Friday, February 14, 2020

13 Essential Gemstones Series: Hematite


In this series, I will be exploring 13 common minerals and gemstones used in the Craft, dissecting their meaning from science, history, culture, and my own experiences.  

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Hematite


Color: Gray, black, or silver, sometimes with a reddish hue.
Appearance: Sometimes metallic or iridescent in appearance, sometimes multicolored.
Hardness: 5-6
Other Notable Qualities: 



Scientific Correspondence:
Grounding - Mars

Iron, the core component of hematite, is the most common element by mass found in the earth's outer core.  This means that having a sample of hematite connects you to the ground beneath, making it a fantastic stone for grounding.

It is the most common mineral found on the planet Mars, which is where the Red Planets gets its red color.  This fact links the stone to Mars.


Historical Correspondence:
Death - Blood - Spirits

Hematite is well recognized by its red streak and reddish hues, so much so that its name is derived from the Greek word for bloodhaima.  Various cultures throughout history would link hematite with blood and death.  Ancient Egyptians would use it to stop bleeding and create amulets out of it for their tombs.  They would even ground hematite up to use as a red pigment for the tombs of pharoahs.  Graveyards dating back as far as 80,000 years ago have traces of hematite within the grounds.  Hematite jewelry rose in popularity during the Victorian period where it was used as a symbol of mourning.  As such, hematite could be called a chthonic stone useful for death, the deceased, and contact with ancestors and spirits.




Cultural Correspondence (USA/Midwest):
Progress

Nowadays, we most associate ores of iron with the age of progress, from the iron age to the creation of steel.  Hematite is representative of our progress as intelligent beings, from the Iron Age to industrialization to today's steel-heavy cities and factories.


Sigil to Invoke Hematite


Utilize this sigil as a way of invoking the properties of hematite if you have none available to you.  You are welcome to print this sigil, place it in a grimoire, use it on a spell or put it in your blog with proper credit.  Do not claim this sigil as your own.

References
Minerals.net: Hematite
Geology.com: Hematite
Origin Stones: Hematite
Bernardine Fine Art and Jewelry: Hematite
University of Minnesota: Hematite
New World Encyclopedia: Hematite

**Images of the gemstone were found via a search labeled for reuse.
If you would like an image removed or credited, please let me know.**

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Previously
Clear Quartz
Amethyst
Amber

Bloodstone
Carnelian
Citrine

Coming Soon
Lapis Lazuli
Obsidian
Rose Quartz
Selenite
Tiger's Eye
Turquoise

Friday, February 7, 2020

Spring Equinox / Ostara: March 19th, 2020


The Vernal Equinox is a scientific event marking a near-equal length of day and night during the spring for the Northern Hemisphere.  Historically, the Babylonian calendar would begin on the first full moon after the spring equinox, and was strongly tied to the ascent of the Sumerian goddess Inanna.  In Abrahamic religions, Passover typically falls on the first full moon after the March equinox as well, and Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after that full moon. In Scandinavia, the Norse would celebrate a blot, or sacrifice, to the disir and Valkyrie around this time, though not exactly in correspondence with the equinox itself.  And the Romans would celebrate Liberalia around the time of the vernal equinox, a festival that honored the maturation of young boys into men.

Because of the historical and scientific importance of equinoxes and solstices, the Spring Equinox inevitably made it onto the Wheel of the Year, a modern Neopagan/Wiccan calendar shaped in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  There, it's called Ostara, likely after a purported Germanic goddess of spring named Eostre.  Because this goddess was only mentioned once by English monk Bede in his work The Reckoning of Time, it's questionable as to whether Eostre existed or, if she did, how widespread her worship was.  

All that being said, the modern celebrations of the Spring Equinox mark the first day of spring and focus more on fertility, renewal, and life.  With symbolism including the rabbit and the egg, we honor the new flowers, the budding trees, and the return of warmth.  By this point, we can actually go out, till the soil, and plant seeds.  Symbolically, planting of seeds is akin to creating goals in our lives, thus the Spring Equinox can be used as a time of planning and goal creation, setting forth intentions to be realized within the year. Because the equinox is also a balance of night and day, this gives us two chances to focus on balance in our lives - what is needed and what is not.

This year's spring equinox occurs on Thursday, March 19th, 2020 at 9:50 PM CST.  Every year it shifts slightly, so I would suggest checking Archaeoastronomy.com if you're coming to this article after 2020.

Activities and Spells

Rituals

Friday, January 31, 2020

13 Essential Herbs Series: Basil


In this series, I will be exploring 13 common herbs you may have in your kitchen or garden, dissecting their meaning from science, history, and culture.  

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Basil


Appearance: Green leafy plant with fragrant smell.
Edible? Yes, though be aware of pesticides.
Origins: Central Africa, Southeast Asia
Other Notable Qualities: Basil is part of the mint family.


Scientific Correspondence:
Protection

While basil alone should not be used as a medical alternative, it does have proven antifungal and antibacterial properties that can make it useful in household cleaners.  Basil also has antioxidants, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties, making it a protective plant.



Historical Correspondence:
Mourning - Wealth

Basil was another herb used by Egyptians in mummification.  The plant was also a symbol of mourning in Greece and ancient Greeks believed it would open the gates of the realm of the dead for those passing on.  In India, basil has been placed in the mouth of the dying to ensure they reach God.  Culturally, it has been a consistent symbol of death and mourning.

The name basil is derived from basileus phuton, a Greek phrase eaning magnificent, royal or kingly.  This may be why the French call basil herbe royal, and why we today know it was the King of the Herbs.  This herb was once known to provide protection against poverty and even today is associated with the elegant, exquisite, rich, and wealthy.


Cultural Correspondence (USA/Midwest):
Romance

In some cultures today, basil is seen as an herb of love.  Basil plants are presented as part of a gift on certain holidays to a lover, and it's a symbol of love in Italy today.  Because it's a fragrant herb, it's commonly used in cologne and perfumes, and creators often describe it as having a romantic scent.


Sigil to Invoke Basil


Utilize this sigil as a way of invoking the properties of basil if you have none available to you.  You are welcome to print this sigil, place it in a grimoire, use it on a spell or put it in your blog with proper credit.  Do not claim this sigil as your own.

References
New World Encyclopedia: Basil
Medical News Today: Basil
Healthline: Basil
The Spruce Eats: The History of Basil
MySpicer.com: The History of Basil
Demeter: Basil by Demeter
Fragrances: Basil Note

**Images were found via a search labeled for reuse.
If you would like an image removed or credited, please let me know.**

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Previously
Salt

Coming Soon
Bay
Black Pepper
Cinnamon
Cloves
Mint
Nutmeg
Patchouli
Rose
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme