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Peridot is a beautiful yellowish green gemstone. Peridot has been valued for thousands of years for its natural beauty. In fact, legend says that some of the jewels Cleopatra wore weren’t emeralds but in fact Peridot.  This gem has a lot of history behind it.

Things to know about Peridot:

The American National Association of jewelers lists Peridot as their official gemstone for the month of August. It’s also used for the 16th wedding anniversary. 

It is the gemstone variety of olivine. In the United States it is most commonly mined in Arizona and New Mexico.  It can be found all over the world though including Norway, The Hawaiian Islands, select islands in the Red Sea, and even in meteorites.

 Peridot is used in many crystal therapy programs to treat the following conditions. 

Nerves
One of its main uses is to calm nervous energy.  Peridot has a calming effect that can help settle anxious people.

Anger 
Another benefit of its calming powers is it helps to remove anger. This is a great gemstone for those that are prone to road rage. 

Bad Luck
Peridot is also used to bring a wearer good luck. It’s one of the most favorite gemstones for people headed out to Las Vegas.

 Love
Good luck also applies when it comes to love. It’s said that this gem promotes finding love. If you’re hitting a rough patch in your love life it might be worth picking up a Peridot pendant.

 Sleeplessness 
If you are prone to sleep issues then Peridot might help. Aiding sleep is another one of its supposed benefits.

 So if you are looking for luck, love or calm then Peridotshould be your gem of choice. Not only does it have great crystal healing properties but it’s a gorgeous semi-precious stone as well. Whatever your reason, Peridot is a great choice for jewelry and healing.

Using Crystals to Energize Your Life

rose-quartz-puff-heart-worry-healing-stoneMany ‘alternative’ therapies work on the belief that it is necessary to allow the energies of the body to flow freely in order to attain health, wellbeing and happiness.  Illnesses and stress can cause blockages, which prevent the energy flowing.  The prevention of the energy flow exacerbates the illness or stress and so it becomes a downward spiral that is difficult to escape from.  So treatment is based on re-establishing that flow.  This is the basis for acupuncture, reiki, feng shui and crystal healing.

Isn’t it just a ‘New Age’ thing?

Not at all.  In fact,there are over 200 mentions of the positive use of crystals in the Bible!  In Exodus, Aaron (Moses’ brother) was told by God to make a breast-plate from specific crystals which would give him both protection and wisdom.

Crystals have been used by ancient civilizations for centuries and right up to today, for

  • Health
  • Protection
  • Magic
  • Rituals
  • Offerings
  • Currency
  • Divination and scrying (forseeing the future)
  • Bringing luck
  • Precious gifts
  • Silicon chips for computers
  • Clocks and watches powered by quartz crystals

Where the word comes from…

The name ‘crystal’ is derived from the Greek ‘Krysos’ which means ‘ice cold’.  Crystals were believed to be a form of ice that was so cold it never melted.  It wasn’t until the late 1700’s that it became understood that crystals grew, layer by layer.

What are they?

Crystals began growing when the Earth was beginning to form.  The continual heating up and cooling down helped to form the amazing crystals that we see today.  Now that crystal growth is understood, they are also ‘grown’ commercially.

Most crystals are made from silicon and oxygen.  The core of the Earth is primarily made from silicon.  Silicon combined with oxygen makes silicon dioxide, more commonly known as quartz.  This is the basis for all crystals.  It is the inclusion of other elements during the growth that gives rise to the different types of crystals.

How do they work?

It has been scientifically proven that all matter is made from energy.  Every object, whether it’s a human being, a table, a lake or even a single grain of sand has some form of energy both inside it and around it.  Energy resonates with a specific vibration and everything that contains energy has its’ own vibration.

drop-point-amethyst-pendantAs mentioned at the beginning of this article, this has been realized for centuries and the ancients knew that for the human body to function well, this vibration has to be correctly ‘tuned’.  Just think of your body as a radio.  When it is correctly tuned in, the sound is clear and easy to understand.  If it’s not, the sound is muffled and indistinct.  When you’re well, your body is ‘in tune’ and it’s out of tune when you’re ill or stressed.

Unlike our bodies, crystals have a set formation so their vibration doesn’t alter.  Their resonance is constant and so they are wonderful tools to help bring the bodies energies back into tune.

Crystals work on a very subtle level so it’s not unusual to feel nothing when you first start working with them.  Some people are more naturally ‘attuned’ than others but just know that the crystal will be working, even if it takes some time for you to feel the benefits.

How do I use them?

If you are new to crystals, the easiest ways are to place them in your home, at work or wear them as pieces of jewelry.

CLICK HERE to buy a range of healing crystals.

An Introduction to Runes

bloodstone-rune-setRunes are enjoying a major comeback but are often viewed as a ‘new age’ phenomenon.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Here’s our guide to Runes.

What are runes?

The word Rune means ‘mystery’ or ‘secret knowledge’.  Runes are small, flat-pebble shaped stones or pieces of wood, crystal or glass.  A rune set contains 24 or 25 runes.  This is because some sets contain a blank stone (the Wyrd) and some don’t.  24 runes will each have a different inscription – from the runic alphabet, which is where the set gets its’ name.  The alphabet is further divided into three groups called ‘aetts’.

