Saturday, August 27, 2011


 Another stone on my favorites list is hematite...but it's not really a 'stone', it's a form of iron oxide (about 70% iron ore, and 30% oxygen).  

(Ancient hematite mine)

Hematite is a mined mineral that is a primary ingredient of iron.  In geological terms, it can be found in igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary environments.  It is also "paramagnetic" which means it is slightly attracted to magnetic fields.  Hematite is usually found in areas where there has been water, or volcanic activity.  There have been discoveries of forms of hematite on the planet Mars, which seems to support theories of there once being water there.  

 Hematite comes in a few colors: black to silvery grey, brown, and reddish brown to red.  All color variations have red veining in them.  The most common color is silvery grey, as it is used widely in the creation of jewelry.  It's quite beautiful in its polished state, and its metallic appearance does give one the impression that it is something other than your usual stone.
From a metaphysical perspective, hematite is seen as a grounding stone.  It's a healing stone.  Want to develop some mental clarity, or get 'centered'?  Than this is the stone for you.  It is the 'stone' of life energy, and projects an energy of will power and confidence.  Use it to project negativity away, and to bring energy back to the self to generate that energy within and get centered.  It assists in bringing awareness back to the self.   Hematite is also used in the meditative practice of astral projection.  Hematite is a plentiful mineral, and can be found in the US, Canada, and Brazil.

A note to those who own hematite pieces in the shape of stones for meditative purposes, etc., do not wash them in water.  To cleanse/re-energize your 'stones', place them on top of quartz crystals for several hours to a full day.

(Left:  Root Chakra; Right:  Solar Plexis Chakra) 

Hematite is another stone that has a link to the Chakra system, mainly the root Chakra located at the base of the spine.  Some of the emotional issues associated with this Chakra are self esteem, security and survival.  Hematite partners well with the root Chakra due to its grounding nature.  Hematite helps to align the energies of the mind, body, and spirit.

The solar plexus Chakra also works with the energies of hematite.  Some of the emotional issues linked to this Chakra are self esteem, self image fears, and indecisiveness.  It governs the sense of self within the universe, and personal power.

(Set of Rune Stones made out of hematite...I have some of these)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Goodnight, Irene...

(Thursday, August 25th) 

On Thursday, August 25th, the news of approaching hurricane Irene was buzzing away on the TV, local stations doing their best to build up some drama and suspense.  At that point they were saying category 3, and telling everyone along the coast to batten down their hatches.  Apparently, a lot of people took their words to heart.  I had to make a quick trip to the grocery store, and I think all of Savannah was there.  It was around 4:00 PM, and the big crowd was not typical for a week day or that time.  At all.  People were driving like maniacs, speeding around the parking lot almost hitting people.  "Good grief, people...this isn't 'the rapture', it's just a hurricane that probably won't even hit us!"  The Georgia coast is kind of set back from the coastline above us, and reports were that Irene would most likely pass us a bit farther to the east.  Savannah was definitely not going to get the 'eye' treatment from Irene, and in my opinion, if we were lucky we would get some rain out of her as she passed by.

(Early morning of Friday, August 26th, before the rain started.) 

My insomnia was in full swing, so I decided to make my wakeful night a productive one, and work on a couple of blog entries.  At one point around 4:00 AM, I thought I heard some thunder, but nothing was falling at that point.  At around 6:00, I heard a rushing sound outside, and took a look out of the window.  It was very breezy, and the sky was darkening by the minute.  I walked down to my usual spot at the marsh, and the sky was filling with beautiful, billowy clouds in different shades of a slate blue.  I could smell the storm.  It was these sensory observations that told me we would get rain...but how much?  No way to know...  (Please note that the times I stated are approximate...insomnia = wonky brain.)

Within an hour or so, the rain arrived.  Tree branches and bushes were whipping around in the strong winds.  The above still photograph shows it raining, but it doesn't properly illustrate just how chaotic it was out there.  The rain was torrential.   I was thrilled.  I know that there are areas farther up the coast that are supposed to get hammered by the more severe sectors of the storm, but I couldn't help it.  I love rain.  The more, the better.  The severity lessened a bit, and became more of a moderate and steady rain that continued on and off throughout the day.  There were even a few pockets of the sun forcing its way through the clouds.

