Guest Scrogue Kaye Lynne Booth is a Colorado-based book reviewer and writer. Her son Michael took his own life in 2008.
I’ve always been drawn to amethyst, perhaps because of the vibrant purple coloring. Purple has always been my favorite color. Although it is associated with Pisces, my March 3rd birthday falls three days after the date for me to have the February birthstone as my own. Instead I’m stuck with the stagnant blue-green of aquamarine that is the birthstone for March. I sit looking at the amethyst crystal that I found tucked in a box in storage a few days ago, pondering these things. It is oblong, tapering from a deep wine purple fat end that fades to a lighter violet, down into two thin jutting white tips. Its smooth, flat planes where other pieces have been separated from it intersect at sharp angles that catch and refract the light, making it sparkle and shine. It is clear, in that you can see through to where the stone has been shattered within, as if it encases shards of crushed glass, tiny imperfections that only add to the beauty of the gem.
My son, Michael, who took his own life at the age of nineteen, gave me this crystal although I can’t remember the occasion. He always put thought into the gifts he gave me. He knew purple is my favorite color and he knew I like amethyst, but his reasons would have gone deeper than that. He might have chosen amethyst because according to Chinese lore, amethyst is a psychic protector, warding off nightmares and supersensory attack, aiding in remembering and interpreting dreams as well. Amethyst is supposed to increase focus and transfer negative energy, creating a meditative, calming effect and balancing moods. Michael was into oriental teachings and would have known this. The idea would have been appealing to him.
Michael was also into natural healing, so perhaps he gave it to me because of the beneficial properties attributed to amethyst, which are many. Depending on the source you use, amethyst is associated with healing in the endocrine, immune and respiratory systems. It is reputed to help with headaches, mental illness, skin conditions, anxiety, depression, cellular disorders and maladies of the digestive tract.
Michael didn’t like the fact that I smoke, so perhaps he chose to give me this crystal because amethyst is said to ward off excesses and protect against addictions. In fact, the word amethyst has roots coming from the Greek words a-, meaning not, and methustos, meaning intoxicated. There is some irony to this if you look at Greek mythology concerning how the amethyst got its purple coloring. It seems Dionysus, god of wine and mischief, was irritated by Artemis, virgin hunter and lunar goddess, and her followers, so he set a sacred tiger against a maiden attending Artemis’ shrine. To save the maiden, Artemis petrified her, turning her to quartz so that the tiger could cause her no harm. Dionysus then tipped his goblet, pouring wine over the crystal maiden, infusing the color of the grape from which the wine was made into the stone. Michael would have found humor in the fact that an alcoholic beverage created the color of the gemstone said to be the “sobriety stone.”
Gazing at this amethyst, I recall wanting to make a necklace out of it. The thin rough end would be perfect mounted with a metal clasp, but I’d prefer a more natural hanger, such as a thin strip of leather wrapped around the two small, jutting tips. Somehow that just feels right. I hold the crystal against the soft hollow of my throat, moving the hard smooth surfaces of it gently back and forth as if it were a pendulum hanging there. Although it was cold when I first picked it up, now it feels warm and I can almost feel the energy radiating from it. I don’t know how many healing powers this crystal has. I’m not sure if it will ease my headache, clear up my skin or cure my ailments. What I do know is that rubbing my thumb over the smooth surfaces and edges has a calming effect that soothes me and makes me feel at peace. But even if it didn’t have this effect, I would be drawn to it, because the way the purple shades gleam and glisten in the sun is pleasing to my eye.