The Magic and Science of Jewels and Stones: Chapter V

The Magic and Science of Jewels by Isidore Kozminsky - Interpretation of the breastplate according to ancient philosophy

The Magic and Science of Jewels and Stones by Isidore Kozminsky

“The Magic and Science of Jewels” by Isidore Kozminsky is a captivating exploration of the mystical properties and profound symbolism associated with gemstones. Published in 1922, this book bridges the realms of magic and science, shedding light on how these precious stones have fascinated and influenced humanity for centuries.

Kozminsky’s work delves into the metaphysical aspects of gemstones, exploring their healing powers, astrological connections, and spiritual significance. Each gemstone is presented as a unique repository of energy, offering readers a deeper understanding of their potential impact on the human experience.

The book also explores the esoteric and symbolic meanings of gemstones, unveiling the hidden wisdom embedded in their colors, shapes, and historical contexts. “The Magic and Science of Jewels” serves as a timeless resource for those seeking to harness the mystical qualities of gemstones and integrate them into their spiritual and practical lives, making it a valuable addition to the literature on gemstone lore and metaphysical studies.

Chapter V: Interpretation of the Breastplate According to Ancient Philosophy

In Chapter V, ‘Interpretation of the Breastplate According to Ancient Philosophy’, Kozminsky delves into the interpretation of the 12 stones adorning the Breastplate of Judgment according to ancient philosophy. It discusses the challenges in identifying these stones due to variations in translations and historical understanding. The chapter elaborates on the significance of each stone’s color and astrological association, linking them to the zodiac signs and tribes of Israel. It delves into the symbolic meanings and cultural references of these stones, reflecting on their historical, astrological, and mystical importance.

The Magic and Science of Jewels by Isidore Kozminsky Chapter 5

It is apparent that the identification of the stones in the Breastplate must present many difficulties. Lord Arthur C. Hervey in his Dictionary of the Bible, says: “Whether the order followed the ages of the sons of Israel or, as seems most probable, the order of the encampment, may be doubted; but unless any appropriate distinct symbolism of the different tribes be found in the names of the precious stones, the question can scarcely be decided.” Dr. C. Keil in “Biblical Archaeology” says: “The order of the rows of the precious stones is given in Exodus 28:17-20 and 39:10-13, but owing to the vacillating manner in which the early writers designate and describe the stones we are at a loss to know how it should be explained.”

Dr. Deane is of the opinion that in many cases it is a difficult task to identify the Hebrew and Greek names used in these passages with the names of modern mineralogy. The Rev. J. R. Dummelow comments on the difficulties of identifying the stones, the meaning of the Hebrew words being doubtful. Josephus saw the Breastplate frequently in his day, and in his description the position of certain stones is changed. The Hebrew Bible translation also presents differences. Rosenmuller, the Orientalist, argues as to the position of the 6th and 12th stones, placing the 12th in the 6th and the 6th in the 12th. It may easily be assumed that in its wanderings stones were lost from the Breastplate and that the replacing of these stones was not always carried out by men with a knowledge of the quabalistical import of Urim and Thummim or even of the stones themselves.

To quote from Dr. Deane: “The variation in the order of the stones prompts the enquiry whether the Breastplate which Josephus repeatedly saw and which Jerome might have seen in the Temple of Concord was identical with that of ancient times. If the whole of the original stones were preserved, the order must have been kept in consequence of the names engraved upon them. But it is not by any means unlikely that in the great vicissitudes of the Hebrew nation some of the original stones may have been lost and have been replaced by others.” More evidences of this kind would be superfluous.


The First Stone of the Breastplate

Now, the first stone of the Breastplate is a Red stone. According to astrology the Red stone vibrates to the planet Mars and the zodiacal Aries, therefore its position as the first stone of the Breastplate is natural. In the mystic philosophy of the Hebrews the Ram “caught in a thicket by his horns,” the blood of the lamb upon the lintel and side-posts, etc., and in mystic Christian philosophy the blood of the Lamb which redeems from worldly sin are expressed symbolically by the sign Aries, into which the Sun enters in the month of Nisan, approximately 21st March, the time of the Passover and of Easter. Not only then must the stone be a red one, it must be red of the colour of blood.

But again one must not lose sight of the fact that the first stone on the Plate was engraved not with the name of the tribe of Benjamin, the true Aries tribe, but with the name Reuben, a tribe under the lordship of the second sign of the Zodiac, Taurus. This may be explained by the fact that the earlier Breastplate of the two began with the sign Taurus. Agnes Mary Clerke, writing on the Old Zodiac, says: “So far as positive records go Aries was always the first sign. But the arrangement is, on the face of it, a comparatively modern one. None of the brighter stars of the constellation could be said even roughly to mark the Equinox much before 1800 B.C.; therefore during a long stretch of previous time the leading position belongs to the stars of Taurus.

Aries Personality

Numerous indications accordingly point to a corresponding primate zodiac. Setting aside as doubtful, evidence derived from interpretation of cuniform inscriptions we meet in connection with Mithraic and Mylittic legends reminiscences of a Zodiac and religious calendar in which the Bull led the way. Virgil’s “Candidus auratis aperit cum cornibus anum Taurus” perpetuates the tradition, and the Pleiades continued within historical memory to be the first asterism of the lunar zodiac.”

The Egyptian worship of Serapis who is frequently symbolized by the head of a bull surmounted by a uræus and disc, and whose colour was of a blood red, may be noted. The worship of this god was introduced into Egypt by the Ptolemies, but his name is derived from Ausar-Hapi (Osiris-Apis) and he represents a blending of the older worship of Osiris with the Bull Apis which, says Herodotus, is a fair and sublime reflection of the soul of Osiris.

In this connection Diodorus says that the soul of Osiris migrated into Apis and thus revealed himself to men through the ages. Attention is drawn to this worship to show that in Egypt a bull god was associated with the colour red, and the “holding a red rag to a bull” may have its origin in the bull-fights of old, in which case however it is clear that the Martial Red is the colour of irritation.

Aries by Johann Bayer - 1603 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

We can see in the placing of Taurus, the Bull—or the tribal name Reuben—in the first section of the Breastplate a desire to harmonize it as far as possible with an older one, whilst the gem and its colour represented the sign Aries—the sign of the Ram—symbolically the tribe of Benjamin, engraved as of old in the last division of the Plate.

The Hebrew word ODEM, signifying redness, is connected with the Hebrew word DOM, blood, and the stone to meet these requirements is the Red Hæmatite (Red Hematite), the true bloodstone of antiquity, which is further described in the section of this book dealing more generally with the scientific and romantic aspects of precious stones.

The Hæmatite (Hematite) is a true iron stone and in old astrology Iron is a metal placed directly under the rulership of the planet Mars and the sign Aries. We have direct evidence of the use of this stone by the ancient Babylonians, who wore it as an engraved signet cut in cylinder form. We therefore identify the first stone of the Breastplate as the Red Hæmatite (Hematite) on which was engraved the name of the first tribe, Reuben.

