Wednesday, July 23, 2008


When I was a kid, collecting rocks was something that could be done for free. I enjoyed finding things, and got used to looking at my surroundings closely. I got a few little guide books that would show what different kinds of rocks looked like and described the differences between the types of rock formed by the forces of nature through fire, water, wind, and the movements of the earth itself. When friends and relatives going on vacation asked me if they could bring anything back for me, it was easy for me to ask for them to bring me a rock and it was easy for them to do. Sometimes I got a sea shell, an arrowhead, a piece of petrified wood or a fossil. Through this simple hobby, I got a feel for the magic of the earth. I was fascinated by the stories that were contained in colors, shapes and textures. That, plus the fact that every rock someone gave me came with a story of how and where they got it.

As I grew up and moved, I left the rock collection behind, but there is something very grounding about being in touch with the earth on this primal level. Every time I went on a hike, retreat, or other special event in an outdoor place, I would pick up a rock to bring back with me as a way to ground a bit of that special energy. Little smooth stones often became touchstones that were in my pocket for good luck.

It was not until much later in life that I encountered the concept of using stones for healing. Most people who practice the laying on of stones in healing use crystals and polished gemstones, but I have always felt that found objects can be just as powerful. I do have some crystals that I like and use, but there is also the feeling that touchstones that were personally selected from various times and places can also help channel energy just as well as a polished stone. I like the idea of finding pieces of nature to help in healing work, and rocks are like plants in that way. There are nutrients and minerals that they contain just by the essence of their formation, and they will lend their energies to our needs if we ask.

Everyone knows about using crystal balls for scrying, a form of divination. Crystal points work the same way. Did you know that you can also cast stones to do readings as well? Do you ever see pictures in the stones the way you see pictures in clouds? One of my favorite stones is a heart shaped one that I found while hiking. It is always out when I do healings and readings as a way of affirming that all of my work comes through the heart and has a lot of heart energy.

Touchstones help us remember. Sometimes just touching them encourages us to call on our strength. They can help us to be solid as a rock when we need to be, and the ones rounded and smoothed by the movement of water in a river bed or a beach can help remind us to go with the flow and relax when we need to.

Touchstones can also remind us that some things can be put into action fast, like striking flint and steel to make fires, or that we need to be quiet and contemplative for a while, as a water smoothed stone suggests.

Do you ever use simple found objects to help you mark the trail along your life path? Do you have any touchstones to help with healing or visions?

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