Ancestors Day – the First/Last/Next Wave

the-last-wave-movie-poster-crop-1977Last night (on the eve of Fathers’ Day, which coincidentally – has been a washout – with pouring rain), I finished watching a movie (with my son) called “the Last Wave” – directed by Peter Weir – featuring Richard Chamberlain, David Gulpilil, and Nandjiwarra Amagula (an actual Tribal leader who was brought in to act, but he also had a say in certain scenes and dialog in the film).

It’s reviewed with actual interview quotes from the director himself, here (on FlickeringMyth.com, author Trevor Hogg). There’s also a more recent “The Last Wave Rewatched – Mysticism, Prophesy, and the End of Times” blog entry by The Guardian’s Luke Buckmaster (2014). And I’m sure some good things were written “back in the day,” when the film came out – in 1977 overseas, and 1979 in the U.S. – I saw it myself, in the ’80’s (more than 30 years ago).

Most of what you’ll find on the web about this film – understandably – will include a synopsis of the film’s plot. So I won’t dwell on that. Plus, I hope you’ll see it yourself – no spoiler alert – but I will touch on some details of the narrative.

Last Wave dinnerWhat I’m “doing” here, is a different exploration (it’s not a movie review). The particulars of the deluvian story are less significant to me than the underlying reality of “the dreamtime” – a conception of the Australian aborigines – which is common to all “original” cultures: that the “realities” of our waking, conscious experience are impacted by, and occur in the context of a vast, shadowy, watery, surreal, indeed metaphysical reality (that is – if you can believe it – “more real” than “reality”).

During an angry outburst at his pastor stepfather, David Burton (Chamberlain’s character) accuses the pastor of explaining away the unexplainable, dismissing this enormously significant phenomenon or context (as the popular versions, or most visible proponents of many mainstream religions tend to)…sweeping The Great Mysteries under the carpet…dumbing down The Great Truths into more easily consumed tidbits (for the masses).

Playing to the most (or least) common denominator is the way of even the most ancient of civilizations – because we have a society to maintain (after all) – but the outlyers, the visionaries, often the artists, mystics of a community, tend to carry the burden of esoteric knowledge…as does Burton (increasingly)…over the course of this movie.

There is talk of how “Westerners” (ie. white Europeans on whichever continent) have lost touch with their dreams, and are limited to a more rigid, tangible perception of reality – as evidenced by the opening arguments of the Prosecution – and represented as well by the lawyer who’s spent more time working with aboriginal peoples (than Burton).

Apparently, the area of study “Metaphysics” once included efforts to understand patterns and meaning – not only in the Spiritual world, but also in the physical world – till it was increasingly banished to the fringe…once “proper” Science (with it’s exclusive focus on the results of reproducible experimentation) came of age, a mere few hundred years ago.

hominid_graph

 

Our history spans far longer – with our own human lineage dating back 3-5 million years – and the first apes (leading to “us”) leaving the forest about 10 million years before that.

 

 

modern_human_family_treeModern humans (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) only took current form – originally alongside the larger brain-capacity Neanderthals (with whom I have an intrinsic affinity) – 100,000 years ago.

human routes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a 25 year (low-end) average life expectancy, or generational period, that’s 4,000 generations we’ve been through – just as we are now – leading up to the present…with a handful of generations going back to Slavery…and even less since the advent of electricity, lighting, universal plumbing, cars (never mind computers)!

This modern world (and mentality) – which we consider the benchmark of “what is” – is really a thin veneer on a much deeper reality of the entire human (and pre-human) experience. Imagine all the dreams of every being, over the course of all time! Older civilizations (including small bands of isolated peoples) were/are in awe of this history, and appreciated the miracle of their having been brought forth – through the ages – by “the ancestors.”

A continuity of Natural Law – synthesized into Tribal Law – ruled long before there were secular courts…and it was meant to be respected and not broken…which in the case of the guy who dies early on in the movie, results in the meting out the maximum penalty of punishment. Interestingly, this is forgivable – even in Australian Law – if it can be demonstrated that the defendants are Tribal (and not merely “city” people). There is (oddly) a respect for at least one lingering aspect of the “first people’s” custom.

At one point, the more seasoned lawyer – in aboriginal matters – chides Burton for his patronizing, high brow (he was actually a tax and corporate lawyer up until then) idealization of the situation, scoffing at the idea that any Tribal people had indeed survived in the heart of Sydney (which of course, it had). Even the most profound understanding can exist in the least likely milieu.

This unlikely candidate to defend the accused murderers (Burton), is also enmeshed in their Dreamtime mythology – an actual “Mulkurul” incarnate – who in the end, finds a death/life mask of himself among the relics of an ancient, lighter complected race that came from the East (the Maya?) and were somehow involved in the foretelling, or even the bringing on of cyclical, cataclysmic tsunamis (great floods).

It’s a bit of a clunky jumble of cultures – but hey – isn’t that what our “melting pot” is all about? And it’s certainly a romp through the ages – where past, future, and present meld seamlessly – but what better blend could a New Age hipster hope for?

Now I don’t want to fall into romanticizing original cultures – as wonderful as they are – there are downsides all around (and I don’t pretend to believe that living 20,000 years ago was a walk in the park).

Likewise – though I see the paramount importance of recognizing a Natural Law whose violation is resulting in our own progressively harsh Judgement today, through climate change – I take issue with people projecting their own idiosyncratic, subjective comprehension of The Law with their own fabricated law (and imagining that it’s the ONLY law).

