The Book of Talismans Amulets and Zodiacal Gems
PISCES THE HOUSE OF THE FISHES
Period, Constellation, Precession of the Equinoxes, Icthyes, the Fishes, Mythology, Symbol, The Rulers of the House,
Characteristics, Ailments of the Type, Professions, Friendship and Marriage, Harmonious and Inharmonious Types,
The Gem of the House, The Amethyst, Virtues of the Stone, Talisman against Inebriety, Its Calming Influence, The Stone of St. Valentine, As a Lovers' Talisman, The Effect of Purple Rays, The Amethyst, Beneficent to all Types, Real and Artificial Gems and how to select them.
THE Sun enters the Zodiacal House of Pisces, the Fishes, on February igth, remaining in occupation until March 20th.
The constellation of Pisces is situated in the Southern Celestial Hemisphere between Aquarius and Aries, occupying a large space near the Equator which the Sun crosses at the Vernal Equinox when entering the Zodiacal House of Aries.
At one time the constellations marked the actual Zodiacal Houses of the same name, but owing to the precession of the Equinoxes the constellations have moved forward, and Pisces occupies the space originally allotted to Aries; and this forward movement applies to all the Zodiacal
Houses previously dealt with. The constellation can be seen best during the latter part of October and through November between 8 and 10 p.m., but owing to the absence of any important stars it is not easily traced.
It was known to the Greeks as Ichthyes, the Fishes, and as illustrating the connection of the Zodiac with religious teachings, it is interesting to note that the early Christians chose the Fish as the symbol of their faith because the Greek word , Fish, formed the initials of five words meaning Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. In
Ancient Grecian Mythology it is recorded that the two fishes were placed in the heavens by the goddess Minerva to commemorate the escape of Venus and her son Cupid who, whilst walking on the banks of the Euphrates, were attacked by the demon Typhon, described by Homer and Virgil as having a hundred dragon heads upon his shoulders, with devouring flames belching from the mouths and eyes, and with snakes issuing from his fingers. To escape this monster, Venus and Cupid transformed themselves into fishes and plunged into the river which afforded them safety.
This House is generally symbolised by two fishes connected with a band, as illustrated in No. 12 of the Frontispiece. Jupiter is usually considered to be the ruling planet of this House, or in the case
of highly developed subjects the planet Neptune takes the rule.
The symbol of the two fishes attached yet turning in contrary directions seems an apt symbol of the characteristics of this type who are the most dual-natured of all signs, being liable to act on the impressions of their surroundings, showing at one moment extreme persistence and at another a want of determination. Like the two fishes represented back to back, their thoughts and actions are frequently at variance, and, although outwardly placid and docile, this sensitive, changeable disposition is soon ruffled by sudden impulse, resembling the shimmering water which is the native element of the fishes. Being receptive to the conditions around them Pisces subjects adapt themselves readily to any change of environment or circumstances fate may bring, but have a great dislike to anything that tends to ruffle their calm and placid temperaments. Hating suspense, uncertainty, or anxiety, and many-sided in their failings and weaknesses, they often appear to be a mass of contradictions.
The general characteristic of those born under the influence of Pisces is a strongly emotional, contemplative, facile nature with much artistic appreciation for beautiful scenery and surroundings. The pleasures of life have a great attraction
for them, but from an inherent consideration of the possible demands of the future their expenditure in this direction is coupled with much prudence. Being susceptible to outside influences they are apt to rely too much on the advice and experiences of those with whom they come into contact, and are by turns too apprehensive and too venturesome.
The mind is imaginative, philosophical, and acquisitive, and as a rule mechanical and accurate, although liable to become indolent and self-centred unless spurred on by those they are fond of, when they will persevere in their efforts
towards a desired end with astonishing persistency. In spite of this spasmodic determination they are often lacking in self-confidence and fail to make the best of opportunities for their own interests and benefit. Very much appreciating any confidence in their ability to carry out work entrusted to them by others, which they perform with the utmost punctuality and precision; and having a liking for positions of responsibility and management, they frequently run two occupations at the same time. As children they are of a very observant and enquiring nature, continually asking questions, so that every advantage as regards education should be given them, a wrong start in life being more serious in its results to this type than to any other. They seldom change the pro
fession or occupation on their own initiative, and although easily persuaded become obstinate when driven. Hating discord and strife, the temper is slow to anger but rebellious when roused, and although naturally of a peace-loving disposition they do not easily recover from its effects.
When adversely aspected they become selfish, secretive, discontented, and extravagant, and in business tricky and dishonest, and with a general want of balance and a tendency to intemperance. This House ruling the feet, those born during the Pisces period are subject to ailments and injuries affecting these members, and are also liable to contract colds and serious illnesses from damp feet ; they are also inclined to weakness of the back, abscesses and disorders of the blood, and irregularities of the general system, torpidity of the liver, and nervous breakdown, but they should never be encouraged to make much of any illness; being so susceptible, that suggestion alone will frequently cause its development.
