This post is a little bit all over the place–I’ve tried to rein it in but sometimes my brain is disorderly and chaotic and there’s only so much I can do with it.
Sometimes stones will practically crawl off of shore shelves and climb into my pockets. Not very often really–it seems like most of the stones I work with are given to me as gifts–but sometimes.
This happened with a piece of Carnelian a few weeks ago, and who was I to argue? So naturally when it came time to choose my first C word I reached for the Carnelian and sat down to do a little meditating with it.
I like to start my journeys with a visualization I got from Susun Weed’s Greenwitch course: walking down a set of 13 steps. I count down from 13 as I walk, and when my imaginary foot hits the imaginary ground at the count of 13 it’s often like something clicks into place, and I can feel myself in the midst of a different setting than wherever I’m journeying from.
This time I was at the edge of the wood, and the sun was an orange cinder already half sunk behind the horizon–exactly the color of the big chunk of carnelian in my hand. I stood on snow–and I had some amazing furry boots, but that’s probably not a vital detail of this journey. Once I was really immersed in the setting I started walking, and wondering if it was a good idea to be heading into the woods at dusk (does anyone else wonder things like this in journey work? Or am I just a little too type A?).
Of course immediately upon thinking this I heard wolves howling–that’s the kind of thing you can expect to happen in dreams and journeys, immediate materialization of random thoughts and fears, as well as of good things. I’m glad real life isn’t like that. I started walking faster, down a slight hill, and at the bottom a cottage with a smoking chimney and glowy windows.
I ran to the cottage and knocked on the wooden door, and it swung open. When I stepped in, I would have assumed there would be a wise old woman or something, but there was no one at all. And as I looked around the cottage, two things happened.
One, I realized the cottage was my home–or it had been at one time.
Two, I started having to stoop to fit inside the house.
And as I thought, this place is too small for me, I started growing at a ridiculous rate, like Alice after eating the little cake. I broke the little house to pieces–and the trees now came just higher than my ankles, and the wolves I’d been afraid of were the size of horseflies.
I stood there all huge and shocked and felt a sort of firey, tingly feeling all through my body, and I hear/felt a voice/thought telling me I have a bigger life to inhabit–and to fill with amazing things and people. (That’s a tall order. I already know some seriously amazing people. The thought of more of them is almost overwhelming.) (Also, please don’t think I’m on an ego trip talking about building a bigger life. I had made my life really, really small. To say my life will be bigger isn’t saying a whole lot.)
Gradually the feeling dissipated and I opened my eyes.
After my little trip I looked up Carnelian in a couple of my books to see what the “experts” have to say on the subject.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic mentioned a lot of things, including courage and protection–which seemed in line with what I saw in my journey.
The Book of Stones (by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian) also mentioned courage. It described how Carnelian can give us more physical vitality and passion, and can help us take action and bring ideas and dreams into reality or physical form.
Which brings me back to the journey. What was interesting about my vision was that the moment I felt I’d need the most courage was AFTER the miraculous growth spurt. I realized that the woods and the wolves and the smashed shelter all happened before the journey–the imagery was just a quick summary of my past. Demolishing the house wasn’t an act of courage, it was almost involuntary. But inhabiting a bigger life? That’s intimidating. That’s something I still have to figure out how to do, and something I was resisting for a very long time because–honestly, I lacked the courage to break out of my self-imposed limitations.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Courage lately because I’ve been reading up on Druidry, and courage is one of the 9 virtues of a druid listed in the ADF’s Dedicant Manual. The manual describes Courage as “right action in the face of danger”, but I think that’s an incomplete definition. Courage can also be the decision to take action that scares us–danger or no danger.
Yes, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to dismantle and then rebuild your life.
But it takes even more courage to see when your life isn’t fulfilling its potential and do something about it BEFORE a disaster comes along to boot you out of your comfort zone. I tend to wait until something drastic pushes me to change, and then it’s all explosions and tears and “I should have seen that coming.” I suppose it gets things done but y’all, I don’t recommend the path of smash. I recommend embracing a kinder, gentler kind of courage–one where you say “okay it’s scary to change things but if I don’t it’s going to hurt more later.”
Magically speaking, you could work with Carnelian to help you with this very practical, useful sort of bravery. It’s what I’m going to try to do, because I don’t like to imagine the alternative.