A Pagan's Blog

Pagans are famous (infamous?) for taking seemingly mundane occurrences and finding something deep and meaningful in them. We can take just about any occasion and turn it into a sacred, festive celebration. Whether it’s an ancient seasonal festival, the feast day of a saint from someone else’s religion, or a Hallmark-inspired date we just happen to like, our symbolic literacy and sense of fun enables us to find occasions for joy, camaraderie, and Spirit in places where most other people don’t even bother to look.

So when Gus asked me to write a blog post in his absence, and suggested the possible topic of birthstones, I thought, “Perfect–something I know very little about! Let’s have at it!”

Birthstones were initially linked to the astrological calendar, and each sign of the zodiac had a stone or stones associated with it. The month of June, ruled by the signs of Gemini and Cancer, has as its birthstone that beautiful water creation, the pearl. Cancer, sign of the crab, is associated with water and the moon. The pearl, whether freshwater or saltwater, is luminous like the moon, glowing with a diffused inner light that can be tinted a light cream or gray, lavender to blue or yellow, even pale green or black.

The Pearl of Great Price is a Christian parable about giving up everything to attain the Kingdom of Heaven, but pearls were considered extremely precious well before the gospels were written. Pearls were powdered and used as aphrodisiacs, worn only by royalty, and connected to the power of dragons and myths of the Gods being born from the seas.

To modern Pagans, pearls carry the power of the watery depths and the rarefied, cyclical beauty of the moon. I have seen some gorgeous strands of pearls for sale at Pagan festivals, some alternating glowing white pearls with brilliant amber beads, creating the perfect marriage of sun and moon all in one elegant necklace.

June also has two alternate birthstones: alexandrite, a rare gem with changeable colors, and moonstone, another stone with strong associations to the moon. My friend Cybele, who works with many stone allies in her bodywork, teaching, and magical practice, advises people to wear their birthstones only if it feels good to wear them. The most important thing, she stresses, is to pay attention to our body’s reaction to the feel of the stone, and our emotional response to having that particular child of the earth in our energy field.

Knowledge of stones and healing is intertwined with ancient lore from many cultures. For Pagans, the lore of birthstones presents a wonderful opportunity to bring the color and beauty of a different gemstone into our houses and our devotional practices every month. Over time, these displays can deepen into magical alliances, and may even suggest more occasions to celebrate with gratitude, feasting, and celebration. What’s not to love?

This post was contributed by Anne Hill, blogger at the Huffington Post and Blog o’ Gnosis.

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