Saturday, May 7, 2011

Talismans – Understanding These Powerful Tools for Healing, Protection, Spiritual Growth

Talismans – and the related Amulet – have likely been utilized by humans as helpful tools of protection, healing, and spiritual growth since our earliest hunting and gathering days. Perhaps beginning with wearing or carrying an animal claw or a hawk feather, these items were  believed to assist in connecting humans with the power of sacred Spirit forces. References to talismans and amulets have been found in prehistoric graves and dwellings, as well of course in indigenous cultures around the globe. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim practices all have descriptions of various kinds of talismans and amulets used in their religious activities.

There is much blending and confusion about talismans and amulets, especially now that many jewelry makers are calling their creations a “talisman” or “amulet” in efforts to attract the buying public searching for spirit connection and help in everyday objects. As a long-time spiritual healer, student of shamanism, and newer artist, I confess to being troubled by what appears to be efforts to apply terms that have strong sacred associations to objects intended primarily for decoration and admiration, by people creating them who have little or no spiritual intention in the work, and pieces (or crystals) accompanied by descriptions of flashy actions “performed” on the piece and big words that obscure – rather than help define and support – the purpose of the created object.

When I began crafting my talismans as tools for meditation and healing, I researched many sources to come up with a definition and description of my work that resonated with my intentions to create pieces for spiritual needs. I crafted the definition shown below, which is posted on the main information page of my Etsy & Artfire shops:

  • TALISMAN - an object consecrated with psychic force and crafted to be a tool to serve its owner in healing and/or protection. Talismans are tools – not jewelry. One’s mind responds to a Talisman – used for focus, meditation, amplifying personal power, healing - in a different way than one does to pretty jewelry worn for ornamentation and adornment. A Talisman is only made from natural elements – gold, silver, copper, wood, gemstones. The setting is as simple as possible.

  • AMULET – a natural object left in its virgin state [can be worn as charm, carried, or kept covered or protected until owner wishes to use it]

A customer recently wrote to me describing her delight in a specific piece, and also wondering about using her new talisman within the context of her Christian beliefs:

Still learning how, as a Christian, to add these to my life without using them as "idols"--but they are truly a physical comfort at times.”
In responding, I drew on the use of art, symbols and gemstones in many religious practices:

Art and symbols help us with the characteristics, messages and practices of what the symbol stands for, this is a human practice since we first began our living on Earth in this form. A talisman like you received is the same as a painting on a wall - the ancient cave paintings, or modern pictures of Jesus - all help remind the viewer of spiritual higher power and messages.

Pelican Totem-Abundance Serenity, Group Harmony
The talisman is not an idol in any way - the piece [you purchased] helps you with meditation, healing, to focus your intentions and affirmations, and to assist in work with your spiritual development. The particular talisman helps you remember what Pelican symbolizes, and the message(s) and energy that Pelican carries. There is absolutely nothing harmful or idolatic (new word) about that. Christians too have ever so many symbols in your religion - the cross, doves, the Trinity, Eve's apple and snake, the physical Bible … So don't worry - you are not worshipping the talisman or the crystal, you are using them in practices for your personal and spiritual growth. That is a universal religious practice. It is a "tool" - enjoy and appreciate the help that it brings!

Many effective and powerful tools are available all over the world to help the spiritual seeker. Everything from a simple found rock that appeals to you found on a walk, a crystal, or a detailed painting can help you raise your vibration and assist in your spiritual journey. Just be aware that just because an item is described as a “totem”, “talisman”, or other spiritual item does not mean that it automatically will fill the intended purpose, carries spiritual power, or bring the answers or help that one seeks. Research the seller/artisan’s background, experience, and credentials.

And remember that any piece ultimately does not bring a magic answer – your own spiritual practice, accompanied by meditation, affirmations, and visualizing your intentions and goals – is the core of change, growth, and healing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Awaken the Sacral Chakra – Source of Life Essence, Personal Power, Sexuality, Fire Energy

Late winter “blues” are probably dragging most down by now. As the dormancy of Winter moves slowly but unstoppably towards Spring, this is an excellent time to focus on awakening the Sacral Chakra and prepare for new beginnings and abundance.

Custom talisman for Fertility, Communication with Aqua AuraCrystal, Lepidocrocite, Spiny Oyster, Thulite, Antique
Gooseberry Trade bead, Artisan Lampwork, and Wolf totem
The opportunity to focus on this chakra came recently when a special relative asked me to create a talisman to help her with concerns around fertility. The talisman I created contains vital energy of crystals, symbols, color and an important animal guide to assist her in maintaining focus, intention, affirmations and visualizations. In my work as a spiritual healer, I seek to combine the essential energies of a rich diversity of ancient and modern sources to bring support and strength on the journey.

