As the weakened Sun begins to slide into its long seasonal
sleep here in the Northern Hemisphere, there is no better stone than
Obsidian to accompany us through the spectral nights of Autumn and
protect and guide us through the trials of Winter!
A lustrous rock, rich in silica and born of
volcanic origin, Obsidian is a type of natural glass, formed when lava is
rapidly cooled. It can be found all over the world wherever volcanic
activity has occurred, but most notable deposits are located in Obsidian
Cliffs, Wyoming, and in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California in
the U.S., and Mexico, Italy, Iceland and Scotland worldwide.
Obsidian's color is most often a vitreous (glassy) jet
black or very dark brown which is due to Iron and Magnesium inclusions, but
it can also be found in dark green or gray. Small naturally
rounded water-tumbled pieces that often exhibit conchoidal markings are
called Apache Tears, named after a sorrowful event when Apache tribe
women wept at the base of the cliff that their husbands had been driven over to
their death during an ambush. It is said that whoever carries the
Apache Tears stone will never know deep sorrow, for it has been wept for
Other colors of Obsidian can occur when small bubbles of
air become trapped within Obsidian's layers just before cooling.
In this case it can create what is known as Sheen Obsidian - these can
be in hues of red (containing Hematite), blue, purple, gold, or
even a full rainbow sheen.
Obsidian containing small white inclusions of
Cristobalite is called Snowflake Obsidian. Larger pieces of
Obsidian appear opaque, but thinner specimens show that it is actually
translucent when held up to the light. The word "obsidian"
derives from the Latin "obsidianus," a misprint of "obsianus
(lapis). According to Pliny, the stone was named after the
prominent ancient Roman, Obsius, who was credited with finding it in what is now
Obsidian is of Granite or Rhyolite composition and has the same chemical formula as Quartz, but lacks any crystalline structure and is amorphous, thus registering only a medium hardness of 5 to 5.5 on the Mohs Scale. For this reason and because it can be shaped easily, it was often used by Native Americans to make arrowheads and spear points, for when broken or cut, it has a razor-sharp edge. Prior to that, artifacts reveal it was used during the Stone Age to make knives and other tools. Incas utilized it for constructing weapons, mirrors, masks and jewelry, while the Mayans once carved idols of their god Tetzcatlipoca from this veritable black beauty. Incidentally, the name Tetzcatlipoca means "shining mirror," so Obsidian was likely beloved by or chosen to mimic the god's attributes. The Mayans also used polished Obsidian as "magic mirrors", a divining tool.
is effective when carried or used in protective rituals. One involves
surrounding a white candle with four Obsidian arrowheads that each point to one
of the directions. This sets up aggressive energies which guard the place
in which it is set up."
"Cunningham's Encyclopedia of
Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic" by Scott Cunningham
Many considered this useful stone to be a powerful talisman that enhanced psychic ability, and many a Shaman used it in ritual along with carrying it on their person. Later in time, black Obsidian was much sought after for use as scrying mirrors. During the Elizabethan Era, the famous magician, alchemist, mathematician and astrologer, Dr. John Dee, is said to have utilized an Obsidian scrying mirror.
This was the mirror used by the Elizabethan
mathematician, astrologer and magician, Dr. John Dee (1527-1608).
Together with a small smoky quartz crystal ball (also known as a shew-stone),
these are just a few of the many polished, translucent and reflective objects
that he used as tools for his occult research.
Those shown above are on display at the British Museum in London.
As we look to Autumn and begin preparing for Winter - the
time of deep reflection - Obsidian can be of great help within our inner sanctum
and in showing us just what is possible. As a scrying tool and
because of its deep mirroring ability, this shiny Fire and Earth stone
is known as the "Stone of Prophecy" and is excellent for
peering into its depths to detect the past, present and future.
But it wasn't simply the dark and mysterious reflective physical
characteristics of Obsidian that made it one of the better surfaces for gazing
into; this stone is also rich in metaphysical wonders. Not only is it known
to enhance clairvoyance by promoting acute awareness of what needs fixing, it
provides clear guidance on much needed remedies. It is also an excellent stone for grounding,
meditation and protection, and provides a strong shield against all forms
of negativity. It will even
transform an area or situation into a more positive one. It
cools anger and frustration while at the same time creating the impetus for
For physical healing, Obsidian has been known to
dissolve blockages and banish stagnation of any kind. It can ease aches
and pains, lessen phobias and relieve stress, depression or grief, and can
generally bring clarity to the cause of a disease while working to dismantle
it. Whatever it is used for, Obsidian can be counted on to be a
very blunt and to-the-point stone. It increases one's psychic ability,
making it appear even stronger in the answers it provides. It has
the uncanny and sometimes unsettling ability to dig deep into the shadows,
bringing forth great insight and knowledge, both personal and worldly on
things which could and should be made better. Obsidian is like a truth
serum; you will not be able to delude yourself when in its presence. This
volcanic stone can cut the ties that bind. It is a projective stone,
and its ruling planet is Saturn.
I would say the ancients knew what they were doing. For,
beyond their practical uses of the stone...in the task of mask-making, it
can be seen as Obsidian's power to shield and protect us as we take
the journey within. In the task of weapon-making, it coincides
with Obsidian's ability (both physically and metaphysically) to cut to the
chase and swiftly slice directly through to the core of an issue, as we hunt for
that which will spiritually sustain us. As a tool and divining device, it blends
with Obsidian's usefulness in allowing us greater access to the
Ancestors, the spirit world and Akashic records.
This Mabon, and beyond, let the depths of the Obsidian
mirror give back to you what wisdom awaits to be found!
Alive!" by Twintreess
Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals" by Cassandra Eason
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
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history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
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papal Bull /
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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)
Rituals contributed by Crone: Samhain / Yule / Imbolc / Ostara / Beltane / Litha / Lammas / Mabon
Tools of a Witch / The Besom (Broom) / Poppets and Dolls / Pendulums / Cauldron Magick / Mirror Gazing
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)
Mystical Sacred Sites - Stonehenge / Glastonbury Tor / Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni / Avebury / Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant / Ireland - Newgrange /
Rocks and Stones:
Stones - History, Myths and Lore
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
Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill / I Talk to the Trees / Awakening / The Witch in You / A Tale of the Woods
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:
Pliny the Elder / Hesiod / Pythagoras
Remembered at Samhain
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 / Joseph John Campbell / 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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