I decided to go rockhounding this past weekend. About 35 minutes from Asheville is the Little Pine Garnet Mine. The privately-owned land is no longer being mined but for a small fee the owners will allow you to play at their playground. It was a mild, cloudy morning as I approached the office. Two very accommodating women took my money in exchange for a day pass to the mine. Off I go with my small bucket, pick, and gloves.
I thought I was on an adventure into the vastness of the mine until I realized that 1) I forgot to bring a headlamp or any kind of flashlight (and trust me, the little flashlight on your smart phone is not nearly illuminating enough), and 2) I hate to admit it but I felt an uncomfortable flash of fear about going into the unknown alone. So, plan B it was. I headed over to the spoils piles and the small creek to dig around for treasures there.
Truth be known, I had very little idea what a rough garnet looked like. I just started on a slope and began the hunt. Almost immediately, I found a large rock with very angular, flat faces. Upon closer observation, I knew I had found a rather large garnet crystal. Garnet has a cubic crystalline structure and there was no mistaking this find. In the bucket it went as I continued to hunt for more. It was easy for me to drop in the zone as I am a long-time hunter for sharks teeth from years of beach trips (and I have quite collection to show for it). And, as is often the case, the biggest and best find happens easily and by surprise. Indeed, I found other garnet crystals – some still in the matrix and some isolated crystals – but none compared in size and beauty to the very first one I found.
I am currently studying Stone Medicine and here is what I have learned about the Almandine Garnet. Because of the dark red color, it is associated with the Blood. In its rough form, it is blocky, with low-luster individual crystals, or growing out of, but still attached to, a matrix (as I found to be true).
Almandine Garnet is iron aluminum silicate. In Taoist stone medicine, the iron content nourishes; the aluminum soothes the nerves. It also absorbs and retains heat well. As such, red garnet is a very nurturing stone. Here are just some of the intentional uses for red garnet:
Another important use: for a home that is located close to major power lines, placing red garnets around your house will help reduce strong electromagnetic frequencies. I know some folks that would likely benefit from this knowledge.
Garnet can also be used in Feng Shui. Because of the deep, red color, it would be a great stone to place in the Fame or Prosperity section of your home – gratitude for abundance – YES! The stone represents both the Metal element and Fire element in Feng Shui and could be used to enhance any areas of the Bagua that correspond to those elements. It would also be appropriate placed in a room where you meditate or have some other spiritual practice due to its cleansing characteristics mentioned above.
All in all, it was a great day. Finding treasures is fun but the trick is, you have to look for them. May you be open to finding the many treasures awaiting you.