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~ Neil Gaiman ~

sexta-feira, 31 de agosto de 2012

A Magia nas Conchas * Using Shells in Magic

Seashells are gifts from Mother Ocean that offer a tantalizing promise of discovery. The energy and beauty of seashells has an effect on us and are perfect aids in Sea Magic. Their legacy of use by people dates back millennia: In addition to food and medicine, seashells have been used for mundane and sacred purposes worldwide.
Shells exude energy and it is no wonder people have been attracted to them. Their shapes and color patterns suggest flowing movement echoing the mystery and rhythms of Mother Ocean.
Who hasn’t succumbed to gathering a few shells when walking along a beach? While their beauty may attract us, their energy has a far greater pull. For this reason, we may find that we are drawn to shells that are not perfectly formed baubles. Additionally, because no two shells are exactly the same they serve as reminders that we are all unique and beautiful, too.
Some shells come to us as gifts and some as oracular guidance. I described in Sea Magic how a shell came into my hand when I was doing a Wave Blessing and my experience with the sand dollars. Shells speak to us this way which makes it important to learn about them.


Being born of the ocean, shells are strongly associated with the element of water. They are also associated with the moon, which drives ocean tides. Both the element of water and the moon have strong feminine energies that are receptive in nature, so shells are primarily used in magic to draw things you desire into your life.


Shells taken from the ocean need little ritual preparation for magical uses; however, if your shells were bought from a store or have been stashed in a box for a while, they may benefit from cleansing and recharging. To do this, place your shells in a bowl of water mixed with sea salt. Set them aside to soak for a day or overnight. Recharge them by setting the bowl in the sun or under the light of the full moon for several hours.


One of the main symbols for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, is the seashell. Invoke the power of Aphrodite for love spells using shells by wearing seashell jewelry or hair ornaments to attract a mate. Use a hinged seashell with the two parts still attached as a powerful love talisman to keep two lovers together. Write the initials of the lovers on the inside of the shell, one on each side, then seal it shut with glue.


Many cultures used shells as a form of currency. Cowrie shells were used in Africa and North America, and Native Americans used wampum---beads made from clam shells---as money. Because of this, shells are suitable for money spells. Fill a small green or gold pouch with seashells, a silver coin and mint, which is a money-drawing herb. Hang the bag where you do business, and rub it when you desire prosperity. Place a small seashell in your wallet or purse to continually keep money coming to it.


Protection is a shell's primary purpose in nature, as it is made to keep small, defenseless sea creatures safe from harm. Because of this, shells have strong protective energies. Many cultures in coastal areas use shells in folk magic to protect the home by placing strings of shells over windows and doors. Necklaces of strung shells can be worn by children to keep them close to home and safe from harm. Placing a small, round shell on the collars of your pets will keep them safe should they wander from home.

Abalone is a beautiful shell showing a play of bright blues and turquoise across a polished surface. Shells are the outer housing (exoskeleton) of sea-creatures, and is an organic gemstone which has been used in jewelry making and religious ceremonies for countless ages. Usually found off the coasts of South America, Japan, and China. Mother of Pearl and Paua shell is simply the dark blue and pearly lining of the Abalone shell.

Mystical Properties:
Abalone is reported by intuitive sources to stimulates psychic development and intuition, and promotes imagination in a healthy way. Nicknamed the sea ears, the Abalone's flattened, oval shape with iridescent interior was used by the Native Northwest American Indians as a natural vessel for cleansing, offerings and prayers. 
Abalone is purported to be especially useful for handling and calming emotional situations, and be very soothing to the emotions. Having abalone nearby when working through an emotional situation with someone is said to be beneficial, and to promote cooperation.Mystical Lore and Folklore says that abalone is helpful for arthritis and other joint disorders, muscle problems, the heart, and digestion. 

