bear point

blackbearmagic’s Crystal Hunting Guide

Introduction

Scientific Fact: Witches love crystals almost as much as they love jars. 
Consumerism Fact: In many metaphysical shops, nice-looking crystals can be had for relatively cheap.
Ethical Fact: Many of those crystals are as cheap as they are because they are mined with no consideration for the damage done to the environment or the welfare of the humans collecting them.

So what’s a good, honest, ethically-minded witch to do, especially if he/she/they don’t have the money to afford crystals that were mined sustainably and responsibly, or the time to research which sellers obtain their wares from ethical mines?

Find their own.

I’ve been crystal hunting all my life, but only within the last year have I started doing it seriously. I’ve walked away from a creeking expedition with slabs of smoky quartz the size of my palm or calcite hunks bigger than my fist, and I personally think creek-crystal energy is much more vibrant and easy to work with; by comparison, the crystal points I’ve bought from metaphysical shops feel… inert, lifeless.

So let’s get straight into it!

What You’ll Need

  • a good-sized creek or stream with lots of gravel spits along its length
  • offerings to the spirit of the creek, if appropriate to your personal practice
  • bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, water, and anything else you’d normally bring on a hike
  • your trusty adventurer’s Bag of Holding
  • your sweet self

Now let’s talk details.

When I say “gravel spits”, this is what I’m referring to:

These tumbles of stone are going to be where you’ll find your treasures, and the size of the stones themselves actually tells you what size of crystal you might find: When the conditions are right (ie, during a flood), the water flowing through that portion of the creek is capable of lifting and moving rocks of the size you see there now. 

In my experience, the crystal specimens you’ll find are typically half or one-third the size of the average rock on the spit. They’re usually larger than the smallest rocks, but much smaller than the largest rocks. Not always, though–I have found specimens larger. (See the introduction.)

Regarding offerings, if that’s part of your path, you’ll want to make sure it’s nothing that will harm the local wildlife or damage the ecosystem in any way. My personal go-to is water, ideally water from a bottle I haven’t drunk from yet.

In the same vein as offerings, I’ve had great success in making a sort of bargain with the spirit of the place: That in return for treasures, I will pick up and remove any litter I find in the area. It is, of course, always a good idea to remove any litter you see when you’re out in nature, but it doesn’t hurt to point out to the spirit of the place that it’s something you’re doing for it. Bring along a trash bag to help collect it.

Lastly, with regards to your bag, I would advise something with two shoulder straps. Rocks are heavy.

What You’ll Do

Once you’ve hiked to your creek and found a gravel spit with lots of good-sized rocks, it’s time to start looking. There’s two main approaches I’ve found that work well, and I tend to use both. 

The first is a broad sweep. This one works best if you’ve got good lighting on the rocks. All you do is stand in one spot and sway side to side slightly while looking over the gravel, looking for anything that glints, shines, or otherwise catches the light shining on it. If you see something, investigate it. Repeat.

The second is the more detailed search. Get down on the ground–whether that means kneeling, crouching, laying on your belly, I don’t care–and go over each rock one by one. Use your eyes and use your hands. I imagine this method is probably going to be unpleasant for a lot of you, but honestly, it’s like crack to me.

Once you’ve combed over the current gravel spit as thoroughly as you please, pack up and move on to the next. Continue for as long as you like, or until you feel it’s time to go. Just remember that as far out as you go is how far you’ll have to walk back!

Advice and Warnings

Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you godsforbid go missing, they’ll be able to give the police an idea of where to start searching for your poor, lost ass.

Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times. 

If you see something or someone iffy, do your best avoid it. Sometimes there are creepy people in the woods, and sometimes they do creepy things. Don’t get involved.

Make sure you’re not trespassing on private property. All of the creeks I hike on are on public land. If you’re in a state park or other protected environmental area, don’t go off the trail–you could cause damage to a fragile ecosystem.

Following the creek is a good way to get out and back without losing your way.  Don’t stray too far from it if you’re in unfamiliar territory.

