Metal Magic

While healing and metaphysical properties of crystals come from a variety of sources, what we know about the subtle properties of metals comes mainly from one tradition: alchemy. The first thing many people think of when we hear the word “alchemy” is experiments by ancient and medieval scientists trying to transform base metals into gold. But their research didn’t begin or end there, and along the way the human race learned a lot about both the natural world and subtle energies. And since astrology and alchemy developed side by side, it’s not surprising that properties of metals are strongly associated with the planets and their associated deities. Therefore, the seven metals of antiquity — lead, tin, iron, copper, mercury, silver and gold — line up with the seven traditional planets.

These traditional seven metals have been the base of everything from vedic jewelry to singing bowls. Like crystals, metals come from the earth, but metals are a more purified form of the same substances that give crystals their color, physical properties, and energy. Many gemstones are actually ores of these metals. In jewelry, the metal a gem is set in can serve to conduct, enhance, or mitigate the energy of the gem. As with crystals, you may choose metals that balance your weaknesses or ones that amplify strengths. In many traditions, as with vedic jewelry, stones and metals are coordinated for optimum combinations.

As for singing bowls, although they’re often called “Seven metals singing bowls,” they’re seldom if ever made of the seven tradition metals. (You didn’t really want to handle a bowl made partially of toxic mercury anyway, did you?) This goes for antique as well as modern bowls, hand-hammered as well as machine-made. Good-quality bowls are made of bronze, ideally a special type known as “bell metal,” which is about 78% copper and 22% tin. This alloy has been used in everything from church bells to percussion instruments for over a thousand years, because it simply produces the best sound and overtones. Some lower quality bowls and bells may be made of brass, possibly mixed with miscellaneous recycled metals, but you’ll immediately know the difference by the sound.

What are some other ways we can harness the power of metals? Here are a few ideas:

– Using objects made of these metals for ritual and meditation, and adding them to your altar

– Alchemy uses metals as a way of understanding personality. Each of these metals is associated with a personality archetype connected with its corresponding planet, and the deity for whom that planet was named. People are naturally drawn to one of these archetypes, or possibly a combination of two or three.

– Astrological bangles (which you may have read about in Autobiography of a Yogi) contain copper, silver and gold in proportions fine-tuned to the individual’s astrological chart. Less expensive metal bangles are an easier to find, less expensive option. For example, many wear bracelets made with copper and/or magnetized iron to improve circulation and control arthritis.

– Orgonite can be formulated with specific metals and metal ores. This is an especially helpful way to harness the properties toxic metals such as mercury and lead.

– Taking metals internally via homeopathic medicines

–  Use a mineral that is an ore for the metal you want to work with, or that contains some of that metal. This can include aura quartzes. (See the list of associations below.)

Each of the seven traditional metals acts as an archetype. We can work with that archetype not only using the metal itself, but also using associated metals, ores, gemstones including aura quartzes (quartz bonded with a colorful coating of vaporized metal). Since some of the traditional metals are either toxic or very expensive, it’s often practical to work with these associates:

Gold: Bronze, aqua aura quartz, ruby, garnet, pyrite, amber.

Silver:  Rhodium, angel aura quartz, pearl, moonstone, aquamarine.

Mercury: Electrum (a combination of silver and gold), emerald, opal. If you want to work with actual mercury, a safe form is polished cinnabar (mercury ore) in quartz; since it is a polished stone, there’s some degree of protection from toxicity.

Copper: Bronze, Brass, melon/orange/tangerine aura quartz, chrysocolla, turquoise, malachite, azurite.

Iron: Steel, champagne/sunshine aura quartz, hematite, magnetite, carnelian, bloodstone. An iron meteorite is an exceptionally strong form of this metal.

Tin: Citrine, amethyst, cassiterite. Tin itself is inexpensive and safe to use.

Lead: Lead-free pewter, galena, stibnite, black garnet.

And finally, here are a few other metals, with their associations and a few other interesting facts:

Titanium: purity, power, being a catalyst for positive change, repelling negative energy. Titanium can be found in rutilated quartz, and also in various stones with asterisms (star ruby, star sapphire, etc.) It’s also the metal coating found on rainbow, flame & titan aura quartz.

aluminum: self understanding, reflection.

Zinc: transformation of energy, calming of excess or nervous energy

Platinum: meditation, finding one’s true direction

Nickel: problem solving, attracting energy and/or intuitive information, banishing compulsive thoughts or actions. Some yellow/green aura quartzes are coated with nickel.

Antimony: magic, protection, healing, wild spirit. It’s often used in conjunction with other metals, and so is associated with cooperative and teacher/student relationships.