From Crystal Lore, Legends & Myths: The Fascinating History of the World’s Most Powerful Gems and Stones by Athena Perrakis, Ph.D.
Earliest Use of Crystals
The earliest recorded human experiences with crystals begin in ancient Mesopotamia, in the birthplace of civilization known as Sumer, located near modern-day Baghdad, Iraq. Sumer brought the first city, Uruk, and temples, called ziggurats, to the world. It also saw the rise of the first queen, Puabi, and first goddess ever worshipped, Inanna. Yes, Sumer was a matriarchy, even though she had kings—including Gilgamesh, fifth king of Uruk. And, even though a seminal poem chronicled his epic life, Inanna endures as the more powerful and revered figure.
The Sumerian civilization existed from roughly 4500 to 2000 BCE. Its earliest forms of communication, called cylinder seals, were often carved from gypsum, a calcium sulfate material. Gypsum is accessible, soft, easy to carve, and able to survive well in dry desert air, and so it was the optimal material for daily use. Cylinder seals were also carved of hematite, one of the most protective minerals in the crystal kingdom. On these seals, our Sumerian ancestors engraved images and words in cuneiform, the first written language, which was a series of etchings or intentional patterns of hatch marks. Sumerian people ascribed properties both to the images on the cylinder seals and the material with which the seal was made.
A person or family’s cylinder seal indicated identity, ownership, and station in life; one’s seal could also be used to represent images from an important occasion or period, such as a birth, marriage, or death. The seals were used for mundane tasks including sealing bottles or documents, or ceremonially as a rendering of an individual or setting. The seals rolled easily onto wet clay to create tablets, the earliest form of interpersonal written communication. Jewelry was also pressed using the cylinder seal.
The Sumerians also carved ceremonial praying figures from translucent gypsum, sometimes with glimmering golden heads and hand-painted features. Known as votive figures, these were representations of various beings made as offerings in a broad spiritual sense. They were placed in important places, such as temples and ziggurats. Stone was not widely accessible then, so it would have been saved for significant projects, and only the wealthy or powerful would have had access to a personal seal or votive figure.
In ancient times, our ancestors would have wondered why some minerals were only accessible in tiny pockets. Imagine coming across the first gleaming-red almandine crystal in the vast desert. You might think it has unique and even magical properties, and the ground where it was found is also blessed. Stories of its significance would circulate far and wide. You might search for more, and, when only a small amount is found, decide with care what to use it for.
ACCESSING CRYSTAL WISDOM: EGYPT AND MESOPOTAMIA
If you want to work with the magic of the crystals of ancient Egypt and Sumer, gather two to four stones from the sidebar that speak to you (below is an example using hematite and/or garnet). Hold one or two in each hand. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed and your spine straight, bringing your attention to your breath. Allow yourself to journey back in time to those sand-swept lands, all those thousands of years ago. Feel the warmth of the air surrounding you and the fine texture of the sand beneath your bare feet. Turn your face to the Sun, and feel its warm rays soothing every muscle in your body, calling you to relax, soften, and enjoy this experience. Perhaps some of your personal magic still resides in these ancient lands, and now, as the door to the past opens before you, step forward and reclaim this ancient part of yourself. It is time, and you are welcome here.
PROPERTIES OF HEMATITE AND GARNET
If you have chosen to work with garnet or hematite, focus your attention on your blood flowing through your veins, your sacred life force that moves through you effortlessly without your permission or attention. Allow garnet and hematite to remind you all is unfolding in perfect time, and you simply need to be. You are safe, protected, and well. Give thanks for the stability and solidarity of your life in this moment. Amen, A’ho, so it is.
|CRYSTALS OF EGYPT AND MESOPOTAMIA AT A GLANCE|
|CRYSTAL||PROPERTIES||COUNTRY OF ORIGIN (Ancient and Modern)|
|Chrysocolla||diplomacy, reconciliation, friendship, advocacy||Egypt, Peru|
|Malachite||physical healing, divine feminine power||Egypt, Afghanistan|
|Hematite||circulation of energy, physical health, stability, safety||Sumer, Morocco|
|Garnet||grounding, safety, protection||India, Sumer|
|Lapis lazuli||power, royal energy||Afghanistan|
|Emerald||fidelity, power, wisdom, intuition, insight, compassion, new love, eternal love||Egypt, Columbia|
|Libyan gold tektite||astral travel and interdimensional awareness||Sahara Desert|
|Tourmaline||divine protection, divine wisdom, love, awareness||Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Burma, Untied States, Brazil|
About the author:
Athena Perrakis is the founder and CEO of Sage Goddess, the world’s largest source of sacred tools and metaphysical education. She holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and was a professor and executive coach before she founded Sage Goddess. She blends her training in Shamanism, aromatherapy, Reiki, world history, linguistics, comparative religion, and leadership to bring a perspective that is both theoretical and practical. She is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Chakras, The Chakras Handbook, Crystal Lore, Legends & Myths (publishing March 26, 2019), and The Book Blessings and Rituals (publishing August 6) from Fair Winds Press.
Excerpted from Crystal Lore, Legends & Myths: The Fascinating History of the World’s Most Powerful Gems and Stones by Athena Perrakis, Ph.D.
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Publishing from Fair Winds Press, an imprint of the Quarto Group, March 26, 2019. For more information, visit https://quartokno.ws/CrystalLore.
Hardcover: 192 pages