Middle Earth Magic: Inspired Ideas and Seasonal Spells for Your Enchanted Life

I grew up on a farm in West Virginia and learned much about herbs, trees, animals, gardening, foraging  and so much about nature. I incorporate this wisdom I learned from elders in my family into my spellwork. When I finally left the farm, I majored in Medieval Studies, my attempt to emulate my idol, J.R.R. Tolkien. All these influences led me to my own blended brew which I call "middle earth magic," containing a mix of the modern and the time-tested "old ways." 

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Signs and Stones Pt. 1

Each astrological sign is associated with at least one precious gem, or soul stone; one power stone; and one heart stone. The most precious gem for each sign is another kind of birthstone, the jewel marking entry into the world—a guide for your life, if you will. Power stones are lucky omens, and heart stones are the more affordable of crystals, so we can all afford to keep them in our homes, on our desks, and in our bedrooms. I highly recommend them as altar crystals. 

Aries, First Half: March 20-April 3 

Pink diamond is the soul stone of choice for early-born Aries. Among the rarest of all diamonds, pink diamonds became a huge fad in late 2002, when actor Ben Affleck gave one to lady love Jennifer Lopez as her engagement ring. They are both Leos, but no matter! Aries babies are ruled by the planet Mars. The finest-quality pink diamonds usually come from Western Australia. A secondary precious-crystal stone for this part of Aries is the pink sapphire, also rare. 

Sunstone is the power crystal for these Aries folks. Appropriately red with an iridescent glow, sunstone is a gold-flecked good-luck charm for the Mars-ruled. Jasper and heliotrope are the other power stones for this part of the year. These red rocks will amp up your lust for life. 

The heart stones for these zodiac pioneers are dolomite, rose quartz, and cinnabar. So, Aries, put a rose quartz by your bedside for self-esteem, self-love, and spiritual comfort. 

Aries, Last Half: April 4-April 18 

Alexandrite is the designated soul stone here. It is not as rare as pink diamond but is very precious indeed—the scarcest of the chrysoberyls. Usually a dark green, alexandrite shows red under certain types of light. This royal stone is fitting for the first sign of the zodiac. Another soul stone for  later-born Aries is rhodonite, a pinkish red crystal that’s a favorite of Carl Faberge’s.

The power stone for this half of Aries is bowenite, a stone of great strength in a mossy green. While many of the crystals assigned to late Aries are red or pink, this one is green, signifying the other side of the planet Mars. Bowenite is especially precious and sacred to the Maori of New Zealand, where some of the finest specimens come from, and was highly prized by the ancient Indians and Persians. Carnelian is second in line as a power stone and was commonly carved ceremoniously by the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Phoenicians in the pre-Christian era. Egyptians loved scarabs carved out of the umber-colored chalcedony. Explore the cavalcade of crystal stores on the Internet to find yourself a carnelian carved scarab for a personal power boost. 

The heart stone for later-born Aries is the pale pink iridescent stone known as the youngite, which looks like a lighter-colored red jasper. One thousand years before Christ, the Egyptians made much jewelry out of this heart stone. 

Taurus, First Half: April 19-May 2 

Emerald is the soul stone for those born in the first half of this luxury-loving and Venus-ruled sign. Tauruses are frequently very good with managing wealth and investments, so it makes sense that emeralds are the color of money. If you are an early-born Taurus, you would do well to obtain an emerald and wear it to work and to the bank for enhancing energy.

“The power stone for this group is another gorgeous green stone, malachite, which also corresponds to the planet Venus. An earthy rock, it is befitting for this earth sign of the zodiac and has many magical tales to its credit. A malachite heart pendant or paperweight is perfect for early Tauruses. 

Pyrite, or fool’s gold, is the heart stone for people in this family, who, again, tend to be bankers and money managers. Stunning and shiny, pyrite has a hardness of six, the number sacred to Venus. Pyrite brings great luck to early Tauruses along with abundance and an atmosphere conductive to joy. Delight everyone at work by keeping a chunk of fool’s gold on your desk. 

