Virtues of Labradorite
September 7, 2013 9 Comments
Despite my primary focus relying on “high magic” or theurgy, which is supposed to be divested from the use of natural or physical objects, material tools and the materials those tools are made from fill many important roles in my work. For instance, the use of specific herbs, oils, or incenses for rituals, or the consecration of knives or wands using specific liquids or treatments. Specific stones and gems are important, too, and can not only significantly empower a ritual but can be consecrated tools in their own right. For instance, I have a handful of large citrine points I use as focuses or pseudo-wands for solar work, especially when I work with the Headless Rite. The ability of a particular substance to affect the world around it is called its virtue, or its occult or “magical” characteristics that lend it power. The discussion of virtues is the primary focus of Cornelius Agrippa’s First Book of Occult Philosophy, in which he discusses “Natural Magic”, and from which much modern Western occult literature follows.
Of the stones I like (and there are some I don’t), labradorite is among my favorite. It’s a feldspar mineral, and so retains all the occult virtues of feldspar, which also includes sunstone, amazonite, and others. Labradorite specifically has a particular blend of sodium and calcium that has it lie between pure albite (sodium-based without calcium) and anthorite (calcium-based without sodium). It ranges in color from dark grey to pale grey, sometimes with a brown or dark olive coloration, but it has an interesting optical property called labradorescence, where the fine layers of growth in the stone allow for a kind of metallic iridescence ranging in color from deep blue to green, red, purple, and yellow. The iridescent qualities, however, rely on a particular angle of reflection; labradorite may appear dull and boring until tilted just so. Labradorite was officially discovered by the West in 1770 in Labrador in northeastern Canada, but has also been discovered in Finland, Russia, Madagascar, and other places around the world, and occurs among the artifacts of native peoples. As a type of feldspar, it has many commercial uses of the same including road paving and ceramic integrity, but has also been used as a gemstone since its discovery due to its interesting optical beauty. Particularly iridescent or gem-quality labradorite is known as the variant spectrolite, with Ylämaa, Finland being the most well-known centers of this variant. Darker variants of labradorite are also called black moonstone.
Due to its relatively recent discovery, there isn’t that much reliable knowledge on labradorite as it applies to magic, especially in Hermetic work. As such, Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic lacks an entry on the stone. According to the fluffy new-agey yet highly thorough Love is in the Earth by Melody, the general mineral feldspar is said to have the following attributes [sic]:
This mineral assists one in detaching from the old, encouraging unconventional and exciting methods to attains ones goals. It provides for support in issues of self-awareness and self-love, for with realization of love one can become united with all aspects of the world.
It has been found as a constituent of moon rock and provides for a connection with inter-galactic intelligence. Feldpsar also enables one to access the communicative forces of this intelligence.
It assists one in locating that which has been mis-placed and in discovering and understanding previously unidentified messages from both within and without of the self.
It can be used in the treatment of disorders associated with the skin and muscular structure.
In her entry on labradorite, Melody has this to say [sic]:
In addition to the properties listed in the FELDSPAR section of this book, this mineral protects ones aura, and helps to keep the aura clear, balanced, protected, and free from energy leaks. It assists in the alignment of the subtle bodies, enhancing the connection between the physical and ethereal realms.
It is said to represent the “temple of the stars”, assisting one in sustaining and maintaining, while providing for the understanding of the destiny one has chosen. It brings the light of the other planetary beings to the soul of the user. The labradorescence is a luminescence, derived from extra-terrestrial origin, which is enclosed in the mineral to bring the galactic evolved energies from other worlds to the Earth plane.
The energy of labradorite facilitates the transformation of intuition into intellectual thought such that one can implement the instructions provided. It assists one to traverse changes, attracting strength and perseverance. IT has been known as the matriarch of the subconscious mind, providing instructive sessions to the user concerning the implementation of inner messages and the utilization of same in the physical domain. it can help to provide clarity to the inner sight, instilling a passionless peace of imperturbability via the annihilation of disturbing thoughts.
