Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Memory Keepers

Bones of the Mother
Hidden in the layers of her skin
Symbols of births and unions
We support, and pave the way
All that you dream of building
rests upon our firm foundation.
At every hearth and mantle
from smallest pebble 
to highest cliff
We are mortar
We are pestle
Treasures revealed 
when you patiently
pan and sift.
Still as a statue
Silent as a tomb
Wisdom and Memories
mined from Mother's womb.
We are hammer
We are chisel
the chip upon your shoulder
the floor and walls you erect
The key piece
holding it all together
Sacred lintels
Blessed cornerstones
Sculpted with respect. 
We are the heat, 
the blood, the anvil
at every single forge.
Forming the notes
of each melodic brook
Coveted and quarried
faceted, tumbled or polished 
til we shine
Humble or precious
we are a Nation most often prized 
for how we look.
Vibrate to our frequencies
and our secrets we reveal.
We each carry our own lessons
and take our rightful place
upon the sacred Wheel. 

For those new to the game, each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a star, stone, animal, plant etc that holds lessons of Wisdom for us. This piece, unlike many, does not focus on a single Teacher, rather it is an entire collection of Singers from the same category; so think general rather than specific. Can you guess who is singing today? 

“What are men to rocks and mountains?” 
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

If Tao is like a river, it is certainly good to know where the rocks are.” 
― Deng Ming-Dao

Stones have been important to people since we first picked one up to use as a tool. People from cultures around our World have attached meaning, ceremonies, and traditions revolving around Stones of all sorts; birthstones, currency, homes, medicine wheels, burial cairns, standing stones, stones on graves, worry stones, the stones of a Sweat Lodge ceremony, massage tools, sacred natural formations, mountains and caves, etc. 

I love the Native American concept of The Stone Nation because it reflects what a vast and diverse group of individuals we are really facing. Many cultures view stones as Memory Keepers; those that keep the records of all events that occurred around or to them, as well as holding memories for the Earth itself. Each stone carries its own Wisdom in addition to the meanings and symbolism we humans have attached to them, from humble feldspar to the rarest gem. 

All rocks found on Earth can be put into one of three categories: Igneous, Sedimentary, or Metamorphic. Igneous types form melted rock that has cooled and solidified. Intense pressures and temperatures deep within the Earth turn stone to magma, liquid rock, which oozes through the paths of least resistance. A wide variety of rocks are formed by different cooling rates and different chemical compositions. Obsidian (volcanic glass), granite, basalt, and andesite porphyry are four of the many types of igneous rock.  (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey) 

Sedimentary rocks are formed at the surface, either in water or on land, where temperatures and pressures are low. Usually formed of layers of differing minerals accumulated over time. Metamorphic rocks are those that were once a form of rock but changed to another under the influence of intense heat, pressure, or some other agent without passing through a liquid phase. Man made stones would form a fourth, and meteoric an odd fifth. Each Family within the Stone Nation can number into the hundreds. Asking how many kinds of rocks there are is a lot like asking how many different kinds of animals exist! 

“Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone, Kindness in another's trouble, Courage in your own” ! Adam Lindsay Gordon 

“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.” ~Bertrand Russell 

A geologist brings order to chaos by categorizing stones. They are classified according to characteristics such as mineral and chemical composition, permeability, the texture of the constituent particles, and particle size. Quartz is one of the most well known stone families, which isn't surprising as it is the second most common worldwide, right after feldspar. A trace of quartz can be found in most stones. Quartz is often sorted by its color. Purple quartz is Amethyst. Citrine is yellow quartz.  Any micro-crystalline compact quartz without any visible crystals can be called Chalcedony. 

In a general sense, rocks and stones represent gravity, time, heaviness, silence, memory, stability, permanence, comfort, patience,  consistency, being grounded, history, and foundations. Examining the specific stone you are drawn to will give you a more detailed message. Whether general or specific, I highly recommend simply spending time with your chosen stone. Keep it handy in a pocket where you can touch/hold it often. I also recommend that you incorporate it into your meditations if you already practice, and begin exploring this option if you have never experienced it! 

Stones have a ton of lessons to teach us if we are just willing to put in the time, learn how to slow down and match their vibratory level. The first tool was a stone. Our Ancestors hunted with stones and slings, and early weapons made of or with stone. Flintknapping, one of our people's most ancient skills, is responsible today for some of the tools used in delicate surgeries! The mortar and pestle used to make our first medicines were made of stone. Graves, tombs, monuments, arches, fireplaces, homes are all still made with a variety of stones. The mill grinds our grain into flour using stones. We even run watches off of quartz batteries. How do these marvelous Teachers move in your life? 

“Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” ~ Ursula K. LeGuin 

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