The Lapidairy is written by Katharine Clark and Illustrated by Robin Ator ♥ 

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Hi, Everyone! My name is Bo Ruadh (pronounced “bow ru-a”) and I am one of the three sacred cows of Ireland. 

I live now with my two sisters on a stony little farm we call the “Lapi-Dairy” (get it?) Oh, by the way, Bo Ruadh is Irish for “red cow”. Kinda obvious, huh? My sisters’ names in Irish are Bo-Finn (“bow fin”) or white cow, and Bo Dhu (“bow dew”) or black cow. You can just call them Fin and Doo.

When I mentioned that our land is stony, I wasn’t kidding. In Ireland they often say a farm like ours grows “a healthy crop of rocks.” Ah, but I did say we were magical, didn’t I? Even the land that supports us has that special energy that makes space “scared.” And so, our stones aren’t the ordinary--they’re magic. My sisters and I would like to share some of our knowledge (or “stone cunning”) with you, especially since--and this is the great part--stones we find here can also be found in stores called lapidaries (Now ya get it?). Today I kicked over what I thought was a blue pebble, but it was something more--a neat little stone called an “aquamarine.”

Aquamarines by Sam Wise at Flickr Creative Commons

Aquamarines can be found everywhere. Their name means “sea water” because, like the ocean, they can be clear or cloudy (“opaque”), sky blue to bluish-green. Because they look like the sea, aquamarines are said to be lucky for seafarers and folks traveling over the ocean, and because they're related to water, they can be quite helpful for those parts of the body involving fluid. More importantly, aquamarine helps with the “flow” of emotions. They calm you down, let you relax, and give you the courage to deal with the bumps in the river--like the bully down the street, or the really hard test you’re dreading. They give you a sense of peace and, because you become calm, relaxed and unafraid, your creativity can come through. You will notice ideas coming together in your mind where before you may have been clueless! For those with “the gift,” aquamarines make it easier to dream, see visions, and use psychic ability. Finally, they are excellent for clearing your energy of dark and moody thoughts. 

So, how do you use the aquamarine? It’s fairly simple. You can wear it in a pouch around your neck. You can soak the stone in purified water for 3 days, and then use the water as part of a cleansing bath or shower. You can place it under your pillow, or keep it on a nearby night stand.

Hi, everyone, Rua here! Since the 21st of last month, the sun has been gaining strength, warming the dairy and all who live here. It’s a good time to celebrate the betwixt and between that is the equinox by singing the praises of a stone that isn’t really a stone. How can that be? When is a stone NOT a stone? When it’s amber!

Take a look at this picture of Rua and amber with some 3D glasses!

This incredible gem “stone” is actually ancient, fossilized tree sap from pines. At one point, it was liquid life, flowing through the trunks of trees, encasing pieces of bark, leaves--and bugs. Some of the most precious pieces have such “inclusions” as complete ferns and even bees. The color can be anything from cherry red, to bright orange, to shades of honey.

Amber is not only very light; it is warm to the touch. If rubbed on a piece of silk, it can hold an electric charge. Because of this, it is believed to draw energy to the person who wears or carries it. It can also bring abundance, happiness, and the strength of the sun to whatever you do. It is also immensely protective. Amber turns back bad feelings, blue moods, and even dark magic, and leaves your mind and aura refreshed. One of the best uses for amber is on your altar, where it has been known to make your Book of Shadows and Spell Work even more powerful. In some Wiccan traditions, amber is paired with jet in the High Priestess’s necklace to represent life and death, light and darkness, male and female, and the balance between them.

No 3D glassses? No problem. Focus on the center line of the above photos--they will combine before your eyes and watch them become three dimensional!
Finally, amber is known for its healing abilities. Ancient people would use amber to clean a room of negative vibrations. You can do the same by holding the stone and letting its warmth seep into your hands and body. So, celebrate amber, man and magic’s special energy booster, and enjoy the longer spring days to come.