The talisman began with research into the chakras for information on fertility. The word Chakra means "wheel" in Sanskrit. There are seven (7) primary chakras that are visualized along the central spinal axis of the human body in most healing traditions – Base (Root), Sacral, Solar Plexus, Throat, Heart, Third Eye, and Crown. Several other chakras exist outside of the body – most notably the Earthstar Chakra (below the feet) and Soul Star chakra (above the head).

Rooted in ancient Vedic practices, chakras are spiritual energy vortexes that links the physical body to the “subtle bodies” – the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual bodies surrounding the physical body and often perceived clairvoyantly as parts of the aura (or “rainbow body”). Since ancient times, disease or illness in one or more aspects of one’s being have been believed to be associated with disturbances originating in the chakra system.

Chakras are affected by our own energy – primarily our thoughts, also dreams, spoken words, and actions. What we say, think and do are forms of electromagnetic energy, generating a current that flows through our body. The body’s endocrine and central nervous systems are directly linked to the chakras.

Crystal healing and color therapy are two practices that aim directly at working with this energy in the human (and animal) body.

Located below the navel and above the pubic bone, the Sacral Chakra is widely believed to be the center of power for the body, the life-giving center where the Vital Energy (power, chi, prana, life force) resides.

Also referred to as the Fire Center, this is the chakra for relationships... it relates to emotions and to sensuality, intimacy and sexuality. The Sacral Chakra governs the health of the female reproductive organs- the womb, genitals, kidneys, bladder and lower back.

The Sacral Chakra is associated with the vibrant color of Orange (or Red in some traditions). Orange is one of nature’s most beautiful, powerful colors – combining red’s passion with the happiness of gold. It is the color of joy.
(Note: There are many opinions on colors and chakras. The perspective(s) of the teachings I personally follow, also held by many gemstone and other healing experts, say that red and orange are the colors of this chakra. Other healing traditions may have different colors associated with this chakra, or you may personally feel that another color feels more right for you.)

image from F Becker, The Science of Being
Various healing traditions show the Sacral Chakra pictured with a Crescent Moon pointing upwards, surrounded by a Six-petaled Lotus. The “bowl” of the crescent catches divine influence from Venus. The Crescent is part of the New Moon – a time for meaning rest and light, a symbol of increasing and growing. The Lotus is a sacred cosmic symbol in many disciplines. Both the 6-petaled Lotus and the Crescent are said to symbolize Love. Triangles are also frequently seen in illustrations of this chakra.

Many cultures see the human body as the "sacred vessel”, and incorporate various body parts engaging in religious or symbolic rituals. The sacrum is the triangular bone just below the lumbar vertebrae; it is formed from several fused vertebrae, and sits between the hip bones. The name "sacrum" comes directly from Latin os sacrum, meaning 'sacred bone'. In ancient Hebrew and Arab traditions, believed to be derived from Egyptian beliefs, the sacrum was the bone necessary for resurrection. The Sacral Chakra and Sacrum Bone are important in shamanic journeying as well. Some indigenous cultures believe the sacrum bone is a “second skull" located in the pelvis.

The sacrum is the fulcrum of the human torso. We sit on the sacrum, and we can rest in a sitting position for extended periods of time without moving. The sacrum is found next to the reproductive organs, of great significance in most if not all societies.

Ecstasy Art by stephanietberry on Etsy
Opening the Sacral Chakra with Color, Meditation
When you become aware of the need for a particular color’s energy in your personal universe, there are many simple, direct and immediately powerful actions using simple color therapy techniques that bring the color into your physical body and emotional awareness.

These suggestions focus on the color Orange, but you can substitute any color that you need.
  • Place objects in your room(s) such as flowers, art, and cloth swatches that radiate the color you are craving. If you are an artist, use the desired color in some vibrant new creations!
  • Wear clothing made of the color – I recommended that my client find some orange lingerie to wear!
  • Consume foods that contain the color. Orange foods for the Sacral Chakra include oranges, carrots, pumpkin, apricots, shellfish such as crab. (Note: Always follow professional medical advice on food consumption and avoid foods to which you are allergic)
  • Use crystals and gemstones of the desired color during meditation, and on jewelry that you wear. Crystals and gemstones for Orange include Amber, Carnelian, Spiny Oyster, Sunstone, Orange Spinel, Orange Calcite and many others
This meditation/visualization with the color Orange can be helpful (of course, you can substitute any color you want to bring into your immediate surroundings).

Become quiet and centered. Practice cleansing breaths – slow, deep breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth) for several breaths – as much as 3 to 5 minutes. Imagine the air around you is a rich deep Orange color. Visualizing an object of the color you want to work with may be helpful – such as a big Orange flower. Notice the energy around you associated with this color, and how it moves all around you – maybe in swirls, or waves. Breathe this rich energetic color deeply in through your nose, and see the color energy radiating to every part of your body. If an area feels particularly heavy or dense, try focusing on this area by seeing strong rays of Orange surrounding, entering, and filling this area.  

