Serpentine is a curious mineral that can be found on virtually every continent, with colors ranging from dark to light of greens, blues, yellows, browns and blacks. It has a deep and harmonious connection to the heart chakra, but also has the amazing ability to align and center the entire chakra system. Its properties are mostly emotion- and intuition- based, but it relates strongly to our personal willpower and sense of direction in life. As it opens the heart, it allows us to freely give and receive feelings of love and compassion while helping us to release any unnecessary emotions which are no longer serving us. Serpentine has the unique ability to keep us rooted in earth energy while making contact with interdimensional beings like our spirit guides while we attempt to ascend on a spiritual path. With its name being derived from the Latin serpentines, meaning “stone snake”, it can assist in cycles of renewal and rebirth by allowing us to tap into higher planes of consciousness and wisdom. Serpentine also helps us to tap into our Kundalini energy through deep meditation with this crystal as well as yoga. With all these amazing benefits, one may ask the question of its history and origins. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Serpentine.
1. Serpentine, an ancient stone
Although not a precious gem, serpentine has been used as a decorative gem for about 5 thousand years, with pieces dating back to the 3rd century BC China. Additionally, the Indians of Central and South America have used the stone for decorative and ritual purposes for over 1000 years. However, despite serpentine’s purposes being mainly decorative throughout history, it was also used for other reasons as well.
2. Serpentine, the first cylindrical seal
Once it was discovered that serpentine’s “oily” surface could prevent wax from sticking to it, many civilizations like the Sumerians, Assyrians, Persians, and Egyptians began using the stone to make seals and cylindrical seals. As the cylindrical seal made its appearance in Mesopotamia around 3500 BC, it was clear that serpentine was the best material to use.
3. Serpentine, an apothecary essential
In medieval Europe, it was well known among alchemists and pharmacists that serpentine had the power to enhance the healing properties of medicinal powders and elixirs. For this reason, apothecary vials, vessels, and mortars were made from serpentine and the stone quickly acquired the name “apothecary stone”.
4. Serpentine, a remnant of original sin
Since ancient times, many legends and beliefs have been attributed to the serpentine stone. The oldest of these legends lies in the story of Adam of Eve, of the serpent tempter and the apple of forbidden knowledge. It is said that when Adam bit off a piece of the apple, he choked and spat out the piece which then fell on the ground and turned into a serpentine stone.
5. Serpentine, of a snake’s skin
In the ancient Ural Legends, serpentine makes an appearance with its name linked to the Great Runner, a serpent that guards the treasures of the Ural Mountains. The great snake Poloz would shed his skin now and then, which would eventually become solid and turn into emerald green mineral deposits – or serpentine.
6. Serpentine in ancient medicine and superstition
Long ago, with the uses and benefits of serpentine being common among many civilizations, the stone was attributed to a variety of superstitious healing beliefs. It was believed that the properties of serpentine were exceptionally powerful for strengthening the immune system. It was also said that wearing a serpentine ring would allow fractured bones to heal faster, that serpentine earrings would relieve migraines and intense headaches, and serpentine bracelets would lower blood pressure.
7. Serpentine, a stone of spiritual wisdom
Aside from its many physical, mental, and spiritual healing benefits, serpentine is believed to be a stone of great spiritual insight. Many esoterics believe that each person seeking higher knowledge should wear or carry a piece of serpentine stone, not only because it’s a powerful deflector of negativity, but also because it aids in the acquiring of hidden knowledge. Serpentine is said to open up the mind to expanses unknown to man and allow him to tap into realms which one can reach only by learning certain truths.
8. Serpentine in ancient cultures
Many cultures, including the Romans, would use serpentine as decorative pieces much like marble is used. They would call it lapis atracius, now known as ophicalcite. Additionally, the city of Berha, India was famous for its sculptures of pure serpentine. Here, the stone was often used to carve intricate mugs, figurines, and sword handles. They would call it Sang-i-Yashm, and the British settlers, “fake jade”.
9. Serpentine and the Legend of Poutini
Perhaps the most interesting of all legends surrounding serpentine is the legend of Poutini, a Marori Legend. The story goes that a beautiful woman named Waitaiki was bathing in the waters of Mayor island when a giant water being (some say a serpent who would swim up and down the waters to protect both the people and the spirit of greenstone) was overcome with lust and snatched her away. Waitaiki’s husband – a powerful chief skilled in the rituals of the spiritual world – pursued them all across Aotearoa (New Zealand). The chase changed course and lasted some time until the beast realized he could neither face this warrior or have Waitaiki, so he turned her into his likeness and slipped away. The chief met the place where they were at the head of the river, his enemy gone and his wife lifeless and cold, turned into the stone at the riverbed – a stone called Bowenite (a form of serpentine). Legends say that the chief’s song of grief still carries through the mountains and the rocks are still stained with the fires Poutini had lit to stay warm. The jade fragments that break from the mother lode and roll down the river into the sea are said to be Waitaiki’s children.
10. Serpentine, ancient belief in medical uses
Serpentine has been known to carry many medicinal properties such as hypoglycemic problems, diabetes, parasite infection, heart and lung problems, menstrual cramps, and the renewal of cells. These beliefs carry far back into history, when sorcerers or Italian streghe (witches), from Roman times well into the middle ages believed that small pebbles of serpentine could protect against snakebites and work as an antivenom as it was thought to help draw out the toxins – many believe this is where the stone got its name.