Newton Gang Robs Two Banks in One Night

On January 9, 1921, the Newton Gang drove into Hondo, Texas, a small town 30 miles west of San Antonio, to rob one of the two banks in town. It was just past midnight and the temperature was near freezing.

The Newtons knew the night watchman in Hondo, and as was his habit, they found him huddled around a pot-bellied stove in the depot. They cut all of the telephone wires and then went back to check on the night watchman. He had not budged from his spot by the stove so Joe was placed across the street as a lookout while the rest went to the bank.

In his 1979 interview, Willis proudly told his version of the story:

“Sometime you just get lucky ’cause they had left the vault door open. They had left it unlocked so we didn’t need no nitro or nothing. We jimmied the window, walked over to the vault, tried the handle and she opened! You would be surprised how many times them banks would just close the door so it looked locked during the night.

“We had the vault cleaned out in no time and went to see if the night watchman was still in the depot. Sure enough, he was reading a magazine and drinking coffee by the stove. Well hell, we figured we had plenty of time so we’d go over to the other bank and give it a try. I kept Joe and Doc watching the night marshal while Jess and I went down to the other bank.

“We got inside that bank and cleaned it out. Damn, two banks in one night and the night marshal, he never come out of the depot!”

The local newspaper, the Hondo Anvil Herald, carried the story with a splash headline:

Yeggs Rob Hondo Banks

One of the Most Daring Robberies Ever Staged in Texas Occurred Here Sunday Morning

The people of Hondo were amazed and angered Sunday morning when it became known that both banks had been entered by yeggs, between midnight and daylight, and robbed of both money and valuables. Entrance to the First National Bank was effected by forcing the front doors; while the entrance to the State Bank was effected by prizing down the bars over the last window in the alley between Parker’s and the bank.

The newspaper went on to give an elaborate description of the robbery:

Owing to most of the money in both banks being in the money safes, with time locks set, the loss in cash was not serious, the First National losing a total of $2,814 while in the matter of actual cash loss the State Bank was a little more fortunate, its loss being $1,879; both banks losing a total of $4,694 nearly all of which was silver coin.

The funds of both banks were covered by burglary insurance, consequently neither will suffer loss. [Just like Willis had assured his brothers.]

Owners of private boxes, who had put their valuables in the vaults of the banks, are the heaviest losers, and their actual loss will not be definitely known for some time-probably a month-as the owners of the boxes are the only ones who can clear up the loss, the officials of the banks not being advised of the contents of the boxes.

The safety deposit box owners had cash, government bonds, War Savings Stamps, jewelry, and other valuables in their boxes so it was impossible to determine the exact amount taken in the robbery. Estimates of as high as $30,000 were never confirmed.

The article continued to describe the “safe experts:’

… That the robbers were experts is borne out by the fact that they were able to work the combination on the vault of the First National Bank. [Willis said it was left unlocked.] They were also experts in the use of explosive, the vault doors of the State Bank being blown open by one of the most powerful explosives known-TNT [ Willis swore in his interview that he never used dynamite-only nitroglycerine.]

The vaults were thoroughly ransacked and the floors were strewn with papers about two feet thick.

From the thoroughness with which the robbers made their search for securities it is evident that they spent two hours or more in the vaults of the banks and the private boxes of the customers are in a sad plight, most of them showing that they were beat open by some heavy instrument, probably with a sledgehammer that had been stolen from the blacksmith shop of Mask & Co.

… That the robbers were no tyros (archaic word meaning beginners) in the business of robbing is again borne out by the fact that they took every precaution against being apprehended by the possession of jewelry, gold coins, and so forth, which might lead to their identity. The floors of the vaults were literally strewn with such articles as might lead to their detection. Notes and other articles of value that could not be turned into money were cast aside and left behind.

It is generally believed that the band was composed of from six to eight men, and that both banks were robbed simultaneously, a gang being assigned to each bank.

Another circumstance that indicates that the robbers were not new to the game of bank robbing is borne out by the fact that every telephone line in town was cut, apparently, before the banks were robbed. And this part of their plans was carried out most effectively and by an expert telephone man.

… Cables were severed, apparently with saws, and single wires were cut with wire clippers. Only three telephones connected with the local exchange were working Sunday morning.

