In her lovely book “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert introduces the one person with his true name in the following way: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Richard from Texas has arrived”.

So now I’d like to announce in similar fashion, that Yvonne Tait, Herbalist and Spiritual Seeker Extraordinaire, entered my life with a colourful flourish a few months after we moved to Boonah in south-east Queensland in 1994.  She was not only a herbalist. She opened me up to the world of crystals, spirituality, colours and much more. And like so much about our time in Boonah she entered my life in a very synchronistic way.

In Perth, Western Australia, in the months prior to our move to Queensland, I had learned Reiki 1 and Reiki 11. So in Boonah when, we had got settled in our new home, I decided I’d like to start offering Reiki and contacted the local newspaper to publicise my work.  I had no idea at the time that Boonah was a hotbed of fundamentalist Christian churches. This was the town where the fundamentalists had threatened to boycott the local newspaper when it started offering horoscopes. I mean – horoscopes, for god’s sake!  Practically every mainstream newspaper offers horoscopes but in Boonah it was the work of the Devil.  So was Reiki, I was to find in due course.

I, of course, never imagined that Reiki would be regarded with suspicion and outright horror.  Reiki to me was simply a healing modality and part of the 20th century (this was 1994, remember). I found out later that the advert for Reiki sparked horror among many fundamentalist Christians who believed the Devil was walking among them. 

It’s sad that so much ignorance and fear exists about a practice which has at its heart service to those in need. Luckily for me, a couple of brave souls contacted me to have Reiki healing, and one of those left a Reiki manual for me, asking me to return it to the original owner when I’d finished.  This person was Yvonne.

I finally tracked her down to a small shed tucked away behind the main street of Boonah.  Yvonne wasn’t in her office, so I left the manual on one of the shelves in her front room. But as I turned to leave, my attention was caught by rows of beautiful, coloured bottles, lined up in a display in her office.  They looked magical, each one consisted of two colours, one over the other, and looking like a vivid rainbow glowing in small, rather ordinary-looking office.

Aura Light Harmony Bottles

Aura Light Harmony Bottles

 Yvonne, I was to learn, wove magic in this office.  I returned quite quickly as I was so curious about the coloured bottles.  I’d learned about the power of colour a few years earlier. After my mother’s death from lung cancer, I had become seriously depressed and was really hitting the booze.  My weight had crept up and I looked like the half-side of a bus. As I said in an earlier post, I could have auditioned for the Incredible Hulk and won the part easily.

I always wore black because I thought black made me look slimmer.  But I had seen some information on colour at the centre where I’d learned Reiki and it interested me no end. Also, on the last afternoon of my Reiki 1 course, I’d walked out and seen a little butterball of a woman walking along the street in front of me dressed in black.  I looked at her and thought: “She looks like a fat woman trying to look slim in a black outfit, and she still looks fat”. And, of course, I looked at myself and thought: “And you, my dear, look just the same, a tallish woman dressing in black to look slim and you still look fat.”  So I went out the next day and bought the most beautiful, coloured dress I could find.  It was multi-coloured and multi-patterned and quite eye-watering! Bryan called it my “Ken Done dress”, Ken Done being an Australian artist who works with bright patterns and colours. The experience of wearing colour really hit me.  I felt quite different, more people smiled at me, and one woman actually walked up to me and told me how much she loved my dress and all the colours. It made my day!

Yvonne - In her '70s and a walking advertisement for her work as a herbalist.

Yvonne – In her ’70s and a walking advertisement for her work as a herbalist.

Finally I met Yvonne, who was in her office the next time I visited the premises where she worked. She was a short, dark-haired woman with a huge, welcoming smile and a very warm, healing presence.  I asked her for a reading as I was so curious about the coloured bottles which, I found, were part of a system of healing called Aura Light. I remember I chose four bottles with quite intense colours. Yvonne told me afterwards, that the first bottle represented childhood, predominant programs for life purpose and links to the past. The second bottle was about life’s obstacles and challenges in your teenage years. The third bottle relates to the here and now on all levels. And the final, fourth bottle, represents future potential, the future and correlating the past and present.

