ONYX

Protection. Peace. Calm.

The noble Onyx is a most ancient stone, known and utilized by even the earliest civilizations for its powerful energy and somber beauty. This deep black stone ribboned with white was highly prized for use in ceremonies and burials, scrying and magical work, and as amulets on swords, shields and armor to protect and strengthen warriors in battle. 

Many cultures, including the Greeks and Romans, utilized Onyx and its counterpart, the brownish-red Sardonyx, to carve figures of the gods and heroes in cameos and intaglio engravings, to make stamps and seals, stone inlays and tiles, and as handles and bases for goldwork. Grab your Onyx crystals and fall into the void of the dark and mysterious, the place where the truth of your inner self reflects who you really are, not what society expects. Get ready for a mind-bending journey because when you connect with the energy field of Onyx, all filters are stripped away and you begin to see the inner depths of your soul. The Onyx provides strong and intuitive guidance on a shamanic journey that first takes you into the darkness before guiding you toward the light.

Origins of Onyx:

A recent stud published by University of Cambridge has confirmed that Onyx is the Greek word for “claw” or “fingernail,” and has been called the “Fingernail Stone” for having a white portion similar to a human nail. The legend of Onyx claims the goddess Venus was resting along the banks of the Indus River, and as she slept, Cupid, with the point of his arrow trimmed her nails. The clippings fell into the river, and being divine, sank to the bottom where they were metamorphosed into Onyx. Some versions say the clippings fell to the ground and the Fates immediately transformed them into stone, believing nothing that comes from a goddess should perish. 

From antiquity through the Middle Ages, Onyx was reputed to arouse sorrow and anxiety, render the soul stubborn, and make for angry and difficult moods. Worn at the neck or on a finger, it made one sad, pensive, and melancholy because it was believed to cause black bile to circulate, especially in the head. A wearer of this stone would be exposed to the assaults of demons, bringing dreadful visions by night, and the affliction of quarrels and lawsuits by day. The only preventative was to also wear a Sard stone, most notably a Sardonyx, to neutralize the influence of the Onyx. 

Onyx is referenced in ancient lore as being used in dream necromancy. By wearing an Onyx around one’s throat or on a finger at night, it was believed to allow one to speak to a dead friend. Upon wakening, one would remember what the deceased wished to communicate.

The ominous reputation of Onyx is noted in Arabic tradition where the stone is called el jaza meaning “sadness.” In China it was so feared that only slaves and menial laborers with no other way to make a living would go into the mines; a free man would not expose himself to the dangers of this “bad luck stone.” After it was extracted, it was carried out of the country and sold in other lands. Men of the Magreb, in northern Africa, would not wear an Onyx in any fashion, nor place it in their treasuries. It was believed anyone who kept it in their homes, placed it in a vessel or put it in food or drink would suffer loss of energy and capacity, experience fearful dreams, doubts and apprehensions, disputes and lawsuits. It was also reputed to be fatal for pregnant women. 

The Persians and Indians of antiquity held the opposite belief; they believed wearing Onyx protected them from the evil eye, and placing it on the stomach of a woman in labor would reduce pain and bring on an earlier delivery. It was also utilized as a cure for epilepsy. The ancient Romans considered it a protective stone when facing adversaries of any sort, and entered battle carrying amulets of Onyx or Sardonyx engraved with Mars, the god of war, or the hero Hercules to bestow courage. 

In the ancient world, Onyx was considered a “gem of Saturn,” not for embodying metallic lead of which he was the deity and symbol, but because of the gloomy blackness of Onyx’s broad bands that were reputed to induce mental heaviness, stupor, and despondency (symptoms of chronic lead poisoning). In reality, the black color of Onyx comes from minute particles of iron incorporated into the silicon base and should bring the wearer a boost of energy and exhilaration.

According to The book of stones, Onyx is referenced in numerous historical manuscripts and sacred texts, and is the first precious stone named in the Bible, described in Genesis as an element of creation. It resided with gold and the fragrant resin bdellium in the land of Havilah, an area surrounded by the Pishon River that flowed from the garden of Eden.

While Onyx was revered in many cultures, it was feared in others, considered to be “a bad luck stone” that caused black bile to circulate, especially within the mind. It was believed to invoke sadness and despondency, abrupt changes in mood, and make one angry and difficult. It could separate lovers, sow family discord, and expose one to the assaults of demons, bringing dreadful visions by night, quarrels and lawsuits by day. It was so feared in China, only slaves and menial laborers with no other way to make a living would go into the mines to extract it, where it was then carried out of the country and sold in other lands. The only preventative to these calamities was to also wear a Sard stone, most notably a Sardonyx, to neutralize the influence of the Onyx.

