Crystals are found in every region on earth, and our collective fascination with them is a bond shared by all cultures.  I was invited to Caracas for a meeting with a group who proved eager to learn whatever knowledge I could impart to them about the myriad of fascinating conversations about crystals; from mineralogy, art, technological uses, as well as metaphysics and healing.

Crystals are transmitters of information from the mineral kingdom.  And it was my job to translate some of this knowledge into human understanding for this group.

The few days we spent exploring the magic and wonder of crystals changed us. Sunni and I felt like we had been with family we never knew existed.   From science, mineralogy, art and indigenous cultures, knowledge and unspoken mysteries of crystals are imbedded in the collective psyche of humans from all over the world.

After the gathering, our host arranged for us to visit Canaima, the National Park in the south-east corner of Venezuela, bordering Guyana and Brazil. The park is the gateway to Salto Angel (Angel Falls), the tallest waterfall on earth.

The park can only be accessed by small plane, and the stewardship of this river system of this earth treasure is managed by the indigenous Pemon Indians.  We stayed on the banks of the roaring Guaja river, and were awakened by our Pemon guide at 4:00 am. We climbed in his dugout log canoe and pushed off at dawn to make our way 60 miles up the Guaja to Angel Falls.  We floated by seemingly endless towering columnar rock plateaus rising vertically from the shore.  I was entranced, as stories of the mythical legend of the crystal cities of Lemuria filled my imagination.  The Crystal Cities were temples of learning and healing and could only be accessed by teleportation.  You knew you belonged in the Crystal City if you had the ability to teleport your way from the bottom hundreds of feet up to the top.  If you, in fact, teleported and found yourself on top, you had demonstrated your readiness to learn the mystical teachings available there.

Being in the overpowering beauty of the river and jungle allowed us to slip between the confines of time and space.  When we finally grabbed the shore, we tied our canoe to a log on the bank and walked a short distance towards the impenetrable jungle. There a ribbon of path lay opened and quickly disappeared in a woven mass of vines and trees.  As we stepped over roots, rocks and wet black soil, the jungle was a beating heart with emotive presence.  Here the Earth loves herself. Being in a remote, undisturbed vortex of beauty is where the world of normal ends, and a magical encounter and foray into the heart of Nature begins.

Our indigenous guide, Mamba, lives on the edge of the jungle and speaks five languages- six if you include speaking the langue of the Nature spirits.

At the end of the path, and after hours of hiking, the sky opened to the roaring splendor of Angel Falls.  I bouldered around the bottom of the pounding fall and swam in a pristine pool below.  To locate the top of the falls, I leaned backwards, pointing my eyes straight up.  At the top of the water, I saw a plateau of stone, formed like a medieval fortress.  The entire water source comes from rain that drenches the cliffs in an unending cycle, as if the gods pour water into clouds that hover on the top of the cliffs.  They fill and overflow, and the water free-falls 3,212 feet to the bottom.

I sat at the bottom and closed my eyes in hopes of teleporting to the top… 

We reenter the cocoon of the jungle, heading back down to the river- eyes darting and dancing- navigating rocks, vines, and water, stepping, leaping, hopping.   I am acutely aware of the Earth breathing; the jungle is my outer skin, and the presence of “wilder-ness” tells me we are not alone.  As I look down to help my feet navigate the trail, faces began appearing, projecting from the mossy stones as we pass.   I point one out to Mamba; he nods. Suddenly, it was hard to take a step without one of us encountering another face of a rock spirit and proclaiming its existence.  Bound in excitement, we careen down the path.  In a moment’s hush, we were seized by the silence of the jungle. Mambo took my arm, looked in my eyes, and said, “When I walk alone, sometimes I stop and listen to the silence, and there are a thousand eyes watching me”. 

Mamba had invited me into his world, and the Nature spirits had invited us into theirs.

His craggy profile lay motionless amongst a stack of sleeping quartz chunks in my studio; a time-chiseled face of silence glistened as if newly minted. Nature’s endless creativity had fashioned this crystal to emulate a face, perhaps millions of years before the first human evolved into being.  Crystals, after all, are the original inorganic, indigenous life-forms of Earth.

My job is to see visions and transform them into substance.  But the raw countenance embossed in the abstract contours of stone was more than an apparition.  Sharing a memory of ancestry, we had a destiny to fulfill, and he had waited interminably for his transfiguration.

Of course time does not exist for an original fragment of earths crust.

I chuckled and wondered how an inanimate rock becomes a kindred spirit. How a dormant icy chunk of quartz is personified as an incarnate descendant.  As my eyes studied the geology of his warn exterior, my mind was imagining who he could become, after I simply removed the superfluous material around it (as Michelangelo never said, but should have).  If I had simply seen a chunk of stone I would not have seen him. 

All life appears inanimate until one recognizes its play of consciousness. This alchemy of awareness breathes spirit into matter.

After our first encounter, I moved his crystal face to a shelf in the studio.  It was my way of saying, “I know you are there, but I’m not quite ready to start our relationship.”  To work on and with this entity as it emerged, we would  each have to be ready to spend intimate time together.

The day I awoke with his spirit inside, I knew we were ready to begin.

And now I was his muse, called into service to give new definition to an archetypal form, an artist’s ritual.

The first time I spoke to a crystal, it seemed contrived, awkward.  To my surprise it talked back.  It was not so much that I could interpret words, but more that I heard what it was saying.  We each communicate with minerals differently.  Some see dirt or broken shards of lifeless disregard,  while others hear the language of a distant relative and speak mineral fluently.  I think most of us understand the universal language of beauty that we share.

I picked him up, and examined his proportions.  The swirl of curving textures, conchoidal patterns, pooling and flowing as if they were made of transparent hair, formed by the forces of geological heat and pressure as it congealed from a supersaturated liquid to a crystalline solid.  His face was fixed and pronounced, with a nose and eye sockets, begging for more detail from my diamond carving tools.   I emulated the role of creator, knowing that I was merely navigating the process of co-creation.  We were going under the blade, carving a remembrance of the wisdom of ancestry.

He was perhaps from Lemuria, or maybe Atlantis, Samaria, or Mesopotamia, no doubt a storyteller with secrets that time had forgotten but imprinted in his brailed features.

How can you be a head without a behind…?

In another part of the studio sat a beautiful red chunk of Arizona petrified wood, waiting to become a hard and noble torso.  It was so fiercely hard that after weeks of working on it, I considered the unthinkable, giving up.  It was wearing out my diamond tools and my patience.  With Sunni’s coxing, I surrendered to persistence and continued grinding.  Soon the body emerged.  Over the red torso was the cloak of a softer white mineral. As I worked the white mineral down a fraction of a millimeter at a time, the red head of a horse emerged.

I knew the spirit world was at play.

Excerpt from Lawrence Stoller’s art book “Primal Beauty”. 

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