I became aware of ‘subtle energies’ a very long time ago in experiential terms but quite recently in day-to-day time. Looking back, I realised I had attuned myself to them, heightening my awareness of their presence, when trying to avoid the bullies at school.
My study of astrology in the 1970s when not yet 20 was, to me, a natural extension of that awareness as I worked to understand the subtle planetary energies and their influence. So many things that come easily to me arise from that early reaching out with awareness that they have become, literally, second nature.
It took me a while to accept that Crystals’ subtle energy exists and is available for use. I liked them in my artworks in any case, no two the same (uniqueness and difference are keystones to my life, I make nothing twice). Still, I needed a real ‘in your face’ lesson to get to that acceptance. One day I put all my crystals and gemstones together and filled a cupboard that gets bright morning sunlight, so I could pick and choose from my stock. Some weeks later after some sunny weather I opened the cupboard. The energy release wasn’t so subtle. Now I open that cupboard whenever the notion comes to me, sometimes to recharge them and sometimes to recharge me.
Soon after came a demonstration of subtle energy, just to bang the idea home! I got cross with my partner one day because he watered plants without taking into account the size of the pot (and the amount of water needed) or noticing if they had any unwanted insects. After I’d thought about it a while I realised that I was incapable of just applying water. My focus contains my full awareness of the plant I’m tending. When I water, I care for the spark of life, the spirit manifest my awareness encompasses and cherishes. Ditto healing work. Ditto art work. That concentrated focus, the use of the whole of my awareness, is to me a perfectly natural intentness and one easy to understand, given my history. Adding the subtle energy of a crystal/gemstone when I work enriches and deepens my awareness by providing subtle energy insight. Everything is powered up a notch.
I got to wondering about disease and subtle energy after that. No doctor yet knows what the subtle internal shift is that makes one cell attack and cannibalise another, as in cancer. I did some research to see if there was any kind of consensus on the subject; orthodox medicine, ever empirical in its attitude, can’t prove what influences cancer. At the other end of the spectrum, holistic healing websites espoused lifestyle, emotional issues and vitamin or mineral deficiencies as causes. It is not something I have the answer to either. But I do know that the subtle energy of radio waves as in radio therapy can not only make hair fall out but can also persuade cancer cells to shrink. They are an invisible energy on a specific wavelength tightly focussed, as intent can be. Logically therefore it no longer seems preposterous that any form of subtle energy can affect human cells. What made us first collect and wear gemstones? In the ‘alternative’ world there are countless stories of intent overcoming disease, told by people who got a shock from their disease and wanted to be well. Common sense and experience say I have to accept this as true.
Art that heals arises pretty naturally from my research and experience to date. The line blurs ever further between which is art and which is healing in what I do. That’s OK with me. It doesn’t really matter if it is OK with you because you can enjoy what I create without taking on board any of the subtle energy or spirit manifest ideas.
Almost every year I take a course in ceramics, partly for community, partly for learning. In my continuing professional development course in sculptural ceramics in 2007, the plan was to make a figure. New territory for me but I quickly got a vision of a figure holding up a dish of crystals. More inspiration came later and I saw beads of crystal in the dish and the figure became art deco in style. That figure didn’t get very far. Over the Christmas holidays, we had unseasonably cold (–6 degree) temperatures and she became cold, hard and lifeless. Very soon after I consigned her to the clay recycling bin I was commissioned to make The Hermit (from the Tarot) ... a figure holding a bowl of (crystal) light to show the way through darkness. You can see how he turned out in the Galleries (Hermit). The crystal beads became a single sphere and fired my on to my next leap:
Abandon the practice of always fixing crystals to an artwork to: Make it feasible to change the crystals according inner promptingsOpen the door for others, including healers to use an artwork for storing and displaying their crystalsWiden the cost options for selecting crystals in line with a client’s budgetBroaden the scope to select according to dis-ease when that is an element of the brief; a crystal 'prescription'Make it easier for someone to buy an artwork for someone else and have it pre attuned according to the recipient.
I talked through the prescription idea with my sister whilst we were choosing crystals for a mutual friend. From this conversation came musings ... I thought to develop a series of generalised crystal prescriptions, set within a sculptural framework. Out of that came the incorporation of manifested spirit itself (beyond the clay), i.e. embedding leaf, seed or flower particles into an artwork. Herb lore can guide choices of organic material for inclusion. The ‘Leaf Series’ came into being from experimentation with organic materials.
Then I discovered Judy Hall’s book ‘Crystal Prescriptions’. It was to my mind a rather forlorn volume seeking to cash in on her fame and it rather put me off developing the idea any further. But it focussed me; I believe it is inappropriate to create a prescription on a one size fits all basis. I rather thankfully put the idea into cold storage, in terms of creating a prescription anyone can buy. I would far rather make something tailored to my client. Crystals can be misused; amethyst is a good protective crystal but there are different protection needs, not all suited to amethyst’s energy.
Since the creative subtle spark that produced a Crystal Prescription for a friend, I have identified a number of what I now think of as classic prescriptions. These relate directly to the more common energy imbalances that lead to dis-ease. Many of the crystals for these I now keep in my stock cupboard, much as a herbalist has a host of herbs in theirs.
Whether we can acknowledge it to ourselves or our friends, we all have intuitive knowledge of subtle energy. Often we know what we need to get ourselves back in balance. Sometimes life cuts us off from a conscious awareness of what’s necessary. Being drawn to and choosing a particular crystal or crystals from the cupboard is selecting according to that intuitive knowledge. It is taking a vital active part in healing.
From the perspective of a person centred counsellor and a healer this active role is self empowerment; something we all need more of in our increasingly complex and powerless lives. I am not a therapist (the-rapist) whose often ego-driven therapy empowers the therapist, at considerable cost to the client (I spent about a £100,000 before eventually being freed from the dependency therapy can lead to). When I ‘prescribe’ crystals for an artwork and meld them I am channelling universal healing energy with clean and clear intent to empower. It is not a quick mindless process of material making; I attend to and care for each creation, valuing and enhancing the spark of life, much as I do when tending a plant in my care.
There are a handful of crystals that I use time and time again for healing and art. Most are those that can be readily obtained and don’t cost a fortune, though size and quality grade affect cost.
I use Carnelian regularly, no matter how a piece is attuned, because it naturally cleanses other crystals so limits the need for cleansing to the Carnelian itself. Its energy is vital and uplifting.
Quartz (rock crystal) is the great amplifier and, from a shamanic perspective, THE power crystal. I incorporate shamanic practice in my artwork.
As I draw from my Reiki training, Rose Quartz makes a regular appearance – Reiki is, like all forms of subtle energy healing, unconditional love. No human maintains a relationship with anyone else that is purely unconditional love. This gentle pink radiance puts a bit back into your life.
Amethyst is a great protector attuned to the spiritual realm. We are all the triumvirate of mind body and spirit and so many of our ills reflect spiritual issues as much as mind or body. I work from a holistic base of all three in interaction.
Obsidian, although volcanic glass and not strictly a crystal, is a powerful transformer that gives the gift of insight into the cause of dis-ease. It helps to digest what is hard to accept and is a great detoxifier. All illness needs to be transformed energetically from illness to wellness, hence its place in my heart and my work.
I adore the gentle enlightening properties of Unakite. It leads to unblocking by offering insights into causes. Its soft support grounds when needed after invoking inner vision. Soft on the eye in green and pink it’s often a must have so I buy it by the kilo! If balance is to be restored, first one must see what is and what is the reason for the inbalance.