The runic alphabet

This is called the ‘futhark’.  It has 24 letters, begins with ‘F’ and ends with ‘O’.  This alphabet was used by Scandinavians and the people of Northern Germany from around 100 BC and was still being used in the Middle ages.  For these reasons, the most commonly used type of runic set is called the Elder or Germanic Futhark.  There are also Younger and Anglo Saxon runes but these are used less often.

The futhark died out in the Middle Ages because it was overtaken by the Roman alphabet.

What are they used for?divination-set-runes-and-more

Runes are used for divination.  You ask the runes a question and then, without seeing what you are choosing, select the runes from a bag.  The reader then lays them out and passes on to you what the runes are advising.  Each runic inscription, or letter of the futhark alphabet, has a meaning.  It is thought that tarot cards were derived from runes.

Like Tarot, the readings are general and outline a path that you may or may not choose to follow.  Both Tarot and Rune readings work on the premise that they can show you what may happen if you continue on the current path.  However, we all have freedom of choice and it is up to you whether you stay on that path or choose another route.  The future is not set in stone and we are continually faced with a number of ‘crossroads’ at which we have to pause and choose our direction.

Brief History of runes

Legend has it that one of the Norse Gods, Odin, hung himself upside down from the tree of the world (called Yggdrasil) for night days and nights as a ritual of self-sacrifice.  It is thought that the image of The Hanged Man on a tarot card is based on this legend.  Odin then died and passed to the afterlife where he was given knowledge and then reborn.  His new-found knowledge was given to the people as runes.

Runic symbols have been found in Swedish Bronze Age rock carvings.  Runic inscriptions have been found on swords and bronze pendants, listing the whole futhark in the correct order.  One of the best examples of this is called the Kylver stone.  It was found in 1903 in Gotland in Sweden and dates back to 400 AD.

For centuries, even commoners knew how to use runes.  They were frequently used to ask for help with anything from family issues to larger public events.  However, as Christianity grew in popularity, the use of runes was highly frowned upon with the result that in 1639 their use was forbidden by the Church because they viewed it as a satanic practice.  Rune masters were killed and it drove users underground.  To prevent this continued practice, a law passed in Iceland declaring that anyone found to have runes in their possession would be burned at the stake.  Despite all of this, the runic alphabet and its’ meanings were saved in ancient manuscripts and inscriptions.

bone-rune-setWhy runes fell from favor

Runes began to be used openly again around the early 1900’s.  German scholars became interested but sadly, these people were working for the Nazis in the 1920’s and 30’s.  This made people associate the unfortunate runes with Nazi ideas and racism and their use was shunned.

This ‘blacklisting’ of runes continued up until the 1950’s and 60’s and even then, very little was written about them.  However, in the mid 1980’s, the ‘New Age’ movement took hold and many pagan religions were taken up again.  It was at this point that the runes became popular once again both as a divinatory tool and a system to use to increase self awareness.

How can I get some?

Runes are now easily available.  You can get them online or from any ‘new age’ shop in your area.  Or you can make your own.  There are many websites and books that will show you how.

Take your time choosing your set.  There are now so many different ones available, in wood, stone, ceramic, crystal, glass and many others.  You will find yourself drawn to one more than others.  In addition, some believe that the material the runes are made from enhances the reading.

For example,

  • Gold Runes are used for queries regarding business, career, and property
  • Jade Runes are popular if you want to know about love, friendship, and relationships
  • Ice Runes are best for questions about struggle, conflict, and achievement
  • Spirit Runes will help with questions regarding mysticism, spirituality, and religion
  • Stone Runes are for spreads about the natural world and things beyond human control

If you are new to runes, make sure that your set includes a copy of the futhark and its’ meanings, or buy a simple ‘Runes for beginners’ book that will help you to start using your set.  It’s best to start with a simple reading or ‘spread’ such as The Three Norns, in which the first rune is the past, the second the the present and the third, the future.

Enjoy the beauty and wisdom of your runes but don’t forget that you have free will.  Choices have consequences and so no divinatory path is ever set in stone.

 

CLICK HERE to buy Runes,  Rune Bags and Books

An Introduction to Tarot

golden-tarot-deck-boxed-setOf all the forms of divination used by ‘new agers’, Tarot is the one that provokes the strongest reaction in people.  They seem to instinctively love it, hate it or be frightened by it.  How can a deck of cards produce such feelings?

What is Tarot?

Tarot is the name for a deck of cards.  The deck consists of 78 cards, including 21 trumps, 1 fool and four suits – each having 14 cards (ten numerical and four face cards).  The suits have one more face card each than in standard English or American card decks.

In Europe, card games like ‘Italian Tarocchini’ and ‘French Tarot’ which use the Tarot deck are still popular today.  These are ‘ordinary’ card games in the ilk of poker or whist.

In English speaking countries, these games are pretty much unheard of and Tarot cards are used as a form of divination.

