Earth Lore Livonia: Moving May 31, 2011

As many of our regular customers already know, Earth Lore is going to be closing its Livonia location on May 31st, 2011 and moving the inventory to our larger Plymouth location.  We have spent 14 wonderful and successful years serving the community there, and the business has finally outgrown our first tiny shop to the extent that we feel the time is right to make this change.

In 2003, we opened our much larger Plymouth location with the intention of moving the entire business there.  Instead, we found ourselves with two full-scale shops that were each successful in their own right.  While we couldn’t be happier about the community support that made this happen, Earth Lore is still a very small business with a very small staff, and is more suited to one location than two.

Now, eight years later, we are finishing the move we began when we opened Earth Lore Plymouth.  We chose downtown Plymouth for several reasons: better parking, a thriving downtown full of other small shops and restaurants, a MUCH bigger space (4 times the size of the Livonia store!), local festivals, etc.  It’s a vibrant, beautiful downtown area and complements Earth Lore nicely.

Most of all, we chose Plymouth for its proximity to Livonia – less than 10 miles from our Livonia shop!  In changing our location, we wanted to do our best not to lose the customers that make the store possible to begin with.  We know that moving the store at all is inconvenient to some folks, but promise that the Plymouth store is well worth the short extra trip!

On behalf of all of us here at Earth Lore, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making these stores possible.  It is your interest and support that not only allows us to be in this most unusual of businesses, but also for making the journey worth the while.

Namasté,
The Earth Lore Staff

Nazar and the Evil Eye

Nazars

Nazars (evil eye talismans)

Sounds like a chapter from Harry Potter, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s nothing so fantastical… but much more interesting.  Today we’re going to explore what is likely the most popular protective talisman Americans are not familiar with.  I am speaking of the nazar, or ‘Evil Eye Stone‘.

First, though, a brief overview of what these talismans are created to protect against.  In the Mediterranean (Greece, Iran, Turkey, etc) there is a widespread belief that certain people with particularly piercing gazes can give you bad fortune just by looking at you.  It is also believed that ordinary people can (unintentionally) bring bad luck to one another by looking at something (a person, an object, anything) with envy or jealousy.  Both of these describe the effects of the ‘evil eye’, and it is this which the nazar is made to ward off.

The nazar (aka Lucky Eye, Evil Eye Stone) is usually a flat circle of glass or a bead with circular markings, which looks like a wide-open, gazing eye.  Eye symbols are considered to be protective all over the world, and it’s said that the evil eye talisman moved to the Mediterranean from Egypt, where it invoked the ever-watchful eye of the god Horus, who would watch over the wearer and protect them form thieves and dishonest people.

The use is very easy – simply wear one as jewelry, or put one on anything that might draw anyone’s envy.  Traditionally common objects protected by a nazar are people, cars, houses, businesses, babies, and even cellphones.

Earth Lore, of course, carries nazar bracelets, charms, and other items!

Bismuth – Stone of Connection

by Grant

Bismuth

Bismuth Crystal

When it’s cold outside and many of us haven’t seen the sun in a few months, we can begin to feel a little isolated from the rest of humanity.  Even those of us who work with people every day can, at times, feel disconnected from our local and global communities.  Lots of people feel this way.

There are all sorts of things out there meant to alleviate these kinds of feelings – everything from prescriptions and herbal remedies to simply getting out more.  In the crystal and mineral spectrum, however, bismuth is the crystal of choice in these situations.  It is known to alleviate feelings of loneliness or disconnectedness, and helps one to feel more in touch with the present moment and the rest of humanity.

This month, I’d like to offer a simple practice with Bismuth to help with the wintertime isolation blues.

  • A piece of crystalline Bismuth
  • 1 piece of red thread

As usual, cleanse your materials first by smudging with white sage, or holding in running water for a moment.

More often than not, practices like these are done by yourself in a quiet place to help center your energy.  Well, this time we’re going to do something different – that is, you will need to find a place with people in it where you can sit quietly and not be disturbed.  Libraries, book stores, and cafeterias are good for this.