The best times of year to go hunting–assuming Northern Hemisphere, a temperate climate and deciduous forests around the creek–are the spring and summer. In the autumn, you’ll have to clear fallen leaves off of the gravel before you can look, and winter is too cold. 

The best time of day is the morning, when the sun angle is lower and is more likely to glint off of shiny rocks.

You’ll have your best luck the day after heavy rain. Rain will swell the stream and shift the stones around, and could uncover new treasures! 

Inspect anything that looks even remotely worthwhile. You’ll find a lot of duds, sure, but that will help train your brain to tune out what you don’t care about finding.

“What Can I Find?”

Exactly what sort of minerals and crystals you’ll find is highly variable. All minerals are not equally distributed across the planet, because many of them require very different conditions to form and the crust composition varies slightly from place to place. However, there are some stones that are pretty common all over the Earth, so no matter where you go hunting, you’re likely to find them.

Of course, for more specific identifications, please consult the internet, a book on mineralogy, or your local rockhounding club. 

Quartz

The chemical formula of quartz is SiO2, or silicon dioxide. Silicon and oxygen are, by mass, the two most abundant elements in Earth’s crust; around 90% of it is composed of silicate minerals like quartz. Ever find a pretty, sparkly, mostly-clear rock on the ground? It was probably quartz. 

Quartz comes in a mind-boggling array of colors, from smoky quartz so dark it’s practically opaque to purple-and-orange ametrine to the brilliant clear of a Herkimer diamond (yup, not actually diamonds) but all of these varieties are still quartz. In my region of North America, clear and smoky quartz seem to be the most plentiful. 

Calcite

Calcite is calcium carbonate, CaCO3. Like quartz, it is made of some of the Earth’s most abundant crustal elements (in this case, calcium and oxygen) and comes in a stunning array of colors. In my creeks, I’ve found calcite in yellow, orange, white, and even blue and red.

The biggest giveaway for rough calcite is its texture. If you pick up a rock and it feels like someone rubbed wax all over it, you’ve probably got yourself a calcite specimen.

Feldspar

Feldspar is one of the most abundant minerals in the crust, alongside quartz. It’s also a silicate, and it frequently finds its way into other minerals, such as granite. 

What sets feldspar apart from the other two minerals I’ve mentioned here is its fracture habit: It naturally fractures along cleavage planes which intersect at 90-degree angles. It doesn’t shatter–it shears. If you find a rock with a smooth face that looks like a polished stone countertop, it’s probably feldspar.

“But Bear, I Want Crystal Points!”

Oh. Yeah.

You can find those too. 

Every one of those pictures is of quartz points that I have found in my area. (In fact, they’re actually all from the same crystal-hunting hike, and represent only about a third of the specimens I found that day!) As you can see, they aren’t all perfect–and I have plenty of others that are, like, three facets and no point–but they’re all beautiful, and some of them really sing, if you know what I mean. 

Conclusion

Finding your own crystals can be pretty simple, when you get down to it. It can be a lot of fun to get down and dirty, and is a great way to get yourself out in nature for a while. And, of course, you can rest assured that your crystals were gathered in a sustainable, respectful, ethical manner–assuming you took care of yourself and the environment while finding them!

Best of luck! –Bear

5

doods done between finals: zelda edition

Happy LAMP Headcanon!

@lamp-calm-sanders here’s a bit of fluffy LAMP for ya! (And for anyone else who wants some pure and wholesome happiness)

So, human au where they all go to the mall together:

Virgil immediately veers off from the group and spends the whole time in Hot Topic, he gets funko dolls for all of the others (Tigger for Patton, Baymax for Logan, and Steven Universe for Roman)

Roman runs into a huge clothing store and buys way too much stuff (including a tie with math symbols for Logan, socks with puppies for Patton, and purple and black gloves for Virgil)

Logan keeps complaining about how much he hates the mall, but he finds a puzzle store and refuses to leave it, he’s dragged out by Patton with like 10 different logic puzzles, 3 of them are for the others (A giant Disney puzzle for Roman, a book of wordplay/puns for Patton, as much as he hates buying it, and a puzzle with album covers of different bands that Virgil likes)

Patton eventually has to round all of them up, but before he does he goes into build-a-bear and makes 4 bears, each one with an outfit based on all of them

Finally when Patton does round them up, they all go on an ice cream date together and give each other their gifts and it’s all Very Pure And Wonderful

3

Pharah. Pharah it’s just an expression. Pharah calm your gay. PHARA STOP THROWING APPLES. PHARAH.

process tutorial y/n?