The robbery was discovered by the night watchman about five o’clock Sunday morning and immediately reported to Deputy Sheriff C.J. Bless.

… Harry Crouch, our local telegraph operator, was summonsed and messages were sent east and west in an effort to intercept the robbers, but as far as the general public is advised, nothing was learned as to the direction in which the robbers went.

Detectives from San Antonio and the surrounding area converged on the Hondo banks searching for clues to the duel-heist robbery.

… One of the most remarkable coincidences of this whole business is that these robberies could have occurred right in the heart of the town and not more than 200 feet apart, and not one among our people being any the wiser until daylight it was revealed what had transpired, and that too, it was since developed that the night watchman and the two other men were in the waiting room of the depot, not more than sixty yards from the front doors of the First National Bank, while the robbery was being accomplished. The robbers must have done their work very silently to avoid detection. [It is hard to image a “silent” explosion of nitroglycerine.]

The word the newspaper used for the night burglars was “yeggs,” a popular vernacular expression of the era. It is interesting to compare the newspaper reporting to Willis’ account in which the vault of the First National Bank had been left unlocked and they used nitroglycerine (rather than TNT) to blow the vault door on the State Bank. Even more interesting was the fact that there were no follow up articles on the robbery. There was not a single mention of the multi-bank burglary over the ensuing months-although it contained large advertisements from both banks. It was as if both banks had never been robbed.

The Galveston Daily News on January 10 reported the robbery describing a “clew” that proved to be a red herring:

Robber Heel May Lead to Arrest

Telephone Connections Cut When Banks at Hondo Are Looted

San Antonio, Texas-January 10-A rubber heel, lost from a shoe, may lead to the identification of the bank robbers who made a successful haul of $20,000 from the First National Bank of Hondo and the Hondo State Bank early Sunday morning.

The bank robbers gained entrance to the two banks by prying the iron bars loose from rear windows of the buildings and manipulating the combinations of the vault in the First National Bank, but blew off the door of the vault in the state bank.

The haul was made from the safety deposit boxes in both banks, the robbers obtaining only $1,500 in cash from the First National and $29,350 of the state bank’s money. The smaller vault safes in both institutions were untouched.

The balance of the loot, it is estimated by officers at the two banks, was secured from owners of safety deposit boxes in the banks. Hondo was not aware of the visit of the bank robbers until almost noon Sunday, when the open windows at the rear of the two bank buildings were discovered.

Heel lost in bank.

Sheriff J.S. Baden, during his investigation was given the lost rubber heel, which had been found in front of the vault of the First National Bank. Further investigation disclosed a set of burglar tools consisting of a pipe wrench, saw, and chisel, which had been left by the robbers. These however are not considered as important for they are of a standard make, easily purchased at any hardware store.

Just outside of the window through which the robbers entered the state bank, Sheriff Baden found the numerals 13,555 scratched on the brick work. This, bank officials believe, indicates the amount the robbers secured from the deposit boxes in the bank. [This curious piece of information appears to have been just another “red herring.”]

Sheriff Baden believes the robberies were committed by a band of six men, who sent an advance guard of two into Hondo last week.

… Hondo citizens, who were up at an early hour Sunday morning, reported to the Sheriff that they saw a high-powered automobile leaving the outskirts of town occupied by six men. These, the Sheriff believes, were the Hondo robbers.

[Ironically] Sheriff Baden suffered a loss by the early morning visit of the robbers, as his safety deposit box in the First National Bank was broken open and $300 in stamps and $150 in bonds were taken. A $100 Liberty bond, the property of his son O.J. Baden, of Donna, was left in the box.

In light of the erroneous “clews’, the Newtons were never tried for the Hondo bank robberies.

Willis Newton was born in 1889 and died in 1979, making him the longest living Texas outlaw. He and the Newton Gang hit trains and banks in the early 1920s but their biggest haul occurred in 1924 when they robbed a train outside of Rondout, Illinois-getting away with $3,000,000. They still hold the record for the biggest train robbery in U.S. history.

Willis Newton Interview – 1979

Willis Newton was the longest living Texas outlaw who robbed more than 80 banks and trains. He and his outlaw gang robbed more than Jessie James, the Daltons, and all of the rest of the Old West outlaws-combined. Their biggest haul occurred in 1924 when they robbed a train outside of Rondout, Illinois-getting away with $3,000,000. They still hold the record for the biggest train robbery in U.S. history.

