Crystalline wonders

This week, Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications challenged writers to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the word crystalline.

In her post, Charli wrote about hunting for agates. She also mentioned many other types of rock, including quartz, chert, silica, gneiss, granite, mica… She used terms like metamorphic and fossilised, and I was transported back to my high school science classes. Sadly, I wasn’t inspired to be a rock-hound like Charli, and needed to check my understanding of these words and terms.

My research uncovered both science facts and assorted beliefs about the seemingly magical properties of agate, some of which I’ll share with you.

#12 Science facts about agate (without getting too technical):

  • A type of quartz
  • Most commonly found in volcanic rock, sometimes metamorphic
  • Fine grains and bright colours, often in bands
  • Many are hollow geodes
  • Weather resistant
  • Often found in soil or on the shoreline of waterways
  • Many different types of agate
  • Found in many different countries
  • Many uses including art and jewellery
  • Polishing, often by tumbling, helps to expose their inner beauty of colours and patterns
  • Each agate is unique
  • Can vary in size and value

Sources: Wikipedia, Minerals.net, International Gem Society

Due to the bands of colour, agate is also known as Earth’s rainbow.

A collection of beliefs about the metaphysical properties and healing powers of agate

Can be used to create balance in emotional, physical and intellectual energy of an individual and of the universe.

Worn as an amulet, it provides protection.

Different colours and types of agate are considered to have different metaphysical properties, for example; some are thought to be calming, some uplifting, others bring abundance, some have healing powers, and others bestow strength. In fact, it seems agate can help with almost everything from marketing your writing and managing your overwhelming multitude of tasks to preventing traffic accidents.

Agate is a zodiac stone for my birth sign Gemini. While I may not dare agree with it (pass me the agate. I’m sure it will help me), I rather like the description. It tells me that Gemini is the sign of the inventor and that,

Those born under this sign can see both sides of an issue. They’re flexible and can go with the flow, and can be lively and talkative, or restless and nervous depending on their setting. Those born when the Sun is in Gemini are quick thinkers, quick-witted, and quick on their feet.

Disappointingly for me, I was not born in summer. I’m a Southern Hemisphere winter Gemini baby. Does that make me the opposite?

Sources: Crystal Vaults, Crystal Healing, Crystals and Jewellery

It seems that with a small collection of differently coloured agates one could conquer almost everything, be self-aware and self-confident, courageous and strong, peaceful and healthy.  Perhaps a collection in every home, on every corner, and in every classroom, could be the answer to humanity’s problems.

#12 Agates for a classroom collection?

  • Blue – creativity, problem solving, courage
  • Banded – creates a healthy environment, removes negativity, cuts ties to negative relationships, helps seek solutions and to try new things, offers protection, encourages creativity
  • Blue lace – healing and calming, nurturing and supportive, reduces anger, reduces fear of being judged, assists with verbal expression
  • Botswana – creativity, problem solving, quit smoking, energises the brain
  • Bull’s eye – focus
  • Colorin – helps accept changes associated with aging
  • Crackled fire – energy and protection, prevents burn-out
  • Crazy lace – focus, reduces negativity
  • Dendritic – abundance, peace
  • Green – enhances thinking, improves decision making, resolving disputes
  • Laguna – builds community, improves learning, especially in mathematics
  • Moss – self-esteem, friendship skills, try again

What do you think? Is it worth a try? I know of at least one teacher who thought so. I was employed to replace her when other teachers and parents became concerned that the children weren’t learning anything useful. She may have found a sense of calm and balance, but the children were disrupted, distracted, and disengaged. Like many things, the power is in the actions we take, and not manifested by the object itself.

Charli likens rock hunting to writing. She says,

the more you show up to the beach and the page, the better your chances of finding a crystalline wonder.

I think polishing the agates to reveal their inner beauty must be a little like writing, and teaching too.

That’s one reason why I keep showing up. I don’t know that I’ll ever find a crystalline wonder, but I’m prepared to put in some effort to find out.

This is my response to Charli’s challenge. It didn’t go quite where I intended and maybe not where you’d expect, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Darling Crystalline

Her mother wanted Chrystal; father, Clementine. Calm registrar decided: Baby Crystalline.

Parental spats continued as Crystalline grew up. Never in agreement, it made her so messed-up.

Crystalline retreated, spent days all on her own, searching by the water, for brightly coloured stones.

She gathered a collection that healed her aching heart, ignited self-compassion and made a brand-new start.

Believing stones worked magic, curing each and every woe, she took the heart stones with her, wherever she would go.

She shared their healing powers, with any she could find, she told them “Pay it forward. She became their darling Crystalline.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

49 thoughts on “Crystalline wonders

  1. julespaige

    I read this in the collection…finally getting back.
    I enjoyed your information. I have (through my hubby) a Geode. And my grandson spied it. And now wants his own… They actually make science kits for young children to crack their own Geodes.