I didn’t know at the time but these are multi-layered bottles which reflect back to you where you are at any stage of your life.  So while one reading might be about where your are currently and how you’re working through particular issues, another reading will provide further information which reveal another layer of your life and how you’re living it.

 I remember doing another one of my jaw drops as Yvonne proceeded into the first reading I ever had, because she honed in on my difficult relationship with my father. At that stage, she knew nothing about him or my dysfunctional relationship with him.  I was absolutely amazed.  And in subsequent readings, I’d pick what I thought were quite different bottles and Yvonne would look then murmur: “Hmmmm, your father’s been stuffing you around again, hasn’t he?  What’s he been up to this time?”

My work with Yvonne didn’t stop there.  We connected really well and she asked me to go with her when she did workshops at various places, either to talk about herbalism or about Aura Light.  She also opened up the world of spirituality to me with her amazing range of books which she generously lent me.  I was sucking all this up like someone who’d been without a drink for a week and now was busy guzzling greedily from the fount of nourishment, which for me was spirituality in all its various guises.

 Yvonne also helped me with the herbal tinctures she gave me and dietary advice.  I started losing weight and began exploring all the books and manuals this warm, caring lady had in her office.

And then I met her daughter Joy.  Joy came for a visit from Coffs Harbour where she was living at the time.  We picked her up from the airport and she started talking about the small angels she’d seen holding up the plane she’d travelled up on as it had hit bad turbulence landing at Brisbane Airport.  I remember sighing inwardly to myself and thinking: “Oh, god, another member of Flakes Anonymous”, although I kept that to myself. But I was wrong and I’m glad I didn’t open my big gob and shoot off about my blockheaded prejudices.

Joy opened me up to crystals.

She brought with her the most beautiful necklaces she’d created of various crystals. When she pulled them out and displayed them, I could feel my senses tingling and an awareness I’d never had opening up. I eventually chose a necklace in pearl and citrine and I really felt, for the first time in my life, like a very powerful empress when I slipped it around my neck.

Joy looked at me and said: “But you know how the crystals talk to you, don’t you?” with such confidence and with such a brilliant smile on her face, that I simply said “Yes”, although I had no idea what she was talking about.  It just felt churlish to say “no” in the face of such faith and belief in me and my supposed abilities with crystals – particularly as I’d never done or experienced anything like this before.

The first crystal which made me aware of my connection with crystals.

 But she was right.  Yvonne offered to let me sell crystals in her shop and I agreed, because for some reason the crystal jewellery that Joy had created, and which she left with her mother to sell, just fascinated me. I could feel their power and how each necklace offered different energies to the people who bought them. We met up with Joy at Byron Bay and went to a crystal warehouse.

It was like entering Aladdin’s Cave!  I had not the faintest knowledge of crystals, but I whizzed around that magical palace and picked exactly which crystals I wanted to take back with me to sell: clear quartz, citrine, carnelian, and many others. I didn’t have much spare cash, so I was quite focused on particular stones which seemed to me to draw me. I remember Yvonne wandering up with a number of small, polished, clear quartz points and unhesitatingly I went to one and said: “That’s mine!”  I had no idea why this particular stone attracted me but since then, it’s always how I’ve operated with crystals. They communicate with me at some unseen level, at a higher dimension than I’m unable to explain. I still have this little polished point which has travelled to the UK, back to Western Australia, to New South Wales, down to Victoria, back to NSW and now has a home in North Cyprus!

When I set up my little display in Yvonne’s shop, the various crystals sold like hot cakes.  I was hooked!  Who would have thought I’d ever be working with crystals! In my next post I’ll talk about crystals, my work with them and how I work intuitively with crystals, rocks and stones. Note: this might be a long post as crystals are my passion!

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