In 1979, I interviewed Willis Newton at his home in Uvalde, Texas. A few months later the outlaw died at age 90.

When I stepped up and knocked on Willis Newton’s door there was no response. After a minute I heard a raspy growl, “It’s open. Come on in.”

Stepping inside the rundown clapboard house with the unkempt yard, I saw a small, withered looking old man glaring at me from his rocking chair. “What the hell do you want?”

“Mr. Newton, I am the guy that called you yesterday and wanted to ask you some questions.”

“I ain’t talking to no one about my life. I’m going to sell that to Hollywood for a bunch of money.”

I knew then that doing an interview with the old outlaw was going to be a tough nut to crack. As best I could, I reminded him of our phone conversation on the previous day when I asked him to provide me with some details on how to rob a bank or a train. I told him I was writing a paperback novel (which was true) and that I needed some help in portraying a factual description of how the robberies took place (which was also true). After a few moments of consideration, he gestured to a chair in the small living room and agreed to answer “just a few questions.”

In contrast to the chilly weather outside, it was hot and stuffy in his cluttered living room-being heated by a small gas wall heater. I quickly unloaded my tape recorder and after a brief conversation with Willis, handed him the microphone. I asked him how to stage a bank hold up and what was involved in robbing a train. Then like turning on a wind-up toy, Willis essentially started telling me his life’s story. From time to time, I managed to get in additional questions but for the most part he rattled off the well-practiced accounts of his life in machine gun fashion-rationalizing everything he had done, blaming others for his imprisonments, and repeatedly claiming that he had only stolen from “other thieves.”

I had no idea what to expect when I stepped into his little house that day but what I encountered was the quintessence of the criminal mind. Everything he had done was justified by outside forces, “Nobody ever give me nothing. All I ever got was hell!” As I listened in rapt attention, he sat center stage speaking in a high-pitched raspy voice, pontificating on an assortment of subjects of his choosing. Lacing his speech with large quantities of profanities, vulgarities and racial slurs, Willis was quite articulate in telling his stories – a master of fractured grammar. At times he would slip into mythological story telling mode where he would talk of killing rabbits and camping out while on the run from lawmen. Then with a little prodding he would return to the basic facts of his story.

In the process, he told me how he was raised as a child and how he was first arrested for a crime “that they knowed I didn’t do.” He went into detail about his first bank holdup, how he “greased” a safe with nitroglycerine, robbed trains, and evaded the lawmen that came after him. Willis described the Texas bank robberies in Boerne, San Marcos, New Braunfels, and Hondo (two in one night). He also related the double bank robbery in Spencer, Indiana and proceeded to give accounts of bank robberies in a multitude of other states.

Eventually he recounted the events of the Toronto Bank Clearing House robbery in 1923 and finally the great train robbery outside of Rondout, Illinois, where he and his brothers got away with $3,000,000 in cash, jewelry, and bonds. He went into great detail about the beatings he and his brothers took from the Chicago police when they were later captured. As he told the story his face reddened and his voice rose to a pitched screech until he had to pause to catch his breath. Then lowering his voice he described how he managed to negotiate a crafty deal with a postal inspector for reduced prison sentences for himself and his brothers by revealing where the loot was hidden.

He told about his prison years at Leavenworth and his illegal businesses he ran in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after he got out of prison in 1929. He complained bitterly about being sent back to prison in McAlester, Oklahoma, for a bank robbery “they knowed I didn’t do,” in Medford.

After returning to Uvalde, Texas, following his release from prison, Willis swore that he “never had no trouble with the law after that.” When I asked him about his elderly brother’s botched bank robbery in Rowena, Texas, in 1968, he exploded, “They tried to get me as the get-away driver but hell, I was in Laredo, over 400 miles away! I had 12 witnesses that said I was there the night old Doc and R.C. got caught.”

At the end of the interview, I asked him to comment on the Rondout loot buried in Texas by his brother, Jess. He said he knew where it was buried-just not exactly where because “Jess was whiskey-drunk when he hid it.” Looking at the frail aged man dressed in a frayed union suit and a pair of stained pants, Willis did not appear to have any loot left from any of his robberies; although, locally it was rumored that from time to time he would spend money that appeared to have been printed during the ’20s or ’30s.