In professions and occupations they are successful as actors, novelists, artists, teachers, travellers, musicians, examiners, and make good disciplinarians, also, being very resourceful in emergencies, they are extremely successful in the care and management of young people, interesting them and gaining their confidence and enthusiasm by
original methods, yet exacting obedience without harshness or fault-finding. Illustrating the possibilities of this type when well developed, we may cite General Baden-Powell.
Being naturally fond of the water, they are successful as Captains, Sailors, and Fishermen; also in all businesses connected with liquids, such as hotel-keepers and caterers.
In friendship and marriage they are overcautious in some respects whilst imprudent in others, and being apprehensive of consequences they frequently weigh and consider before making any voluntary change in their lives and habits;
so that although impressionable and affectionate, they are apt to drift aimlessly into circumstances, and, in many instances, marry late, although naturally inclined and fitted for home and family life. They will be found most in harmony
with those born during the Cancer, Scorpio, Taurus, and Capricorn periods, and least in sympathy with those of the Gemini and Sagittarius periods.
The gem of this House is the Amethyst, a semiprecious stone in varying shades of purple which belongs to the quartz family and owes its colour to oxide of manganese and iron which forms part of its composition. The best variety comes from Siberia, Ceylon, Brazil, and Persia, and the
Amethyst was originally regarded as a very precious stone, until the immense quantities received from Brazil reduced its value generally.
From the earliest dawn of history the occult properties of this stone as an antidote to inebriety have been recognised, by all writers, the name originating from a Greek word meaning "without intoxication," and according to Aristotle it was
also the name of a beautiful nymph who invoked the aid of Diana to protect her from the attentions of Bacchus, which the goddess did by converting her into a precious gem, upon which Bacchus, in remembrance of his love, gave the stone its colour and the quality of preserving its wearers from the noxious influence of wine.
The Egyptians used these stones freely for Talismans, their soldiers wearing them as A,mulets for success in their exploits and calmness in danger. Pliny says the Magi believed that if the symbols of the Sun and Moon were engraved upon the Amethyst it made a powerful charm against witchcraft, and procured for its wearers success to their petitions, good luck, and the favour of those in authority. Camillus Leonardus, confirming its efficacy in restraining intoxication,
says: "It also represses evil thoughts and all excesses, prevents contagion, and gives good understanding
of hidden things, making a man vigilant and expert in business."
The Amethyst has always been associated with ecclesiastical decorations, its frequent use in episcopal rings giving rise to its description as the Bishop's Stone," and rosaries of Amethyst
beads were much in request in olden times to attract soothing influences in times of stress and to confer a pious calm on their wearers.
In religious art it was regarded as emblematic of resignation under earthly sufferings, patience in sorrow, and trust unto death, which Marbodus (translated by the Rev. C. W. King) expresses in verse:
"On high the Amethyst is set
In colour like the violet,
With flames as if of gold it glows
And far its purple radiance throws;
The humble heart it signifies
Of him who in the Saviour dies."
During the Middle Ages the qualities attributed to it were many: it indicated the presence of poison by becoming dim, also personal danger and ill-health by changing colour; it was, moreover, considered to give vigilance to business men, and to sportsmen and soldiers calmness in danger.
The Amethyst is the stone of St. Valentine, who is said to have always worn it ; and in the days
of romance and chivalry, if presented by a lady to her knight, or a bride to her husband in the shape of a heart set in silver, it was said to confer the greatest possible earthly happiness on the pair who would be blessed with good fortune for the remainder of their lives.
In connection with the soothing influence of this gem, it is interesting to note that according to modern research purple light rays have been found to exercise a calming effect upon nervous and hysterical patients and a consequent improvement in the vitality. Cases of neuralgia and sleeplessness have been relieved by an Amethyst rubbed gently over the temples. It is one of the very few gems that may universally be worn without adverse results.
REAL AND ARTIFICIAL GEMS AND HOW TO TEST AND SELECT THEM
THE following notes are written in the hope that they may put readers upon their guard against some common deceptions and prevent disappointment which with a little knowledge can be avoided.
The qualities which make gems valuable are beauty of colour, brilliancy or fire, and hardness, in which they excel all other substances known.
A large variety of coloured stones come from Ceylon, and many tourists and travellers buy stones there in the hope of securing bargains, a hope that in the majority of cases does not materialise. Dealers in gems are amongst the shrewdest
of mankind, and from continually handling and examining stones become wonderfully keen in judging them from their appearance and feel, and are very seldom mistaken in distinguishing the real from the imitation, and no novice will get the better of them in a deal, so that intending purchasers who have no practical experience of gems are advised to buy from established firms with a
reputation to lose, or on the advice of an expert, rather than rely upon their own judgment.
