red for the people of burma

anonymous asked:

Are there any myths involving crystals, gems, minerals, or rocks that give humans special powers?

What comes to mind are talismans and, in the Philippines, they’re specifically called anting-anting or agimat (agimat being more nature given vs man made and thus holding more power).

If they are mineral, it is often tektite or hematite. Sometimes, they are made of organic material and would often have something that resembles a powerful image imprinted on the surface of, for example, wood.

Although, it is more folklore than myth from what I know because it’s isn’t confined to a single story and it’s still being used in the Philippines today and you can buy them in Quiapo, Manila. There’s an anting-anting for every need and for every budget. This is a visual on the agimat, and this is a visual on the anting-anting.

The anting-anting contain religious/Christian-like imagery since they are also seen as powerful in the Philippines. The iconography of Christian images is indigenized and not always accurate to Christian doctrine— like baby Jesus on the first picture, lower left corner (who is naked and, if examined out of the picture, will have a fully erect penis. Otherwise known as “Santo Niño de Titi)


There are myths and superstitions surrounding a multitude of precious stones, although their influence isn’t usually enough to qualify as “special powers.” Mostly they’re just good for luck under certain circumstances (e.g., marriage, childbirth, travel, etc.) or as a preventative measure (e.g., animal attacks, natural disasters, or evil magic directed at the wearer, particularly the Evil Eye [everyone was terrified of the Evil Eye]).

  • Most red stones (carnelian, ruby, garnet) were considered protective against diseases or poisoning, either by actually negating the harm or discoloring in the presence of it.
  • Wearing amethyst protected against drunkenness, jade is still considered extremely lucky in China and Japan, and ruby was laid under foundations to prevent the building from collapsing, and agate could grant invisibility.
  • Ancient Mayans implanted multiple precious gems in their teeth to allow them to better communicate with the gods while the Shan people of ancient Burma would sew rubies under their skin to protect them in battle.
  • Curved stones with a hole bored in the larger end, called magatama, feature heavily in early Japanese mythology, although they’re usually used as a trade item.
    • The main exception to this is the Yasakani no Magatama which is a part of the Imperial Regalia of Japan. It’s used in the enthronement  ceremony in combination with a sword and mirror to confer imperial power to the emperor.
  • Multiple Native American tribes of the American Southwest considered turquoise to be significant. Ojibwe dreamcatchers traditionally contain a spider made of the stone to catch and eat bad dreams. In the Acoma Pueblo creation myth, the Creator taught the people how to make turquoise and shell beads that would make the wearer attractive and beloved. The Apache attached pieces to their bows to improve their accuracy.

It should be remembered that in the ancient world, there wasn’t much of a definition of any kind of stone beyond it’s immediately observable properties (e.g., color and hardness), so a lot of precious stones were lumped together under one name or mistaken for one another.

Also, the meaning of a lot of gem names has gotten more specific over time so while sapphire now refers to the gem quality corundum it used to just be the Latin word for blue. SO if you’re looking for a specific type of stone being significant in the ancient world, you might be out of luck.

As a side-note, diamonds are not historically or mythologically significant in any way. Their association with love and courtship is entirely thanks to marketing efforts by the De Beers cartel to keep demand high. This would also be the same cartel that controls the production and supply of the literal tons of high quality diamonds that have been mined in South Africa so that prices stay high as well. 

-the Chorus

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