Finally, I turned off the tape recorder and thanked him for helping me with the details I needed for my paperback Western. Returning to my car, my mind was awhirl with the stories I had just heard. The thought of writing a book on the old outlaw had never crossed my mind and I was very sincere in telling him I was a fiction writer and not a biographer. But what a story he told!

The following week I put the cassette tapes in a safety deposit box thinking the information might be useful for a future writing project. A few years later, I transcribed the tapes, added my notes and filed the interview away. Then while working on another book I came across the interview file and knew I had to write his story-but the complete story, not just what Willis had told me in the interview. As I found out this was a much bigger project than I had anticipated. I tracked down several hundred newspaper and magazine articles on Willis and his brothers, court records and police reports. Then, where I could, I interviewed the few remaining people who actually knew and had first-hand knowledge of Willis Newton.

Along the way, I unearthed some startling evidence that dispelled the myth that Willis and his brothers had never killed anyone in the commission of their numerous crimes. This is the first time that this fact has been brought to light.

When I had finished the research, I knew I could write his story. With some minor editing, culling some of the blatant racial references and over abundances of profanities, I tried to keep his words to me intact. I do not espouse demeaning racial terms regarding any ethnicity of people-whether it is the Irish, Jewish, Hispanic, African, Italian, or other deprecated populaces.

In a few instances, I had to restructure his accounts for clarity. He spoke in a rapid fire jailhouse prose using a wide range of criminal jargon that sometimes was difficult to follow. Wherever possible I strove to retain his colorful phraseology, using the common expressions of the day.

In writing the Willis Newton book, I omitted most of his repeated self-justification for his actions in which he took great pains to paint himself as a gallant criminal-in the Robin Hood vein. It is true that he robbed from the rich but he gave very little to the poor. In a few of his accounts, he did describe giving the “hard money” (silver coin) to some poor and downtrodden farmer that had helped him. In addition, he repeated the idea that he never meant to harm anyone in the robberies; “all we wanted was the money.” There is no doubt that Willis Newton was shaped and stamped by the rough economic conditions of the southwest in the late 1890s and early twentieth century. Yet at the same time, there were hundreds of thousands of other people that strived to work hard and become solid citizens of their communities. It was his choice to go after the “easy money.”

In poring over hundreds of newspaper reports and magazine articles, I was struck with how much of the story varied with what Willis had told me, sometimes substantially. At the same time I found that the newspapers, in their rush to get their story out, misspelled names, got their facts wrong, under or over estimated dollar amounts of loot taken, and had a very difficult time keeping the Newton brothers’ names straight-Willis and Wylie (aka Willie or Doc) dealt them fits.

A few weeks before Willis Newton died, he was admitted to the hospital in Uvalde, Texas for tests on a multitude of physical problems. After he had been there a several days, I went by his room and visited the old outlaw. I knocked on his door and he managed a weak, “Come on in.”

When I entered his room, I saw a very emaciated version of what I had seen in March of that year. Rail thin and covered with a crimson rash on his legs, Willis cocked his head sideways and demanded, “Who are you?”

I politely reminded him that we had talked at his home earlier and that he had given me advice on robbing banks and trains. He nodded his head and stared up at the ceiling, “Yeah, I remember now.”

I told him I was sorry to see him ailing and in pain. He responded by saying, “Yeah, I’m headed to the bar ditch. The doctor says everything’s gone crazy inside of me. I know I’m a goner and wish I could kill myself but I can’t, ’cause I still got my mind. Only crazy people kill themselves but I ain’t crazy.”

Realizing that his time was about up I asked him if he had any regrets or was sorry for anything he had done in his life. He cocked his head sideways and raised his head up off of the pillow glaring at me. “Hell no,” he screeched at me. “I’d still be doing them things but my body’s done played out on me. If I was 20 years younger, I’d be running guns across the border into Mexico and bringing drugs back! Nobody’s ever give me nothing but hell and I ain’t ashamed of anything I done!”

So much for contrition and redemption.

I did not know how to respond and remained quiet. After a moment he stared at the ceiling again and added, “The only thing I’m sorry about is that $200,000 those cowards left in that bank when they got spooked. They said, ‘We’ve got $65,000 in bonds and we’re getting out before we get caught.’ Hell, we left $200,000 just sitting there on that counter. Damn shame, I told them I always wanted it all!”