Herein lies the Trojan Horse of inter-religious animosity, and the subjugation of the individual to unquestioning adherence to some (often selective perspective on) whatever they’ve embraced as “The Law.”

We are all entitled to our own experience of The Golden Rule – both fortunately and unfortunately (because people often choose a self-serving interpretation of it) – and as serious as we take it (thinking of it as universally applicable), we still must recognize that our fellow co-habitants of the planet may have equal or opposite views (which they feel as self-righteous about).

Time and Nature will wash us all away, but that doesn’t make our existence – or the beliefs we hold – insignificant. As the Aboriginal (Native American…whichever longer standing culture you want to substitute into this sentence) – their ways and knowledge continue to have worth – so too does the mighty thread of Western “Civilization.”

It’s important to remember that before the Romans, and later, the Roman Catholic Church (note the continuity there) took over Europe, there were myriad languages and Pagan cultures thriving independently (hello: Stonehenge!).

Last Wave Chris n Rock

being a Crystal guy – I of course appreciate this passing of the sacred stone – emblematic on so many levels

As the movie shows, it’s false to consider even a straight laced English lawyer to be immune from having a tribal clan in his past (or present!). The Aboriginals know and accept this. Reality – particularly the Dreamtime – supersedes the superficial, and weaves together disparate elements into an impossibly rich and magnificent fabric of “true and complete” Reality…too complex for most people to grasp…and too wild for even the few to harness, completely.

I’d like to think Shamans, Healers, even Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, and Garbage Men (indeed Mothers, Fathers, and Children of all stripes) – we all have the capacity to comprehend (or at least access) – the Great Mysteries…and each of us – in our own ways – have adapted to and “tamed” them to some degree, to serve our own purposes (and ideally, the betterment of others).

In closing – I’d like to thank the community that made “The Last Wave” possible – and gratefully pass it along, like Life itself, to the next generation…to love and to fear…to struggle with, and to try to make sense of (in whichever, small way).

Kyle w light beam

 

About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals for 30 years, and considering Matters of Spirit for far longer (including other lifetimes). He mostly write about Crystals from the perspective of his modality Crystal Concentrics, which he teaches and uses through Meditations, Classes, Writing, Social Media, and via Individual Sessions. Russell also buys and sells Gems & Minerals through his http://www.PowerStoneCrystals.com site and at metaphysical Expos. You can reach him easily at Kyle@CrystalConcentrics.com.

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Expo/Festival madness – the view from across the table

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of 'the table'

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of ‘the table’

What’s it like for a vendor at the shows you go to? I thought you might like to know, since the minority of us are standing on “this side of the table.”

Most of you (readers) are on the other side of the table… browsing like bees – going from flower to flower – exhibitor to exhibitor.

Yours is the choice. It’s a buyers’ market. If a vendor’s display (and selection) doesn’t suit you, you’re movin’ on!

I thought it would be enriching if you had a glimpse into what “we” go through. Hence, me writing this particular Blog. But a story is never just a story. It’s all about what we learn from it – or wish to convey (or “teach”) – through our experience.

NYC at night

rolling in to NYC at night

A few weekends ago was a textbook example (for me), of what it’s like to showcase at an Expo. Part of what made the experience particularly special – for me – was the fact that it was the first such show I’ve done in New York City.

I’d been there before, to wholesale to shops – 20 years ago – and also to perform, as a musician (more recently)…but this was different.

You can be sure it crowded my mind for weeks, leading up to the event. I bought new product – specifically to fill out my inventory for the occasion – I wanted to impress!

That entails selecting, buying, transporting, unpacking, pricing, photographing, and the uploading (to the web) dozens of specimens (cause that’s what I try to do with everything I get…put it through my inventory system). I also decided to overhaul my display M.O. as well – so I purchased velvet trays and pads – as well as a carrying case.

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, in my hotel room

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, packed into my hotel room

I laid out all my flats and boxes in advance, choosing only what would fit onto the two dollies I was bringing.

I had a 6-foot-wide by a 9-foot-deep space to fill. That’s an odd dimension, and took some advance planning.

The organizers had promised to provide a 4-foot table, which turned out to be a 6-foot table. That would have been good news for some folks, but not for me, ’cause I’d mapped out every square inch in advance.

I figured it out, though. It helped that I had gone to Costco, and purchased an actual 4-foot table, as well as a 6-footer – of which I’d already had two – but this newfangled one folds in half (which is nifty).

The goal is to streamline and to simplify, going forward – to make your life easier – because you can be sure challenges will come up, unforeseen. Like how was I gonna unload into the hotel from a busy downtown side street?

If registration as a vendor was required before I could even load in, who was going to watch all my stuff (or my car!)? And where, exactly, was I gonna fit an oversize vehicle (my full sized passenger/cargo van is about 7 feet tall) in a city than can barely accommodate “normal” driving machines?

the view from the 18th floor - where the Expo happened - looks the same as it did 70 years ago

the view from the 18th floor – where the Expo happened – looks the same as it did 70 years ago

Enter the brilliance – and generous response – which came from my asking my friend Nigel to come along. I’d reserved a 2-bedroom suite, on account of my family coming, but it turned out they couldn’t leave town. So I offered my bro from the music world the opportunity to have a weekend in the city – to do whatever he wanted – which he did(!)…so long as he could help me load in and out. He even drove us part of the way back (what a blessing)! We’d been meaning to catch up for months, so that was just fine by us, and it turns out he made some great connections of his own (at the Expo) that weekend.

I’ll only mention in passing that the hotel didn’t have my reservations (I’m finding this out at 11:15pm, after we’d just rolled in) – or that when Expedia lopped off my 4th night there, I ended up paying more (for the 3 nights that I did stay there) than I’d been on the hook for originally (for 4 nights!).

