Sunstone lives up to its name. Few minerals have the same warm, almost effervescent energy and solar vibrations. Frequently imitated (but never duplicated), sunstone is an invaluable tool for magic practitioners, healers, and jewelers everywhere it’s found.
The name “sunstone” requires a bit of disambiguation. True sunstone is a kind of plagioclase feldspar (like labradorite) that exhibits a unique glittering effect. The color, schiller, and glittery appearance of sunstone is due to minute inclusions of copper. True sunstone is found in Norway, Siberia, India, Canada, and the United States. It’s also the state stone of Oregon.
In medieval sources, the term “sunstone” most likely actually refers to Iceland spar, also known as optical calcite. This is a particularly transparent variety of calcite that can be used to locate the sun on an overcast day.
Another possible candidate for medieval sunstone is a mineral called iolite or cordierite, which exhibits strong pleochroism in sunlight. Its pleochroic properties cause it to change colors when held at right angles to the sun, regardless of whether the sun is visible or not. These sunstones were of particular value to sailors, who used it for navigation.
A type of art glass commonly called “goldstone” is sometimes sold as sunstone. This has a glittery, reddish orange appearance. Though it’s a man-made material, nobody’s quite certain who invented it, or when. One early example is a Persian amulet dating to the 12th-13th century CE. Later, Italian glassmakers developed their own process for creating the glass.
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Sunstone Healing Properties & Benefits
As a solar stone, sunstone is used to increase confidence, intuition, vitality, and independence. It’s considered a very helpful stone for anxiety and depression. It boosts feelings of optimism, and is considered particularly useful for people who have difficulty standing up for themselves, or fear saying “No.”
Physically, sunstone is purported to heal sore throats, digestive issues, and problems with the spine. It’s also said to help with conditions exacerbated by a lack of sunlight, low energy, or a sluggish metabolism.
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Sunstone Magical Properties
Sunstone is a solar stone par excellence. It’s used in magic for courage, joy, prosperity, cleansing, success, inspiration, and all other things solar-oriented. It’s an ideal talisman for those in leadership positions — or who are striving to obtain them.
Though it isn’t considered a “master crystal” in the way clear quartz is, sunstone is still extremely versatile. Where lunar magic is typically receptive, healing, and deeply rooted in the realm of the emotions and spirit, solar magic is very concerned with the physical world.
It’s all about energy and vitality, fostering growth, attracting wealth, and protecting against all forms of negativity, from a bad mood to baneful spells. It’s a very active, vibrant, stimulating force, so it can be a powerful friend to call on whenever you need that kind of energetic powerhouse.
If you’re an artist, writer, musician, or other creative type, this stone might be your best ally. It’s well known for helping to bust through blocks and stimulate creativity. It might also help if you fall into the “starving” category, since wearing a ring set with a sunstone on your non-dominant hand is said to attract everything you need.
For those who work with chakras, this stone is associated with Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra. This can help relieve anhedonia and creative blocks, as well as physical ailments tied to the reproductive organs. Some energy workers use sunstone to clear and energize all chakras, regardless of color.
Sunstone History & Folklore
According to one legend, the blood of a warrior fell onto Oregon sunstone. This gave the stones a reddish color and sacred power.
In India and Greece, sunstone was used for protection. Ancient Greeks would decorate drinking vessels with sunstones to prevent poisoning, while people in India wore the stones for protection from evil or intrusive forces.
Sunstones have been found in Viking burial mounds, though it’s still debated what role they played. They may have been purely decorative, while the Iceland spar “sunstone” was used for navigation.
How to Cleanse Sunstone
There are multiple ways to effectively cleanse sunstone. Though it has strong solar properties, it’s always a good idea to give crystals a good energetic cleansing on a regular basis.
Some preferred methods for cleansing sunstone include:
- Exposing it to sunlight for a few minutes.
- Burying it in a mixture of cleansing herbs.
- Bathing the crystal in an infusion of cleansing herbs.
- Burying it in soil.
- Bathing it in fresh, running water.
- Fumigating it with incense or cleansing herbs.
- Burying the crystal in salt.
- Bathing it in sound.
If your crystal is set in jewelry, use any cleansing method with caution. Some that are suitable for the crystal may not be suitable for whatever adhesives, metals, wood, clay, or leather are used in its setting.
Getting Started With Sunstone
The first step to starting with sunstone is familiarizing yourself with the various materials sold as sunstone. Before investing in a crystal, be sure that you’re purchasing a genuine sunstone, not calcite, art glass, or andesine.
When you have your sunstone, you should cleanse it to remove any stray energies left over from all the people who’ve handled it before it got to you. After that, decide how you’d like to work with it. Will it be a healing stone, or used for magic?
Whatever your intention, keep it in your mind as you hold the stone in both of your hands. Visualize yourself drawing energy up from the ground and down from the sky, and sending it down your arms, into your hands, and into the stone. When it feels as though the sunstone has absorbed all of the energy it can, it’s ready to use.
Sunstone makes for wonderful healing and ritual jewelry, or you can keep it in a pouch or pocket. Whenever you feel a little low on energy, or like you could use a metaphorical ray of sunshine, hold the stone in your left hand. If you’re using it for magic, you may wish to set it on your altar, or include it in sachets, jars, or other container spells.
After you’ve used your sunstone, don’t forget to give it regular cleansings. These will help restore it to its basic energetic state, removing any negative vibrations it might have picked up. At that point, you can continue to use it, set it with a different intention, or do whatever you like.
Sunstones are striking crystals prized for their mysterious shimmer and sunny appearance. Among magical practitioners and healers, it’s known as an excellent stone for anything that benefits from solar energy, vitality, and optimism.
The more you work with a crystal, the stronger it becomes. If you’re lucky enough to get ahold of a genuine sunstone, keep it close — it will serve you well.
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