As the day began to draw to a close, the sky became quiet, and a dark calm settled itself over the marsh.  It felt like Autumn.  Moody and mysterious, with an otherworldly hue to the diminishing natural light.  I wish Irene could have visited a bit longer...we really need rain here.  I did enjoy what she gave us.

As I write this, I am sure that the first predicted stop on Irene's course, North Carolina, has seen her arrival.  I'm about to go take a look at the Weather Channel to see what the latest is.  Here's to hoping that she isn't misbehaving too badly...

New Moon in Virgo...

(Artwork by David Palladini.  He also did the card designs for the Aquarian Tarot deck
...which is my favorite deck.)

This month's New Moon falls on the 28th, at 11:04 PM/EST.  All New Moon's present an opportunity to start fresh with new projects, or new phases of one's life, with renewed perspective.  Sit down and get organized.  Start fresh with new or adjusted daily schedules and/or routines. This moon comes with the added mission of feeling grounded.  Connecting with the Earth.  Maybe focus on something of an environmental nature, and be of service.  One thing is for mellow.  The sun and the moon are both in Virgo, and that signals  the need to focus on being healthy (self), getting organized, and helping others.  Use common sense, and be detail oriented.  Everything forms a piece in the puzzle of life.  Don't ignore anything, no matter how small.  The goal is to get rid of the negative past so you can be a healthy person inside and out.  Take getting "healthy" in the literal sense, and change your diet, ride a get the picture.  Being at your best can attract the positive, and bring empowerment, or offers of help from others.  It could mean that taking care of yourself could steer you into a position of helping someone else.  This cycle, there is a lot of positive energy to take advantage of, as we will be experiencing a "Grand Earth Trine" ('Trine' is a chart pattern when three planets are at 120 degree aspects with each other).

Some of the planetary positions for this New Moon:

  • Conjoining with this Virgo New Moon is Venus, which is also in Virgo.  This represents love on a variety of levels...whether it's with a partner, or being of service to your fellow man.  Just be sure to take advantage of this incredible energy, and do something productive/forward thinking.
  • There is a "Grand Earth Trine" with Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn (all Earth signs) being over the moon (extremely positive).
  • Jupiter in Taurus + Pluto and Venus in retrograde Capricorn = energy/passion
  • Mercury will be direct in Leo, which is also a positive indication to start something new.  (August's Mercury retrograde cycle ends on the 26th.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tree Art...

Before long, we will be celebrating Summer's official departure and celebrate the much anticipated return of autumn.  I am so looking forward to the cooler temperatures, the rich color changes of the flora, and the inherent mood of mystery that the season carries within.  I took one of my strolls to the corner in the usual humidity laden air, and my mind was on thoughts of autumn.

I walked my usual route down the sidewalk that skirts the parking places in front of the buildings.  At about my halfway point to the condo entrance, I passed some trees I always pass on my walks.  This time, however, they had changed in a way that made me stop and take a closer look.

I am not sure what type of trees they are.  I want to say that they are cyprus trees, but I haven't confirmed it yet.  They are currently shedding...I don't want to call it bark, but I suppose that's technically what it is.  It looks more like a dry layer of skin sloughing off in sections.

The textures and colors are what grabbed my attention.  Like works of abstract art.  In the slowly waning light of the afternoon, sections of the clustered tree trunks looked like rich oil paintings.  As I say in most of my posts containing my photographs, I don't really use a flash as I prefer natural light.  I snapped several pictures without a flash, and they just weren't capturing what I was seeing to my satisfaction.  My inability to hold the camera still wasn't helping matters.  I decided to bite the bullet and turn my flash on. I am very happy with the results.