Snafus – things you can’t anticipate, and couldn’t begin to include in the price of your product – but they’re costs nonetheless…the cost of “bringing Crystals to market.” I hope buyers recognize that we vendors absorb these myriad tangible – and emotional costs – wishing (sometimes fruitlessly) to make them up on the “back end,” with some big sales. One of my fellow vendors reported more in sales to one big customer than all his others that weekend, combined!

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

As we were pushing my 10 large bins out of the freight elevators – on the 18th floor (a bellman had gruffly sent us ’round the back when we tried to load in to the main elevators) – a different group of exhibitors was loading in too. They asked us what we were selling.

“Crystals” we replied.

They were not pleased – since after having been told there were “only 2 Crystal vendors,” there turned out to be about 4 major vendors – and another handful of exhibitors with meaningful crystal displays.

It creates an atmosphere of competition for everyone (when there’s already lots of folks selling “the same thing”) – which can be healthy – and good for you buyers. But everyone selling sees their earning potential drop. It also hurts our (needed) margin when buyers get to pit us against each other for the lowest prices.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the end buyer’s benefit (hello: I’m a retailer) – but part of my mission in telling this story (can you tell?) – is to demonstrate the types of liabilities & costs we encounter at every turn (as vendors).

Fortunately, everyone was selling something a little different. And everybody had their unique strengths. But without an unlimited audience passing through, there’s only so many dollars to go around. If they don’t spend it with you, they’re spending somewhere else!

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

I got one “insult” (that’s how I heard it) – “you’re the most expensive crystal seller in the place” – from someone who’d just walked away, after making a purchase (from me!).

He and his wife had come by and hammered me on pricing earlier, but then walked away – even after I dropped the total (on just 2 pieces) lopping off 20 bucks – which turned out to be a whopping 22% discount!

Most vendors are stretching it, to give you 5-10% off. I’ve seen it, cause I’m a buyer too (and they know I’m a dealer).

I enjoy giving breaks in general, but in particular when someone’s really enthusiastic, and buying multiple pieces.

I was actually rattled by that experience, though (and that doesn’t usually happen for me). A buyer from the previous day came by (very happy, with his new necklace, which he’d gotten from me ), and I confessed (after saying something nonsensical): “I’m a mess.” I drove 4 hours Thursday night, and then we loaded all my stuff up to the room, going to sleep way after midnight.

Friday, I set up from 10am till 3:30pm, just taking things out and organizing them. That’s over 5  hours on setup! You couldn’t tell me to set up any faster. Some things take the time to “do right.” I didn’t just lay bins out, or put out jewelry boxes…I took everything out…and put all into play with that new velvet-pad display-system I mentioned earlier.

Crystal Energy Zones poster

Crystal Energy Zones poster

I was also excited to put out my new Crystal Energy Zones poster – which I’d created specifically in time for this particular Expo. It condenses the various Chakras down to 4 key areas, all all of which are pertinent to the human body. These are “populated” by the 29 varieties of power stones I find essential to working with our own energy system [email me at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com to get your copy].

The place was open to the public from then (3:30pm) till 10pm on Friday. That was another 6.5 hours on the floor – and I had just one meal throughout (and one bathroom break) – from start to finish! I’m a big eater, but you can be sure my stomach shrank to accommodate the long intervals between meals.

I wish I had photos of them all – there was the African sorghum meal – the Chinese Indian dish – and even raw coconut (which tided me over each afternoon).

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor there)

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor right there)

On Saturday, the hours were 10am till 9pm (count ’em: 11 hours); and Sunday was 11am till 7pm. With the long drive home to Boston looming ahead – after a 2 hour load out (that turned Sunday into a 16 hour day) – I had earned the right to reach the end of my tether.

Fortunately, this guy’s friend – whose sweater I’d complimented – offered (and delivered) a 5 minute Chi Gung massage session right there, with us standing in the aisle. It was heavenly, actually, and revitalized me…mostly to receive positive energy from someone who wasn’t trying to undercut the value of my hard work and display efforts.

I take this thing quite seriously – I’m gonna share with you a blog soon about the life cycle of a crystal: how it gets into my possession, as well as what it goes through before it gets into your possession. You’d be surprised by the number of hours (and dollars) that goes into developing a selection the likes of which I’ve been showcasing at events lately.

I was vindicated that after having frequented all of those other vendors, those prickly buyers returned to me because guess what – they didn’t find what I had elsewhere – and they ultimately came to appreciate the value of my pieces (though they wouldn’t admit that).

Quasi - with his new pieces - for embedding in a pendant

Quasi – with his new pieces – for embedding in a pendant

At other shows, my average sale is $30-50, but this time it was $50-100. That’s not because people are buying a dozen $5 stones – or three dozen dollar pieces – I don’t carry those. My pieces start at about twenty bucks because too much less isn’t really worth the time I put into them. My niche is to shoot for a cut up – just over the average – including both the stones I acquire & the collectors I’m aiming to attract.

I’m catering to folks who’ve been around, who’ve seen most of what’s out there, and are searching for more – for special – for unique. And that doesn’t have to be big and pricey. Take for example, my new friend Quasi’s purchases: a small Polar Jade piece (with its own type of texture) & a family of DT’s floating together like Herkimer Diamonds (which came from Morocco). He makes pendant breast plates, and these were just right for him.