The next day they moved Willis to a hospital in San Antonio where he died on August 22, 1979. Fierce and defiant to the bitter end he died the way he had lived-as an outlaw.

During my 1979 interview with Willis he went into great detail about the times he had spent in jail or prison. In describing his first prison time he said, “I was jailed for 22 months and 26 days and then sent to Rusk (prison) for two years. Every son of a bitch knowed I was innocent. They knowd I didn’t break no law!” Then over the years he spent over 20 years incarcerated in some type of penal confinement. I never got to ask him the question: was it worth it?

My guess the answer would have been a resounding, “Hell yes!”

Spending a fourth of your 90 years of life behind bars hardly seems worth it to me.

As I left Willis Newton’s hospital room for the last time I spotted his physician who was a personal friend of mine. I asked him about Willis’ condition and he confirmed what I had been told by the dying man. Then with a twinkle in his eye he asked if I wanted to see an X-ray of Willis’ spine.

Sure, I had no idea what to expect.

We went to a nearby viewing room and he slapped a film on the lighted viewing board. There was a very distinct spot located near the spinal column. “That’s a German Luger slug he’s been carrying around for about 30 years. Some old boy shot him up in Oklahoma.”

As I gazed at the image, the physician concluded by saying, “And damned if that old outlaw isn’t going to be buried with it!”

I guess you could say it was a fitting eulogy-of sorts.

Wonderful, Magickal, Mustika-Pearls Part 2

Some of the characteristics and virtues of mustika-pearls are intensely curious and interesting. Below we present just a few of these :

The pearl from the dugong (called “Ikan-duyung” in Indonesian) for instance, floats in salt water, but sinks in fresh water; this and the crystallized pearl from its tear are good for love-spells. The otter-pearl attracts lots of fishes during fishing trips; the fossilized egg of a crocodile increases one’s sexual prowess; the dew-pearl beautifies one’s aura–the smaller sizes of these pearls when moisten with one’s finger, coheres to it as it is dragged across a smooth surface; the golden carp and bamboo (symbols of wealth, business advantage, and longevity in Chinese lore) -pearls attracts lots of luck and increases prosperity; the centipede pearl helps one to choose the right numbers during gambling; the owl-pearl helps to improve one’s psychic senses; the Galih Kelor seed-pearl wards-off negative energies in the form of black magick and psychic attack; the boar-pearl makes one invulnerable to sharp weapons. Almost all of the pearls have unusual powers and virtues. If one finds an object embedded in a pearl it usually has extra virtues. Generally speaking, the higher nature, power, abilities, virtues of animals/plants are to be found in the pearls. Mustika-pearls, unlike ordinary gem stones and crystals, possesses the combined spiritual blueprints, matrixes and forces of the spirit-animal-mineral or the spirit-plant-mineral kingdoms.

Most mustika-pearl enthusiasts are amazed at the size and diversity of the pearls. Take for instance the centipede pearl, these sometimes measures 1 cm or more in diameter. The size itself could cause some skeptism as we normally think of centipedes as small creatures; yet, in the jungles of Sumatra they may grow to be as long as a meter in length! The quality and type of centipede pearls differ depending on which region they come from. A centipede may also produce four sorts of pearls–one on its head, this is called the “crown.” Another may be found in its stomach; smaller types are to be found among its whiskers, and the most valuable and scarce of them all, the pearl to be found in its mouth–this one is said to glow in the dark and gives one the power of etheric vision.

Most mustika-pearls are of a crystalline nature, and are closely related to the etheric world, perhaps much more than any of the common substances that we normally come across in our daily lives. Each pearl carries the vibrational essence of the Spirit Intelligence in charge of the evolution of the consciousness and form of the animal/plant species allocated to it. Unlike consuming animal meat and substances, close and regular contact with animal and plant pearls have a healing effect upon our body and psyche and raises our energy-frequency, aiding us to transit into a higher consciousness-level, awakening our spiritual senses. Most owners of magickal pearls only look to their physical effect–the true value of a mustika lies in what it can do for one’s spiritual evolution.

