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 VII: Old Legends
In Chapter VII, ‘Old Legends’, Kozminsky shifts his focus to the various legends and mystical beliefs related to gems and their powers. It discusses the Shamir, a magical entity used in biblical times for engraving stones, including its role in King Solomon’s temple construction. The chapter also delves into legends about King Solomon, Rabbi Low Ben Bezalel’s creation of a Golem, and the magical properties of various stones. Additionally, it touches on the significance of precious stones in Buddhist traditions and the astrological implications of gems in different cultures.
THE LEGEND OF THE SHAMIR ◆ THE RING OF SOLOMON ◆ RABBI LOW BEN BEZALEL ◆ AND HIS GOLEM ◆ THE AUTOMATON OF ALBERTUS MAGNUS ◆ DIOCLETIAN AND THE OSTRICH ◆ PRECIOUS STONES AS GIFTS ◆ MAGICAL STONES ◆ METEORITES ◆ PRECIOUS STONES OF THE BUDDHISTS
It was forbidden to use metal in the engraving of the stones of the Breastplate, neither was it permitted to mark them with pigments or paint. The work was done by the magical Shamir which had the power of eating into the hardest substances at the will of its holder. In the evening light of the first Friday this seventh of the ten marvels of Creation followed closely by the Stylus, the knowledge of writing, and the two tablets of stone destined to bear the commandments of God, was given to mankind.
It was no larger than a barley grain, yet its power was intense: iron lying near it was shattered and stones were sliced like the leaves of a book. Moses, after tracing the tribal names with his forefinger on the Breastplate, simply held the Shamir over them and the letters were as by magic cut clearly into the stones without trace of fracture or flaw. The Shamir disappeared with the earth-death of Moses, and was not heard of again until the time of Solomon.
When the occasion came to build the temple the priests reminded the King that it was not lawful to fashion the stones for the Holy Building with instruments of iron. “What then shall I do?” enquired the King. To this one of the priests answered: “O, great King, when the world was created the Shamir was created also, and with it Moses was enabled to fashion and engrave the stones of the HOSHEN-HA-MISHPAT.” “But how can I obtain this wonderful Shamir?” asked Solomon. “What is there difficult for thee who knowest the secrets of Heaven and Earth?” replied the priest, at the same time asking Solomon to compel two demons, a male and a female, to come before him.
The King, taking this advice, conjured the demons and bade them declare unto him the hiding-place of the Shamir. This they were unable to do, and they begged the Master-Magician to release them and obtain the secret from the Prince of the demons, Ashmadai. Further they told the King that amongst certain mountain ranges Ashmadai had sunk a deep hole which he filled with water and screened with a great stone sealed with his magical seal. In the dawn of each day he raised himself to Heaven where he learned heavenly wisdom, descending in the evening as the light faded to learn the wisdom of earth. Then he would break the seal, drink of the water, rebind the seal and go his way again.
Having dismissed the demons, Solomon sent his disciple Benaiah (the son of Jehoiada) with his own magical chain and ring on both of which was engraved the Divine Name, and some skins full of wine. Benaiah skilfully released the water from the pit of Ashmadai, leaving the wine in its place. As evening was falling the Prince of the Demons returned; the seal being intact, he raised the stone and to his surprise found wine where water had been. Murmuring, “Is it not set down, ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink is noisy; and whosoever indulgeth therein will never be wise’?”, he drank deeply and fell asleep. Then Benaiah, stealing forth from his hiding place, bound him with King Solomon’s chain.
Ashmadai awoke and in rage attempted to break the chain; Benaiah called to him: “Desist, for the holy name of God binds you, and you are compelled to come with me to Solomon the King.” Brought before Solomon, Ashmadai asked: “Why have you brought me to you? Is not the whole world big enough for you that you would have me also?” “Of thee I want nothing,” answered the King, “but for the building of the Temple I must have the Shamir.” “Then ask the Prince of the Sea and his servant the Moorfowl,” came the answer. “And what does the Moorfowl with the Shamir?” asked the King. “Splits the barren mountain rocklands in order that the seeds of the trees and plants which he drops into the crevices may mature and render these places beautiful and agreeable to the wants of man; and then he brings it back to the Prince of the Sea who trusts his oath.”