Healing Properties:

Abalone is very healing to the body and especially the first three chakras. It is also calming to high strung people. Used by athletes to help build and protect muscle tissue. Also benefits the heart and helps in digestion. 
It can be used in the treatment of hearing disorders, calcium deficiencies, and in dysfunctions of the spinal cnanl and nervous system. It can assist in healing the breaks in the skeletal structure and has been useful in enhancing the assimilation of Vitamins A and D
There are about one hundred species of abalone worldwide, some of which are used medicinally. Abalones belong to the Haliotidae family, and their iridescent mother-of-pearl interiors glow like shimmering waves making them a popular resource for jewelry. The interior of the paua abalone (Haliotis iris) is called “sea opal”. Some are commonly used for food. The donkey’s ear (H. asinina) species has a more oblong shape resembling the ear of a donkey. Abalones in general are nicknamed ear shells and sea ears.

Appearance: Abalones are thick and oval or elliptically shaped with a whorl ridge that is studded with typically four to ten holes for respiration. In some species the whorls are more like folds. Colors include brown, green-brown, dark green, red-brown, brick red, orange-red; some with creamy streaks. The inside of the shell is cover with iridescent silver, blue and green nacre. Some abalones have a mottled appearance.
Magical Associations: abundance, determination, emotions (heal), generosity, healing, imagination, insight, introspection, intuition, life (paua), the mind, problems (avoid)
Chakras: All 

Directions: Northeast, Southwest, West

Uses: These shells are frequently used as smudge bowls for cleansing the energy of an area. Abalone’s beautiful interior energetically attracts abundance.

Angel Wing 
These shells belong to the Pholadidae family. If you find both halves of an angel wing (Cyrtopleura costata) shell, you will see how they got their name: when opened flat they resemble a pair of angel’s wings. The false angel wing (Petricola pholadiformis) resembles the angel wing, but is smaller and more refined. Despite their delicate appearance they can bore into clay, wood and some types of rock.
Other members of this family include the piddocks, which have wing-like shape such as the campeche angel (Pholas campechiensis), European piddock (Pholas dactylus), and the fallen angel wing (Barrea truncate) which is also known as the Atlantic mud piddock.
Appearance: Angel wings are whitish elongated and delicate with ribs that run from the hinge joint to the outer edges, giving them a feathered appearance.
Magical Associations: balance, determination, energy (angelic), freedom, grace, hope, magic (angelic), support
Element: Air
Uses: This shell helps raise our spirits and lets our intentions soar. They can also aid in contact with angelic energy.

Clams encompass a wide range of species from several families all of which are known as clams: the Hard-Shelled Clam, think clam chowder (Mercenaria mercenaria), the Soft-Shelled Clam also known as steamers (Mya arenaria) and Surf Clams (Spisula solidissima) to name a few. Some clams are very colorful and some almost wing-shaped earning them the nick-name Butterfly Shells (from the Tellinidae family). Others twist around on themselves giving the shell a ram’s horn appearance (family Glossidae). The Chocolate-Flamed Venus Clam (Lioconcha castrensis) has dark brown zigzag lines that on some shells resemble ancient writing.
Appearance : Clams can be circular, oblong, oval or triangular. Colors range from white to dark brown and include most shades of the rainbow in solid colors or patterns. Some have a papery coating over the exterior of their shells.
Magical Associations: abundance, communication, compassion, emotions (protect), healing, life, love, purification, secrets, self-work, sex/uality, stability, sympathy, well-being
Chakra: Root
Uses: Clams can help us find our place in the world, hold a confidence and protect emotions.

There are over two hundred species of cockles, members of the Cardiidae family, worldwide. These shells have been used for food, ornamentation and currency as far back as 3000 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia. Prehistoric graves in Lincolnshire, England, were discovered to be filled with cockle shells, suggesting that they were a symbol of death and rebirth.
Cockles are also called heart clams because when viewed from the side with both shells intact, they appear valentine-shaped. They are different from shells in the Glossidae family which are also called heart clams. Additionally, cockles were used in ancient medicine because they were believed to be good for the heart.
Members of this family include the European prickly cockle (Acanthocardia echinata), hairy cockle (Plagiocardium setosum) named for the tiny, almost hair-like nodules on its ribbing, common European cockle (Cerastoderma edule), yellow cockle (Trachycardium muricatum) and heart cockle (Corculum cardissa).
Appearance: Cockles are heavily ribbed and can be round or oval shaped. Colors range from cream and yellowish to vivid yellow and brown. Some have zigzag streaks.
Magical Associations: awareness, balance, calm, confidence, death (burial customs), encouragement, goodness, grounding, happiness, healing, love, rebirth / renewal, romance, trust (in self)
Chakra: Heart
Uses: Cockles are very good for centering and calming energy. They also aid in overcoming self-doubt.