I had decided to continue on my walk when I made a snap decision to take a few more photos.  At the base of one of the tree groupings I hadn't focused much attention on, I found this cicada shell.  I didn't notice it at first since its color blended in so well with the surrounding color scheme.

The shell you see is the form the cicada has when it emerges from the ground, where it spends the bulk of its life.  When they get to the final stages, they create an exit tunnel and leave the ground behind, finding a nearby plant to latch onto.  They then shed their shell to become the big winged alien bug that makes that cacophonous din we hear every day.

The Amethyst...

Today...for some reason...a necklace I own came to mind.  The pendant is of an abstract design, is made of sterling, and has amethyst stones mounted in it.  There are two small pieces, pyramidal in shape, and a small flat...well, the best way I can describe it would be to call it a 'slice'.  A slab from a rather small amethyst geode, the cluster section of small points intact.  That's a photo of it below...

(I purchased this necklace from one of my favorite stores, 'The Psychic Eye' in Sherman Oaks, CA...I would love to visit there now, but it's a hell of a commute from Savannah...  They always have some really unique jewelry.  If you are in that neighborhood and haven't been, 
I encourage you to check it out.)) 

My necklace has inspired me to create some posts relating to some of my favorite crystals, and a few other metaphysical  items/talismans.

(Sections of Amethyst geodes.) 

Amethyst is one of my favorite stones.  Not just for its beauty, but for its energies.  SiO2 (amethyst) is one of many forms of quarts.  It is light to deep purple/violet.  It is found in round rocks of varying sizes and shapes which are called geodes.  When you break one of these rocks open, you will find the crystalline world of the amethyst inside.

(Entrance to an amethyst mine in Argentina.) 

Geodes are found in mines.  Brazil (among others) has many amethyst mines, and there are a number of states in the US that also have large deposits of amethyst (Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, to name a few).  Several centuries ago, amethyst was on the 'expensive stone' lists along with rubies, diamonds, etc.  Once amethyst was found to be a rather abundant stone, it's value decreased considerably.  However, over the years I have seen some huge amethyst geodes for sale at jewelry shows, and they were not cheap.  They were breathtakingly beautiful though.

(A large Amethyst geode.  This one is pretty big, but I have seen bigger.  
I love the color of this one.) 

Now for the more spiritual side of this purple crystal.  Amethyst is a stone of spirituality, enlightenment, and protection.  Its energies make it ideal for meditation.  It creates a connection between the Earth plane, and otherworldly planes.  A calming influence, it brings peace, releases negativity.

Although a number of different stones are used, amethyst is used in the creation of dowsing pendulums.  I think that most people think about the location of water below ground when they hear the word "dowsing".  Those types of dowsers come in two common designs: one looks kind of like a big wishbone and is fashioned from twigs/branches, and the other is in the form of two free moving metal rods that cross when the dowser approaches their target.

'Dowsing pendulums' are smaller, and generally used for more specific Q&A sessions.  They come in a variety of designs, one that is pictured above...that particular one has an amethyst sphere on it.  The diviner holds the end of the chain between the index finger and thumb of one hand, lifts it up so that the pendulum dangles down, and keeps the pendulum as still as possible.  When concentration starts and the questions are asked, the diviner gets their answers from the movement of the pendulum.  I have a small one (sans crystal) that I have used upon occasion, and it's a fascinating tool.

Amethyst wands (large points, or the crystal fashioned into points) have been used for centuries for healing purposes.  The stones energies are focused on an ailing person to draw the negativity/sickness out of them.  Then the crystal is turned away from them, so the negative vibes can be released.

Back on January 23rd of this year, I posted a blog entry about 'Chakras' called "Shirley & Chakras".  The seven Chakras, or spinning wheels, all resonate to certain colors.  The Crown Chakra relates to spiritual awareness and the self.  It is located at the top of the forehead, above/between the eyes.  (Right around the area where you will find the pineal gland.)  This very spiritual Chakra resonates in the color purple.  Amethyst is known as the Crown Chakra Crystal.  Having aligned Chakras is a preferred state to be in.  *grin*  Amethyst is a great help to the aligning of the Chakras.  Stress reducer, helps to open up the spaces between spiritual channels.  It also is a booster of creativity.  (If you want to read about the different specifics for each Chakra, I created a clickable link where it says "Shirley & Chakras" above.)

