The Book of Talismans Amulets and Zodiacal Gems
PART II THE GEMS OF THE ZODIAC
Chapter I ARIES - THE RAM
The Zodiac - Zodiacal and Calendar Months - The New Year - The Constellation - Hamal - The Passover - Characteristics of Aries People - Gems of Aries - The Bloodstone and Heliotrope - Mars the Ruling Planet - Marbodeus Callus - The Diamond - The Qualities of the Diamond - Tavernier - The Regent - The Koh-i-Noor - The Hope Diamond.
THE Sun enters the Zodiacal House of Aries on March 21st of each year, and remains in occupation until April 20th, his entrance to this House marking the commencement of the Zodiacal year, with days and nights of equal length, and also signifying the advent of Spring. The Zodiac is an imaginary belt in the heavens which extends for several degrees on either side of the apparent path of the Sun, called the Ecliptic, which is divided into twelve sections of thirty degrees each, known as the Houses of the Zodiac; and it is in this belt that the planets move and form aspects.
The Sun takes a year to travel through the twelve houses, remaining a month in each; the months are not, however, the familiar ones of the Calendar, but are for periods from the 21st of one Calendar month to the 20th of the next approximately. The time of the Sun’s entry into Aries marks the Zodiacal beginning of the year, as from this time the days are longer than the nights, and are still increasing in length; the fact remains, however, that the First of January was fixed by Act of Parliament as the beginning of the New Year, although our law-makers in 1752, when re-forming the Calendar, would have been wiser and more accurate had they fixed the New Year at the Vernal Equinox instead of adopting the System of the Romans which was originally formed out of compliment to Julius Caesar.
The Constellation of Aries is situated in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere near the Pleiades, between the Constellations of Pisces and Taurus. In its group it has three very bright stars visible to the naked eye, the brightest of which is known as Hamal, or the Sheep, and was much more poetically described in the Akkadian tongue as “Dilkur,” the dawn proclaimer. The Chinese have a tradition giving the greatest prominence to Aries from the fact that it was believed to have occupied the centre of the heavens at the Creation of the World, a belief that was also held by the
The Symbol of this House is the Ram (see Frontispiece, No. 1), which in the early religions was considered symbolic of sacrifice, and in connection with this may be noted the fact that the
Jewish passover was commenced in this sign when Moses was commanded to sacrifice a young Ram, a sacrifice which was the forecast of our Easter Services. Chemical evidence reveals the fact that the human body is composed of separate elements, common to all physical formations, and that the differences between individuals is caused by different and varying combinations of these elements, portions of which are vivified to a greater or lesser degree by the Planets of our Solar System. The influence of this force should be taken into account when the relative effect of one person’s mind qualities, or magnetic emanations, on any other person is under consideration. Aries rules the Head and Face, and brain-workers are consequently typical of this sign, Reason being their ruler, and this the most positive of the twelve houses. Those born under the influence of Aries must be leaders, the brain being the most active part of their bodies. Having unbounded confidence in their own abilities when working out their plans, difficulties are scorned, or even welcomed, for they have the true Martian spirit the love of conquest.
Pioneers in thought and action, ever exploring and originating, they bring unflagging energy and fearlessness in emergency to their pursuits, seeming specially gifted by Nature to tread the thorny paths of life, making the ways smoother for their weaker brethren. Their methods must, however, be their own. If required to work on conventional lines they are never happy, and seldom successful; understanding what they require, they must be left to accomplish it according to their own ideas. Optimistic in regard to their enterprises, difficulties are underrated; but where any matter requires to be dealt with quickly and promptly, they are at their best.
Aries people are very enthusiastic, brave, venturesome, generous, and impulsive, self-willed and opinionated, fond of change, romance, and adventure, ever ready to champion the cause of the weak and suffering, this tendency frequently leading them to acts of indiscriminate charity often wasted on undeserving subjects. They have great ideality, are highly strung, often hypersensitive, with remarkably keen perceptions in which they are rarely deceived. They are naturally ambitious, and often lacking in caution; but, as they are ruled by their reasoning powers, it is in this direction they are open to control and should find their Zodiacal and Planetary Stones of great benefit to them. In matters of business, friend ship, and the affections this type will harmonise best with those between April 21st and May 21st, July 22nd and August 21st, also November 22nd and December 20th.
