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The Magic of Rocks and Stones

Amber

Written and compiled by - Patricia Jean Martin

I've chosen Amber as the stone for Imbolc, even though this attractive gem is not a stone at all, but is, rather, an ancient fossilized tree resin that once flowed from the wound of a conifer.  The pine trees from which Amber hails are no longer in existence, and the specimens of their once life-giving resins which we hold today are roughly between 25 - 50 million years old.  I think it fitting that just as Imbolc which means "in the belly" and Oimelc (or Oimelg) which means "ewe's milk" which has begun to flow... so, too, was Amber once in the belly of the tree whose essence flowed forth to gift us in its new form. 

The name Amber derives from the Arabic word "ambar" which refers to ambergris, a secretion from the sperm whale which is used in making perfume.  The only similarity between the two, though, is color, for they are without a doubt two totally separate things.  Although both are often transported on the waves of the sea, it is this, along with their color similarity, which was most likely how the two may have been once confused.  Amber registers only 2 to 2½ on the Mohs Scale and is light enough that it can float on salt water.  And it does...for Amber is often found in or near the ocean, with its deposits existing in sediments along the shore.  Its most prevalent locales are on the shores of the Baltic Sea, predominantly in Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany.  Other prominent Amber findings are in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Amber (also known as Succinite) is most often a transparent yellow to orange color, but can be found in shades of brown, red, green (often enhanced), clear, and even a highly sought after Dominican blue.  This Sabbat, though, we concentrate on the golden yellow variety, called "Gold of the North" by the ancient Greeks and Romans.  For, likened to the Sun and once thought by the Greco-Romans to actually be sunlight trapped within the resin, Amber personifies the warmth and renewal aspects of the Sun God at this time of year.  This interesting mineraloid, with its often small insects and/or other bits of organic material that are literally trapped inside it, nicely mimics our own current situation of still being somewhat immobilized and imprisoned by the cold grip of Winter, but at the same time allows us to see the promise of what lies within - and that is, the hope of renewal and the first breath of Spring, as we sense new life beginning to stir beneath the still-frozen topsoils.  I see Amber as an excellent window into the past that keeps an optimistic eye on the future.

Even though this organic gem can be found riding the ocean currents, Amber's Element is Fire.  It is one of the sacred stones of Helios, the god who chariots the Sun across the sky.  But Amber has also always been associated with the feminine, and is often called the "Stone of the Mother Goddess."  This dual association makes Amber quite relative to both the Sun God and the Goddess Brighid who holds the blue flame, both of whom we acknowledge and honor during Imbolc.

Within its Fire attributes of vitality, courage and purification, there are many legends surrounding Amber.  To those in the Far East it was thought to be drops of solidified dragon's blood.  To the Vikings it was known as "Freyja's Tears" and was said that the goddess once traded her favors to the Dwarves in exchange for an Amber necklace.  In ancient Greek mythology, Amber was created when Helios' son, Phaeton, was killed as a result of Zeus' lightning that flung him off his father's chariot and into the river Eridanus where he drowned.  So grief-stricken were his sisters that they simply transformed into trees but continued to weep golden tears of Amber. The early Christians saw Amber as tears that were shed by the birds during Christ's crucifixion.  The Chinese believed this golden gem held the "souls of many tigers and many suns".  And in several cultures around the globe, a general Old World legend was that Amber was formed by the setting rays of the sun as they touched the ocean's horizon.

One of the earliest records that refers to Amber was found carved on a stone obelisk in Egypt and dates back to 883 BCE.  It reads:  "Ashur-Nasir-Apal, the ruler of Assyria, sent his people to the land of amber where the seas wash amber ashore like copper…".  But the use of Amber goes back much farther than that.  The discovery of Amber beads, amulets and artifacts in various locations and burial sites have shown that this magnificent resinous gem was revered throughout the ages—the earliest known, being the Paleolithic Era.

Some ancient uses of Amber (many of which are still used today) included... burning it in fire ceremonies to release its light and to protect from and clear negativity; as a gateway to the Astral during shamanic ritual; as an amulet by Roman gladiators to instill courage, drive away fear, and to protect against danger; in love potions and rituals due to Amber's attracting qualities, for when rubbed, Amber emits an electrical magnetic charge (and in fact, "elektron" was the ancient Greek term for Amber, from which our word "electricity" is derived); and for healing of many kinds worldwide.  Amber has been used as an antibiotic, usually in an elixir.  Physically, it is also known to be good for alleviating stomach and digestive disorders, throat, thyroid and glandular problems, kidney dysfunctions, and for uplifting and relieving depression.  For the latter, this magickal 'stone' brings with it a sense of renewal, sunny thoughts, and recharges one's energy and stamina...things usually very much needed at this time of year.  Known as the "Honey Stone" or "Petrified Sunlight", Amber does bring soothing light and warmth to those who use or wear it.

Magickally, Amber is used in spells or ritual for luck, love, protection, purification, personal power, prosperity, sexual energy, and multiple forms of healing.  It is also used to connect with the Ancestors and to retrieve knowledge and wisdom from the Otherworlds.  Amber is associated with the astrological signs of Leo and Aquarius, the Sun-ruled Lion and the Water-Bearer.  Often paired with Jet, Amber is an excellent choice for Fire Sabbats.

Just as Imbolc is the time when milk flows...so, too, does Amber represent that which flows.  May love and peace, health and prosperity, and the renewal of life, ever-flow to each and all.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber

http://www.amberfilling.ee/ajalugue.php 

The Book of Stones-Who They Are & What They Teach, Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian, with contributions by Hazel Raven

Crystals, Jennie Harding

Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic, Scott Cunningham

The Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals, Cassandra Eason

Amber, itself 

January 10, 2009 © Patricia J. Martin

Best wishes and Blessed Be

 

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Correspondence Tables:

 

IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals

 

Traditions:

 

Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /

 

Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /

 

Other things of interest:

 

Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 /

 

Sabbats and Festivals:

 

The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)

 

Rituals contributed by Crone:

 

Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon

 

Tools:

 

Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing

 

Animals:

 

Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat

 

Trees:

 

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

 

Sacred Sites:

 

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 StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble

 

Wisdom and Inspiration:

 

Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /

 

Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:

 

Murdered 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 ElderHesiodPythagoras

 

 

Biographies

 

Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)

 

Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)

 

Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /  Amber KAnna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman Spare /  Biddy Early /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristina Oakley Harrington Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Isaac Bonewits Israel RegardieJames "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” /  Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John ScoreJoseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen /  Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceMargaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillPaddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPhilip HeseltonRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Robert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  

 

 

Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)

 

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