focus on when I work with people.
Someone asked me, “What is the difference between setting a boundary and shielding?
When I visualize an energetic boundary, I see it as a wooden fence a little lower than shoulder height. Similar to the fences people erect to discern property boundaries. (This is my dance space. This is your dance space. Let’s cha-cha.) I can easily talk to my neighbors over the top of the fence. Sometimes I open the fence gate and invite them in for coffee, dinner or game night. Other neighbors who meander by are acknowledged from my Heart space, but are not invited in because I know that in that moment I’m not up for it and I am respecting myself by not engaging out of shame or guilt. But I see them and they see me. We smile at each other. There is still movement and interaction between me and what is on the other side of the fence.
When I was taught to shield, it involved visualizing being completely encompassed within a golden egg of light. I know there are variations on the theme, but this is what I was taught and when I couple that with what I envision when I hear the word shield: I see myself crouching behind a big metal plate, sword drawn – it just doesn’t feel fluid enough for me. To me, shielding feels defensive and carries an energy of survival – it’s either it or me. While setting a boundary feels both/and to me. I’m still available for engagement with whoever comes along if I decide I am up for it, and I’m also responsible for how I choose to engage and for how long. Again – that might feel pedantic to some. That’s okay. My point is – are we being defensive or open? Are we honoring ourselves without shutting down or shutting out?
This is a lifelong process and we can expect to change our boundaries to accommodate new findings and growth. For the person who desires to heal – there is no getting around the work. It involves learning to be honest, vulnerable, living with integrity and in your truth. Regardless from where or how the work arrives – it often involves feeling uncomfortable and even sometimes existentially scared. But we are not alone in this work. We have each other and if we are willing to be vulnerable with trusted fellow journeyers and honest with ourselves, the experiences of this life can be infinite and expanding in ways we can’t even imagine.
In gratitude and Love, Tana

How to Hear and Trust Our Intuition

I spent the last weekend of August in Suttle Lake in Oregon, participating in a 4-day workshop offered by the Essential Light Institute, led by Jonathan Goldman (Gift of the Body). I walked away with a few of what Jonathan calls “Divine Tactics.” If you’ll allow me to, I’d like to share a tactic with you that was a paradigm-shifter for me.

Heart message or ego message?

Recently a friend shared that she becomes paralyzed by her habit of overthinking and that it gets in the way of her being able to listen to and act on her intuition. Does that happen to you? I could relate as she joked that it was because of her sun sign, but I know a lot of people with different astrological charts who share this experience. We think it’s just our personality or our birth order or our astrological sign: things we can’t control. Fortunately our ability to listen to and recognize the messages of our Heart has very little to do with personality types or birth order or astrological signs and mostly to do with learning how to listen without giving our brains the reigns.

Most people I am blessed to know have one thing in common: they are aware of the ego’s capacity to sneak in and take over. So they tend to be able to recognize their intuition, but they aren’t trained what to do with it and because they are hyper aware of the ego’s ability to sneak in, they treat their intuitive messages like any other idea that comes along – they send it to their brainbox where it gets analyzed and categorized as egoic or non-egoic. Except – it rarely works out that way because intuition is just beyond the world around us. Trying to determine an intuitive message’s origin (Heart or ego?) by way of the brain is like using a screwdriver to try to hammer in a nail.

What we start with:

Many of us are not taught how to tune in to ourselves and our inner being. Instead we are trained to pay attention to outside stimuli and to take it to our brains for evaluation. We are encouraged to analyze, categorize, and organize ideas into one of two categories: true or untrue, valid or invalid, proven or disproven, etc. We are predisposed to judge so that we can pick up or discard whatever is being considered and move forward in a timely, orderly fashion.

We want to live through our Hearts which Jonathan teaches carries the vibrational qualities of calmness, compassion, faith, surrender, and trust. But we get caught up spinning round and round because our brains get in the way.

