I have always adored shiny rocks. I collected them as a child. I remember my mother asking me one time what were all those boxes under my bed, and she made me pull them out so she could see them. I had a lovely collection of river stones and arrowheads and Indian beads. I thought they were fun to collect, and besides, if I had my floor all covered with stones right up to the springs, no monsters could stay there and scare me at night. Well, think about the logic, it worked, didn’t it? I didn’t see one monster while I had those rocks under my bed! She made me take them back outdoors. Pssst, I kept a few, and would trade them with my other stone friends back and forth. OK, so I was a little off-center, what else is new? Now, with all the New Age shops and all, I get to collect pretty rocks, and only look silly to the folks who label the NewAgers as kooks.
When I moved to Texas I only kept some of my stone friends. Most went back to the Mother Earth. I have a friend who paints river rocks, she does a nice job, and they look collectible when she gets them done. The Native Americans value the stone people as friends, and I think that is perhaps what drew me to the culture as much as my father’s ancestry.
I found a white holey stone once, and my teacher told me to keep that, because it meant that the river spirits liked me and would protect me. I still have that friend. I wear a jade pi now, a circle that represents heaven and earth.
“Jade held a special place in Chinese religion; a place accorded no other substance. It was the link between earth and Heaven, the bridge from life to immortality. It was a conduit, a conductor, the embodiment of man’s highest thought, just touching upon the divine. In religious ceremonies the Emperor often used jade as we might a telephone, except that when he held up the jade Pi form and spoke through it he spoke to Heaven. And through jade, Heaven was said to send its blessings in return.”
Jade: Stone of Heaven, Richard Gump, 1962
Jade, then is a prayer stone, and I treasure it thusly. In fact, that has long been my connection with stones. I think of them as solid prayers. When I give a stone to someone as a gift, I will meditate on what to give and then find the stone that best suits their need in color and shape. Color being the key to the sense of prayer with each. I have no diamonds, as much because even an uncut one the size I would want is exorbitantly priced. I love the way a properly cut diamond shines the rainbow when the sun shines through it. My mother’s used to catch the sun and splay little bits of rainbow scattered all over the walls and furniture.
I didn’t feel quite so whacked when I found out as a teenager reading the Bible, that the breastplate of the high priest was a cage that bore twelve stones to signify the 12 tribes. I guess Hashem likes stones, too. Are they “spiritual?” I don’t know, but they work for me much the same as prayer beads work for others. I sometimes use the mantra, “Aum mani padme hum.” when I am meditating with my stone friends and thinking of the prayer needs of others. The “a” in aum stands for the manifest world, the “u” for the transitional world within ourselves where things are coming into being through our thoughts, and the “m” stands for the unmanifest world, so essentially the aum stands for the “All that Is”, the rest of the phrase is loosely translated as a request for enlightenment toward compassion for all living beings, and therefore very much a request for healing for those on my prayer list.