Polished Red Stones - adobe stock photo

The Second Stone of the Breastplate

The second stone of the Breastplate is given as PITDAH, variously interpreted as a Topaz, Peridot, Yellowish-green Serpentine, Diamond and Chrysolite. The Targums agree that a green stone is implied and some authorities seek to clear the mystery by advancing that the stone was of a yellowish-green.

The topaz of the ancients is not the topazof today, but is identified with the stone known to us as the chrysolite or peridot. Traditionally the emerald is associated with the second sign of the zodiac, and Apion who wrote much concerning ancient Egypt and whose story of Androclus and the Lion echoes through the ages, tells of a gigantic figure of Serapis seen at Alexandra; this figure, the height of which was about fifteen feet, was probably composed of glass resembling emerald.

The emerald was sacred to Serapis who—as indicated in the previous chapter—was a Bull god associated naturally with the zodiacal Taurus. This sign and the colour green blend truly for green is the symbol of life, of agriculture and of abundant nature, and amongst nations of antiquity holy festivals heralded the return of Spring whose praises are sung by the poets in the magical language of mythology. The many references to “green trees” in the Bible need only be noticed in passing.

Taurus by Johann Bayer - circa 1603 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

The Veneralia of old was held once a year amidst budding plants and flowers, in gardens and on green lawns in honour of Venus to welcome Adonis returning in radiant beauty from the under-world. The ceremony took place towards the end of April, when the Sun had entered the Earth sign of Venus, Taurus, and it survives in the later May Day rejoicings.

The gem needed is therefore a green one, and this is traditionally the correct one for the sign Shor or Taurus in which Nogah or Venus delights and in which Lavanah or the Moon exalts. The emerald was sacred to this period of the year. This gem was well-known amongst ancient nations, especially those of Egypt and Ethiopia where the chief emerald mines were. The children of Israel must certainly have known of the existence of the emerald which is mentioned in the Wisdom of Ptah-Hotep who lived ages before the time of Solomon and more than 1000 years before Hammurabi, the Wise, of Babylon. “Courtesy in Speech,” says this sage, “is rarer than the emeralds which slave girls find in the stones.”

It is recorded that the Egyptians employed many women at the emerald mines on account of the keenness of their vision, and it is highly probable that Israelitish women were selected for this work with captives of other nations. Specimens of emeralds collected by Sir G. Wilkinson from Mount Zabarah in Upper Egypt now lie in the British Museum. Evidence is not wanting to prove that the ancients knew well how to engrave on an emerald, Pliny states that Ptolemy offered Lucullus at Alexandra an emerald with his portrait engraved on it.

rough-emerald - peridot-olivine-chrysolite-Adobe-stock-photo-cco

The tribe Simeon corresponding to the zodiacal Gemini was engraved on the second gem of the Breastplate—although it has no connection with it—for the reason before noted.

It should be understood that by “emerald” is meant the precious emerald as we know it or its varieties Beryl and Aquamarine. It may be noted that the Topaz, a gem most generally favoured as the second stone on the Breastplate, is traditionally assigned to the opposite sign of the Zodiac, Scorpio.

The hero Gilgames in Babylonian story sees by the gates of the Ocean a wondrous magical tree which bore as fruit most precious emeralds. The emerald as a love stone was closely identified with Venus and was regarded as particularly fortunate for women, bringing happiness in love, comfort in domestic affairs, and safety in childbirth. The evil effects of the luminaries afflicted or of malefic planets in the sign Taurus, the latter degrees especially, have been shown to affect the sight; hence the employment of the emerald as an eye charm.

tree - green - light - magic - nature - Adobe stock photo - cco

Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, who carries in her left hand the potent Crux Ansata was saluted as “The Lady of the Southern Sycamore,” a tree which stood for the living body of Hathor on earth and which was called the Sycamore of the Emerald.

The Rosicrucian John Heydon of the 17th Century describes his meeting with the spirit Euterpe on the plains of Bulverton Hill one sweet summer evening. He describes her as “a most exquisite divine beauty of decent stature; attired, she was in thin loose silks, but so green that I never saw the like for the colour was not earthly…. Her rings were pure entire emeralds for she valued no metal.”

Similar legends of green fairies, green fields, and green lights are connected with the sign of Venus terrestrial, Taurus.

The emerald, then, is the second stone of the Breastplate, and on it was engraved the name of the tribe of Simeon.

Emerald - olivine-peridot-chrysolite-Adobe-stock-photo-cco-7

The Third Stone of the Breastplate

The third stone of the Breastplate is simply expressed by the word BAREKETH which has been variously rendered as Emerald, Ruby, Carbuncle, Amethyst, Rock Crystal, Green Olivine, Green Feldspar. Its true meaning is “flashing,” which the Targumic translators express as “brilliant.” The Hebrew BARUK corresponds to an Arabic word meaning “to gleam, to flash;” the Assyrian word BARAKU and the Aramic BURUK have the same meaning, with which may be identified the Punic BARCAR, surname of the Carthaginian general Hamilcar; the Syriac BORKO and the Chaldean BARKAN can only be rendered “brilliant.”

There is a Sanskrit word MARKATA, meaning “flashing, sparkling,” which corresponds to our word “marble,” literally, “the sparkling stone,” Latin MARMOR, cognate with the Greek MARMAROS from MARMAIRO to flash, shine, sparkle. Hence the Flashing Stone may be identified as marble, and this traditionally answers the required conditions. In astro-philosophy marble is connected with the sign of the columns, Gemini—Simeon in association with Levi—and is known as the Day House of the planet Mercury. The Midrash Bemidbah gives the colour of this sign as white, and Francis Barrett expresses it as “glittering.”

The author remembers long ago taking some really glittering specimens of white marble, unstained by the hand of time, from an Egyptian mummy-case. Even at the present day pieces of white marble are buried with the dead body in some countries of the world, and the marble tombstone is universally used as a monument over the buried ashes which the ascending man has thrown aside as the serpent throws his old skin.


The shining marble is the emblem of spiritual resurrection which is symbolized in the sign of the Twins (Gemini). Mercury as the Egyptian Tehuti or Thoth, or the Greek Hermes, is ever connected with the spirits of the dead in the Hall of Judgment and, in harmony with the brilliant flashing white stone, the everlasting uplifting and spiritual progress. The sign Gemini but lightly veils the peculiar occult meaning associated with twins and connected names in hermetic philosophy. From Cain and Abel many may be enumerated including Simeon and Levi whom we find implicated in the massacre of the defenceless people of Shihem for which crime they drew upon themselves their father’s curse.

Greek legend gives Amphion, skilled in music and learning, and Zeuthus, who labours and follows the chase. The latter by hard labour rolled huge boulders together to build up the walls of Troy, whilst the former but struck the strings of the lyre given to him by Hermes and the great rocks followed him—a symbol of the triumph of mind which Hermes promises to his disciples. Simeon and Levi killed the Shechemites to avenge their sister Dinah; Amphion and Zeuthus drove Dirce, bound to a bull, to her death to avenge their mother Antiope. In the legend of the Roman twins, Romulus kills his brother Remus as Cain killed Abel.