It also symbolizes the moon and helps one to advance, without constraint, through the cycles of progression, heralding the arrival of ascension. It also symbolizes the sun, providing for vitality and for a sense of “self” during transitions, and promoting refinement of action and discernment in direction.
It unites the personal self with the understanding required to both realize and achieve the destiny of this life, relieving insecurity and apprehension, while enhancing faith and reliance in oneself and the absolute purity of the universal harmony.
It assists one in eliminating aspects of familiarity which obscures thought and blurs instinct, helping one with originality and precision, and bringing uniqueness without judgment to ones contemplative patterns.
It helps one to reflect and to facilitate transformations which are beneficial. It also enhances patience and an inner knowing of “the right time”.
It allows for recognition that humanity represents the “Being of Light”, transcending the limitations of the past and the thoughts of the future, and embracing the infinite possibilities of the moment. It helps one to both “be” and to proceed with the assurance that the light is always there, surrounding and pure.
Labradorite brings the commencement of the recognition of ones inherent and analytical and rational abilities. It further promotes the synthesis of intellectual thought with the intuitive, mystical, and psychic wisdom.
It assists in inspiring one to introduce the teachings of other worlds to this world of love and light, bringing assimilation and illumination to further the advancement of humanity.
It can be used during radionic analysis; holding a sample and placing a sample on the witness or using a pendulum of this stone, the energy of the stone interferes with the energy of the user and points to the problem[s] involved.
It has been used in the treatment of disorders of the brain, to stimulate mental acuity, and to reduce anxiety and stress. It can assist in digestion, regulation, and metabolism. It has also been used to clarify the eyes.
Labradorite has an associated myth according to its Canadian origin. A common version of this myth says:
According to an Eskimo legend, the Northern Lights were once imprisoned in the rocks along the Labrador coast, until one day an Eskimo warrior found them and freed most of the lights with a blow from his spear. Not all the lights could be freed from the stone however and for that reason we have today what is known as labradorite.
All this is well and good, but even with the nice Native American legend and the wealth(?) of Melody’s new age fluff, this doesn’t speak much about its virtues in Hermetic magic, though it is helpful. The labradorescent light within the stones definitely has a varying and ephemeral quality not unlike the Aurora Borealis, formed from the interplay of the Sun and the magnetic sphere of the Earth. This also ties labradorite in with the Roman goddess Aurora, or Dawn, who heralded the coming of the Sun with her many colors, or “rosy fingers” as is frequently seen in literature. From the legends, then, we can already assign a celestial, nocturnal, and luminary quality to labradorite, a kind of interplay of the Sun and the Moon against the larger firmament of the stars.
Since labradorite was discovered well after Cornelius Agrippa’s time, and since he otherwise doesn’t mention feldspar in his tables of correspondence or discussion of virtues, it helps to look at the qualities of things Agrippa lists to figure out what forces labradorite might play best with. For this, Agrippa might say that labradorite is lunary, solary, and mercurial based on the qualities of things he ascribes based on these planets:
- Moon (book I, chapter 24): silver, white, or green things, crystals generally
- Sun (book I, chapter 23): opal, rainbow quartz (Iris, or “Rainbow”), glittery things
- Mercury (book I, chapter 29): things that are mixed, those which are of diverse colors or are mixed with yellow and green, things that change forms or appearances
Of these, the connections to Mercury and the Sun are probably the strongest, with the Moon being a little less likely. Of course, all celestial forces are present in all sublunary things anyway (book I, chapter 30), but labradorite’s strongest connections might lie with Mercury and the Sun. Peculiar to labradorite, however, we have definite nocturnal tendencies; the Northern Lights are primarily a nocturnal feature, and the darkness of labradorite combined with its bright luminescence is similar to those famed lights at night, or light shining in the darkness from otherwise hidden features. Mercury is probably the strongest connection to go with, then, with the Sun and Moon playing equal parts in its virtue (or slightly unequal, biased towards the Sun). If it is mercurial, however, it’s a kind of holy, celestial, or ouranic force of Mercury. Given the variance in color with labradorescence, it might not be wrong to say that labradorite is definitely stellar, as in pertaining to the sphere of the fixed stars in addition to or instead of any one particular planet.