The gems of this House are the Bloodstone and Diamond, which, as a rule, will not be good for people born between June 2ist and July 21st, unless Mars was very favourable at their birth.
The bloodstone is a variety of green Jasper which derives its distinctive name from a number of blood-red specks formed by iron oxide with which it is impregnated. It is an opaque stone, but as its surface is capable of taking a very high polish, and in consistency being very suitable to the graver, it has from time immemorial been a great favourite for the cutting of seals and cameos. It exists in large quantities and is, in consequence, inexpensive, and is found in India, Bokhara, Siberia, Tartary, and in the Hebrides.
There is much disagreement between ancient writers with regard to the Heliotrope and Bloodstone, some asserting there is no difference, the name Heliotrope having been conferred upon this variety from the idea that when plunged in water it presents a red reflection of the image of the Sun; others maintain that the Heliotrope is a translucent green Chalcedony with crimson spots, and the Bloodstone a green Jasper flecked with red.
An old tradition records that the Bloodstone had its origin at the Crucifixion, being formed by drops of blood which, following the thrust of the Roman soldier’s spear, fell upon some green jasper on which the cross was erected, the stains penetrating the stones and thus originating this particular variety. From this time onwards the stone seems to have been endowed with magical and divine powers in arresting hemorrhage from wounds, and was worn by Roman soldiers for
this reason; among the natives of India it is customary to place the Bloodstone itself upon wounds and injuries after dipping it in cold water. Its curative properties in this respect have
been explained in modern times by the fact that the iron oxide in this stone is an active and effective astringent even now used in surgery.
Rings of dark green Jasper flecked with red were favourite ornaments amongst the Egyptians, who frequently wore them upon the thumb, probably because the thumb is under Martian influence, Mars being the ruling planet of the House of Aries.
One of these talismanic stones was worn by Nechepsos, an Egyptian king, to strengthen the digestive organs, and was engraved in the form of a dragon surrounded by rays. The Gnostics wore the Bloodstone as an Amulet to prolong life, and to make its wearer courageous and wealthy, as well as to strengthen the stomach and dispel melancholy; and in the Middle Ages it was considered good for those engaged in husbandry and the breeding of cattle.
Amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Bloodstone was worn to bring renown and the favour of the great ; to inspire constancy and endurance, and as a charm against the bites of scorpions and all venomous creatures. It was also a great favourite with their athletes, who wore it as a Talisman for success in the games.
In an essay written by a certain Thomas Boyle on “The Origine and Virtues of Gems,” dated 1675, we read that a gentleman of sanguine habit having been long troubled with excessive bleeding from the nose, was unable to find a cure until “an ancient gentleman presented him with a Bloodstone the size of a pigeon’s egg, to be worn round the neck, and upon the use of this stone he not only cured himself, but stopped hemorrhage in a neighbour.”
Marbodeus Gallus, writing in verse on this stone, after mentioning its virtue against the Ague and Dropsy, says:
“Againe it is believed to be a safeguard frank and free
To such as ware and bear the same; and if it hallowed bee,
It makes the parties gratious and mightier too that have it
And noisome fancies as they write who ment not to deprave it
It doth dispel out of the mind. The force thereof is stronger
In silver, if this stone be set, it doth endure the longer.”
The Chinese advise its being set in gold to obtain the best results; and the Rev. C. W. King tells us that a Bloodstone, engraved with the figure of a scorpion when the Sun was entering the sign of Scorpio, was believed by the Ancients to be a sure preservation against the formation of stone in the bladder.
The diamond. Amongst the many precious crystallised stones the diamond stands preeminent for beauty, brilliancy, and strength. It is the hardest stone known, hence the name of Adamas, meaning “the Indomitable,” given it by its ancient discoverers, as with it every known substance can be cut, although it cannot be cut, nor be scratched by other stones; nor have acids nor solvents any effect upon it. It also resists the action of the file.
When found, the diamond is covered with a thick crust, so hard that there is no substance known that will remove it but that of itself, and it is only by grinding and polishing with diamond dust and minute diamonds that it is shaped and its wonderful brilliancy developed.