The twin stories are well illustrated in the legend of Castor and Pollux, the “great twin brethren,” sons of Jupiter and Leda. The former was mortal, the latter immortal, but so attached were they to each other that none ever saw them apart.

Gemini by Johann Bayer - 1603 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

In these stories the mysterious union of the Soul and the Body is being continually forced forward, and sleep—which the old masters called a tenth part of death—is indicated in this legend of the Dioscuri when Pollux divides his immortality with his brother. Sanchoniatho or Sanchuniathon—who lived when Gideon judged Israel, says that Thoth of the Egyptians, Taaut of the Phœnicians, Thoyth of the Alexandrians, Hermes or Mercurius, was the inventor of letters, and took religion from the unskilful management of the vulgar forming it into a rational system; and “when Saturn came from the southern parts of the Earth he made Taaut, the son of Miser (identified as the Mizraim of the Bible), King of all Egypt, and the month Thoth began the Egyptian year and coincides with Tisri or Thishri which began the Jewish year and with Tisritu which began the Chaldean.

To continue further might lead outside the province of this book, and the plea for this digression is the endeavour to elucidate the hidden import of the various departments of the sacred Breastplate by the searchlight of the philosophical stories of our antique fathers.

Thoth or Hermes engraved all knowledge on two pillars or columns, and the Hermetic schools say that all knowledge is contained in the words, letters and continuations engraved on the two tables of stone. This writing of God graven upon the tables constituted the Commandments, five of which, and five is the number of Mercury, were written on each stone, the complete ten indicating the Hidden Power of God—identified in the Sepher Yetzirah as the Path of Resplendent Intelligence and the Light which, too intense for the material eye of man, is around the Throne of the Supreme.

The association of marble with Hermes, the Guide of the Human Race, is traditional, and evidence favours it as the third stone of the Breastplate engraved with the name of the tribe of Levi.


The Fourth Stone of the Breastplate

Nofek the fourth stone of the Breastplate, has been identified with the emerald, carbuncle, jasper, red garnet, ruby carbuncle, almandine garnet and ruby. Two of the Targums classify it as emerald, possibly referring to a stone similar in colour to the emerald. It is well known that all green stones were called emeralds by a large section of the ancient public, just as all red stones were called rubies, etc., hence much confusion followed. Dr. Emil Hirsch says that Nofek (the correctness of which word has been doubted in some quarters) must have belonged to the green stones.

In corresponding chrysoprase with “celestial love of truth” Emanuel Swedenborg draws attention to Exodus XXVIII. 18, indicating his identification of that gem as the fourth stone of the Plate. This gem which is of a soft green colour resembles the tender hue of moonlight. The Midrash Bemidbah gives the colour of Nofek as sky blue, the Egyptians according to Müller as green, and the astrological, in considering Cancer the Mansion of the Moon, a moonlight green. The chrysoprase was anciently translated as “austerity directed against vice” which harmonizes agreeably with the traditional attitude of chaste Diana against evil-doers.

The Boat of the Moon in ancient Egypt is pictured as a disc within a crescent, and the association of the moon (which was said to be in its Mansion in the watery Cancer) with the waters of the Earth was well known to the ancients and is referred to frequently in works on magic and astrology. In this connection may be mentioned the Egyptian story of a few thousands of years ago which is known as “The Legend of the Green Jewel” told to the Pharaoh Khufu by the Prince Khafra:

Constellation of Cancer - Adobe stock photo - cco

Pharaoh Sneferu, weary and sighing for amusement or relaxation from affairs of State, was advised by his scribe to go rowing with the loveliest women of his harem on the lake. “I will go with thee, august One,” said the scribe, “the green banks with the trees and flowers, the splash of the water under the oars will charm thine eyes and bring thee happiness.” For the excursion twenty beautiful young women were selected (twenty was a number of the negative or female side of the Moon, quabalistically expressed as “the Awakening”). They rowed the Pharaoh’s boat with oars of ebony and gold, singing sweetly as they went, and his heart was glad. But with the turning of the boat the helmswoman’s hair was touched by her steering oar and a green jewel she wore fell into the water.

She became silent and raised her oar from the water, the other women doing likewise. “Why cease?” asked the Pharaoh. “Let us continue.” They answered: “O Pharaoh, the steerer has stopped and her oar is raised from the water.” “Why is this so?” questioned the Pharaoh. “O Majesty, my beautiful green jewel has sunk beneath the waters.” “What of that?” he replied. “Continue. I will present you with a new jewel.” “O Majesty,” said the girl, “no jewel can replace my own green jewel.” So the Pharaoh turned to his scribe. “What can we do?” he asked. “This girl has lost her green jewel and will have no other.” The scribe uttered magical words over the lake and the waters divided as two walls. Between these walls the scribe descended and, having found the jewel, came up again into the boat, gave the green jewel to the helmswoman and spoke to the waters which closed up again. The Pharaoh was gratified, giving rich gifts to the scribe at whose power all marvelled.

Cancer by Johann Bayer - circa 1603 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

When the Pharaoh Khufu heard this legend from Prince Khafra he enjoined that offerings should grace the sepulchres of the Pharaoh Sneferu and his great scribe, the magician. This allegorical story, like many others of the kind, is full of hidden meaning and the connection of this boat with its twenty female rowers, its two (unit of the Moon) Illustrious Ones, the Pharaoh and the Scribe, the green vegetation on the banks of the lake, the lake itself, the division of the waters and the green jewel make the meaning especially clear to students of symbology.

In astrological enumeration from the earliest time the sign Cancer was said to rule the great oceans, the deep blue of which may have influenced the Midrash Bemidbah in its allotment of colour, and in certain hermetic ceremonies connected with the soul’s entry into matter through the Gate of Cancer from the blue ocean of the incorruptible Heavens.

The zodiacal Cancer, the Mansion of the Moon, is associated with the worship of Diana in her varied forms, and Diana—at one time a plebeian goddess only—was for a long period worshipped by the plebeian populations who used to hang her image to trees to increase their growth. Cancer is the sign of the people, and the Moon “which delights in this sign” represents their varying moods. In the Acts of the Apostles it is related that Demetrius, a silversmith, and others made silver shrines of Diana (silver astrologically is the metal of the Moon) resenting the attempt of Paul to prejudice her worship, with the famous cry “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”

Diana was worshipped as the goddess of Light by the Romans and whether as Artemis in her changing attributes, Selene, Luna, Leucophryne, Petamia, Munychia or Amarynthea, her influence as a moon deity remains. Her face resembles that of her twin brother Apollo to a very marked degree, and her hair like his is caught up in a knot above the forehead indicating the influence exerted by the Moon in its relation to the Sun, in the movements of the waters of the Earth.