How can we recognize, trust and then act from our intuition without analyzing it?  The exercise:

On day 3, Jonathan asked us to focus on our breath and the inner channel of light that runs through the center of our bodies. We closed our eyes and did that. Then he asked us to feel our root chakras – first physically in our bodies at the perineum. We saw the channel of light flowing down through our root chakras and into the ground beneath us, then into the Earth where the roots hooked into the soil deep below. He then directed us to move our focus to the third eye and then to connect the root chakra and third eye to the heart chakra.

The Root Chakra’s role:

I talk a lot about “grounded Heart-centeredness.”  Why? Because being grounded is so vital to truly inhabiting these precious bodies and experiencing this life we’ve been sent to live and learn from. When the root chakra is imbalanced, I have personally found that it is usually because we have tried to escape Being Here Now. When we desire to be anywhere other than here in this life, in this body, awake to the lessons appearing to us and willing to learn them, we are bound to have imbalanced Root Chakras. (Spiritual people are not immune to escapism. Spiritual by-passing is another form of escapism. Here are links to articles describing spiritual bypassing LINK and LINK. And I have to refer you to Robert Augustus Master’s book, Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters where I first learned about it).

So when we meditate on the root chakra, we re-agree to Be Here Now. To be embodied. To experience this life.

The role of the third eye: 

I should move into first person here as this has already become a retelling of how I experienced and remember the exercise. He then directed me to focus on my Third Eye. (This surprised me a little and I had an epiphany that I associate the ego with the Third Eye. Maybe I’ll explore that with you another time). It’s important to know that a balanced Third Eye chakra that is following the lead of the Heart (what we desire all of our energy centers to do) is essentially about true awakening and taming the mind. It’s about seeing true: releasing preconceived notions, opening closed minds, observing and healing mental filters, releasing fear around truly seeing. So I was to feel that vibration. Find it, sit with it, and experience the vibration of seeing true. (Funnily enough it had nothing to do with ego).

The role of the heart chakra:

He then instructed me to move my focus to my Heart – to bring the vibrations of my root chakra up and my third eye down to meet in my Heart space. We had done an exercise where we felt into the vibrations in the field of the Heart: calmness, compassion, faith, surrender and trust. We also learned that the seat of the Heart is Humility and Trust. Humility and trust gives us the capacity to recognize truth when we encounter it. Our intuition headquarters is founded on those vibrations so we can trust the Heart always.

I was sitting there, seated firmly in my central channel of Light, experiencing being rooted in my body on this Earth – accepting, my open and seeing Third Eye, and what connected the two – my open Heart. And suddenly, I realized this – THIS is how I recognize, trust and act from my Intuition. Grounded in the acceptance of being Here Now in deep gratitude; aware of, unafraid of, and in gratitude for my ability to see; and joining that together in the center of my Being – my Heart from where all energies pass through Humility and Trust, Calmness, Compassion, Surrender, and Faith.

When we opened our eyes and were asked what we encountered, I shared that I in that moment I knew I could discern anything that came to me or from me from a place of truth. And Jonathan just nodded his head. As he does.

Since Heart Camp, I spend time each day, usually upon waking, doing this exercise of remembering. It feels like going home. If you try this meditation, I would love to know how you experience it. I hope it is a blessing to you as it has been for me.

Fundamentalism in the healing community

Fundamentalism is not only found amongst the religious.


2:  a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles <Islamicfundamentalism> <political fundamentalism>  From

Growing up, I learned about God through a group that taught that there was one way (a strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles) to understand God and the experience of spirit.  Any approach outside of their approach was wrong if not outright evil, leading to damnation. I was not allowed to have my own thoughts – any I had were always molded to reflect the approved doctrine. I was not encouraged to question or to use my mind. I was also taught that other groups which claimed to be like our group wasn’t really like our group because our group had the Truth and “those people” were deceived and unless they woke up to the truth they too would be damned for eternity. It was a very rigid, dualistic experience of life which required an authoritarian, hierarchical management.

This was not great for me because I was born with a researcher’s mind.  If there was a personal God, that God gave me an inquisitive spirit and then placed me in the middle of a community that did not approve of inquisitiveness! I enjoy reading and learning new things and exploring ideas. And I love history (which I’ve come to realize is doctrine’s worst enemy). The researcher’s heart is anathema to the beliefs of the community I once gave my life to.