Bo Finn here, on a warm and beautiful day at the LapiDairy. Everything is a lovely tapestry of green, the nearby trees provide plenty of shade to rest comfortably...even the lichen is growing thick on the cairn of stones that lies here, at the edge of our woods. A cairn is like a burial hill of rocks from long ago, but sitting here in their cover of mossy green, they remind me of a common stone found in these parts--the aventurine.

Lammas, or Lughnasad, is a time of looking forward to the coming crops, making plans for the future and hoping for business success. Aventurine is perfect for all three! It improves prosperity (maybe it's time to set up that lemonade stand or start that paper route!) and gives you confidence, imagination, and peace of mind.

Unsure how to spend the rest of your summer? Not sure how to prepare for school? Place an aventurine under your pillow and it will help you find answers. Not only that, aventurine helps you see the future, increases clairvoyance in general, and improves psychic abilities. Because it helps with Second Sight, this stone is also said to help people who are nearsighted--so it aids “vision” on various levels!

Aventurine is associated with Lammas because it brings luck, leadership, balance and protection--all the attributes that were needed in the old days for the Lughnasad Fair: safety, being able to bargain with merchants for the sale of your coming harvest, and confidence in the gods that your fields would thrive and bring in enough to both sell and sustain your family through the Winter. So too, it can help you spend the rest of the Goddess season in good health and assist you in preparing for the coming Fall and Winter months.

Greetings, everyone! Bo Finn here... well, it's only been two weeks since we've moved from Goddess season to God season. To welcome in the New Year we filled a wicker man with produce from the fields (and jugs of milk, of course!), and set it ablaze beneath Samhain's azurite sky.

 What is azurite?

Well, it's the perfect stone for this most serious time of transition. Its name may come from the Persian word “lazard” or “blue.” It's been said that this gem was the special stone of ancient Egypt, one that focused the mind and strengthened perception. It cleanses and opens your third eye, brings knowledge, and overcomes fear and anxiety. This is very valuable on a night when anything from the “other realm” could be walking the darkness!

Azurite is excellent for learning. If you are a student in a classroom by day, or a student of magic by night, keep an azurite on your desk or with your magical texts. It will stimulate comprehension. When put in the room where someone is ill, Azurite, is said to absorb the negativity and unhealthy energy. It also aids the healing of bone and the nervous system--and reduces bouts of sadness, hysterics and hallucinations. (Samhain is NOT the night to start imagining monsters in the closet!)

For those of you who have family traditions or covens who use Samhain as a time for psychic work, there's nothing better than Azurite. In strengthening your astral body, it makes you resistant to psychic attacks. Meanwhile, it sharpens your intuition, your predictive ability, your inner vision and your remembrances. What better time to recall your past lives! Better still, azurite guards you from being misled, so you can see the true motives of others, and avoid any possible false memories.

This remarkable gem can plug any “holes” in your aura, shielding you from any negative, incoming energy while keeping positive energy from leaking away, causing fatigue. Finally, azurite is a dream stone. Place it under your pillow and have clear, prophetic images populate your slumbering mind. (Note: azutite is often found combined with malachite. When tumbled smooth into a sphere, it resembles a miniature planet earth! The two stones together create an extra powerful dream stone.)

The season of Imbolc is here, a time when seeds are germinating beneath the soil, the days are obviously getting longer, and our friendly ewes come into milk (a time when they get ready to give birth in the spring). It is a period of recovery and healing, when the blood starts pumping, preparing for the season of growth.

There is a stone, here at the dairy, that is traditionally associated with this turn of the wheel. It’s called Hematite. Even though it is a shiny gray color, if you look closely, you will see deep red streaks. Because these look like blood, the stone is called hematite from the Greek “haima” or blood. 