In alchemy, the practitioner would seek ways to transmute base metals into gold and to acquire the philosopher’s stone, and the stone of various substances. Nature, the great alchemist, produces animal and plant stones in her laboratory under the appropriate conditions known at present only to Her; we are blessed that these stones are available for healing some of the psychological and physical ills that we constantly suffer.

Mustikas are Nature’s products and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes as alluded to before. Mustikas of the same animal or plant-life may differ in form, color, size, etc. The shape is sometimes given by the lapidary, though normally the original outline is closely followed in the tumbling and polishing process. The point is that the genuineness of a mustika cannot be judged by its appearance alone–but by occult detection. Nevertheless, mustikas do possess high vibrational qualities that most low-caliber psychics toxicated with egoic-debris are unable to detect. Not sensing these they may pronounce a magickal pearl to be a fake.

Mustikas in their original state have a rough texture and requires tumbling and polishing to bring out their true beauty. Lapidaries are often surprised with these mustikas. One fellow commented the strangeness of these pearls–normally, tumbling and polishing ten ordinary stones gives him no aching problem. But just polishing one of these mustikas makes his arm ache all over–and yet, they are probably no harder than the average agate stone–some are even brittle. Not knowing the origin of these pearls, he then suggested that they must be enchanted. Indeed! A further shock was when he discovered that one of them changed color when it was immersed in water. This is quite interesting as most magickal pearls do have unusual physical characteristics.

Choosing a mustika for one’s personal use may require careful thought. It should be noted that the consciousness of God pervades all of Nature, and in each creature we have the dynamic Divine Intelligence expressing in a certain way with certain virtues. Thus, the spiritual attribute that we wish to develop may be a factor in one’s choice of an animal or a plant mustika-pearl. Studying Nature–animal psychology, behavioral-patterns and instincts or the Doctrine of Signatures of the plant kingdom and the symbolism of both would be a rewarding venture for those intending to acquire mustika-pearls for personal use.

If one has no actual purpose in mind or preference, one should choose a pearl that coincides closely with one’s Totem-animal or the animal that harmonizes well with one’s Chinese zodiacal sign.

One’s Totem-animal may be known by careful introspection; by sensing a special affinity with an animal or feeling the animal that one resonates well with. Totem animals may also be known through constant dreams of the animal; through meditation/intuition; by one’s childhood obsession or longing for the animal as a pet; of the psychological identification with the animal itself or by the animal that one is most attracted to or fears most; by constant pictorial or concrete imagery forms of the animal arising in some manner, etc. If one often dream of tigers, and as a child found joy in fantasizing about the animal, this may indicate that the creature is one’s Totem-animal. Sometimes the knowledge of one’s Power or Totem animal is acquired during a crisis–during a physical encounter with the animal, for instance; or during unusual circumstances the knowledge is brought to the awareness. Knowledge of one’s Totem animal may be acquired through a “VisionQuest.” In Native American-Indian society this VisionQuest is mandatory as part of the rite of passage presented to the young. This quest entails fasting and seclusion in nakedness in a sweatlodge where a vision of a Totem-animal is unexpectedly presented by the Great Spirit to the consciousness of the child undergoing it. Tokens of the animal may be discovered subsequent to the vision in the surrounding area. This quest may be undergone by anyone willing to acquire the vision after due preparation.

The Totem animals are the projection of the elements of one’s inner consciousness representing the area or quality in one’s spirituality that requires balancing, harmonizing, or developing. Carrying a mustika-pearl of the animal in question serves as an aid in attuning with the Spirit-Guardian/Intelligences of the animal and helping us to administer to our soul-need and harmonize the imbalances in the psyche. It also helps to transfer the great wisdom or skill that each animal possess to our inner being.

Choosing a mustika-pearl based on one’s Chinese sign is also a good method for determining what pearl would be best for one. Naturally this method and the one above does not apply to plant-pearls. These latter can be worn by anyone with great benefit.

The Chinese Zodiacal signs are grouped into four :

Chinese Zodiacal Animals

Pig Rabbit Goat

Rat Monkey Dragon

Cow Chicken Snake

Tiger Dog Horse

If you happen to be a Goat, one suitable pearl would be the Pig (Wild Boar) or Rabbit. If you are a Rat, the pearl that would best complement you is the Monkey-pearl or the Dragon- (dragon-snake) pearl. Substitutes may be used if a pearl from the exact creature is unavailable. For instance, the pig-pearl may be substituted by the wild-boar pearl; the ape or gorilla for the monkey; the dragon-snake for the dragon; the wild-dog or wolf for the dog.

