Whether you’re a novice or a veteran there is still much to be learned of and from the world of Crystals. Ancient man utilized stones, minerals and crystals in their daily life for everything from fashioning tools to creating implements of war. From the Obsidian knives, blades and mirrors to the Amber talismans found in the burial sites of the megalithic and Neolithic periods crystals have always been important to mankind. Perhaps one of the most highly prized and sought after stones of ancient man going back at least 100,000 years is red ochre, the iron ore associated with hematite and magnetite. It’s been found in everything from Neanderthal cave art, to the graves and burial sites of Cro-Magnon Man and modern Homo-Sapiens. Red Ochre was sacred and associated with life giving energy, vitality and power, perhaps that’s why we associate those minerals it’s derived from to the sacral chakra today.
Green stones in general were considered talismans or good luck.
Similarly, polished Jade axes were important for their utility long before jade became the most highly prized stone of Imperial China. Some Chinese written characters even represent jade beads, musical instruments in the form of chimes were made from jade and Chinese emperors were sometimes buried in jade armor. Jade wasn’t only revered in the far east it was also recognized as a kidney healing stone both in China and South America and there are burial sites with jade masks from around the same time period in ancient Mexico. Green stones in general were considered talismans or good luck and good fortune and also used to signify the heart of the deceased in burial rituals and may be why we attribute the color green to the heart chakra today.
I find it amazing how much similarity ancient humanity displayed in their developed beliefs around crystals while on completely opposite ends of the earth. Australian Aboriginal lore held that shamans were forged from the solidified light of clear Quartz and shamanic initiates were made to ingest quartz crystals in both solid and elixir form from being dropped in water in order to become the living embodiment of solidified light and when deemed ready they were given crystals and shown how to use them to carry out their work . North American Native tribes revered Quartz crystals as “living rocks”, the Cherokee word for Quartz crystal means “light that pierces through”. Their “medicine men” or shamans carried Quartz and other crystals in pouches that they would take out and rub over or lay across the bodies of the afflicted in much the same way as the Aboriginals did and the crystal healing layouts we work with today. The Native Americans also highly utilized turquoise both as a gift to their gods and a link from the earthly to the spiritual, or as a connection between Heaven and Earth and that is why so much Central and North American Native jewelry, art and adornment is created with turquoise. From the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas to the Apaches and the Miwok of San Francisco Quartz, Turquoise, Pipestone represent the earth and the blood and the intergenerational strength that links tribespeople both living and passed from the earthly plane.
Some of the most widely recognized crystal usage by ancient people comes from Nubia, ancient Egypt and Sumeria the people of which included crystals in their “magic formulas”, makeup, household implements, jewelry and adornment, as indications of wealth or status and in ancient burial sites.
The Ancient Egyptians used lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, emerald, malachite and clear quartz in everything from jewelry to carved grave amulets and sarcophagi, to the decorations of the entombed. The Ancient Egyptians used stones primarily for protection and health, Chrysolite, modern topaz and peridot was used to combat night terrors and purge evil spirits. Egyptians also used crystals cosmetically, Galena or lead ore was ground to a powder and used as the eye shadow known as kohl. Malachite was used in a similar manner for eye and ceremonial makeup.
The Ancient Greeks also attributed a number of properties to crystals and many stone and crystal names we use today are of Greek origin. The word crystal even comes from krustallos the Greek word for ice, as it was believed that clear quartz was water that had frozen so deeply that it would always remain solid. The word Amethyst means “not drunken”, and according to Greek mythology Dionysus, the god of intoxication, and of wine, was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Artemis answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos’s desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple. In Roman mythology the same story involves Bacchus the god of intoxication, of wine and grapes, amorously chasing after a maiden named Amethyst, who did not want his affections. Amethyst prayed to the gods for help, and her prayers were well received by the chaste goddess Diana, who transformed her into a white stone. Humbled by how deeply Amethyst desired to remain chaste, Bacchus poured his wine over the stone in homage, dyeing the crystal a deep purple. Regardless of origin, both stories proliferated the same beliefs and Amethyst was worn as an amulet to prevent both drunkenness and hangovers. Today Amethyst is widely used as a Third Eye Chakras stone for mental clarity and to prevent alcoholism and negative or addictive behaviors.