The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems, by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, , at sacred-texts.com
Period—Constellation—Mythology—Symbols—Paris under Virgo—Reflecting Qualities of the Sign—Characteristics—Marriage—Professions—Ailments—Harmonious Types—Gems of the House—Cornelian—Virtues of the Cornelian—Napoleon's Seal Talisman—Clairvoyant Properties of the Stone—Jade—New Zealanders’ Faith—The Tiki—Jade as Racing Talisman.
The Sun enters the Zodiacal House of Virgo, which is ruled by the planet Mercury, on the 24th August, remaining there until the 22nd of September approximately. The Constellation of stars marking the position of Virgo was known to the Babylonians as the Ear of Corn, and has been symbolised by three ears of corn and also by the figure of a Virgin holding some wheat in her hand, representing a gleaner, the principal star of this group, Spica, being very near the place of the Sun at gleaning time in the warmer parts of the Temperate Zone.
In Ancient Mythology Virgo is represented by Ceres or Isis, typified as a tall majestic lady with golden hair crowned with corn, holding wheat and poppies in her right hand, and in her left a
sickle, a torch, or a caduceus. In modern representations, Virgo being also the symbol of the Virgin Mary, the Lily takes the place of the corn and poppies.
Ceres was the goddess of the harvest and fruits, deriving her name from the care she exercised in producing and preserving them. She is said to have invented the arts of husbandry (previous to which humanity existed on a diet of acorns,) and for her services was crowned with wheat. The poppies were given her by Jupiter to cause sleep and forgetfulness, when through the loss of her daughter, Proserpine, she was unable to rest, the torch being kindled from the flames of Ætna, by the aid of which she sought the lost one throughout the world.
In very Ancient Zodiacs, ten Houses only are shown, the House of the Scorpion including the positions now occupied by Virgo and Libra; it was first divided into two, Scorpio and Virgo, and finally, more adequately to express its influence, it was again divided, Libra being inserted between, making the Zodiac of twelve Houses as we now know it.
It is believed by some authorities that the symbol of Virgo (see Plate No. 6 of the coloured Frontispiece) was adapted from the symbol of Scorpio (shown in No. 8 of same Plate) and their
resemblance is noticeable by comparison of the two. It is believed that when the Hebrew language was formed, the Virgo symbol was taken to form the name Jehovah. יהוה Yod-he-vau-he, reading from right to left.
Virgo is also typified by the Virgin Mary as already referred to, and it is worthy of note that the founder of the ancient city of Paris believed in the power and influence of the heavenly bodies, it being named by an old astrologer, Para-Isis, meaning in Phoenician, the Star of Being, or Existence. Corroboration of this can be seen at the present day in Notre Dame Cathedral, where, amongst the twelve signs of the Zodiac engraved on the outside when entering from the North, the sixth sign has been represented by a figure of the Virgin elevated above all the rest. The birth of the Virgin Mary is said to have taken place when the Sun was in the sixth sign, and characteristics attributed to her correspond in many instances to those of the Virgo type.
This House has been found to be well suited to be the significator of virgins, because as a rule those born under the influence of this sign are cool, patient, and self-respecting, and do not usually fall into error through unrestrained affections; whilst Mercury is the ruling planet of this House as well as that of Gemini, both signs being
typical of youth and purity as represented by the Twin Children and the Maiden.
One of the most interesting features of the Virgo sign is that it gives to those born under its influence the qualities of any planet which is in the strongest position of the horoscope at birth, without in any way detracting from its own: for instance, if the Sun is strongest in its aspects than its natural ruler Mercury, it will brighten the financial and social standing, as well as energise and give added power to the Virgo qualities. In the same way, if there is a detrimental aspect from a malefic planet, it will accentuate the misfortune and disappointments indicated. The effect of these complex blends of influence is very far-reaching, so that it is impossible to judge accurately of this type without seeing the individual horoscope, although many of their general characteristics can be recognised in the following brief outline of the Sun's influence on those born during the time of his passing through Virgo.
When the planet Mercury is strong in the horoscope it will give great versatility and natural aptitude for figures and business generally, increasing the critical and observant faculties and qualifying them for serious study, making them capable and efficient in professional as well as financial transactions. They will also be very
curious and interested in new ideas and inventions, also in hobbies of all kinds, and many collectors of coins, etc., are under the influence of Virgo. Mars present in this House gives a restless activity to these impressionable subjects, and there will be many changes of friends and occupations; it will also bring resource in emergencies, ready repartee, and an inclination to biting wit, sarcasm, and promptness and ingenuity in plans and methods.