That chrysoprase as we know it today was used in very early times is clearly proved by the Egyptian jewellery discovered in excavations. Hard as the stone is, the ancients knew how to cut it, various intagli of ancient origin existing today to prove their skill. The apple-green hue of the chrysoprase is attractive, and it is probable that it was the stone of which fifty specimens were sent to Ashkalon as part of the tribute. Its inclusion in this department of the Breastplate is the result of much research, and it harmonizes with astrological tradition. This stone was inscribed with the name of the tribe of Judah.


The Fifth Stone of the Breastplate

In placing Shoham in the position of Sapir in the fifth division of the Breastplate, traditional philosophy is harmonized. The fifth zodiacal sign Leo is not blue. It is the mansion of the Sun, and old almanacs symbolize it as a raging lion. The Midrash Bemidbah gives the colour as black but generally authorities agree that it is a shade of red, especially during sunrise and sunset, and a yellowish-red at noonday. The eleventh zodiacal sign Aquarius is given as sky blue by most authorities, and it is generally accepted. It has a mystic connection with the heavens, and without doubt its gem is the Sapir.

In the Zodiac the signs Leo and Aquarius are exactly opposite, and on the Breastplate the stone for the former is second of the second row, and for the latter second of the last row. Accepting this view no difficulty will be experienced. It might also be considered that the tribe of Judah is the tribe of the Lion, although for reasons previously stated, the name of this tribe is engraved on the fourth stone.

Accepting the Shoham then as the fifth stone of the Breastplate we have yet to identify it. The Hebrew Bible, the Authorized Version, Josephus, the Vulgate, Marbodus, Dr. Deane all translate it as Onyx, and Dr. Ginzberg half agrees with them. Dr. Emil A. Braun, the archæologist, traced Shoham to the Arabic SACHMA, blackness. “Of such a colour,” he writes, “are the Arabian Sardonyx which have a black ground colour.”


However, this species can hardly be called true Sardonyx defined by Pliny as “candor in sarda,” graphically rendered by King as “a white opaque layer superimposed upon a red transparent stratum of the true red Sard.” The ancient and modern methods of imitating this gem are identical: A Sard is put upon a red-hot iron block with the result that the part nearest the heated mass is transmuted into a white hazy layer upon which the Cameo artist works.

It seems that the name Onyx amongst ancient peoples was indifferently applied to both Onyx and Sardonyx, but in the case of the fifth stone of the Breastplate there seems to be no doubt that the Sardonyx is the Stone. The sign Leo astrologically rules the Heart in the human body, which in the Grand Man is symbolically the Sun, and the Sard is of the colour of the Heart. By ancient correspondence then the Heart, Leo, the Sun, the Sard, the Sardonyx, and the fifth department of the Breastplate are clearly connected.

Leo by Johann Bayer - 1603 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

The Carnelian, Sard, and Sardonyx were most extensively used by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and other peoples of antiquity, and many specimens have been found engraved with various devices: finely worked Egyptian scarabei, antique Intagli and Camei. The Sardonyx has been called a “royal stone,” and the sign of the Lion is intimately connected with royalty. The winged, human-headed lions of Nineveh are emblematical of the Sun, and Daniel describing his vision connects the Winged Lion with the heart of Man:—(Ch. VII. 4).

In the Egyptian texts frequent allusion is made to the heart or HATI of Osiris. The HATI represented vitality, warmth, control, and silently within it were impressed the actions of its owner during his earth-life. It was to his HATI, lying on the Balance before the “Shining God,” the attendant deities and the forty and two gods in the great Judgment Hall, that the shuddering soul cried out of the intense silence: “O heart of mine, testify not against me,” words frequently impressed on Scarabei and regarded as magically potent.

6 pointed solomon seal - sufic script -11th century - public domain - talisman - wikimedia - cco

A symbolic image constructed by the Magi at the period of the Sun’s passage through the sign of the Lion, took the form of a crowned king enthroned, wearing a deep yellow robe, a globe at his feet and a raven by his heart. The crowned king, his yellow robe, the raven and the globe symbolize the Sun and its manifestations, and the Heart—the Sun of Man—symbolizes the Solar sign Leo.

Another symbol of the Magi, shows a crowned woman in a four-horsed chariot (four being the negative or female side of the Sun), a mirror in her right hand, a staff in her left, and a burning flame on her head. These emblems were directed to be engraved in the Hour of the Sun, the Sun being in Leo, on a carnelian stone. The famous seal of Solomon and David—the Mogan Dovid—was most potent when engraved on a Sardonyx, a Carnelian or a plate of gold (metal of the Sun).

All conditions necessary for this stone of the breastplate are fulfilled in the Sardonyx stone which, engraved with the tribe of Zebulun, filled the fifth place.

The Sixth Stone of the Breastplate

The sixth stone of the Breastplate is, without doubt, the Jashpeh accepted by the Vulgate, Marbodus, Dr. Emil Hirsch and Dr. G. Deane. Translated correctly enough as Jasper, it is placed in the twelfth division in the Hebrew and Authorized Versions.

From an astrological point of view the Yaholom has no claim on the sixth House whilst Jashpeh undoubtedly has. The latter is the third stone of the second row of the Breastplate and the former is the third stone of the fourth row. In astrological science they are opposite in the Zodiac, the Jashpeh belonging to the celestial Virgo and the Yahalom to the celestial Pisces. The colours are given in the Midrash Bemidbah as “Mixed,” and this is more correct than the “black speckled with blue,” set down sometimes for the sign Virgo, but which scarcely expresses the aspect of Nature personified in the goddess Ceres.

The Jasper stone has not lost its identity in the march of time, and there is no reason to doubt that the Aspu of the Assyrians, the Jashpeh of the Hebrews, the Jaspis of the Greek, or the Yash of the Arabs is any other than the Jasper, as we know it today. The Panther stone of the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan is the well-known and very beautiful Egyptian Mottled Jasper so greatly esteemed in the ancient world.


The Jasper takes a very brilliant polish and is quite of the crystal brilliance indicated in the sacred books. It was the gem of the angel Raphael, emblematic of strength, courage, virtue and wisdom, and it is associated with a variety called the Graminatias, the markings of which resemble—to a very marked degree in some specimens—the letters of the Alphabet.

Thus, it is the stone of Hermes or Thoth, the mercurial god who, possessed of illimitable knowledge, communicated it to the earth-bound spirit known as Man, by signs in the Heavens, in the air, in the sea, on the earth, in the flowers and stones of the earth, by omens, by hints and by incidents, but never—on account of his promise to Apollo—by spoken words.

Jerome calls the Jasper “the stone of spiritual graces,” and from Hermes to Christ called Son of the Virgin, this stone descends with all its spiritual attributes. It is associated with the Virgins of Egypt who provoked the words set down in the eighth chapter of Jeremiah: “The children gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven.”

Virgin - mary - high priestess - adobe stock photo

The Jasper was a stone sacred to the Virgin Mary in Christian mysticism, and to the Son of the Virgin; and symbolically the Virgin of the Skies is ever immaculate, ever sublime and pure. The association of the sixth sign of the Zodiac with all virginity is further exemplified in the cult of the Virgins of Vesta. Corresponding with the sixth sign of the Zodiac these virgins were six in number, and the age of girls selected for the service could not be less than six years.