    Pay it forward indeed. Sometimes just a few shiny words will do. Nice story. 🙂

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  2. Mabel Kwong

    Such a fascinating post about the crystalline agate, and interesting to hear it goes hand-in-hand with your star sign Gemini. I’ve recently taken an interest in crystals and turquoise, building up a bit of a collection bit by bit. As you touched upon, these stones can come in myriad shades and really, no stone is the same as the other.

    A bit part of me is a rational person. But another big part of me is someone who believes in intuition and magic…and a big part of me is a dreamer and believes that certain things are meant to happen if you believe hard enough. Maybe that’s the creative and writer side in me coming out. What really, really fascinates me is that the crystals I’ve happend to touch, they are always cold to the touch. I don’t know about agate; maybe I’m experiencing something that’s a very individual experience.

    Lovely piece of short fiction to end of the post. Darling Crystalline has such a nice, sweet ring to it. Love how you incorporated the theme of sharing, because I guess that’s what many crystals are about – sharing positive energy when turned up the right way.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mabel. Turquoise is a beautiful stone isn’t it? And my favourite colour. It would be nice to have a collection. I have found that stones feel cool too – except for when they are baking in the sun.
      I like your self-description: part rational, part dreamer. I think we all need a little bit of both.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the story about Darling Crystalline. I like your interpretation. 🙂

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  3. Steven

    Another interesting post, although I was somewhat amused by your quote, “pass me the agate. I’m sure it will help me”. I wonder would they be better off with a piece of charcoal or something like that (at least it could be used as a writing implement).

    It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I give no credence to metaphysical beliefs, but I guess in this post you have demonstrated that there can be benefits even to those non-believers (it can result in industrial activity). The thought had never occurred to me that people would specifically “mine” for this purpose.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for stopping by, Steven. I’ve missed your comments, both witty and insightful.
      I like your comment about the charcoal. Maybe you’re right. I used to love drawing with charcoal, and the kids would go home with it all over them. Almost as good as playing in the dirt! 🙂
      No, I’m not surprised at your crystal thinking. I tend towards scepticism myself. But I like your comment that the belief may lead to industry. I hope you didn’t have to scratch around too long to find that gem!

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  4. Christy B

    I am enthralled by agates… and by your creative take at the end of the post. I know what you mean about the creative write not going where you wanted as I had that happen recently with a short story. The character turned evil on me as I typed – although I hadn’t known that would happen!

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  5. Pingback: Crystalline « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Charli Mills

    Now I’m wondering — are there opalized agates in Australia? Your nation’s stone is one of the most beautiful rocks ever. Sometimes you can find stones along Superior that are slightly opalized with a translucent sheen. It comes from water getting trapped as the silica hardens. The discovery and challenge to find something elusive is also akin to life-long learning. I don’t think stones in a classroom would have an impact unless the teacher used them to explain their components, examine their hardness and count their crystal face, or use them to inspire stories. Yet I have experienced being in places among stone outcroppings and feeling a magnificent strength — the sandstones of Mars, for one. That stones conduct energy, I have no doubt — science and technology prove that. But can they conduct specific energies? If so, wouldn’t the earth itself be filled with all those properties? Or maybe that’s why we are drawn outdoors and to step out barefooted. Or, maybe that’s just me! I don’t think I could keep track of all the metaphysical properties, but I do feel good having my best finds displayed. The rest live in scientific data baggies, stored with proper identification, source and dates. I did look up opals, since I was curious about opal agates and I did see they “encourage humanitarian love.” I think you are connected to your nation’s stones! ❤ Loved the flash and the healing the girl found from the activity she discovered.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for following the stones and encouraging my learning. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t know we had a national stone. It’s fitting that it’s the opal though. Opals are incredibly beautiful and there is much opal jewellery and boxes of gems for sale in tourist shops. Opal mining is something I’d like to do one day. Lightning Ridge is famous for its opals and is not that far away. When I decide to go.
      I appreciate your take on the metaphysical properties of the stones, and wonder about your suggestion that perhaps that is why we are drawn outdoors. Perhaps that is part of the problem today. Young people are inside looking at screens rather than outside digging in the dirt.
      I’m not sure if opal agates are what we have here. I couldn’t find anything that clarified that for me. I like anything that encourages “humanitarian love” though, and thank you for thinking that I’m connected to my nation’s stones. I need to find a few more and make the connection stronger, I think,
      Glad you liked the flash. 🙂

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      1. Charli Mills

        Oh, perhaps your dino-enthusiasts would enjoy opal mining! Where we stayed on Mars had a big sluice box and people could purchase mineral laden dirt to sift. I never saw any families do this. I preferred finding the source of the dirt! Opals are stunning. Sometimes I find what is called a “copper inclusion” and it looks fiery and iridescent beneath a cap of silica, but nothing like an opal. I’ve met a woman who lived in the mountains near one of my dad’s logging camps and she mined quartz crystals to sell for metaphysical use. It seemed to have been popular in the 80s. She was interesting. I like the challenge of finding and identify the different rocks and minerals. I did read that one of my favorite local finds, epidote, brings prosperity and abundance. We’ll see! So far I have an abundant rock collection building! Thanks for listing all the agates, too. There are so many!

