Friday, July 17, 2020

13 Essential Gemstones Series: Obsidian

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.  



Color: Often black, sometimes bluish or reddish, sometimes with inclusions of white, rainbow, gold, etc.
Appearance: Vitreous, as in it often looks glass-like.
Hardness: 5-5.5
Other Notable Qualities: A translucent material, obsidian colors vary because of microscopic light refractions or inclusion of various minerals.

Scientific Correspondence:
Fire - Cleansing

Obsidian is, quite literally, volcanic glass.  Specifically, obsidian forms at the edges of lava flows as the lava rapidly cools with little crystal growth.  As such, obsidian could be associated with fire and lava, as well as a certain kind of destructive cleansing that comes from such a source.

Historical Correspondence:
Protection - Scrying

Historically, obsidian was prized for its extremely sharp edges and was most commonly used in tools and weapons.  Tribes indigenous to the Americas frequently used obsidian in the making of arrowheads and knives.  Armenian archeologists discovered spearheads and handaxes among other tools near Mount Arteni.  Because of its use for its sharpness, obsidian could be said to be protective.

In addition to tools and weapons, obsidian was also often polished into a dark, inky-black mirror.  The Aztec and the Inca have several examples of these handcrafted mirrors. Similar obsidian mirrors have been found in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), and even are present in the Mediterranian.  Because of its apparent "darkness," obsidian mirrors spurred occult interest, particularly in scrying, during the early 1900s.

Cultural Correspondence (USA/Midwest):

Modern surgeons have been considering the use of obsidian in scalpel blades - though not in the US as it is not approved by the FDA.  Dr. Lee Green of Alberta, Canada says that the obsidian scalpel is often much sharper than a standard steel scalpel, which causes "very little trauma to tissue."  He says that this means the wound "heals faster, and more importantly, it heals with less scarring."  Modern uses of obsidian often correspond to surgery, healing, and health.

Sigil to Invoke Obsidian

Utilize this sigil as a way of invoking the properties of obsidian 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 Obsidian Obsidian
Encyclopedia Britannica: Obsidian
New World Encyclopedia: Obsidian
Oregon State University: Volcano World: Obsidian Origins Of Aztec And Inca Obsidian Mirrors Revealed Through Scientific Analyses
CNN: How Stone Age blades are still cutting it in modern surgery

**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.**


Rose Quartz
Tiger's Eye

1 comment:

  1. May I ask how you create the sigils? They're lovely. As for the obsidian, I've not worked with raw Obsidian yet. What i would love to work with is the raw green obsidian that fell in Hawaii after the volcano eruptions.