10 Things You Didn’t Know About Turquoise
Turquoise, the stone of travelers, dreamers, adventurers, and wise men. It is a stone close to the heart of many cultures and belief systems. Turquoise is a popular stone of protection and intuition, believed to strengthen the vision of the third eye while simultaneously providing a cloak of protection around the aura. This stone of the mind also opens the throat chakra to promote healthy communication and eloquence while allowing you to find truth within and share that wisely through confident self-expression. It is a protector of those with wandering hearts who tend to stray far from home – although for them, home is not anywhere really. Turquoise soothes the mind and heart while providing powerfully useful tools for your journey to spiritual awakening. As one of the longest-used stones in the history of mankind, it’s undoubtedly one of the most versatile and powerful of healing crystals, its implementation into daily life dating as far back as 3200 BC in Egypt with uses ranging from weapons to amulets. So what else is there to possibly know about this famous companion? Here are ten things you didn’t know about turquoise.
1. The Origins of Turquoise
As turquoise artifacts have been found in almost every part of the world, it’s hard to say exactly where it was first discovered or what it was called before it got the name we all use today. The name itself is French, pierre turquoise meaning Turkish stone which was given due the country’s position between Europe and Asia which made for vast amounts of trading. Beads have been discovered in Iran dating back to 5000 BC, in Egypt to around 3200 BC, and its uses by Native Americans date back to 1000 years ago.
2. Turquoise, a Spiritual Communicator
Turquoise has been used since antiquity by many civilizations in ritualistic practices, by the Mayans, Egyptians, and Native Americans in particular. They believed (possibly due to the stone’s association with communication and spirituality) that it held divining powers and it would often be used to call upon spirits, specifically the God of the Sky. It was also used to guard burial sites as it was believed to enhance communication between the physical and spiritual worlds.
3. Turquoise as a True Protector
A lot of the legends surrounding turquoise tell of its ability to protect the wearer from a spectrum of misfortunes. It is said to protect from falls, specifically from horseback and that affixing a turquoise stone to the bridle of a horse will protect the animal as well as the rider. Another superstition states that a turquoise stone will crack to protect its wearer from harm and its color will fade to warn of an impending illness. For these reasons, it was often used in sword hilts, shields, and amulets. In one story, a man thought he had broken his leg and later found that his turquoise had made the cracking sound he heard – it had taken the injury in his place. The Apache also believed that attaching a turquoise stone to a bow would improve a hunter or warrior’s accuracy.
4. Turquoise in Aztec Symbolism
For the Aztec Mayan civilization, turquoise was of great value and held an important seat in their traditions. During the 16th century, Spanish conquistador and historian, Bernal Diaz del Castillo observed that the Aztecs valued chalchihuitl (turquoise) more than the Spaniards valued gold or emerald. A Franciscan missionary, Juan de Torquemada also wrote that the Aztecs made offerings of turquoise at the temple of the Goddess Matlalcueye and buried distinguished chiefs with fragments of the stone in their mouths. In games of chance which conquistador Pedro de Alvarado and Emperor Montezuma played, Alvarado would win gold, but pay in chalchihuitl. The Aztecs also believed that their God Quetzalcoatl taught them the art of cutting and polishing the stone.
5. Turquoise in Native American Culture
The southwest Native American tribes have been mining and using turquoise in religious ceremonies, trade, art, jewelry, and negotiations for almost 2,000 years. The value it holds in their culture is one of more spiritual recognition than monetary, as it is believed that the stone possesses many varying benefits to both the mind and the spirit. The Apache, for one, highly prized duklij (turquoise) for its talismanic properties and would carve amulets, beads, and pendants from the stone. It is said that a shaman who does not possess this stone will not receive proper recognition from this tribe. The Navajo in particular, used ground turquoise stones to make sacred mandalas which were used to summon rain.