Armed with this information a search was made for the moor fowl’s nest, and this when discovered was found to contain the bird’s young. The searchers covered the young birds with glass so that the mother-bird might see but not reach them. The ruse succeeded. The bird flew away and shortly afterwards returned with the Shamir, placing it on the glass which split asunder. At that moment the emissary of King Solomon rushed from his hiding place and took the Shamir from the nest of the frightened bird, which thereupon killed itself because it had broken its oath to the Prince of the Sea.
There is another legend which states that the Shamir was brought from Paradise—where it had rested since the time of Moses—by an eagle, for Moses specially intended that the Shamir should be employed in the building of Solomon’s temple. When the building of the temple was completed Solomon released Ashmadai, having proved his power over him. Solomon thus acquired authority over the world of Demons, and in the “Arabian Nights” the “Story of the Fisherman and the Genii” tells of a demon who was bottled and bound for ages by this Magician King.
The Arabs say that King Solomon received instructions from the archangel Gabriel regarding the place where the Shamir was hidden. These and other legends connected with this wonderful Shamir have attracted the scientific philosopher. The traditional belief that it was a worm can be accepted if we connect the Greek SMIRIS, the emery of the ancient glyptic artists, with the Hebrew SHAMIR, for then the worm would be regarded as minute worms or grains so tough as to be capable of abrading and polishing hard substances. The word SHAMIR does not imply the common or garden variety of worm which is expressed in Hebrew by other words.
It is traditionally related that the four angels of Earth, Air, Fire and Water came to King Solomon, each giving him a jewel, with the instruction that the jewels be set in a magical ring which would symbolize and define his power over the elements. The Arabians say that the metals used in the construction of the magical ring were brass and iron—metals of Venus and Mars. Solomon summoned the good genii by tracing his command with the brass or Venus portion of the ring, and he compelled the evil genii to attend him with the Mars or iron portion.
Astrologically Venus and Mars are the two planetary principles which control the emotions and passions of all the world. It is further assumed that the four jewels of the ring were set on the famous double triangles called the Shield of David and of Solomon, which symbolically represented things of earth in relation to things of Heaven. When Solomon went to bathe, it was his custom to give the ring to Amina, one of his wives, for safe keeping, for it is not permitted to wear the talisman when washing the body. One day Sakhr, a powerful evil spirit, appeared in the form of Solomon and thus obtained from Amina the magical ring. Thereupon Sakhr sat on the throne of Solomon and ruled for forty days and forty nights while the King wandered about, unknown and forlorn.
However, the evil spirit could not maintain the form of King Solomon for longer than forty days and forty nights, so he threw the ring into the sea, thinking as he saw it sink that Solomon was deprived forever of his power over the elements. But he had forgotten that water was one of the elements, and the Angel of the Waters caused the ring to be swallowed by a fish, which was later caught by some fishermen who, surprised at its exceptional beauty, carried it to King Solomon. The King, acting on impulse, cut the fish open, and finding the ring, regained his power over the elements once more.
Passing on to the 16th Century of the Christian era we come to one of the great masters of the Quabalah—Rabbi Low Ben Bezalel of Prague. He is spoken of in the ancient capital of Bohemia as the greatest Bal Shem of his time. Many legends concerning him are extant in Bohemia. He made a Golem, an automaton figure to which he gave life by the simple act of placing under the tongue a charm or Kemea which was exactly like the SHEM HAMPHORASCH engraved on King Solomon’s ring.
It was the Rabbi’s custom to take the Kemea from under the tongue of the Golem every Friday at sunset. Once he neglected to do this, and the Golem becoming furious and swelling to a gigantic size, rushed to the old synagogue, spreading destruction all around. The hymn welcoming the Bride of the Sabbath had not been sung. The Golem entered the Synagogue, stalked towards the Ark and was about to destroy it when Rabbi Low Ben Bazalel ran to the figure and tore the Kemea from beneath the tongue. The Golem trembled, quivered and fell in atoms to the ground. An automaton similar to that of the Rabbi was made by Albertus and destroyed in terror by his pupil, Thomas Aquinas.