With the tip of the apex removed, this shell is blown like a trumpet in India and Sri Lanka to “open the heavens” for ritual. The conch also symbolizes the resonate voice of the Buddha. In Hawaii, the conch is sounded to summon spirits or to cleanse the energy of a space. Conchs have a spiraling shape usually with a broad flaring lip. True conchs are distinguished by a notch in the outer lip at the lower end. Some have protruding spines and nodes. They have a vast range of colors and patterns. Conchs are great for clearing negative energy and preparing an area for an event or activity. Their energy aids in moving inward for reflection.
Shells from the Strombidae family are called true conchs and can be distinguished by a “stromboid notch” toward the front (opposite the apex) end of the outer lip. With the tip of the apex removed, this shell is blown like a trumpet in India and Sri Lanka to “open the heavens” for ritual. The conch also symbolizes the resonate voice of the Buddha. In Hawaii, the conch is sounded to summon spirits or to cleanse the energy of a space. The pink conch, also known as the queen conch (Strombus gigas) is known to produce pink pearls.
Other members of this family include the Florida fighting conch ( S. alatus), rooster conch (S. gallus), goliath conch (S. goliath), milk conch (S. costatus), hawk wing conch (S. raninus), dog conch (S. canarium), silver conch (S. lentiginosus), and bull conch (S. Taurus).
Appearance: Conchs have a spiraling shape usually with a broad flaring lip. True conchs are distinguished by a notch in the outer lip at the front (lower/smaller) end. Some have protruding spines and nodes. They have a vast range of colors and patterns.
Magical Associations: awareness, banish, battle / war, clarity, communication, creativity, danger, defense, determination, energy (move), enlightenment, introspection, justice, knowledge, learning, life (vitality), love, magic (love), negativity, power (occult / left spiral conch), purification, wisdom
Goddesses: Amphitrite, Durga, Lakshmi 
Gods: Buddha, Ganesh, Krishna, Manannan, Vishnu
Animal: Jaguar
Reptile: Crocodile
Uses: Conchs are great for clearing negative energy and preparing an area for an event or activity. Their energy aids in moving inward for reflection.

Belonging to the Cypraeidae family, cowries number more than two hundred species worldwide. A wide range of cultures have used them for secular and sacred purposes. In relation to the Great Mother Goddess, cowries have represented both vulva and pregnant belly, symbolizing abundance, fertility and (pro)creative powers. The Hindu goddess Hayagriva is usually depicted rising from a yoni-symbol cowry-like shell. The ancient Romans associated cowries with the goddess Venus and gave them as gifts to brides.
The cowry’s long aperture has also been likened to a mouth—and even seen as the mouthpiece of gods. Oshun (a goddess of fresh water) taught the Yoruba people of Nigeria how to use the shells for divination.
The money cowry (Cypraea moneta) and the gold ring cowry (C. annulus) were used as currency in Asia, Africa and Malaysia. The first coins made of metal in China (circa 600 B.C.E.) were cast in the shape of cowry shells. The Romans called cowry shells porci or porculi meaning “little pigs”. In the ancient world, the pig was a symbol of fecundity and prosperity, associated with powerful goddesses such as the Greek Demeter whose sacred rituals included the sacrifice of pigs. Combining the symbolism of vulva and sow, the Greek word choiros means both pig and female genitals, and may be mistaken for the root of the word cowry. The English word cowry is derived from the Hindi kauri.
Other fairly well-known types of cowries include the Atlantic gray cowry (C. cinerea), Atlantic yellow cowry (C. spurca acicularis), Atlantic deer cowry (C. cervus), brown-toothed cowry (C. angustata), cape cowry (C. capensis), tiger cowry (C. tigris), Arabian cowry (C. arabica) eyed cowry (C. argus), hump-backed cowry (C. mauritiana), snake-head cowry (C. caputserpentis), and the honey cowry (C. helvola). The rarest and most sought-after is the golden cowry (C. aurantium).
Appearance: Cowries are small and somewhat egg-shaped. They have a rounded side and a flat underside where the aperture is a long serrated slit. The exterior of the shell is glossy enamel-like in a wide array of colors and patterns.
Magical Associations: abundance, death (burial customs), divination, faith, fear (overcome), fertility, growth, improvement, independence, introspection, intuition, love, manifestation, marriage, money, prophecy, prosperity, rebirth / renewal, self-work, sensitivity, success, vision, wealth
Energy: Yin