It was believed by the old writers to be the most powerful of all precious stones in its influence and effect upon humanity both spiritually and physically, and it is connected with marvellous records of adventure and enterprise, as well as representing Purity, Innocence, and protection from witchcraft and evil. To this day in India, amongst natives sufficiently wealthy, tiny diamonds are sprinkled from a white cloth over the heads of infants during the ceremony of
naming the child, to keep it pure and virtuous.
The Romans also regarded the diamond with much reverence, fastening it upon the left arm so that the gem should touch the flesh, believing it powerful in making its wearer brave and daring, giving him the victory over his enemies; and when set in fine steel, was considered a charm against insanity.
It was thought by the old astrologers to be particularly powerful when worn by a subject born under a strong aspect of the planet Mars, bestowing fortitude, strength of mind, and constancy in wedded love; it repelled sorcery, poison, and nightmares, calmed anger, and strengthened friend ship. It is often referred to as the Stone of Reconciliation; and was worn to promote love and harmony between man and wife.
Sir John Mandeville writes the following: “A diamond should be worn on the left side of the body for it is of greater value there than on the right, for the strength of their growing is towards the North, that is, the left side of the world, and the left part of a man is when he turns his face to the East.”
Another old writer says: “He who carries a diamond on the left side shall be hardy and manly; it will guard him from accidents to the limbs; but nevertheless a good diamond will lose its power and virtue if worn by one who is incontinent, or drunken.”
In the Middle Ages the diamond was thought to protect its wearer from the plague, and for this reason Queen Elizabeth was given a diamond to guard her against infection, which she is said to have worn in her bosom. It was a diamond worn in the girdle of Queen Donna Isabel II of Spain that saved her on the day when the murderous attempt was made upon her life. The point of the assassin’s dagger struck the stone and glanced off, so the wound, which might otherwise have proved fatal, resulted in a flesh wound only. Napoleon, too, attached great value to the qualities of the diamond, and wore the famous Regent diamond in the hilt of his sword. The history of this remarkable stone is so curious that a brief account of its discovery and subsequent owners may be interesting. It was found at Parteal, south of Golconda, by a slave who concealed it by making a gash in the calf of his leg and hiding the stone in the folds of the bandage until he could escape to Madras. Deceived by the promises made to him by a sailor in whom he had confided, he consented, when a purchaser had been found for the stone, to share profits, but was thrown overboard by the seaman, who disposed of the diamond to a dealer named Jamchund for ₤1000, which he quickly spent, afterwards hanging himself.
The stone was next purchased by Thomas Pitt, grandfather to the Earl of Chatham, who purchased it after much bargaining for ₤20,400; but the jewel brought him no happiness. So fearful was he of losing it, it is said that he never slept twice at the same house whilst it was in his possession; also serious reflections were made on his character as to when and under what conditions he had obtained it. About the year 1717, having offered the gem to several sovereigns,
the Regent of France was persuaded that his country should possess the most beautiful and perfect diamond known, so the purchase was effected for ₤135,000.
In its natural state it weighed 410 carats, but after its cutting, which took two years to complete, it was reduced to 137 carats, and was the size of a large plum, perfectly white, without spot or flaw, and of admirable water. In the disorder attendant on the French Revolution the Regent diamond was stolen from the public treasury. Twelve years afterwards it was recovered, and subsequently was amongst the stones set in the Imperial diadem of France.
Another celebrated diamond is the Koh-I-Noor, or “Mountain of Light.” Its history, according to Tavernier, the French traveller, can be traced back to half a century B.C. This stone is reported by Baber, the founder of the Mogul Empire, to have come into the treasury at Delhi from the conquest of Malwa in 1304, since when it has passed through the hands of many Indian rulers, who believed that the safety of their dynasty depended on the possession of this fateful
After many vicissitudes it came into the possession of Runjeet Singh King of Lahore, who wore it on his arm set between two smaller diamonds. So convinced was he of its mystical powers, that he bequeathed it to the Shrine of Juggernaut so that he might obtain benefits for his soul after death. His successors, however, would not allow the treasure to be disposed of in this
manner, and it was subsequently presented to the late Queen Victoria by Lord Dalhousie on the annexation of the Punjaub, and was brought to London in 1850. The Brahmins believe that the Crimean War and Sepoy Mutiny, which occurred seven years afterwards, were due to its influence, and they say that misfortune will follow the possessor until it is restored to the line of Vikramaditya; but we are justified in the hope that as England is under the influence of the
Zodiacal House of Aries, the house of the diamond, our Empire may still flourish and prosper.