Over the centuries, metaphysical practitioners have come to appreciate the contradictory powers of Onyx and have learned to harness even its negative traits to achieve positive results. It integrates dualities within the Self, and is perhaps the best talisman of Strength and Self-mastery on the planet. This stone connects to the body, to belonging to the earth and family, and putting down roots. It is grounding and stable, taking aggressive energies and using them to build up physical and mental strength, persistence and endurance, helping one to be master of one’s own destiny and to keep one’s own counsel. Yet Onyx also provides the centering and alignment of one’s total being in order to connect to a Higher power for guidance, and absorb from the universe that which is needed. 

Onyx is reputed to hold physical memories of the wearer within its structure and, if worn too long, can generate depression or re-living the pain of old injury or trauma. However, with work and proper intent, it can be called upon to banish grief and release pain from physical or emotional wounds, and to draw in happiness and good fortune. It is a marvelous stone for wise decision-making and amplifying intuitive gifts, especially instinctual sentience. 

Onyx is a black and white banded variety of Chalcedony, a cryptocrystalline form of Quartz with dense, fibrous layers and a hardness of 7. It is also defined as a black and white banded Agate, also a variety of Chalcedony. They differ only in that Onyx’s alternating layers are parallel to one another while Agate’s layers are curved and more chaotic. While many think of Onyx as a solid black stone, the term refers to the Chalcedony banded black and white. A variant form in which white layers of Onyx alternate with Sard (a reddish-brown Chalcedony) is called Sardonyx. Both have been known and utilized for over 4,000 years for hardstone carving, stone inlay, and jewelry, treasured most for their use in intaglio seals and cameo engraved gems where the white bands are carved away to make the image contrast with the dark background. In some specimens black Onyx may be layered with Sard, and in many cases material may be a combination of all three.  

Onyx was very popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name is said by some to be derived from the Greek work Nux, meaning ‘fingernail’ or ‘claw’ due to the fact that most “Onyx” was a flesh tone color in those years.

The tale is that one afternoon, Cupid cut the fingernails from the divine goddess Venus, with an arrowhead while she slept, leaving clipping scattered amongst the sand and that the Fates turned them to stones. As they were no longer part of the heavenly body, they would still never perish.  

BENEFITS OF ONYX

Wear Onyx bracelets as a personal amulet of protection to keep senses keen and instincts sharp, whether traversing a desolate street at night, fighting fears associated with bullying or terrorism, or as a protective shield during psychic endeavors. Place an Onyx in the workplace to deflect others’ negative thoughts or criticism, and for effective defense against those who are manipulative or argumentative. Rest an Onyx on a nightstand with the intent of protection against nightmares and fears associated with the dark. Sardonyx may be used to grid around one’s home or garden, or apartment building in urban areas, to prevent crime. 

Draw on Onyx for physical strength after a long illness, prolonged work project, demanding exercise or weight loss program, or any situation that depletes one’s resources. It aids the retention of energies rather than allowing them to dissipate, enabling one to build up vigor and vitality, stamina, and focus. Onyx boosts self-confidence and assertion while bringing reason to passion, and is an excellent stone to carry into conflict situations where a cool head is needed. 

Onyx bracelet with Volcanic Lava and Sterling silver is an excellent stone for stimulating intuitive powers and furthers the quality of sentience. It is highly effective for magical work, such as scrying, and because it retains memories of its wearer, is an excellent stone for psychometry, holding an object for a reading. Onyx is particularly empowering for those working to develop their telekinetic abilities. White Onyx can enhance spiritual vision and dream experiences, and facilitate connection with lunar energies.

Sardonyx is a “stone of virtue” and stimulates honesty and strength of character, as well as bringing lasting happiness and stability to marriage and partnerships. Use it in the search for a meaningful existence, and to attract friendships and good fortune based on good moral ethics.

Onyx and Sardonyx are reputed to improve function of the nerves and enhance the sensory organs, especially those associated with the ear. They are believed to sharpen hearing, assist in problems or diseases of the inner ear, and aid in treatments for tinnitus.

Both Onyx and Sardonyx are credited with strengthening the immune system, providing stamina and vitality to the body, and preventing relapses after illnesses. They are thought to improve cell regeneration and the regulation of fluids, and to aid in the absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes.  

