Belonging to the quartz family, agate was on of the first stones used by humans. There are worked pieces which date back to 25,000 BC. It is found in a variety of colours and patterns; blue, brown, green, orange, red (blood agate), white or yellow. The crystal may also have green or brown-black inclusions (moss agate) or regular bands around the edges (fortification agate). Since Ancient Babylon and Ancient Greece, agate has been used as a charm of healing and protection.
Agate is sacred to the Greek god of healing Aesclepius and has long been associated with healing and protection. It also has a long history of use as an amulet for protection from drowning, falling, mischievous fairies and poison. In Ancient Babylon the various shades and colours of agate were believed to have different properties: red agate to cure insect bites and stings, green to cure eye infections, grey to treat throat infections and black or striped agate to protect women from disease.
The Vikings and Saxons used agate to find lost items by axe and stone – a method of divination known as axinomancy. A double-headed axe would be made red-hot and then placed in the ground, the shaft being pushed into a hole. A round agate pebble would then be placed on the axe head. If the pebble stayed on the top of the axe, the questioner had to look elsewhere for the lost item. If it fell to the ground, the questioner had to follow the direction of the rolling stone to find the missing item.
As a healing stone, agate has been used for centuries to treat digestive disorders. The Ancient Greeks would hold a piece to the stomach to ease pains and diarrhoea. Agate helps to induce a peaceful and calming atmosphere; often used in massage and crystal healing. Fortification agate was known to assist in setting boundaries (as the name implies), and Moss agate was used as a talisman to help crops grow and to protect them from adverse weather conditions.
The healing properties of agate are known to come from its ability to promote the circulation of energy around the body, which in the case of digestive disorders, encourages digestion of food into energy. This then speeds up the removal of unpleasant or distressing stomach pains caused by digestion. The ability of this stone to circulate energy also edifies its calming attributes which assists with massage, crystal healing and fortification properties.
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