The influence of Saturn will render the mind more tenacious and less impressionable; there will be less inclination for social life, but the seclusion of monastic life or a studious career will be preferred, many priests being born under the Saturnian influence.
Those born during the Virgo period will have a marked individuality, being ingenious, orderly, and methodical; also capable of great proficiency in whatever they undertake, Having the power of combining the practical with the ideal, possessing a keen perception, they have the faculty of at once grasping the salient points of an object or action, making them admirable mimics; but they are at the same time very sensitive to the opinions of others, and very disappointed if their efforts to please or entertain are unrecognised. In contrast to the Gemini type who begin much and finish little, they hate to leave their work uncompleted,
or for others to finish what they have commenced; and one of their most noticeable characteristics is their disapproval and condemnation of the methods or suggestions of others, finding many reasons for doing things their own way, which is always different to that of other people. Because of this trait in their character they often lose their friends, for, although critical themselves, they are super-sensitive to a remarkable degree, interpreting any remark or comment to its extremest significance.
In whatever direction the activities of this type may be carried on they will ever seek mental freedom, so that although they may pursue one idea or habit for some time, they are always liable to make sudden changes and completely alter their former views, often with undesirable results, but always with apparent reason to themselves.
There is also a lack of responsiveness to enthusiasm or plans formed by their family and friends which is very damping in its effect on those born under fiery signs.
In temper they are difficult to understand, being annoyed and irritated at trifles, yet slow to anger and slow to forgive, remaining apart chilly and repellent until an advance is made from the other side.
In marriage, as a rule, they are constant and true, and although undemonstrative, their affection is deep, for they will do, endure, and spend much for the sake of those they love, but will be least in harmony with the Sagittarian and Gemini types.
The subjects of Virgo like to be on good terms with those who are prosperous and in good position, and they are suited both by temperament and ability to succeed as Government Officials, Secretaries, Lawyers, Cashiers, Doctors, Authors, Philosophers, Proof-readers, Actors, Chemists, Agents, Schoolmasters, also as Hospital Nurses, Watch- and Clock-makers, etc., and often do their best work when alone.
As may be expected from the mental activity of this House, the ailments are chiefly those of the nervous system, worry or anxiety developing indigestion, general debility, and neuralgia; they are also liable to stomachic complaints and weakness of the bladder, feeling atmospheric changes very acutely. Their recuperative powers, however, are very marked and they soon recover, without recourse to doctors, drugs, or patent medicines, although the latter possess a great attraction for them. Fortunately they are usually most fastidious as to the purity and wholesomeness of their diet, many vegetarians coming under
this sign. Children of this type should be encouraged and never repressed, particular care being given to their feet which are naturally tender and easily deformed by ill-fitting boots and shoes, often causing lameness. Virgo being in opposition to Pisces which rules the feet, these subjects are peculiarly sensitive in this respect.
This type has a great sympathy with and a liking for Nature, and is fond of watching the habits of birds and insects, particularly bees, (which seem to be closely associated with this sign). They are also intensely interested in anything that travels or moves quickly.
In partnerships, business or marriage, they will harmonise best with Capricorn, Cancer, and Scorpio subjects, and their fortunate gems will be the Cornelian and Jade.
The Cornelian.—Cornelians are a variety of Chalcedony, and are found of a bright red, yellow, and white colour, in varying tones, and frequently with two or all the colours combined in one stone. On exposure to the Sun the colour becomes brighter and deeper, although artificial light and heat fail to produce the same effect. This stone is capable of taking a very high polish, and for this reason and for its hardness Pliny extols it above all other stones when used as a seal. The best specimens come from India; but Cornelians are also
found in New Zealand, and in various parts of Europe. The range of its popularity extended throughout the Old and the New Worlds, and it was extensively used by the Egyptians who devote a chapter of their Book of the Dead to the Cornelian Buckle of Isis, which is described in the chapters on Egyptian Talismans; and is also frequently found in necklaces and hair ornaments.