"galactic mountain range"

“galactic mountain range” prase Quartz

Alternatively, I also sold some very special, more expensive pieces. Take for example this rare, crystallized, green Prase Quartz I called “Galactic Mountain Range.” Coincidentally (and happily), I sold another, single “point” of this material online that weekend.

But that was about as expensive as I expected to go. Most people – except those in the know, who were really curious – didn’t even notice my Ethiopian Opals (which run even higher in price range).

I barely have any Crystals that can fetch over a G. And that’s on purpose. Yet I saw some items pushing over $1000 mark – even stretching into the several thousands – at other booths.

One visitor even complained (regarding another vendor) – about an item that seemed way out of proportion in price – relative to smaller pieces of that same material. To the vendor’s defense, I’d have to say that larger pieces are sometimes more rare, and cost more than their aggregate weight in smaller stones, because it’s hard to find that variety in larger dimensions. All and still, it was oddly reassuring to notice that “fault” can be found with every vendor. Nobody’s perfect.

I do have a pet peeve – though – about strange, incongruous pricing. I try to have an internal logic behind the price of every single piece I carry. If you care to know, I can explain it to you (for any and every item I carry).

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

I don’t price based on a blanket markup – as I imagine most people do – particularly wholesalers, who can’t be bothered with sorting through their lot (that’s our job, as retailers).

I price each piece based on a variety of factors. There’s size, color, texture, rarity (even within its type). Purchase price, replaceability, and personal “wow” factor all matter.

All these variables come into play…but this internalized list (the “axes of analysis,” as I call it) goes on and on! It would be hard to capture in words. There’s ultimately no substitute for the years of experience I bring to my pricing (and selection!).

The competitive vibe among sellers is actually something a lot of us have been overcoming (especially at the bigger shows). It’s so petty when venues block healers from reaching their audience, or sharing what it is they have to offer.

For all intents and purposes – if they did “open the gates” – the new arrangement would have every promise of creating a win win situation (for all of us). But no, we all want to be gatekeepers. “If you want to buy or be well, you have to come through my portal.” Sounds like Religion (but I won’t go there).

Papaya Quartz

Papaya Quartz

I find that it breaks the ice – with all but the most negatively minded people – when I buy from them, even at retail (though I certainly prefer – and merit – wholesale pricing). I’m an omnivorous buyer, I go for the good stones, wherever they may be (and whatever they cost).

I love the light hearted comradery that happens “on the floor.” There’s a sense that we’re all in this together – and that when we’re travelling from afar – we’re at the mercy of the organizers (who are ultimately “responsible” for bringing people through the door).

Indeed, there’s a little bit of an “us vs. them” feeling amongst the vendors, relative to organizers. It shows up in how we react towards the space we’re given; or even down to how the electricity is served up.

Our electricity kept getting unplugged…and had to be taped to the wall. It was a little annoying to have paid nearly $200 for access to a socket that was already there in my own booth space. And it wasn’t even that professionally set up (the wall plate wiggled). Three different sellers were being fed off of one outlet. Shimmying it tighter to the wall was the only method by which we could “stay juiced.”

Hospitality matters too – and shows up in areas such as making a special food line for us vendors – vs. relegating us to fending for ourselves (as if we were in the wild), amidst the throngs of festival goers.

Jewelry show display bins

Jewelry show display bins

Back (a bit) to my pricing philosophy and perspective. Some people think that because one person’s selling a bunch of tumblers in grab-bag-baskets for a couple of bucks each, that they’re not making a good margin of profit. Think again – they’re making as good a margin as anybody – and those nic nac accessories and non-rock, “shiny objects” that fly off the shelves…they’re there because they’re easy markup items. I was offered a few, to carry, but I declined…saying “I’m just a rock guy.”

Please don’t think that because some rocks sell for $1 to $3, that all rocks cost – or should cost – that amount. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on purchases I have no guarantee will ever sell. That’s what you do when you’re really into it.

Be driven by the product, not the cost. There are more important things to life (and Crystals) than the numbers. It annoys me to no end when people just look for the price tag, and then drop the piece, as if it has no other intrinsic worth than the dollar sign sticker which is stuck to it.

blues and greens - from Turquoise and Amazonite - to Crysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

blues and greens – from Turquoise and Amazonite – to Chrysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

Another pet peeve I have is when people come up out of nowhere – as they did specifically at this show, searching for Shungite – and ask “do you have such-and-such?” Just ’cause somebody’s written a book about it recently – extolling its virtues – doesn’t make it the best thing since sliced bread!

When it’s revealed that I don’t have it (whatever it may be…”Natural-ite” was another favorite…that made me laugh), they disappear again. Never mind that I have some of the best specimens of the key, classic varieties (and some hard to find rarities too) right there for the viewing, which they’ve completely overlooked. That just shows me they’re into the trends, and have no real depth to their interest in Crystals.

As I was packing up, after the close of the show, a woman walked up and asked casually “can you explain about Crystals, and what they do for you?” lackadaisically. I’m like (in my head): “really, you can’t seriously care about the truth of the matter, never mind what I have to say about it.”

pendulums galore

pendulums galore

Back to pricing – I have a pricing paradigm that I’ll share with you sometime too – it’s a way for you to understand better what you should expect to get for under $10 (as a retail buyer) – between $20 and $40; $50 and 90; over $100 – and over $200.

Another insider tip on my M.O. – if I don’t believe in it, or even get it – I don’t carry it (which I suggested above).

Take pendulums, for example. I don’t use them, but I know many who do. And I appreciate their aesthetic, as well as how helpful they can be (if you are into it). So I buy the best I can find – but not an overabundance of them – and I do display them.