In addition to its almost-gaudy beautiful radiance, the magical feel, or aura or dweomer, of labradorite is what really hooks me. It feels very cooling as far as stones go, like smooth, soft, light water or a thick cool mist that washes away filth. It doesn’t have a strong centering aspect to its feel, but it is clarifying, sharpening the mind into precision. It doesn’t feel slow or heavy, but it doesn’t seem to speed up the mind or jolt it into activity, either. It’s not luxurious like stones of Venus or Jupiter, but it has a kind of safe and still feeling that I’ve associated with the Moon and Sun in the past. It tastes (metaphorically speaking) clean and refreshing, more pleasant than unpleasant, again tastes which are lunar and solar. It would seem like it would be a spiritual kind of ruby or carnelian; these stones are known for energizing and supercharging physical acts, while labradorite might be better for energizing or supercharging spiritual activity, more than star sapphire or other “celestial” or “spiritual” stones which seem only to draw upward. Its varied colors do help in unifying various forces within the mind, certainly, and would seem to help act as a kind of “spiritual grounding” stone, in which one can ground “higher up”; use of labradorite in astral ritual would not be a bad thing, using it as an anchor for the physical body to link to the astral one. Its iridescence that comes from within, normally hidden until turned just right towards the light, can be an indication that this stone can help bring out magical power, talent, or genius from within; again, this ties into supercharging spiritual activity, giving these things more light than would otherwise be known or seen.
During the last gem show that I go to every so often with some of my crafty occult friends, I kept getting distracted (as in past gem shows) with labradorite. Its interesting appearance kept tricking me, leading me to inspect samples and beads over and over again until I realized that it was just the same stuff. At the gem show before the last one, I ended up buying a labradorite orb about the size of a small orange, which is beautiful and dark with bright labradorescence showing, which will be good for meditation or scrying of specific entities. At the most recent one, however, I decided to finally suck it up and got a few strands of labradorite beads that I fashioned into a mala, or prayer beads not unlike a rosary.
A mala is a string of 108 beads, the number 108 assuming high importance in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other dharmic religions. I’ve always liked malas, and have owned several in my life, but I’ve never crafted one myself before. Using repetitions of prayers is helpful in my work, and I use Buddhist mantras, my magical motto, or other short prayers with these things. My mala design uses 108 beads as the actual prayer counter beads, plus four extra beads: a large banded onyx bead plus three extra labradorite beads, with a black tassel and held together with black silk cord. The four (or three plus one) beads assume different meanings, depending on tradition. In Buddhism, the larger bead represents the guru or teacher, and the three smaller beads represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha). For me, since I’m less Buddhist than other things, these extra beads can also refer to the three persons of the Triune God, plus the larger bead to represent the One God, or the One Thing or Whole of Hermeticism. I used onyx since it’s a stone associated with Saturn, representing the firmament and black night sky against which all the stars shine and the celestial light is filtered through from the Divine Supernals down all the way to our sphere of the Earth. Plus, onyx is a fairly heavy and dark stone, which can also represent the physical power and material result of prayer, magic, and meditation; in this sense, the three extra labradorite beads and onyx bead can also represent the Hebrew understanding of the elements, where the elements of Fire, Air, and Water are independent in their own right and Earth is a combination of the other three elements.
So, that’s my contribution to widening the scope of magical knowledge on this stone. What about you, dear readers? Have you used labradorite in your work for anything? Are there any particular experiences or thoughts on this stone you’d like to share, or theories on how it might be used in rituals or talismanic magic?