The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems, by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, , at sacred-texts.com
Period—Constellation—The Fiery Sign—Hercules and the Lion—Characteristics—Personal Magnetism of the Type—Disposition—Money-makers—Entertainers—Health Defects—Marriage and Love Affairs—Artistic Tendencies—Gems of the House—The Sardonyx—Qualities of the Stone—The Chrysolite and the Romans—The Tourmaline—Peculiarities of the Stone—Amber—Virtues and Medicinal Uses—The Topaz.
The Sun enters the Zodiacal House of Leo on the 23rd of July and remains in occupation until the 23rd of August. Leo is the fifth sign in the order of the Zodiac, and is marked by the constellation of stars bearing this name, situated in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere, just below the Great Bear or Plough, and contains over seventy stars visible to the naked eye, the principal star of which being designated Cor Leonis, or the Lion's Heart. This star is also known as Regulus, and is useful to navigators for ascertaining their longitude at sea. The constellation is easily identified by a group of stars forming a well-shaped sickle on the west side of the cluster. Leo and Cancer, being the most northerly of the twelve signs, are the nearest to
the zenith of the earth, causing the greatest warmth and heat, and are consequently assigned to the Houses of the two luminaries, Cancer, as being feminine, to the Moon, and Leo, as masculine, to the Sun. Leo, coming in the centre of the fiery signs, is specially suited for the Sun's manifestations, and it is said that the symbol of this house, the Lion, was given because, when the Sun, the Ruler of this House, is in occupation, his heat resembles that of a raging lion; and it is a well-known fact that the Sun was worshipped as a Lion by the Ancients, the Egyptians keeping the month of July sacred to him and holding the Ludi Apollinares in his honour.
In Greek Mythology the Lion is said to represent the monster who was the terror of travellers in the forests of Nemæa; it was slain by Hercules in battle, and to commemorate the great combat Jupiter gave it a place amongst the stars.
As a symbol of this sign it is, however, much older than the Greeks, being represented in both the Egyptian and Indian Zodiacs.
(The symbols of the House of Leo are illustrated in No. 5 of the coloured Frontispiece.)
Astrologically, Leo is known as a fixed sign, and fixity of aims and ideas is a marked characteristic of this type, for when they believe themselves right in their views or opinions on any subject in
which they are interested, they are immovable although never aggressive, deeming it not worth while to argue or explain unless their hearers are sympathetic or reasonable.
In religious matters they have unbounded zeal and enthusiasm, often believing they have a special mission in life which they are persistent in fulfilling, no matter at what cost, personal sacrifice, or inconvenience. They formulate ideas quickly, possessing a marvellous faculty of presenting well-known facts in a new light and also of adapting a thought or suggestion from a sermon or lecture and enlarging and developing its meaning and purpose without reference to the literal words of the speaker, astonishing their listeners by their apparent mastery of the subject under discussion. Possessing a clear brain, they invariably consider matters from a practical point of view, scorning petty actions, and, for this reason, those with whom they come in contact are more often ready to forward their interests than to oppose them, so that they succeed from force of circumstances, and are often helped by these means into advantageous positions. It is not, therefore, surprising that in the majority of cases where phenomenal good fortune has elevated the ordinary tradesman into the wealthy magnate they have belonged to the Leo type. Under ordinary circumstances these
subjects are of bright sunny disposition, high-spirited and large-hearted, with a pleasant, affable temperament free from envy or malice. Although liable to quick flashes of temper they harbour no grudge, having the ability to win even their worst enemy into seeming friendliness. They are frequently great money-makers, although not being economical by nature they do not save, yet, luxurious and inclined to be extravagant in their tastes, their proverbial good luck seems to carry them ever on the crest of the wave, no matter how profuse their expenditure, In social entertainments they come to the fore, and are good raconteurs, able to tell a story well, the point (although always in good taste) losing nothing in their hands, making them often the objects of envy among their less-favoured fellows.