Eventually I had a fork-in-the-road moment. I was unwell emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically from years of trying to reconcile what was for me* cognitive dissonance. I had to choose between taking care of myself or remaining a part of the community. When I chose the scarier road and allowed myself to slowly hold up to the Light everything I had been told was Absolute Truth, I lost my community. Dualism breeds separation and fundamentalism breeds duality.

I fought the mental prison that was for me* the fundamentalist approach. It was a terrifying, depressing, anxiety-inducing ride down Nihilism Avenue. As I went along I thought about turning back, repenting and picking up where I left off, but I couldn’t un-know what I had learned so I just continued on, not really knowing how this would all turn out for me in the end.  (Spoiler alert: it turned out well. I’m not nihilistic, I experience joy and I am immensely grateful). 

And then what? Where did I go?

Because I have had experiences throughout my life that didn’t fit into any of the scientific or traditionally accepted cultural norms, I ended up where most of the misfit toys go: the metaphysical community. I was overjoyed to find people who seemed to live and let live while also knowing how to be a source of encouragement and support when needed. It was in this new world that I was encouraged to rejoice in being alive for the sake of being alive, to find value in myself, to help other people just for the hell of it, and to trust. It was also the first community I ever belonged to that didn’t want to control me or how I experienced my spiritual life.

My Reiki teacher was one such person. She came into my life at a time when I was in the process of dismantling the only framework I knew and she offered to teach me an organizing principle from which grow – Reiki. And she gave me that foundation without ever making me feel controlled or managed. She knew how to teach Reiki so that a person could integrate it into his or her experience. 

Huzzah!  I was overjoyed to find “my people.” But as I mentioned at the start  –  fundamentalism doesn’t belong to just the religious – it has the potential to exist in any group, including psycho-spiritual, spiritual, and subtle healing communities. 

But, isn’t there a difference between adhering to a structured practice and fundamentalism? Of course! Using Reiki as an example, I don’t take issue with the attunement ceremonies, the graduated levels of learning, the hand positions, or any other structure-providing aspect. I can personally see a value in each of those aspects and see how they help to define the practice of Reiki – to set it apart as its own unique healing approach. And I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with setting apart different approaches. This gives us a framework in which to work and learn.

I believe we need to learn how to view structure, boundaries, and guidelines differently so that we aren’t requiring a “strict and literal adherence to them” because when we shift our focus from the intention behind the act to the act itself we negate the effect of the intention. When the thought forms we are creating are no longer intention based (healing for the highest good of all beings), but instead become about regulation of practice (am I doing this right?) we have moved from Heart space to ego. And when we insist other people meet our “strict and literal adherence” to our understanding of the practice, that is egoic desire for control.12353992_650042428482589_624574133_n(1)

In recent weeks I witnessed a few exchanges which lead me to write this article. As you can imagine, based on my background, I am sensitive to fundamentalism and I was triggered by these exchanges. Here are some examples of what I saw and how I personally interpreted them.

“As a Practitioner Master/teacher, I call foul.”

My master teacher status gives me the authority to tell you that you do not understand the modality correctly.

“No, you can’t experience this modality’s healing without the ceremony conducted by a Practitioner Master.”

This example is particularly useful because it shows the underlying fear that serves as a foundation of most fundamentalist attitudes which is: You can’t do what you want to do without me or someone like me and this gives me purpose, makes me unique, and gives me authority and that authority gives me control.  

“There are plenty of etheric healing modalities you can learn using the energy you already have, but that’s not the modality I’m a Practitioner Master of. And anyone saying that doesn’t channel the energy I do.”

I am the arbiter of your experience of “my” modality and of your understanding your experience. I reject your autonomy to be self-determining in your personal healing experience of my modality because your interpretation does not reinforce my interpretation. 

“The modality I practice is a discipline. Please don’t attempt it without proper training.”

If you aren’t willing to approach my modality the way I have, then you will be doing it wrong. And my modality can only be done properly by those who have learned it through the proper channels of which I approve. 

