Sacred Texts  Symbolism  Astrology  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at
Buy this Book on Kindle

The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems, by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, [1922], at

p. 235



Period—The Constellation—The Bow in the Cloud—Mythology—Characteristics of the Type—Appropriateness of the Symbol—Fresh Air a Necessity—Professions—Ailments—Marriage Relations—Gem of the House—The Topaz—Nain-Ratan—Pliny and the Topaz—Discovery of the Stone—The Emperor Hadrian and his Ring—Appropriateness of the Stone to the Type—The Stone of Strength—As a Talisman against Asthma—Marbodus and the Topaz—Chrysolite also Favourable.

The Sun enters the Zodiacal House of Sagittarius the Archer on November 23rd and remains until December 21st approximately.

This House is symbolised by a Centaur armed with a bow ready to discharge an arrow (as shown in Illustration No. 9 of the coloured Frontispiece), and is ruled by the planet Jupiter.

Sagittarius the Archer forms one of the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, situated between Scorpio the Scorpion and Capricornus the Goat. The bow of the Archer in the constellation contains three of the largest stars in this group, so that its form can be followed without much difficulty, affording a further illustration of Biblical

p. 236

history depicted in the heavens, as mentioned by Mr. R. A. Proctor the Astronomer. It will be remembered that in the previous chapter we noted that Libra was at one time symbolised by an altar, and Mr. Proctor says, describing this constellation:

"Next after the Altar (built by Noah after leaving the Ark), and in fact in the smoke from the Altar, is the bow of Sagittarius, and corresponding with this we read that God, after the savour of the Altar had reached him, said: 'I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth that bow shall be seen in the cloud.' Close by the ship Argo (the Ark) again, is the raven, perched on Hydra (the great sea serpent), represented in the old sculptures immersed in the waves of ocean on which the Ark was floating."

The Greeks also adopted the Centaur as the symbol of this constellation, but according to their mythology the Centaur was Chiron the son of Saturn, who whilst living in the woods studied the medicinal virtues of herbs to such good effect that he became supreme as a physician. He was also famous for his skill in astronomy and proficiency in scientific knowledge, because of which he became in turn the instructor of Achilles, Hercules, and Æsculapius. In handling the

p. 237

arrows of Hercules, which had been poisoned by being dipped in the Hydra's blood, he accidentally let one fall upon his foot, inflicting a wound which in spite of his great skill in medicine he was unable to cure. Being born of immortal parents he could not die, so that to release him from his excruciating pains the gods translated him to the heavens to form this constellation.

"Midst golden stars he stands refulgent now
 And thrusts the Scorpion with his bended bow."

One of the most noticeable characteristics of those born under the influence of Sagittarius is their acuteness of perception and accuracy in sensing the weak spots in the characters of those about them, resembling the Archer, who stands ready to shoot the arrow which seldom fails in hitting the mark. Sagittarians have a decisive way of expressing their opinion, which can never be mistaken as it exactly fits the case; behind their words is the intuition which gives them the power of inspiration. They are progressive, enterprising, and prophetic. With a clear knowledge and perception of what they wish to achieve, and their thoughts concentrated upon the goal which they are destined to reach, circumstances do not overcome them. They solve the many problems of life and get through the worst troubles with the least difficulty of any type.

p. 238

Being lovers of freedom they will generally be found their own masters, or if in employment, in such position as gives them a maximum of liberty and independence, and they are seldom without money or the means of getting it. Their sense of justice and the fitness of things is very keen, and possessing great pride of family, any ill-treatment or harshness to those they are fond of amounts with them to almost personal affront, and in spite of the fact that as a rule they mind their own business, as regards outsiders, their sympathetic and loyal nature makes them quick to notice and resent any slight or interference on behalf of their families or the few they are attached to. The brain is clear and quick at assimilating new ideas and new modes of life, and the disposition naturally frank and honest, yet curiously enough there is at the same time a certain watchfulness and distrust of strangers which leads to deception, whilst disliking and trying to avoid it, for they are haters of secrecy and dissimulation. Their aspirations are lofty, exalted, and refined, and being hopeful, joyous, and youthful even in advanced years, they are generally popular and successful, although they seldom excel as students or in literary professions.

The manners of this type are usually affable and courteous, and the temper generally even,

p. 239

although apt to fly off unexpectedly at the smallest provocation when acting on the spur of the moment. Having an advantage over the slower-minded types, they aim in their anger at some vulnerable point, getting home every time, for when personal they are very personal, although never willingly malicious, often in this way saying more than they really mean or intended, and although quickly recovering from their petulant moods, the effects of their temper when roused are long-lasting.

When their environment and occupation is such as to enable them to lead healthy lives they make splendid characters, open air being most necessary to enable them to draw into themselves the vitality and energy they need. Otherwise they are apt to become restless, faultfinding, rebellious, exacting, domineering, and difficult to get on with, and should always be allowed to make changes in their professions without hindrance or objections, restraint of any kind being disastrous to their development, causing them to degenerate into uninteresting, weak, and undecided characters. Generally speaking, they have a clear conception of what they wish to achieve, and being naturally fond of sport and out-of-door exercise of all kinds, they are the less liable to weakness. Having ability and foresight above the average, forewarned is forearmed,

p. 240

and as children this type is frequently clairaudient as well as clairvoyant. They are lovers of hygiene, and having the greatest antipathy to cramped surroundings they naturally choose professions in which they can enjoy freedom of speech and action, with plenty of space, light, and air. They excel as Judges, Presidents, Generals, Commanders, Directors, Inspectors of Schools, Factories, and Workshops, also as Sanitary Inspectors, Managers, and Superintendents, etc., hating all subordinate positions.

