Gemstones and Astrology
Gemstones and Astrology(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Quite a bit has been written on the correlation between gemstones and astrology. Unfortunately, much of that has not been in agreement. Some of the disagreement stems from the fact that Vedic astrologers have a very different philosophy from Western astrologers. Additionally, confusion in the Western system seems to stem from the gem industry’s attempt to “translate” these correlations into “birthstones” for each month, even though the signs “straddle” two months rather than starting and ending neatly with the beginning and end of each month. This confusion is compounded because European birthstone selections, especially those from German-speaking countries, do not always coincide with the North American birthstones. Some of this may very well be attributed to the difference in availability of stones in Europe and in North America.
The rationale for correlating gemstones with astrological placements is that since everything is energy and everything is interrelated, correspondence between gems, signs, and planets can be made by looking at properties (e.g., hardness, color, mineral families, crystal systems, chemical elements, and inclusions) and other things, including mythology. In the Vedic system, each planet has only one primary gem, although some authors consider secondary gems. In all cases in the Vedic system, gems should be as close to flawless as possible and color is an extremely important factor. The primary stone correlations in Vedic astrology come from antiquity, and authorities are in general agreement about both the primary and secondary stones. In the Western system, confusion again arises, in part from subjectivity (e.g., what is “red” to one person may be “blackish red” or “purple-red” to another); in part because while sign and gem correlations are similar, they do not necessarily tally 100%; and because Western astrologers feel that even inclusions and flaws have meaning, and, therefore no two gemstones are precisely alike. Western astrologers therefore subscribe to the philosophy that just as one does not find a person who is, for instance, purely Cancer energy, one likewise does not find too many gemstones that partake “purely” of one planet. For example, while one may be content to call a certain stone an agate, agates can be a variety of colors and may be banded, layered, or a single color. Moreover, agates are a form of chalcedony, which is part of the quartz family. Furthermore, agate nodules, such as geodes, may contain opal, quartz crystal, or calcite, among other things.
Vedic astrologers do not work with signs per se. Their approach is more purist than that of Western astrology. The Western astrologer will make use of sign correlations in order to “blend” planet-sign combinations and will differentiate between, for instance, Venus in Sagittarius and Venus in Pisces, in addition to taking house positions and aspects into account. Both Vedic and Western astrologers who are trained in working with gems can, through the premise that everything is energy, suggest certain stones to enhance, balance, or redirect certain energies symbolized by natal planets or transits. However, contrary to some systems of magic, astrologers do not believe that one can use a gem to create a potential that is not inherently present in the natal chart. Nor can a gemstone be used for protection from the consequences of one’s actions. They can, however, be used to increase awareness of potential consequences, thus possibly acting as a discouragement from taking inappropriate action.
Where Western astrologers will work with any planet of the client’s choosing according to the client’s natal chart, progressions, and transits, the Vendic astrologer works according to certain strict criteria to come up with one specific stone, which may change from time to time according to changes in dasas (planetary periods) and transits. For example, the Vedic astrologer will first look at the ascendant. If the ruler is in an auspicious sign, then the gem of choice would most likely be that of the ruler of the ascendant. Next, the Moon’s sign and the ruler of that sign are considered, along with the ruler of the naksatra (lunar mansion). Planets in rulership and exaltation are also considered, as their gemstones may also be used to theiradvantage according to the Vedic system.
Where Vedic astrologers caution that wearing an inauspicious stone can cause misfortune, Western astrologers are more inclined to say, “If you like it, wear it, as it’s saying something about you at the moment.” This is not to say they disregard the inherent symbolism, but rather that they place great stock on free will and on the awareness level of the client. So where Western astrologers will select the class of gem appropriate to the clients’ concerns, they will encourage clients to select the gem themselves, the theory being that the clients will choose a stone that has color correlations or inclusions or even flaws that have personal meaning. This runs counter to Vedic astrology in which the astrologer “prescribes” the gem, the color, and even the specific weight and will either select and set the gem for the client themselves or send the client to a specialist who will “fill the prescription” for the client. Client preference is generally of only minimal importance in the Vedic system. There are also specific contraindications in terms of combining certain stone combinations in the Vedic system, though there is such a thing as a nine-gem setting called a Nava-Ratna, which is an exception to the contraindication rule. Western astrologers are less stringent about cautioning against various gem combinations, though some will advise against certain of these.
Following is a list of commonly accepted correspondences between gems and planets. Note that even when Vedic and Western correlations are in agreement, there is a high likelihood that the gem of choice will be different for the same chart when viewed in both the Vedic and Western systems. This is because Vedic astrologers use the sidereal zodiac while Western astrologers use the tropical zodiac. Note that for each planet, “secondary” correlations are in parentheses:
—Donna Van Toen