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The Magic of Rocks and Stones

Selenite (Gypsum)

Written and compiled by - Patricia Jean Martin

Selenite is an alternate name for the mineral Gypsum.  The word Selenite comes from the Greek “selenites”, meaning “moon stone” or “moon rock”, with the root word “Selene” meaning “Moon”, and for good reason - the mineral Selenite is the near transparent and colourless crystal form of Gypsum that exudes a pearly luster which glows and can very much resemble the moon.  Selene is also the name of the Greek Goddess of the Moon (a.k.a. Artemis or Diana). 

Gypsum is a common sedimentary mineral - the most common of all the sulfates - and is usually found in massive beds of tabular or block crystal form.  These sedimentary deposits are formed through a hastened acceleration of evaporating saline water, and in the process may retain trapped bubbles of either air or water called “enhydros”.  Gypsum is often found in caves, in evaporated lakes or seabed’s, or salt flats.  It is interesting to note that if the natural conditions become extremely dry and the Gypsum becomes overly dehydrated, it transforms into the mineral known as Anhydrite.  If water is then reintroduced, it is restored back into Gypsum. 

There are five main types of Gypsum, known by the following names:  Selenite, Satin Spar (not to be confused with Iceland Spar which is a related Calcite), Gypsum Flower, Desert Rose, and Alabaster.  The first four crystalline varieties are commonly known as Selenite even though they contain some notable differences in appearance.  The larger crystalline form of Selenite, being a clear colourless crystal, is more rare than the other forms of the mineral.  Satin Spar is usually fibrous, translucent white and satiny.  The other forms of Gypsum are readily available in tabular, rosette or needle-like crystals, with Alabaster being the granular massive form of the mineral.  Selenite crystals can be quite large, but the mineral itself is very soft and slightly flexible (although not elastic, meaning it can be bent but will not resume its original shape on its own).  Often fibrous, it can be easily broken or scratched.  In fact, all forms of Gypsum are soft (between 1 1/2 and 2 on the Mohs Scale) and can be scratched with just a fingernail. 

As a form of Gypsum, Selenite is a natural insulator and will appear much warmer to the touch than other crystals.  Industrial grades of Gypsum are used in making sheet rock drywall, concrete, and Plaster of Paris.  Both Selenite and Satin Spar are often vitreous (glassy), pearly and silky to the touch, and both may exhibit chatoyancy (cat's eye reflections).  They also both contain a fibre optic quality, have the ability to double refract, and some specimens are fluorescent or phosphorescent.  Gypsum Flowers, Desert Roses, and Alabasters are usually not as lustrous, and often will have a gritty appearance.  In very dry areas, sand becomes trapped within and on the surface of the forming crystals, and often these inclusions are seen as shapes, such as the common “hourglass” shape found on Selenite crystals in the Great Salt Plains Lake bed.  The Desert Rose variety is shaped like a rose as its name suggests, its “petals” formed by overlapping blades of Selenite.  They are often a dusty rose, reddish or brown colour.  With their softness and natural formation related to water, all of the Gypsum varieties should never be left standing in any liquid, and all cleansers should be avoided, as the water will degrade and eventually dissolve the mineral, while soaps and cleansers will affect any lustre. 

A famous location for Selenite blades is found in the Naica Mine in Chihuahua, Mexico and is called the “Cave of Swords”.  Here giant crystals have formed, some measuring over 30 feet long.  A fairly common mineral, Selenite can be found throughout the world.

General Information:

Chemistry:  CaSO4.2 (H2O) - Hydrated Calcium Sulphate

Class:  Sulphates.

Group:  Gypsum.

Colour:  White to colourless, and transparent to translucent. In some varieties, shades of red, brown, green and yellow may be present due to inclusions of other minerals.

Lustre:  Vitreous to Pearly, especially on cleavage surface.

Crystal System:  Monoclinic, 2/m

Crystal Habit:  Tabular, bladed or block crystals with a slanted parallelogram form; also needle-like crystals. May be massive, granular, crusty or fibrous. Tabular varieties show pinacoidal faces with jutting prismatic edges. In the long, thin crystal variety, some may exhibit bending where certain specimens coil into spirals - a variety nicknamed "Ram's Horn Selenite". Two type of twinning are common, one producing a "spear head twin" or "swallowtail twin", the other producing a "fishtail twin".

Cleavage:  Good in one direction, distinct in two others.

Fracture:  Concoidal and fibrous.

Hardness:  2, and can be scratched with a fingernail.

Specific Gravity:  2.3+

Streak:  White.

Other Characteristics:  Crystals are flexible but not elastic.  Some specimens exhibit fluorescence or phosphorescence.  Gypsum has a very low thermal conductivity (hence it's use in drywall as an insulating filler). A crystal will feel noticeably warmer than a crystal of Quartz or the like.

Notable Occurrences:  Mexico; Italy; Utah and Colorado, US; Australia; Greece; Spain.

Best Field Indicators:  Hardness, flexibility, cleavage, crystal habit.

