Meet M J Trantham: Share Her Journey of Enlightenment
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to M J Trantham, my crystal sage and good friend. I’m one of those people who had purchased a few stones because they were pretty. When I began writing about Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, I wanted her to grow as she became more astute, albeit reluctant, with her psychic abilities. M J had been telling me about her exploration of crystals and I was fascinated. We’d talk—she’s correct, it’s nearly daily—and soon I was asking questions and including crystal power in Rachel’s paranormal adventures.
Get comfortable and enjoy this intimate one-on-one with M J Trantham. Whether you’re just beginning your journey with crystals or are already a fellow traveler, M J’s story may inspire your own.
(G G Collins Copyright 2015 including photos)
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When did your interest in crystals begin? Was there a specific turn of events that led you down this path?
I think I have been fascinated by rocks since I was a child. I remember having a “rock collection” which probably consisted of rocks I found in our back yard. When I got a little older, I watched my grandmother collect rocks from places she visited. She brought them home and put them in her yard. When my grandmother died I picked up as many as I could identify and now they are in my yard.
As an adult, I used to drive to Hot Springs, Arkansas every spring to the Arkansas Derby, but I always made a stop at the tourist crystal shop. I still didn’t have a clue what I was buying but was attracted to their beauty and would take my time holding and admiring them before making my selections. My first crystals were an Amethyst and a Rose Quartz. I also have several very large crystal clusters in my home that I know I didn’t pay a lot of money for. I see similar ones now for hundreds of dollars.
I think my turning point was when I had two nephews join the military. It was during the transition from the Iraq war to the movement of troops to Afghanistan. I was so afraid for them. One evening during my meditation I was impressed to make them each a medicine bag for safety. I also had a niece that was working for ICE on the Mexican border. I purchased three medicine bags and a book on crystals. I selected the crystals that I felt were appropriate and sent each of them a bag. Then I decided to make a bag for each of my grandchildren and then all of my nieces and nephews and a new project was born. By then I was so intrigued and basically hooked on crystals. My friend, G G Collins, had written Reluctant Medium and graciously accepted my suggestion that her protagonist needed crystal energy to help her accomplish her goals. I now crochet the medicine bags which I feel adds my energy to them and select the stones after meditation.
Explain what the “properties” of crystals are. Do they hold actual powers?
Crystals have been acknowledged for their beauty and power for thousands of years. Most people first notice the color and brightness of crystals. Later, maybe minutes or maybe years, we begin to learn that each crystal is special and emits different types of power. I like to call that power, energy. Some crystals have energy to help someone heal from a disease or a situation which is uncomfortable or causes emotional pain. Other energies are used for abundance, prosperity, wealth, and protection from people, places, and/or things, grief, and assistance in achieving goals. I have been able to find a crystal for almost any situation. I believe the “power” is real, just like I believe “faith” is real. Someone might pick up a raw crystal, one that hasn’t been polished or tumbled, and throw it down thinking it is just a rock. Others will see the beauty and feel the energy in the palms of their hands. Sometimes it is a slight vibration and sometimes becomes warm.
Crystals were created when the Earth was born. Most people know about Amethyst, Quartz, and Birthstones. However, crystals have evolved as the Earth has evolved and we now have what some call “New Age” crystals, such as Larimar, Petalite, and Phenacite.
What crystals would one choose for issues such as fear, creativity, and wealth?
There are many types of fear. If you want to alleviate fear, use a Charoite. Charoite is a beautiful purple stone when polished. It is a stone of transformation. “Charoite is the soul stone that overcomes fear.” Smoky Quartz relieves fear, lifts depression, and brings emotional calmness. When purchasing a Smoky Quartz, look for one that is slightly cloudy. The darker the color the more likely it has been radiated to enhance the color. You want the natural one.
Creativity also covers many types. For a writer, I would recommend a Blue Topaz. This crystal helps a writer become aware of the influence their writing and knowledge can have on others. It promotes openness and honesty. It helps a writer see the bigger picture and the minute details. If a writer is experiencing “writer’s block” a Fire Agate helps dissolve the negativity that might be causing the block and replaces it with creativity once again.