Chakra: Sacral

Goddesses: Cerridwen, Hayagriva, Venus

Uses: Cowries are excellent for divination, manifesting intentions and soul work.

These bivalves of the Anomiidae family are almost as common as sand along America’s Atlantic beaches. Jingle shells are rarely found intact, but you can tell which half you have because each side is different. The right side (the lower valve) has a circular hole near the hinge through which the animal anchors itself to a rock or other surface. This half is found less often.

Members of this family include the common jingle (Anomia simplex), Peruvian jingle (A. peruviana), prickly jingle (A. squamula), saddle jingle (Placuna sella), false Pacific jingle (Pododesmus macroschisma), and false Atlantic jingle (Pododesmus rudis).

Appearance: Jingles are irregularly shaped circles or ovals, very light, translucent and fragile. Their iridescent sheen ranges in color from white and yellow to black or red.
Magical Associations: abundance, death (burial customs), divination, faith, fear (overcome), fertility, growth, improvement, independence, introspection, intuition, love, manifestation, marriage, money, prophecy, prosperity, rebirth / renewal, self-work, sensitivity, success, vision, wealth
Energy: Yin

Chakra: Sacral

Goddesses: Cerridwen, Venus

Uses: Jingles help us learn to trust our intuition and to judge when it is wise to let go and ride with the tides of life.

Moon Shells
Found throughout the world, these members of the Naticidae family are also called necklace shells. The Atlantic moon (Polinices duplicatus) has the common name of shark’s eye. Moon shells embody two powerful symbols: the circle and the spiral and were occasionally used as talismans in Celtic burials, sometimes scattered over the body, sometimes below it. These shells were also symbolically placed near the hands and feet or in a pattern above the head.
Members of this family include the butterfly moon (Natica alapapilionis), violet moon (N. violacea), China moon (N. onca), zebra moon (N. undulate), colorful Atlantic moon (N. carirena), northern moon (Lunatia heros) and Lewis’ moon (Euspira lewisi)
Appearance: Moon shells are round and tightly coiled, with a short or flat spire. Their colors and patterns vary widely.
Magical Associations: beauty, clarity, cycles, death (burial customs), fertility, harmony, independence, insight, introspection, knowledge (seek), magic (moon), the mind, protection (by the Goddess), rebirth / renewal
Solar System: Moon

Goddesses: Astarte, Inanna

Uses: Moons can teach us how to roll with life’s turbulence and to move inward without losing sight of what’s around us. They can also help us find answers to questions that are important to us.

With more than one thousand species worldwide, the murex, also called rock shells, belong to the Muricidae family. These shells were the source of the rosy-purple dye that became known as royal tyrian purple. Highly valued by the ancient Phoenicians and Romans, later the dye was used by the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches to color bishops’ robes. The Venus comb murex (Murex pectin) with its long thin spines is one of the most striking examples.
Others include the purple dye murex (M. brandaris), snipe bill murex (M. haustellum), pink-mouthed murex (M. erythrostomus), cabbage murex (M. brassica), scorpion murex (M. scorpio), lace murex (M. dilectus), rose murex (M. rubidus), giant eastern murex (M. fulvescens) and the sting winkle (Ocinebra erinaceus).
Appearance: Murex shells range from heavy to delicate. They have high, pointed spires and whorls that are smooth, spiny or nodular. The siphon canal is elongated in some species. Their coloring is variable in cream, white, yellow, tan, pink, orange reddish and brown. Banding, spotting and patterns vary.
Magical Associations: adaptability, anger, business, courage, dedication / devotion, emotions, justice (legal matters), life, negativity, nurture, protection, support, warmth
Uses: The murex can help us summon courage to overcome adverse conditions.