The poets tell the story of the beautiful Astræa, the holy Virgin, who in pity remained with men after the gods, provoked by man’s wickedness, had departed in anger; remained with them until she was forbidden to gaze on a world defiled with crime and misery, and with bandaged eyes was led away to Heaven where her symbolic form stands eternally, scales in one hand, sword in the other. One gift she left with man—the gift of Hope which has as its emblem the unpretentious Jasper stone.

The Virgin Astræa is familiar as the goddess of Justice, and her connection with Mercury—astrologically known as Lord of the Virgin—is apparent. Her special degree of the Zodiac is given as the twenty-third (“Zodiacal Symbology,” page 96), which is a degree of sympathy, and for the correct administration of justice, deep and generous sympathy is surely necessary.

Virgo by Johann Bayer - 1603 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

According to Swedenborg and other mystical writers the Virgin symbolizes all chaste love, “affection for good, charity towards others, lovers of truth, spirituality and sympathy, and the kindness of men to one another, as opposed to the cruel malice of war and destruction which is likened to false reasonings, lies and opposed to Divine Providence.”

The Zebulon is the Haven into which they “who are weary and heavy laden” may enter, and it is significant that the Son of the Virgin dwelt in Capernaum which is upon the sea coast in the borders of Zebulon and Nephthalim (Matt. 4. 13).

Leah thanks God for “a good dowry,” and saying that now her husband will dwell with her because of her six sons, called his name Zebulun. In several ways a good dowry is associated with the sign Virgo, which is related to learning and commerce, will, patience, persistence and the reward of honest work. About the constellation of Virgo is the Argo or Ship of the Heavens, which star-lighted is ever gliding on the blue waters of the Celestial Harbour. A story of the loss of the Jasper from the Breastplate is told in the Talmud, and after a long search for another to replace it one was found in the possession of Dama, son of Nethinah, and purchased from him for about £60 in our money.

It is quite conceivable that stones were lost from the breastplate, and it was no doubt the replacing of them that caused so much confusion. Jasper as the sixth stone of the Breastplate is easily identified and the tribe of Issachar was inscribed upon it.

The Seventh Stone of the Breastplate

The seventh stone of the Breastplate is given as Lesham, variously rendered as Ligure, Agate, Jacinth, Hyacinth, Amber, Sapphire, Turquoise, Opal. The gem needed must, according to Dr. E. G. Hirsch, be “brilliant and of intense lustre.” The Midrash says that the stone was “white like the colour of antimony.” The colour in the Midrash Bemidbah is given as sapphire blue, and by astrological authorities generally as dark crimson or tawny.

The sign is the airy home of the planet Venus: and its colour can be more correctly gauged from the colours identified with the planet itself, which are given as follows: yellow, lemon yellow and pale blue, art tints in general, white and purple, white and shining, white in the morning, reddish in the evening, changeable, etc., Gesenius translates LESHAM as Opal, and Dr. M. H. Breslau accepts his reading as correct.

rough opal - adobe stock photo

The Opal is given for the seventh stone in translations from the Hebrew Bible, and this is most probably the correct one. This beautiful gem was in great repute in ancient times, and Pliny in lauding its charms tells us that it was found in India, Egypt, Cyprus, Thasos and other places. It is found recorded on Antique Clay Tablets whereon is impressed catalogues of treasures taken from conquered cities. Its softness and delicacy rendered it easy to cut and carve, and specimens of opal intagli have been found.

Mr. King mentions one in the Praun collection, of mediocre antique Roman work which was engraved with the heads of Jupiter, Apollo and Diana surrounded by nine stars. The same author mentions a big opal set in a quabalistically inscribed ring of gold with astrological symbols. The midrashic “white like the colour of antimony” may fairly describe a common variety of opal. Antimony is a brittle flaky metal of bluish-white colour and crystalline texture.


No gem can exhibit “the brilliant and intense lustres” more than the precious opal which is not only brilliant and lusterful but beautiful, tender and comprehensive of all the colours of the rainbow. What gem can answer so to the Talmudic identification of the qualities of Venus, viz., Splendour? The Venus of Libra is more ethereal than the Venus of Taurus and is well presented in the charming statue of the Venus of Medici, that of Taurus being expressed in the figure known as the Venus of Milo.

This ethereal Venus is the immaculate glorious woman whose absolute beauty the greatest poets, writers, painters, sculptors and musicians have striven to express in words, in form, in colour and in sound. Thus is Venus the noble cogency of divine pure love which has been striving through all the ages to make the world a paradise and to bring man back again to the Eden he has lost.

No blood sacrifices stained the altars of this lovely goddess, and the ancients delighted in bringing to her temples sweet blossoms and fragrant spices for incense. So great was the charm and wonder of this Heavenly One that Momus, the god of Sarcasm, who spared neither god nor man, died of vexation because he could find in her nothing to ridicule, nothing to blame, nothing to jeer at, for before such pure beauty criticism and ridicule must be mute.

As Venus Urania she arises amidst the foam of the sea (the occult import serving but to intensify the beauty of the legend) with a blue sky above her head and peaceful sunlit waters at her feet, a symbol of that eternal love which unites the elements and spreads the lustre of true harmony wherever are to be found those wise enough to know it. Socrates wrote that he was uncertain whether there was one Aphrodite or two, and doubtless the philosopher recognized the various phases of the goddess when blended with, or corrupted by, anything less than the conception of pure idealism in all its expressions.

The ancients called the opal “Cupid”—a worthy tribute to the sublime beauty of his glorious mother. One might compare the opal to the union of Thaumas (Wonder), the Son of the Earth, with Electra (Brightness), a daughter of Oceanus, and with their child Iris (Rainbow).

The Birth of Venus (1875) by Alexandre Cabanel. Original from The MET museum via Rawpixel - cco - public domain - Virgo

Issachar is the tribe of the Balance, “an ass bending between two burdens.” The ass in the East today as it was in the days of the Bible is regarded as an emblem of constancy, patience, endurance and stolidity, and frequent allusion is made to it in sacred writings: “Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way.” (Judges 5. 10.) Josephus replies with vigour to the assertion of Apion that the Jews worshipped an ass’s head.

In the mythology of the Egyptians the good and evil essences are symbolised by two wild asses, and mention is made in “The Book of the Dead” of the duel between the ass and its “eater,” the night serpent. The ass also as a symbolic animal of Jupiter represented Justice in the ancient world, hence its association with the Balance becomes clear. The tribe Issachar, this “servant of tribute,” is symbolic of absolute truth for “a false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.” (Prov. 11. 1.), and “He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.” (Prov. 12. 17.)