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks for sharing your experiences, Charli. Bathrust was the site of Australia’s gold rush at the same time as that of California (I think) in the mid-1800s. Years ago when we visited Bathurst we could pan for gold, a little as you describe, but I think it was on-site rather than in a barrel. Sadly we didn’t find anything of value. 😦
          I hope your abundant rock collection does bring you prosperity and abundance. There must be some in there for that purpose.
          There are many different agates. I didn’t list them all!

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  7. Annecdotist

    Ah, right, I have a “crystal” in my sock drawer – looks like a polished stone to me – which I accepted reluctantly from someone who believed in its magical properties whom I didn’t like to refuse. And no, she wasn’t called Crystalline but otherwise she might have some things in common with the character in your flash. I pity those kids with the crystal-obsessed teacher although wonder if it was a step up from the magical-thinking based on religion that I was taught.
    PS. I tried singing your flash to the tune of Clementine, but didn’t quite work 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      A crystal in your sock drawer! That must help to keep you grounded. I wouldn’t really consider the one teacher to be reflective of all teachers who “believe” in crystals. I don’t think her teaching skills were effective and I think she had other issues to contend with at the time. Religious magical-thinking. Now that’s interesting. I’m not sure that what I experienced had the same hopeful, positive energy of the crystals.
      Thanks for trying out the song with Clementine. I guess using the name and the word Darling might lead one to think it was based on that, but I just needed something to rhyme with Crystalline. Probably should have gone with Madeline, it was a better rhyme match anyway. 🙂

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  8. Robin Etter-Cleave

    Loved your poem, Norah! Beautiful. I always loved geology at school and marvelled at the sparkly bits and the shiny bits and the colours and the textures. I had a good collection when I was a child and I love the memory of walking along the Fundy Bay beach in Nova Scotia collecting shells and different stones from this geologically-rich area – Parrsboro. And now, with the powers the crystals and gems are purported to have, I often wonder if I should go back to my youth and fill my house with these magical specimens – might be worth a try!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your childhood memories, Robin. I think filling your house with these magical specimens is worth a try. I’m sure they can do no harm, so there’s nothing to lose. Let me know if you feel positive vibrations. 🙂

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    1. Charli Mills

      Oooh! I’d love to see yours and Greg’s collection! It’s a big deal here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and I can’t wait to go to the rock shops and museums when the snow prevents me from the beaches.

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  9. ksbeth

    i love this norah, how you included both the science and the magic of the crystals. i love rocks and crystals, have always been drawn to them, and love the feel of them on every level. great post –

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Beth. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post. I was fascinated that even the science brought out the beauty of the inner qualities. A good basis for the mystical.

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  10. thecontentedcrafter

    Hello Norah, I am one of those people who have kept a large collection of mostly small, but some bigger, crystals in my home for well over 30 years. Being sure, as I am, that all things in life are connected, that scientifically speaking, we do not yet know everything about our beautiful planet or about our own mysterious beings I am quite content to think they offer something intangible to the well being of my home. I’ve long since forgotten what most of them are, or what their special properties might be, but I love to look at them and enjoy looking after them. I like to watch as people who sit around my table reach out to the dish and choose a stone to handle often unconsciously. They are beautiful, tactile and I am always awed when I think about how they are made and the amazing variety that the earth gives us to consider.

    Your flash story/poem holds a message dear to my heart – learning to love and care for yourself is the key to healing the world: ‘She gathered a collection that healed her aching heart, ignited self-compassion and made a brand-new start.’ Beautifully done!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Pauline, Now why am I not surprised that you are a collector of colourful gems and stones. And how I’d like to handle them and reap their powers. I think that just holding a handful and rubbing them against each other would be very calming and enhance thinking. Perhaps they have contributed to your contentment and creativity over the years. Perhaps they protected you from the recent rains and who knows what else. I think they are keepers. We can never be sure just what effects they may have but I agree with you, that everything on the planet is connected and it wonderful to wonder at all its intricate beauty.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash and found the beauty of its inner message. I’m happy it took me there, rather than where I’d thought to go.
      I very much appreciate the generosity of your comment, Pauline. Have a great week.

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  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Ha! Well done. Interesting and informative, and me wondering how the post is going to get back to the classroom, and then, of course, it does, creatively and uniquely with a collection of agates. And your Crystalline was darling, a keeper, polished and smooth.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, D. I really appreciate your comment. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post and my Crystalline. I did so want to put her in the classroom, but she just didn’t want to go. I guess I can’t blame her really. I think she’s the creative sort!

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