I realise I’m making this post at a wonky hour of the night but

I’ve been scrolling through my ask box and seen a recurring question about what my approach to starting and completing a piece of artwork is and wondered

if I cut together a step-by-step tutorial of sorts, would you guys wanna see that? I’d piece it together as a photoset with annotations explaining my process (a lot of it is me giving myself neck strain cus I forget Rotate is a tool option) and take u through the key points :D

Leave a comment on this post or something if it’s something you think’d be helpful!!
I’ll be focusing primarily on: Rough > Sketch > Lineart > Block Colour >Shade/Light (but briefly on this because my shading/lighting detail depends a LOT on how tired I am lolol)

Dogmeat Is A Synth

Okay I know this sounds like a shitpost but I am completely serious. I think I have some solid points, so bear with me.

  • Point 1
    His Role in the Story

Dogmeat is one of 5 companions that the game makes you even interact with before going to the Institute and choosing a faction (the others being Codsworth, Piper, Nick, and Hancock. 6 if you count Deacon), and one of 2 that it makes you bring along in your party for the main story (Nick). Even if you skipped over Red Rocket and went straight to Diamond City, Nick brings him along to track Kellogg and then he becomes available to recruit from there because you missed him before. The game doesn’t start making you take on companions like that otherwise until you start trying to join factions.

  • Point 2
    His Interactions with Other Characters

Speaking of factions, if you do follow him from the gas station to Concord, he leads you to the de facto leader of the Minutemen, the only faction that’s both capable of building the only way into the Institute and also not actively trying to hunt and destroy them. The fact that the person who builds the Minutemen teleporter is a synth is, I’m sure, pure coincidence. Or maybe it isn’t, considering another synth that he’s apparently worked with before is Nick Valentine.

Both Nick and Mama Murphy tell you how he’s not a dog that you own, he’s a dog who chooses his own companions and sticks by them. It’s never said how long. Maybe he just up and leaves one day once he’s bored or not needed, or maybe he sticks around until there’s nobody to stick around with. Mama Murphy has been shown to be under the influence of some kind of chem more often than not (unless you convince her to get clean) and Nick, as shown in Far Harbor, has gaps and faded bits in his memory, so it’s entirely possible that Dogmeat has been around for a really long time to have this reputation, but neither of them has really noticed just how long and how unusual that is.

Who knows? Maybe it’s all coincidental, but that I somehow doubt because…

  • Point 3
    His High Intelligence

This dog is absurdly smart. His Intelligence score is 8, and it shows. Within the lore of the game, 5 is the average for a normal person, 10 is supposed to be the peak human capability. So this dog is not only smarter than the average human, he’s up there with human geniuses. And it shows. He’s capable of understanding more complex commands than canine companions in previous games (which, okay yeah, can also just be put down to better game programming). If we go back to the faction thing again, the other two people besides Sturges that can decipher the blueprints for the teleporter are Tinker Tom, the Railroad genius, and Proctor Ingram, the Brotherhood Scientist. Ingram has had the benefit of training with one of the best technological forces in the wastelands. Tom has had to adapt and learn as a constant trial by fire in going up against the biggest tech behemoth in the Commonwealth. Sturges is a handyman. But all three manage to successfully build the machine from this:

I’m not saying Sturges was only able to build a highly complex piece of machinery from crayon scribbles because he’s a synth, but compared to the other people you run into, synths tend to be more intelligent. So why wouldn’t synth animals be any different?