To me, these exchanges indicate that somewhere along the way, the finger pointing at the moon became more important than the moon. Are the modalities meant to be served or are we to serve each other through our work with the modalities? 

We don’t need to have a religious background to have fundamentalist tendencies. Society instructs us – now more than ever in the US in particular – to be staunch, to pick a side, to be willing to impose and defend your authority.

My intention is not to be cynical. I would love to give people the benefit of the doubt and I often do – but we also have a responsibility to be honest with ourselves and each other and one great way to get real with myself is to question my motives. Why is something so important to me? Why am I getting worked up? Why am I taking this personally? Why do I feel the urge to ensure people see it or do it my way? The answer is usually seated in fear.

What am I to do about this?

My reaction to fundamentalist attitudes is “No way, you don’t get to decide – for me or for anyone else!” I feel fearful. And to cope with my feelings of fear and insecurity, I have a habit of taking on the role of an archetype I’ve battled most of my life: the hero. *This is where my fundamentalist tendencies play out. And that happened the past few weeks – I wanted people who were part of those discussions to know that they could decide for themselves! That they didn’t have to do it anyone else’s way! That they could have their own experience. But that’s not my job – my job is not to make sure anyone knows anything. Why was I upset? Because I was being shown a mirror. Being someone’s hero  isn’t that far removed from insisting a strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles that I happen to have. 

So what is my role?

If someone wants to explore empowerment and responsibility, then I am here to explore that with them. If not, or if not with me – that’s okay too.

So if you feel like considering it, I’ll offer these ideas to explore:

  • You have the right to reject fundamentalism in any form from any person or entity trying to control your experience or the way you integrate an idea. Including me.
  • You have the right to walk away from spiritual bullying.
  • You have the right to question any idea, ideology, and any teacher.
  • You have the right to stand in your own understanding.
  • You have the right to have spiritual autonomy.
  • You have the right to make any spiritual or healing practice your own. This includes any traditional or institutionalized spiritual or healing art form.
  • You have the right to question anything someone presents to you as absolute. This includes ideas or traditions from any traditional or institutionalized spiritual or healing art form.
  • It is healthy to question something that doesn’t resonate with you.
  • A teacher empowers. A teacher does not enslave with ideology.

On a side note: what does open, non-dualistic discussion look like and feel like?

When I am in a healthy discussion with others about our subtle energetic pursuits, the most helpful comments are self-referential. “I experience, I feel, I have noticed, I wonder….” The most instructive conversations lack an assumption of universal correctness. And the discussion participants assume that their experiences and their understanding of their experiences cannot be automatically applied to all people all of the time. Because no one is taking an authoritative tone or posture, people feel safe to be open and share. When we take the concept of “wrong” out of the equation – it’s amazing what people will tell us! It is this kind of discussion that I chew on for days if not weeks and it is this type of discussion that most influences me. And I am very fortunate to have these types of discussions far and away more frequently than other types.

The subtle realm in which we work is not a dualistic realm. For every statement made, there is an equally potent paradoxical statement. This is the beauty of the ever morphing, ever expanding, ever evolving work. If we stand still long enough to create a rule, let alone enforce one, we create inertia and take ourselves out of the subtle realm of non-duality and dare I say, out of our Hearts.

In gratitude,


A crystal ritual intended for the highly sensitive person

Rituals and the Highly Sensitive Person


Today in Facebook Land, I came across this article: Why Sensitive Souls Need Rituals,  by Kathryn Nulf, posted on The Elephant Journal website. In this article, Ms. Nulf writes:

“Rituals can have a profound impact on us HSP’s (highly sensitive persons): they calm and ground us, soothe the spirit, slow us down, remind us to live in the present moment, nourish our soul and remind us that we are responsible for our own well-being.”

This is what energy healing and creating crystal grids and crystal essences and doing crystal meditations is for me – grounding rituals that soothe and help me slow down.

Sometimes people will ask me something like, “Do you really believe in crystal energy?” And I respond, “Yes. Because I’ve experienced it and it helps me.”  Not everything in this world can be explained to everyone’s satisfaction. Heck, my experience of crystals is not explained to my satisfaction! It’s definitely in part, learning about how to live comfortably in mystery. And this world is full of mystery, much as our supposedly rational minds would like us to believe otherwise.