A Brown and Gold Tiger’s Eye helps any type of creativity by aiding that person in recognizing one’s talents and abilities, and faults that need to be overcome to achieve their desired goal.
A wonderful crystal for wealth, abundance, and prosperity is a Honey Citrine. It comes in small round stones, large Citrine points, or larger geodes. Honey Citrine can be placed in a medicine bag and carried with you at all times in your pocket or purse. You can also use a medicine bag with a cord attached and wear it around your neck and over your heart. It can also be placed in the “wealth corner” of your home which is the farthest left corner of your home looking in from the front door. It is also used for grids when mixed with other wealth stones like, blue or green Citrine. Honey Citrine encourages sharing what you have and yet helps you to hold on to your wealth.
What is a medicine bag and how is it used? Describe your signature bags.
A medicine bag is simply a bag of some type to hold your crystals. Some crystal users recommend storing your crystals in a silk or velvet bag. Many people prefer leather bags. When I decided to make medicine bags for my friends and family, I decided on a very soft yarn and began to experiment with different shapes, sizes, and colors. Depending on how many crystals I want to include decides the size. Most are 3 x 3 or 4 x 4. I like to decorate them with ribbon, buttons, pins, and charms. The type of bag and decoration depends on who the bag is made for. I use several bags. I have one under my pillow to ward off night terrors and recently added a crystal that assists with dream recall. I have a bag I meditate with that is for good health, self-control, and will power to eat, drink, exercise, and be healthy. I have a friend who is very interested in angels. I made her a bag with stones to attract angel communication. A family member travels a lot in an RV. I made them a bag for safe travel. Medicine bags can be for any type of issue that is going on in someone’s life. I tell people if they feel uncomfortable wearing the bag, to place it on the night stand beside their bed.
In the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series, you’ve been an enormous help in broadening Rachel’s psychic horizons. How do you approach this challenge; introducing a reluctant medium – and her creator – to the world of crystals.
I don’t think it was ever a challenge because I was so excited to be included in G G’s writing process. I can say what I do for Rachel Blackstone is constantly evolving. My study of crystals is always a learning experience as I continue to use crystals in everyday life. I was so excited when Reluctant Medium first came out I read it in one day and was absolutely hooked on Rachel. I had to go back and reread it to really see what was happening. During the second read, I began to think about how crystals and psychics have so much in common using crystals for guidance, safety, protection, and direction. I honestly don’t remember exactly how we got from “there to here”, but G G asked if she could use my personality to create another psychic that dealt in legal marijuana in Colorado and crystals. I was so flattered and excited I had to say yes! G G and I discuss Rachel and ideas almost everyday, so I think I understand where Rachel might be going.
No matter who I am working for to create a medicine bag, I want to know what the issue is and what outcome they would like to have. I have shelves of books covering Metaphysical subjects and I use them as a reference for all of my projects. If the person says they are depressed, I look for crystals to help depression. If they are afraid, I look for crystals that dispel fear and restore a positive outlook. I also look for things that specifically address health issues, cancer, chemotherapy, renal failure, heart failure, broken bones. If I can’t find something specifically to “cure” a broken bone, I look for other reasons for the broken bone, maybe osteoporosis or some type of calcium deficiency or maybe just a really bad fall. One suggestion leads to another and I continue to learn as I go along and finally decide on the correct crystal for the situation.
I didn’t mean to get into Rachel’s head, however, I found myself talking about her as if she was a real friend of mine. I think I just do for Rachel what I would do for any friend that asks for my help.
You’re in the process of bringing what began as a personal interest to the next level: a business. What will you be offering in the way of medicine bag combinations?
I love to crochet and knit. I like the feel of the yarn and watching something very pretty result. It is also a great time to meditate or work out a problem. When I decided to crochet medicine bags, I did so because I thought mine were prettier and less expensive to make than the ones available at the crystal shops and metaphysical fairs.