Aqua Aura point(s)

Aqua Aura point(s)

Another variety I don’t use personally – but recognize the power of – is the treated Aura Quartzes. Precious metals are powdered, and fused to the surface of Quartz in a vacuum, at high temperatures. I’ve noticed they can become quite brittle – but they’re oh so pretty – and have a special, different, and larger than life aura.

My mainstay are real specimens  – including polished pieces – which I don’t necessarily consider “worse” than rough minerals.

I had a couple of people call me “hard” because I couldn’t go down indefinitely on the price of a standing Amethyst mini-cathedral. I’d rather hold onto something – wait for someone who appreciates it – than give it away beneath cost (or at a price that really doesn’t respect the piece).

Having been in the business 25 years, I know what will and won’t come around again.

Enough of my bellyaching! I don’t want to lose your ear – you’ve indulged me this far – but to get what we go through, you really have to understand this psychological tug of war that’s going on between us and folks who really don’t get it.

I had this same experience in the music business, where folks think you’re just “playing.” They don’t see your doing years of rehearsal, schlepping, late nights, driving tired behind the wheel, banging on doors for gigs. It ain’t easy work, but (somehow) we keep at it – we actually love it no matter what!

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

To tell you the truth – it’s self sourcing – energetically. I could be around Crystals (and all of what that entails) every single day, all day. Some of my best stretches have been spent exactly that way!

But you know the other reason we do it (and put up with all the BS)? It’s the folks who do get it, who recognize what you’re doing (and what it takes to deliver what you’re delivering). They make it worthwhile.

When I thought all was lost (that Saturday), and that I had no hope of recouping my expenses (never mind my product cost, or the worth of my time), I had a handful of good people come through. I’d just met them – for the first time(!) – and that carried me through.

Take also, for example, these encouraging words from a colleague afterwards: “You had a terrific display (and at least three attendees remarked to me that your crystals were of much higher quality than anything else at the show)! I think you really brought something special to the floor.” Feels good!

Or, from an elder, old time friend and fellow Crystal energy worker, based in NYC: “So good to see you again, I’m so proud of you. You have a great collection. And I like that you honor Earth Mother’s gifts.”

What else can I say?

Protection (and Crystals)

Protection. You want it. I want it!

Who doesn’t? But what is it…what does it really mean? That word – and the actions required to achieve that thing called “protection” – what’s it all about?

I hear a steady hum of requests and claims from people who are seeking, using, even needing Crystals for this purpose. “Do this” or “carry that” – I’ve heard – and (essentially…people claim): “you’re all set.”

Egyptian Amulets

Egyptian Amulets

As with most complex, Spiritually co-creative processes – the actual mechanics of how “protection” works – is only loosely understood (by most people). There is a pervasive (and very old school) “amulet mentality” – stemming from the notion that possessing (or holding, even in your pocket) a certain stone (or trinket) – will necessarily ward off evil.

Could it really be that easy? I wish it were so. And there are times, no doubt, when it is (or can be).

I just don’t think it’s (always) so easy – which is why I don’t like to give people quick – pat answers. The circumstances, nuances, particulars, and specifics all matter.

There is a LOT of grey area in the Spiritual realm – as there is in our own “grey matter” – the human brain and psyche…both are infinitely complex.

Also, you can have all the “protection” in the world – but if you stand out on a railroad track , and the train is coming towards you late at night – there’s nothing you can do to keep from being mowed down.

Tempting fate is a losing prospect. Ultimately, what you’re trying to do, is to get on the safe side of reality. Reduce your risk to a minimum. That means “don’t trouble Trouble.”

Stay the hell out of the way, unless you’re trying to be a hero, a martyr, or a fool. In any of those cases – you’re courting disaster, saying “bring it on” because your cause is just (or you think it is) – and feel the risks are worth taking. In other words – for you – “the ends justify the means.”

If you’re seeking Protection, it’s because you want to be safe along the way. You may not actually want to endanger yourself in the first place. You’re first line of defense should always be: don’t to put yourself into harm’s way.

Many people (sometimes instead) are looking for “quick fixes,” an age old panacea…something easy!

Aztec human sacrifice

Aztec human sacrifice

Let me be clear: I don’t idolize past traditions – there were (and are) many closed-minded and hurtful superstitions in place – not just issuing from Europe, but from many of the latest and “greatest” belief systems, all around the world. Nobody has – or should claim – to have all the answers.

I don’t want to say that protective objects don’t exist (like the Kuba nail fetishes of West Africa, and so many more) – but in the case of Crystals – we have the opportunity of gaining a much broader understanding of how this tricky dynamic can work, and be empowered (more than just in awe) of our own capacity to defend ourselves against “the dark arts.”

Not that evil is the only thing we need defense from. Often, our woes are not from malicious malefactors (or supernatural demons), per se. Who we’re in need of real protection from – in the day-to-day – are (in the grand scheme of things): ill-willed politicians, imperial and genocidal cultures, climate change, disease and old age. More mundanely (but no less threateningly): vindictive ex’es, negative co-workers, or a car accident can all creep up on you.

“The enemy” can be great or small. Or faceless. “Bad luck” – having been dealt a poor set of cards – that’s a very common thing we all need protection from.

You have to work a bit, to determine exactly what you’re trying to be spared, so that you can mount your counter attack, or build your defenses intelligently.

particularly sweet Black Tourmaline

particularly sweet Black Tourmaline

In the “Crystal World,” Black Tourmaline is often reached for -reflexively – but why?  What is the mechanism by which its protection is effected? What is the crystal DOING to keep you safe? And why should you choose that one over any other?