Some background on the beautiful amethyst...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'Swimming Pool Q's' at The Jinx...

This past Saturday night (August 20th) I did something I haven't done in several years.  Something that required having my hand stamped.  I ventured into downtown Savannah to see a band play.

Located in a string of small clubs that line Congress Street, Club Jinx is not easy to spot.  Glenn had never been there, and I certainly hadn't since I don't go into downtown but rarely.  As we wandered down the somewhat crowded sidewalk of the narrow street, there were a number of well lit establishments...the Jinx wasn't one of them.  It was kind of like turning into a dark alley and discovering the 'Leaky Cauldron' (Harry Potter reference for the uninitiated...).  The front facade was black and if there hadn't been a couple of rough around the edges types standing there, I never would have given it a glance.  One of the men, a short Asian guy, announced quickly to us that we were at the Jinx and the Swimming Pool Q's were playing...he then stamped our hands with a big black stamp and directed us inside to the cashier.

The interior of the club was rather small, and about two-thirds full of people who were chatting, drinking, and laughing.  An interesting collection of posters and artwork were haphazardly placed across walls, and the lighting was dim.  The usual for a small club.  At least the ones I have been in over the years.  When we get inside to pay the cashier, we find out it's a woman with a nice smile sitting at a TV tray with a box on it.  We pay her, and a tall thin man standing to her right stamps our hands with a small red rubber stamp.  Scanning around, I discover much to my chagrin that the tables and stools about the room are all occupied.  Although I had predicted it well before we got there, I was not thrilled at the realization that I would indeed have to stand for the duration of the show.  Making our way to the area in front of the stage, we picked a place at the end of the bar by the cigarette machine.  Not only would we get a clear, up close and personal type of look at the band, we had easy access to the bathrooms.  Pulling my camera from my purse, I started to get some flash-less shots of the club interior...which explains the fuzziness of the shots.  (I think it gives them an artful look.)

For those unfamiliar with the 'Swimming Pool Q's' they are an Atlanta, Georgia band formed in 1978.  They were part of the group of Georgia based New Wave Bands of that time (B-52's, REM, The Brains, Pylon).  They are really great.  Very original.  In the early '80's, I remember seeing them in a concert with 'The Producer's' (also a Georgia band).  As I remember, it was in a record store.  I did know of them at the time of that show, but really got to know their music when I attended college and became a DJ at the college station.  As we stood there people watching and checking out the small stage, I knew I was about to take a trip down memory lane.

(Jeff Calder and Anne Richmond Boston)

When I first noticed Jeff Calder (songwriter for the group and male vocalist), I was stunned.  It was cool seeing him in person like that, but my first thought was, "That can't be Jeff Calder...he looks like a high school  science teacher!"  I know other people age just as I do, at the same rate that I do.  For whatever reason, I had a 'wow' moment when I saw that old guy over there.  Calder is probably around 60 do make one feel old.  Not long after I finally convinced myself that the man I saw was indeed Jeff Calder, I saw Anne Richmond Boston, the bands female vocalist.  Close to my height, she was walking around with a perpetual smile on her face and chatting with a group of 20-somethings, one of which we were to learn was her daughter.  I am sure that she is nearer to Jeff's age, I said before.  It is moments like that when you know a long time has passed.

When it was time for the show to get underway, the club manager (I assume that's who he was) grabbed the microphone to announce them.  We learned that we were about to hear all of the songs from their first album released in 1981, 'The Deep End'.  Right on!  Then Jeff and Anne took their positions along with the other band members, and the music began.

It was great to hear all of those songs played live, and after all those years.  Hard to believe that I was standing there grooving on songs I listened to around 30 years ago.  Geez Louise!  I especially loved when they played the Calder sung 'Rat Bait', and the Richmond Boston sung 'Little Misfit' (probably the one song most known from them).  They sounded great.  To tell the truth, I had kind of had a crabby day and didn't feel like going anywhere much less a bar full of people and noise.  I am so glad I went because I ended up having a blast.  Crabbiness cured.