Cyrstal Vaults confirms that Onyx is considered beneficial for the teeth and bones, and supports disorders relating to bone marrow and soft tissue structures. Onyx is particularly invigorating for the feet, and supports their connection to the Root Chakra. This may be helpful for those who suffer from weak legs, or have difficulty grounding excess energies.

Onyx grounds and stabilizes the emotional body, bringing strength in difficult or confusing circumstances and during times of tremendous mental or physical stress. It calms nervousness, quells anxiety and fear, soothes tempers and restores rational thinking and self-control. It emanates the energy of self-mastery, imparting self-confidence, focus, ease in one’s surrounding, and the gift of wise decision making. It lets flighty personalities move into a more stable way of life, and helps one explore new ideas, as well as to carry out even dreary tasks to completion.

Onyx is a stone of separation, and can be helpful in recognizing old habits or relationships that need to be re-evaluated or released, and brings the inner strength needed to let go. It is a support stone for grief and denial, and assists one during the emotional processes of mourning, acceptance, and moving forward. [Hall En, 219][Margherita, 517]  

Sardonyx alleviates depression and improves the way one perceives the world.  It helps one to better absorb and process information, and is a great talisman for overcoming hesitancy. 

A very grounding stone, Onyx is beneficial for those to be thought flighty by nature, or one who is having difficulty concentrating or focusing one’s attention. A strengthening stone that may assist one in the approach to a lesson or task with greater self confidence and determination.

A wonderful stone for anyone that is under extreme mental or emotional stress, bringing balance to body and strength and harmony to the mind. Thought to increase intuition, instinct, and happiness, as well as decreasing sexual desire when it comes with negative energy or habitual nature. Onyx is said to banish grief, enhance self-control, stimulate the power of wise decision making, as well as to assist one in absorbing the energies of the universe that one most requires.

The healing energies of Onyx must be developed over a period of time, in direct contact with the kind or worn for a longer period of time. Known to be particularly helpful with skin ailments, fungal infections, and healing infected wounds. It is also helpful with inflammation, especially when one has been sunburned.

Onyx should be discharged once a week under running water. And if used extensively or over a long period of time, placing it in the earth overnight once a month will help to regenerate it’s powers and keep it’s energy strong.

Zodiac properties of Onyx: 

  • Zodiac Stone of: Capricorn
  • Associations: Earth
  • Birthstone: Mystical Birthstone for December, Ancient Birthstone for July, Talisman Stone for Capricorn, and Anniversary Stone for the 7th Year. To dream of Onyx signifies a happy life with a suitable companion. 

Chakra Properties of Onyx: 

The black and reddish-brown hues of Onyx and Sardonyx stimulate the Earthstar and Base Chakras. The Earthstar Chakra is located between and slightly below the feet. It holds the soul into carnation and creates a solid connection to the planet Earth, allowing excess and out-of-balance energies to flow from the body. The Base, or Root Chakra, is located at the base of the spine, and controls the energy for kinesthetic feeling and movement. It is the foundation of physical and spiritual energy for the body. When the Base Chakra is in balance, the physical body gains strength and stamina, and spiritual energy is rekindled in the form of security and sense of one’s own power. It often leads to independence and spontaneous leadership.

White Onyx activates the Crown Chakra, located at the top of the head. It is the gateway to the expanded universe beyond one’s body, and controls how one thinks and responds to the world. It is the fountainhead of one’s beliefs and the source of spirituality, and when the Crown is in balance one’s energies are in balance. It inspires one’s place in the universe and to see things as they are.

Primarily Onyx is associated with the 1st, Root/Base Chakra, assisting one with challenges in life, especially those caused by a drain of one’s energy. Onyx will assist one in removing tethers, as well as protecting one from attachment in the future. Grounding and then controlling or eliminating excess or unwanted energies, Onyx will keep any energy vampires at bay.

White Onyx on the other hand is associated with directly linking the 1st, Root/Base Chakra with the 7th, Crown Chakra to balance, align and center the entire chakra system allowing one to attain their higher powers. 

Meditating with Onyx:

Onyx is an excellent aid for grounding and centering during meditation, and for connecting with Higher powers. It may be used to cleanse the mind in order to be more receptive to intuitive guidance, and provides a grounding influence when working with high-energy stones that produce extraordinary visions and insights but may over-activate one’s energy field. Sardonyx is a wonderful tool for warding off distracting thoughts, sounds or interruptions, and is a stone of great discipline.