Coral has been popular since Ancient Rome, when twigs of red coral were tied to cradles and coral pendants made for children. It was believed to ward off illness and the Evil Eye, keeping children in good health; this belief persists in some Arab countries and in the Mediterranean, where fresh coral is tied to fruit and olive trees to ensure a good crop.
Other 'gems' found in nature and worn as jewellery or charms include ivory and bone. When using these crystals, however, you should bear in mind where you source them. Coral reefs are among the world's most vital yet fragile ecosystems and coral should only be purchased from a sustainable marine operator. Similarly, you should only use old ivory and bone, as purchasing new supplies encourages the slaughter of endangered animals.
The Mythology of Ivory
A stone of spiritual protection, ivory has featured in myths of the East and West.
An ancient Hebrew myth recounts how King Solomon's wisdom, contained in the book The Key of Solomon, was placed in an ivory casket and stored in his tomb with him after death.
Sacred to Ganesha
In Indian myth ivory is sacred to the elephant-headed god Ganesha, as his tuck is made of the precious gem. If you own any antique ivory jewellery, make use of it as an offering to Ganesha on your alter.
In Christianity ivory represents moral fortitude due to its white colour and smooth texture. It symbolised the purity of Christ as he lay in the tomb, an this mat be the origin of ivory crucifixes.
Using the Crystals of Nature
Walk in the footsteps of the ancients by using coral amulets for protection on your journeys and dinosaur bones to explore the reptilian layers of your brain.
Early humans used animal bones as tools and polished them as jewellery and charms. In ancient China dinosaur bones were used powdered as a cure-all because they were thought to be dragon bones.
In modern Paganism bones are still used for working with memory and recall, for contacting the reptilian brain - especially dinosaur bone - and working with the deep unconscious. If you are studying or need to improve your mental recall, try carrying a piece of dinosaur bone, or, if you cannot obtain this, use a correspondence such as a fossil.
Creation of Coral
The coral used in jewellery and available for sale is the hard skeleton formed by certain polyps of the corallium noble family and occurs in black, blue, golden, white, pink and red. There are alternative stories about its creation, however.
according to Greek myth, coral formed from the blood of the Gorgon. After slaying Medusa, the hero Perseus was resting on the way home and put down the sack containing her head. The power of the Gorgon's head seeped through the sack into the week and wood in which it rested, and turned them to stone. Sea nymphs then took these fossilised plants and put them on the seabed where they became the first coral.
Red coral is considered the best colour for protective charms and is called 'Witch Stone' in Italy. Red coral was thought to absorb emotional negativity and was used against the Evil Eye.
Coral encourages a person to have more determination and courage - providing them with more 'spine', being itself a skeleton. Carry a piece of coral to help absorb emotional negativity if you work in a bad environment and soak the coral in salt water every dark Moon to clean it.
Since ancient times, sailors have carried coral to protect them from dangers of the sea. If you are going on a cruise, and feel nervous, make a coral charm for protection.
On the New Moon, bless your piece of coral with some salt water, asking for protection whenever you are travelling by sea. Place the coral in a small pouch and carry it with you on your journey.
Improve your Dreams
You should always purchase old ivory, which can be spotted in antique jewellers by its slightly brownish colour. Ivory was associated with Morpheus, the ancient god of dreaming.
Morpheus possessed a gate made out of this material known as 'the gate of false dreams'. A piece of ivory may be placed under the pillow, or worn, to encourage lucid dreaming.
Japanese Netsuke figures, used as toggle on kimonos, are often made from carved ivory, in the shapes of animals or people, and can be used as charms.