Hematite is said to help relieve stress and confusion. For young people, the easiest way to use hematite is to string beads as a bracelet or necklace. The stone is plentiful, and is used in a lot of costume jewelry. If that isn’t your style, try to find a slightly larger, flat piece to use as a “worry stone” (a stone you hold in your hand while rubbing the surface with your thumb). And, as always, you can place one in a small red bag (red for blood, its flow and energy) and keep it near you. 

So, carry a hematite wherever you go. It will help you deal with the last vestiges of the winter--weather woes, stress from being inside so much, and the longing for springtime. Hang in there--it’s coming soon!

Hello, everyone--Bo Rua here! There's lots of preparations going on. Wood is being gathered for the festival bonfire. Windows, doorways and mirrors are being blessed and sealed, so no spirit can use them as an unintended portals into our world, and the jet scrying glass is waiting in its bag of mugwort, to be used by the Elder during our Samhain ritual.

Do you know about scrying? It's another word for crystal gazing, although not everyone uses a crystal ball. Some Elders prefer a round glass, and sometimes spheres, made from shiny, black jet. It's a perfect stone for this kind of work, not only because it can be polished into a dark, reflective surface, but because of its properties, too!

As you may know, Samhain is the night when the worlds of the living and the dead are close. We welcome the spirits of our loved ones to join us and our rites. When a person scrys this evening, there is more of a chance that they could be bothered by other forces that are allowed to roam the earth until noon the next day. Jet turns aside negative energies, and protects a person who travels, physically or spiritually. So, it's good for those who “travel” using psychic vision, but also good to carry in your pocket when you go door-to-door for “trick or treat.” Because it protects spiritual travel, it's also a good meditation stone to help you discover your past lives.

Jet and amber are the sacred stones found in the necklaces worn by some traditions of Wiccan High Priestesses and Elders. Together, they represent life and death, male and female energy, and set up a very healing vibration. Part of that is due to jet's ability to cleanse your aura of any negativity or sickness. In fact, if you put small pieces of jet in a bowl, and then place other stones, crystals or jewelry in the bowl with them, the jet pieces will remove any unwanted influence from those other items. It's a great way to get your ritual jewelry ready for the big night and, if your parents or Elders have allowed you working tools like a wand or blade, keeping a piece of jet with them, when not in use, will keep them safe from unwelcome energy.

Jet keeps you calm and removes unwanted fears but, more importantly for Samhain night, it will also keep you safe from any misuse of magic and energy. After all, one can't be too careful--anything can happen on Halloween.

Enjoy your parties and your celebrations. Remember those you love and those who have passed on. Leave some food out for the Puca (Samhain is his special evening, you know) and stay safe until morning.

Sasta Oiche Shamhna (saws-tah ee-hah how-nah) Happy Halloween!

Greetings, everyone! Bo Finn here, on this glorious day at the Lapidairy. Ah, the greening of the earth! The Goddess Season has come at last. Now is the time of verdant hills and golden sun. It’s no wonder one of our most popular stones here at the dairy is the mystical and vibrant malachite.

This is one beauty of a gem! It’s usually banded with lighter and darker stripes of green, and shot through with a hint of copper. It reminds me of the new grass on the surrounding hillsides, dark in shadow and light in sun, touched with a hint of gold. It’s plentiful, and easily found in New Age shops, rock shops, nature stores and the like.

Malachite is a warrior’s stone--it defends you from negative energy, and is even said to shatter to warn you if you are under psychic attack. It also protects you with its energy and reflects dark magic back to its source.

So, why is this stone associated with Beltain? Because of it’s renewing and healing effects on your spirit, mind, and body. The copper in malachite helps draw tension, aches and dullness from your system, while its other elements refresh your aura and stimulate positive attitudes and good health. In short, it aids you to leave the past--like the winter--behind, and lets you start the Goddess Season with fresh, clear minds and spirits.

Malachite is also a stone of prosperity and brings good luck, good fortune, and even new customers! If you have bigger chunks, they can be placed in the corners of your bedroom, because malachite is even said to cleanse the atmosphere of environmental pollutants! Carry one with you for an energy boost, or when you need clear thinking and insight.

