Hematite is an iron oxide, and in fact is the principle ore of Iron. Its name derives from the Latin word "haimatites" meaning "blood-like," due to the blood red color of the mineral when in a powdered state. The reason the planet Mars appears red is due to its own high content of Iron compounds which have formed iron oxide (a type of rust) through the interaction of oxygen and water vapor that once existed on the planet. The gray colored variety of iron oxide which we call Hematite is also usually first formed within hot spring areas or in areas where standing waters collect. In 1998, NASA's spacecraft, the Mars Global Surveyor, detected a large deposit of gray Hematite in the Sinus Meridian region near the equator of the red planet, thus exciting scientists as it lends to the theory that Mars once contained large quantities of water.
Gray Hematite has a different crystalline structure than rust, although both share the same chemical formula (Fe2O3). Rust is minute and powdery, whereas Hematite's crystals are larger. But if you grind up Hematite, it too would appear red, as the finer grains will scatter red light. If you cut it into very thin slabs you will see that it is a transparent red color, but when polished it appears shiny and metallic. Hematite also crystallizes in a hexagonal form, but is more often found as tabular, massive, granular, columnar formations, and more rarely in botryoidal form. It is a fairly hard mineral, registering between 5 and 6 on the Mohs Scale and is dense and heavy. Its streak is its most tale-telling sign, as it leaves behind a red to reddish brown color when scraped against another hard surface.
Hematite is a very abundant mineral on Earth. Its environment can be magmatic, hydrothermal, metamorphic or sedimentary, but most often it is the latter and is formed after eons of inhabiting water or moisture-filled areas. A very notable region for obtaining this metallic wonder is the area adjacent to Lake Superior and most notably in Minnesota. Other notable occurrences are Canada, England, Mexico, Brazil and Australia.
Aside from its usual reddish or metallic gray form, Hematite also comes in several different varieties. Oolitic Hematite is a sedimentary variety comprised of small rounded grains and is an earthy reddish brown color. Kidney Ore is the massive botryoidal variety with a lumpy kidney appearance. Tiger Iron is comprised of alternating layers of Hematite, Chert, Red Jasper, and occasionally Tiger Eye Quartz. Hematite Rose is an arrangement of bladed crystals formed in a circular pattern and appearing rose-like. And Specularite is a flaky micaceous ornamental specimen, appearing a sparkling silver gray. When used in jewelry, this latter variety has been nicknamed the "Black Diamond."
Chemistry: Fe2O3, Iron Oxide
Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Colour: Steel to silver-gray to black in one form; red to brown in earthy forms. Occasionally tarnished appearing iridescent when in a hydrated form, and then called Turgite.
Luster: Metallic or dull
Crystal System: Trigonal; Hexagonal Scalenohedral; bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habit: Includes tabular crystals in various thickness, sometime twinned, micaceous (specular), botryoidal, and massive. Also earthy or oolitic.
Cleavage: Absent, however there is parting on two planes.
Fracture: Uneven to conchoidal.
Hardness: 5.0 - 6.0
Specific Gravity: 5.3 - slightly above average for metallic minerals
Streak: Red to brownish-red
Notable Occurrences: Lake Superior region in the U.S., particularly Minnesota; Canada; England; Mexico; Brazil; Australia.
Best Field Indicators: Streak, crystal habit, hardness.
Uses: Important ore of Iron, pigment, mineral specimens.
Akin to its cousin Pyrite, Hematite is said to have been traditionally used in the construction of "magic mirrors," and is believed to be able reflect back any negativity from whence it came. It is often used for scrying.
In ancient Egypt, Hematite was carved into "pillows" and was often used in death/rebirth ceremonies with their deceased. It was also utilized as an inscription stone for certain passages from the Book of the Dead. It was in this part of the world that Hematite's magick was also put into service by being made into protection amulets, and also as jewelry worn by those in mourning. The original "Bloodstone," the ancient Egyptians used this mineral to aid in curing abnormalities and diseases of the blood, to reduce inflammation, and to treat hysteria. Hematite itself exhibits an ability to heal itself; if scratched and then rubbed, the scratch will often disappear.
