OBSIDIAN HEALING STONES
Obsidian is actually natural glass that is formed when hot lava is submerged
in water. This is a strong grounding stone and is known as "the protector".
It is said to "mirror one's soul. This stone brings about objectivity, dis-attachment
and is grounding. It reduces fantasy and escapism. Absorbs and dissolves
anger, criticism, fear, and therefore is protective. This unusual black
stone absorbs darkness and converts it to white light energy. It is a warm
and friendly stone, which is used at the Root Chakra, encouraging ones
survival instincts and is grounding. Black obsidian brings higher Chakra
light into lower ones; cleanses and uplifts. Changes fear into flexibility
with the advent of change. Obsidian is used in scrying for divination
purposes and often found in mirrors and crystal balls. Obsidian is used for
Obsidian is believed to draw imbalances to the surface and helps to release
them. Problems or issues that are hard to face can be brought to light with
obsidian. It is said to reveal half truths.
Obsidian is used in the area of North for personal journeys and in the
Center area for grounding and protection.
History: Obsidian is
Igneous rock with inclusion. Solid/translucent black to smoky, this stone
takes on many characteristics due to its unique formation. Bubbles of air
can get trapped in molten rock, which, when densely packed, can produce
effects that look like rainbows. When clusters of small cristobalite or
feldspar get trapped in the stone, it creates snowflake effects. Apache
tears are the results of wind and water smoothing out the rock. When iron is
introduced into the formation, mahogany obsidian is formed. Obsidian has
been used by many cultures for jewelry and tools. Obsidian arrowheads are
often found, dating back centuries.
(black agate) - misnomer sometimes used in the marketplace.
Apache tears - dark gray to nearly black, pebble-sized glass nodules,
most of which have greatest dimensions ranging between two and four
centimeters, that occur as remnants within or weathered out of light gray
perlite. (Perlite, apparently derived from obsidian as the result of
hydration involving meteoric water, is a light gray rock made up of
concentrically fractured fragments.) Many apache tears in the marketplace
are from Maricopa and Pinal counties, Arizona.
Banded obsidian - the banding commonly exhibits a flowlike appearance; some
roughly banded obsidian has been incorrectly designated onyx obsidian.
Black lava glass - descriptive name given to some obsidian.
Colombianite (americanite) - a variety of obsidian from the vicinity of Cali,
Chatoyant obsidian - name sometimes applied to varieties that are iridescent
in diverse colors; appearance is apparently due to the presence of minute
inclusions and/or bubbles.
Desert glass - name sometimes applied a pale yellow glass that some people
have identified as obsidian but seems more likely to be an impactite glass--
e.g., that from Libya. This term is further confounded because it also has
been applied to the amethyst-colored man-made glass frequently found in
sandy areas, such as deserts and on beaches, with its purple color
apparently developed as a result of exposure of essentially colorless glass
to ultraviolet or cosmic rays from the sun. See TECTITE entry.
Electric blue obsidian - obsidian with a vibrant blue color.
- iridescent obsidian from Glass Buttes, Oregon; "fire" is
said to be due to reflection of light off thin layers the refractive indices
of which are higher than the rest of the obsidian because of their
containing extremely small (nanometric) magnetite crystals (Rossman and
Flame obsidian - another name for fire obsidian.
Flowering obsidian - similar to snowflake obsidian.
Glass (or glassy) lava - overall term that has been used, especially in the
Glass agate - atrocious misnomer sometimes given obsidian.
Golden sheen obsidian (also gold or golden obsidian) - name widely given in
the marketplace to sheen obsidian (q.v.) with the precominant "sheen" a
golden brown color (see Fig. E).
Iceland agate (or Iceland agate lava) - misnomer sometimes given to a
brownish or grayish variety of obsidian from Iceland.
Iris obsidian - another name for rainbow obsidian.
Itatli - obsidian (Aztec).
Iztli - obsidian (Aztec).
Lassenite - glass of trachytic composition (trachyte is the aphanitic
equivalent of syenite, which is composed of 90 or more percent of alkali
feldspar) from the vicinity of Lassen Peak, California.
- see Desert glass.
Mahogany obsidian (also Mountain mahogany) - reddish subtranslucent
obsidian, commonly including black or gray bandlike or streaked swirl-like
patterns. See Fig. A.