  1. Meditate on the shape of the bismuth crystal – a great network of bends and twists, peaks and valleys – all winding together to make the whole crystal.  People are all connected in this way.
  2. Hold the bismuth in your left hand.
  3. Now, casually scan the people around you for those who are giving off good energy.  They will often be the ones smiling, but sometimes can be found deep in thought or hard at work.  People give off lots of different kinds of energy – use your intuition.
  4. Realize that you have a fundamental connection with each of these people.  They are family and friends of friends and family, and the good energy they are giving away is also yours to share.
  5. Visualize the stone absorbing some of this energy, and glowing with a soft blue light.
  6. Return some good energy by quietly and sincerely hoping these people fare well on their journey.
  7. Repeat 1-6 as often as you like.  Do not re-cleanse the crystal.
  8. Tie the thread around the bismuth crystal, and hang it near the front entrance of your home where it can interact with the energy of everyone who comes and goes – strengthening the connection.

The energy from this simple talisman can keep you spiritually warm on the coldest winter nights.

Enjoy!

Earth Lore carries bismuth crystals – and if you ask nicely we might even give you some red thread for it.

Danburite – Clearing the Path

Danburite

Danburite Crystal

This universe that we live in is a constant state of change.  Try as we might (and we do try), there is nothing that can be done to stop this ever-persistent push forward along our respective paths.  Indeed, what could we gain by staying in place anyway?

Sometimes changes – even positive ones – can be a great source of stress and uncertainty.  This month, we’ll discuss danburite and its role in smoothing the way ahead in uncertain times.

Danburite exhibits several properties that can be invaluable for those facing large changes or decisions.  It can help awaken your inner guidance – the part of you who knows the way ahead and how best to apprehend it.  When held, it also assists in releasing the past, on both the emotional and karmic levels.

Danburite also enhances patience, and can reveal the positive aspects of the situation we find ourselves in.

Clearing the Path with Danburite

  • 1 Piece Danburite
  • At least 3 small strips (3 or 4-inch squares will be fine) of fabric from old clothing (it’s important that they belong to you)
  • A bowl of water
  • A pinch of salt
  • A sharpie (or anything that will write on fabric)

As with most practices, we recommend cleansing the area and your materials with white sage smoke before beginning.

  1. Find a quiet, peaceful place to sit without distraction.
  2. Lay your materials out in front of you
  3. On the first strip of fabric, write the name of what you would like to leave behind.  Avoid using people’s names – aim for things like “confusion” or “unhappiness”.  You may write more than one of these.
  4. On the second strip, write the name of something you would like to keep to help with your journey.  Again, avoid people’s names.  Try something like “patience” or “determination”.  Only write one of these.
  5. Finally, on the third strip, write the name of your goal.
  6. Place all of the strips in the bowl of water, and put the danburite crystal on top to keep them underwater.  The crystal charges the water, which in turn charges the strips of intentioned cloth.
  7. Sprinkle the salt into the water in a spiral pattern, starting at the center and circling outward.
  8. Take the bowl and leave it in a safe place outdoors.
  9. When 24 hours have passed, take the wet cloth strips out of the bowl.
  10. Bury the strip(s) that represent things to be left behind.  Hang from a tree or bush the one representing that which helps you in your journey.  Place the one symbolizing your goal in your clothing drawer.  Do not rinse or wash it further.
  11. The water should be poured down the drain, or into another source of running water.

Earth Lore, as always, handles all of the materials mentioned in this practice (except your old clothing).

Chinese Health Balls

Chinese Health Balls

Chinese Health Balls

HISTORY: Chinese Health Balls are a great (and easy) way to add dexterity and fitness to your current health regimen.  These small metal balls come in pairs and go by many names, including  Therapy Balls, Stress Balls, Harmony or Baoding Balls. (They are believed to have originated in Baoding, China approximately 500 years ago in during the Ming Dynasty.) While they were originally made of solid iron, modern Chinese Health Balls are hollowed out making them easier to use and transport. In fact these days, they contain small chimes which is why they sometimes are referred to as Harmony Balls.

USES: Chinese Health Balls are often used during exercise and meditation. While there are many exercises possible the most common way use them is to place two balls in the palm of one hand. Using balance and gravity, rotate the balls in one hand clockwise and once mastered, work on counter-clockwise. One method suggests not to let the balls touch or chime. More advanced users can work up to larger diameter balls. They then can work up to  exercises involving 3 or more balls. These seemingly easy exercises actually do a great deal to work the muscles in your hands, forearms and shoulders! They provide great benefits to those who desire better muscle control and dexterity, such as musicians, artist and athletes.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS: If the benefits for the physical exercise alone aren’t enough to convince you to start practicing your hand cordination, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners  believe that all bodily systems are linked to one another. With regular use, these balls are believed to boost the circulation of the blood while acting to relax joints and muscles. Disorders such as hypertension, arthritis of the fingers and wrists, as well as numbness and trembling of the hands can be prevented and improved through the use of Chinese Health balls. These practices have been around in tradition Chinese culture for hundreds of years, where preventative medicine is considered the key to a long and healthy life.