Taurus, Second Half: May 3-May 19 

Andalusite is the precious soul stone here, a magically metamorphic crystal. Tauruses are deeply rooted to the earth, and andalusite represents that elemental energy through its range of colors, from earthy black to clear and watery. In fact, andalusite comes in nearly all the colors of the rainbow (yellow, green, red, purple, brown, and gray), manifesting another Venusian quality—glamour.

Jadeite, the power stone for later Tauruses, also comes in many colors. Jadeite is a symbol for abundance and permanence. Jadeite rings with a lovely tone when struck, representing the natural musical talent possessed by members of this sign. A jadeite bracelet, ring, or bowl is essential for the May-born. 

Tauruses in this group have a most whimsical heart stone, the Irish fairy stone. This is a mutable crystal made up of several elements: bluish galena, clear quartz crystal, yellow sphalerite, and pyrite. While Irish fairy stone is composed of these different stones, it has its own unique qualities of endurance and stability. This stone brings many blessings to the May Tauruses. 

Gemini, First Half: May 20-June 4

Orange sapphire has long been associated with communication, specifically the telling of truths. As a soul stone, it can help early-half Geminis achieve the mastery of communication that is their karmic due. Sapphires are the hardest of gems after diamonds. In India of old, the orange sapphire was prized beyond any other; it was called padparadscha, the Sanskrit word for lotus blossom. The Chaldeans associated this stone with this sign after observing the orange tint of the planet Mercury, the ruler of Gemini. 

Moss agate, quartz with a plantlike pattern caused by metallic crystalline grains, is the power stone for first-half Geminis and represents the dualism of this sign of the Twins. The ancients actually thought the dark green markings inside the stone were fossilized moss. They used moss agate for water divining, so it was especially sacred to farmers. It is associated with the metal-rich planet Mercury and makes a great grounding stone for members of this air sign, who need to keep their feet on the ground. 

The heart stone for early Geminis is staurolite, named from the Greek word staurus, which translates to “cross.” Staurolite forms a natural crucifix because of the way the iron molecules in the stone line up. Bright red is one of the colors associated with Geminis, and staurolite most commonly appears in this vibrant color, causing it to be mistaken for garnet. This stone can help Geminis align with their true purpose, so they will benefit from keeping it at their bedsides or on their desks.

Gemini, Second Half: June 5-June 20 

Cat’s-eye, the lovely golden yellow gem, is the special soul stone for late-born Geminis. The ancient Greeks, who called this crystal cymophane, meaning “waving light,” believed this stone guarded against danger to the soul and the body. The iridescent surface of the stone causes it to appear in different colors; the shade depends on the angle from which the cat’s-eye is being seen. This mutable stone reflects back to Geminis their changeable nature and helps them to acknowledge their quicksilver personalities and to grow from that deep recognition. Geminis, wear a cat’s-eye ring and see your soul reflected back at you. 

Late Geminis can count on the garnet known as Transvaal jade, or grossular, for their power. People most often think of garnets as red stones of great clarity, but this specimen is opaque and a beautiful bright green. Under certain light, it appears as a blazing yellow color. This ability to change color symbolizes the dual nature of the June-born. Originating many millions of years ago in the deep core of the earth, Transvaal jade contains many metals in its makeup, a fact that also corresponds to the Gemini nature of having so many different qualities and talents. Wearing this garnet can awaken hidden talents in Geminis and bring them to the fore. 

Geode, which usually comes in two split halves, is the ideal heart stone for later-born Geminis, but they must have both halves to help integrate the two parts of their nature and make for a complete, whole person. Geodes are formed from old volcanic bubbles and are usually solid agate outside with a center of gorgeous amethyst, opal, or rock crystal. If you are a Gemini, I recommend keeping one of the geode halves at home on your altar or in a special spot where you can see it every day and the other half at your place of work, to reflect and connect the two parts of your nature. 

