String of Pearls Introduction (The Yoni Healing Stone)


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Excerpted from the unfinished book with the working title...



                                                                        By Aumdoc (Richard J. Clofine, D.O.)


There are many fine books available today on Holistic Medicine, natural medicine and alternative healing.  The field is growing by leaps and bounds.  When I first thought of writing about my perspective on this field I was somewhat discouraged when I walked through my local bookstore.  How could I possible have anything to add to the volumes that have already been written?   I came to appreciate that the best way was to present my “String of Pearls”.  This is based on a little article I had written for my patients to advise them on how to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to making practical changes in their life, for the purpose of creating health, by following specific therapeutic recommendations.  These little pearls of wisdom can be applied to many different life circumstances.

     Healing power of stones, crystals and gems

In this essay I use the metaphor of ‘a string of pearls’.  Pearls are an amazing gemstone with unique properties and origin.  Stones and crystals have been used in many different healing systems, both indigenous and modern.    Indigenous healers and shamans utilize stones and gems in their healing work around the world.  Modern medicine also uses crystals.  One place we see this is in laser technology where specific crystals are used (such as a ruby laser) to create specific qualities of practical laser application in various medical therapies.  In neo-shamanic and eclectic modern (‘new age’) healing practices inherent qualities of stones and gems are utilized to achieve varying therapeutic effects.

I have often been asked if I use crystals and stones in my healing work. There are many healers whose entire work has to do with crystals and stones.  While I do use them directly with patients in some healing work, they have held a more important place in my own personal journey.  Different crystals and stones carry themselves in very unique ways.  They feel different to the touch with varying densities and surface textures.  Some are much heavier or lighter then they appear, and it certainly feels different to hold a smooth crystal as opposed to a rough stone.  Thus their impression on the eye and hand varies greatly. 

Their basic chemical structure determines their physical chemistry properties including what frequency they vibrate at.  The shape and purity of the particular specimen can alter that.  Many volumes have been written about how crystals and stones have different unique healing properties.  I believe they each have unique physical properties that, when held with specific intent, can result in varying actions on the holder.  Depending on their physical properties they may also act as a lens, focusing our specific energies and intent in different ways.

Even if someone is not open to considering that crystals and stones may have specific healing properties, it is easy to understand how they may impact the holder in a variety of ways.  The gross physical properties of size, shape, color and texture all specifically impact how we feel when we hold the specimen.  Is it heavier then expected (like a meteorite) or lighter then anticipated.  Either way a specific feeling is engendered.  Does it fit comfortably in the palm of your hand with a smooth texture that makes you want to hold it continually, or keep it in your pocket.  Or, is it oversized and coarse feeling which creates a completely different sensory feedback.  What about the color of the specimen?  Maybe it is blue color that feels cooling and calming; or a fiery red color that is more stimulating.  And what does the specimen look like and remind you of?  Does it look sharp and cutting or is it round and inviting to the touch.  Does it look like an eye, or a mountain or a yoni?  Each will engender a different feeling within you.  Regardless of whether inherent healing properties exist, these physical factors will greatly influence what and how we feel when we hold the specimen. 

For me these physical type factors greatly influence what power a stone holds to influence individuals.  An even more important factor for me is the intent I have put into the stone over time.  Concerning crystals and stones, I have been more influenced by indigenous shamanic traditions then by inherent eclectic new age healing powers of specific types of specimens. 


     The Yoni Healing Stone

Again, for me, even more important then the physical or energetic properties inherent in a gem, crystal or stone is the intent that I have personally infused them with over time.  For example, I have a stone that my mother gave me before she died (in 1979), after a trip to the southwestern United States.  The stone is a Selenite Desert Rose.  There are many interesting facts about this type stone, such as it is made of hydrous calcium sulfate and can be formed in several different situations; that many healers use it to see into the body and understand what is needed for healing; or use it as a “sword of awareness” to cut through the unconscious assumptions we make each day.  But this is not what personally resonates with me about this healing stone of mine. 