They had played for awhile, when they announced that they would be taking a break.  At one point, Anne was standing about six feet away from me, talking to someone by the stage.  I took the opportunity to say hello and tell her how much I dig their music.  I mentioned that I used to play the 'Q's' on the air when I was a college DJ, and proceeded to date both of us.  We both laughed at that.  *grin*  Anne was very cool, and had a great energy about her.  (She kind of reminded me of a dear old friend I have known since high school, Sandy.)  The break ended, and they started up again.  A few songs into the second half, my dogs were barking and I started doing the old sleeve tugging much as I wanted to stay for the whole thing, my feet were telling me it was time to go.  As we are both decrepit in our own ways (*grin*), Glenn said his knees were bothering him, so we decided to bid the band adieu.  Walking out the door of the club, ears ringing from the volume level, we walked to the truck, and headed home.

Going to clubs to see bands play has always been something that I have done.  Up until about ten years ago, that is.  I have seen a couple of shows in that time, but that's it.  Seeing the 'Pool Q's' perform brought home just how much I miss doing that.  I definitely plan on keeping a better eye on who comes through Savannah in the future.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award...

Extending thanks to Kimberly at the 'Garden of Secrets' blog for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award.  (Although I don't see this as an award so much as a means to spread around the existence of other blogs...but I am happy to receive it nonetheless.)

In accepting this award, I am asked to share seven things about myself.  
Hmm...lets see what I can come up with...

  • I enjoy taking walks for the purpose of snapping pictures of whatever moves me.
  • I like to hang out in cemeteries.
  • Coffee is my main addiction these days.
  • I enjoy writing, and am about to dive into the writing of a novel.
  • My first play ever was produced a couple of times.
  • I love to watch 'Ninja Warrior'.
  • I am addicted to the frozen cokes from the market around the corner.

The following is a list of blogs I am sharing this award with.  Be sure to check them out.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Revisited: The Laurel Grove Cemetery...

Today I returned to the Laurel Grove for some picture taking...and some peace.  Spending time in a cemetery is some of the best therapy around for me.  Solo time in an old cemetery makes my mind work in...creative ways.  The beauty of the stained and marred tomb stones.  The trees of the coastal south, moss lazily hanging on them like living spider webs.  There is a feeling that hides in every nook and cranny.  A feeling of mystery and of age.

Since I had made a preliminary trip a couple of days ago to find where the cemetery was, getting there was easier and quicker this go-round.  I had gotten off to a slightly later start than I had planned.  Driving up to the open gate, I pulled onto the cemetery property a little past 3:00 PM.  That gave me a good hour and a half.  

As I slowly drove between the black wrought iron posts of the entrance gate, I decided to start in the front section to the right.  I knew it was going to take me a few trips to see everything there in my usual scrutinous manner.  I never rush.  The 'Grove' didn't seem to be as big as the Bonaventure, but the plots...I can't even begin to guess how many graves cover it.  The plots are many, and they are full.  "Laurel Grove" is so named because of the Laurel trees that dot the property.  I am not sure just how many, but a lot of graves date back to the American Civil War.

Hanging a right down the first gravel drive, I passed some small buildings that appeared to be garages of some sort.  By the equipment around, I figured it to be where the grounds crew kept their tools.  Pulling past, I drove up on the grass at the side of the crunchy, rutted road, and started to explore.  As I climbed out of the car, I noticed a sign on the land by the fence that ran around that front section.  It said "Stranger Land".  There wasn't any description other than that.  I figured it meant that the unidentified were buried there...the 'John' and 'Jane Doe's'.

I scarcely knew where to begin.  I can spend hours in an old cemetery, but I didn't have 'hours'.  I decided to scope out for areas that 'jumped out' at me, and hop-scotch my car along my path (the road).  I could hear the thrumming of a lawnmower in the distance, so it appeared that the grounds crew were at work.  They obviously had just gotten their start because the area I was in was at least up to mid-calf.  