The entry of the Son of the Virgin into Jerusalem—the city of Virgo—riding on an ass, as told in that chapter of parables, Matthew 21, is not devoid of symbolic meaning. Hermes or Thoth is the recorder of the scales in the Egyptian Hall of Judgment and he may also be said to ride upon the scales for the sign Libra follows the sign of the Virgin. Libra has been described as the most sensitive sign of the Zodiac, the opal is its ideal gem and the opal is the gem for the seventh division of the Breastplate and on it was engraved the tribe of Dan.

smooth opal 2 - adobe stock photo

The Eighth Stone of the Breastplate

The eighth stone of the Breastplate is Shebo, rendered as Agate by the Authorised Version, the Vulgate, Marbodus and others.

Gesenius gives the derivation of Shebo from a root which means “to take prisoner,” and his illustrious pupil, Julius Fürst, connects it with a root meaning “to glitter.” Dr. Deane derives it from another meaning “to obscure, to dull,” and expresses the opinion that the problem “cannot be solved by etymology alone.” He believes SHEBO to be some variety of crystallised quartz. Dr. Breslau in translating SHEBO as Agate has good supporters.

The variety known as Banded agreeably fits in with the demands of the planet Mars through the sign of its expression Scorpio, termed the sign of the Serpent. Its wavy lines typify the undulations of the serpent, the lines of a fortress or the restless waves of the sea. The opinion has been expressed that SHEBO may have some connection with the Indian Serpent of the Underworld—Sesha or Shesha, and the connection may be further extended to the huge serpent which slays and is slain by Thor as told in the Song of Vala.

The sign Scorpio is in astrology the sign of death, the dead and all connected therewith. It is expressed by the Serpent of Eden in that magical third chapter of Genesis, a chapter that has demanded the special study of mystical philosophers for ages. The sign Scorpio is also symbolized in the person of the goddess Serket, pictured as a human-headed scorpion or as a goddess with scorpion head-dress. She protected the Canopic Jars which contained the embalmed viscera of the departed.

Scorpio by Johann Bayer - circa 1624 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

Aesculapius, the god of medicine, was worshipped under the form of a serpent at Epidaurus, and in the Vatican statue he is represented leaning on a staff around which is coiled a serpent; statues of his daughter Hygieia show her with a serpent in different attitudes. In those and numerous other serpent stories all associated with the sign Scorpio to a greater or lesser degree, the majesty and the mystery of life and death are philosophically implied.

The traditional colour of the sign Scorpio is given as brown, a shade of brown well describes the agate stone. The Midrash Bemidbah gives gray which, though not in agreement with other authorities, certainly does indicate a species of Agate.

Dan is described in the Book of Genesis as “a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horses’ heels” (the sign following Scorpio, Sagittarius—the sign of Gad) “so that his rider shall fall backward.” The tribe was a mystical tribe possessing the knowledge of white magic and of black (Judges XVIII. 30). The wisdom of the serpent is symbolized in it—“Dan shall judge his people.”

The eighth stone of the Breastplate was the Banded Agate, and on it was engraved the tribe of Gad.

Banded Agate - adobe stock photo

The Ninth Stone of the Breastplate

The ninth stone of the Breastplate is Achlamah which, with few exceptions, is identified as the Amethyst—beyond doubt the correct identification.

The Midrash Bemidbah gives the colour as purple which is the dominant shade of this beautiful gem. Purple is also one of the chief colours associated with the planet Jupiter which in astrology is termed the Lord of Sagittarius, the ninth sign of the Zodiac. This sign is connected with rulers and people in authority from very early times; Josephus mentions that Joseph wore “purple and drove in his chariot through all the land of Egypt.” The Amethyst was a royal stone and purple a royal colour the right to wear which was bestowed by the King on inspired men who, like Joseph, were revealers of dreams.

In the Book of Daniel also Belshazzar promises that the man who reads for him the “writing on the wall” shall be clothed with purple, shall have a chain of gold about his neck and shall rule as the third in the kingdom. This promise he fulfills when Daniel, “the prince of astrologers,” told him what he would know. A similar promise is made by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, as a reward for the solving of his questions regarding the strength of Wine, Kings and Women. It is related in the Book of Esther that the same honour is bestowed on Mordecai by the King Artaxerxes.

In old Hebraic philosophy it was held that whoso honoureth the prophet honoureth God. Purple is the colour signifying royal dignity and imperial power: “to be born in the purple” is to be born essentially fortunate and, under the elevating influence of the planet Jupiter, Aclamah—according to Dr. Hirsch—seems etymologically to imply the idea of being strong. Lord Arthur Hervey and several other writers hold that the Hebrew word is a verbal one from the root HALOM, to dream. In astrological deductions Sagittarius is the sign of dreams, prophecy and philosophy, and in its divine aspect it is referred to the wise centaur Chiron who tended the young hero Achilles.

Sagittarius by Johann Bayer - circa 1624 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

Sagittarius is the sign of the Horse and of Horsemen, and its connection with the tribe of Gad is not hard to understand. Aben Ezra writes on Targum authority that Jupiter is best expressed by the name Gad, and Dr. Alfred Pearce remarks that in modern Hebrew TZEDEK, justice, was also translated as Jupiter “because of the just character of persons born under his influence.” Gad, David’s seer, is mentioned in 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Chronicles, and the prophetic nature of this son of Jupiter may well stand as a living symbol. Gad is heralded by Leah thus: “A troop cometh,” and “she called his name Gad.”

The Amethyst has ever been a gem symbolizing spirituality in its highest degree, and by the virtue of its power it opposed evils, drunkenness, and the sin of distorted appetites. Indeed, the Amethyst was considered a sign of such holiness that evil was always courted by one wearing it whilst overindulging in eating and drinking. It was cut into sacred scarabei by the Egyptians and Etruscans and is frequently found engraved. Pliny writes of its fitness as a sealstone, and Mr. King mentions a large pale Amethyst, signed, in the Pulsky collection, on which is engraved the head of a Syrian King.

The Amethyst has been frequently quoted as a stone of the celestial Aries, even ancient writers commenting on its sympathetic Aries vibration. The mistake arose from confounding the Babylonian Mars with the Mars of the Greeks and Romans. The Babylonian Mars of Centaur form is clearly identified with the sign Sagittarius.

The Amethyst was the ninth stone of the Breastplate, and on it was engraved the name of the tribe of Asher.

Amethyst on wood round - adobe stock photo

The Tenth Stone of the Breastplate

Regarding the tenth stone of the Breastplate there is a general disagreement amongst authorities, some preferring simply to give its Hebraic name THARSHISH without attempting its meaning.

The tenth division of the Breastplate is the division of the zodiacal Capricorn, the colour of which is generally regarded as black, the colour of the planet Saturn, and which according to Dr. Simmonite, William Lilly, Madame Blavatsky and others, is, esoterically, green. The Targums describe the stone Tharshish as of the colour of the Great Sea, or sea colour. This is found in the Serpentine variety of a translucent deep green, oily colour capable of receiving a high polish. The colour of the Egyptian and Arabian Serpentine (or HYDRINUS) is deep and a little heavy. Many intagli and camei of antique origin are found cut in Serpentine; these specimens include Egyptian scarabei and Babylonian cylinders of about 5,000 years ago, clear evidence that the ancients knew the stone, appreciated it and worked it.


