Stones of the Ancients ( How the Tarot belongs in older practictes)

Lately I have found myself to be more of a Celtic Reconstructionist. This is not a solid thing, I have decided, but a part of this organic path. I have been really drawn to the more "authentic" and "historical" practices of the Celts, Roman occupied Britton and the Brittons and their religious practices in general pre- Queen Elisabeth I. This means that some of my beloved practices have brought me some heart ache and confusion.I have recently seen many people "crystal bashing" or making fun of those that use crystals, accusing them of being all "Woo Woo" implying that we aren't "authentic" for using them in our practices. Well they couldn't be more wrong. The ancients have left us evidence of crystals being used surrounding their Holy wells, baths, and other sacred sites.

A Celtic Reconstructionist  is (straight from Wikipedia) "Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (also Celtic Reconstructionism or CR) is a polytheistic, animistic, religious and cultural movement. It is an effort to reconstruct and revive, in a modern Celtic cultural context, pre-Christian Celtic religions." There is so little on the "pre-Christian" era that I have had to extend my research and practice to allow up to the 14c. There was more documentation then, and many of the practices were still being used by the farm folk, or were adapted to fit into Christianity. As my mentor Mrs. Freeman has said, " it can come as a surprise to find how few pagan practices and customs have survived unadulterated by Christianity in the British Isles and Ireland. The truth is that these countries have been Christianized for over 2000 years, and, as we all know, history was written by the winners! Added to which, the Celtic Druids had an oral culture – they considered their sacred knowledge too important to write down – and so when the Romans destroyed the Druid colleges and massacred the priests, very little pre-Christian wisdom remained to be handed down. Yet the truth is that pagan and Christian threads have been interwoven into magical traditions throughout the centuries – yes, even traditional witchcraft practices are full of Christian references."

For me its not the Christian influence that bothers me much, but more the fact that things like Tarot and Crystals were not used. I have been struggling to figure out their place in my practice. It was last night that I was reading and saw a reference to a crystal being used in Celtic times. So I do what I always do and pull out a stack of books, and arm myself with a pen and paper for notes. First lets address the Tarot question. If you are a true Celtic reconstrucionist, you aren't going to find the Tarot cards any where, but if you are a bit looser like me and allow the Medieval period in there as well then you will find a perfect place for the Tarot. Many dont know that we have evidence of the Tarot being used in a 16 card system in the early to mid 1400s.

Crystals are a different matter. The Egyptians and Greeks used beautiful stones to adorn their jewelry and art. They used stones like Agate, Carnelian, Lapis Lazuil and Quartz. It is quite possible that many of these stones were brought over in trade to the Celtic lands. There are many other examples from antiquity, but we know that specifically the Celts and ancient Britons were using Quartz mostly clear quartz, but considering the sacredness of "Smokey Quartz" at the time it is quite possible they used it as well. I have personally found crystals on the banks of Llyn y Fan Fach (above) and have seen them use a mixture of Quartz and Mica in their burial Cairns. Other historical and archeological accounts have found Quartz and Marble pebbles and marbles as well as chunks of Amber. It is no coincidence that the Ancients treasured these gems for their beauty and healing properties. I am quite sure they were picking up on the energies of the stones, and using them as offerings, surrounding their dead and as the foundation for many of their sacred sites, and wells.

So we have evidence of some stones being used in ancient practices, but not all. Some newer stones like Larimar which have recently been discovered in a region not even close to the Uk would not be appropriate to work with in Celtic/Medieval Reconstruction. Below is a list of Ancient stones with modern properites that you can use in your practices

Diamond- Energy amplifier, provides a link between the intellect and the higher mind.
Opal - Used by the Greeks and Romans the Opal enhances psychic and mystical visions
Amber - Connects to our Ancestors, absorbs pain, and negative energy
Lapis Lazuli - Used by the Sumerians, Egyptians and Greeks, sacred to the Goddess Nuit, Lapis alleviates pain, and migraines, it amplifies thought, and stimulates the 3rd eye
Quartz- Most powerful healing and amplifier, it absorbs, and release energy, holds information, and heals
Smokey Quartz- Used by all the ancient civilizations it is used for grounding,and to raise vibrations in meditation, lifts fear, and brings emotional calmness
Marble - Strength, Self-control, master of thought
Carnelian- Used by the Egyptians and Romans and believe it assist in the transition to the afterlife it also stimulates the metabolism, used in fertility, and heals depression
Agate- Used bye the Byzantine and Persian magicians it transforms negative energy, used to treat the emotional levels, and digestion
Onyx - Sacred to Aphrodite (formed from her fingernails) provides strength, and centers your energy, promotes vigor, and stamina
Citrine- Used by the Romans the Citrine is associated with the sun and is used for cleansing and regeneration. Enhances creativity.
Amethyst - Used since antiquity to guard against drunkenness, many goblets were made of this, and some even say the holy grail is made of "Amethyst" It protects, and guards against psychic attacks, healing and cleansing