These subjects are also fond of animals, so that it is not surprising that horses and dogs are their constant companions, and seem to respond readily to their wishes and desires with very little training; many keen sportsmen are found under this sign, who delight in tramping over long stretches of country, or find their most congenial recreations on breezy downs and hilltops. They are also frequently found as dog-fanciers, veterinary surgeons, horse-dealers, pigeon-fanciers, and other callings bringing them into touch with animals and an out-of-door life, and in consequence of this seem more liable than the other types to accidents in connection with horses.

The chief ailments to which these subjects are liable are bronchial and lung trouble, rheumatism, accidents to the thighs and hips (which are

p. 241

ruled by this sign), bruises, sprains, fractures, and diseases affecting the arterial system, apoplexy, and complaints which originate through a plethoric habit and corrupt the blood.

In married life they are not always fortunate, their demand for individuality and freedom of thought and action with an intense family pride frequently causing misunderstandings, and even jealousy. Being morbidly sensitive to coldness or indifference, slights fancied or real are keenly felt. Giving of their best they demand the best in return, and if once deceived seldom entirely forgive, although when unhappily mated they make the best of it as a rule to the outside world, shrinking from any publicity of their domestic differences, faults, or failings. They will be found to harmonise best with those of the Aries, Leo, Aquarius, and Libran types, and will find the Pisces and Virgo subjects the least sympathetic.

The gem best suited and universally accepted as most favourable for this type is the Topaz; and the Chrysolite is also fortunate for them.

The Topaz.—The Topaz is found in various colours—white, yellow, pink, green, and black; but it is in the first three colours that they are familiar in general use as gems.

The best stones come from Brazil and Mexico, but they are also found in Siberia, India, and many

p. 242

parts of Europe and Great Britain. The most valuable is the pink variety, which is found naturally in South America; but it has been discovered that some of the yellow species can be artificially changed to this colour under a special treatment of heat.

The white topaz of Brazil is found in pebble form, free from flaws, and is a very hard bright stone capable of receiving a very high polish. It is sometimes taken for a diamond, and is known in its native country as the Slave's Diamond, although it is not equal to the diamond in brilliancy and iridescence.

A saffron-yellow variety found in Ceylon, known as the Indian Topaz, has always been popular throughout India as a Talisman, being worn for health, caution, sagacity, and the prevention of sudden death. Because of these same qualities its favour is equally strong throughout Burmah, and it is always included in the Nan-Ratan, the sacred nine-stone jewel, which forms the most important ornament in the Burmese regalia, as may be seen in the jewels which are now on exhibition at the Indian Museum, South Kensington.

According to Pliny, the Topaz derives its name from the Island of Topazos in the Red Sea, where it was first found, and he says Topazein, in the

p. 243

[paragraph continues] Troglodyte tongue, means "to seek after," the island being so often lost amidst fogs. Some pirates who were weatherbound on this island and hard-pressed by famine, in tearing up roots for food accidentally discovered the stone. From the descriptions which have been handed down to us it is believed that the Chrysolite was frequently used in mistake for the Topaz, and as the Zodiacal Houses the two stones represent are in harmony with each other, the Chrysolite will also be a favourable stone for the subjects of Sagittarius.

Gabelschoverus mentions that the Emperor Hadrian, whose reign was one of the most prosperous and peaceful in Roman history, and who was most ardent in spreading Christianity, even writing an address to his soul on his death-bed (which inspired Pope's poem, "The Dying Christian to his Soul"), used as a Talisman an antique ring set with a Topaz which was engraved in Roman letters with the words NATURA—DEFICIT,—FORTUNA—MUTATUR,—DEUS—OMNIA—CERNIT, an expression of faith in the Almighty to overrule Nature and Fortune most appropriate to the owner of the ring.

Fresh air was as much a necessity to the ancient as to the modern subjects of Sagittarius, as is shown from the fact that the Romans wore this gem as a preservative from pestilential atmosphere, also to protect its wearer against perils and dangers

p. 244

in travelling, injuries from burns and scalds, and to avert all complaints of the chest and bowels.

The Topaz was called by Pliny "The Stone of Strength," and he describes as the most valuable, stones that have a predominating tint of orange in their colouring. Albertus Magnus recommends it as a cure for gout, and Camillus Leonardus as a charm against hæmorrhoids; lunacy, and sudden death; also to bring riches to its wearers, and the favours of princes.

During the Middle Ages it was believed to dispel enchantments if set in gold and bound on the left arm or hung round the neck. It preserved from sensuality, calmed anger and frenzy, strengthened the intellect, brightened the wit, gave joyousness and contentment, and drove away broodings and apprehensions. It was also worn as a cure for asthma, and as a specific against insomnia, being sometimes powdered and taken in wine.

Marbodus renders its virtues in verse, translated by the Rev. C. W. King, as follows:

"The Topaz is a jewel rare
 And therefore must be bought full dear.
 Made up of hues of golden light,
 And with Celestial lustre bright,
 Here see the man on study bent,
 A life in contemplation spent."

The Topaz will not, however, be fortunate for the subjects born during the Pisces and Virgo periods.

Next: Chapter X. Capricorn—The Goat