Valuable Valerian


In which Crystal Haven’s characters share their expertise.

Hello! Jillian Andrews again. It seems there is still some need for a calming influence here in Crystal Haven. The frenzy from the release of Pall in the Family has died down, but tourism is steady and everyone is feeling a little frazzled. When I get anxious, the first sign is difficulty sleeping. That’s where valerian comes in.

Used for centuries, as a calming tonic, valerian is great for insomnia. It can also be used for anxiety, stress and stomach discomfort. I like to take mine in capsule form because the tea smells and tastes horrible. Unlike chamomile, there is very little chance you will convince anyone to drink it.

The valerian plant is pretty with white flowers, but it is the root that is most useful. The roots can be harvested in fall or spring and then need to be dried and crushed into a powder for use. The drying process can give off an odor of damp socks, so you will want a well ventilated room for this procedure. I often try to talk my son Tom into doing this for me. He has a great talent with herbs and doesn’t seem to mind the stench, or maybe he’s just being kind.

Some of my clients believe that valerian is good for dream magick – maybe I should mention this to Rose Fortune. Also, it can be used in sachets for protection, to settle arguments, and to calm emotions.

Have you ever tried Valerian?

Please remember to check with your own health care provider before experimenting with any herbs.




In which Violet Greer talks to animals.

Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where there is one kid who comes over all the time? He shows up at your door, asking for snacks, or just wandering in as if he lives there?

Rowdy claims there is a dog like that in his neighborhood. I went to see him for my routine visit after his surgery and bad grooming recovery. The family was shocked that he told me this story. They say every word is true, but can’t believe I heard it from Rowdy. I have to ask myself why they are paying me if they are surprised Rowdy tells me things, but that’s a whole other subject.

Rowdy said, “I was out for my usual walk with my girl. She likes to go around the park and even though there’s something wrong with my leg, I go with her. It seems to make her happy.”

“We were heading back home, when out of nowhere this dog shows up. My girl noticed he wasn’t wearing a collar and she talked to him and petted him. I didn’t care for that and I backed away. My collar came off because my neck is thinner since the grooming. Well, she freaked out and picked me up to take me home. I didn’t really mind because my leg was hurting by then.”

“The other dog asked me if I had had dinner yet and what kind of treats did I get after a walk and he followed us home! When we got there, the alpha human let us in and the other dog just trotted in the door like he owned the place! The humans laughed and called the dog to come back because he was all over the house. Sniffing my toys, checking out my food bowl, stepping on my bed. THEN, he picked up my chewy and came and stood in front of the door. Can you believe it? And THEN, the humans just let him out and walked him back home. They seemed to know where he lived and they let him keep my chewy! It’s an outrage! I had worked for a long time to get it just the way I like it and he comes into MY house and walks out the door with it.”

I could understand Rowdy’s frustration. Dogs are very territorial. We used to have a kid down the street who would just knock on the door, and come in and rummage through the pantry. I asked Rose if maybe his mother didn’t feed him, but I don’t think that was the problem. Some people are just overly familiar, just as some dogs don’t recognize their own or anyone else’s territory.

I told Rowdy I understood his indignation. He said his stomach felt fine, but there’s something wrong with his leg.

Thank you to Ellie for sharing this true story ~de

Know when to hold ’em


In which Violet Greer talks to animals.

We met Astrid a few months ago, here. Her imagination is no less active. She’s moved on from pretending to be a cop, to an elaborate gambling fantasy. The pig is nowhere in evidence and I can only assume it is in prison.

I asked Astrid what she was playing with her friends.

“If you want to talk to me you’ll have to ante-up. We’re not running a charity around here.”

I asked her to deal me in.

“Okay, gang, we’ve got a live one! Triangles are wild, and if I catch that elephant counting cards again he’ll be sitting with the pig in the closet.”

I told her I’d never played this game before.

“You want to sit this one out? The duck’s about to double down and I don’t have time to deal with an amateur.”

I said maybe I should just watch.

“Yeah, suit yourself. The penguin’s a high-roller – might be too rich for you.”

After a couple of rounds of Astrid moving the cards around, I asked her who had won.

“This hand’s a bust. Why don’t you go help the pit boss get our snacks ready?”

I said I didn’t think pit bosses brought snacks.

“Well, mine does. Look here she comes now!”

Sure enough, the owner appeared with a bag of treats and started handing them out. Astrid ate them all.

Special thanks to Barb for sharing her picture!

Astrid has an etsy shop! Go here to check it out.

Crystal Haven History


In which the characters of Crystal Haven share their expertise.

Harriet Munson here again. I’m finally recovered from the August blog tour. The phones at the Reading Room have been ringing constantly and I’ve had to start scheduling the walk-ins! I guess Violet Greer was right and even murder can be good publicity.

I have been answering a lot of questions about the history of Crystal Haven. All the newcomers act like this is a brand new city just because they recently discovered it. I can assure you the city has been around for many years.

