Pyrite ~ fool’s gold or rockhound’s treasure?

When I was a little girl, I frequently made trips with my grandparents to buy plaster molds and slip (liquid clay) for the ceramic business they owned. I loved these travels to the mountains of Pennsylvania, and I usually came back with pockets full of stones that I collected outside when the adults were busy talking shop. As a Leo, I was drawn to anything sparkly (still am!) and the glittery metallic gold pyrite rock was one of my favorite finds. Years later, I learned that pyrite is associated with the star of our Milky Way galaxy and the astrological sign of Leo. This unique mineral forms into cube crystals, clusters of pentagonal crystals, and “sun dollars” with radiating striations and iridescent flashes. The natural pyrite sun specimen above comes from Sparta, Illinois and formed in narrow, compacted seams of slate over 300 million years old.

Pyrite pentagonal crystal cluster
Pyrite cluster with pentagonal crystals

 

Pyrite cube crystal
natural pyrite cube crystal

Pyrite is an iron sulfide with the chemical formula FeS2. This mineral’s metallic luster and pale brass hue give it a superficial resemblance to gold. Its name is Greek in origin and means “stone which strikes fire” because of the sulfur sparks that fly from it when struck with metal or another mineral. Native Americans and cultures in ancient Mexico would carve and polish this stone for use as mirrors.

Pyritized ammonites
Pyritized ammonite fossils

Pyrite is usually found in quartz veins, sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock, coal beds, and as a replacement mineral in fossils. The stone is found all over the world, but mainly in the USA, Peru, Spain, Germany, Russia, and South Africa. Despite being nicknamed fool’s gold, pyrite is sometimes found with small quantities of real gold!

Pyrite sphere
Pyrite sphere

In the metaphysical realm, pyrite is known to be highly protective and an excellent mineral to shield one from negative energy and vibrations. It boosts self-worth, strengthens the will, and increases vitality. The stone enhances intellect and memory, and is particularly beneficial to those studying math, science, and architecture. Pyrite is also a symbol for good luck and good fortune! For magick, this mineral can be used in spells for money and wealth, defense, and divination. The French call pyrite Pierre de Sante, meaning “stone of health”. The energy of both earth and fire are within the pyrite stone, and can be used for activating and balancing the Root/Base Chakra. When combined with professional health care, this mineral can also be used as an energetic healing aid to balance hormones and ease the discomfort of menstruation. It’s been said that meditating with pyrite suns can draw pain from the body.

Pyrite skull
Hand carved pyrite skull

 

Pyrite druzy and dodecahedral crystal cluster
Pyrite dodecahedral crystals on pyrite druzy crystals

Pyrite has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Pieces have been found in ancient civilizations of the Greeks, Romans, and the Incas. The metallic stone is perfect for contemporary jewelry and is gaining in popularity. It has a dramatic upscale style, yet an affordable cost. Pyrite is rated at 6 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, and care needs to be taken when wearing. Avoid getting your pyrite jewelry wet, and polish the stone with a soft cloth.

Pyrite and Carnelian earrings
Pyrite and carnelian earrings

There’s a few important cosmic energy transits I want to mention before wrapping up. On August 10, Mercury aligns in a harmonic trine with Pluto in the earth signs of Virgo and Capricorn. This is a great transit for intensive studies, and looking underneath the surface of any matter, including ourselves. Dig deep enough, and you may strike gold! You might also be engaged in deep conversations that bring flashes of insight, or receive communications with breakthrough solutions to problems. Tomorrow is also the first quarter square of the Scorpio Moon to the Leo Sun, which may bring a challenge to our daily routines, or to projects started around a week ago. It can also bring a burst of emotional or physical energy that aids in resolution. And finally, Wednesday evening begins the shadow period of Mercury Retrograde, which will be occurring on August 30. Difficulties encountered during the actual retrograde will show up now as hints from the Universe. Listen to your intuition and “gut instincts”, and tie up loose ends regarding transportation, communication, appointments, and any documents that need to be signed. Stargazers, heads up! The Perseid meteor shower will peak August 11 and 12. It’s the second largest shower after the Geminids in December, and skies should be mostly clear for viewing. Stay gold!

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