This is a quick guide to the mystical properties of crystals and minerals in the context of African and Diaspora mysticism.
Though the mystical/metaphysical properties are generally the same, they may have different uses that are less…generalized. In Obeah, their psychological significance and how they act on the psyche through light play and even taste and texture are also very important.
Crystals and other minerals are used in mojo bags, dolls, bochio, and many other mystical items. The right ingredients do make a difference, so if you’re the DIY type, it helps to know what you’re doing.
Just a warning before you read on, none of this is intended to be a substitute for medical care or consultation with a qualified mystic. Misuse of these tools can cause more destruction than you bargained for, or backfire with devastating consequences. This article is just for information purposes so that you have some idea what your priest/ess or counselor is doing for you. Also, we know that you peek in your mojo bags if we don’t seal or sew them shut. If you’re curious about what you saw in one does, here are some answers.
This article is a work in progress, so please visit again soon for updates. Also, if you have any comments or notes to add, feel free. I am happy to link to contributors.
alum – a good deodorant for people of African descent who find others irritating or allergy inducing, it also tightens up other things…and wards off “evil eye”. Also used to suck the evil out of people or close doors that are currently open and allowing them to harm others. Clean a new home by putting a chunk of it in the corners.
amber – sacred to Yemaya/Olokun and Oshun, it wards off negativity, and can be charged with various emotions. Most commonly used for protection and preservation of love. Blue and green amber are particularly rare, and help to draw powerful yet peaceful, loving energy. Black sea amber is a strong protection tool. Dominican amber is particularly good to give to sailors, along with aquamarine and larimar.
- carnelian agate – actually a chalcedony, sacred to Shango and Eshu, and treasured by Middle Eastern peoples as protective against evil and tragedy. In the diaspora, it is used to make necklaces and talismans for Eshu and Shango. It increases luck and boosts the fire element.
- onyx (black and white or gray banded agate) – cut into spheres, domes, or diamond shapes it is used to repel the “evil eye”. Helps a person to keep their cool in sexual or intense situations. It can also be left in a place for psychic surveillance. Also helps one to remember lessons from their past.
- sardonyx (red and white or red, white, and orange banded agate) – sacred to Shango. Repels “evil eye” when cut into spheres, domes, or diamond shapes, but in the way of burning it away as opposed to just repelling. Useful when the evil eye is coming from posessiveness and exploitive desire rather than just jealousy.
- zig-zag pattern banded agates – used to confuse enemies or repel negative energy
anhydrite, called “angelite” when blue – although the new age scene has decided this stone is all positive, it can serve as a beacon for the unquiet dead. Blue stones are often found as the treasures or weapons of Abiku. So on the one hand, anhydrite is good for people who travel astrally, make sure that nothing but the kind of energy you want is connected to it when you return. It’s one of those stones with a “handle with care” warning.
- aquamarine – sacred to Yemaya/Olokun, used for good luck in sea voyages and swimming or diving
- emerald – sacred to Oshun, enhances beauty and elegance, makes one feel younger and refreshed
- goshenite (clear) – helps to achieve justice and find out what justice would be in a situation
- heliodor beryl (green-brownish yellow) – sacred to Oshun and Orun, enhances sun tolerance, makes one feel energetic despite hot weather, shines a light on hidden motives
- morganite (pink) – sacred to Oba, helps to preserve marriage in the long term by reminding people why and how they fell in love, helps keep a woman loyal if you give her some jewelry made from it, symbolizes enduring love
chalcedony – Various kinds of chalcedony are used for protection, healing, and the making of talismans that require symbols or text to be written or engraved on a surface. Carving something into chalcedony “sets it in stone” because the engravings tend to last through considerable wear and tear over the years. Some talismans that are hundreds of years old are still being worn for normal wear by the great great grandchildren of those who first received them.
- aventurine – sacred to Osayin, helps to heal skin problems and boosts the power of healing herbal formulas
- bloodstone – sacred to Ogun, helps to clean the blood and one’s life of impurities. It is good for breaking addictions more quickly. Helps one to become or stay organized and calm in tough situations. Also helps people in metallurgy or technology to succeed.
- green ocean jasper – protects fields and helps plants to grow more healthily
- mterolite – sacred to Ogun, strengthens resolve by sealing a person off from outside influence. It is especially helpful when going into hostile situations in which one doesn’t wish to be obvious by carrying or wearing black stones such as jet, obsidian, or nuummite. People will just think you’re wearing jade or aventurine.
