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Lapis Lazuli

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The name Lapis Lazuli comes from a variety of words meaning "blue" (azure) or "heaven": the Latin "lazulum", stemming from the Arabic "lazaward", and the Persian "lazhward" constitute the Lazuli part.

The first part of the name, Lapis, is of Latin origin meaning simply "stone".  And this stone was named after its likeness to the heavens and of course because of its color, a brilliant deep blue (due to the sulfur content in the Lazurite) which is usually speckled or veined with small flecks of yellow-gold color from its most common mixture with Pyrite (Fool's Gold) or white streaks from its mixture with Calcite or other minerals.

The name is international, from the Latin, lapis, which means stone, and from the Arabic, aula, which means blue. When Lapis Lazuli was first introduced to Europe, it was called ultramarinum, which means beyond the sea.

Ground Lapis Lazuli was the secret of the blue in ultramarine, the pigment which painters used to paint the sea and the sky until the nineteenth century.  Which means that all of the beautiful blues in paintings from the Renaissance are thanks to the blue of Lapis Lazuli; the blue rock loved by the ancients, from Mesopotamia, to Egypt, to Persia, to Greece and Rome.

Today's most prominent source of fine quality Lapis Lazuli is the same ancient deposit in the Hindukush Mountains of Afghanistan where it was originally mined at least 6000 years ago. It is reported that there was a busy trade in Lapis Lazuli in the ancient city of Ur, situated on the Euphrat river. In Ur, kings were known to sharpen their swords on it, believing from this they would become invulnerable.  The stone was also used by the Assyrians and Persians for making seals.

The Sumerians believed that Lapis Lazuli contained the spirits of the deities.

In ancient Egypt Lapis Lazuli was often used as an inscription stone for various passages from "The Book of the Dead" wherein the 140th chapter it states that Lapis Lazuli in the shape of an eye and set in gold was an amulet of great power. Egyptians regarded Lapis Lazuli as the stone of the gods, partly because it reminded them of the starry heavens, but also because, as shown in the Papyrus Ebers, Lapis Lazuli had medicinal properties that improved eyesight when worn in the form of the Eye of Horus amulet or when powdered around the eyes as many Egyptian did.

Lapis Lazuli was one of the stones in the "Breastplate of Judgement" of Aaron, as described in the Bible(Exodus: xxviii, 15-30).

In ancient times, Lapis Lazuli was known as Sapphire (not to be confused with today's blue corundum variety Sapphire).  Ancient writers such as Pliny refer to "sapphirus" as a stone speckled with flects of gold -- obviously a reference to Lapis Lazuli.

Long ago, Lapis Lazuli was used to make the pigment called Ultramarine, which literally meant "beyond the sea".  Lapis Lazuli was used by medieval artists for the blue cloak of the Virgin Mary.  Due to its rarity and expense, today that color pigment is usually now synthetically made.

Lapis Lazuli today is still a very popular lapidary material. It is made into a variety of hand-crafted objects such as carvings, spheres, beads, cabochons and other jewelry items.

Astrological : Sagittarius.

METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES

Lapis Lazuli is told to enhance one's awareness, insight and intellect. It is said to impart ancient knowledge and wisdom to it's bearer, the knowledge bringing with it peacefulness, objectivity and self acceptance.

Lapis Lazuli is also connected with Jupiter and thus expands the intellect, wisdom and leadership qualities as well as helping in legal matters that arise. The stone works as a shield from psychic attack. It is used to relieve insomnia and let go of anxieties.

A stone of protection that may be worn to guard against psychic attacks, Lapis Lazuli quickly releases stress, bringing deep peace. It brings harmony and deep inner self-knowledge. Encourages self-awareness, allows self-expression and reveals inner truth, providing qualities of honesty, compassion and morality to the personality.

Stimulates objectivity, clarity and encourages creativity.  Lapis Lazuli assists to confront and speak one’s truth and inspires confidence.  It bonds relationships, aiding in expression of feelings and emotions.

In meditation, Lapis Lazuli can opens Brow Chakra: higher guidance, intuition, connection to higher self, overview, decisions for good of all. Organizes, quiets mind. Opens Throat/Thyroid Chakra: Self-expression, writing, creativity, dream insight, allows total awareness. Anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, autism, shyness, nervous system, depression, serenity, self-acceptance; MS, speech, hearing, pituitary, DNA, lymph, inflammation, pain (especially head), protection stone. Shelters the wearer like a shield. Extraordinarily deep blue stone often flecked with Pyrite. Can also be mottled with white Calcite.

HEALING PROPERTIES

Lapis Lazuli promotes clear understanding and intuition; it helps balance the function of the thyroid gland while strengthening the neck and vocal cords.

Use Lapis Lazuli to soothe  throats and all inflammation of the neck and head. It makes quite a powerful elixir to align the etheric, emotional and spiritual bodies.

Beneficial to the respiratory system, especially the throat and lungs, the cleansing organs, and the nervous system. A good stone for blood purification and for boosting the immune system.

A powerful thought-amplifier and is helpful in aligning all the elements of the body and mind. Lapis Lazuli can increase psychic abilities and will open the third eye.

Physicians for ancient Egypt, Sumer and Babylon used Lapis Lazuli for many medicinal purposes, including curing eye cataracts.  The connection with the eye may have come from the use of Lapis Lazuli to fashion carvings of a stylized, which was called the Eye of Isis or the All-Seeing Eye of the Goddess Maat.

Since Isis was said to watch over the dead on their final journey, the Lapis Lazuli eye was placed in the sarcophagus with the mummy.  The chief justice of Egypt wore the Eye of Maat when he rendered judgments.

Lapis Lazuli rough and facet stone