Ward Away the Winter Sniffles

It’s that magical time of year when our poor sinuses are crying out for antihistamines. I love winter in Michigan, but find it difficult to enjoy when I’m run down by sneezes and wheezes. There are several simple remedies that can help to bring the body back to center. Most sinusitis is caused by either viral or bacterial origin. Only by addressing the cause, and not simply suppressing symptoms, will we begin to experience lasting relief.

By simply using an aromatherapy diffuser of some sort, or even a hot pan of water, oil molecules diffused in the air will help destroy bacteria, fungus, and viruses. I’ve been doing a blend of peppermint, lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus, and bergamot at my house. Not only does this smell awesome, it works great too. These oils all have anti-bacterial properties. The tea tree oil offers anti-fungal action, Red thyme can also be used to treat moldy situations. Lavender oil works as a bronchial dialator for upper respiratory complaints. During times when the immune system is challenged by sinus problems an eyebright herb compress laid over the area across the nose and below the eyes works as an expectorant, anti inflammatory, and decongestant. Others herbs of choice would be lovely in this compress.

Diet, believe it or not, is also a big factor.  When you’re stuffed up, try incorporating some hot foods such as horseradish, garlic, parsley, ginger, or cayenne.  Their fiery action helps break up congestion and stimulate the immune system.

Stones have been used in conjunction with other remedies to lend their healing energies as well.  Lapis Lazuli is said to benefit the respiratory and nervous system.  Emeralds treat sinuses, lungs, and muscles.  Aventurine benefits the nervous system and stimulates metabolism. In addition, aventurine heals the lungs, sinuses, and has an anti-inflammatory effect.  Iolite aids the sinuses and respiratory system, it is also been said to help eliminate bacteria.  Fluorite is a powerful healer when dealing with infections, such as upper respiratory and sinusitis.  Try placing these stones over sinus pressure points while laying down, or throw a couple in the tub while soaking to receive their energies.

If you are just looking for something ready to use I recommend any of the Olba’s products.  The concentrated oil works especially well during harsh, allergic times.  Olba’s products are a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, cajeput, wintergreen, juniper, and clove.  Any treatments you wish to use should be thoroughly researched on proper usage and dosage. All essential oils should be diluted. Listen to your body, if any treatment causes irritation or discomfort it’s probably not the treatment for you, discontinue use immediately.  Enjoy the season from a happy and healthy perspective!

*The information given in this article is not intended to act as a substitute for medical treatment, nor can it be used for diagnosis. I do not advocate, endorse, or guarantee the curative effects of any substances, or stones in this article.

Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla

by Kate

Mineral Composition:

Chrysocolla is formed in the oxidation zone of copper ore mines, wherever surface water containing silicic acid dissolves copper out of the rock. Chrysocolla has an attractive blue-green color and has a hardness of 2.5 to 3.5. Because of its light color, it is sometimes confused with turquoise. It commonly is formed with quartz, turquoise, malachite and azurite.

Astrological Association: Gemini, Taurus, Virgo

Healing Properties:

Chrysocolla is a stone of peace. It helps one to release negative emotions, such as indignation, regret, anger and allows for the growth of harmony. Because is can produce a great inner strength, this stone can help one to to endure stress for long periods of time. It helps one to “keep cool” during these hard times by reducing irritability and encouraging clarity. A soothing stone, Chrysocolla also purifies the home environment, imparting a deep serenity.

Chrysocolla has been used in emotional healing to reduce fears and bring a calm joy. It enhances personal power with confidence and motivation. It is also said to be a truth-telling stone. When worn, is said to grant the power of discretion and wisdom.

Chakra Uses:

Chrysocolla cleanses and re-energizes all of the chakras and aligns them with the Divine.