Subtle energy of any type – it can and will be experienced by different people in different ways. Some will have a deeply profound, tangible experience with tangible results. Some will have a deeply inner-soul experience that can’t be explained. Some will notice a very gentle support or sense of encouragement. Some won’t experience it at all, holding the “rock” in their hands, or atop the treatment table, shrugging their shoulders, looking at us skeptically. And that’s totally cool. I’m sure there is something that affects the person unaffected by crystals and subtle energy work that I wouldn’t understand or relate to either. It’s okay to be different and to have unique experiences.

Another idea I try to convey is this: it isn’t so much about the object – which serves as the symbol. Everything is a symbol pointing us to something greater than ourselves and usually through lessons in this Earth School we signed up for, but sometimes through moments of Grace too. Words, crystals, mandalas, music, books, art, light, dark, colors, numbers, shapes – all of it – symbols or tools which help us connect or reconnect to our Selves and sometimes each other in ways that bring us back to ourselves, helping us get grounded and Heart-centered.

Have you created a ritual in your life that helps you feel the ground beneath your feet? Which tools are your go-tos to create ritual in your life? How do you choose to work with them? In what way does working with this ritual tool help you?

Crystal Healing and Citrine

Choosing and Working with Citrine in Subtle Healing

 Natural Citrine is difficult to find these days and when one does find it, it is usually quite expensive. Most of what is sold as Citrine in metaphysical and crystal shops is actually heat-treated amethyst. These heat-treated amethysts should not be as expensive as naturally occurring Citrine because amethyst is an abundant crystal and the treatment is not expensive. Additionally, I would assume that unless a piece is labeled as “natural” that it is not – so buyer beware.

Amethyst gets its color from iron – Fe2 or Fe4. Michael Gienger gives the exact same chemical composition for Amethyst as he does Citrine, noting that the difference is in how many valences the iron is lodged within the crystal lattice. Because the chemical composition of Amethyst and Citrine is the same, I personally do not have a problem working with a baked amethyst as a Citrine piece. The process of Amethyst changing to Citrine is the same whether it happens naturally in the earth or by human hands in an oven: it requires heating.

But what is Citrine when it is found and sold as a naturally occurring crystal? If you do a message board search in, you’ll notice that there are on-going debates about what exactly counts as Citrine: which trace element included in the SiO2 changes Quartz to Citrine Quartz (Al or Fe3+?), and how exactly it is included into the atomic structure of the Quartz. What we realize is that among mineral collectors of all stripes, what counts as “true” Citrine is debatable and on numerous levels.

So is all yellow Quartz Citrine? Some say yes, so long as the Quartz is not made yellow by an external iron dusting. Others say no – that there are more qualifiers that must be met.

Does it matter?

For crystal healing therapists: does it matter if we are working with yellow Quartz or Citrine? In recent years within the crystal healing community, naming has become quite important – so important that some have created trademarks on the names given. I sometimes wonder if this focus on nomenclature might sideline our personal and practical progress toward healing our Selves and helping others to heal. When we work with a crystal, are we working with it because of what someone else calls it? Or are we working with it because of the subtle energies we sense? Does the name determine those subtle energies present, or does the crystal itself declare its purpose?

In the crystal therapy world, color is a big deal because chakras each have their own color assignment which correlates to the visible spectrum of light: ROYGBIV – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Crystals are essentially Light information. One of the ways (there is more than one way) this information from a crystal is organized and conveyed (its purpose being declared) is through its color. (Recommended: What is Light? by Jonathan Goldman of The Essential Light Institute.)

Yellow is the color ray of the Solar Plexus Chakra. This is the chakra where the energies of destiny, personal will, emotional baggage, fear, Who Am I questions, ego, and personal health tend to reside. When this chakra is imbalanced – more specifically, underactive, the color yellow can be applied with the intention of boosting that energy – re-reminding that chakra of its role in a healthy, balanced state.