In Arabia and throughout Turkey Cornelians are considered to be the best of all stones for talismanic purposes, and it is a curious fact that in certain districts of Europe under Turkish rule, it was common for Moslems to take their stones to the Christian priest whose blessing was considered to add greatly to their efficacy. The deep red stones were the ones most prized, and they were frequently to be seen engraved with verses from the Koran; of these, there are several examples in the British Museum in the galleries devoted to comparative religions.
The Rev. C. W. King, in his work on Antique Gems, describes a Cornelian picked up by Napoleon Buonaparte during the campaign in Egypt, and which he wore on his watch-chain as a seal, always carrying it about with him. It is octagonal in shape, and has an inscription in Arabic, as follows:
engraved upon it. Amongst Oriental nations the Cornelian was believed to protect from witchcraft, and, by warding off the glance of the envious, to avert the Evil Eye; it also preserved its wearers from ill-health, and particularly from the plague, a belief also shared by the Hebrews.
Marbodus, writing in the eleventh century, declares that if worn on the neck or finger it has a soothing effect, cooling the blood and "stilling angry passions," preserving concord and driving away evil thoughts; whilst Camillus Leonardus adds to its virtues the powers of preservation from lightning and tempest, from vice and enchantment, blood-posioning and fever, and that it was good for the staunching of bleeding. Marcellus Empiricus calls it the "Scythian Jaspis" in his prescription for the making of an Amulet against Pleurisy.
In Spain it was specially worn to give courage and fluency of speech, and to strengthen the voice; and in China it was highly prized as being beneficial to the stomach, which is frequently weak in the Virgo type.
White Cornelians were very popular with the ladies of Ancient Greece, who wore them as hair ornaments, frequently elaborately carved, and as Talismans against Rheumatism and Neuralgia.
In Volume II of Isis Unveiled, Madame
[paragraph continues] Blavatsky mentions a Cornelian possessed by a Shaman, a native of Tartary, who was acting as her guide whilst travelling. By the aid of this stone the Shaman's astral body was not only able to travel wherever Madame Blavatsky's thought directed, but was able to bring the astral form of a Roumanian lady to her presence; also to bring to their rescue in the desert a party from the Khutchi of Lhassa.
Jade.—Jade, or Nephrite, is a very hard stone which varies from white to a rich green, some specimens being translucent and some (particularly the New Zealand variety) being opaque. It is very highly esteemed by the Chinese, who wear it carved in the form of the Bat, Pear, Stork, etc., as Talismans for longevity. (Its qualities and attributes being fully described in Chapter V, Part I.)
The finest Jade comes from China, and Jade is also found in New Zealand, Mexico, and Turkestan.
It has always been popular among Asiatics, who wear it for protection from accidents and injuries and against witchcraft.
Among the Greeks and Romans it was worn to avert Ophthalmia and Epilepsy, besides being universally regarded as peculiarly efficacious against stomach and kidney trouble, its name
[paragraph continues] Nephrite being derived from a Greek word meaning kidney. Galen records that a necklace which he wore relieved him of stomach trouble, and its efficacy in this direction extended to South America, for when Pizzaro conquered Mexico he found the natives believed Jade beneficial for diseases of the kidneys; and Sir Walter Raleigh, in his discovery of Guiana, describes the inhabitants as using it both for stomach trouble and stone in the bladder. Humboldt also mentions it as being used for the same purpose by natives on both sides of the Orinoco.
It was also known to the Egyptians, and a Talisman of Jade in the form of an axe-head may be seen in the Egyptian Galleries at the British Museum, both sides being engraved with Gnostic symbols.
Jade is essentially the stone of New Zealand, the Maoris regarding it as sacred, their famous Talisman, the Tiki, being invariably carved in Jade. The Tiki is worn round the neck as a protection from witchcraft, and consists of a grotesque representation of the human figure with the head bent either to the left or right, in a listening attitude, resting on the shoulder; it was regarded as a precious heirloom to be religiously handed down from father to son, elaborate precautions being taken to prevent the Tiki from
falling into the hands of strangers, as it was believed to embody all the qualities and virtues of their ancestors, its burial with the last male member of a family being always insisted upon.
Several very fine specimens may be seen in the Ethnographical Gallery at the British Museum.
Jade is also very popular amongst modern sportsmen as a Talisman for success in racing; but neither Jade nor Cornelian stones should be worn by those born during the Sagittarius or Gemini periods.