I am going to take a few months to get my material together and see how I would do at the local Farmer’s Market. We have a very nice one all summer in the city where I live. After much thought, I am going to make medicine bags for several different issues. I will most likely begin with bags for healing, love, protection, recovering from an illness or grief, anxiety and depression. I also like wealth, abundance, forgiveness, angel communication, and raising spiritual awareness. I’m open to more suggestions. Several years ago, I found a blessing for a dying person to assist in a pain free and fearless transition. I have used it several times and have had good results. By results, I mean, less sadness, more acceptance of the loss of a loved one, and for one I actually got a return message of a safe and happy arrival on the other side and in living color. It has totally changed my opinion of death, past lives, and what I might find in my next life.
Some bags will be empty and buyers can choose their own crystals. Others will hold the crystals that assist the person requesting help. The type of bag and whether or not they hold crystals will determine the cost.
I’ve already developed a flyer to assist someone buying crystals on how to take care of them, how to cleanse them and program them for their own purpose.
What would you recommend to people just beginning their journey into crystals and their uses?
Visit crystal shops, metaphysical fairs, and gift shops to explore what is available. Pay attention to what you are attracted to. Before investing a lot of money, check other shops for a price range. I often find crystals that are $7 in one shop and the same crystal is $2 in another. Crystals can also be purchased on Internet sites, but I prefer the “in person” method. If you go in person, you can hold the crystal in your hand to see if you get a response. A response is not always necessary, especially if the crystal has been handled by lots of people. It may need to be cleansed and near you for several days to begin to recognize your energy. I received a crystal as a gift. I cleansed it and wore it for several days so it would recognize my energy and work just for me. I do the same when I give crystals as gifts and finish with a dedication to the recipient. I then ask the recipient to meditate and claim the energy for themselves.
There are lots of books out there that tell all you need to know to begin using crystals. For a beginner, I would suggest buying a couple of books. Most crystals have several different energies and address multiple issues. I usually research the issue for suggestions regarding which is the best crystal to buy. Then I research the crystal to see all that it can do. Lots of crystal shops also have classes to share information and I find “crystal people” excited to talk to anyone about their crystal beliefs.
To begin your crystal journey, Trantham recommends these books:
The Crystal Bible, A Definitive Guide to Crystals, Judy Hall, 2003.
The Crystal Bible 2, Over 200 Additional Healing Stones, Judy Hall, 2009.
The Crystal Bible 3, Over 250 New-Generation Stones for Healing and Spiritual Alchemy, Judy Hall, 2013.
The Encyclopedia of Crystals, Judy Hall, 2007.
Crystal Prescriptions, The A-Z Guide to Over 1,200 Symptoms and Their Healing Crystals, Judy Hall, 1988.
Crystal Therapy, How to Heal and Empower Your Life with Crystal Energy, Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., and Judity Lukonski, 2005.
Simply Crystals, Cass & Janie Jackson, 2006.
Tags: Cass & Janie Jackson, Crystal Energy, crystals, Doreen Virtue, G G Collins, healing, Judy Hall, M J Trantham, Medicine Bags, meditation, metaphysical, New Age, NM, personal journey, Reluctant Medium, Reluctant Medium at Large, Santa Fe, spirituality, Transitional Crystals for the Dying
Hypnotic Gems is Real Jewel
In an era when the words “customer service” strike fear into our hearts and cause us to feel defeated before we’ve even complained, rises a business whose owner really does know the definition of customer service. This business is Hypnotic Gems.
When I opened a box containing crystals a couple of weeks ago, I was dismayed to find one Tiger’s Eye broken into pieces. The shipper was a third-party and sadly didn’t pack the box as carefully as needed. When I checked in with their Web site, I found that I could only return the order rather than get the broken stone replaced. All I felt I could do was complain–but explained it was the packing not the lovely stones that had disappointed me.
David, of Hypnotic Gems, read my complaint and immediately contacted me. He not only replaced the broken crystal–at his expense–but tucked in a couple of surprises as well. I’m delighted to find this service-oriented business.
If you’re looking for crystals or stones, check out Hypnotic Gems. They offer gorgeous, generously sized stones–and they understand the meaning of customer service.
— G G Collins
Link to Hypnotic Gems storefront:
Rituals and Ceremonies to Recall the Departed
“Talking” with the dead. Various cultures use ceremony and ritual to “speak” with family and friends who have passed over. It goes by a variety of names. Some Asian cultures refer to it as spirit-calling, soul-calling or calling the soul of the dead. They can also be practiced to attract specific living people into your life. It has also been called communing with the guardian spirit. In Hispanic culture, the dead are celebrated each year on the Day of the Dead. This is a ritual growing in popularity, and why not celebrate those we have loved and lost?