Known to seafood lovers everywhere, the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and its Mediterranean cousin (M. galloprovincialis) belong to the Mytilidae family. Mussels are the most abundant of all mollusks. The larger brown variety is known as the horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus). Mussels are usually found attached to rocks and piers or in the mud and sand of shallow water.
Other members include the channel mussel (Perna canaliculus), Atlantic ribbed mussel (Geukensia demissa), variable mussel (Brachiodontes variabilis), common date mussel (Lithophaga lithophaga) and the tulip mussel (Modiolus americanus).
Appearance: Mussels are elongated, pear-shaped shells, ranging in color from purple-black to blue or brown. The interior is pearly.
Magical Associations: abundance, adaptability, affection, attachments, dedication / devotion, determination, growth, guidance, stability
Solar System: Moon

Goddess: Amphitrite

Uses: Mussels help us see that we have the strength to weather life’s storms and that the ordinary can be extraordinary.

Sources of food since pre-historic times, true oysters belong to the Ostreidae family. The ancient Greeks believed that dew or rain taken in by an oyster would ripen into a pearl. Pearls are formed around grains of sand or any other irritant. Oysters of various families produce pearls as do several other types of shells such as conchs.
Examples include the common European or edible oyster (Ostrea edulis) and crested oyster (O. equestris). Wing oysters (Pincyada imbricata), black-lipped oyster (Pincyada margaritifera) and pearl oysters (Pteria hirundo) are members of the Pteriidae family.
Appearance: Oysters are irregular, rounded or elongated in shape and have a variety of colors.
Magical Associations: abundance, beauty, fertility, life (vitality), love (unconditional), luck, lust, prosperity (attract), sex/uality
Uses: Oysters can help attract prosperity as well as a lover.

Fifty to one hundred species of these shore-dwelling snails of the Littorinidae family are found throughout the world. The smallest is the rough periwinkle (Littorina saxatilis). Next in size are the northern yellow or smooth periwinkle (Littotrina obtusata) and the common periwinkle (Littorina littorea), respectively. Usually found clinging to rocks in tidal pools, periwinkles are in “mid-passage” evolving from marine animal to land dweller.

Other members include the zebra periwinkle (L. ziczac), marsh periwinkle (L. irrorata), angulated periwinkle (L. scabra angulifera), pagoda periwinkle (Tectarius pagodas), beaded periwinkle (T. muricatus), and the false prickly winkle (Echininus nodulosus).

Appearance: Periwinkles are solid little shells with short spires and circular apertures. Colors vary widely. Smooth periwinkles are bright yellow or orange with virtually no spire.
Magical Associations: adaptability, change/s, concentration / focus, determination, friend/ship, grounding, growth, integrity, the mind (deliberation), transformation
Uses: These shells can help us hold our focus and stay centered.

Sand Dollar
The sand dollar is a type of sea urchin that is related to the star fish. This creature moves between the worlds of water and earth, burying itself in the sand and soft mud on the ocean floor. The common sand dollar (Echinarachnius parma) and the keyhole urchin (Mellita testudinata) are easily recognized by the five-petaled shape etched in their centers.
The sand dollar has been associated with the life of Jesus, its five-pointed pattern representing both the star of Bethlehem and the five wounds inflicted at the crucifixion.
Appearance: Sand dollars are irregularly shaped, round and flat with a five-pointed flower-like pattern and five holes. Their color is usually white or tan.
Magical Associations: awareness, balance (seek), compassion, knowledge, protection (emotions, financial), messages / omens, protection (emotional, financial), purpose, secrets, transformation, wisdom
Uses: Sand dollars help us find wholeness and acquire knowledge. They aid in keeping confidences and protecting emotions.