These are prickly questions – ones we don’t get answers to often – because the purveyors of crystal lore often repeat by rote what’s been “handed down” to them, without attempting any substantive explanation for why one set of assertions should be considered more truthful than any others.

Now I don’t expect you to do a science experiment to identify what methods will work best against invisible forces. I don’t know if such a thing is even possible (or desirable). You’re using etheric energy to fight etheric energy…there’s no place for that in the scientific method arena (or vice versa). True to the playing field of “grey area,” there are no easy answers, or solutions to the quandary.

There is, however, a way of understanding what’s happening – or what needs to happen – which might make sense, and feel like it’s involved in the physical cause-and-effect progression 0f that which you’re seeking.

Basically, self-defense consists of four parts: avoidance of dangerous situations (stay out of the way); bolstering of internal strength (to gird against attack); the clearing of negative energies (to ensure that that your vibes go unfettered); and going on the offensive (beating back your enemy).

Avoidance can be active, and literal – or “passive” – as in stealth, “cloaking,” being unseen…shapeshifting. It combines common sense, practical “street savvy,” and advanced knowledge of esoteric arts. So I won’t be getting into that one right now, from a metaphysical perspective. It’s a bit premature, and not really necessary, with all this other advice I’m dishing out. Just mind your P’s and Q’s, and you should be alright with what I’m presenting here. This is a solid foundation for understanding how Crystals can be used for Protection.

Herkimer Diamond with lots of internal fracturing

Herkimer Diamond with lots of internal fracturing

Next. How about bolstering your internal strength? Take a page from our friend, the Herkimer Diamond (a variety of Quartz that forms solo, or in groups, and is generally double terminated). I can’t “use” this material for much, like Quartz points, wands, and tabulars. Those all permit the use or projection of energy flow through them. Herkimers hold their own, however: they’re pretty much energetically impermeable.

Am I repeating this because I’ve read it somewhere? No! What I’m saying here comes from my own personal experience. You can take it with a grain of salt – “find out” for yourself – and/or trust me, based on my 25 years’ experience with Crystals.

Herkimers can be rather expensive, for their size, but they’re kind of  unique (though I’ve seen similar formations coming from Mexico and elsewhere). Dynamically, though, nothing from anywhere else does what a Herkimer Diamond can do. Bigger is indeed better here, and by merely having, or reflecting on it, you can cultivate your own inner resources, “thicken your skin,” strengthen your immunity. This is a useful tip, even beyond the topic of Protection…it feeds right into Health and Wellness in general. That’s one thing (among many!) that I like about Crystals…they’re useful in so many ways, and for so many purposes.

The suggestions I make here are by no means the only methods for getting at any given ends. I (and you) might have other stones or techniques (including many that don’t even involve Crystals), which may be perfectly useful. But I’m touching on these particular pieces to give you guidelines about how to use these specifically appropriate stones, and how different stones can affect different ends (or sub-priorities) – even if you have one overarching “goal” (in this case, it’s Protection). A multi-tiered approach is always better than a one dimensional fix-it.

sheen Obsidian wand

sheen Obsidian wand

Clearing of negative energies – I use light percussion or sage too (to achieve this) – but in the mineral world, Obsidian (specifically in wand form) is a really good way of shoo’ing away unwanted vibrations. It’s like clearing cobwebs. The idea is to scare off “bad spirits” – to make an open, fresh space – for new (and “better”) energies to come through. Imagine it’s like erasing a blackboard, zeroing out a calculator, or wiping a slate clean. As a result, you can work with “what’s left,” and build something new in “the vacuum.”

A corollary to clearing, is the subsequent (or co-incidental) creation and maintenance of Sacred Space. That can be effected through layouts, with energetically neutral objects (or stones), and is an important prerequisite for doing serious energy work.  You don’t want negative vibes slapping back once a person’s aura has been opened. It’s not fair to them, as they’ve put their trust in you. Another form of Obsidian – specifically “Apache tears” – is great for this…it’s like those circular bubble-generators that keep sharks away.

Lastly, there is the notion of actively fighting back opposition (or malevolent intentions). For this, you do need a heavy hitter. It’s a bit like fighting fire with fire – the reason people like to have guns – for self defense (or offense towards others). People like to think that their weapon would never “fall into the wrong hands,” or be misused by an innocent (like a child). For “2nd amendment’ers,” there’s also the expectation that their weapon would never be used against them, and that only “good” people’s rights are defended by allowing unbridled access to firearms. It’s a tricky game that can backfire, and should not to be trifled with.

large irradiated Arkansas Quartz

large irradiated Arkansas Quartz

I digress though – but only sort of – because it surprises me to see some folks in the crystal business (usually the non metaphysically-oriented ones) glorifying gun ownership. And yet, here I am, advocating something similar.

Evil exists in the world – mostly because of people – it’s a force we’ve generated by our own human hand since “the fall” (or the expulsion from Eden). Even in the natural world – where the construct of malevolence does not apply – predators and other natural forces beset the individual as soon as they’re born.

We all need tools for defense – and tools are a uniquely human problem solver. Specifically, I present to you this giant, irradiated “generator” point. Notice: it points away from you, and off the page.

Usually, I reserve the term “generator” for wide points that stand straight up. In this case, the piece does push out energy spontaneously. And you don’t want it pointed at you – or anyone, really – it’s more generally for protection, to ward off any evil intentions (which may be out there). I can’t tell you the perils I’ve avoided…which at least, in part…I owe to having this power piece.

