Pyrite is the trickster of the mineral world. Named “fool’s gold” by miners seeking precious metals, this yellow- to brass-colored metallic gemstone physically resembles gold.
Unfortunately, as an iron sulfide, pyrite isn’t nearly as monetarily valuable. In the crystal healing and magic spheres, however, good pyrite specimens are highly sought after.
Most pyrite on the market is made up of iron sulfide. Its growth habit is typically cubic in nature, though it’s also capable of forming filaments, t-shaped crystals, or flat discs under certain circumstances.
There are other sulfide minerals in the pyrite group. Catterite is a copper sulfide, while vaesite is a nickel sulfide, and bravoite is a nickel and cobalt sulfide. Arsenopyrite is an arsenic and iron sulfide, while chalcopyrite contains copper.
The mineral marcasite is related to pyrite — the only difference is its crystal structure. While pyrite is cubic, marcasite is orthorhombic. Marcasite is also sometimes called “white iron pyrite,” since it can have a silvery or whitish appearance. Confusingly, marcasite jewelry isn’t made of actual marcasite — it’s made of pyrite.
Pyrite is a fairly delicate mineral. Exposure to humidity and oxygen causes it to decay into iron oxides and sulfate. If decomposing pyrite is allowed to mix with rain runoff, it can create an acidic leachate that contaminates groundwater. This can create acid mine drainage.
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Pyrite Healing Properties & Benefits
Emotionally, pyrite is used to promote feelings of optimism and positivity. It’s considered a very “solar” stone that helps the user to shine a light on deception and pretense. It’s also said to help boost confidence and will.
Physically, pyrite is used to help bring out the root causes of psychosomatic illness and other problems where a purely physical healing seems impossible.
It’s said to be helpful when fighting colds and the flu, as well as other afflictions of the lungs. It’s sometimes used as a general healing and vitality-increasing stone.
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Pyrite Magical Properties
Pyrite is a very solar stone, so its magical properties follow suit. Turn to pyrite for anything involving success, manifestation, prosperity, money drawing, creativity, luck, or resolve. It’s a very common ingredient in charm bags for luck or money-drawing, especially in Hoodoo. Keeping a large chunk on one’s altar is said to continuously draw money into the home.
It also works as a protective stone. Pyrite’s benefits here are plentiful — not only does it shield the user from negativity, it provides the clarity to detect exploitative people, and the strength to send them packing.
It’s an ideal stone for people who work retail, live in a stressful household, or otherwise find themselves exposed to other people’s negative energy on a regular basis. For those who engage in dangerous work, like fishing or mining, pyrite is said to help avoid accidents.
Some call pyrite the “stone of perfection.” Just as the sun disinfects and chases away negativity, pyrite has a cleansing and harmonizing effect on its environment. Consider including it in your decor, especially in living rooms, dining rooms, and other areas where you receive guests.
As a brassy gold stone, pyrite is strongly tied to gold color magic. This sphere covers solar workings, vitality, life force, longevity, and triumph. The color gold is often regarded as having “God” energy, versus silver “Goddess” energy, so it can also stand as a representation of a male deity on a minimalist, naturalistic, or crystal-oriented altar.
For those who work with chakras, pyrite is associated with the solar plexus chakra, Manipura. This is the center of personal power. When it’s blocked or unbalanced, it can cause feelings of low self-esteem, powerlessness, fatigue, or even anger. Wearing pyrite near this energy center, or even meditating with it placed there, helps to unblock this chakra and resolve these issues.
Pyrite History & Folklore
The name “pyrite” comes from the ancient Greek “pyritēs lithos,” meaning “a stone which strikes fire.” This comes from its ability to create sparks when struck against steel.
In ancient Mesoamerican culture, mirrors were viewed as portals to a realm that the viewer could see, but not touch. They were used for everything from adornment to divination, and often made of stone.
Polished pyrite was often used by Mesoamerican artisans to create mosaic mirrors, but pyrites tendency to degrade means that many of these mirrors have been misidentified as paint palettes or other tools.
How to Cleanse Pyrite
Pyrite is a surprisingly delicate mineral that degrades just by exposure to air and moisture, so it’s one of the more tricky gemstones to cleanse.
Some methods for cleansing Pyrite include:
- Burying it in sea salt.
- Fumigating it with incense or cleansing herbs.
- Setting it in sunlight.
- Setting it in the light of a full moon.
- Playing music, chimes, bells, or singing bowls.
- Using your own personal energy to sweep away any negativity clinging to the stone.
Any cleansing method that involves getting pyrite wet — including just burying it in potting or garden soil — should be avoided. Not only will this damage the pyrite, it can create acidic leachates that may harm plants and soil microorganisms near the stone.
Getting Started With Pyrite
Pyrite is a lovely stone, but may be a bit of a challenge for beginners. As a protective amulet and luck talisman, it can’t be beat, but it needs some special handling in order to maintain its condition.
Pyrite is a fairly abundant stone that’s found worldwide, so it’s pretty easy for stone seekers to find a specimen from an ethical source. Pyrite isn’t often faked, either, so there’s no need to worry about imitation stones.
As with other stones, it’s best to buy it in person so you can test out its energy. Handling pyrite can allow your natural oils to dull and tarnish the surface, however, so you should avoid holding it for any longer than necessary.
Instead of taking it into your non-dominant hand, hold your hand a few inches over the stone. This will still allow you to feel its energy without touching it directly.
Once you’ve chosen your pyrite, cleanse it well. As mentioned above, it’s very important to avoid getting it wet, even just by burying it in damp soil.
After cleansing it, you can create a luck-drawing talisman by placing a pyrite stone in a green pouch and carrying it with you. If you wish, you may add lucky herbs from your tradition — chamomile is a good choice that’s inexpensive and easy to find.
You can also anoint your pouch with a luck-drawing magical oil. You should avoid getting oil directly on the pyrite stone, however, as this can dull its surface.
Since pyrite leaches when placed in water, it should only be used in gem elixirs using the indirect method. Place the stones in a small glass vessel within a larger vessel of water, ensuring that no water touches them. This allows you to capture their energy in the water, without harming the stones or creating a potentially toxic leachate.
Pyrite is a beautiful stone whose shimmering appearance and powerful solar energy have captured the hearts and imaginations of cultures everywhere its found.
From ancient Egypt to Mesoamerica, pyrite was used for personal adornment, as well as decorative and ritual objects. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these stones in your life, care for it well — pyrite might be powerful, but it needs special care to stay at its best.
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