Since the Koh-i-Noor came into our possession it has been recut, an operation which has decreased its size but greatly improved its brilliancy.
According to ancient lore, very large diamonds should never be worn as ornaments, as they bring disaster and anxiety; nor should they be used as sleeve-links or buttons or they will bring misfortune and sudden death. The losing of a diamond was considered (and still is), apart from its material value, an omen of mishaps. To be efficacious as a Talisman the diamond should be given freely, never sold, never lent, never coveted, and never taken by fraud or force. It is a
curious fact that large diamonds have ever brought anxiety and often death to those who have taken them by violence and sold them; and the strange fatality which, for so many years, seems to have surrounded the famous Hope diamond is an example.
The Hope diamond was originally owned by Tavernier, the French traveller, already mentioned. Born in Paris in 1605, he spent some years in the East, traded extensively in precious stones, and accumulated a vast fortune. In the year 1668 the gem, subsequently known as “the Hope Diamond,” was sold by Tavernier in a parcel of fine diamonds to Louis XIV, the Grand Monarque. Tavernier was soon after robbed by his son of an immense sum of money; left destitute, at the age of eighty-one he died in exile. The King’s haughty and arrogant favourite, the Duchesse de Montespan, prevailed upon her Royal lover to allow her to wear the dazzling gem at a Court Ball. From that hour she lost her fascination for the fickle monarch, and the circumstances of her fall confirmed the sinister superstition as to the fateful nature of the blue diamond. Most beautiful and most unhappy of all its wearers was Marie Antoinette. She not only wore it herself, but lent it to her dearest friend the Princesse de Lamballe. When Madame de Lamballe’s head was paraded on a pike by the revolutionary mob, and shown to the King and Queen - then practically prisoners - and when subsequently the ill-fated Louis XVI perished on the guillotine, and finally was followed by his Queen, who was driven slowly to the scaffold so that she should be made to “drink long of death,” the superstitious remembered the reputed curse which the blue diamond was said to bring upon its possessors. For thirty years after this the illfated diamond was lost to the public gaze, until it was found in the possession of a lapidary of Amsterdam, whose son stole it from his father and disappeared, Fals, the gem-cutter, dying in absolute want. The son gave the jewel to a Frenchman named Beaulieu, and after disposing of it committed suicide. Frangois Beaulieu brought the gem to London and sold it to a dealer named Daniel Eliason, Beaulieu himself dying the next day mysteriously.
Mr. Henry Thomas Hope was the next purchaser, paying Eliason the sum of ₤18,000 for it. The stone remained in the Hope family until 1901, when Lord Francis Hope (who had married and divorced an actress) sold it to a diamond merchant, who resold it to an American, who, becoming financially embarrassed, disposed of it to M. Jacques Colot. He in his turn disposed of it to a Russian Prince who was stabbed; and the French dealer from whom he purchased it ended
his own life. Next a Greek merchant met with a violent death after selling the diamond to Abdul Hamid, the ex-Sultan of Turkey, who narrowly escaped with his life after losing his throne. A firm of New York jewellers next bought the sinister gem, and although a story was circulated that they had disposed of it to a gentleman who had gone down in the ill-fated Titanic, it is believed to be, at present, in the possession of Mr. McLean, an American millionaire, to whom so far nothing untoward has happened.
The preceding paragraph was written in 1914, and in May, 1919, further proof was given of the strange fatality that accompanies this stone in the announcement in all European papers of the death of Vincent Walsh McLean, aged eleven years, who was accidentally killed by a motorcar whilst playing in the road (having escaped from his nurse) near his father’s estate.
Great importance was attached by the Hindus to the original shape of a diamond, a triangular stone being thought to cause quarrels, a square diamond terrors ; but a six-cornered stone was thought to bring the best of good fortune and to renew the strength in old age.