I realize not everyone has access to something of this magnitude – I haven’t seen another since the late 80’s – and not all irradiated Quarz will manifest the same qualities (as this one does). However, you may wish to seek out something similar to it. The look may not be the identical. You may find a completely different stone – or some other power object to use – but the function should be comparable. Like an attack dog, it safeguards  your scene…and that’s a very important role (for it) to play.

Thus, and in conclusion, it is possible to effect Protection through Crystals. It’s not as simple as putting a bandaid on – or one rock in your pocket – my prescriptions are multi-layered. In this, as with any other ambitions you may have, it behooves you to look at the problem from several angles. Then, understanding the intrinsic energies of Crystals, it becomes possible to put together a creative, and 3-dimensional approach to whatever challenges face you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Crystal Concentrics’ founder Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals for over 25 years. He is available for individual session work (in person, and long-distance), as well as group instruction: Classes & Meditations. His For-Sale pieces may be seen at http://www.Facebook.com/PowerStoneCrystals, and you can contact him directly at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com with any questions you may have.

Thought-Provoking Gem Show Conversation

quality (and lower quality) beads by the thousands

I found my favorite retailer at the Marlborough gem show this weekend – and of course went through all their cardboard ‘flats’ – the name of the industry standard 1.5 foot by 2 foot cardboard boxes replete with minerals. These folks are generally the only ones selling specimens in the whole show (of maybe 150 vendors). It’s really 98% jewelry, not even cut stones that much…and a lot of trinketry too.

I overheard Rick [even my son remembered him when I got home (and he didn’t even come with me this time), as having the build of a wrestler, and – my edit – the spirit of a Viking]…I’m changing his name because this isn’t an official interview. I’m editorializing, and I don’t know that he cares to share all these perspectives publicly. I do, however, because they’re edifying (and interesting).

At the moment I came up, Rick was disabusing a picky customer regarding her predilection for American mined stones, basically telling her to get over it. But I didn’t hear the whole conversation. So there’s not much more I can say about that…my conversation with him was grist enough for my own mill.

class flier for Crystals Demystified, register at http://www.bit.ly/KRCDHEC

First, I handed him the info sheet to my upcoming Crystals Demystified class (being held Sunday, 12/2/12, from 1-3pm). He had an opinion (of course). My sense was that he was invested in sharing some of his own ideas with these ready listeners – through me – and I guess that’s what’s happening.

We sparred over polished vs. natural stone. Specifically, I was saying that I’m seeking rough Sugilite, and polished pieces won’t do. The same is true – for me – with Lapis. He took umbrage at the notion that one (rough, he assumed was my favorite) is superior to the other.

tumbled (polished, but not glossy) chunk of Jet, with interesting creases

Rick argued that polishing is merely the rubbing of finer stones against others (what could be more natural?) – and that it’s not an adulteration or diminution of their value, energetically. I couldn’t agree more, actually – and as usual (‘in my book’) – it depends on the piece. Certain stones, you can ‘access’ their energy better if they’re polished…others less so. I know which is which, for me, but time didn’t allow – and it wasn’t called for – to have me enumerate which was which.

He said: “to all those people who want to be snobby about their ‘natural’ pieces” [and I paraphrase here, as I have been throughout], “I want to empty a wheelbarrow of muddy, silty mine-fodder in front of them and say ‘how’s that for natural’?” Many of us want our stones washed and tidy, which is a form of processing in itself.

I myself would rather wait and sift through gem show collections than go sling a hammer in the field. I’ve done it – a little – at the public Herkimer diamond mines. I admire (and of course respect) those who do…who get and convey all the stones I’ve ever seen ‘to the table. But that’s not my role or specialty in this ‘business.’ I put quotes around ‘business’ because it isn’t really a business, only…it’s a passion, and a mission (for some of us).

collection of pieces I purchased this last weekend

I’m a selector, collector, and conveyer of information, teaching, and process…that’s by ‘job.’ I quote ‘job’ because it’s not a J.O.B. – it’s a calling.

Now back to my account. Rick admitted that as someone who buys and sells rocks full time, he’s got a vested interest in getting his head around the metaphysical piece. But before he got into that, he had some more schooling for me.

We talked about the various techniques by which balls are polished out of chunks (and cubes)…including by hand (where electricity is less reliable than person power). The 3 Jet balls I purchased – nowhere have I seen any, but small examples of them before – these were clearly hand wrought (and from Poland, which is unusual, as I haven’t heard of Poland being a source for Jet, previously).

I learned that most of the Afghan Lapis comes from three mine shafts into the ‘blue mountain’ – apparently visible as such, from miles away – during Biblical times. These mines date back to before the Egyptians. Each delivers a different grade of Lapis. I bought a sliver of ‘midnight grade’ Lapis Lazuli – the only one he had on display (or maybe the only one left, as I arrived on the afternoon of day 3). I haven’t decided whether or not to sell it. For now it’ll accompany my own, similar piece…but check it out (in the picture here, to the right)!

Going back to his diatribe about ‘rough’ vs. polished – Rick made a couple of references to his analogy that turning someone on to a raw fish & vegetable diet that they hadn’t ever tried before – would surely result in upsetting their stomach and turning them off to the whole idea, healthful as it may be. He said basically: you have to crawl before you can walk, and small, cheaper, easier to hold tumbled rocks do just fine as ‘gateway’ crystals.

Then we got into something really quite interesting. He said “if I put a chunk of Plutonium in your bed, you’d start losing hair and bleeding from your gums in a few days. Yet you can’t see it’s energy, or even feel it. I’d like to try that on someone who says they don’t believe rocks have any energies. If one element can do that much harm, there’s got to be other rocks that can have the opposite effect on your well being. Problem is, how can I prove the well being piece? It’s easy to show that something killed you – but you can’t easily show that something healed you” – or reproduce the results handily, from one person to the next.

