Carnelian:
Living in the Present

At Beyond the Rainbow, we often call carnelian the here-and-now stone. In fact, this crystal is partly responsible for our becoming involved with crystals as teachers and suppliers.

For years, my partner, Joyce, had been unable to decide on a path for her life. At a point where her questions about her future direction were most intense, she went to a psychic fair. She became attracted to a carnelian ring and bought it.

After she'd been wearing it for a short while, she became increasingly attracted to crystals in general. Joyce bought several books and more crystals. Her interest grew.

Once she becomes interested in something, she also becomes passionate about sharing it with others. For the first time, this passion got directed into a career choice. She decided that what she'd most like to do would be to open a crystal store so that she could talk with people about crystals all day along. When she approached me with the idea, it appealed to me, and Crystal Gardens, the Greenwich Village predecessor of Beyond the Rainbow was born.

Carnelian and Decision Making

Joyce is convinced that carnelian helped her come to a satisfying decision, and during the Crystal Gardens years, she convinced many people of the value of this crystal. When customers couldn't choose from an array of jewelry or crystals they'd been drawn to, she would hand them a tumbled carnelian and suggest that they think about what they really wanted.

I also adopted this practice, and the results were near miraculous. A forehead furrowed with indecision would suddenly smooth, the corners of a frowning mouth would turn up, and a decision would be made.

Why Carnelian?

To answer that question calls for some description of carnelian's physical and metaphysical properties. This crystal is a form of agate, which is in turn a form of quartz. Carnelian doesn't have the high-energy vibrations of other members of the quartz family, such as clear quartz, amethyst, citrine, or smoky quartz. Its energies tend to stabilize and ground our own.

Its physical appearance reflects its energetic properties. Carnelian ranges in color from a light orange to a deep red. It takes its name from the Latin word for meat, translated as flesh, carne. Carnelian's color is related to rich red soil and the red leaves of autumn that fertilize the earth. Its slow, stable energy has a deeply grounding energy that plants us firmly in physical existence. This grounding creates in us appreciation for the vital nature of being alive in this world.

Going with the Flow

By grounding us in the present, Carnelian helps to release us from being mired in the past. So often, the decisions we make are based on those we've made before. We contemplate a vacation and think, "Well, I've always gone to Cape Cod." The lure of familiarity may conquer the desire to experience something new.

Yet, as constantly evolving beings, we need new experiences, new opportunities to see the world in a different way. Carnelian grounds us in this desire and helps us to ask the question, "What do I want right now? What do I want to have in my future?"

In the same manner, carnelian is related to creativity, especially in the sense of the flow of energy and ideas. Creativity means making something new, as distinct from reproducing something from the past. Carnelian helps to lead to original expression.

This quality proved valuable to a neighbor in our Manhattan building. She found a carnelian outside our door. (Crystals, although they don't have legs, have an inexplicable ability to travel).

I told her that it must be hers and mentioned that the stone is believed to help in the flow of creative energies. This excited her because she was a painter who had lately been experiencing a creative block. A few weeks later she reported that her work was flowing again.

Others have reported that carnelian has helped them improve their memory. When they've forgotten something they hold the stone, stop thinking about whatever it is that they've forgotten, and at some point their memory returns.

A special use we have for carnelians is to program them for mild, warm winters. I wish I would remember to do this more often. Maybe if I hold a carnelian for improved memory?

Carnelian and Libra

After Gemini, the astrological sign with the most trouble making decisions is Libra. The reasons for indecision are different; Librans (their symbol is the Scales of Justice) have the ability to see both sides of a situation, and dread the possibility that they might make a choice that would be a mistake. If they're choosing between the claims of two people they are even more hesitant.

Carnelian (which has the additional virtue of warming this sometimes-cool air sign), is thus an ideal stone for a Libran.

A Historical Note

People have appreciated carnelian for a long time. Some of the oldest specimens of jewelry contained this stone. When archaeologists excavated a site in the Middle East, they found, in the tomb of Pu-Abi, a Sumerian Queen from the third millennium, B.C., a robe containing carnelian.

The ancient Egyptians believed that carnelian helped the soul to pass into the next life. This stone, lapis, and turquoise, were the three most commonly found in tombs.

Carnelian has a long history of popularity in Asia, especially Tibet. In jewelry, it's often combined with turquoise to make beautiful,and grounding jewelry.


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