Before the full beauty of a stone can be appreciated it has to be cut and polished, either with facets, or in the form known as cabochon. Practically all transparent stones are cut with facets, the best and most popular form being the
"brilliant" cut (as shown in Illustration No. I of the Frontispiece) which has been found so effective with diamonds that the term "brilliant" has become the recognised name for a diamond cut in this manner.
With oblong stones "trap" cutting is followed, Emeralds being the principal stones cut in this fashion (as shown in No. 4 of Frontispiece). "Rose" cutting is the form generally adopted with very small diamonds nowadays, although it is a much older form than the brilliant, and large antique stones are to be found cut in this fashion, culminating in a point formed by six triangular facets in place of the table of the brilliant. Semi-transparent and opaque stones, such as Moonstones, Opals, Agates, Turquoises, and Cornelians are usually cut en cabochon (as shown in the stones illustrated in Nos. 3, 6, and 7 of the Frontispiece), and Amethysts, Rubies, Emeralds, and Sapphires are also frequently cut in this
For years past scientists have been experimenting in the manufacture of precious stones, and with so much success that reconstructed stones have been put on the market and are now fairly universally used. These stones are made up from
fragments of small genuine stones which are fused together by a continuous and very powerful flame directed on the mass whilst it is kept in motion, resulting in a solid lump that can be cut and polished in the same way as the natural
mineral. This has been very successfully done with Rubies, some having been produced which passed every test save that of the microscope, which revealed numerous minute bubbles of a rounded shape invisible to the naked eye, and in greater quantities than would be found in the natural stones wherein the bubbles are more rectangular in shape. These Rubies, and also reconstructed Sapphires and Emeralds, are on sale everywhere at the present time, so that intending buyers of precious stones should ask their jewellers to guarantee that they are buying natural and not reconstructed stones.
All transparent gems may be roughly divided into two classes, singly and doubly refracting, a ray of light passing through being refracted or thrown back according to the nature of the stone. If, therefore, a lighted candle is placed in a dark
ened corner of a room and is looked at through a stone focussed between the eye and the candle, if the stone is a doubly refracting one two images of the flame will appear, and if it is singly refracting, one only will be seen. Stones that are
doubly refractive are Ruby, Beryl, Topaz, Sapphire, Emerald, Tourmaline, Peridot, Chrysolite, Aquamarine, Amethyst, Jargoon, Zircon, and Crystal Singly refracting stones are Diamonds, Spinels, and Garnets ; glass also is singly refracting.
One of the simplest and most effective methods of testing the genuineness of a gem is to try if it is affected by filing with a small jeweller's file; care must be taken, however, in its use, as the facets of even some of the hardest stones are easily chipped. If the file scratches the stone it may be taken to be glass, or composition.
Combination stones, known as "Doublets," are frequently sold as genuine stones; in these the top part is made of the real stone and the lower part of crystal, glass, or composition, so that for their detection the bottom part as well as the top must be tried with the file. ''Triplets'' are another form of deception. In this case the tops and bottoms of the stones are genuine and the centre part is imitation. To detect this the gem should be held in a small pair of forceps, or corn tongs, in
a cup of clear water, when the different parts of the stone will be plainly seen.
White Sapphires, Jargoons, and Aquamarines are sometimes mistaken for diamonds; but the White Sapphire will frequently have a suggestion of cloudiness, and the Jargoon or Zircon, though very hard, is brittle and chips easily, soon showing signs of wear. White Aquamarines usually have a slight bluish or greenish tint. White Topazes and Rock Crystal are not so brilliant and full of life as the other white stones, and all these are doubly refracting, whilst the Diamond is single. Imitation Sapphires are as a rule harsher in colour than the real stone, which is soft and rich in the quality of its colour.
Pearls are imitated with great skill, and are difficult to detect. They are usually lighter than the real Pearls, and if drilled the holes are seldom as small, and show marks of chipping and breaking round the edges. Pearls lose their lustre and deteriorate with age and the effect of gas and acids, and should be carefully wiped with a clean cloth after being worn, and in order to retain their brilliancy should be kept in dry magnesia.
Amber is imitated with glass and various compositions, glass being colder and harder to the touch and heavier than real Amber; whilst celluloid, which is frequently used, if rubbed
briskly on a piece of cloth, will give off a noticeable odour of camphor which is largely used in its composition.
Opals and Turquoises, being porous, are affected by potash which is commonly used in the manufacture of soap, and also by oily or greasy substances; they should also be kept from contact with scent, as the spirit used in its manufacture
will very soon spoil the colour of Turquoises.
In conclusion, to ascertain if a transparent stone has any flaws it should be breathed upon until its lustre is temporarily dimmed, when any flaws or imperfections that exist can readily be seen.