Crystal Therapy Practitioners turn to yellow crystals to help clients in a type of color therapy. Can we work with any yellow crystal to help bolster the solar plexus chakra’s energies? Sure. So in one respect, it doesn’t matter if we’re working with yellow Quartz or Citrine. However, we could get a little more refined in our approach.

 Let’s get refined

Consider what yellow Quartz is: SiO2 with impurities in the atomic structure and according to the thread on the topic, these impurities could be from Aluminum (Al) or Iron (Fe). What subtle energies are carried in the elements Aluminum and Iron? This is when I turn to Michael Gienger’s book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing. (When we look up the roles each element plays in the realm of biology and physics, we begin to understand the connections being made on the subtle energetic level between elements and our subtle well-being.)

Gienger assigns the following properties to Aluminum (Al):

  • Calming effect on nervousness, fears, and feelings of guilt
  • Encourages the expression of feelings and releasing of behavioral patterns of holding back and holding onto things

To Iron (Fe), Gienger assigns the following properties:

  • Stimulating, activating effect
  • Encourages activity, initiative, dynamism, endurance, willpower, the ability to assert ourselves and more

We can see how, based on the subtle energetic roles of the Solar Plexus Chakra, either Aluminum or Iron could be helpful aids in reestablishing a healthy, balanced Solar Plexus depending on the unique situation and needs of the client.

I’m not a geologist – how would I know what elements are present in my yellow Quartz?

If your approach to crystal therapy is like mine, it is ideal to purchase a crystal knowing its chemical composition. This is why I prefer to purchase crystals from rockhounders, mineralogists, mineral hobbyists, and geologists. I purchase crystals from reputable, knowledgeable metaphysical dealers too. Of course, sometimes I purchase a crystal from someone who does not know the chemical composition and I can do some mineral testing or I simply can’t know for sure what I am working with. In those cases, other energies are drawing me to work with the crystal and I don’t have to know the elements present – it’s not important.

Just as we can get caught up in nomenclature, so too can we get caught up with any other aspect of a crystal, including chemical composition – sidestepping our personal healing by getting distracted. If we can’t know, we can’t know. When we can know – we work with that knowledge to help us refine our art.

 A baked Citrine druse:

citrine and subtle healing









A natural Citrine point, likely from Zambia:

citrine and subtle healing







 Not Citrine. This is a “golden healer” or yellow Quartz from Arkansas:

citrine and subtle healing









Natural Citrine cluster from DRC (Congo):
citrine and subtle healing







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© Copyright, All Rights Reserved, Elemental Healing Arts & Training, LLC 2015

What’s so great about Black Tourmaline?

Why do so many people talk about Black Tourmaline being important? For many, it’s THE go-to crystal for grounding, earthing, protecting. Why might that be?

Black TourmalineTourmaline is both pyroelectric (generates a charge when heated) and piezoelectric (generates a charge with applied pressure). These qualities are notable in subtle energetic healing practices when we wish to transmute energies that no longer serve. There are well over 4,000 named minerals on planet Earth. Of those, only a handful of common minerals are both piezo- and pyro-electric.

Black Tourmaline is a basic sodium iron aluminum boro-silicate. The primary elements in Black Tourmaline are Na (Sodium) and Fe (Iron). Iron is believed to make up 80% of the Earth’s core and has magnetic properties providing us that grounding energy we sometimes need when we haven’t spent enough time in nature, away from electronics, or when we’ve spent too much time inside our heads. Sodium and boron are known for their cleansing, protective properties giving us the support to transmute energy which no longer serves.

Fun fact: both Sodium and Iron are found in the stars and the Sun.

Black Tourmaline can be found in both igneous and metamorphic rocks. Igneous formation is, simply put, liquid turning into a solid. Sometimes our energy is like uncontained liquid – all over the place. Igneous formations carry an energy of regrouping and reorganizing into a productive form. Metamorphic rocks – nothing remains as it was before. Sometimes we need change – transformation – and with that transformation comes pressure. Black Tourmaline offers a reminder that it is entirely possible to survive major pressure and transformation.

© Copyright, All Rights Reserved, Elemental Healing Arts & Training, LLC 2015