crystalline green

A few friends recently asked how I’m using stones, so here you go, lovelies…


I’m not a pro over here. I don’t know how other people work with stones; I just follow my instincts. So here’s my system: each morning after I’m dressed and before I leave the house, I stand in the dark next to the china bowl in which they reside and hold up one at a time to my solar plexus. If my body leans forward (felt in the hips), I place it in a line to the right. If my body leans away, it goes into another line to the left, and if my body doesn’t move, the stone gets placed in a third line in the middle. (This process has gotten so there are also lines with more or less energies — body slightly leans away versus strongly away, hence the other two lines. Pardon wrinkly sheets.)


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For this one (above and below on 2/9), when I had completed the process, I felt a little unclear so went back through the first two lines on the right to identify which were the very strongest and which wanted to be in combination with others. It turned out that the kunzite (light lilac shard) was the strongest. That went into my hand first. Then I went back through the other stones until I had a handful. This allows for combinations to meld and decide themselves.


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Interpretations for each stone and how they conduct energy or what they can be used for can be found in books or online. I find these to be more or less useful, but I think it’s more important for a relationship to develop between stone and user. Some stones I can sense and feel really strongly, like aragonite, azurite, celestite, and moldavite (which I struggle to be in the same room with and it turns out this is fairly common) and others that feel muted and sort of blank to me.


But this one was a group that’s so much about softness, loving support, and grounding, with a bit of protection and bolstering faith. Emerald, morganite, kunzite, and carnelian (2 of them), along with rhodochrosite and amethyst. It’s one of the most love-oriented groupings I can see from my stones, sort of a love bomb. And that made sense. The 8th and 9th were good, but intense days of a lot of emotionally demarcating and moving forward. It was also the day after the anniversary of my cousin’s death; a perpetually tender spot on the calendar.


At the end of the identifying process, I turn on the light and gather all of the stones that my body leaned towards into a small fabric bag and into my pocket they go. This method allows the stones to choose themselves as energy to be of use that day, or what can aid or help; what I’m in need of. If a lot of the same stones popping up for days or weeks on end or the same color groups, that tells me that the corresponding energy center  or theme needs significant attention or work (green = heart, blue = communication, etc.).


How woo is all of this? Partly to mid woo. Do I think stones are going to heal diseases? No. But I’ve always been more or less attuned to that which is numinous, especially when I was small. I find using stones sort of like: “Is a barometer going to change a weather pattern?” No. But it’s a useful tool. Ancestors have regularly appeared in my dreams, and my earliest memories in this life are my last ones from my most recent prior life. This was met in my family with eyerolls and minimization so I naturally learned to never speak of it. Then, giving birth heightened all of my senses. It overhauled my attunement, sorta like a low burner that was suddenly turned full up.


I think it stands to reason that as mothers gain heightened senses to protect and monitor their children — the heightened ability to smell, to detect illness or imbalance, and more sensitive hearing in order to hear your individual child’s cry and its meaning, all of the senses might become heightened.


This is about the extent of what I do with my stones. Sometimes I feel compelled to move one to a certain part of the house or I hold certain ones when I meditate, or sleep with some under my pillow. A lot of people program their stones, using specific intent to infuse each one, or grid them by using really elaborate patterns to concentrate one specific energy or intention. Perhaps at some point I will be drawn to that, but for now I’m content to skulk around gem shows, read, clean them under the full moon, and carry a pocketful each day. And, rocks and their formation are just pretty rad and fascinating.


Here is a stone pull from 2/4 that was a surprise. The night before I pulled these, in the place between awake and asleep, I was shown a roll of wide canary yellow satin ribbon, its spool encircling my spine. As I breathed in, the ribbon retracted, spooling back like it was coming back from far away. Only, it stopped at one point, caught on something far off. I tried to energetically yank it. I found a knot in it and untied it, but still it didn’t retract. I pulled these the next morning.


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With the exception of the aragonite (sputniky one which H- picked out for me), smoky quartz heart, and the golden topaz (bright yellow one on left) these are rarely occurring for me. Because I pull these less and encounter them less, this one was harder to understand. In light of the yellow ribbon, what I gleaned from these is the renewed need for defined autonomy — I don’t take happily to my energy being caught elsewhere, especially when I haven’t mindfully given it. As autonomy and independence are generally strengths of mine, I realized it makes good sense that I rarely see yellow stones appearing, especially in any numbers. It’s not an area that generally needs bolstering.