- red jasper – increases sexual stamina and energy, sometimes carved into phallic or frog shapes and carried as talismans, also helps people to be more expressive in love
chalk – also called “efun”, it is sacred to all Orishas, and is used for drawing sacred symbols or smeared on the body to honor or show the presence of the Ancestors. Cascarilla is a chalk made from egg shells, and is widely used in the diaspora. In Africa, efun is made from snail shells or sea shells. The Kongo got white chalk/kaolin clay from the banks of streams. Flour and starches are also used as chalk sometimes.
charcoal and ashes – the charcoal or ashes of various plants are used to mark the body and heal ailments(usually some sort of mineral deficiency). Some ashes are used as sunscreen, while others are used to indicate mourning or connection with the Ancestors.
cobalt (blue) – sacred to Yemaya/Olokun, it is used to hypnotize, remind one of the sea, as a homing mineral for water Spirits, and to dispell the evil eye by reminding people of our common origin. If you are wealthy, you should always serve guests in your home water in cobalt blue glasses whether they ask for it or not.
copper – sacred to Ogun and Oya, helps to channel and direct energy. If you want to make a storm, this is the metal to use. It can give a boost of energy from the elements or send lightning to strike an enemy if properly used.
gagate (also called jet, black amber, black earth amber, or azabache) – an extremely strong protection against “evil eye” and negative spells.
garnet (dark red almandine and pyrope) – sacred to Oya, it represents the “eye of the storm”. It helps you to keep your head in chaotic situations. Also aids in depression due to frustration and cleans the blood.
glass – sacred to Ogun, glass is an amplifier of the properties of other crystals, and a container for energy corresponding to its color and chemicals and minerals used to color it. It can also be used as a homing stone for Spirits. Sea tumbled glass has a lot of Yemaya/Olokun energy in it, though red sea tumbled glass is associated with Exu Mare (Eshu of the sea). Slag glass, a byproduct of iron slag, is especially sacred to Ogun, and will bring you the gifts of the Earth.
gold – sacred to Orun and Oshun, it helps to attract success and heighten the charisma and endurance of happy people so they don’t get discouraged. It can however, cause greed or “gold fever” if it is acquired from an unethical source.
kyanite – sacred to Yemaya, calms a person down and helps them to organize their thoughts, induces happiness, helps in meditation, concentration, and reduces test anxiety
larimar – sacred to Oloaina, Aganju, Yemaya, and Olokun. Only found in the Dominican Republic, this stone is used mainly for healing, serenity, and curing irrational mental distress and paranoia. It is also kept in a room to repel negative energy and evil eye.
meteorite – iron from meteorites was used to make spear tips, and later by some for sacred spears, arrowheads, and other blades. In modern African mysticism, it is considered sacred to Obatala and/or the cosmic/universal Ogun. It may be one of the esoteric meanings behind the stories of Ogun’s rape of Yemaya. Perhaps some saw the penetration of iron meteorites into the earth as this happening.
moonstone – sacred to Osu and Auset, it calls the energy of the moon, increases femininity and feminine intuition. It is very helpful in trance/visionary work, and healing those with a damaged femininity or feminine side.
niobium and columbite-tantalite ore – sacred to Ogun, it increases emotional and psychic flexibility and endurance. It is an excellent gift for a maker of mystical items, as it helps them to stay spiritually connected and inspired while they are working. See this brilliant page on the meta-science of columbite-tantalite.
nuummite – not used very extensively in Obeah, but gaining popularity as a very powerful dual purpose grounder and magnifier/projector/conductor of energy. It is very energetically “heavy”, so use sparingly, especially when it will be worn near the head, neck, and spine. If placed on a ring, it is best to wear this on the receiving hand rather than the giving hand until it is needed.
obsidian (black) – used for protection and reflecting negative energy back to the sender
- chocolate opal – boosts confidence, especially sexual, symbolic of African beauty
- green opal – sacred to Ochossi, helps to reconnect one with Nature or helps them accept some difficult aspect of Nature, aids in healing water/fluid related ailments
- pink opal – sacred to Pacha Mama, the Andean Mother Goddess. Enhances fertility and sensuality but also can make someone fatally passionate. Aids in healing heartbreak by reminding a person’s soul how much the Mother loves them, so they need not despair over a mortal’s rejection.