The constitution is usually healthy and vigorous, but they are subject to affections of the heart which is apt from overstrain to become irregular in its action, and the cause of palpitation and fainting fits; they are also liable to sunstroke and diseases of the eye, and in every case that has come under the writer's notice, where the Sun in Leo was in opposition to the Moon at the time of birth, the subject has been afflicted with a squint.
In marriage and love affairs they are often unfortunate, their high standard of excellence
with their idealistic emotional natures causing them to endow the objects of their affections with attributes of their own imagining. In consequence they are frequently disappointed and mistaken in their judgments; but fortunately great sympathy, tolerance, and forbearance to the feelings of others is so natural to this type that, in many cases of inharmonious marriage they have adapted themselves to circumstances and conditions almost impossible of endurance. When undeveloped, or badly aspected by other planets, however, Leo subjects will degenerate greatly, becoming empty-headed boasters and reckless investors, stopping at no folly in their efforts to become popular and conspicuous; taking risky chances, and through careless speculation losing heavily, yet even so they are often successful in escaping the consequences of their imprudence. Being versatile and brilliant, subjects of the Leo type succeed best as Artists, Actors, Authors, Commanders, Officers, Stockbrokers, Inventors, Goldsmiths, Jewellers, Fancy Dealers, etc. It is usual to attribute artistic talent to this type, but this is not always correct, for although they invariably possess a keen appreciation of Art and are fond of beautiful and harmonious surroundings, the executive ability is not frequently noticeable, although when present the artist excels in producing
pictures of golden sunlight effects of late afternoon and sunset colourings.
In matters of friendship, partnership, or marriage they will be most in harmony with those born during the Aries, Sagittarius, Libra, and Gemini periods.
The gems of the House are the Sardonyx, Chrysolite, Tourmaline, and Amber.
The Sardonyx.—The Sardonyx is a rich red-brown stone, the top part of which is formed of a layer of white Chalcedony, or Sard, through which the lower part of the stone shows as a pale flesh colour; when found without the Sard the stone becomes the Cornelian.
The Sard derives its name from a Greek word meaning flesh, and is the Sardius of the Ancients.
The finest Sardonyx come from India and Arabia, but it is also found in Germany and the Tyrol. It is especially good for engraving upon, having a hard smooth surface capable of taking a high polish, and in ancient cameos the under-stone is generally used to form the ground, the lighter top layer being carved into figures, the different depths of the carving affording variety to the effect. These qualities made it a favourite with the Romans, who believed that the virtue of stones could be increased if suitably engraved, so that the Sardonyx was frequently carved with a
figure representing Mars or Hercules to render its wearer fearless and courageous.
It was also believed that in common with Agates this stone had the property of preserving its wearers from infectious complaints and the bites of venomous creatures, particularly from the sting of the scorpion; and that if hung round the neck it would allay pain, give self-control, attract friends, ensure conjugal happiness, and success in legal matters. Also, Camillus Leonardus says, it puts restraint upon those inclined to dissipation and makes a man agreeable as a companion.
The Chrysolite.—The Chrysolite is a very beautiful yellow-green gem which derives its name from two Greek words meaning "golden stone," by which name it is referred to by Pliny. It varies in colour, and although exactly the same stone it bears different names; when of a deep bright green, it is known as Peridot, and when of an olive-green it is called the Olivine. It is one of the softest of the hard stones, being easily scratched by quartz.
The stones are found in Egypt, Ceylon, and Brazil, and specimens have been found in meteorites and the lava of Vesuvius.
The Peridot was much valued by the Ancients, the name signifying in Arabic precious stone, and it was at one time considered of more value than the
diamond. These were the only gems set in transparent form by the Romans who wore them for protection from enchantment and against melancholy and illusion. Marbodus says they should be set in gold (gold being the metal of the Sun) to dispel the vague terrors of the night.
During the Middle Ages these stones were worn for foresight with regard to future events, and for Divine inspiration and eloquence.
The Tourmaline.—The Tourmaline is of comparatively modern origin in Europe as far as its use as a precious stone is concerned. It is very remarkable because of its electrical qualities, for when heated one end will become positive and attract straws or ashes, whilst the other end will be negative and non-attractive.
