Mars, the god of war and passion, action and desire, continues to align closely with the Sun throughout February. It has been doing so since mid-January, conjoining exactly together in the sign Aquarius in the early hours of Saturday Feb 5, making this an ideal time to walk the talk and heed the call of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
A time to seize the initiative and take action, get things done, make a difference, lend a helping hand, pursue excellence and give of our best. A time to go beyond the known, the safe and the familiar to explore new and exciting worlds that simply cannot be accessed whilst we stay within the safety of our comfort zone. As the book title says Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.
Mars expresses through the sign Aquarius with passionate conviction and a humanitarian slant. Its rallying cry could be ‘freedom and justice for all’! Let us all take inspiration then from the largely peaceful overthrow of autocracy in Egypt, [which occurred under the aegis of this planetary configuration,] and take to heart these words from Aquarian reggae master Bob Marley’s martial anthem Get Up Stand Up: “Now you’ve seen the light, stand up for your rights.”
On Saturday the 19th, the day after the Leo Full Moon, the Sun went into Pisces, soon to be joined there by Mercury, the planet of mind and communication, on Tuesday the 22nd, closely followed by Mars on Wednesday the 23rd, marking a pronounced shift from Aquarius to Pisces in the Astro-sphere. Both signs are universal in scope, as is reflected in this inspiring quote from Einstein, a Sun sign Pisces with Jupiter, the planet of higher mind, in Aquarius:
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Varij is available for readings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Phone ahead for your booking. 0266 84 3111.
Reaping the rewards of Rainforest Regeneration
The Crystal Castle Rainforest Walk is a wonderful example of a project where we have been able to partner with members of the community and another local organisation to support something we are firmly committed to - the well-being of our natural ecosystems. In partnership with Rainforest Rescue, over 6,000 trees have been planted on the Crystal Castle grounds over the past 5 years creating a beautiful 1km trail through regenerated rainforest.
The Big Scrub was once the largest expanse of subtropical rainforest in Australia covering over 75,000 hectares between Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore. Although less than 1 percent remains it is the most diverse ecosystem in New South Wales. The regeneration of this glorious rainforest is vital to the survival of over 100 threatened species of flora and fauna.
Rainforest Rescue is a not for profit organization that has been helping to protect and restore rainforest in Australia and internationally since 1998. The Crystal Castle project started in May of 2006 when Dave and Mandy from the Rainforest Rescue Tree Planting Team designed the planting project and began to clear the lantana and camphor infested paddock that was destined to become our rainforest walk. Once the bulk of the weeds were cleared and you could walk on the paddock we hosted a series of community tree-planting days. The team prepared the site, digging holes and adding water crystals to ensure the new trees had enough water in those crucial early days. And the community turned up in force to plant, water and mulch the young trees. As well as the great feeling of having a heap of like-minded folks come together to work together on a valuable project, the other important mission of the community planting days is to inspire people to go home and plant more trees in their own neighbourhood. You can feel the great vibe and see the valuable work done on one of these tree planting days on this video http://www.youtube.com/user/rainforestrescuer
Each rainforest tree takes two years of care to become successfully established and during that crucial time the Tree Planting Team visited the Crystal Castle site regularly to remove weeds, ensure there was enough water and to protect the trees against grazing animals like rabbits and wallabies. There have been several stages to the project but we are happy to report that the trees through which the walk loops are now fully established and care has been handed over to the Castle gardening team.
And what a joyful sight it is! Some of the first trees planted are nearly 10m tall and are already providing a thick, cool band of shade along the walk. It is very rewarding to know some of these beautiful natural miracles will live hundreds and even thousands of years and that every tree planted will absorb around one tonne of carbon in its lifetime making an important contribution to the reduction of global warming.
All of us at Crystal Castle wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the fabulous Rainforest Rescue team and to everyone who donated a tree or came to one of the tree-planting days. And we extend a warm welcome to all of you to come visit the Rainforest Walk and see for yourself how a weed-infested paddock can be returned to a thriving, beautiful, natural paradise.
For more information about Rainforest Rescue please visit www.rainforestrescue.org.au
Q. Name, nickname and tell us briefly about yourself.
My name is Lexie and I was born in Uruguay and moved to Australia as a baby. I feel very much at home here at the Castle. I was amazed when I first came here to see all the Amethyst Crystals from Uruguay.
Q. What do you love about working here and how long have you been on the Castle team?
I have been here at Crystal Castle for four years. What I love most of all about working here is the people. I love the people here and I feel like I’m with my family. It’s so playful, the girls are wonderful and we connect on such a deep level. I also love the animals here. We have quite a few little visitors. The tawny frog mouth owls that sit here in the Jacaranda tree by the Café everyday who also just happen to be my totem animal. Having the possums around too and I often see a koala on my way home walking through the gardens.