The white (scolecite) and clear (apophyllite and silver topaz) suggest a self-sharpening; realigning intrinsic values and self integrity… sort of refocusing as well as redefining faith and connection (meditation, prayer, etc.). And also, reconstituting the fundamental, primary self. (I did a little meditation later to retrive the caught up ribbon.)


The bloodstone (green) was lending clarity – mental, emotional, and divine. It’s a stone that leaves me feeling not so alone in the world. It also lends balance and legibility to matters of the heart.


I hope this helps! xo

coping tools for the next 4 years

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I feel like half of my life is cooking while listening to podcasts. I took that, ‘the nutrition children receive in the first 3 years is vital to future eating patterns’ thing *really* seriously (aside from Christmas cookies). But also, it’s methodical… I’m making something, my hands and brain are occupied (note to self: make 2017 the year I finally learn how to knit), and it generally leaves no crack for the din to seep in.

*A note on coping tools: For me this little series is a way to catalog what helps and what works, because when anxiety inevitably blooms after reading the news, it can be extremely easy to forget and to actively despair. (This happened the other night when I found myself researching how to build a fallout shelter until 2 a.m. On the plus side I learned a bit about trenching.)

Some of these coping tools available to me are obviously rooted in class privilege, as in, I have child care part-time, which means 1) I can afford child care and 2) having it sometimes allows me to create pockets of time in which to partake in the activities that help keep me sound. I recognize that many, many people do not have these sorts of options and resources.

For friends I see struggling now, especially those in targeted communities and the survivors (who are constantly triggered by the president elect) please stay sound, or as sound as you can. Identify who and what helps you, supports you, encounters you mutually and reciprocally, and keep them all so close. 

new black moon

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A dear friend told me recently that when she heard Carolyn Forché speak, Carolyn said to ’empty the hands’ every day. Meaning, get thoughts out and words down so that the work that needs to come through has space to do so. This is just an emptying the hands post.

 

CW: discussion of alcohol and drinking and not drinking

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I wrote this a week ago and should have pitched it somewhere, but the news cycle has moved (not unlike the eye of Sauron?), so no one is talking PokemonGO.
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The International Dota2 is on. Almost no one I know in my daily life has any idea what that is, but about 60 million people worldwide are watching along with me. 
 
Egames and esports are huge, larger than most people in our country over age 30 can fathom. The prize pool for The International this year is currently at $19,731,737, with the first place team (of 5 men) taking almost $9 million. These are young men, many still in their teens.* The whole thing is mind-boggling for people who have had no idea esports were even a thing that’s been going on for years now.
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Here I am two years ago, swollen with child, at The International in 2014 in Seattle. Being a severely pregnant woman a few months from 40 at The International was sort of amazing. Some women there were in cosplay, as heroes from the game–Windrunner, Luna, Templar Assassin and the like. And there were also some hardcore women gamers, and then me: A fan, a would be player, and above all a student of games and gaming since early childhood. 
 
If you want to feel invisible, REALLY invisible, go to an esports tournament really pregnant. It was fascinating. I guess the range created by full-out young cosplay women and then me, on the entire other end of the spectrum–nearly middle-aged and pregnant, waddling about, was too much to compute… a fly in the ointment.
 
For me, gaming started so young. Some earliest memories are of being on a family member’s lap during penny Poker, Pinochle, and Euchre. I’d toss in the ante or throw out a bower. One of the things I understand best is the language of the game table–trash talk, shooting the shit, or slowly progressing conversations about important topics, frequently paused by the play of the hand, a mild expletive, the shuffle or the cut. I understand these cycles primarily, and the language and the pace. It’s a natural way to think and spend time and to be with family. 
 
It’s no surprise then that as kids my siblings and I were pretty taken with most games, outdoor and indoor. From TV Tag to Freeze Tag to Red Light / Green Light and Rotten Eggs, and the highlight of every single Summer night, Ghost in the Graveyard. If it was called a game, we three would play it. We had a 6ft. Christmas tree box packed full with board games. On more than one occasion we tried to play every game in a single sitting. I don’t think we ever accomplished it. And now when we are all together, a generous portion of our time is spent at a table, music going, playing cards or games, ideally all in pajamas, and having appropriate snacks and drinks. 
 
And it’s no surprise that at the age of 8, I started falling in with my older brother’s Dungeons and Dragons games with his friends. The alternative was hanging out with our older sister and her friends, talking about boys and social life; supremely dull to me. I was far more interested in virtual adventuring, slaying creatures, casting spells and finding loot. So when we got an Atari around the same time, we were three very happy kids. I have supremely fond memories of weekend nights spent playing Atari with my siblings, feeling safe and in fantastic worlds for what had to have been many hours.