  • Root: Grounds and stabilizes energies
  • Sacral: Balances and calms
  • Solar Plexus: Draws out negative emotions (guilt, fear) reverses destructive emotional habits
  • Heart: Heals heartache, increases ones ability to love, and renews sense of strength
  • Throat: Improves communication but helps to discern when to be silent, imparts honesty, excellent stone for writers and artists.
  • Third Eye: Aids psychic visions, and heals spiritual soul
  • Crown: Stimulates, provides alignment between the physical and ethereal

For physical complaints: Place directly on skin on the afflicted area. Especially good for relieving arthritic pains and disorders of the lungs. Also said to help heal infections and balance blood sugars. A good stone for thyroid problems and the metabolism.

The Legend of the Witch Ball

by Grant

Witch Ball

Witch Ball

‘Witch Balls’, as they are called, are spheres of colorful hand-blown glass, created in such a way that thin strands of material are left on the inside, creating a ‘web’ inside the globe. You have probably seen these items hanging in windows, sitting on a pedestal in a yard or displayed in either of our shops and thought they were probably just light catchers or oversized Christmas tree ornaments. While they do serve as beautiful décor pieces, there is also a history to these simple items that bears some explanation. So, this month, we will discuss the history and use of ‘witch balls’.

Witches balls came into use more than six centuries ago in Medieval Europe, though the form they took at that time was very rough and not well-defined. During the Victorian era, however, better techniques were employed to create refined objects not dissimilar from the ones available today.

The name is actually thought to be an adaptation of the term ‘Watch Ball’, named such for its ability to watch over people and places. Some people suggest that Christmas ornaments were taken from this concept, and were hung from the tree to ward against people who were jealous of the presents beneath or bad spirits intent on ruining the holiday.

There are two different historical uses for a witch ball, depending on the kind of society that was creating them:

In cultures that were friendly to arcane practitioners, witch balls were often enchanted by the local witches with charms and spells meant to protect the home and those within.

On the other hand, in cultures where witchcraft was frowned on, witch balls has a different use. The bright colors of the sphere were said to attract witches and the powers they used, with the purpose of catching them in the strands of the glass ‘web’ inside. This would protect not just the home, but also the society as a whole because the power (or, depending on the legend, the actual witch) would be trapped inside the object, unable to do harm to anyone else.

The modern use has not changed much from the original – they are, essentially, meant to absorb negative energy from the environment and directed ‘curses’ from outside sources. Some sources suggest that it should be hung in an east-facing window, but simply having them in the area is enough to catch stray negativity that might be passing through.

Earth Lore handles a nice variety of beautiful witch balls in several bright colors. Hand-blown in the USA, our witch balls are made entirely from clear and colored glass (even the hanging ring) and showcase the glass studio’s fine craftsmanship.

by Larissa

Yule Log & Candles

Yule Log & Candles

In ancient times the winter solstice festivals were celebrated to commemorate solar deities, such as Jesus or Mithra, and lure the sun god back to earth following the darkest days of the year. The days becoming longer, or the return of the sun, guaranteed good health, fertility, and strength in the coming year. Some gods and goddesses to honor during the solstice

Goddesses

  • Virgin Mary
  • Gaia
  • Eve
  • Lilith
  • Freya
  • Maat
  • Pandora
  • Ivy Queen


Gods

  • Jesus
  • Mithra
  • Odin
  • Sol
  • Saturn
  • Apollo
  • Balder
  • Lugh
  • Cronos
  • Helios
  • Holly King


Traditionally on the eve of Yule large bonfires were lit, it was believed that the sacred blaze gave power and life to the sun. God is the sun who “dies” on Samhain as the days became shorter and darker but who returns after this darkest night of the year to again bring fertility and warmth. Later, the fire was brought indoors and the Yule log was burned in fire places. Even if no fireplace is available, a Yule log can be created and celebrated. Generally a Yule log should be at least 13 inches long by 5 inches tall. Carve images of blazing suns and other magickal symbols into the log and candles. Take into account the width of candles and bore holes into the log at least ¾ to 1 inch deep to accommodate the bottoms of the candles. To honor the triple Goddess, use candles in white, red, and black . In addition to red: orange and gold are also “god colors”, adorned in carved sun images, the candles were traditional in Slavic regions. Decorate the log carefully so herbs don’t touch candles, as they are flammable. Use herbs such as:

  • Mistletoe
  • Cedar
  • Rosemary
  • Bay
  • Juniper
  • or any other Evergreen

The herbs bring the essence of nature and wilderness inside during this time of introspection and solitude. The burning of the Yule log will refresh the home’s energies. Light your candle the eve before Yule and say the following blessing

May the log burn

May the Wheel Turn

May Evil Spurn

May the Sun Return

Some may wish to save ashes from the Yule log all year as a talisman of protection, strength, health, and fertility.