Winter Crafting and Crystals

During the holidays I have a hard time focusing on writing, mostly because there are so many distractions. So I like to take advantage of these times, the times I'm not writing, grading, etc etc to feed my soul with a little Witchy crafting!

First! There was a little gem show here at the Community college. The prices were pretty reasonable, and there was a great selection. I did a little shopping for a friend, as well as picked up some of my own things.
Here are the Spoils of Annwyn ( Preiddeu Annwn) (Sorry for the little joke there I couldn't help it!)
I gathered some tumbled stones. I found that I actually have given most of mine away and used them in mojo bags, poppets etc. So I stocked up on some basics, Sodalite, Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Orange Calcite, and Snowflake Obsidian. They had LOVELY Amethyst clusters untreated and ALL natural! I found a nice piece of Chalcedony a bunch of Loadstone (which I had also used most of). Blue and Orange Calcite, Ruby in Fuchsite, Merlinite (Dendritic Agate) Amber and a new little stone that comes from a lake in California called Hanksite.

I picked up a nice little Fluorite Necklace as well

Now I saved the 2 best for last! I couldnt believe the prices on these little gems. Before you look at the photos I want to say a few things. I see so many listings, and people selling "Lemurian Quartz" Usually they look like your regular quartz points. This is very frustrating for me because that is just Quartz with a fancy name. "Real" and what I call vintage Lemurian Quartz is not a pretty clear stone. They often times are covered in sand, or have a tan translucent or opaqueness to parts to them. The other things that makes them remarkable is that if you find GOOD "Vintage Lemurian Quartz" you will find that it has a phantom. These stones are record keepers! They are very hard to find, and usually quite expensive. Well I found 2 that were $5 each. They are both pretty special but one is VERY special! The first photo you can see the little phantom up at the top! This particular one doesnt have much sandiness to it, but you can see the tint at the point.

The stone below is the special one! Can you see the Double phantom? I have never seen one like this before so you can imagine how excited I was! Something that you can not see is that there is a little red fleck inside towards the bottom. It looks like a drop of blood. The 2nd phantom is hard to see but its about 1/3-1/2 the way up the crystal, and was in the very beginning stages. If you look at the moon decal and trace your finger over to the right and move it down just slightly (1/4 of an inch) you can see where the crystal is even darker and that is the top of the 2nd phantom.

So after the gem show, I felt recharged after being around the high vibrations! I made 2 little talisman with hazel nuts. The first is 5 little mini apples and hazel nuts. This in an ancestor talisman. The apples are sacred to Avalon and are associated with love, death and the underworld. the Hazel is also associated with death and the underworld in some cultures. (for more info on the Hazel read - Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants)
The 2nd one is also associated with death, and the underworld. It consists of a black cat vertebrate (always, always cruelty free, I was given this animal several days after it had passed) The hematite is associated with grounding and will help bring you down into the earth. It is good for underworld work, shape-shifting, and the like. ( If you are interested in it let me know!) The Apple/Hazel is not for sale sorry.......
 Lastly! The Rain Walker came over yesterday and we crafted ointments! My box of newly ordered bottles had JUST arrived! We crafted Mandrake/Chamomile/Lavender ointment for joint pain! So far the Rain Walker has reported that it works! This ointment was crafted with Mandrake and Chamomile infused (in almond) oil, and Lavender essential oil, Duck fat and Bees wax. The 2nd batch was an Anti-anxiety, Stress relief ointment. Which was crafted with Duck Fat, Bees wax, and infused Oil (in almond) Peppermint, Lavender, Camomile, Eucalyptus and Yarrow....... 

Look at those empty jars! Im not telling what those are for!.... Yet ;)