Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Open Letter to The Pyramid Collection

Dear Pyramid Collection,

First I want to say that I *love* your clothes. I wish I could afford what pieces come in "goddess sizes at no extra cost!", and wear the pieces that don't (and afford them too!). There's a skirt, a caftan and a coat that I want from the current catalog...le sigh. I also love most of your jewelry, even the rings that would only fit on my pinky fingers (they're size 10, which is usually the largest they carry >.>). I even have a Celtic weave patterned throw blanket poncho (it's awesome, trust me) that a beloved friend gave me for my boofday a few years ago that I adore and use all the time.

Then I see on my newest catalog on the "Look Inside!" bubble and see "Symbolic Jewelry". Orly? Lemme see what you've got going on here...hmm...Möbius-strip pendants with neat little sayings, pendants and rings made from unusual semiprecious stones (Australian black jade? Ooh..), lovely. Lots of Onyx and Garnet stuff, red and black, looks classy, The Gemstone Diet pendant...wait, what?

This is a cluster of tumbled stones that look like they've been soldered together. It's not, in my opinion, very pretty looking, but whatevs...let's see what's included...Sodalite, Obsidian, Amethyst, Tourmaline (what color? dunno), and Crystal Quartz. Wait, what? Hmm, let's see what attributes are given to the stones...Sodalite, to regulate metabolism? Obsidian is a cravings reducer? Amethyst, to counter food addiction? Tourmaline for energy and Quartz "to promote positives, dispel negatives" (this is a direct quote from the catalog).




This just doesn't make any sense to me. Ok, so Sodalite doesn't really have any ancient folklore behind it and so regulating metabolism could be as good as helping emotionally balance someone or calming a body down so a person can relax enough to sleep. But Obsidian and Amethyst *do* have a huge amount of historical folklore behind them. Obsidian has been used to make tools and mirrors for thousands of years. The Aztecs name for it meant, "Divine Stone". Making it a "cravings reducer" just seems like they're making things up.

The Romans believed if you drunk out of a goblet made of Amethyst, you wouldn't get drunk. In Tibet, Amethyst is sacred to the Buddha. Even the Catholics in the Middle Ages thought the stone encouraged celibacy and piety. The purple Amethyst decor during the Inquisition signified the joining of the spirit, represented by blue, with the body, represented by red (thanks Ardriana, as always). Nowhere in there do I see a connection to dealing with addiction. I suppose someone could make a case for a link somewhere, but I don't see it.

Tourmaline's history starts in ancient Egypt and China and is closely associate with creativity in all its forms. I suppose you could find creative ways to help hunger cravings, but really? Really? And Quartz has a history that starts at least 4000 years ago. Several tribes of Native Americans believed that Quartz housed spirits and were used for divination. I suppose a stone that is often called The Master Stone for the abundance of qualities it can take on that "to promote positives, dispel negatives" isn't the farthest stretch in this piece.

Why are you so up in arms about this piece Red?

It's done so poorly. It's ugly, and the combination of stones and the attributes given to them show an astounding lack of scholarship of behalf of the creator of this piece. And maybe for some people who buy it, it will actually work (Remember, sympathetic magick is about focusing the will to help you help yourself, so if Amethysts mean countering food addiction to you, then it's going to work). However, sympathetic magick works because there is a system behind it, a logic that one can count on. Just making up attributes for stones because you "feel" that they should be used that way just doesn't have the same weight behind it as using a stone because that's the way the ancients did it.

But Red, didn't the ancients just make this stuff up in the first place?

Probably, but stacking anything in your favor to help your will focus on your goal is a good thing. So you can make up a brand new attribute for a stone, if you internalize it, let it settle in your psyche, it might work. Or you can use the stone as the ancients did, and know that you have thousands of others using the stone just as you are, there is a connection to something larger, a weight to the history you are participating in that will focus your will in ways you may not have considered.

That sounds suspiciously like psychology or "placebo effect"...

Yes, and...? C'mon now, say it with me...Helping you to help yourself...

Well, if you're so smart, how would you do it?

Well, the things I keep hearing about the problems with weight loss...cravings, food addiction, changing the way you think about food...these are all associated with the intellect. The core of this design would be Citrine. With higher clarity of thought, you can see and recognize the signs of your cravings, and have the mental fortitude to either side track them with something else or resist them. I would also probably add Rutilated Quartz and/or Picasso Stone to help with internal awareness and consciousness of changing body image.