It is related that the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, while on a hunting expedition, came upon a young ostrich. He had it put in a glass case and taken to his palace. For three days the mother-bird followed, trying in vain to break the glass and release her young. After many fruitless attempts she went away and returned with what is described as a THUMARE (a name easily identified with SHAMIR) or magical worm. This she dropped on the glass cage which split into fragments in the same way as the glass which covered the nest holding the young of the moor fowl.
The belief that the gift of a precious stone brought great good to the receiver was, and still is, a popular Eastern conviction. It echoes from the Book of Proverbs to the great new age into which the world is now entering: “As a precious stone appeareth a prize in the eyes of him that obtaineth it: whithersoever it turneth it prospereth.” (Proverbs XVII. 8.) The blessedness of giving has always been lauded by the masters who constantly enlarge on the magical power gained by the act, for, say they, “God gives.”
The gem given should always be carefully considered especially in accordance with the philosophy laid down in these pages which is held to be a true presentation of ancient laws. The wish of the giver then, it is assumed, is translated into the gem which expresses the wish, translated in concrete form so that whenever the receiver gazes on it, realizes it, the wish of good fortune begins to bear fruit and “whithersoever it turneth it prospereth.” The Talmud relates that Abraham had a magical jewel which he wore suspended about his neck; some writers state that it was a pearl that would re-appear at the time of the Messiah; it was however his own natal stone which, when worn, enabled him by the touch of his hand to heal the sick—a practice which has endured, naturally with varied success, through the ages.
The gem in the ring of Aaron was said to shine out brilliantly when the Elohim favoured the nation; and we are told that when the gem and the wearer were in harmony the brightness or otherwise of the stone would indicate faithfully the conditions surrounding him. In the writings of Bishop Epiphanius a fourth century ecclesiastic of Jewish descent, there is a passage commenting on the Breastplate in which he repeats a still older belief that the stones all turned red when war and defeat faced the Children of Israel.
Some Quabalistical writers maintain that various colours indicating answers to the many questions asked were reflected from the stones over the whole plate; others say that the stone having reference to the tribe or to the direct question alone, gleamed out its special colour; thus, for military triumph the symbol would be expressed by the beaming of the Haematite (Hematite); for bountiful production of the fruits of the earth the Emerald would flash its message of comfort; for success in matters connected with education the Marble would shine; for promise of a good water supply the sparkle of the Chrysoprase would suffice; for the well-being of royalty the illumination of the Sardonyx would promise well; for a good harvest the Jasper would glisten; for success in negotiations with neighbouring nations the gleaming of the Opal would augur well; for protection from epidemics the glaring of the agate would be accepted as a favourable omen; for prophetic truth the radiation of the Amethyst would stand; for the welfare of cattle the Serpentine would vibrate; for the realization of hopes the Lapis Lazuli would electrify like the deep blue of the Heavens in serene weather; for success in secret negotiations the Crystal would throw off its flashes of light.
According to the legends in the Targumin, Noah lit up the Ark with a stone of marvellous brilliancy; this is considered by some students to denote the Sun at noonday, by others it is called a Carbuncle. The Manna of the wilderness, it is said, fell from Heaven accompanied by a rain of the most precious and beautiful stones: this is merely an allegorical expression of the “opening of the Heavens,” although some more material writers indicate a fall of meteorites.
Meteorites were held in especial reverence and were termed BETHEL or House of God by the old Jews, and Baetylus by the Greeks and Romans. They were assumed to carry all glorious influences from the Heavenly spheres and to bear the blessings of God.
Pliny mentions a curious stone which he terms AMIANTHUS and which is not affected by the action of fire. This substance, he says, effectually counteracts all noxious spells, especially those wrought by magicians. It was considered a bad mistake to barter for a talismanic gem, that being in itself a crystallization of the sublime forces, and being holy does not admit of barter.