Marekanite - name for Apache tearlike masses OR, according to some ambiguous
statements, a mottled brown and black obsidian from the vicinity of the
Marekanka River, which flows into the Sea of Okhotsk, off eastern Siberia.
Marskanite - name applied variously -- e.g., to mottled brown and black
obsidian from Siberia; to any cloudy, smoky gray obsidian; and to brown and
gray, commonly in part yellowish or reddish, obsidian (especially those from
Mexican 'Mayan' - see Rainbow obsidian.
Mount Saint Helens emerald - a misleading misnomer given obsidian (and even
more often to a green glass produced by melting ash erupted by Mount St.
Montana jet - a misleading misnomer given some black obsidian from the
Yellowstone National Park area, Wyoming.
Mountain mahogany - See Mahogany obsidian.
Nevada diamond - term that has been applied, albeit rarely, to what is said
to be artificially decolorized obsidian.
Obsidian "cat's-eye" (or "cat's eye obsidian) - name sometimes given to
obsidian that has a golden chatoyant-like appearance; see Golden sheen
Obsidianite - name introduced by Walcott (1898) for what are now known to be
tektites (australites) from Australia; however, according to Bates and
Jackson (1987) this term came to have wider usage, and "Most stones
originally described as 'obsidianite' were later shown to be true obsidian
and not tektites." [To date, however, I have not found examples to document
this purported later, wider usage.]
- term sometimes applied to banded obsidian.
Peanut obsidian - a gray to greenish gray perlite that contains red or
brownish red stellate spherulites, which consist of radiating fibers of
Hematite-stained feldspar within shells of chalcedony; the overall
appearance -- both color- and size-wise -- roughly resembles a mass of
peanuts. A noteworthy occurrence is near Alamos, State of Sonora, Mexico.
Pearlylite - name sometimes given in the marketplace to obsidian in jewelry.
Pitchstone - obsidian that has a pitchlike luster. This rock apprently
represents an intermediate phase in devitrification of the precursor
obsidian per se; among other things, it contains more water and is less
brittle than typical obsidians.
Plum obsidian - obsidian with a plum (purplish) color.
Pumpkin obsidian - obsidian with a pumpkin-orange color.
Porphyritic obsidian - obsidian containing sporadic phenocrysts.
Rainbow obsidian (also rainbow sheen obsidian and iris obsidian) - obsidian
that exhibits a multicolored iridescence, apparently because of the presence
of inclusions -- e.g., that from Glass Buttes, Lake County, Oregon and that,
called Mexican 'Mayan' from the state of Jalisco, Mexico (see Koivula,
Kammerling and Fritsch, 1993). See Fig. C.
Royal agate - misnomer sometimes applied to mottled obsidian.
- name apparently given by someone who knew that most
obsidian is chemically like rhyolite but did not know that rhyolite is an
aphanitic rock consisting only in part of glass.
Royal blue obsidian
- a bluish obsidian from northeastern California.
Schiller obsidian - obsidian exhibiting a schiller effect.
Sheen obsidian - obsidian that exhibits a sheen when rotated in reflected
light; many marketers distinguish diverse "sheen obsidians" by directing
attention to the color of their sheen -- e.g., golden ... , silver ..., and
even rainbow sheen obsidian.
Snowflake obsidian (also spherulitic obsidian and flowering obsidian) - dark
gray to nearly black obsidian with inclusions of white, gray or rarely red
spherulites, which in many specimens have been identified as cristobalite (a
high-temperature polymorph of silica). Fine examples of this obsidian occur
near Milford, Beaver County, Utah. See Fig. B.
"Star" obsidian (also "starred Apache tear obsidian") - misnomer -- in that
no asterism is apparent -- applied in the marketplace to gemstones cut from aventurescent (hematite- and ilmenite-bearing) obsidian, most of which occur
as Apache tears (see Koivula & Tannous, 2003).
Velvet obsidian - obsidian with a velvetlike appeareance.
Volcanic glass - geological designation sometimes applied to obsidian used
as a gemrock.
Xaga - name used for obsidian by some native Americans from California. The
Pomo Indians are said to have distinguished between hard obsidian, which
they called dupa xaga and used for razors etc. and less hard obsidian, which
they called bati xaga.