Where does the name ‘Tarot’ come from?

Here is one of the first mysteries of the Tarot.  No one knows where the word comes from.  Some say that it is from an Arabic word ‘turuq’, meaning ‘four pathways’.  According to the French, the word comes from an Italian word ‘tarocco’, which was derived from the word ‘tara’.  This means ‘the act of deducting’.

A brief history

Even the history of Tarot is mysterious.  The truth is that it isn’t known when it first appeared.  Some say the cards go back as far as Ancient Egypt.  Others say they started in the Middle Ages.  Some even say that they came from a Celtic and Pagan source.

It is known that playing cards first appeared in Europe some time before 1367.  This is because in that year, they were banned by the Christian church.  Early European texts describe a deck of playing cards as having 52 cards.  Even earlier decks had 14 cards per suit, giving a total of 56 cards.  It is thought that the Tarot deck was the result of adding the 22 trump cards to this early 56 card deck.

The oldest surviving tarot decks were all made for members of the Italian Visconti family.  The first is called the Cary-Yale (or Visconti-Modrone) Tarot and was made between 1442 and 1447.  These cards are in Yale University Library.

The most famous surviving deck, the Visconti-Sforza, was created in the mid 1400’s, to celebrate the rule of Francesco Sforza and his wife, Bianca Visconti, over the city of Milan.  This deck has been widely reproduced so it would be easy to get hold of your own ‘antique’ deck.

deviant-moon-tarot-cards-premier-editionTarot Card Readings

When used as a tool for divination, the cards are laid in a spread.  There are various spreads, from a simple ‘past, present and future’spread of three cards, to the more complicated ‘Celtic Tree of Life’ and so on.

When used for this purpose, the cards are divided into two groups called the Major and Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana

This is the group containing the first 22 cards of the tarot deck.  These 22 cards represent the 22 major challenges that a person will face in their life.  They are often interpreted as describing the normal progression of a life, and will often show where a person is along their journey, or if they have lost their way.  This interpretation is often called the “Fool’s Journey”.

It is possible to do a Tarot reading using only these Major cards but this is best left to those with experience.  Beginners should use the whole deck to get a fuller picture of the situation and to familiarize themselves with the cards.

Each Major Arcana card has a meaning for its’ upright position as well as a meaning for it being placed upside down (reversed).  However, some Tarot readers don’t use reverse meanings.

The Major Arcana cards are the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, the Empress, the Emporer, the Hierophant, the Lovers, the Chariot, Justice, the Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Strength, the Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, the Devil, the Tower, the Star, the Moon, the Sun, Judgement and the World.

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana is the group of the last 56 cards of the tarot that come after the major arcana.  These cards are similar to a set of traditional set of playing cards because there are  four suits and 14 cards to each suit.

The 4 suits of the Minor Arcana are as follows, with their associated element.  The face cards also have an associated element. There is also a brief representation for each suit, which is subject to change or emphasis.

  • Wands (also called Staves, Rods or Batons), element Fire (King cards are fire too), Class: peasantry, to do with creativity and will.
  • Pentacles (also called Coins), element Earth (Page cards are Earth too), Class: merchants, to do with our earthly body or material possessions.
  • Cups (also called Chalices), element Water (Queen cards are water too), Class: clergy, to do with our emotions or love.
  • Swords, element Air (Knight cards are air too), Class: the Nobility or Military, to do with reason.

Because of the face card affiliations with the elements, this makes the following Minor Arcana cards very strong if they come up in a reading:

  • King of Wands
  • Page of Pentacles
  • Queen of Cups
  • Knight of Swords

learning-the-tarot-a-tarot-book-for-beginnersWhat do the cards mean?

The Tarot reader has a wealth of interpretation at their fingertips.  There are numerous books on the subject, with meanings for each card.  However, the bottom line is that all Tarot readers read differently.  Some stay strictly to the ‘book’ definition but most commonly, readers allow the card to be the ‘jumping off’ point and then read intuitively, many saying that they have spiritual help.

Why do they scare people?

It could be to do with the Major Arcana cards of Death, the Hanged Man and the Devil.  In reality, these cards can’t be taken at face value.  For example, Death is quite a positive card and is viewed as an ending prior to a new beginning, rather than to death itself.

It could also be because Englishman Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947) one of the most notorious occultists of his day, was involved with Tarot cards as well as many other endeavours, some more dubious and disturbing than others.

Are they for you?

This is just a quick round-up of what the cards are.  What they do is the subject of many books, websites, discussion forums and articles.

If you feel drawn to the Tarot, why not get a reading (try for someone with word of mouth recommendation) or get yourself a deck and a simple beginners book.  The Empress Tarot system is designed to  help you understand your tarot cards  Click Here! .  Take your time in choosing your deck as it will become very precious to you and should be treated with respect.  Many readers say that you should not buy your own deck, but get someone to buy them for you.  Keep your cards in their box when not in use or make a silk bag for them.  The cards will reward you well!

CLICK HERE for Tarot cards, books, boxes and more

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