You could also go some old school witchcraft and just banish the cravings with Obsidian (ok, so I guess the Pyramid piece wasn't that far off with this one...but shouldn't be trying to do something so passive with Obsidian like "reduce cravings". Use it to tell those cravings to GTFO! KILL THEM WITH FYIAH! RAWR! RED SMASH CRAVINGS!...cough...ahem... >.> )

Losing weight is a core body issue, so there would be a deep earth aligned stone, like Green Moss Agate or Aventurine, something to keep the body healthy while you go through a fundamental change.

Raising your metabolism, or affecting the system that "burns the food you eat and makes it energy" seems like a fire connected issue. I would use Tiger's Eye, in any of its colors, or any other deeply connected fire stone to represent this. This would also help with raising your energy levels as well.

And heck, there is folklore that says to use Moonstone when trying to diet, so I'd prolly add some in there for good measure.

The thing to remember about this however, is that you can't wear something like that pendant and then sit on the couch eating the same junk food you did yesterday and expect to lose weight. Change the food intake, change the amount of exercise, change your way of thinking about food *and* wear the pendant for that little extra "oomph" to get you through the tough times, like the plateaus where your body is adjusting to its new size.

I put a lot of thought and effort into what I do, and I hope that it shows. I don't want to just make up stuff that "feels right" to me and pass it off as magick to others (it does happen upon occasion, but that's cuz intuition can be a tricky thing...and it's not all that I do). There are rules to follow and history to take into account, and it bothers me to see when others throw those out the window in favor of something else.

In the end, I still love your catalog, Pyramid Collection, but it makes me sad to see you include spells among your merchandise and not check the quality or the effectiveness of them before offering them to your customers.

Till next time, be well,
Bhen Rudha


  1. " can use the stone as the ancients did, and know that you have thousands of others using the stone just as you are, there is a connection to something larger, a weight to the history you are participating in that will focus your will in ways you may not have considered."

    This is the part of sympathetic magick that I love the most. The connectivity of how one thing is in sympathy with another. The ancient attributes sympathize through time and space to the here and now. Even if it is nothing more than a romantic notion, I love feeling that there really is no such thing as solitary practice because all over the world, others like us are practicing in the same ways we are.

    I think the "do whatever feels right" philosophy of magick cuts that connectivity. At the same time, I understand that no matter how much research and continuity we try to achieve, we all as individuals, have our own signature way of doing things. And so it should be. We shouldn’t be chained to a history that is petrified in stone. (…a little accidental humor there.) But it is a warm unifying feeling that we are all branches from the same tree. That metaphor implies that there are roots to our philosophies no matter how far we have grown away from them. History provided those roots and no matter how we evolve from there, we are still connected. But…you have to at least learn that history.

    So I'm with you on this one. The philosophy of magickal and spiritual history, standing on the shoulders of the ancestors who came before us, adds depth and breadth to our traditions that can manifest in ways you will never expect!

    Ardriana Cahill

  2. "I love feeling that there really is no such thing as solitary practice because all over the world, others like us are practicing in the same ways we are."

    I love this about my faith too =)

  3. I realize I am no scholar of gems and semi-precious stones, but I believe I can shed some light on their selections. All information I use was found quickly through a Google search and by cross-referencing a few sites on the subject (and, n...o, not wikipedia).

    For starters, you're right about Sodalite. Having been officially discovered circa 1800, its only been in use in jewelry since the 1890s when large deposits were discovered in Canada. Therefore, it has no ancient history. However, I did find a site listing it and its folk remedy history (short as it may be). For whatever reason, it lists it for balancing metabolism, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure, among other things.

    Obsidian was likely chosen for cravings control because it has a healing and grounding effect and relates to the stomach/digestive system.

    I see numerous references to Amethyst being the "sobriety stone", much as you suggested the Romans used it. It's name comes from the Greek word "amethustos", meaning "without wine" or "not to intoxicate". Because of this property, it is used for breaking bad habits (addictions, in this case) by removing the effect it has upon the user.

    Tourmaline is harder to justify in its selection. The best I can see is Black Tourmaline deflects negative energy, grounds excess energy (of all kinds) and is a immune system booster. I suppose all that could make you feel like you have more energy, or your energy is being use more efficiently. This is in addition to its properties as a general Tourmaline, which include a wide variety of benefits, the likely applicable ones being increased happiness, strength, and protection.

    And nearly every stone is listed as a form of Quartz, so I don't even know where to begin there. Smokey Quartz seems to be of the removing negativity variety, so perhaps doing that will "promote positives, dispel negatives" simply by contrast of getting rid of negatives.

    And there you have a Mormon bumbling around in the metaphysical properties of stones.

    Sites referenced:

  4. You are the coolest Mormon I know.