The incredible golden and azure-blue beauty of lapis lazuli has caused it to be valued for millennia as one of the most sacred of stones.
Lapis lazuli is a mixture of hauyne, lazurite and sodalite in a matrix of calcite, with pieces of pyrite providing the golden flecks. Its name means "sky stone," from the Latin "lapis" meaning "stone" and the Persian "lazward" meaning "blue" or "sky". It has been used since at least 5000 B.C. and was very popular with many ancient cultures.
The Egyptians powdered lapis lazuli to make the color ultramarine and used it as eye shadow. The Greeks called it "sapphire sprinkled with gold," which lends some support to the theory that many ancient reference to sapphire actually referred to lapis lazuli. The stone was often used to represent the heavens, and the earliest reference to it is in a Sumerian hymn describing the Moon god Sim as having a "long, flowing beard, bright as lapis lazuli." It is also one of the biblical gemstones used in Breastplate of Aaron, the High Priest, and at one time Lapis jewelry was only worn by royalty.
Beloved of the Egyptians
Lapis lazuli was one of the favorite stones of the Egyptians. It was thought to be sacred to the star goddess Nuit of the heavens and to Maat, the goddess of truth and beauty. Judges in Ancient Egypt had to wear small lapis lazuli pendants of Maat on gold chains--as a sign of the responsibility of their office. If you wish to call upon one of these goddesses, place a piece of lapis lazuli as an offering on your altar.
Stone of Symbols
The Egyptian Sun god Ra was also described as having lapis lazuli hair, which was symbolic of the heavens. This association may have come about due to the golden "Sun" flecks in the blue stone. The stone continued to have such positive symbolic associations into Late Period Egypt, becoming known as "kheshed", which meant "joy" or "delight". Protective amulets and talismans were often carved from this precious stone.
Using your Lapis Lazuli
Lapis lazuli has wide-ranging uses in crystal therapy, being useful in cases of eye strain, difficult, pregnancies, trouble in expressing yourself and for tension.
Ease Eye Strain
Lapis lazuli has long been associated with the eyes, since the Ancient Egyptians used it for eye shadow and for making the sacred Eye of Horus symbols. An Ancient Greek cure for eye problems was to place a piece of lapis lazuli in a bowl of warm water, leaving it under the night sky for a few minutes. The water was then used to bathe the afflicted eye.
To Ease Pregnancy
According to ancient records, lapis lazuli has been used to ease pregnancies throughout history. The ancient Greeks called the "Stop Stone" due to its use as an amulet for preventing miscarriages--a practice that continued through to the Middle Ages.
* In the 17th century, ultramarine pigment made from crushed lapis lazuli was added to a potent medicine called Alkermes Syrup and given to women who experienced difficulties during childbirth. The relaxing and harmonizing energy of the stone can help the body or reduce the physical stresses caused by pregnancy.
* If you are pregnant, wear or carry a piece of lapis lazuli around or near the waist to protect your unborn child.
* Make a charm bag using blue silk and fill with pieces of lapis lazuli. Keep it on your person if you are pregnant to benefit from the relaxing energies.
The Voice Stone
Lapis lazuli was sacred to the goddess of love and war, Ishtar, (the Akkadian counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna, and also known as Astarte in the northwestern Semetic regions). She is adorned in lapis lazuli in the "Descent of the Goddess" legend, which recounts her journey to the Underworld.
Lapis lazuli works particularly well on the Throat Chakra, and as such it's a good stone to use if you repress your vocal energies. This may be shown by speaking too quietly or by being reluctant to speak your mind in situations either at home or at work.
If you have trouble speaking from the heart and saying what you really feel, anoint a piece of lapis lazuli with cedar oil (which is sacred to Ishtar), and ask for help in expressing yourself.
There are many ways you can use this stone as an aid to relaxation.
* Lapis lazuli can be held or worn to help you with meditation, or it can be used to help you practice meditating if you find your mind is easily distracted.
* Whenever you find your attention wandering, think of the lapis lazuli for a few moments and visualize its golden flecks in your mind's eye. This will help you to bring your focus and attention back to the subject or purpose of your meditation.
* Lapis lazuli can also help if you suffer from insomnia. It can be worn as a pendant while you sleep or placed under a pillow. Also, anoint your lapis lazuli with a few drops of lavender oil before going to bed.