Funny (sad, really) how much easier (or reliable) it is to destroy than to create. And yet, I’m astonished how some homeless people – who I know are living the hard life – survive year in and year out. We are a resilient race – some of us survive even the worst tribulations – while others succumb so easily to them.

Another example of how/why rock power is a force to contend with: Rick said “during the Great Depression, some women in Appalachia were called crazy for eating dirt…yet their diet was devoid of iron. They needed it for their metabolism, even though they didn’t know the real reason they were drawn to eat dirt.” Rick said: “we’re eating dirt ourselves, only in the form of the plants and animals that are able to transform its various elements into digestible, assimilable nutrients. Our bodies are filled with elements, metals, and minerals” – they’re called mineral supplements, aren’t they?

yellow Calcite votive candle burner

Yet people feel a disconnect. They’re like – yeah, but that’s food – these are just rocks. Some of them are – with no perceptible energetic ‘value.’ And Rick said as much. But to not recognize the unbroken continuum between us and the very material that makes up our planet (and our bodies) – which preceeds us by millions (and billions!) of years, is kind of like living with a huge blind spot in front of us – don’t you think?

I watched the Lincoln movie last night, and there was dispute on the floor of the Congress about whether full equality under the law, for African Americans, would lead to full voting rights, representation, and intermarriage…or even votes for women (still 50+ years away from that discussion in 1865). Those attitudes now seem embarrassingly outdated – but that’s what some people thought (and truly believed) – just like the folks 500 years ago, who scoffed at the notion of the world being round, or its revolving around the sun.

I used to – and still kind of do, physiologically – think the human being stopped evolving some time ago. Sure, there are modern pathogens, GMO’s, and electromagnetic bombardment. Those must be having their effect, changing us in ways we don’t know.

optical Calcite, cut to resemble a Quartz generator, with phenomenal and layered rainbow action

There doesn’t seem to be any ‘survival of the fittest’ dynamic at work any more – everyone lives long enough to reproduce – whether they choose to or not, is another story. Our bodies are essentially as they were 100,000 years ago. But after watching the movie “Happy” – which showed the radically different brainwaves and cortical activity of someone in a meditative state – I’m starting to think it’s possible that our brains can evolve, even in our lifetimes, as we pursue discipline,training our capacity to apply our mental abilities in new and different ways.

This is promising, and encouraging to us, as a race. We have the power to adopt new mindsets, make whole different outcomes unfold in the world (and our lives!). There’s a reason it’s said that G*d created the world out of sound, or ‘The Word.’ That is the power of our imagination, and intention.

Flight was impossible till someone thought about it seriously, and put mind to machine, making it happen.

We’ve realized that our body is made up of billions of organisms – not just one – because of the important role of co-habitating bacteria in our gut (and all the outcomes beyond genetics, that impact our health, as a result of that). We are not in this alone – not just inside of us – but outside, above, and all around us. What I’m saying is that we are inextricably bound up with the world around us – not just an island, cut off – and our willpower can move mountains.

But I digress – though the above is important – and certainly part of my own, ‘unfoldment’ recently. Our consciousness is like a flower, first a tight and impermeable bud, but then developing into a beautiful flower, before withering away, and leaving only the memory of its splendor, in the words, works, and impressions we’ve made around us.

Ours is a powerful instinct to seek out what we need. People often say “you teach what you need to learn.” I have a powerful desire to connect and be grounded to earthly things (and vitality). That is because I’ve had the tendency (and constitution) to be airy and slothful at once. You might not believe it – and I have to remind myself: I can go that way – but it was my original constitution, which I’ve taken years to transform (over the past 30 years).

I’m still working out my process, fighting certain battles, trying to improve my self.

Rick’s point, in addition to all the above, is that you really have to tune into yourself, find out what it is that you’re craving (or need), and pursue it open mindedly. Don’t be dogmatic or limited. Say you need vegetables in your diet – but you only eat broccoli – and there’s no broccoli around – what do you do…starve yourself of vegetables, holding out for that broccoli, which simply isn’t available?

As the 60’s tune goes: “if you can’t be, with the one you love – honey – love the one you’re with.” Not that I’m advocating for infidelity. You have to take the sentiment with a grain of salt. Seriously: take advantage of what is, don’t get hung up on what isn’t, because the here and now is all we really have.

Yes, there’s memory, longing, and wishful thinking – but hear me out – there’s a specific point we’re making here.

Smoky oval…beautiful color & energy

It’s a pet peeve to Rick (and to me too) when people say – “I’ve heard this is ‘good for’ such and such, and ‘that’s all I’m really looking for” – to the exclusion of all the other stones before them.

Rocks come in and out of ‘season’ (ie. vogue, or availability) or simply aren’t in stock at any given time. Different stones can ‘do’ the same things for you –  or close enough. It’s not wise to be limited by what’s written in the books. Experiment – get in touch with the energy (or ‘nutrient,’ to use the dietary model) that you’re seeking – and latch on to whatever matches that, feeds that, serves that desire. It may be a totally different variety, size, shape, or color than you expected. And connect. Take advantage of it. Use and savor what it has to offer!

To find out more – please email me at, Kyle Russell – at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com.

If you’re Metro-Boston, please Register to take my class “Crystals Demystified:” Sunday, December 2nd, from 1-3pm (in West Concord, at the Healing Essence Center)…here’s the info link for the class.

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