SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION: Obsidian occurs as volcanic lava flows that are
thick and of limited area. Its black, glassy, lustrous, and often
flow-banded appearance makes it rather easy to distinguish from the
other volcanic rocks with which it is commonly associated. This mineral
forms when a silica-rich magma of granitic composition flows onto the
earth’s surface, where it solidifies before minerals can develop and
crystallize. It is, therefore, an amorphous solid or glass rather than
an aggregate of minerals. The hardness of Obsidian is between 6 and 7;
it will scratch window glass. Although generally black, it is more or
less smoky along translucent to transparent edges; other colors are
gray, reddish brown, mahogany and dark green. When it has small white
“flower” designs in it, it is called Snowflake Obsidian. It is also
possible to find pieces with a sheen, or chatoyance. This is often
called Rainbow Obsidian.
ENVIRONMENT: Obsidian is an environment for very few minerals. Lithophy-
sae and spherulites may contain small but beautiful crystals of
feldspar, tridymite, and cristobalite.
OCCURENCE: Some locations of Obsidian bodies are California (Inyo,
Imperial, and Modoc Cos.), Oregon (Crater Lake), Wyoming (Yellowstone
Park), and Mexico (near Pachuca.)
NAME: The name is dervied from the latin name for the mineral, [obsio.]
LEGEND and LORE: Polished pieces of black Obsidian have been used for
Scrying. Primitive peoples once valued obsidian highly, chipping and
flaking it into knives, spearheads, and many other implements with
razor-sharp edges resulting from the intersecting conchoidal fractures.
MAGICAL PROPERTIES: Obsidian is a very protective stone. It is also
associated with the inner mysteries of the Goddess, symbolizing entrance
to the labyrinth, the womb or the subconscious self.
HEALING: Because of its protective qualities, Obsidian is a good stone
for those who are soft-hearted and gentle. It will help to guard them
against abuse. This stone cleanses toxins from the liver, so it is also
good for people who are exposed to environmental pollutants.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: This is the “balance” stone for Clear Quartz
Crystals. We jokingly refer to it around here as a “dark sucker”…mean-
ing it will absorb all sorts of negative things. It is also a grounding
stone, and I use it at the Base Chakra (below the feet) at the beginning
of a layout to keep my client “grounded”. In India, the women wear
obsidian toe rings for the same purpose. I use Black Obsidian in
conjunction with Quartz. If I’m not using Clear Quartz, I use Snowflake
Obsidian. I also have a piece of Rainbow Obsidian, but it is relatively
new and I haven’t finished “conversing” with it, so I have no advice
as to how to use it…at the moment.
1. Scientific, Environment, Occurence and Name are from (or paraphrased
from) “The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and
2. Legends and Lore, Magical Properties are from “Cunningham’s En-
cyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic”, by Scott Cunningham.
3. Some of the healing information may come from “Color and Crystals, A
Journey Through the Chakras” by Joy Gardner.
4. Personal Experience is from MY personal experience, journals and
notebooks, by <grin> Tandika Star.