  • Point 4
    He’s Not Like Other Dogs

What are the odds of running into a perfect purebred German Shepherd in the wasteland? Like, at all? Looking at all the other kinds of dogs you run into…

…the odds aren’t great. You don’t run across a single other dog that looks like him. Every other one you run across is either a grizzled mystery mutt or a heavily mutated monstrosity. Still all cute in their way, but definitely not Dogmeat. In fact, not even the other Dogmeats look like our Dogmeat. Even as far back as the first Fallout, Dogmeat definitely fell under the mutt category.

  • Point 5
    There is Precedent

He wouldn’t be the first synth animal the Institute has made. We all know about the gorillas, and even though dialog from Deacon about the watchers was removed, everything else about them is still there; documented in the Institute terminals and mentioned by more than one of their scientists. So he wouldn’t be the first synth animal created, he wouldn’t be the first sent to keep an eye on Vault 111,

And he wouldn’t be the first to rebel. It’s like Mama Murphy said, “Dogmeat’s his own man. You can’t own a free spirit like him.” He probably stopped responding to Institute commands and was too much trouble to retrieve, reprogram, or reproduce, so they just left him out on the surface. He’d stick with someone for a while, then go back to check near the Vault to see if the Sole Survivor had come out yet, wait a while, then take off if you weren’t there. Which would explain why a perfect, loyal, purebred German Shepherd was so close by as soon as you get out.

  • Point 6
    It Means He’s Immortal

Due to game mechanics, Dogmeat can’t be killed. At all. And unless they’re programmed to, synths don’t age either. So he won’t die of old age. And look at that face. 

Who wouldn’t want that?

D-did Punching Judy order “Glove-Off”? Meaning she can’t take off her own gloves?

In that case, I think I know someone who could help with that.

Jack knew something wasn’t right when he woke up. The covers were too hot on him and his head was pounding like he’d been drinking too much the night before. He shifted, trying to get his bearings, but at some point during the night, he must have pulled the covers over his head. He struggled free, enjoying the fresh air, before noticing a pair of paws on the bed. When he moved his arms, the paws moved too. What followed next was a confusing jumble of panic and incoherent screaming that came out as yowls.

He must have passed out again, because when he came to, he was still disoriented and nauseous. He confirmed that, no, it had not been a bad dream. Somehow, he’d grown four legs and a tail overnight.

After the initial panic, he jumped on his bedside table where his phone was, but he was uncoordinated, and ended up knocking the phone to the ground. He batted at it on the floor, but found that the battery had drained itself overnight when he’d forgotten to charge it.

Cursing and swearing to himself, he wandered his apartment on shaky legs. Thankfully, he hadn’t quite turned off the tap in the bathroom and the dripping of the faucet helped to parch his thirst as he tried to think of what try next. He needed to get help soon. Otherwise, he was going to end up starving to death in his own apartment.

In the living room, Jack found a window that he’d left open because it had been too hot last night. He squeezed out onto the fire escape and tried not to look down. It was strange in this body. Jack never had an issue with heights before, but now, a glance downward to the street had his head spinning with vertigo.

Left with no choice, Jack began to climb upward with the dim hope that someone had also left a window open.

He didn’t get too far before the enticing smell of spices and baked dough reminded him how hungry he was. He followed the smell until he staring into a kitchen where someone was bent over, pulling pies from an oven. Jack called out for the guy’s attention, and when he finally glanced in Jack’s direction, he scrambled to open the window.

“Hey, kitty. What are you doing so high up?” he asked. Jack stiffened when the guy picked him up, but he let himself get rescued from the precarious ledge. “Where did you come from?”

Help me! I’m not really a cat! Jack tried to say, but as expected, it came out in a series of pitched meows.

“Hmmm, okay. You hungry?” He set Jack on the floor to rummage around in his fridge. He set out a plate of leftover meatballs which Jack, losing his composure, attacked immediately.

“I’ll take care of you. Don’t worry, little–uh– guy?” He attempted to lift Jack’s tail to check, but Jack had hissed and swiped his claws. “Okay, never mind. We’re not going there,” he said backing off. Satisfied, Jack continued to eat, though with a suspicious eye on the guy who’d now dropped onto his stomach to watch Jack with a bright smile.

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