Uses:  Mineral specimens. Other forms of Gypsum are commonly used in plaster and wallboard, certain cements, paint filler, fertilizers. 

Myth & Lore:

Said to be the "Stone of Mental Clarity," Selenite is thought to be a bringer of light. 

Associated with the Greek Goddess Selene, Selenite contains feminine energy and is often used to connect and commune with the Divine, especially goddess energy.  Some use it for angelic or spirit guide connection, or aid in interacting with the Ancients.  Selenite crystals, or polished wands of Selenite, are often used as magic wands or as aids to help facilitate transporting one's intentions to the Higher Self and/or the Universe. 

Often referred to as "scanners," Selenite is said to have the ability to scan the body for disease or malfunction, pinpointing what areas may need attention.  The stone itself is also thought to have the ability to clear etheric blockages so one can gain knowledge on how to move forward toward a cure.  It is thought to have been a healing tool in Atlantis.  Selenite can be used for scrying into both the past, present and future.  Past life regressions are assisted with the use of these crystals.  They are also said to be good for dream recall. 

It is long thought that Selenite helps in procuring long-lasting relationships, ensuring fidelity and furthering commitments.  It can help reconcile differences by going to the root of any issue. 

It is believed that Selenite is one of two minerals (the other being Apophyllite) that are strong enough to clear negative energies from Quartz.  It's also believed that it has the ability to help program (charge), or reprogram (recharge), a Quartz crystal.  It is good for charging all one's magickal tools.  To cleanse and recharge your Selenite, place it under the light of the Moon.

Metaphysical Properties:

Astrological Sign's: Cancer

Element's: Water

Chakras: Crown

Greater insight.

Increases sensitivity.

Psychic development.

Awareness, sheds light.

Mental clarity.

Flexibility.

Concentration.

Visualization.

Meditative.

Access to subconscious.

Decision making.

Transmits energies.

Connects Spiritual and Physical bodies.

Channelling.

Angelic and Spirit world contact.

Access to past lives. 

*Gives physical aid in treating: Spinal column, skeletal system, cellular structure, skin, bones and teeth. Calcium deficiencies. Epilepsy and seizures. Soothes nerves. Removes blockages. Improves libido. Fertility. 

*NOTE:  Stone therapy should NOT take the place of medical evaluation and procedures, and should be used merely to enhance one's health and well-being. 

My own thoughts and experiences:

I love Selenite, especially in its clear crystal form, but I think even more so in it's Satin Spar form.  I also find it interesting that I had trouble finishing this text *until* today...the feast day of Selene. :) 

Working with Selenite, I find it does bring the clarity of mind that it's metaphysically famous for, but tends to bring it more swiftly when actually asked to.  Even though it's satiny lustre seems to project and transmit light, it is more of a receptive stone than anything else.  It is peaceful... ethereal... and can be quite hypnotizing -- a good crystal to work with when attempting to access guidance from entities on the other side and from Higher Self.  It will open your mind's eye to greater potential.  An excellent stone to use in meditation, it enhances intuition and clairvoyance, allowing you to receive what knowledge you may have had trouble in the past deciphering or seeing clearly.  Anything that was once obscure or cloudy in your mind will suddenly clear as if a fog has been lifted, and messages and/or alternative solutions will be gently recognized and at hand, usually in a kind of soft "aha" moment. 

What I found more amazing about the crystal is that even though it works softly as it slowly clears a pathway for you through the mists and sheds light on the very root cause of any issue... it is actually a very healing stone.  With the insight it brings into the very nature of something, it allows you to intuit what is needed in order to help heal thyself.  Selenite is an excellent crystal to use for problem solving and for help in communing with Deity, as the crystal itself seems to keep a foot in both worlds -- the earthly and the ethereal, connecting matter and Spirit. 

Looking up and meditating on the Moon is what it feels like when working with Selenite.  It calms, yet can be exciting and awe-inspiring.  It soothes, yet can bring epiphany.  It envelops you in its soft ethereal glow, yet can bring a powerful flash of insightful light into your being.  There is an unmistakable flow of energy that traverses a crystal wand or blade of Selenite.  At times it almost appears to be lit up from within -- a good physical symbolic demonstration on how it will metaphysically work for you.  And like the Moon, it absorbs light with remarkable speed and reflects it back to you with a very soft voice of revelation.   I find it is a perfect conduit, a transmitter if you will, for accessing ancient knowledge that leads to long sought after steps into wisdom. 

I feel that my workings with Selenite over the past few weeks has helped me to align myself and open up a more vital and significant channel between me and the gods.  I believe it even prompted me to ask about them, but aside from that, it definitely set me on a much clearer path to a greater understanding of some things that were enigmatic and cloaked in uncertainty for some time now.  To this key-bearing crystal I say, “Yes! Let the lunar magick of Selenite be your guide”.

 

Sources:

“Rocks and Minerals” ~ Frederick H. Pough

“The Book of Stones - Who They Are and What They Teach” ~ Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian

http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/sulfates/gypsum/gypsum.htm

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

Photo by Patricia J. Martin

 

© Patricia J. Martin, April 8, 2008

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