Sunday’s Gem — Agate

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

A variety of polished Agates (courtesy of http://www.geology.com)

First found in a river in Sicily between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, Agate is a banded Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family. Known as the “earth rainbow,” it’s found throughout the world, and there are perhaps thousands of types, typically appearing in stripes, “eye” markings, colored specks, fossilized inclusions, or no color at all.

Ancient Islamic and Babylonian peoples thought Agate could ward off evil. Long ago Egyptians and Persians prized it as protection against natural disasters. Ancient Chinese expected it to cleanse their minds, making room for good fortune. Medieval peoples tied it to the horns of oxen to bring about a plentiful harvest. It’s believed to be the middle stone in the third row in the breastplate of the High Priest in early Israel.

Agate is a translucent, semi-precious stone whose color is caused by embedded minerals, typically iron oxides and hydroxides. A seven on the Mohs scale of hardness (ranging from 1-10), Agate is a relatively inexpensive gemstone which, when cut and polished, becomes cabochons, beads, cameos, statuary, knife handles, and other ornaments. Children’s marbles — “aggies” — once were made from polished agate.

The healing properties of Agate are slow, steady, and gentle. Agate fosters self-confidence, helps us multi-task, and lessens our desires for things we don’t need. Agate promotes marital fidelity, protects against traffic accidents, and helps writers espress their ideas in marketable form (okay, I’m convinced — I’ll take a wagon-load!!)

Chinese Rain Flower Agates — thanks to http://www.agatelady.com for this photo

The zodiac stone for Gemini (May 22-June 21) and the mystical birthstone for September, Agate’s Chakra healing energy depends upon the color of the stone. For example, Blue Lace Agate clears the throat Chakra; Fire Agate stimulates the base Chakra; green Agate is beneficial for the heart Chakra. Likewise, Feng Shui experts believe the different varieties of Agate resonate to different purposes.

Agate is said to be helpful for digestion, headaches, arthritis, fever reduction, throat conditions, and physical strength. It’s believed to help you overcome addictive behaviors, heal bitterness of the heart, improve communication, banish fear, and improve longevity.

Clean your Agate with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid exposure to heat and harsh chemicals.

Note: The claims here aren’t meant to take the place of medical advice. They’re based on folklore and other sources, and likely “work” best if one’s belief is strong enough!

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Healing Beads for a Friend

When the husband of a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer several months ago, I started pondering ways I could help.

Other than prayer, which I immediately did. And still do.

Luckily, Suzicate posted a blog about creativity, making a strand of prayer/meditation beads, and it hit me — I can do that!

As a Catholic and “beader”, I regularly make Rosaries. But my friend’s husband isn’t Catholic. And I never try to push my religion onto others.

Nor was I comfortable promoting the Buddhist philosophy.

Still, I firmly believe God put everything here on Earth that we need. Even rocks.

The Bible tells us God instructed His people to use certain stones — including jasper, agate, sapphire, and carnelian — when making the temple high priest’s clothing. And the Book of Revelation indicates the new temple will be constructed in Jerusalem using many of these same stones.

Do I believe gemstones, in and of themselves, heal? No, of course not.

Do I believe God can use gemstones to bring about healing? Definitely. He’s God; He can use whatever instrument He chooses.

So I designed and crafted a strand of healing beads. Not a bracelet, but a string of about eight inches long, consisting of semiprecious beads that supposedly have healing properties.

Stones like Flourite (to fortify bones), Howlite (to balance calcium levels), and Jasper (to ease emotional stresses).

On either end of my strand, I attached a simple Chinese coin, which traditionally is a feng shui money cure. Not that this man is suffering from lack of funds, but cancer treatments are expensive, and every little bit of “luck” helps!

Before I took the beads to him, I thought hard about what message I was sending. I didn’t want to mislead him by offering false hope, nor did I want to confuse him about Who is really in charge here.

So I told him some people call them worry beads. Others refer to them as prayer beads. Whatever we choose to call them, and whether they actually work, probably depends on our frame of mind. And the will of our Creator.

He was thrilled with my gift! He sat for a long while, fingering the beads and trying to memorize from my cheat-sheet which was which stone and their metaphysical properties.

Of course he’s undergoing traditional treatment. But if something as simple as gemstones can ease his mind during this difficult time, that’s a good thing, don’t you agree?