Cancer, First Half: June 21-July 4

Cancers are ruled by the Moon, so it is appropriate that moonstone is the precious soul stone for the individuals born in the first half of this sign. The most priceless of moonstones is adularia, named after the place it was first discovered—Adula, Switzerland. Moonstones have an opalescent sheen reminiscent of the Moon in the night sky. Adularia was special to early Europeans who believed it could improve the memory, help stop seizures, overcome a broken heart, and foretell the future. Wearing moonstone jewelry will put Cancers in tune with their lunar-influenced changeable natures, giving them strength and the wisdom of intuition. 

Pearl is the power stone of great price for early Cancers. Pearls have a long and rich history; they were first written about in China 4,000 years ago and were celebrated in all the ancient cultures of the world after humankind first opened a shell and found the prize inside. Cancers are the great historians of the zodiac, and they have incredible memories. They are connected to pearls because of a common link with the ocean and the tides, which are regulated by Cancer’s ruler, the Moon. If you are a Cancer, honor your native element, water, by wearing pearls on occasion, but not constantly, and by decorating your home and work space with shells. This will help you stay secure, refreshed, and relaxed and help you avoid your great nemesis—worry. 

Calcite, made up of many fossilized seashells, is the heart stone for first-half Cancers. Because the ocean makes up so much of the surface of the planet (and encompassed even more area in the first few million of Earth’s years), calcite is common, but there are many lovely specimens, such as Iceland spar, flos ferri, and nailhead calcite. Iceland spar is a beautiful clear type of calcite, and when you look at it from certain angles you can see a double image. Nailhead calcite shows many small, rounded circles of variegated colors. Flos ferri, maybe the most beautiful of the three calcite stones, boasts fragile, white, treelike branches that take on other colors when exposed to different minerals. Cancers, scatter this Moon-ruled rock all around your homes for grounding and healing.

Cancer, Second Half: July 5-July 21

Opal is the soul stone for later-born Cancers. Opals can’t be duplicated artificially due to the complicated nature of their patterning, varying hues, and play of color. The most precious of all opals feature a star, called an asterism. Opals are mysterious, just like Cancers, having much depth beneath their protective shells. The ancients exulted about opals; Pliny the Elder wrote, “For in them you shall see the living fire of ruby, the glorious purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, all glittering together in an incredible mixture of light.” Cancer, you will come into your soul’s true purpose by wearing opal jewelry. 

Red coral is the power stone for the second half of Cancer. It is formed by lime secreted by sea creatures to create their homes. One memorable old story associated with the oceanic gem is the ancient Greek belief that sea sprites stole Medusa’s severed head and took it to the bottom of the sea, and that each drop of her blood formed a red coral. The stone was believed to be healing and protective then, and it still is today. For Cancers, red coral is good for vitality and is a symbol of life and love and health, and it still is today. Wear coral beads over your heart and you will immediately feel vibrant.

Desert rose, formed of cemented sand particles, is the heart stone for this group of Cancers. The Saharan Bedouin believed it was formed from the tears of women mourning for those who had died in battle. Desert rose is gypsum originating in lake bottoms that have become desert and comes in beautiful earth tones of red, yellow, gray, brown, and pink. For later Cancers, this heart stone helps contain and release emotions in a healthy, expressive way. Decorate your bedroom, your inner sanctum, with desert rose for a soothing and calming effect. 

Leo, First Half: July 22-August 5 

Yellow diamond is a brilliant soul stone, befitting the king of the zodiacal wheel. Diamond is pure carbon and the hardest substance on Earth, and its name appropriately originates from the Greek word adamas, meaning “invincible.” Yellow diamonds represent the Sun, the ruling planet for Leos and the symbol of this sign’s high level of consciousness—true heart, great generosity, and incredible courage. Yellow diamond earrings will keep you Leos in balance. 

First-half Leos can count zircon as their power stone. Beloved by early cultures, the brilliant zircon was believed to safeguard against poison and was thought to be a holy healer in India. In the early Roman Catholic church, it was held to be the sign of humility. For Leos, whose downfall can be pride, zircon can guard against this and keep the astrological Lions on an even keel.