My character, Rachel Blackstone, who became the Reluctant Medium, was mourning her father’s death as the story opened. She had not only lost her father, but he died under mysterious circumstances. Despite that, the police had not been able to determine how his accident had occurred. That left Rachel without knowing–with no facts to support or dispute a theory—an uncomfortable place for a fact-based reporter.
To this end, she decides to try a Native American ceremony to return the dead in the hope that she can ask her father what happened.
Craft a mask. I researched these ceremonies and simplified it for storytelling. The first step was to construct a mask and decorate it with items that had belonged to the deceased. Rachel used cuff links and a photo of her father and herself taken during a trip. You must create the mask yourself. While you are doing so you begin to think about the person and the issue you wish to talk about. This sets your mind on the direct path.
Prayer stick or pahos. She also wanted to make a pahos, or prayer stick. There are many ways to do this, but I chose to use yarn in the four directional colors or four colors of mankind: black, white, red and yellow. To craft a pahos, simply write a short prayer or message on a small piece of paper. Wrap and tape securely around the twig you have chosen. (Use a fallen branch or twig rather than cutting one from a tree.) Then takes lengths of each yarn color and begin wrapping them around the stick, covering the paper. You may be creative with this, but leave some yarn to fashion a hangar. Prayer sticks can be quite elaborate with beading, feathers and other objects. After completion, pahos are hung from a tree, or other outside location. This allows the prayer or wish to continually reach the Above Beings–or whatever name you choose to call your higher power. This is very personal and a private thing for each of us.
Setting the mood. Next, play some music that is conducive to relaxation. If you have a recording of Native American drumming, this is ideal, but any instrumental music that is played adagio will be fine. You may burn incense or sage. In my story I chose Dragon’s Blood incense as it is reputed helpful in these ceremonies. When all is ready, imagine that you are in a kiva, an underground chamber for Native American ceremonies. Close your eyes and wait for the outcome.
The return. For most people, the person does not appear in a vision, although some report images resembling their loved one including outlines and abstract likeness. The reason for the ritual is to think intensely about the departed. That allows for memories to come flooding back. How would this person react to this problem or issue? What might they say? How would they advise you? Often, asking these questions can result in a solution or at least a feeling of letting go and moving forward.
For my character, since Reluctant Medium is fiction, it brought about significant change in her life. But for most people performing these ceremonies, the effect in remembering our loved one is soothing, reflective and inspiring.
— G G Collins
Do You Think You’ve Traveled Without a Broom?
While some may think they’ve never taken to the astral plane, author D. J. Conway who wrote Flying Without a Broom, might just convince you otherwise. She says if you’ve ever participated in dream action scenes or experienced vivid dreaming in brilliant colors, you may have already have already made a visit. Conway says dreams of deceased loved ones, futuristic or historical dreams may also indicate a round-trip to the astral plane.
I first learned about astral travel while watching a rerun of the 1979 movie The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan starring Lindsay Wagner and Marc Singer. In it, Wagner’s character would go to sleep and travel back in time where she met Singer’s character. They of course, fell in love. I won’t tell the ending, because it is available on DVD. Wagner has more recently appeared on Warehouse 13 as Dr. Vanessa Calder.
From that time, I was interested in this strange mode of travel. In the forthcoming Lemurian Medium, our intrepid Reluctant Medium Rachel Blackstone learns that friendship sometimes means going to the ends of the Earth—or even farther.
For the initiated, astral projection can appear impossible. As Rachel learns, it’s not a matter of snapping one’s fingers and off you go: will that be first class or coach? There is all manner of magical entities: teachers, healers, even lovers to meet. You can time travel forward or backward. But one must also be on the lookout for the darker side of the astral. Psychic attacks may be launched and we must learn to protect ourselves.
Have I flown without a plane? I believe I have. I’ve had dreams where I flew above the Earth attached to a silver strand. I’ve visited with loved ones who have passed over. And I’ve experienced very vivid and colorful dreams.