It is transparent in one direction, but if looked at from another it may be found quite opaque.
It is found in India, Siberia, Brazil, and America, and of all colours and shadings of red, pink, yellow, green, and white; two colours may also exist on the same crystal, which may be green at one end and red at the other. This is probably the stone Pliny describes as the Lychnis, which, being very susceptible to solar influences, attracted small particles of chaff when heated by the sun, and had the power of "dispersing fears and melancholic passions." It was also worn to procure
inspiration, to attract favours, and to secure friends.
Amber.—Amber has from the most remote ages been familiar to humanity, ornaments in this material having come down to us, shaped by men of the Stone Age, thus proving its antiquity. Many fanciful theories were given in bygone days with regard to its origin, amongst others the historian Nicias stating that the heat of the Sun was so great in some regions as to set up intense perspiration in the earth, from which Amber resulted; whilst among the Greeks a legend existed that it originated in the tears of the sisters of Phaethon, who, in their sorrow at his death, were turned into poplar trees, and whose perpetual tears congealed into Amber. Pliny asserted it to be the overflowing sap of certain trees, hence the name Succinum, from a word signifying "juice"; and modern research confirms this idea of a vegetable origin, for Amber is now known to be the fossil resin of an extinct species of pine of the Tertiary Period.
Amber is found in large quantities on the coast of the Baltic, washed up after storms, and the German Government exercises a strict monopoly over the trade. It is also found round the coasts of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and parts of Asia and the United States; and in Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk. It is very light and soft, possessing
remarkable electric properties when heated. That it was once in a liquid state is shown by the insects and plants sometimes found in it, a good many of the insects belonging to species that no longer exist. These specimens specially attracted the attention of the Romans and doubtless gave Pliny his idea of its origin.
Great quantities were introduced into Rome during the reign of the Emperor Nero, who in verse described the hair of his wife as amber-coloured, causing much emulation amongst the ladies of his court in their endeavours to secure the fashionable colour. The name Amuletum was given to Amber as well as to the flower Cyclamen (see Chapter I, Part I), both having the power to protect from poisonous drugs, necklaces being worn specially by children for this purpose, and also as a counter-charm against witchcraft and sorcery.
Its range of medicinal virtues is very extensive, Callistratus asserting it to be of great service at any period of life against insanity, either taken as a powder, or worn round the neck; the golden-yellow variety known as the Chryselutum being specially used to ward off ague. The Rev. C. W. King says that "the wearing of an Amber necklace has been known to prevent the attacks of erysipelas in a person subject to them, which has
been proved by repeated experiments beyond all possibility of doubt. Its action here cannot be explained, but its efficacy as a defender of the throat against chills is evidently due to its extreme warmth when in contact with the skin, and the circle of electricity so maintained, which latter may account for its remedial agency in the instance quoted above." He also says: "In Pliny's time Amber was universally worn as necklaces by the Transpadane females of Lombardy and Piedmont, partly as an ornament and partly as a prophylactic against goitres, to which they were subject in consequence of the hard quality of the water they drank."
Amber was also worn to protect from deafness, digestive troubles, catarrh, jaundice, loss of teeth from looseness, and as a child's Amulet against convulsions when teething.
Its popularity as mouth-pieces to pipes, cigar-and cigarette-holders arose from a belief in the East that Amber will not transmit infection. It has ever been in vogue throughout China, Japan, India, and the East, and retains its favour to the present day.
The Chinese use it extensively in incense, and it is also used in the manufacture of various perfumes and medical compounds.
Topaz.—The Yellow Topaz is also a stone of this
[paragraph continues] House, but being more particularly a stone of Sagittarius it will be found dealt with under that sign.
All yellow stones are, more or less, under the influence of the Sun, who, as already mentioned, rules the House of the Lion.
Those whose birthdays fall in the Taurus or Scorpio periods should not, however, wear the Sardonyx, Chrysolite, Tourmaline, Amber, or Yellow Topaz.