Q. What is your favourite dish from the Lotus Cafe?
Well my favourite dish to make here at the Lotus Café is the Mediterranean platter. It is a little more time consuming to make but it is so pretty, all the different colours and textures. All the flavours work so well together. It is like a landscape on a plate. The customers go oooh and arrh when you put it down on the table.
Q. Do you have a favourite statue and why?
My favourite statue in the Gardens is Nandi the bull because he is the lord of devotion. His devotion to Shiva, his unconditional love and pure devotion.
Q. If you could buy anything from the Castle, what would you buy?
There is a beautiful Dancing Shiva, Nataraj statue here that I just love. It always catches my eye.
Q. What's your favourite crystal and why?
I have two favourite crystals.. Pink Kunzite. It’s such a gentle teacher about unconditional love and it encourages humbleness, humility and selfless service. It is so beautiful, so feminine and it really makes us look at the deepest qualities of unconditional love. The combining of the Heart, Throat and Third eye chakras, I find it very potent. My other favourite is Turquoise. The Tibetan or the Native American, I love them both. The essence of wholeness, the story of bringing the Earth and the Sky together. The feminine and the masculine creating peace, balance and harmony.
Q. Do you have an anecdote / a special moment about a Castle visitor?
Yes, just recently a young girl came up to the counter, she was really upset, she had just found out she was allergic to soy, dairy and gluten. She said I’m sorry to be such a pain and there probably is nothing that I can eat. I went through the menu with her and found things that she could eat, she was so happy. It made me feel good that she felt happy and that we had nice things for her to eat.
Q. When did you get your first crystal and what was it?
My first crystal was given to me when I first met my Grandfather in Uruguay. I was thirteen, he gave me an Amethyst and I still have it. It is a little cluster, not shinny or sparkly, you can see that it is very old and it has Citrine coming in underneath the crystals.
FLUORITEThe Spirit of Fluorite guides us to create alignment with the laws of the universe, revealing truth to help you raise your consciousness.
Fluorite helps you realign yourself to your inherent wisdom and knowledge. This blessing and clarity reveals a profound understanding of your connection to all that is and your place within it.
Crystal Spirit Cards have been created here in the Byron Shire by Gitama Day, a close friend to the Crystal Castle owners. Gitama has used the Crystal Castle crystals as the basis and inspiration to the incredible art work for each of the cards. Crystal Spirit Cards are available for purchase at our online shop $34.95 per deck/book set. http://shop.crystalcastle.com.au/categories/Gifts/Guidance-Cards
The World Peace Stupa consecration ceremony
It was an auspiciously (and unusually!) sunny day on December 10th and the hills at Crystal Castle were ablaze with colour for our World Peace Stupa consecration ceremony. Three hundred shade umbrellas created a glorious rainbow tapestry punctuated by the rich maroon and gold of the Gyuto monk’s robes and the black costumes of the Arakwal dancers.
Delta Kay and her family from the Arakwal people began the event with a traditional smoking ceremony, welcoming the Gyuto Monks of Tibet to the land and inviting the whole community to walk through the smoke to clear the energy and request the support of the spirits of the land. Naren spoke a few words about the history and the intent of the stupa and Maureen Fallon of Gyuto House Australia talked about the importance of community involvement in creating the stupa.
The Gyuto Monks of Tibet, then performed the consecration ritual for securing the ground where the Kalachakra stupa will be built. The ceremony is performed to appease the spiritual landlords through making offerings and respectfully requesting permission to use the site. At the conclusion the master of ceremony makes the initial cut in the ground as a symbolic gesture that he should be harmed in case the spirits are incensed, not any others who work on the project subsequently. Together Gen Lama, senior Gyuto elder, with Delta Kay and Sono & Naren King, dug a hole and buried the offerings of sacred objects.
It was a beautiful and incredibly heart-warming event, a wonderful start to the project filled with a deep sense of community connectedness and goodwill.
Crystal Castle sends a huge ‘Thank You’ to all who were involved, to everyone who came to be a part of the ceremony and special thanks to Rita & Mark from Byron Curry (Namaste Restaurant) who saved the day with their gift of delicious dahl for the feast that followed.
Project update & fundraising newsWe are currently in the process of designing the landscape around the stupa and talking with builders about the specifics of the construction of the monument. The plans have arrived and the special Kalachakra statue is on its way from Nepal.
We already have sponsors for eight of the 40 handcrafted brass prayer wheels that will surround the base of the stupa. The latest benefactor is the organization that organizes all the visits of His Holiness to Australia, Dalai Lama in Australia Inc. We are deeply grateful to everyone who has supported the project so far and would love to encourage you to get together with friends and family, as a local group, street or organisation to sponsor a prayer wheel. The name of your family or group will be engraved on your wheel as a perpetual reminder of your generosity.
We need more funds now, to continue the project. You can also support the project by donating via our online store website http://shop.crystalcastle.com.au/categories/Peace-Project-Donations
Please forward this enews to anyone you feel may like to support the World Peace Stupa.
For more information about the project please visit http://crystalcastle.com.au/peace-project/