Grave markers peaked out from under grass and dirt.  Grave stones stood at off angles, the writing on them in various stages of wear, their edges nicked and worn.  Some had the dark browns and stark whites of different types of lichen creating mottled and lacy patterns on them.  Various types of trees, many old and a number of those in various stages of decrepitude, stood crookedly, shrouds of moss blowing lightly in the breeze that whispered by.  Other than the aforementioned sounds of a lawnmower, there was silence peppered with the occasional chirrup of birds, and the rustle of a squirrel skittering past.  Any distractions I had carried in with me were gone.  Any nagging voices were quieted.  This was not a place of chaos like the outside world, this was a place of neutrality.  A place of calm.

As I made my way slowly along (get out of the car; walk around some; get back in the car; drive up a little and park), I caught up with the lawnmower.  Another guy with a weed-whacker was working a little farther down in a dense collection of stones and mausoleums.  Other than a quick moment of eye contact, we didn't really acknowledge the other's presence.  I made the effort to stay out of their way, and they didn't get in mine.  There were a couple of times during my trip that a ding-ed up pick up truck came driving by, always when I was in the car on my way to the next stop.  The first time we met head-on, and I pulled quickly to the side, the driver flying past in a cloud of road dust.  Our eyes connected for a moment, his face stoic but observant.  The moment made me think of old horror films where the caretaker watches the unwanted visitor with curious judgement.  The other times he passed, I was on foot. I'd hear the growl of the truck's engine as he wheeled past on his way to who knew where.  

My only other encounter with the 'living' was when I got out of the car to get a closer look at a large mausoleum, huge in comparison to others.  Throughout the areas I had visited there are road sized paths down between the rows of plots that are filled with grass and weeds.  They appear to be rarely traveled.  As I passed one of these paths, I felt eyes on me.  My gaze, as if pulled by a magnet, went to a heavily shadowed spot along the path's edge under a palm tree.  It took me a moment to see who my observer was, but looking back at me from around the base of the tree was a big furry black dog.  He stood still staring, his wide pink tongue hanging out in the heat of the day.  I said hello to him, but he didn't move.  I moved on to snap my picture,and a few others.  When I passed the area again, the dog was gone.

Today was a good day.  Although hot, the heat wasn't to the same extremes as weeks past.  The cool breeze helped.  The humidity was high, but bearable.  I hadn't felt that calm in awhile.  Getting philosophical...waxing poetic...I think I did a little of both.  Although cemeteries represent death, they also represent life.  For me, they are a rest stop between...lives?  Worlds?  Planes of existence?  Cemeteries are places for burying the shell, the vessel.  The form that carried the essence of the person(s) being remembered. 


The following are some more shots I took today.  I'm looking forward to my next visit, which will be in the not too distant future.       

(A mausoleum with a front porch...I have never seen one like it before.  A part of me was dying to go up there and shoot my camera through that hole in the door, but I couldn't muster up the guts to do it.    When I take photos in a cemetery, I try to act with some respect...try not to walk over any graves if it's avoidable.  Climbing up there for a shot felt a tad disrespectful to me.  I am still curious though...

This is the mausoleum I was walking to when I encountered the dog.)

(There was a lot of wrought iron in the cemetery, much of it in the form of fences around family plots, etc.  Wrought iron work is big business here in Savannah.  The picture on the left is an example of the white lichen I mentioned earlier.  There was quite a lot of the iron work that had a lovely patina to it...shades of brown and green.  Other fences were past the patina stage and deep into the rust stage.  Brilliant shades of pumpkin and clay coated some fences, the rust devouring them in spots.

As for the picture above on the right, I know nothing about the meaning of this emblem.  It says 
"K of P" at the bottom.  Judging by the helm, shield, etc. in the design, I assume it means "Knights of..." something.)

(This mausoleum was really beautiful.  I love the fence.)