Written and compiled by - Patricia Jean Martin
I've chosen Amber as the stone for Imbolc, even though this
attractive gem is not a stone at all, but is, rather, an ancient
fossilized tree resin that once flowed from the wound of a conifer.
The pine trees from which Amber hails are no longer in existence, and the
specimens of their once life-giving resins which we hold today
are roughly between 25 - 50 million years old. I think it fitting
that just as Imbolc which means "in the belly" and Oimelc (or
Oimelg) which means "ewe's milk" which has begun to flow...
so, too, was Amber once in the belly of the tree whose
essence flowed forth to gift us in its new form.
The name Amber derives from the Arabic word "ambar" which refers to ambergris, a secretion from the sperm whale which is used in making perfume. The only similarity between the two, though, is color, for they are without a doubt two totally separate things. Although both are often transported on the waves of the sea, it is this, along with their color similarity, which was most likely how the two may have been once confused. Amber registers only 2 to 2½ on the Mohs Scale and is light enough that it can float on salt water. And it does...for Amber is often found in or near the ocean, with its deposits existing in sediments along the shore. Its most prevalent locales are on the shores of the Baltic Sea, predominantly in Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany. Other prominent Amber findings are in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Amber (also known as Succinite) is most often a transparent yellow
to orange color, but can be found in shades of brown, red, green (often
enhanced), clear, and even a highly sought after Dominican blue.
This Sabbat, though, we concentrate on the golden yellow variety, called
"Gold of the North" by the ancient Greeks and Romans. For,
likened to the Sun and once thought by the Greco-Romans to
sunlight trapped within the resin, Amber personifies the warmth and
renewal aspects of the Sun God at this time of year. This interesting mineraloid,
with its often small insects and/or other bits of organic material that are
literally trapped inside it, nicely mimics our own current situation
of still being somewhat immobilized and imprisoned by the cold grip of Winter,
but at the same time allows us to see the promise of what lies within
- and that is, the hope of renewal and the first breath of Spring, as we sense
new life beginning to stir beneath the still-frozen topsoils. I
see Amber as an excellent window into the past that keeps an optimistic eye
on the future.
Even though this organic gem can be found riding the ocean currents, Amber's Element is Fire. It is one of the sacred stones of Helios, the god who chariots the Sun across the sky. But Amber has also always been associated with the feminine, and is often called the "Stone of the Mother Goddess." This dual association makes Amber quite relative to both the Sun God and the Goddess Brighid who holds the blue flame, both of whom we acknowledge and honor during Imbolc.
Within its Fire attributes of vitality, courage and purification, there are many legends surrounding Amber. To those in the Far East it was thought to be drops of solidified dragon's blood. To the Vikings it was known as "Freyja's Tears" and was said that the goddess once traded her favors to the Dwarves in exchange for an Amber necklace. In ancient Greek mythology, Amber was created when Helios' son, Phaeton, was killed as a result of Zeus' lightning that flung him off his father's chariot and into the river Eridanus where he drowned. So grief-stricken were his sisters that they simply transformed into trees but continued to weep golden tears of Amber. The early Christians saw Amber as tears that were shed by the birds during Christ's crucifixion. The Chinese believed this golden gem held the "souls of many tigers and many suns". And in several cultures around the globe, a general Old World legend was that Amber was formed by the setting rays of the sun as they touched the ocean's horizon.
One of the earliest records that refers to Amber was found carved on a stone obelisk in Egypt and dates back to 883 BCE. It reads: "Ashur-Nasir-Apal, the ruler of Assyria, sent his people to the land of amber where the seas wash amber ashore like copper…". But the use of Amber goes back much farther than that. The discovery of Amber beads, amulets and artifacts in various locations and burial sites have shown that this magnificent resinous gem was revered throughout the ages—the earliest known, being the Paleolithic Era.
Some ancient uses of Amber (many of which are still used today) included... burning it in fire ceremonies to release its light and to protect from and clear negativity; as a gateway to the Astral during shamanic ritual; as an amulet by Roman gladiators to instill courage, drive away fear, and to protect against danger; in love potions and rituals due to Amber's attracting qualities, for when rubbed, Amber emits an electrical magnetic charge (and in fact, "elektron" was the ancient Greek term for Amber, from which our word "electricity" is derived); and for healing of many kinds worldwide. Amber has been used as an antibiotic, usually in an elixir. Physically, it is also known to be good for alleviating stomach and digestive disorders, throat, thyroid and glandular problems, kidney dysfunctions, and for uplifting and relieving depression. For the latter, this magickal 'stone' brings with it a sense of renewal, sunny thoughts, and recharges one's energy and stamina...things usually very much needed at this time of year. Known as the "Honey Stone" or "Petrified Sunlight", Amber does bring soothing light and warmth to those who use or wear it.
Magickally, Amber is used in spells or ritual for luck, love,
protection, purification, personal power, prosperity, sexual energy, and
multiple forms of healing. It is also used to connect with the
Ancestors and to retrieve knowledge and wisdom from the Otherworlds.
Amber is associated with the astrological signs of Leo and Aquarius, the
Sun-ruled Lion and the Water-Bearer. Often paired with Jet, Amber is an
excellent choice for Fire Sabbats.
Just as Imbolc is the time when milk flows...so, too, does Amber represent that which flows. May love and peace, health and prosperity, and the renewal of life, ever-flow to each and all.
Book of Stones-Who They Are & What They Teach,
Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian, with contributions by Hazel Raven
Gem & Metal Magic,
Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals,
10, 2009 ©
Patricia J. Martin
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders and Elders)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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