My mother gave to me after returning from a trip to the southwestern United States where she bought some Native American silver and turquoise jewelry. Neither she nor I had a particular interest in stones at the time and I remember it as feeling a little unusual as she casually gifted it to me; something she randomly picked up.  She had never given me a stone before.

I liked it but it didn’t strike me as anything other than an interesting stone.  It remained in my bureau junk drawer for a number of years.  In 1981 it ended up on a little altar space I had set up on my desk.  This was during my first two years of medical school and I spent A LOT of time at that desk studying.  It stayed on my home desk throughout the next 8 years of finishing medical school, a pre-doctoral fellowship in Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, a general practice internship and a 4 year Obstetrics and Gynecology residency.  I never really paid much attention to it, though it was present and visible to me near daily throughout these years.

In 1989 I moved to Atlanta to start practicing medicine in a small Ob-Gyn group, where I had my own office.  As I moved items to my new office desk, the rock somehow made the transition as well and ended up on a window sill in my exam room as a decoration (and reminder of my mother).  During the next few years I had a renewed interest in my study of cross-cultural shamanism.  I started working ritually with stones and started noticing Mom’s stone more and more, sitting on that windowsill in my examination room. It was serendipitously located in such a way that when I sat down between the stirrups of the gynecology table to perform a pelvic exam I could see it out of the corner of my eye, in my peripheral vision.  As time went by it seemed more prominent to me and was catching my attention more often.  This probably was related to my renewed study of shamanic principles and practices.  One long weekend delivering babies I was in my office (attached to the hospital at the time) doing some work and I picked up the stone and started to look at it. 

I immediately noticed physical characteristics that reminded me of a yoni. Yoni is a Sanskrit term that refers to the vulva and vagina in as sacred (i.e. deserving of honor and respect).  I like to use it because it does not hold all the potentially negative connotations that might be associated with the term vagina.  The appearance to me was such that I saw vulvas, labia’s and yoni spaces.  It was a striking perception and it was even more remarkable to me when, over time, I started to reflect on the fact that it was a gift from my mother (from whose yoni I had emerged into this world).  Its texture was coarse and textured, not smooth and silky, so it did not physically feel like a yoni.  But it sure looked suggestive of one to me!  It did fit easily in the palm of my hand and felt good to hold. My mom died as a young woman (age 49) in a 1979.  Her death was drawn out and unpleasant.

At first all this was just an interesting serendipity.  Over the next couple years that stone was present, in the corner of my eye, on a daily basis.  Every time a woman lay back to be examined in that room the stone was there.  And I was seeing many women at that time, usually 25-30 daily (not uncommon for a busy Obstetrics and Gynecology practice).  At first unconsciously, and over time with specific intent, I connected this object with the yoni healing work I did every day.  Thanks to my ongoing training in shamanic studies, this connection became stronger and more conscious over time.   Unconsciously at first but then through dedicated conscious intent I started to see that stone as a yoni healing stone.

During this time I was formally training with Oscar Miro Quesada in Peruvian Mesa Shamanism which involved a lot of ritual work with stones and other sacred objects.  Here the term mesa refers to a portable shamanic altar with sacred objects laid out on a cloth.  I incorporated my Yoni Stone into this work, placed it on my mesa and ritually worked with it.  I specifically, consciously and persistently infused it with my intent to assist women in their healing work.  The intent was specifically about work involving the Yoni (which means specifically the vulva and vagina but which I broadened to include the genitals and pelvis in general).  Every time I picked it up and used it in ritual (which was frequently) I held that intent.  After many years that relationship became a very natural thing.  When I was in a less centered headspace I found that picking up that stone would draw me back to the specific intent I initially held for it… that now it held for me!