6. Turquoise in Navajo Legend
As turquoise’s significance lies heavily in the relationship of its colors to that of the earth, sky, and water representing life, it’s no wonder this stone is prized among many Native American cultures for its powerful healing abilities. In Navajo legend particularly, many tales involve the mention of turquoise as beneficial to health and a bringer of great fortune. In the legend of the goddess Estsanatlehi, she appears as a drop of turquoise or as a “turquoise woman”. Estsanatlehi means “changing woman”, referring to the way the stone changes color with its environment, acidity of the wearer’s skin and light exposure. One legend connects turquoise to rainbows, saying that if you can find the end of a rainbow, the soil will yield a turquoise. Another Navajo creation myth tells of how after a long season of drought, the people cried with relief and their tears, mingling with water, became turquoise.
7. Turquoise Man and Salt Woman
Among the Zuni Indians, a legend tells the story of Turquoise man and Salt woman. The Zunis say the Goddess of Salt was so troubled by the people living on her domain of the seashore, taking everything and giving nothing that she forsook the ocean and went to live in the mountains. Whenever she stopped near a pool, she would turn it to salt water and for these reasons, many of the water in these basins are bitter. Here, she met the Turquoise god with whom she fell in love and shortly after became married. They lived happily for a time until the people learned that she had concealed herself in the mountains and sought her out to trouble her once more. Again she fled, vowing to remove herself from their view forever. All through this mesa, she broke her way through a wall of sandstone, creating an arched portal and leaving one of her plumes behind. The god of Turquoise followed his wife, leaving his footsteps of pale-blue stone along the outcrops. To the Navajo, Salt woman was one of the Diyin Dineh (holy people).
8. Turquoise Legend across the World
Among the many beliefs and superstitions surrounding turquoise across different cultures, the essence remains the same: turquoise is a versatile healer. In Iran, a legend tells that if a person can see the reflection of a new moon on the surface of a turquoise, he shall have good luck and be protected from evil. The Hindus believed that if a person looked at the new moon and then at a turquoise, they would achieve great wealth shortly after. The Navajos also believed that by throwing a piece of turquoise in the river while praying to the rain gods, they would be blessed with rain. To the Egyptians, the goddess Hathor was known as the Queen of Turquoise and many believe this is why the sacred scarabs dedicated to the god Ra were represented by this gem. The Romans appreciated this stone so much that they associated it with Venus and would wear it on Fridays, the day dedicated to the Goddess. Its association with love also extends to Germany and Russia where it was believed that a wedding ring must be set with the stone to ensure strength in union.
9. Turquoise in Metaphysical Healing
Since antiquity, turquoise has been known to offer a wide range of healing benefits to the spiritual and mental states. It is believed to hold the power of stress-relief and the ability to enhance intuition, gifting the wearer with wisdom and wit, through eloquent self expression. Turquoise has also been known in many cultures as a good luck talisman, both to bring wealth and protect the wearer from any potential evil. This includes the belief that the stone’s color would change to indicate a shift in health or that it would turn black to indicate a betrayal in love.
10. Turquoise in Physical Healing
Given its association with protection in all forms, it’s no wonder turquoise was often used in many medical practices throughout history. It was considered an effective remedy against tumors, ulcers. Intestinal diseases, and epilepsy. Egyptian doctors would use turquoise to treat cataract and Aristotle claimed that it has the ability to protect from scorpion stings and even death. In more recent times, the Navajo Indians believed that turquoise had the ability to repress fear and preserve a person from venomous snake bites, which comes from the belief that this stone is a container for all animal spirits.
Chakras: Throat, Heart, Third Eye
Zodiac: Scorpio, Sagittarius, Pisces
Planet: Venus, Neptune
Vibration Number: 1
Colors: blue, pale yellow, light blue
Turquoise in Feng Shui
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese philosophy of arranging the items in one’s home so as to manipulate the flow of energy throughout spaces in a healthy and harmonious way. This art applies exceptionally well to crystal clusters and their placement in the home, as crystals also exude their own unique energies. According to the Feng Shui bagua map, the best place to keep your turquoise crystals is in the Center of the house, the area responsible for overall health given its association with protection. Because the stone is also associated with good luck, one may keep it in the South East or Rear Left area of the home, the area responsible for Wealth and Good Fortune.