One might also choose a mustika-pearl on the basis of its color as related to a chakra. A pearl with the associated color of a chakra vibrationally enhances the chakra and its psychological expression while aiding in removing any pathological elements related to it.

Another possible alternative of choosing a magickal pearl is the element-color method. Whatever element one lacks in his astrological nature may be complemented with a mustika of the appropriate color. If a person has an abundance of water in his psychological make-up, he may choose a color other than blue, as blue represents water. Following are the colors and the elements as given by one system of correspondence :

Red–Fire, Blue–Water, Green–Earth, Yellow–Air.

Mustika pearls of plants and animals may be chosen for their value in occult workings and rites. Every mustika-pearl has its mystical virtues that may be tapped and appropriated for the purposes of the Magickal Operator. The occult practitioner would study the attributes of the animal or plant in order to know which is especially required for certain magickal operations.

If one has absolutely no idea what mustika-pearl would be best for one’s general well-being, health, spiritual development, and prosperity, one could submit the question to a shaman who is attuned to the Intelligences of Nature. The shaman would choose that which is appropriate for one’s present evolutionary development, keeping in mind the subject’s well-being in both spiritual and mundane matters. It is also possible to acquire the necessary information from one’s Higher Self, one’s Inner Guide.

Once having obtained a mustika, one might wonder what can be done with it or how to harness the power that it possesses. Whatever virtues a mustika possesses would be transferred to us by simply carrying or wearing it for some time. The effects of the mustika may be perceived after several weeks or so depending on the virtue sought. Greater powers such as invulnerability against sharp weapons as that given by the wild boar pearl may take a greater period of constant proximity with the pearl before it may show some effects. The time factor may be quickened by following certain disciplines such as constant attunement-sessions with the elemental spirit/pearl and drinking/showering with the water or elixir of the pearl. These elixirs or enchanted water/oil carry no physical properties of the pearls, but they do carry the vibrational quality and essences of the spiritual aspect of the animals or plants from which they have been derived.

Steeping pearls in a glass of water for half an hour empowers the water with its energies. Steeping it for several hours under sun or moonlight would imbue the water with a greater amount of the pearl’s vibratory energies and essences; abundant life-force of a plant/animal mustika-pearl are channeled into the water. The spiritual blue-print in the pearl containing information of the animal/plant are also infused into the water. This is a supplemental nutrient for the various psychic components within man. Whatever force is embued in the water by the steeping process is transferred to one’s physical and subtle bodies impelling them to resonate at higher frequencies where diseases of mind, body, and soul are non-existent and cannot exist. The enchanted pearl-water has a deep impact upon the nervous and blood-system.

Generally, plant pearls affect more of the physical and etheric bodies while animal pearls the astral and spiritual side of man.

Drinking mustika-pearl water assists in one’s reintegration with the Cosmic Intelligence; this cannot help but improve one’s sense of oneness and harmony with all of Nature. This has a tremendous psychological import in one’s approach to life, transmuting negativity into positivity. Mixing the pearl-waters of various mustikas is permissible. Once having studied the powers, virtues and healing properties of each pearl, a blend may be made of the waters to achieve a specific result. Constant attunements with the pearls helps to intuitively know their powers.

Mustika-pearl water should be made in a tranquil environment.When drunk, the water acts as a tonic effect to the body, healing physical ailments, psychological problems, balancing the chakral energies, and promoting spiritual awareness and growth. Pearl-elixirs using an alcohol-base may also be made. Nowadays, in the New-Age market, gem, crystal, and flower elixirs may be easily acquired. There is no company as yet, however, producing mustika elixirs. When properly made, these mustika-elixirs would possess more power and have a greater effect than the ordinary ones produced from gem stones and crystals.

That mustika-pearl water possesses healing virtues, many people including ourselves have personally determined to be true. It would be superfluous and unnecessary to relate case histories; one would have to experience this for oneself.

