Obsidian is a talisman of those who dare to see the past, the future, or one's own inner demons and darkest truths. It is no ordinary stone, but nature's glass formed from volcanic lava and hardened so quickly it formed no crystalline structure. It has no boundaries or limitations, and works rapidly with great power. Its edge can be razor sharp, and its dark, glossy surface polished into cold, hard glass, a "mirror stone" for those prepared to look deep into the inner being, the subconscious, to reveal one's shadow self flaws, weaknesses, fears, all. Nothing is hidden from Obsidian.
This shamanic stone can be brutal and direct, yet it carries the wonderful power of catharsis and deep soul healing. It reveals the reasons behind one's imperfections and causes of dis-ease, and provides a clear picture of the changes needed to ameliorate them. It impels growth and resolution, and lends solid support and direction during the process. Obsidian provides essential grounding, connecting the base of the spine to the heart of the earth. It is highly protective, shielding one from negativity in the environment, from others, and from within the self.
The use of Obsidian dates to the Old Stone Age, and many cultures relied heavily on this material in their daily, ritual, and spiritual lives. Obsidian's conchoidal fracture allows it to break into pieces with curved surfaces and very sharp edges, and it has been found around the world fashioned into arrowheads, spear points, knives, axe heads, scrapers and various other cutting instruments. Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans fashioned a sword with Obsidian blades mounted in a wooden body, called a macuahuitl, that was capable of inflicting horrific injuries, and Obsidian daggers were reputed to be used in bloodletting and human sacrifice. In the Middle East, it was esteemed for its sharpness and precision in ritual circumcision, ancient Melanesians honed pointed pieces for tattooing the skin, and peoples on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) made multipurpose tools called mata'a for food preparation and cultivation. They also chose Obsidian as the pupils of the eyes in their famous Moai (statues) to endow them with authority and a spiritual essence.
The mystical properties of Obsidian also date back to early civilizations, most notably in Mesoamerica, for its reflective quality and ability to be polished into mirrors. Deep black, or sometimes with a murky transparency, these mirrors reflected shadow images and were metaphors for sacred caves and pools of water. They were conduits for supernatural forces; to the Maya they were a means to communicate with otherworld entities, and to others they were a portal to realms that could be seen but not interacted with.
In ancient Mexico and surrounding regions Obsidian was known as iztli or teotetl, meaning "the divine stone," used to carve amulets, jewelry, grave ornaments, and images of the god Tezcatlipoca, whose name means "smoking mirror," and who was said to see all that occurred in the world and heavens through his Obsidian mirror. The Olmecs fashioned concave mirrors capable of lighting fires, and the Maya and Aztecs wore Obsidian mirrors to show elite status, and polished it into sheets for divining a person's destiny. Ancient Greek civilizations used Obsidian balls and flat mirrors for scrying, and Native American cultures used Obsidian in their spiritual ceremonies to sharpen inner sight.
Obsidian forms from molten lava in the last stages of volcanic eruptions, the remaining silica minerals that flow onto the surface and are super-cooled into glass before crystallization can occur. It is an amorphous material known as a "mineraloid" with a hardness of 5 to 5.5, and is usually opaque except on thin edges. Obsidian is most frequently jet black, but can be dark brown, gray or gray-green. Trace elements or inclusions and refraction of microscopic gas bubbles can produce rare color variations, markings, and iridescent or metallic "sheens." The name comes from the Latin obsidianus, an erroneous transcription of obsianus, meaning "the stone of Obsius," the prominent Roman who discovered it. It is also referred to as "volcano glass," "mirror of the Incas," and "Iceland agate." Obsidian is famous for producing an edge thinner and sharper than the best surgical steel, and is currently being used in scalpels for some of the most precise surgery.
Balances the digestive system and clears toxins, preventing infection.
Obsidian is an excellent rescue remedy for shock, traumas, and blockages, and may be placed at the feet for anchoring during times of turmoil. It is an excellent tool for therapists and counselors for quickly getting to the root of a problem, and for absorbing energies released as a result. It blocks geopathic stress and soaks up environmental pollution, and should be cleansed under running water on a regular basis.
Considered a very personal stone of protection, Obsidian is generally bought, kept and worn by one person only. It is a marvelous talisman to shield gentle souls and those who are highly sensitive. Wear as jewelry or carry to keep others from offloading their problems onto you or making excessive demands on your time.
Wear an Obsidian arrow on a necklace to counter bullying in any form, whether for you or a family member, and keep it with you until the bullying stops. Place small, seven-pointed Obsidian arrows in the workplace facing outward to protect against gossip or spite, or facing inward in a semi-circle or ringed around a burgundy candle to draw in power and health.
Mahogany Obsidian resonates well with women over 50 to draw in work opportunities, attract lasting love, and to bestow serenity about mature beauty. Use as a gift for grandmothers to reflect an appreciation of her wisdom. Mahogany tumblestones help shield a home from fire, high winds, earthquakes or subsidence.
Owning an Apache Tear protects one from sorrow. Carry if you are having a difficult time forgiving someone and bitterness is holding you back. Apache Tear is considered a good luck stone and ideal for someone setting out in the world. Place a dish in the home or workspace to absorb bad vibes. (Wash weekly.)
Obsidian is best known for providing insight into the emotional causes of physical disease. It is thought to relieve stress, ease tension in the muscles, and improve circulation and artery health. It accelerates the healing of wounds, bruises and sprains, and assists with pain relief.
Obsidian is used to aid digestion and detoxification, and provides support in efforts to relinquish dependencies, such as smoking, overeating, overdrinking or using drugs.
All forms of Obsidian stimulate healing of the emotional body, helping those who have lost their power to regain it by facing the darker side of one's nature caused by the wounding of one's spirit. Verbal and physical abuse, sudden trauma, grief, even events beyond one's control can create destructive thoughts and unconscious patterns that inhibit one's personal and spiritual growth. It is the basis for eating disorders and addictions, fear and insecurities, depression, aggression, and other mechanisms that hold one to the past in order to survive. Obsidian exposes these wounds, and when one is ready to accept responsibility for one's own healing, reveals the actions needed to release them. It enables one to accept who they are with compassion and to move forward.
Obsidian is an excellent tool for creating and strengthening the grounding cord that extends from the Root Chakra through the Earthstar Chakra below the feet, and deep into the heart of the Earth. The Base, or Root Chakra, is located at the base of the spine, and controls the energy for kinesthetic feeling and movement. It is the foundation of physical and spiritual energy for the body. Stones with black color energy stimulates the Base Chakra and brings it into balance.
The physical body gains strength and stamina, and spiritual energy is rekindled in the form of security and sense of one's own power. It often leads to independence and spontaneous leadership. The Earth Chakra is located between and slightly below the feet. It holds the soul into carnation and creates a solid connection to the planet Earth, allowing excess and out-of-balance energies to flow from the body.