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The Magic of Rocks and Stones

Sunstone

by Patricia J. Martin

As the longest day of the year approaches, when the Sun is at its peak and sits highest in the sky, what better stone to help celebrate the Summer Solstice than Sunstone! 

To start, it is wise to mention that there are several stones that carry the name Sunstone ~ one being a type of Aventurine that is a sparkling reddish-orange to brown color, and another being a transparent orange to yellow crystal that was formed through volcanic activity and birthed within basaltic lava flows - a true fire stone that usually goes by the name of "Golden Sunstone". But for this article I have concentrated on what is considered to be the oldest known and most widely used Sunstone - the shimmering plagioclase Feldspar Sunstone, also formed within lava fields. 

The name "Sunstone" is self-evident of course, but this captivating stone has another name - Heliolite, from the Greek "helios" meaning "sun" and "lithos" meaning "stone". It is a hard stone registering 7 on the Mohs Scale which is right up there with Quartz, and forms in granular masses or tabular euhedral crystals within magmatic and pegmatitic rock. It's luster is vitreous (glassy) to dull, and its streak is white. Favorite locations that host an abundance of this type of glistening Sunstone are India, Norway, Russia, and the states of New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina in the U.S. Another kind of Sunstone, whose inclusions are of Copper instead of the usual Hematite, is located in Oregon, and is called Oregon Sunstone by the trade. In 1987, this Sunstone was made Oregon's state gemstone. 

Sunstone is most often found in hues of orange, peach, yellowish brown, and sometimes green or gray, but each with areas of iridescent salmon-colored schiller. This sparkle and lustrous shimmer, though revered by the ancients as a captured and imprisoned piece of the Sun itself, is actually caused by the refraction of minute and very thin platelets of Hematite or Goethite inclusions. But none of this takes away from the true magick of this mystical stone, as you will see. 

Myth & Lore

Sunstone has a long list of mythical lore attached to it, but here are some of the highlights. In ancient Greece, Sunstone was used to represent the Sun God, Helios (or Apollo). Ancient Greeks believed Sunstone invigorated and greatly improved the state of the physical body and the spirit, bringing renewed strength and good health to both. They also believed it brought abundance, prosperity, and protection - so much so with the latter, that they would adorn their drinking vessels with this stone in order to prevent poisoning. In India, natives wore Sunstone to protect themselves against any intrusive or negative forces. 

Sunstone was used by certain Native American Indian tribes to assist their medicine men in contacting Spirit Guides. Placing the stone in the center of their medicine wheel, it was believed to assist in harnessing the healing powers of the Sun. It was said that the stone would glow a bright golden color if successful contact was made. Another "glowing" spot of lore regarding Sunstone is that Pope Clement VII was said to be in possession of a piece which held within it a glowing spot, one that would actually move across the surface of the stone from east to west in conjunction with the sun. 

In myth, ancient Vikings used what they called a "sunstone" to aid their navigations... perhaps both in life and death, as in fact this Feldspar type of Sunstone has been discovered in Viking burial mounds and is thought to have been placed there to aid one's journey to Valhalla. Current speculation is that their navigational "sunstone" may have been the Sunstone we know today, but the double refracting Iceland Spar (a form of Calcite) is also a possibility, as is the transparent mineral Cordierite which turns from yellow to blue whenever held at right angle to the sun. Either way, the theory is well thought out, as these stones exhibits the exact property which would be needed to navigate by the position of the sun - the property of refraction. Refracted light makes it possible to locate the sun during storms, fog, or darkness. So just as certain insects use refraction of light to find direction, so may have these remarkable ancient mariners. 

Crystal healers of today use Sunstone to rid one of depression and alleviate stress, anxiety and phobias. Medicinally, Sunstone is said to be helpful with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression, emotional heartache, anxiety, and stress, along with regulating the nervous system and calming the discomfort of ulcers. This stone may also be used in treatment of cartilage problems, spinal irregularities, and for relief from rheumatism and arthritis. 

*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.

Magickally, you can use Sunstone in all solar workings. This stone excels at attracting wealth, prosperity, promotion and good fortune of all kinds. Its powers are in health, vitality, energy, protection, and sexuality. Sunstones are often used in Solstice rituals. To cleanse and clear these dazzlers, place in fresh running water and then set them in the sunlight to dry.

Metaphysical Properties of Sunstone

Sunstone is a power stone, projecting the male god energy, and is connected with both the Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras. This stone's strength and vitality are unmistakable, and it can kindle the fire within one's own spirit as it increases its user's own vitality, strength and stamina. Known for its energizing and empowering properties, this optimistic stone brightens the self-esteem and self-confidence of those who wear it or work with it. 

As with any stone, merely holding one will have some effect on its user. A stone's own intrinsic vibrational energy can and will affect a person's aura, physical body, or mood. Sunstone's energy is very vital and uplifting, and its flashes of glowing iridescence can't help but make you want to explore its life force. Like its sister stones, Labradorite and Moonstone, Sunstone exudes an inner light that bursts forth and practically shouts, "Look at me!" Where Labradorite and Moonstone may ask you to look inside, Sunstone will ask you to bring what's inside... out. Working with this stone, that is noted for helping expand one's consciousness and creativity, can help you determine not only what your special talents are, but how best to bring them forth and use them for the benefit and good of all. I do agree with Robert Simmons, co-author of The Book of Stones, who wrote, "Sunstone is the yang which balances the yin of Moonstone." 

Excellent at banishing fears and phobias of all sorts, Sunstone removes inhibitions and releases feelings of unworthiness. It is also believed to be able to clear away any lingering and unwanted entities or energies that may have attached themselves emotionally or physically to another. Independence and freedom are definitely highlighted in the attributes of this stone. 

Many say that Sunstone brings "good luck," but the true definition of "luck" simply means being in the right place at the right time... more so a fortunate synchronicity. The way Sunstone brings on this synchronicity is by prompting its user into the spotlight where he or she is more noticeable and visible to the world. This, enhanced by the stone's projective energy and willful abundance, will provide you with many of the key factors - the courage and strength, the discipline and conviction, the optimism and energy - which are needed to keep things flowing in that "lucky" fortunate direction. 

Sunstone brings warmth and openness, romance and sexuality, clear vision and originality, leadership and ability, and is prized as the bringer of good fortune. It strongly promotes a positive attitude and cheerfulness, not to mention a sunny disposition. ;) 

This bright and illuminating stone says, "Come dance with me and you shall see the veritable joy that life can be." Sunstone is associated with the astrological sign of Leo, and its Element is Fire ~ a most appropriate stone as we gather to honor and celebrate the Sun, and as we look forward to the rich bounty of Summer's offerings.

Sun-Blessed may you be!

Sources:

http://webmineral.com/data/Oligoclase.shtml

http://www.mindat.org/min-10984.html

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,899649,00.html

"The Book of Stones: Who They Are and What They Teach" by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian

"The Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals" by Cassandra Eason

Sunstone, itself.

First published in The Controversial Cauldron - the group newsletter of Email Witches

June 2008  ©  Patricia J. Martin

Best wishes and Blessed Be

 

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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 /

 

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Rituals contributed by Crone:

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras

 

 

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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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