On Yule, no excessive work should be done, and an apple should be eaten . Taking a cleansing bath on the solstice is said to bring fortune in the following year; use rosemary, bay, pine, and a coin tied in a wash cloth. The bath ensures the last 6 months worries will be shrugged off. The eve before Yule sip cider or ale and eat cookies or cake. Mulling spices are available at earth lore for spiced cider or wine beverages. The element water is represented by drink, while earth is represented by the cake or cookies. A fragrant garland for evergreen trees can be made by stringing dried cinnamon sticks and Rose buds. We bring in evergreens to remind us of continuing growth and life on Earth. Placing lights or candles on the tree ensures the home will have a year of plenty, warmth, and light. Witch balls, another protective element were often hung alongside candles. At Earth lore, we have clip on tree candle holders, for small chime candles. We also have some beautiful white flame less taper candles as well, for those of us who can’t sit idle all night to monitor the candles. Burning candles during the Yule tide season acts to lure back the sun and also honors the virgin goddess. This season is associated not only with solitude and introspection, but also peace, love, and joy!!! Enjoy the Holidays with your family and friends!! Blessed Be.

Sandalwood – Precious Oil of Love

by Angela

Sandalwood

Sandalwood

The name ‘Sandalwood’ is used to define a variety of fragrant woods produced by trees of the genus Santalum. The Santalum are medium sized, hemi-parasitic trees grown in India, Australia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands. The most precious Sandalwood produced of the Santalum family is the fragrant wood of the Santalum Album tree in India. The trees are currently being harvested around age fourteen, before they mature, and the bark is distilled in a delicate four-step process to produce the Essential Oil of Sandalwood. The Essential Oil is sought world-wide by perfumeries, cosmetic companies, and healing practitioners for its exotic fragrance and aromatherapeutic properties.

Why is Sandalwood so expensive?

There is some controversy over the harvesting of Santalum trees, especially the precious Indian variety of Santalum Album. Southern and Western Indian Santalum trees are currently a threatened species as they are being over-harvested at an alarming rate. Though the trees, and the land on which they grow are now government controlled, the trees are being illegally cut down and smuggled out of the country to be sold. As legally harvested Indian Sandalwood becomes harder to come by, the prices for pure Sandalwood bark, powder, and oil continue to rise. The production simply cannot meet the demand. Essential Oil of Sandalwood is especially expensive due to the fact that it takes several pounds of chips to distill one ½ ounce of pure oil.

Metaphysical Uses for Sandalwood

Chipped and powdered Sandalwood can be burned as an incense, or used in talismans. Sandalwood oil can be worn as a fragrance, burned in an aromatic diffuser, or used in making various body products. Sandalwood is a very high vibrational fragrance and can be used in rituals and prayers for protection, healing, love, purification, and wish fulfillment.

Because Sandalwood works with the energy of the moon, it is a powerful scent to burn or wear during Full Moon rituals. Mix the Sandalwood with Frankincense oil or incense for spiritual purification and cleansing.

Mix Sandalwood and Lavender Essential Oils and apply to the Crown Chakra to facilitate spirit and angel communication.

The Precious Oil of Love

Because Sandalwood is such a spiritual fragrance, it can be used to enhance love-making. Place 2-3 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil on you and your partner’s 3rd Eye Chakra to magnify sexual pleasure, and heighten orgasm.

Another great tip: make your own Love Drawing Oil with Sandalwood. The following recipe is very effective, but don’t hesitate to add an extra stone or oil if you are drawn to do so.

Love Drawing Oil Recipe

  • To 2 ½ oz. Sweet Almond Oil and ½ oz. Sesame Oil add:
  • 8 drops Essential Sandalwood Oil
  • 6 drops Rose Oil (fragrance will do)
  • 4 drops Essential Patchouli Oil
  • 1 small piece of Turquoise
  • 1 small piece of Lodestone

Apply daily to attract a new love, or maintain harmony in a current relationship.

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