- white rainbow opal – absorbs and dissipates negative energy, but can also be a container for it
- yellow/golden opal – sacred to Oshun, used to enhance beauty, charisma, and dancing abilities in women and androgynes
porcelain – blue and white Chinese porcelain is used for vessels of Yemaya, and beads are used to make necklaces to honor her. Porcelain vases, containers, and such are considered as good as clay and carved stone ones, and sometimes bits of broken porcelain ware are used for house blessing and protection.
- amethyst – sacred to Iku, Sakpata, and Oya, helps one to commune with the ancestors and keep family traditions, aids in grief due to deaths, and is a good homing stone for Guardians. Wear an amethyst necklace or hatpin when you need to hold your ground against outside influence.
- citrine – sacred to Oshun, brings success and attracts money
- clear quartz – symbolizes light, Obatala, clarity, purity, or a full spectrum, and is used to send or receive positive energy or see all sizes of an issue in case of a dilema, and to tell if someone is lying or self deceiving
- onyx (black) – protects from evil eye, and sometimes indicates membership in a secret society
- red quartz – boosts fire element, and also used to send and receive fire oriented energy or purge someone of too much fire
- rose quartz – sacred to Oba, increases attraction by enhancing femininity, etiquitte and charm. Especially powerful when worn with pearls.
- rutilated quartz – helps one to find a path to reach a difficult goal or find a solution when it seems there is none
- smoky quartz – symbolizes stability, balance, and realism, and is used specifically solve dilemas or bring someone to a more realistic perspective
- tiger eye – helps to sort out dilemas and tell true friends from enemies
red clay – used in ritual face painting to symbolize fire or blood, or as a beauty enhancement
ruby – sacred to Shango and Aganju, super booster for fire element. Attracts lust, and puts passion into love. Also purifies love and makes the deceivers who will break your heart reveal their motives quickly. In conjunction with pink opal, it creates a kind of vortex that sucks out heartbreak, accelerating both healing and recovering ability to love again. Used with kyanite, it helps reduce drama in relationships without killing the passion. Star rubies are especially useful to help men not to be overly vulnerable to womens’ charms. When properly blessed, they help a man to keep the upper hand and protect themselves from women’s love spells.
salt – cleans, purifies, and dries. It is used for protection and healing, but also containment-cursing in situations where a person isn’t to be exactly harmed but prevented from doing something bad that they have a habit of doing. So the person may feel they’ve been cursed, but really they’re just being prevented from harming others.
sapphire (blue) – sacred to Olokun and Damballah, helps with balance, meditation, mental clarity, and decisiveness. Also a good homing stone for masculine water Spirits.
silver – cleans, purifies, and protects. It helps to insulate a person from negative psychic energy, and having their energy sucked without their consent or cooperation, so it is a favored metal for making amulets. Another practical use is of colloidial silver to help wounds heal by blocking microbes.
sphene (titanite) – sacred to Orun, it helps one to focus and concentrate on a task or mission. With overexposure it can cause overexcitability or obsession.
tourmaline – sacred to Oya, Ayida Wedo, and the literal Rainbow Serpent animal Spirit. Increases fertility and confidence. Watermelon tourmaline helps to manage or heal conditions affecting the immune system.
topaz – a power stone for when you need a particular kind of energy fast
turquoise – mainly used for protection, and also helps to stabilize relationships
uranium glass – sacred to Ogun, uranium is present in safe, small amounts in nearly all minerals, and is not supposed to be extracted for non medical applications. Some believe that uranium is a part of the cycle of life and matter that causes things to be able to decay and crumble, so to extract and concentrate it of course accelerates things’ destruction. Uranium glass is generally safe, but mystically, it is an abomination. Very radioactive stones should be left in the ground. When they are left alone and in their place of origin, an adept in close connection with Ogun can access their power without drawing his anger. So if you receive a piece of uranium glass, the best thing you can do is bury it. Do not buy it for this purpose, but if you happen to be given any uranium glass, vaseline glass, fiestaware, depression glass, etc. return it to the Earth. Doing so will bring you blessings.
white clay – used in ritual face and body painting to signify connection to the ancestors, death, or the dead