Early-born Leos have a special heart stone in lesser-known vandanite, which can be a beautiful red orange or a glorious yellow gold. Vandanite is rich in lead and also vanadium, the mineral used to strengthen steel. Vandanite is formed at intense temperatures, which can be related to our Sun, a furnace in the heavens. For Leos, “his unusual heart stone can help them deal with the pressure of a lot of attention, which Leos naturally attract with their vibrant and magnetic personalities. You should keep your heart stone at home and at work for optimum stability and inspiration. 

Leo, Second Half: August 6-August 21 

White diamond is the soul gem for late Leos. It is regarded as the purest of all the hard, pure-carbon crystals. Old cultures deemed this diamond a guard against harm and a bringer of great fortune and enlightenment. Gemologists sometimes refer to this stone as “of the first water,” in reference to its unmatched purity. The lion is the king of the beasts, and Leo the Lion is zodiacal royalty; white diamond is as hot as the Sun itself. Leos can use this rock in all jewelry to aspire to the greatness within it.

Heliodor, named for Helios, the Greek god of the sun, is the ultimate power stone for second-half Leos. Heliodor, a member of the beryl family, is the sunny yellow sister of the popular green emerald and blue aquamarine. It is formed under extremely high temperatures and pressures. Heliodor can help you Leos call upon your greatest qualities and talents and provide the impetus to go out and try to make your dreams come true! 

The heart stone for later-born Leos is the most unexpected—sulfur, called brimstone in biblical times. Sulfur is a very dynamic rock; the crystals enlarge even by the heat of a hand that holds it. If you rub sulfur, it will give off a negative charge. A cluster of sulfur is a luminous mass of gold crystals and is quite beautiful despite the images its name may conjure. Obviously, sulfur is associated with fire and has been used for centuries in explosive materials such as gunpowder, fireworks and matches. Leo is a fire sign, and Leos can hold emotions in until they ignite and explode. Keeping sulfur at home can help Leos stay balanced and release their energy in healthy and positive ways.

Virgo, First Half: August 22-September 5 

Black opal is the soul stone for early Virgos. Virgos are perhaps the most discriminating of signs and would relish the fact that until recently, black opals came from only a few acres in Australia. The ancient Romans, seeing the rainbow colors of opals, believed them to be the bridge between heaven and Earth, but they especially desired the few poor-quality black opals (now believed to have been faked) held by the barbarians in Hungary. The finest grade of black opal was discovered on the island of Java, in Indonesia. For Virgos, only the best and only the real black opals will do. Members of the sign of service and help to others, Virgos gain strength and intensity and augment their own purity with black opals. This stone has been called the gem of hope, and, as such, offers a high level of consciousness for Virgos.

The power talisman for first-half Virgos is labradorite, the lovely iridescent stone that originated in Labrador. Like Geminis, Virgos are ruled by Mercury, and the quicksilver, peacock-hued labradorite is good for providing the mental swiftness Virgos need to accomplish all of their goals in life. This type of feldspar can reflect every color of the spectrum and help Virgos from becoming too task oriented—too focused on one thing. No one can work harder than Virgos, and labradorite can prevent exhaustion from overwork and can also ensure that early Virgos activate a variety of talents. 

Magnetite, also known as lodestone, is the optimal heart stone for first-half Virgos. Another glittery, surface-changing rock, magnetite contains a lot of iron, and thanks to its common occurrence and adaptability, it is popular in jewelry. Virgos are associated with health, medicine, and nursing, and magnetite has become a good healing stone because of its magnetic qualities. If you are a Virgo, wear this stone and give it to people you love for good health and prosperity. 

Virgo, Second Half: September 6-September 21 

Virgos in this group celebrate iolite as their precious soul gem, which is associated with their ruling planet Mercury due to its crystalline composition of two dark and two light metallic elements. Iolite is named after the Greek word ios, meaning “violet.” Formed under enormous pressure in extremely high temperatures, iolite has a high vibration. The stone can help Virgos stay out of career ruts and achieve their true spiritual natures. 