Aside from its consumption, mustika-pearl elixirs and water–and even oil–may also be anointed or massaged into the body. The pearl-fluid may be applied to the various points or chakral vortices along the main and secondary channels of the subtle body where the energy-flow is blocked . Its application helps to break up the psychic toxins embedded in the channels.

Pearl water, elixir or oil may also be placed in a room and left alone for its evaporation. The vibratory essence of the pearl would transmute negative energies in the surrounding area and harmonize the psychological condition of the people moving and living within its influential reach.

Some practitioners believe that the consumption of pearl-water is insufficient to tap the power of a pearl, that a password is required to command the indwelling spirit. There is some truth in this but the password is just a gimmick created by occult practitioners hoping to excite the interest of pearl-owners and increase their clientele. What is actually required is a simple psychic-attunement with the elemental spirit–by calling its name (if known), absorbing its energies by holding the pearl, and explaining to it the purpose of steeping the pearl in a glass of water. This communication with the pearl-intelligence may be formulated into an affirmation or decree–they should be specific so that the elemental-intelligence knows the healing or work that is to be conducted.

Mustika-pearls should be handled with great care as some of them are fragile. They should also be anointed often with aromatic oil such as sandalwood or “zafarron.” When not in used they should be stored in a proper case with some flowers in it. Spirit elementals delight in the aroma of flower essences–the anointment and the placing of flowers are gestures of appreciation for their aid.

Copyright © 2006 Luxamore

Oscar Gustav Rejlander – The Father of Art Photography (1813- 1875)

Oscar Gustav Rejlander, a Swede painter, was born probably in 1883 to Carl Gustaf Rejlander, a Swedish Army Officer. Oscar studied art in Rome and initially settled in England. Abandoning his original line of work as an artist and portrait painter, he turned to photography. One of the assistants of Fox Talbot inspired him.

Oscar Rejlander started working as a portraitist at Wolverhampton, in approximately 1846. Rejlander learned the skills of photography in 1850, to facilitate his painting techniques and produced many works, including the most famous “The Two Ways of Life” (1857). This work was meticulously printed from 32 glass negatives. Portraiture and genre works were a couple of key dimensions of Rejlander’s works. His “Charlotte Baker” series corroborates ‘Eroticism.’ Artist used his nude works as a model for reference. In 1853, the artist probably invented ‘Combination Printing.’

Portraiture especially was very difficult in those days, as the exposure times could be as long as 10 or 12 seconds. Rejlander assumed that photography made him a better artist and a more cautious draughtsman. His experimentation with light reduced exposure time, accentuated outline, and the textures of his work. He experimented in the rare composition of photography, wherein each print contained numerous images from different negatives. This practice conquered the innate limitations of the Wet Collodian Process. Photographic compositions were tricky to print, as the exposure of light on each negative had to be accurate. Even a small error resulted in a damaged print and therefore, the printing procedure had to begin again from the start.

Rejlander was a pioneer in this genre of photographic composition and is considered the most successful art photographer of his era. His primary composition print was called ‘Groupe Printed from Three Negatives’ and was displayed in December 1855. The same year, Oscar participated in the Paris Exhibition. Being a creative person, he styled his studio in a unique and an unusual way, bent like a cone. The camera was placed at the narrow part in shadow and the sitters at the opposite end, so that they are unaware of the camera.

Oscar’s most famous works is an allegory called “The Two Ways of Life” (1857), capturing a frame guiding two youthful men towards manhood. One of the men looks interested in gambling, wine, prostitution, and idling, while the other attracted towards figures symbolizing religion, family, industry, and good works. In the centre, appears the veiled, partially clad figure, symbolizing contrition and turning towards the good. The same year the photograph was displayed at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition. The photograph though shrouded in controversy, eventually fetched fame for the artist. He was extended the membership of the Royal Photographic Society of London, which in turn earned him respect in the high society of London.

In 1862, after moving his studio to Malden Road in London, he kept polishing and excelling in his photographic techniques. The same year, he married his favorite model Mary Bull. Soon after, Oscar’s key subjects took the fancy of social issues, of which “Poor Joe” and “Homeless” are a couple of examples. The demonstration of the different human expressions of Charles Darwin’s book “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” (1872) is one of his most appreciated works. During his final years, Oscar Rejlander returned to painting, but to no gain and died in poverty. He fell ill in 1874 and died in 1875.