Pliny tells of Ismenius the great fluteplayer of his time, who loved to display numbers of gems: he set his heart on obtaining a beautiful emerald—his talismanic gem—on which was engraved a figure of Amymone (one of the Danaides), the gem being offered for sale in Cyprus for six golden denarii; he sent his messenger to purchase it for him, and this man on his return informed Ismenius that the jeweler had agreed to take two golden denarii less than was originally asked; on learning this the musician exclaimed: “By Hercules, he has done me a bad turn in this, for the merit of the stone has been greatly impaired by this reduction in price.”
The seven precious minerals of the Buddhists are stated by Sir Moiner-Williams K. C. I. E. to be:
The list varies and Lapis Lazuli is given instead of pearls by some authors. There are also seven royal treasures amongst which is the jewel stone NORBU which throws its rays for several miles on the darkest nights.
Apollonius of Tyana, described by Barrett as one of the most extraordinary persons that ever appeared in the world, received during his travels in India from the sage Iarchus seven rings each of which contained a jewel symbolical of one of the planets. One of these he wore every day, according to the planetary order of the days of the week, and to the virtue of these gems—which Iarchus is stated to have received from Heaven—Philostratus, the biographer of Apollonius, attributes his long life, his strength and his attractions. The following were the gems inset in the rings which Apollonius wore, one on each day of the week:
|Day of the Sun
|Diamond (In a ring of gold)
|Day of the Moon
|Cloudy Crystal (Moonstone?) (In a ring of silver)
|Day of Mars
|Hæmatite (In a ring of iron)
|Day of Mercury
|Pink Jasper (In a ring of silver)
|Day of Jupiter
|Carbuncle (In a ring of tin)
|Day of Venus
|Coral (In a ring of bronze)
|Day of Saturn
|Onyx (In a ring of lead)
Justin Martyr had a deep reverence for this great disciple of Pythagoras and in his writings he expresses wonder at the potency of the talismans of Apollonius, which calm the fury of the sea, hold back the winds of Heaven, cause wild animals to become tame;—“Our Lord’s miracles are held to us only by tradition, but the miracles of Apollonius are uncountable almost, and truly were evident enough to charm all those who saw them.”
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Table of Contents
- Chapter I: The Study of Precious Stones in Early Times
- Chapter II: The Most Ancient Science
- Chapter III: The Ephod of the High Priest
- Chapter IV: The Breastplate of Judgment
- Chapter V: Interpretation of the Breastplate According to Ancient Philosophy
- Chapter VI: The Stones of the Breastplate and the Zodiac
- Chapter VII: Old Legends
- Chapter VIII: Stones in Various Mythologies
- Chapter IX: Stones and Their Stories
- Chapter X: The Greatest Charms in the World
- Precious and Semi-Precious Gems Arranged in Alphabetical Order
- Chapter XI: Agate – Amazonite
- Chapter XII: Amber – Azurite
- Chapter XIII: The Beryl Family
- Chapter XIV: Balas – Crysocolla
- Chapter XV: Chrysolite – Crystal
- Chapter XVI: The Diamond
- Chapter XVII: Some Famous and Wonderful Diamonds and Their Stories
- Chapter XVIII: Dichroite – Iolite
- Chapter XIX: Jacinth – Lodestone
- Chapter XX: Malachite – Nephrite
- Chapter XXI: Obsidian – Onyx
- Chapter XXII: The Opal
- Chapter XXIII: The Flame Queen
- The Great Australian Opal
- Chapter XXIV: Various Kinds of Opal
- Chapter XXV: Pearl
- Chapter XXVI: Pearl
- Chapter XXVII: Peridot – Ruby
- Chapter XXVIII: Rutile – Sapphire
- Chapter XXIX: Sardonyx – Succinite
- Chapter XXX: Titanite – Topaz
- Chapter XXXI: Tourmaline – Zircon
- Chapter XXXII: Stones in Shakespeare’s Plays
- Chapter XXXIII: Forms, Compositions, Characteristics, Zodiacal Classification, and Places of Origin
- Chapter XXXIV: Gems in Heraldry, Magical Squares of Abra Melin the Mage, Charubel’s Gem Influences, Gems of Countries
- Chapter XXXV: The Inevitable Law of Transmutation
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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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