Tiger’s-eye, another iridescent gem, is the power stone for later Virgos, denoting strength and courage and perception. Virgos are great critics, missing no flaw, and tiger’s-eye can help them to have incredible vision and be able to see the wonderful possibilities in all things.

The heart stone for second-half Virgos is obsidian, a glinting black, extremely hard and tough natural glass formed by volcanic activity. Virgos are always helping other people and sometimes become vulnerable because of this. Using obsidian as home decoration can help them keep all of their energy from going to others and causing imbalance. Some obsidians have stripes; in ancient Mexico, where obsidian was plentiful, the striped variety was believed to prevent negative, or dark, magic. Virgos can be extremely self-critical, and having obsidian nearby can absorb their negativity and help turn it positive. This is an essential stone for the September-born! 

Libra, First Half: September 22-October 6

A soul stone that was extremely popular in days of old is spinel, a jewel available in a multitude of hues, including black, dark green, orange, white, blue, purple, and red. Spinels were symbols and stones of the royals; the Queen of England owns a grand specimen called the Timur ruby, and the czars of Russia wore a crown decorated with a magnificent spinel. Spinels are rarer than either rubies or sapphires, and I predict they will have a renaissance. The extremely rare precious green spinel is the type most highly prized among Libras, and it can bring out their aesthetic values and empower their pursuit of the arts. 

Dioptase is the power stone for first-half Libras. A deeper green than any emerald, it has an extensive copper content. Venus is associated with the color green, and the intensity of this gorgeous green stone makes it a love crystal for Venus-ruled Libras, enriching both their personal relationships and their higher love for humankind. Dioptase can also awaken the spiritual side of Libras, making the usually attractive members of this sign even more beautiful inside and out. Dioptase is difficult to cut for jewelry because of its brittleness. Use uncut crystal clusters as lovely spirit enhancers all around the home. 

Kyanite is the sky-colored heart stone for early Libras. Because it shares the same chemistry (but different crystal structure) as a couple of other minerals, kyanite is known as a stone of symmetry, perfect for providing balance. The Greeks favored this aluminum-based rock and called it disthene, meaning “dual strength,” because it is soft (and easily cut) lengthwise but much harder across. Kyanite most commonly occurs in long, bluish green crystal blades but also comes in cluttered rosettes with a pearly, opalescent surface. If you’re a Libra, an air sign, keep kyanite around to stay steady and strong and help avoid spreading yourself too thin and succumbing to petty, energy-draining distractions. 

Libra, Second Half: October 7-October 22 

Blue sapphire, exceedingly rare and of exceptionally high quality, is the soul gem of choice for later-born Libras. The name “sapphire” has several origins, among them sapphirus, the Latin word for blue. The blue in the stone comes from the iron and titanium inside. This gem represents Venus’s glinting blue in the blue black of the darkened heavens. Libras are great romantics, and blue sapphire’s high vibration of love can activate their creativity so they can craft great works of art—songs, poetry, paintings, and anything their imaginations can conceive.  

The power talisman for this group of Libras is jadeite, sometimes called imperial green jade. The Chinese highly prize this stone in their lengthy history and culture and believe it contains all that you need for a happy, long life—courage, modesty, charity, wisdom, and, most important for the Libra scales to be in balance, justice. Jade bookends on your desk are perfect balancers.  

Limonite, an icicle-like mineral appearing in long, shiny pieces, is the heart stone for second-half Libras. This represents the striving for higher mind, higher beauty, and higher love necessary for the completion of Libra karma.

(Pt. 2 of Signs and Stones will be released on Thursday, 06/09)

 

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    Cerridwen Greenleaf has worked with many of the leading lights of the spirituality world including Starhawk, Z Budapest, John Michael Greer, Christopher Penczak, Raymond Buckland, Luisah Teish, and many more. She gives herbal, crystal and candle magic workshops throughout North America. Greenleaf's graduate work in medieval studies has given her deep knowledge she utilizes in her work, making her work unique in the field. A bestselling author, her books include Moon Spell Magic, The Book of Kitchen Witchery, The Magic of Gems and Crystals and the Witch’s Spell Book series.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

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