Everyone seems to keep a special stone in some honored spot on a small table or sunlit sill, perhaps hoping you’ll ask to hear the story of what it means to them. We try to stay connected to the healing power of special places by receiving a stone that the land seems to offer up as a token of remembrance of our brief but meaningful relationship.
I have a perfect egg of a stone brought home from a beach on the holy island of Iona in Scotland. It’s not like this wave-rounded, storm-beached rock was precious. There were millions of them. But my heart had beaten with a new rhythm on Iona, and I carefully selected a pink, white and black speckled cobble that held the embryo of the new life that Iona birthed in me. Now when I hold its smooth weight in my hand it instantly takes me back there. My senses come alive again to all the wild island elements of wind rocking small wooden boats on the waves, purple heather clothing the granite rock, sun illuminating the high crosses carved with sacred images, and the health and freedom I felt walking there.
Recently I participated in an online class with Daniel Foor, my teacher of ancestral healing. While he was talking about people’s efforts to reclaim indigenous knowledge, I was thinking about stones that continue to connect me to ancestral places, like Iona or Ireland, where the land itself holds and conveys the memory of the indigenous pre-Christian peoples. By way of example, Daniel referred to the new musical life being breathed into the last remaining evidence in Old High German of Pagan Germanic practices preserved in the two Merseburg Charms that, thankfully, were written down by a cleric in about 900 AD. In one of them Wodan (Odin) and Friia (Frigg or Freya) are chanting a spell for healing a horse’s leg: Bone to bone, blood to blood, limb to limbs, so may they be mended. I thought, whoa, that sounds familiar. Where have I heard that? Suddenly I realized that it’s quite like the chant that activates my quartz healing-stone! With that I was propelled into the magical level of Reality, recognizing meaning-making happening right there online!
About that quartz stone: At a stone circle in Ireland, Francie, the caretaker, told us that the circle is on a ley line and that the white quartz boulder in the center holds and conducts healing energy like a battery. He told me to remove the heavy quartz capstone and stand in my bare feet on the earth-fast quartz boulder in the middle. When I stood on the quartz I was shaken vigorously for over half an hour. All I could do was surrender to letting Mother Earth’s energy rise up through me and out to friends, to family, and to our relationship with the earth.
When the shaking stopped I went outside the circle and picked up a small piece of quartz which seemed to want to come home with us. The Farmer Fairy’s Stone is the story of that first visit. Returning to this circle the following year, a chant arose when I touched the quartz piece to the quartz boulder in order to re-charge the small stone with a transfer of energy from the healer stone. Stone to stone, ground to ground, prayers to prayers, and healing to healing.
The Irish word for quartz is grian cloch, “stone of the sun.” Milky quartz is also called clocha gaela “shining stones” (gaela meaning bright, shining). White quartz is associated with the Sí, the ancestors, and with healing. Connecting the living with the dead, its use extends from covering Neolithic passage tombs to covering graves in burial grounds now. It reflects light rather than absorbing it, and when pieces are struck together it makes its own light. White quartz is associated with the Milky Way, the departed soul’s path of light.
Returning home to piedmont North Carolina I went to the labyrinth at Camp New Hope that I love to walk. It sits on the remnant volcano that uplifted quartz in various places in our area, including on my own land. The path markers of the labyrinth are made of the white quartz that underlies the land and extrudes on the surface. The paths are of green tumbled glass (which is melted quartz grains). The labyrinth is sited on a hill, ringed round by a small valley, very similarly to the placement of the Irish stone circle. When I touched the quartz stone to the quartz boulder in the center of the labyrinth the chant expanded: Hill to hill, hollow to hollow, stone to stone, and healing to healing. These words came directly from the land and from the rock, simply being repeated and revised until they felt genuine and true and effective in facilitating the flow of healing energy between these two powerful sites.
I am amazed to learn that this as before, so now formula for a magic incantation is traceable through Nordic and Celtic countries all the way back to the ancient Indo-European Atharva Veda, a collection of spells, charms, prayers and hymns from about 1,000BC. I can’t help but wonder if when I tapped into the quartz emerging from its ley line, like a mushroom emerging from the threads of underground mycelium, I also tapped into an ancestral-level stream of energy. Perhaps this chant came through my Irish grandmother from her German great, great grandmothers, healers all. I know I was “cracked-open” at that stone circle to the reality of energy moving from earth-spirit up through my body, so it’s possible that the stone carried ancestral memory up through my soul as well.
The Meresburg chant transports me back into a vivid remembering of the magical level of reality where the movement of energy is tangible, where time is totally fluid and places are all connected. I’m grateful for this sudden, unexpected re-enlivening of my intimate connection with quartz and of my relationship with my German ancestral grandmothers. I am grateful to learn that they are connected in the Field of Mystery, which can be stepped back into for the purposes of healing. It’s crazy to realize that my indigenous German grandmothers would have chanted the same magical formula I’m chanting now for healing! I hear them saying that this incantation needs to be sung more passionately, can now be sung more powerfully with their added chorus of voices. Don’t we all need to hear the voices of our indigenous ancestors bringing healing wisdom to us in these dire times?
Magic is not a practice. It is a living, breathing web of energy
that, with our permission, can encase our every action.
— Dorothy Morrison
I am grateful for this medicine chant that came from my ancestors, through the ancestral spirits of the land, through the land itself, and through the quartz. I am being told by the Grandmothers to not let the quartz healing transmission be forgotten, to not hide it away in false humility, to not let it be diminished by the insisted-upon, so-called rationality of this colonialist culture. Yes, the Grandmothers say, hold this gift in gratitude, re-member it in your body, and honor us by keeping it activated. Grandmothers, please help me intone this incantation powerfully, so I can be one more voice among many calling to the spirits of our ancient wise and loving ancestors for help in healing our wounded relationships to each other and to the Earth.
Ben zi bena, bluot zi bluoda,
lid zi geliden, sose gelimida sin.
Stone to stone,
Ground to ground,
Prayers to prayers,
Healing to healing.
Sose gelimida sin!
So may the healing begin!
Bone to bone, blood to blood,
limb to limbs, so may they be mended.
Hill to hill,
Hollow to hollow,
Stone to stone,
Healing to healing.
Sose gelimida sin!
So may the healing begin!
I hear the Grandmothers say that this experience needs to be shared as a medicine story. We need to tell each other the stories that come to us from the land and from our ancestors if we are to have any hope of receiving a new myth to live by. May we join in solidarity with the people of all ancestral lineages who are struggling to keep their traditional knowledge alive and with those who are trying to reconnect the pieces of their broken ancestral traditions. May this chant with quartz join others’ chants with hallowed stones to take us into the magical realm where, through our embodied souls, spiritual healing can, does, will take place.
When we find yet another quartz stone on our land I try to honor these gifts that continue to emerge from the remnant volcano below. I receive them as expressions of compassion from the Mother, and from the spirits of the land who love us as we love the land on which we live. May I create an offering of beauty in gratitude to the ancestors of blood and of the land.
Text (c) 2019 Betty Lou Chaika. Photos (c) 2019 Betty Lou and David Chaika