Tumbled Carnelian by Sagehealer

So one recommendation for opening your Sacral Chakra is to bring more orange into your environment !!! Remember we absorb healing energy from color - vision is based on light waves - energy - so visually working with a color matters! Wear orange lingerie, bring orange into your personal space, meditate with orange crystals. Feel your Life Force blossom and strengthen!

    copyright sagehealercreations2011   All rights reserved



Friday, January 7, 2011

Lilac Amethyst Spirit Quartz - The Higher Self - Understanding Crystal and Spiritual Terminology

Working with crystals for healing and meditation is a daily delight. One of the most interesting and challenging aspects is the constant research I engage in to find new crystals and to understand how they work. I love learning about how the chemical structure of the mineral combines with the physical and mental aspects of what one is seeking, and how all this comes together to inspire and support healing and meditation. Over the several years of working with these fascinating minerals in my art, I have studied quantum physics, color theory, and geology.
I recently participated in a well-respected art show in San Francisco. My booth-mate commented that she was amazed at the incredibly personal information shared by my customers during our brief encounters. That's been my experience at every show I've done, and is part of the fascination and reward of this aspect of my work.
I have many customers finding me at a show who are in great physical or perhaps emotional pain, or who are seeking spiritual healing and help in coping with their personal challenge(s). When I'm at an art show, I sense these invisible but powerful tendrils of healing white light emanating outward from my booth, wrapping around those with a particular need and drawing them to me. When they find their way to my little space, I see the light of understanding come to their eyes as they realize what I'm offering. Sometimes all we do is talk - perhaps about a difficult dream that they don't understand, or about a physical or emotional situation causing them distress. There is often no sale, no discussion of what I'm selling - yet their concern is heard, and they received something they needed to obtain some relief and understanding. This is part of my work as a healer, shaman, medium, the calling that is expressed in all of my art. It is why I do what I do.

My cat and dog listen to me comment about pieces I come across in my travels containing information on the healing qualities of a piece posted by (one assumes) well-meaning sellers and artisans. This information is all too often provided by vendors who appear to be basically sticking descriptive words about the gemstone on their wares to attract buyers, yet who do not work with or practice healing and meditation as part of using this information responsibly. Buyers need to be aware of the reasoning and understanding behind this kind of content before making decisions about what will best meet their need(s).  I am thrilled to know that my profile page is the second-most viewed page of any on my Etsy shop site. My talismans and crystals are conciously "charged" with the healing energy that comes through me from Spirit - like electricity flowing from the source. I am deeply gratified by the response and trust of my customers who understand that I "walk the walk", and that I have a strong background for the information and healing work that I promote.

Having recently acquired some beautiful Lilac Amethyst Spirit Quartz, I spent several hours combing my crystal resources and the Internet for information. I came across a number of references to this crystal's  help in connecting the user to the "Higher Self", and realized I needed to know more. I want to make sure that the information I provide to buyers is accurate and helpful - not just some fancy sounding words that cause more confusion than it helps.

The Higher Self is an ethereal energy field beyond our usual conscious awareness (called the “Superconscious”) that brings knowledge and information from a higher source, either spontaneously or intentionally. Described by some sources as an "indestructible unit", a concentrated mass of energy, the Higher Self is the Divine Spark of Infinite Intelligence or God in every living organism. This energy is condensed memory, like a hologram, holding the wisdom and memory of every vibrational frequency in which it has existed.

This energy comes from the essence and minerals found in the human body as well as all other organisms that have ever lived on the Earth, and includes past lives of your own soul (for those who accept reincarnation), the knowledge comes from the stars, the Earth, Air and Water, the movement of continents, the forming of essential minerals...from all that is and all that has been....

Spirit Quartz helps you become aware of these learnings and use the information to progress on your overall journey in this life. It is a powerful crystal for aiding healing and spiritual growth. This crystal has the important ability of helping remove fear - of one’s current situating, concerns for personal safety, even the state of the world –bringing joy and spontaneity.

Another favorite crystal that I love working with that assists in connecting the "day to day" self with the Higher Self is Lithium Quartz.  Additional crystal suggestions for tuning into the Higher self include Hemimorphite and Elestial Quartz crystals.

Lithium Quartz Crystal Point

Other "Higher Self" crystals include Moss Agate, Sapphire and Selenite. There are may crystals that can happily assist you in working with your Higher Self - check your favorite crystal books and resources.  

Upcoming blog posts will cover other interesting terminology about crystals, healing and meditation -  look for info to come soon on the physical, emotional, spiritual and etheric bodies, and how these connect to the chakras and the aura!

I'm happy to hear about your questions regarding the sometimes confusing terminology associated with crystals, healing and meditation. Post it as a question/comment here or email me, and I'll do my best to get some information that helps!