Magic Rocks - Myths, Legends and Histories of Your Favourite Crystals
I’m not much of a blogger. Setting time aside to actually sit down and write isn’t the hard part. Trying to pin a train of thought to the keyboard is difficult when it’s derailed by the unconscious checking of social media or the monotonous ‘ping’ of the group chat I should probably mute. Maybe I should make another cup of tea, before I really get in to it and lose my flow? I’ll just look out the window while I think of something witty to write, and realise I’ve been watching the pigeons in the garden mate for the past 10 minutes, like some kind of avian pervert.
And alas, I am distracted again.
Back on track, I think I’ll ease myself back into this blogging malarkey gently, and take the opportunity to talk about some pretty rocks and the stories around them. What can I say, crystals rock my world. I love a pun. Maybe I’ll put it on a t-shirt?
A lot of thought goes into the type of the crystals we use at Storm And Fortune. We choose our rocks not just on the aesthetic value, but the spiritual properties and symbolism they’re associated with. As such, it gifts us with an opportunity to learn all about the mythologies of our gemstones, and boy-howdy, they are cool. So buckle up fellow rock nerds, I’m gonna share my favourite.
With the launch of our brand new Persephone Ring in Baltic Amber, it seems only fair to start here. Simultaneously representing the sun and the sea, amber symbolises all those things we associate with the sun - happiness, luck, healing, love, joy, warmth, rejuvenation. Its sunny colours are linked to the Sacral, Solar Plexus and Root Chakras and is sometimes believed to draw out negativity and stimulate healing.
But, as you’ll see on the backing card of our rings, amber is referred to as “the tears of the gods”, and I’d love to expand on that.
Jūratė And Her Lost Love
A tale from Lithuanian mythology, the Goddess Jūratė lived beneath the Baltic Sea, in castle made of amber. She ruled the ocean and its inhabitants lived peacefully. Until one idiot started fishing in her waters. This was, understandably for a Sea Kingdom, forbidden. The Goddess Jūratė sent her mermaids up to the surface to warn the fisherman to stop. He didn’t. Incensed, Jūratė rose to the surface herself to punish the man, but was struck by his beauty, and they fell in love. She brought him back to her aquatic kingdom and her beautiful amber castle and they lived together in peace.
But not for long. When Perkūnes, the God of Thunder learnt of their love, he was furious, particularly because Jūratė had been betrothed to the God Of Water, Potrimpo. To cast this aside for the folly of a mortal romance was simply unacceptable, even if it was true love. Perkūnes threw a bolt of mighty lightning into the sea, destroying Jūratė palace of amber, killing her lover, and chained her to the ruins for all eternity.
As Jūratė weeps for her lost love, her tears turn to amber. When the storms across the Baltic rage, these tears, and the remains of her amber castle are washed onto the shore.
Something I found particularly interesting is that this “the tears go the Gods” motif makes its appearance again in the Greek/Roman pantheon, as seen in…
The Fall of Phaeton
Phaeton wanted to seek assurance that he was indeed, the son of Apollo (known as Helios, in Rome). He insisted he be allowed to drive his father’s chariot and proof of his dominion over the sun. Apollo, reluctantly allowed this, and Phaeton set off across the sky, steering the horses who pulled the sun. Things, quite obviously did not end well, and the boy was unable to control the mighty steeds. They climbed too high and froze the earth. They flew too close and burnt the ground. To avoid further disaster, Zeus struck the chariot with a lightning bolt (a bit of a pattern here) and Phaeton crashed to the ground, dead.
Mourning the loss of their dear brother, Phaethon’s sisters, kept vigil over his resting place for months. The gods turned them into poplar trees, and, still weeping, the tears seeped from their bark as sap, which turned to amber.
There are other myths regarding amber, but strangely, these two sad tales of loss, are my favourite. We all know that insects are found eternally preserved in amber, and I feel these legends capture something about the ‘eternity’ of love. Amber was - and is still - often used in memorial jewellery, and I think these two tales illustrate why I look at it as a representation of the ongoing transformation that occurs when healing. Sometimes tears can be a good thing.
What do you call a gemstone that’s dark blue with gold spots? Lapis Lazuli!
That wasn’t a joke, it was an observation.
We use Lapis Lazuli in our Freyja and Thor bracelets, and I, for one am a big fan of this cool crystal. And so were a lot of ancient cultures. Due to its flecks of gold pyrite, it was said to represent the night sky, and thus, the domain of the Gods in Egyptian and Mesopotamian legend. Let’s dive into some of the history hidden in the deep blue depths of this stone.
The Goddess Ishtar/Inanna
Lapis Lazuli is well associated with the Mesopotamian Goddess Ishtar.
One such example is in The Epic Of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest surviving works of literature. Lapis Lazuli is mentioned several times throughout the course of the epic.
In retaliation for spurring her advances, Ishtar sends the mighty Bull Of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh. The beast’s horns are coated in Lapis Lazuli, but that doesn’t stop it from being defeated by Gilgamesh and his “friend” Enkidu. The bull itself later became known as the constellation of Taurus, further cementing the correlation between lapis lazuli and the sky. Ishtar was also said to have worn a necklace of Lapis Lazuli to protect her through her voyage to the underworld top rescue her lover, Tammuz.
Maat, the Egyptian Goddess of Truth, Wisdom and the Stars is also associated with this beautiful stone. Judges of ancient Egypt wore pendants of lapis lazuli carved in her form, as a reminder of her qualities. Perhaps this is why lapis lazuli is associated with truth and wisdom.
Amulets of other deities including Osiris, Horus and Hathor have also been found, carved in lapis.
In the Middle Ages and through to the Renaissance period, Lapis Lazuli was ground into powder and used to create ultramarine - the most expensive pigment used by painters of this time period. Such was its exclusivity, it was often reserved for the depictions of angels and the robes of the Virgin Mary.
Amethyst, amethyst, amethyst - one of my favourite rocks. Mostly known in tones of purple, amethyst can actually range from pinks to greens. The word itself comes from the Ancient Greek word “Amethystos”, meaning “not drunk” and in these ancient times, wine goblets were carved out of it to ward off intoxication (it doesn’t work, I’ve tried). Still, our Artemis Amethyst Necklace and Apollo Amethyst Earrings will still look
One of the most interesting Gods of the Greek/Roman pantheon Dionysus, God of wine, is well linked with the amethyst. That being said, their most famous legend, isn’t really a legend at all. Created in 1576 by the French poet, Remy Belleau, the story of Bacchus and Amethyst centres around a beautiful maiden, Amethyst, on her way to worship at the temple of Artemis (Or Diana). Being in a bad mood, Dionysus vowed to unleash a pair of tigers upon the next mortal he spied, which was the unfortunate Amethyst. The maiden cried out for the help to Artemis (or Diana) and she turned her into a shimmering white stone. Then Dionysus realised what he had done, he wept (or spilt his wine) upon the stone, staining it purple, creating the Amethyst crystal.
Well, it’s taken my dyslexic ass over three hours to string this measly collection of words together for you, but you know what? It was kinda fun. Share this bad boy of a blog on social media if you enjoyed it.
Want more? Check out my previous post on Rose Quartz.