The sign Capricorn is a strange one, symbolizing the Gateway of Heaven through which men pass when life on earth is done. Hence it expresses the mystery of the deep seas which were compared with the seas of space in sacred philosophy. Amongst others, Manilius recognizes Capricorn as a sailor’s sign:

But when receding Capricornus shows
The star that in his tail’s bright summit glows,
Then shall the native dare the angry seas,
A hardy sailor live, spurning inglorious ease.

Rev. Mr. King writes of a cast from a gem engraved with a “double-headed Capricorn with an owl’s body standing upon and holding in his forefoot a rudder: in allusion to the doctrine laid down by Manilius that the star in the sign’s tail is the proper horoscope of mariners and pilots. Or it may typify the usually fickle temper of one born under the sign. This sign likewise presided over all the space within tide-mark, the alternate domain of sea and land; a dominion expressed by the half terrestrial, half marine composition of the figure. The region peculiarly under him” (that is, the region astrologically ruled by Capricorn) “was the West of Europe.” (This is speaking very generally.) “The owl’s body is given him perhaps as the attribute of Pallas, the designer of that prototype of navigation, the Argo.”

Capricorn by Johann Bayer - circa 1603 - wikimedia - cco - public domain

Godfrey Higgins writes of the “whimsical sign called Capricorn which in the Indian Zodiac is an entire goat and an entire fish: in the Greek and the Egyptian the two are united and form one animal.”

The place of dazzling brilliancy, called by the Greeks “The Milky Way” is the path of the souls, and is referred to by Macrobius, Cicero and other writers. The author of the “Anacalypsis” writes: “The Milky Way is placed immediately under that degree of North Latitude which is called the Tropic of Cancer, and the two tropics of Cancer and Capricorn have been called by the astrologers “The Gates of Heaven or the Sun,” at each of which the Sun arrives in his annual progress. The Southern Gate is called the Tropic of Capricorn, an amphibious animal, half goat, half fish in our present zodiacs, but in the most ancient zodiacs of India it is described as two entire beings—a goat and a fish. Here, in this goat-fish sign Capricorn, are the mermen and mermaids, and the half-animal, half-fish beings of the sea.

Of the tribe of Asher it is said: “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties,” (Gen. 49. 20), a statement very much in agreement with the sign Capricorn. Again in Deuteronomy (33. 24) we have, according to the Authorized Version, “Let Asher be blessed with children: let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil”; this passage, however, may be closer translated as follows: “More than all the children be Asher blessed: he shall be the most favoured of his brethren and bathe his feet in oil.”

Capricorn Constellation  - adobe stock photo

The tenth Mansion of the Zodiac, the natural “Home” of Capricorn, is the House of fame, honour, reputation, credit, authority and dignity.

His mother called him Asher because she said, “the daughters will call me blessed,” Asher being the Hebrew word for “blessed.” A close translation of verse 17, Chapter 5 Judges, would read: “Asher remained on the seashore and abode near his bays.”

In all these Biblical allusions to the tribe of Asher there is nothing out of harmony with the sign Capricorn; in fact, in every line the connection is clearly marked.

The tenth stone in the Breastplate is the Serpentine and on it was engraved the tribe Naphtali.

Serpentine egg - adobe stock photo

The Eleventh Stone of the Breastplate

For reasons stated the Sapir is placed in the eleventh division of the Breastplate instead of the SHOHAM, and we thus have complete harmony between the eleventh sign of the zodiac, Aquarius, the eleventh division of the Breastplate and the Sapir stone which is translated as Sapphire in the Hebrew Bible, the Authorized Version, the Vulgate; as Lapis Lazuli or Sapphire by Mr. Wodiska; and as Lapis Lazuli by Dr. Hirsch, Rev. J. R. Dummelow, and others. The Targums indicate a stone of blue colour, and that this is the Lapis Lazuli there is no reason to doubt.

In ancient times the Lapis Lazuli was termed SAPPHIRUS; Pliny describes it accurately as “opaque, sprinkled with specks of gold,” and many antique intagli in this stone have been found. The Lapis Lazuli was a very highly esteemed stone amongst the old world peoples, who called it “The Stone of Heaven,” “The Gem of the Stars,” and the Zemech Stone connected with all things heavenly. Traditionally it is the stone on which was engraved the law of Moses.

Polished Lapis Lazuli - adobe stock photo

In a quabalistic “Piut” is written: “O, how dreadful is the place of the heavenly abode; for there the light dwelleth with him: and above the firmament is a precious stone, as the appearance of the Sapphire stone which forms the glorious throne, and thereon He who is clothed with light is seated.” A close translation of Ezekiel 1. 26, reads: “And above, the vault that was over their head was like the appearance of a sapphire stone, the likeness of a throne: and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man above it.” Chapter X. 1, similarly treated, reads: “Then I saw and behold, on the vault that was above the head of the Cherubim, there appeared over them something like a Sapphire stone, something similar in appearance to the likeness of a throne.”

The connection of a blue stone with the blue heavens is consistent with ancient philosophy, and authorities agree in connecting this colour with the sign of the mighty heavens—Aquarius. According to tradition Moses, the law-giver, was born under this sign. Akers in his “Introduction to Biblical Chronology” gives the date of this event as A. M. 3319, Adar third, year of the Julian period 2987, which answers to Thursday, February 13th, 1727 B. C. At that time the sun would be in the Celestial Aquarius. Aquarius is the water-bearer, and the incident of the striking of the rock from which water gushed forth is mystically associated with it. In the Mythologies this waterbearer is Ganymedes, son of Tros, King of Troy, whom the gods, impressed by his beauty, carried away whilst he was tending the flocks on Mount Ida, in order that the Lord of Olympus might have a lovely cup-bearer.


In astrological deductions Aquarius is the sign of friendship—“Naphtali bringeth pleasant words.” It is also the sign of hopes and desires: Of Naphtali he said, “O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full of the blessing of the Lord, take thou possession of the West and the South.” (Deut. 33. 23). Then again, in the Septuagint Naphtali is referred to as “a spreading tree yielding leafy branches” and the tree raising branches heavenwards is an Aquarian symbol.

The law of Moses is spoken of as the “tree of Life” which contains the secret of actual and absolute immortality.

Now we are, according to periodic astrological deductions, at the Gate of the age of Aquarius, all the world is undergoing the process of change, and finally all the humanitarianism of Aquarius will replace the accumulation of evil thoughts that lay by the Gateway. Then will Naphtali prevail, his captivity will be over, and the slaves will hang up their chains amongst the sacred cypresses, for the Comforter will come.

The Lapis Lazuli then, is the stone of the eleventh division of the Breastplate and on it was engraved the name Joseph.