Not only were Aphrodite and Venus depicted arising fully formed on scallop shells, so too were a number of Aztec and Mayan goddesses. Throughout ancient Europe, the scallop shell was used “as a symbol of religion, mysticism and of sex”. Belonging to the Pectinidae family, more than four hundred species can be found worldwide.
As a design motif, the scallop has been used in personal ornamentation, fabric and furniture décor and architecture. In the early years of Christianity it was used as a badge of pilgrimage—originally to the shrine of St. James in Spain. On heraldic banners, a scallop with two slits (or “eyes” as they were called) indicated that a knight had been in battle and had searched for the Holy Grail. The energy of a scallop is radiant and healing.
Others include the Atlantic bay scallop (Argopecten irradians), calico scallop (Argopecten gibbus), Atlantic deep sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus), leopard scallop (Anachlamys leopardus), Asian moon scallop (Amusium pleuronectes) and the folded scallop (Decatopecten plica).
Appearance: Scallops are fan-shaped and somewhat flat. Of the true scallops (Pectin family) one shell, or valve, is more concave than the other. Their colors range from white to a variety of brilliant hues as well as a wide range of patterns.
Magical Associations: beauty, calm, change/s, clarity, compassion, energy (move), grounding, harmony, healing, the home, introspection, leadership, luck, obstacles, prosperity, rebirth / renewal, relaxation, spirituality, travel
Goddesses: Aphrodite, Chalchihuitlicue, Coatlicue, Venus, Xochiquetzal
Uses: As a symbol of pilgrimage scallops aid in spiritual rejuvenation. They are instrumental in removing energy blocks and keeping us centered. With them we can search the depths of our souls. They help us know that we are beautiful.

Slipper Shell
From above, slipper shells appear as rounded little mounds; underneath is a protective shelf that covers part of the animal’s body and gives the shell a moccasin-like appearance. When I was a child I thought of them as rowboats for fairies. Slippers live in colonies attached to rocks and each other. They can change sex (from male to female) as colony necessity dictates. These shells belong to the Crepidulidae family.
Members of this family include the common Atlantic slipper (Crepidula fornicate), convex slipper (C. convexa), spiny slipper (C. aculeate), northern white slipper (C. nummaria), onyx slipper (C. onyx), spotted slipper (C. maculosa) and the ribbed slipper (Maoricrypta costata)
Appearance: The flattened oval shell has an interior “shelf” that forms the slipper-like shape. Their colors are cream, yellow, brown or reddish brown to purple.
Magical Associations: adaptability, balance, challenges, change/s, community, family, generosity, support, transformation
Uses: Slippers aid us in weathering transitions and support us as we help others.

These rugged yet decorative shells from the Ranellidae family are related to the murex shells. With a hole drilled into the apex they are used as horns. Triton’s trumpet (Charonia tritonis) is the largest and best known because it is used to call people to worship. Another name for it is the Pacific trumpet triton. There is also an Atlantic trumpet triton (Charonia variegata). In Greek legend Poseidon’s son, Triton, blew this shell and subdued floods that threatened to destroy the world. This story was depicted on Roman coins in 400 B.C.E.
Other members of this family include the knobbed triton (Charonia nodifera), angular triton (Cymatium femorale), lotorium triton (Cymatium lotorium), ruby triton (Cymatium rubeculum), and the little frog triton (Ranella olearia).
Appearance: Tritons are solid and sculpted with strong rib-like areas. The thick outer lip is often toothed. These shells have a wide range of colors and patterns.
Magical Associations: communication, confidence, dedication / devotion, emotions, faith, happiness, leadership, motivation, power, relationships, youth
Gods: Neptune, Poseidon, Vishnu
Uses: Triton shells aid in sending forth our intentions and prayers.

About eight hundred species of whelk can be found worldwide. The lightning whelk (Busycon contrarium) is one of the few shells with a left-handed coil. For this reason, it is commonly mistaken for the sacred Indian chank shell or simply employed as a substitute—adding to the confusion over these seashells.
The columellae of whelks were strung together and used as money by Native Americans. White wampum beads were also made from whelks.
Other whelks include the horn whelk (Buccinulum corneum), New England Neptune whelk (Neptunea decemcostata), spiral Babylon whelk (Babylonia spirata), knobbed whelk (Busycon carica) and the channeled whelk (B. canaliculatum).
Appearance: Whelks are globular-shaped near the apex with a long tapering siphon. Their colors and sizes vary greatly.
Magical Associations: change/s, guidance, imagination, improvement, inspiration, luck, release, spirituality, wisdom
Uses: Whelks help us find the guidance we need, especially for spiritual development

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