The early Romans would crush the mineral and rub its red powder onto their bodies, believing this would bestow courage, strength, and a general invulnerability. Native Americans utilized Hematite to make red face paint called red ochre, often when on a warpath. Ancient myth subscribes to the notion that large deposits of Hematite were formed wherever battles were fought and wherever blood flowed as a result of those battles.
Engraved seals made of Hematite have been found in the ancient ruins of Babylon. Azchalias of Babylon believed that a Hematite talisman would bestow favor from the kings along with bringing fortunate outcomes to any legal issues. Pliny used the mineral for blood disorders, and Galen used it to help with headaches or eye inflammations. Today it is often used for grounding, calming, dispelling worry and negativity, clarity, self-esteem, physical energy, and to cure insomnia, jet lag, or any other physical and mental drain on the body.
To cleanse and restore the intrinsic properties of Hematite, bury the stone in the earth for 24 hours or more. I also find for the polished specimens that a quick rinse under running water, preferably a clear brook or stream, helps revitalize the mineral's natural Water element properties adding further enhancement to its heavy Earth element structure.
Astrological Sign(s): Capricorn, Aries
Element(s): Earth, Water
Promotes self-control, strength, stability, originality.
*Gives physical aid in treating: Leg cramps. Blood disorders, anemia. Kidney disorders. Helps with nervous disorders, insomnia, anxiety. Spinal alignment, bone restructuring.
*NOTE: Stone therapy should NOT take the place of medical evaluation and procedures, and should be used merely to enhance one's health and well-being.
No pun intended, but Hematite does have what I call an Iron Will. It is a very pragmatic stone - an Iron Maiden, although Iron Master may be more fitting, as it exhibits a strong vital masculine quality. Not only does it get to the root of any issue, the blood and guts of what is surrounding you... but once there, it will make you face what it is showing you and will push you hard to see those bare-naked facts that are staring you in the face. It will also then prompt you to act on those facts in whatever way need be, by lending you courage, strength and protection.
I find Hematite is a powerful stone for divination - I have a pendulum made of Hematite and it works very well, much better than two others I possess. Hematite's head-straight-for-the-root properties I believe make it an excellent choice for the purpose of divination. It is also good for scrying.
Hematite is an excellent choice of stone for any mental clarity that one may need or desire to obtain. One of our customers orders pounds of this polished mineral and proceeds to distribute it to her students, and is now teaching widely about the useful qualities of Hematite. She feels...and quite rightly so...that Hematite promotes a clarity of mind and the mental adroitness to help children (and adults) when taking tests or studying. It does this by being able to cut through and clear away the extraneous and the trivial - it has the ability to sort the wheat from the chaff so to speak - and thus allows for keen focus on the main and most important root facts. I find in working with the stone that it clears my head and takes me out of the clouds (as Air and its realm sometimes suits this Libran all too well!); it lends stability, but does not inhibit forward movement and, in fact, promotes it. In that, it also inspires one to achieve. I feel it is a creation stone. Hematite can plant my feet firmly on the ground and better connect me with the Earth, but, unlike other grounding stones, it tends to help me integrate the physical, mental and the spiritual. It helps me understand the very basic building blocks upon which we can more readily understand how to move with the natural flow of things. Through that, I obtain strength, vitality and a will to be one with the mountains as I go about moving them.
Hematite is a strong and courageous stone. It is somewhat grounding, and yet forceful as it magnifies the succinct essence of any situation and any thought. It takes you to the very beginning of an issue... to its essence...to its core. Personally, it will allow you to feel the very quintessential message and rhythm of your mission here. In that, it is the perfect stone for helping one gain a better understanding of "as above, so below." It asks you to remember and to honor that which you came here for. It helps you see clearly what you are perfectly capable of manifesting here on Earth while working in your truest form of Spirit. It asks you to be you. Right here and right now.
"Peterson Field Guides - Rocks and Minerals" by Frederick H. Pough
"Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic" by Scott Cunningham
Photo: by Patricia J. Martin
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