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A Lapidary of Sacred Stones

A Lapidary of Sacred Stones

Their Magical and Medicinal Powers Based on the Earliest Sources

A comprehensive dictionary of sacred and magical gem lore that draws on the rarest source texts of Antiquity and the Middle Ages

• Reveals the healing and magical virtues of familiar gemstones, such as amethyst, emerald, and diamond, as well as the lore surrounding exotic stones such as astrios, a stone celebrated by ancient magicians

• Examines bezoars (stones formed in animals’ bodies) and “magnets” that attract materials other than metal

• Based on ancient Arabic, Greek, Jewish, and European sources, ranging from the observations of Pliny the Elder to extremely rare texts such as the Picatrix and Damigeron’s Virtue of Stones

Our ancestors believed stones were home to sacred beings of power, entities that if properly understood and cultivated could provide people protection from ill fortune, envy, and witchcraft; grant invisibility and other magical powers; improve memory; and heal the sick from a wide variety of diseases. These benefits could be obtained by wearing the stone on a ring, bracelet, or pendant; through massage treatments with the stone; or by reducing the gem into a powder and drinking it mixed with water or wine.

Drawing from a wealth of ancient Arabic, Greek, Jewish, and European sources--from the observations of Pliny the Elder to extremely rare texts such as the Picatrix and Damigeron’s Virtue of Stones--Claude Lecouteux provides a synthesis of all known lore for more than 800 stones. He includes such common examples as the emerald, which when engraved with the figure of a harpy holding a lamprey in its claws will banish panic and nightmares, and beryl, which when appropriately carved can summon water spirits or win its owner high renown, as well as more exotic stones such as astrios, a stone celebrated by ancient magicians and whose center glows like a star. Lecouteux also examines bezoars--stones formed in animals’ bodies--as well as “magnets” that attract materials other than iron, such as gold, flesh, cotton, or scorpions.

This comprehensive dictionary of sacred and magical gem lore, drawn from the rarest sources of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, represents a one-of-a-kind resource for gem enthusiasts and magical practitioners alike.
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  • Inner Traditions | 
  • 376 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781594774638 | 
  • December 2012
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction
The Bones of the Earth

The Stone Is a Person


In The Lord’s Answer (II) Chateaubriand declares: “People say that stones do not speak, they do not feel. What an error!”

The stone has been regarded as a living being, a male or female creature capable of reproducing, believing, and having feelings. Albertus Magnus says that the peanite is of the female sex and that it conceives and engenders a stone that is similar to it. It is also said that the balagius (balas ruby) is the female carbuncle. According to John Mandeville, diamonds can be either sex and can engender children.... see more

About the Author

Claude Lecouteux

Claude Lecouteux is a former professor of medieval literature and civilization at the Sorbonne. He is the author of numerous books on medieval and pagan afterlife beliefs, including The Return of the Dead, The Secret History of Vampires, and Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies. He lives in Paris.

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