Take a malachite with you, as you trod the maypole’s path towards summer. All hail the Queen of the May, and Slan’ go foill (“slawn guh foo-ill”)!

Ah, Samhain-tide: a time when life and death balance on a razor sharp edge as we welcome in the Season of the Winter God. Rua, Fin and I will be tucked safely into our stalls this evening, away from those things that walk between the worlds. It’s a time to stay firmly rooted in this world, while seeking predictions from the next. Your best tools on Samhain are sharp wits and clear vision. It reminds me of a stone we find here at the dairy. It’s usually shiny and black (although it can be green, grey and even “rainbow”), and made from volcanic glass. It’s called obsidian.
Obsidian was highly prized by Native Americans because of its use as a blade. It could be honed to the thinnest edge, and still be deadly sharp, so it was a perfect material for arrowheads. Even today, obsidian blades are used in surgery because they are many times sharper than steel blades, and have nice, smooth edges--and smooth blades mean less scaring. Obsidian has other properties that are especially useful this time of year. Wearing or holding the stone not only releases healing energy, but also keeps you grounded and balanced. That’s especially important during a season when the worlds of the living and the dead touch.

Obsidian makes sure you stay put in the world where you belong. Yet, at the same time, obsidian balls, crystals and mirrors are used for scrying (crystal gazing) and allow visions and dreams of the future. If you use an obsidian as a scrying tool, keep it wrapped in a black cloth filled with a good helping of mugwort between uses. The black cloth keeps trivial images from being absorbed by the obsidian, while the mugwort keeps unwanted energies at bay. This way, your scrying tool is always ready to give you clear, meaningful visions. Like most black stones, obsidian is protective, warding off negative energy. (It would be a good idea to carry an obsidian stone in your pocket when you go Trick or Treating on Halloween). It stimulates your intuition, so you can sense things easier, like the intentions of a stranger or the mood of your parents! Finally, it opens up your creativity and allows positive energy to flow.

Enjoy your parties, parades and candy. Since Samhain is the Celtic New Year, my sisters and I will see you next year. Cleas no’ coir (class noh koh-ir)…Trick or treat!

Bo Dhu here, on this warm summer day--it's still summer. Only a few more days until the Autumnal Equinox!

Now that the weather is getting cooler, we like to have our celebrations outdoors at simple altars, casting circles with a wand of smoky quartz. Why smoky quartz? It's a great stone for this time of year, and outdoor rituals in particular. Not only is it the national gemstone of Scotland, it was also prized by the Druids and Native Americans alike. Some Cherokee medicine men used smoky quartz as the topping of their own ritual wands. 

Smoky quartz is not only grounding, it brings peace and harmony. It lets you focus on the here and now, and helps convert negative energy into positive action. It doesn't give you a sudden boost, but it builds up strength to sustain you through long periods, like the barrenness of late fall and winter. On a mystic level, it makes a grand scrying ball. Even the first Queen Elizabeth was said to use one to tell the future. 

This stone is also highly protective, something very useful the closer we get to Samhain. However, it allows your own energy to flow smoothly, especially creative energy. It is a mood elevator, helps you overcome depressions and the winter “blahs”, and allows you to work very well in groups. That's why it's a great wand for group circles. It helps you form a link between your physical self and your psychic abilities. It aids you in realizing your dreams and standing strong in your beliefs. It can even rid you of your unproductive behaviors. It can protect and cleanse your aura while meditating--something else which is very useful during Samhain season. Smoky quartz is related to your base chakra. It helps heal all kinds of illnesses pertaining to the lower portion of your body, including kidneys, adrenals, bones, spine, colon and legs. Finally, this stone can alleviate pain in the hands, feet and back--a perfect aid to those generations of farmers who brought in the harvest at this time of year.

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