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  • Writer's pictureOlivine Moss

White Quartz Myths Legends Poetry and Uses

Updated: Jun 14




Energy

Balance

Clarity


 


Myths and Legends


Gem of Winter


Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral that comes in many varieties and colors. It is composed of silicon and oxygen atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Quartz is abundant in nature and can be found in many forms, such as sand, rock, gemstones, and even living organisms.


One of the most popular and pure forms of quartz is rock-crystal, or clear quartz. This type of quartz is transparent and colorless and has been valued for its beauty and optical properties since ancient times. The name crystal comes from the Greek word krystallos, meaning "ice", because the ancient Greeks believed that quartz was water that had frozen so hard that it could never melt.

Rock-crystal is a transparent variety of quartz that has fascinated people for centuries. It was highly prized by ancient civilizations for its beauty and durability, as well as for some of its supposed magical properties.

Rock-crystal has been used for various purposes throughout history, such as making jewelry, tools, ornaments, lenses, and even magic. Here are some examples of how different cultures and civilizations have used and revered rock-crystal:


  • The ancient Romans believed that rock-crystal was a symbol of purity and chastity, and they used it to make cups, bowls, vases, and other vessels. They also believed that rock-crystal could prevent drunkenness, so they often drank wine from crystal goblets.

  • The ancient Egyptians carved rock-crystal into scarabs, amulets, statues, and pyramids. They believed that rock-crystal could protect them from evil spirits, enhance their spiritual power, and connect them with the gods.

  • The ancient Chinese used rock-crystal to make beads, seals, spheres, and figurines. They believed that rock-crystal could attract good fortune, ward off negative energy, and balance the yin and yang forces.

  • The ancient Indians used rock-crystal to make jewelry, weapons, idols, and sacred objects. They believed that rock-crystal could amplify their thoughts, heal their ailments, and awaken their third eye.

  • The ancient Celts used rock-crystal to make torcs, brooches, pendants, and crosses. They believed that rock-crystal could enhance their psychic abilities, strengthen their courage, and bring them wisdom.



The History and Mystery of Rock-Crystal



Rock-Crystal in Ancient Rome


One of the most avid collectors and users of rock-crystal were the Romans, who valued it more than gold or silver. They used it to make exquisite vessels, such as cups, basins, vases, and bowls, that were often decorated with carvings or gems. Some of these vessels were so expensive that only the richest could afford them. For example, Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist and historian, wrote that a certain householder of ordinary means paid six thousand dollars for a crystal basin.


Why did the Romans love rock-crystal so much? One reason was their superstitious belief that crystal was incapable of holding poison, which was a common threat in those times. They thought that crystal would either break or change color if it came in contact with poison, thus warning the drinker. Another reason was their admiration for its clarity and purity, which they associated with water and ice. They even believed that rock-crystal was formed by ice that was frozen so hard that it could not melt.


Rock-Crystal in Medieval and Renaissance Europe


The fascination with rock-crystal did not end with the fall of Rome. In fact, it continued to be sought after and used for various purposes throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. One of the most common uses was for engraving, as rock-crystal provided a smooth and hard surface for intricate designs. Many artists and craftsmen used rock-crystal to create stunning works of art, such as reliquaries, crosses, medallions, seals, and jewelry.


Some of these works can still be admired today in museums across Europe. For instance, the Louvre in Paris has a collection of crystal cups, vases, and other articles that belonged to the French royal family. These items were valued at one million francs in 1791, according to an inventory made after the French Revolution. Another example is the British Museum in London, which has a crystal globe that was once owned by Dr. Dee, a famous English astrologer and alchemist of the sixteenth century.


Dr. Dee was one of the many people who believed that rock-crystal had magical powers, especially when shaped into spheres or lenses. He used his crystal globe for scrying, a form of divination that involved gazing into a reflective surface to see visions or messages from spirits. He claimed that he could communicate with angels through his crystal globe, and that they revealed to him secrets of nature and the cosmos.


Rock-Crystal Today


Rock-crystal is still admired and used today for its beauty and versatility. It is widely used in jewelry making, as well as in optical instruments, such as lenses, prisms, and lasers. It is also valued by collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate its historical and cultural significance.


Rock-crystal is more than just a mineral; it is a symbol of human curiosity and creativity. It reflects our desire to explore the mysteries of nature and the unknown. It also shows our ability to transform a simple material into something extraordinary and meaningful.




World's largest quartz crystal cluster on display. Crystal Gallery, Swakopmund, Namibia. Quartz crystal cluster on display in a museum in Namibia.



Crystal Ball: A Fascinating History of an Ancient Tool



The crystal ball, also known as a sphere of crystal, is a type of scrying device that dates back to ancient times. Scrying is the practice of looking into a reflective surface, such as water, glass, or metal, to gain insight or divine information. The crystal ball is one of the most popular and enduring forms of scrying, and it has been used by various cultures and civilizations throughout history.


One of the earliest references to the crystal ball comes from the Greek historian Herodotus, who wrote that the priests of Zeus in Dodona used a bronze basin filled with water and a suspended ring to communicate with the god. They would strike the ring and listen to its vibrations, which they interpreted as messages from Zeus.