Lapis Lazuli - adobe stock photo

The Twelfth Stone of the Breastplate

Regarding the classification which places Jashpeh in the twelfth division of the Breastplate much controversy has arisen, and the consensus of opinion is against it.

Dr. Emil Hirsch holds the opinion that Jahalom should replace JASHPEH, and in this surmise he is by no means alone. Astrologically Jashpeh has nothing in common with the last sign of the Zodiac—Pisces—the colour of which is given as “glistening white” by the Midrash Bemidbah. It has been more minutely described as “a white glistening colour like a fish just taken out of the water” by William Lilly and Dr. Simmonite.


There is little doubt that the stone was of a white glistening colour. YAHALOM is rendered as Diamond by the translations of the Hebrew Bible, the Authorized Version, by Mr. Cattelle, Dr. Ginzberg and others; but although the Diamond is mentioned by Pliny, it could not have found a place among the stones of the Breastplate as they were large stones all engraved with tribal names. To this treatment the diamond is not adapted. The YAHALOM is without doubt white crystal which is of a glistening colour and traditionally associated with the twelfth sign of the Zodiac.

Diodorus writes that an artist named Satyreius cut on a small crystal a most exquisite and lifelike portrait of Queen Arsinoe, the beauty of the work amply excusing the miniature stone on which it was engraved. It is related that Nero, his star falling, in his rage against the world and mankind, smashed to pieces two costly crystal cyphi or bowls on which Homeric subjects were wonderfully engraved. Articles in crystal still exist to demonstrate its extensive use by ancient nations.

Fauno, in his 1553 edition of “Roman Antiquities,” mentions that during the building of a chapel of the King of France in St. Peter’s, the marble coffin of Maria, wife of the Emperor Honorius, was discovered. Little remained of the body, but the jewels of the Empress were there, and amongst them were a talismanic plate of gold engraved with the names of the Archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel), in Greek letters, about thirty vases and other articles in crystal, and an exquisite Nautilus shell lamp of pure crystal mounted on gold—no doubt the special charm of the Empress.

The sign Pisces, the sign of “the fish with the glittering tails,” is symbolically represented by two fishes, which ancient story tells us were Venus and Cupid thus metamorphosed to escape the giant Typhon in his fury. In Babylonian story it is told that the fish-god Oannes—the Dagon of the Book of Samuel—came out of the Erythraean Sea “which borders upon Babylonia” to teach men how to live, to make laws, to worship, to soften their manners and to humanize their lives. Thus, the fish-god was the teacher of the hidden mysteries, and the sign Pisces has always been associated with occult science and hidden things.

Mummified fish have been found in the Egyptian tombs, and Clermont Ganneau describes a pair of fish-gods keeping watch over a mummy. Isis as the Great Mother is symbolized with a fish on her head. The old Egyptian town of Esna, nearly 500 miles from Cairo, was called by the Greeks Latopolis on account of the worship of the Latus fish by the inhabitants, and an interesting old Zodiac can still be seen there amongst the famous ruins.


The Babylonians accepted the fish as the symbol of the Resurrection, and the ninth chapter of the Book of Luke describes how 5000 people were fed by 5 loaves of bread (symbolical of Virgo) and two small fishes (symbolical of Pisces), a connection clear enough to the student of the mysteries. The fish was the symbol of the Messiah, and was adopted by the early Christians as the sign of Christ. The Roman Catholic church today has its fish days, and the Piscina is the basin that holds the Holy Water.

The tribe of Joseph is the tribe of the twelfth division of the Breastplate and the twelfth zodiacal sign, Pisces. Joseph in the Book of Genesis is the inspired prophet who reads the meaning of the famous symbolic dreams of The Butler, The Baker and The Pharaoh; who has his divining cup, and who was named by the Pharaoh, ZAPHENATH-PA’NEACH, which has been translated as “Saviour of the World” by one writer, but more nearly as “God, the Living One has spoken” by Dr. Dummelow, and as “God spake and he came into Life,” by Dr. E. A. Wallis Budge.

According to Talmudic story it was this Pharaoh who said that he saw the colours of rulership about Joseph. Joseph and his brethren are symbolical of the complete Zodiac. JOSHUA is the Son of the Fish (NUN the Hebrew word for “fish” is probably connected with the Egyptian NAR), and Jesus has his fishermen, “fishers of men.” The sign Pisces is the sign of hidden secrets and is mystically symbolized by a key. On the external plane it is the sign of increase, in which is concealed the mandate “Increase and multiply.”

The connection of the sign Pisces with the twelfth division of the Breastplate is, as in the previous cases, beyond argument. The stone is the glistening crystal on which was engraved the name of the tribe of Benjamin.


In reference to Joseph’s Dream of the Sun, Moon and Eleven Stars which made obeisance to him, Philo Judaeus says:

“The students of sublime wisdom now say that the Zodiac, the greatest of all the circles in Heaven, is studded with twelve animals from which it has derived its name. And that the Sun and the Moon are always revolving around it and go through each of the animals, not indeed with equal rapidity, but in unequal numbers and periods, the one doing so in 30 days and the other in as near as may be a twelfth part of that time. Therefore he who saw this Heaven-sent vision thought that he was being worshipped by eleven stars, ranking himself among them as the twelfth so as to complete the whole circle of the Zodiac.”

Crystal on rock - adobe stock photo - cco

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Create A Crystal Grid

A crystal grid is an act of creation and a form of artful meditation. Ancient cultures have long called on the power of crystals and stones to amplify cosmic energy. Throughout history, sacred geometry has been used to create a magical framework in which to shape this energy. A crystal grid is a marriage of these two elements, creating a beautiful method of manifesting dreams, goals, and desires. This ritual art form allows you to focus, amplify your intention, and consciously direct the flow of energy that runs through all things. Crystal grids can be used in healing, meditation, ritual work, and manifesting. Learn how to create your own crystal grid here.

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In this timeless masterpiece, Isodore Kozminsky, a renowned author in the field of Jewish occultism and esotericism, reveals the hidden secrets of gemstones, semi-precious stones, and ordinary stones. Kozminsky skillfully navigates the philosophy of sympathy and antipathy found throughout nature, unveiling the interconnectedness of stone to stone, and person to person. As a member of a family of jewelers and associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Kozminsky was perfectly positioned to synthesize scientific data, ancient folklore, and the occult and beneficial use of stones.

Unlike more modern stone guides that limit themselves to the psychic and physical aspects of lithotherapy, this book provides a much more comprehensive and holistic understanding of the subject. Special emphasis is placed on the connection between the various gemstones and semi-precious stones discussed and the signs of the zodiac. The author offers a profound philosophy of lucky stones, planetary gems, and the mystical “stones of power,” which form an integral part of talismanic magic. Unique to this book are the inclusion of magical sigils and invocation formulas, providing readers with the means to establish contact with the stone spirits, presented as an embedded grimoire.

The Magic and Science of Jewels and Stones was previously available only as a rare antiquarian find. VAMzzz Publishing presents a new, carefully revised edition, complete with additional information about the author.

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