Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February. It is a quartz stone symbolizing sincerity, truth and deep love. Practitioners can use amethyst amulets for help in dealing with addictions, calming the mind and promoting relaxation. In ancient Greece, the stone had the virtue of sharpening the mind of a business owner and common beliefs held that the gem improves the speed of one’s cognitive processes. The stone increases one’s compassionate nature, positive energies, and spiritual awareness. Amethysts are also associated with tranquility, moderation, and stress reduction.
In “Diamonds and Precious Stones,” Harry Emanuel reveals the etymological sources for the word amethyst. In ancient Hebrew, the spelling for this gemstone is “Achlamah.” In Vulgate Latin, amethyst is “Amethistus”; In ancient Greek, the stone is “Amethistos” and in Chaldean it’s, “En Egla,” meaning “Calf’s eye.” The ancient Romans have a similar identification for the gem, calling it the “Eyelid of Venus.” During the Middle Ages, common beliefs held that amethysts could dispel sleep, sharpen the mind, and work as an antidote against poison.
In “A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences,” George Gregory explains that the amethyst is a purple stone, but it can range in color from deep violet to pale rose, or it can even appear colorless. Amethyst is made of silica, alumina, iron oxide and manganese; According to Gregory, some scholars assert that the name of the stone originates from its color, while others argue that its name originates from the idea that it has the “virtue for preventing drunkenness … it was usual for great drinkers to wear it about their necks.” The ancients would add the stone to drinking vessels in the hopes that the gem would prevent intoxication.
Amethyst is a precious stone associated with dreams. In “Earth and Its Treasures,” W. H. D. Adams explains that the stone was also referred to as the amethystus, and the word is rooted in Hebrew, meaning “to dream” and this is where the idea of wearing the stone for inducing visions or dreams originates. Adams also explains that the Greeks first associated the stone with preventing intoxication; Pliny explains such an association by suggesting that the amethyst is a stone that closely imitates the coloring of wine without becoming entirely wine-like in color.
In the Early Middle Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians used the amethyst for forming sacred scarabs. The scarabs are symbols of the eternal soul, or resurrection and rebirth. Alternatively, in “History and Mystery of Precious Stones,” William Jones writes that the amethyst is “emblematic of earthly sufferings, sorrow, deep love and truth unto death.” Amethyst is also one of the 12 “Apostle Stones” representing St. Matthias: The patron saint of reformed alcoholics.
Amethyst is ideal for astral and dream work. It is a good stone to carry if one needs to overcome phobias or if one needs more courage. These stones are also ideal crystals for working with if one wants to improve meditation sessions. The purple color of this gemstone links it to the crown chakra; This makes the stone most ideal to work with if one is looking to improve psychic abilities.
The ancients called the amethyst the “Gem of Venus” or by the name “aphrodisiace”; this links the stone to the Greek Aphrodite as well as the Roman Venus, both goddesses of love. William Jones writes in “Finger-ring Lore” that the ancient Romans wore planetary rings made out of precious stones assigned to the planets; Venus is associated with the stone and, as such, jewelers put amethysts in copper settings. The same source reveals that it was a belief among the ancient Poles that a stone and sentiment influences each month and February was associated with the amethyst and the sentiment of sincerity.
In, “A Manual of Classical Literature,” Johann Joachim Eschenburg explains that ancient Romans engraved representations of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, on amethyst stones. The Bacchanalian association would also make the stone correspond to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, intoxication and ritual ecstasy. Revealed in the “The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories,” is a story told by Aristotle that attributes the name of the amethyst to a story about Dionysus and the nymph Amethystos; Dionysus, was enamored with Amethystos, and the nymph called upon the goddess Artemis to protect her from Dionysus. In response to her call, Artemis transformed Amethystos into the stone. Dionysus, when honoring his love for Amethystos, colored the stone purple by pouring wine onto the stone and gave the stone the power to help in preventing the influences of wine.
Some sources suggest that amethyst falls under the rule of Mercury, while others suggest that the stone falls under the rule of Saturn. Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, in his “Three Books of Occult Philosophy,” associates the stone with the “Heart of the Scorpion” or the star constellation Scorpius (Scorpio); He also asserts that the stone is governed by Mars and Jupiter.
Mercury, being the planet of the conscious/unconscious mind, thought processes and ideas, easily corresponds to the amethyst’s attribute of improving cognitive processes. Mars is the planet associated with aggression and anger, so amethysts work well in “calming” one’s aggressive tendencies or vexation. Saturn’s planetary influences include reminders of one’s obligations, responsibilities and personal boundaries, thereby making amethyst a stone that reminds one of their limitations. Finally, the planet Jupiter is associated with morality and honor, helping the user of the stone maintain established principles, honesty and decency.
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