Founded in 1850 by settlers making their way across the country, it was originally chosen for its calm inlet and easy access to Lake Michigan. Lumber was the major business back then. The Ottawa tribe felt the area was sacred and there were some bitter battles when people first settled here. Over the years there were may strange happenings. People received messages and premonitions. There were rumors that the area was haunted or possessed. Beach goers found crystals on their sandy walks, and those crystals seemed to reveal the future.

The rumors attracted spiritualists and in 1895 Frederick von Whittle visited and felt that the there was something special about the land. He started a spiritualist colony which thrived through the late 1920’s. When Agnes Greer’s family moved here, no one predicted that they would save the town both financially and spiritually. During the depression, Agnes’s father, Samuel Greer bought most of the land surrounding the town and kept the struggling economy afloat. Word of Agnes Greer’s gift spread so that by the 1940’s tourists were flocking here for news of their loved ones. The Greers saved Crystal Haven by allowing it to remain a spiritualist retreat right through World War II. After the war, the psychics and mediums decided to become more tourist oriented and began offering services, programs, and summer workshops.

It is no longer the “retreat” that Mr. von Whittle imagined, but it is a thriving city that boasts the largest number of psychic households in the country. Messages are given daily at Message Circle during the summer months. The Reading Room is open Monday through Saturday from 9 to 8, and Sundays noon to 6. We look forward to seeing you!

The Power of Denial


In which Violet Greer talks to animals.

This is Tanner. We’ve met him before, here. You would think that being caught “red-handed” as they say would guarantee an honest confession. You would be wrong.

Me: What happened to the bag?

Tanner: This bag? I thought they left it for me to play with. Those kids hide all my toys and all I have left is an empty bag.

Me: What happened to the food?

Tanner: Food?

Me: There was food in the bag.

Tanner: No.

Me: You’re saying there was no food in the bag?

Tanner: Food?

Me: Tanner did you eat all the food that was in the bag?

Tanner: Bag?

This started to feel a lot like conversations I have had with my niece, Clyde. It’s a clever technique designed to frustrate me to distraction. I have found the best way to deal with this is to step away and come back to the topic when they least expect it. I will try to get a confession at a later date, maybe after a walk and some treats…

Thanks to Kris and Tom for the photo! ~de

The Pendulum


In which the characters of Crystal Haven share their expertise.

Hello, Violet Greer here again. This time I don’t have a pet to talk about. I’m going to teach you how to use a pendulum! I love the pendulum and use it a lot. In fact, I think we could have solved our problems much earlier if certain people were more on board with listening to what the pendulum had to say. But that’s history now, so I’ll let it go. You can read about it in Pall in the Family and draw your own conclusions.

The pendulum has been used for a very long time. The theory behind it is the same as the one behind the use of dowsing rods – that there are energy fields all over and you can tap into that energy to get answers or to find things. People used to use a forked stick to help them find water or other important resources. Some people were better at it than others, just like any skill. I think that anyone can use a pendulum, but it takes practice to get accurate answers and to get them quickly.

You can see my pendulum in the picture. They come in all shapes and materials. In fact you can even make your own using a ring, a needle, a cork, or anything that can be attached to a string and that will hang straight. After you purchase or make your pendulum, you should carry it around with you for a few days so it will get used to your energy field.

When you are ready to start practicing, take a blank piece of paper and draw a large plus sign on it. Label one axis “Yes” and the other “No.” Now, hold the string a few inches away from the pendulum and center it above the cross of the plus sign. Focus, and ask your question (obviously, worded to get a yes or no answer). Don’t move! Don’t move your hand or your arm. Just focus on the question. Some people will jerk back in surprise the first time, because it really will move. Anyway, you’ll get your answer and then you can start asking more difficult questions. The more you practice, the better your answers. Some pendulums prefer to move in a circle. If your pendulum does that, you’ll have to ask it which direction means yes and which one is no, and then you’ll be in business. Try not to get frustrated or bossy with the pendulum – they don’t like that.

Good luck!

Doom and Groom


In which Violet Greer talks to animals

You probably won’t believe this, but this is Rowdy. I stopped in to check on him after my last visit when he had to wear a collar and was still concerned that his family didn’t know there was something wrong with his leg.

They wanted me to verify that this was really their dog. I’m joking, they could tell it was him because he hid behind the toilet once when a fly got in the house.

“They took me back to my old groomer, which I thought would be okay. I think maybe something happened there because my family keeps laughing at me and shaking their heads. That usually means I’m doing something they like, or I’m wearing a sweater. I don’t think I’m wearing a sweater because it’s kind of cool in the house these days.”

I explained about the unfortunate visit to the groomer.

“Well, my hair isn’t pulling and making me itch anymore. Also, no thanks to any of you, I think my leg is getting better. It would be nice if they would stop laughing, since you seem to think they’re making fun of my hair.”

I assured him that his hair would grow back soon and that his leg would get better.

“Whatev. Did you bring any treats?”