One day I picked up this stone while talking to a woman who was grieving over her repeated pregnancy losses.  She had several difficult circumstances that wounded her due to the lack of psycho-emotional support and the actual negative statements made to her at the time of these previous losses.  I handed the stone to her and she suddenly came to a place of ease and spent several minutes looking at its ridges and contours.  She asked me about it and I told her it was my yoni healing stone.  For reasons I do not fully understand, she proceeded to voice her past wounds and a sudden newfound connection to all the other women in the world experiencing pregnancy losses.  I could not help but feel that this stone was in some way a catalyst for her communication and newfound understanding.  After this episode of care I did not see this woman for about another 5 years when she came into the office for a yearly exam after moving back into the area.  She asked if she could see that stone, which I gave her to hold, and proceeded to tell me how she and her husband had more completely grieved their losses, accepted her situation and decided to adopt, now having 2 beautiful small children.  She spoke of that day when the mist seemed to clear and things became a tiny bit clearer, while holding that stone.

     That stone is now part of my healing mesa (altar) and is my yoni healing stone.  After holding it and using it in that way for over 15 years (though I have possessed it over 30 years).  I have infused it with MY OWN INTENT... that it IS my yoni healing stone.  When I sit in a difficult consultation involving yoni wounding (oh, the details are so many and varied) I will connect to it and draw inner strength from it.  I may connect to it physically or energetically.  I may have the woman hold it (if she is open to this), or place it on her body during healing bodywork.  I use it during energetic bodywork as a lens for and a channel of Goddess Yoni Healing Power.  I have held this intent for long enough that just seeing it or holding it instills that healing energy within me, simply out of repetition and habit.  The stone may hold no inherent healing power other than what space it puts me in due to what I have infused into it through repeated practice, ritual and ceremony. 

And of course I have many other healing stones on my mesa, each with their own story.

     Why a String of PEARLS?

There is something about pearls that I have always been attracted to.  They are beautifully rounded, though of many shapes, colors and sizes.  Most easily fit in the palm of your hand and feel smooth and soft and comforting.  They are unique among gemstones in that they are the only gem found within a living creature.  They are also used in their natural state requiring no cutting, polishing or other artificial manipulation.  When strung together they form a circle with no beginning and no end.    Superficially each pearl might look alike yet on close enough scrutiny it would be clear each was completely different. 

The pearl starts as an irritant that is unable to be expelled by the mollusks body.  Through a process of gently applying concentric layers of organic material (called nacre) over the irritant, a beautiful pearl is produced.  Thus the production of a pearl is a healing process for the mollusk, changing an irritant into something that can easily be lived with.  And in the process of dealing with one of life’s little problems (a grain of sand stuck in an uncomfortable place) the mollusk’s solution to an annoyance creates something of value and beauty.  A beauty that crosses culture and place, pearls are valued around the world. The successive layers of nacre that are laid down determine the size and color of the gem, each pearl being completely different from another. The concentric layers of nacre remind me of an onion, and the analogy of pealing off layers in healing work is often appropriate.

Over the years of practicing medicine (or better said, practicing living), good students gather along the way what have often been called “pearls of wisdom”.  These are simple ideas that hold a lot of deep truth and wisdom.  Each one is a little gem that feels good to hold in you hand (or your head, or your heart).  They each have a beauty all their own yet when strung together they form something much greater.  They form a circle without beginning and without end.   A strand made into a circle that can be worn, or even better yet, that can be used to adorn our lives, to adorn the divine within us.  Yes, to make our lives more beautiful.  Traditionally, pearls have almost exclusively been worn to adorn women in beauty.  If you think about it, seeing a man wearing pearls in any way is unusual, thus they seem to fit my work with women.  Adorning my ideas in this feminine pearly metaphor is one way of balancing the patriarchal dominance of the American medical world I inhabit. 

Here are the wisdom pearls strung together and offered as an adornment in beauty to the women I have cared for, and to those I have never met.  I have collected these gems along the way.  Walking along life’s path to becoming a husband, a father, a lover and friend; a physician and surgeon, a hands-on healer; a student, a teacher and one who remains in awe of the many great mysteries we face in life.  Mostly these pearls stem from my experience as a holistic gynecologist.  They each hold practical advice, weaned from experience that can be applied to almost any situation requiring healing.  They help us know good ways to approach any healing work.   These paradigms are ways of thinking.  They are ideas that can be applied regardless of what the details of the wounding and healing are.


Om Lotus



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