As I grew up, Atari turned into Nintendo turned into computers and Xbox and tabletop gaming remained. There are video game worlds and series that are very special to me; I should always have a t-shirt on that says: “I’d rather be in Tamriel,” because it’s always, always true. Though I no longer have the time to keep up with any video games as a player, I’m always paying attention to what is happening because so much vital social critique and mirroring, as well as progressive art, is happening in gaming. All the hub bub about Grand Theft Auto? Those games are pretty brilliant satirical send ups of our culture–a harsh but true mirror by masterful game developers that outrage people who never play or understand them, which is great marketing.

So when I hear and see people, mostly much younger than me, disparaging Pokémon GO and its players, I always go to bat. It’s a conversation I will gladly have. It’s important to note that these people always seem to be white and privileged–the class I belong to, and the class that by default thinks that everything should be for them, and that their opinion about a subject should always *matter* and be welcomed. 
 
The conversation usually starts with someone listing negative news items about the game–peak fear headlines crafted to foster a shocked, frothing readership. Perhaps it’s because I write as well as game that I forget most people still don’t think of “journalism” and “industry” in the same breath. It’s not that good news doesn’t sell, although it doesn’t, it’s about magnifying narratives that do sell. Simply, writers are often paid to concentrate of the negative slants of any story. It creates audience and drives up advertiser revenues. Isolated, negative incidents magnified by writers who get paid by the word (read: create more news to make more money and try to make a living) for news that’s sure to go viral–requiring more follow-up stories–is how a lot of people pay their bills, including many of my friends. The negative stories resonate with people who don’t game., don’t get it, and have no context or knowledge about the topic. They are walking in on the middle of a conversation and sharing opinions they have been prompted to have by a news outlet trying to generate audience.
 
The average age of the Pokémon GO player base is mid to late 20s, with 40% of players being over 30. So while news stories about pedophiles or muggers targeting Pokestops are troubling, they are extremely rare. There are 9.5 million active daily players; that many people doing *anything* is going to result in issues. What is conveniently ignored are the wider trends–people with anxiety or depression getting out of the house, walking, discovering local areas, meeting people, enjoying fresh air, comparing Pokédex. It’s like a giant scavenger hunt and everyone is welcome. 
 

As an introvert and person with severe social anxiety, I can attest that Pokémon GO is a pretty warming experience. Though I’ve uninstalled the game, I played long enough to understand it and have the game play experience and be informed. Indeed, there are far more stories about people with ASD or mental illness interacting in ways that they have not been able to for sometimes years, than there are about pedophiles and muggings. Last week when I was feeling ‘meh’ and stressed, I found myself with 30 minutes to kill and parked and walked a few miles around a heavily Pokestop-populated downtown area, where I saw a lot of people seemingly like me who enjoy being among people for a spell, but not necessarily interacting, having a sense of community and happy, shared experience. I saw a 65-year-old woman comparing Pokédex with a 20-year-old man, and an older man in a wheelchair being pushed by a young woman–he was navigating, telling her where they needed to go next.

In just two weeks of playing, I had a number of similar experiences and saw many people having them as well. To decry something that isn’t for you, that you don’t do, isn’t your community, and a medium one has no knowledge of or conext for beside a few headlines crafted to cause pearl-clutching, is awfully naive. Perhaps groups of people gathered in one place staring at their phones trying to catch a creature are having exactly the right experience for them… one that suits them, allows them to be themselves and function in the way that gives them a feeling of belonging. If Pokémon GO is the end of our society as we know it, as many want to believe, then our end times look awfully fun. 
 
* Obviously The International and DOTA2 are playing a myopic short game, unwilling to look a few years into the future and the full dismantling of the concept of gender binary which is steadily, thankfully falling apart. Their leagues separated by birth-assigned gender are already antiquated as well as overtly prejudiced and sexist. There is seemingly no explanation as to why Valve believes women are less neurologically capable than men, and no logical plan to integrate trans and gender queer players into leagues. And no explanation why, despite having playable male and female heroes, teams would not be integrated.

notes

notes for a poem, and all the feathers i’ve found at my feet within the last month.

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temple

a clutch of thick / lilac at the entrance, woven / silver bowl, stone / fruits. water poured runs / it through. two / webbed coals glow. / from them: sturdy white / hyacinths. a breath in; / call back your own iron / fillings. an exhale mutates / them: gems drop piling. / ribbons wind back the spine’s / spool. all walls anointed hyssop, myrrh.

 

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