Certainly, I couldn’t ignore the value of astral travel in fiction. When I needed my character of Rachel Blackstone to move through time, I remembered this fascinating topic and went straight to Conway’s book. The Reluctant Medium has one more thing to be reluctant about.
— G G Collins
Thanks to a Writer’s Friend
I looked at my favorite metaphysical and stone shops in Santa Fe and still came up empty-handed. My objective was to find three blue lace agates. The only form I could find was in beads, but I really wanted a natural stone. I wrote my friend Marilyn, who understands all things crystal and stone, lamenting my failure.
The blue lace agates play an important role in the upcoming Lemurian Medium. But I can’t tell all because it would spoil some of the story. But I told my friend who has been a great supporter of my writing and was probably the first to buy it and read Reluctant Medium. We’ve found common ground in many metaphysical arenas and have become sharers of our experiences whether it is past life regression or Lemurian legends.
In my mail yesterday, I received a small package from her. Excitedly, I opened the plain brown envelope which revealed a treasure wrapped in bubbles. Out came two small plastic bags. One held three beautiful blue lace agates. Notice the delicate blue tones in the agates.The other, a Lemurian laser quartz! These are reputed to contain ancient information from Lemuria, much as computers do now. I couldn’t believe what I was holding in my hand.
Marilyn had cleaned the stones, charged them in moonlight and held them as she addressed their intent: that of inspiration to me as I continue to write the second Reluctant Medium book. For those of you who write, you know how much that kind of support and encouragement means.
The third photo was very interesting to me. I turned off the light and I noticed the Lemurian laser quartz appeared to be giving off some type of energy. I can’t know for sure, but I find it easy to believe that Marilyn’s friendship is radiating from this ancient quartz. Yes, I’m sure that’s it.
— G G Collins
Chloe Valdez does real estate—she does it very well, a multi-million-dollar agent! She and her business partner own the hottest realty company in Santa Fe. Chloe has been married at least a of couple times (we’re not sure), but she kept the last name of Valdez because it helped with sales in New Mexico.
Her heritage is mostly French and she can swear in that language, and a couple of others. Unlike Rachel, Chloe is open to all things New Age and metaphysical. She thinks nothing of consulting soul navigators or psychics. A vegetarian, Chloe tries to introduce Rachel—who could exist only on green chile cheese burritos—to soy-based meals and herbal teas.
“But then I catch her pouring out the tea!” Chloe says in disgust. “Well, at least I persuaded her to practice yoga.”
Now Chloe will be the first to admit that Rachel’s job is more fun than hers—but far less profitable. Whenever Rachel sets up a journalistic stakeout, Chloe has it catered. That’s right, catered! She chooses just the right wine for the occasion.
“You have to have the best wine for each surveillance,” she says. “For instance, if we’re keeping an eye on an Spanish subject, I think we can channel him better if we have a nice Cava, that’s a sparkling wine from the Penedés area. Now Rachel doesn’t care. She once said: ‘I don’t care if it’s Santa Clausan wine from the North Pole area!’ She’s impatient and doesn’t always appreciate the finer things.”
Rachel is sometimes—make that always—annoyed when Chloe is picking out clothing for the stakeout.
“She’s a high-heeled boot girl,” Rachel says, “I always wear shoes I can run in. You never know when you might need to make a quick exit. Who buys clothes for a stakeout? I mean really, who does that?”
But Chloe’s always there for Rachel when she has a quandary, which is much of the time. Chloe keeps three sizes of marijuana joints on hand. The size of the dilemma determines the dimensions of the smoke.
“Most issues are small,” Chloe says, “but you never know when you might need to light up the big guy.”
Despite Rachel’s endless journalistic fact-checking, Chloe’s totally open to any spirits and metaphysical occurrences.
“So why didn’t Chloe get the medium gig?” Rachel asks.
“Because I didn’t try to return the dead!” Chloe says. “But it sure opened a whole new set of adventures. I can’t wait for the next one.”
We hear it has to do with the disappearance of a friend, astral travel and a mysterious Spaniard. It’s entitled Lemurian Medium.
“I’m up for it,” Chloe says. “How about you, Rachel?” Groans.
— G G Collins