The Romans also used crystal balls for divination, especially during times of war or crisis. They believed that the balls could reveal the will of the gods and help them make important decisions. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist and author, mentioned that crystal balls were used as burning-glasses by physicians and surgeons to cauterize wounds or remove foreign objects from the body. He also wrote that some people used them to start fires by concentrating the sun's rays on dry wood.


The use of crystal balls spread to other parts of the world, such as Persia, India, China, and Japan, where they were valued for their beauty and power. In China, crystal balls were often carved with dragons or other symbols of good fortune and placed in temples or homes to attract positive energy. In Japan, crystal balls were associated with Buddhism and used for meditation and healing.



In Europe, crystal balls became popular during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when they were used by magicians, alchemists, astrologers, and fortune-tellers. Some of the most famous users of crystal balls were John Dee, a mathematician and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I; Nostradamus, a French physician and prophet; and Dr. John Dee's assistant Edward Kelley, who claimed to communicate with angels through a crystal ball.


Saxon tombs of England were found to have crystal balls placed with the dead. These ancient burial sites have yielded several examples of crystal balls, which were probably used for divination or ritual purposes by the Saxon people. Some of the places where crystal balls have been found include Chatham, Chassel Down on the Isle of Wight, where four crystal balls were discovered, Breach Down, Barham, near Canterbury, and Fairford, Gloucestershire.




One of the most famous crystal balls in England is the Curraghmore Crystal, which is kept at the Curraghmore estate of the Marquis of Waterford. This crystal ball is said to have magical powers and a fascinating origin story. According to legend, one of the Le Poer family members, who owned the estate, brought it back from the Holy Land after receiving it from Godefroy de Bouillon, a renowned crusader leader who lived from 1058 to 1100.


The Curraghmore Crystal was not only a prized possession of the Le Poer family, but also a sought-after remedy by the tenant farmers who lived on their lands. They believed that the crystal ball could cure a disease called murrain or black leg, which affected cattle and sheep. They would put the crystal ball in the water troughs of their sick animals, hoping that it would heal them. The crystal ball must have had some positive effect, or else the farmers would not have kept asking for it.


However, by 1881, the Le Poer family decided to stop lending out the crystal ball and instead gave out a printed card with instructions on how to make a herbal medicine for black leg. The card listed ingredients such as rue, savin and garlic, which had to be boiled and mixed with water and salt. The farmers had to apply this mixture to the affected parts of their animals twice a day.




Crystal balls are still used today by some people who practice scrying or other forms of divination. They are usually made of quartz or glass, and they come in different sizes and shapes. Some people believe that crystal balls have their own personalities and energies, and that they need to be cleansed and charged regularly to function properly. Others believe that crystal balls are simply tools that help focus the mind and intuition of the user.


Whether you believe in their mystical powers or not, there is no denying that crystal balls are fascinating objects that have a rich and intriguing history. They have inspired countless stories and legends, and they have captured the imagination of many generations. If you ever get a chance to look into a crystal ball, you may be surprised by what you see.




 

Uses


Made with high grade silica, used to create glass and also used in telescopes, microscopes, lasers and scientific instruments.




Poetry


The Evil Eye shall have no power to harm

Him that shall wear the diamond as a charm ,

No monarch shall attempt to thwart his will ,

And e'en the gods his wishes shall fulfil .

Orphic Poem





Take in thy pious hand the Crystal bright ,

Translucent image of the Eternal Light .

Pleased with its lustre , every power divine

Shall grant thy vows presented at their shrine .

But how to prove the virtue of the stone ,

A certain mode I will to thee make known :

To kindle without fire the sacred blaze ,

This wondrous gem on splintered pine - wood place ,

Forthwith , reflecting the bright orb of day ,

Upon the wood it shoots a slender ray .

Caught by the unctuous fuel this will raise

First smoke , then sparkles , then a mighty blaze .

Such we the fire of ancient Vesta name ,

Loved by th ' immortals all , a holy flame .

No other fire with such grateful fumes

The fatted victim on their hearths consumes ;

Yet though of flame the cause , strange to be told ,

The stone snatched from the blaze is icy cold .

Orpheus and the Sacrificial Fire



 




 



 



Further Reading and Resouces


Burnham, Sarah Maria. Precious Stones in Nature, Art, and Literature. Google Books, B. Whidden, 1886, play.google.com/books/reader?id=gDxDAAAAIAAJ&pg=GBS.PA18&q=quartz. Accessed 6 July 2023.


King, Charles William. Antique Gems: Their Origin, Uses, and Value as Interpreters of Ancient History; and as Illustrative of Ancient Art: With Hints to Gem Collectors. Google Books, J. Murray, 1860, play.google.com/books/reader?id=PuqgAAAAMAAJ&pg=GBS.PA90. Accessed 6 July 2023.


Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones: Being a Description of Their Sentiments and Folk Lore, Superstitions, Symbolism, Mysticism, Use in Medicine, Protection, Prevention, Religion, and Divination, Crystal Gazing, Birthstones, Lucky Stones and Talismans, Astral, Zodiacal and Planetary. Google Books, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1913, play.google.com/books/reader?id=Ymqv5hDvAssC&pg=GBS.PA34&q=quartz. Accessed 6 July 2023.


Museum, Maidstone. “Anglo Saxon Crystal Balls | Staff Picks.” Maidstone Museum, 30 Dec. 2016, museum.maidstone.gov.uk/staff-pick-anglo-saxon-crystal-balls/. Accessed 6 July 2023.

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