O bsidian is of low significance as a material for gemstones, but the so-called volcanic glasses provide interest for the many uses to which they have been put by aboriginal man and by the enigma of their genesis. Obsidian is formed by the rapid cooling of volcanic lava which, had it been allowed to cool slowly, would have developed a crystalline structure and assumed the character of granitic rocks. There can be no exact chemical composition given for obsidian, for it may vary greatly, but all obsidian has from 66 to 72 per cent of silica and is an extreme modification of rhyolite and dacite rocks.
Obsidian is normally black or grey in colour and owes any attraction it may have to an iridescent sheen caused by reflections from minute bubbles or inclusions of water or gas. The silver and gold sheen obsidian is highly prized and much sought after. In the United States of America a variety of obsidian having spherulitic inclusions of a white mineral on the black groundmass is cut and polished and goes under the name of ‘flowering obsidian’ or ‘snowflake obsidian’. A variety banded black and red is known as ‘mountain mahogany’ or mahogany obsidian’.
A transparent leaf-green is also available, but it is extremely rare and most transparent green obsidians are usually found to be moldavites or merely green glass. Red and blue obsidians have also been found, but these are also very rare. Marekanite is the name applied to smoky-brown, grey or black decomposing perlitic obsidian found along the banks of the Mareikanka river at Okhotsk, in Siberia. Glassy pebble-like solid cores of unaltered glass, about an inch or more across, from the decomposed obsidian of the American southwest, are known as Apache tears’. The legends around Apache tears are legion.
The fracture of obsidian is extremely conchoidal and it is due to the facility with which the material can be broken into sharp-edged flakes that obsidian was so valued by Stone Age people who lived in areas where it was common, the easily controlled flaking allowing the production of keen-edge spear points, knives and tools. These have been discovered in ancient burial sites. Obsidian has been quarried since the days of the North American Indians, who used it for arrowhead material.
Obsidian was used by the Aztecs and their predecessors for the sharp points of their weapons, for mirrors and masks, and for ear ornaments. They called the material Iztli and surnamed it Teotetl (Divine stone) because of its diverse uses, one of which was the ‘smoking mirror’ used by the Mayan priests for scrying to predict the future. Obsidian occurs throughout the world at those places where volcanic activity occurs or has occurred in the past. In Iceland it is known as ‘Iceland agate’. It has also been called ‘Glass agate’, ‘Glass lava’, Montana jet’, ‘Nevada diamond’, ‘Nevada topaz’, ‘Rainbow obsidian’, ‘Iridescent obsidian’ and ‘Volcanic glass’. Obsidian derived its name from the Roman Obsius who, according to Pliny, found the stone in present-day Ethiopia. In antiquity, it was regarded as a stone that would drive out and banish demonic entities. In Hawaii it is considered the blood of the ‘Mother’ as she gives birth, through her volcanic activity.
Obsidian is a master mineral in the art of the hidden, lost or forbidden. It has no restrictions or limitations. This is due entirely to its amorphous structure; it teaches us to let go of our limitations and self-imposed fear restrictions. It teaches us to flow and expand. It has a soul mirror quality that is all its own.
Its ‘Spirit’ name is the ‘Warrior of Truth’. When consciously directed, obsidian reflects our shadow side back to us for deep soul healing. Obsidian then teaches us how to bring more light into our darkness or shadow side. On the path to our own personal wholeness, healing and health, we must confront our deepest fears, phobias, pains, hurts and shame. Very often we desperately try to ignore our shadow side; these are the parts of us that we have judged, rightly or wrongly, to be bad, ugly or shameful. We have been conditioned since our births to conform to other people’s ideas of good and bad, right or wrong. This is our personal ‘conditioning’, our ‘robotic programming’. This programming does serve a vital function, it makes us easier to control and manipulate. These rules of good or bad constantly change, depending on our personal circumstances and present life situation; they are influenced by our religious beliefs, teachers, parents, relatives, politicians, scientists, the media and our peers. These rules do not represent Eternal Divine Truth, only the current civilisation’s accepted truth. As we, as individualised perfect expressions of the sacred life force, claim our Divine birthright and personal power, we will have to confront all our demons of darkness and shine the light of truth into these murky recesses. These demons of darkness will otherwise manifest as illness, pain and feelings of separation from our source of love, inspiration and wisdom.
Obsidian draws the quality of our Divine essence into our physical body; this purges the negativity and activates ‘the Divine essence within’. Obsidian will also shield us from all unkind energies, which seek to use our energy and manipulate our energy field for their own benefit. It also dissolves all negative energy within our environment. It is an excellent grounding stone for when we feel spaced out or disorientated from reality. It quickly dissolves blocks, trauma, shock, fear and ‘reality shock’. It helps us to deal with feelings of betrayal and exploitation.
It has been used for divination and scrying. The process of soul integration, bringing our spiritual invulnerable self into our consciousness for attunement and integration, until we have a refined clairvoyance that encompasses eternal truth and integrity, accomplishes this. Pain is quickly removed when obsidian is placed on the affected area. It has been used in the treatment of arthritis and all joint pain. It easily relieves cramp and the pain from injury or operation scars. It has been used to shrink enlarged prostates and ameliorate the painful side- effects of an enlarged prostate. It removes toxins from the body after exposure to pollution and toxic areas of the earth. It purges negativity from the meridian system and is being used instead of needles in acupuncture. It has helped remove and relieve painful areas in AIDS patients. It is soothing and comforting, but has the ability to deeply penetrate problems and degraded illnesses. Green obsidian is very purifying to the heart and throat chakras.
Because obsidian was used as an implement of death by Stone Age people who lived in areas where obsidian was common – as keen-edged spear points, knives and tools – you may have an initial resistance or fear of its energy. Be assured that the ‘Spirit’ keeper of obsidian is aware of your fear and will not allow any misuse of its energy.
Obsidian spheres have been used to unwind negative energy from dysfunctional chakras and painful areas of the body. They have also been used in meditation and scrying. An obsidian sphere used for meditation has been likened to an ‘iron fist in a black velvet glove’, so please have a sphere of clear quartz ready to help you fully integrate the energies a black obsidian sphere can unearth as it shatters your mirror of illusion.
Affirmation: I am a spiritual warrior of truth
Keywords: Warrior of truth
Obsidian for sale at the Crystal Shop of John Armitage