January Birthstone | Garnet

January 01, 2019 0 Comments

garnet crystalraw garnet crystalpurity compassion and truth

january birthstone garnet crystal drawing

Garnet is the Birthstone for those born in January, and it’s also a stone traditionally used to celebrate 2nd Anniversaries! I'm usually very skeptical about about the "meanings" and "healing properties" people ascribe to certain stones. But I love talking about the History of how people come to attach these meanings to various stones and how they form their beliefs that particular stones have certain *Metaphysical* properties. Each month I'll do a little exploring in the Legends, Myths, and Folklore right alongside the History and Science behind each stone. So join me in a little adventure!
raw garnet crystal
For centuries, people have come to believe that Garnet symbolizes Purity, Truth, Love and Compassion.

I think we could all use a little more of that right now! And how interesting--all the New Year's resolutions I've seen everyone posting seem to deal with precisely these virtues and concepts of Purity, Truth, Love and Compassion...

garnet crystalraw garnet crystalpurity compassion and truth
I do hope everyone is able to begin the New Year with brighter eyes and bolder souls than ever before! It's a sentiment as old as dirt, but each passing year is thought to be a chance to reinvent yourself, a chance to be reborn. In that choice Purity is restored, Truth is sought after, Love of self is felt and in Compassion, Love of others is understood.
DID YOU KNOW...Garnets are named after pomegranate seeds?!
pomegranate with seedsfaceted garnet crystalspomegranate seeds
"Garnet" comes from the Latin word "Garanatus" meaning “seedlike,” in reference to the resemblance between small red Garnets and pomegranate seeds. The resemblance truly is fascinating, especially considering the History and Folklore tied to pomegranate seeds. 
Persephone statuepersephone


(/pərsɛfəni/; Greek: Περσεφόνη)
also called Kore (/ˈkɔːriː/; "the maiden") or Cora
In Greek mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter (the harvest goddess and queen of the underworld). 
"[Persephone is a] formidable, venerable majestic princess of the underworld,
who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.
Persephone was married to Hades, the god of the underworld."

The abduction of Persephone has been told in many ways by many people throughout History. Centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, she was still the subject of Art History, Poetry, and more.
Proserpine aka Proserpina was a Roman Goddess whose myths were based on those of Greek Goddess Persephone. Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting Proserpine (1874) depicts the enchanting Proserpine holding a pomegranate with a bite taken, and her wrist clenched. Rossetti explained the subject of Proserpine in a letter to W.A. Turner, who bought a version of the picture in 1877:

Persephone Rosetti
The figure represents Proserpine as Empress of Hades. After she was conveyed by Pluto to his realm, and became his bride, her other Ceres importuned Jupiter for her return to earth, and he was prevailed on to consent to this, provided only she had not partaken of any of the fruits of Hades.
It was found, however, that she had eaten one grain of a pomegranate, and this enchained her to her new empire and destiny. 

She is represented in a gloomy corridor of her palace, with the fatal fruit in her hand. As she passes, a gleam strikes on the wall behind her form some inlet suddenly opened, and admitting for a moment the light of the upper world; and she glances furtively towards it, immersed in thought. 

Rossetti, who was also a poet, wrote a sonnet for the painting, inscribing it in Italian on the picture and in English on the frame. The frame, designed by Rossetti, is decorated with roundels which resemble a section through a pomegranate.

Persephone Rosetticlose up of frame
Afar away the light that brings cold cheer
Unto this wall, - one instant and no more
Admitted at my distant palace-door.

Afar the flowers of Enna from this drear
Dire fruit, which, tasted once, must thrall me here.
Afar those skies from this Tartarean grey
That chills me: and afar, how far away,
The nights that shall be from the days that were.

Afar from mine own self I seem, and wing
Strange ways in thought, and listen for a sign:
And still some heart unto some soul doth pine,
(Whose sounds mine inner sense in fain to bring,
Continually together murmuring,) -
"Woe's me for thee, unhappy Proserpine!" 

Persephone and the pomegranateMany Legends, from very different regions and time periods, suggest that people used to believe Garnet was an antidote to Poison.

Some believed that small pieces of Garnet needed to be ingested, and others made talismans and amulets believing that wearing or holding them would protect them from the effects of poisons.

There were also some remote tribes who believed that Garnet cleansed the blood and helped clotting, so chunks of Garnet would often be placed in wounds. 

garnet facts and gemstone meanings

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