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Onyx Crystal Meaning and Uses
Anyone who works with crystals for healing or spiritual work needs onyx in their kit. This striking black-and-white stone gives strength, protection and a strong link to the earth.
People have been using onyx for over 4000 years for magical and practical purposes. It can heal, keep your mind clear during meditation, and redirect negative energy into positive action.
What is Onyx?
Onyx has many imitators, but true onyx is a hard, banded stone with layers of black and white. You may also find pure black onyx that has been carved out of a wide black band in a larger stone.
Onyx is classified as a cryptocrystalline mineral. It’s a form of chalcedony, which is a dense, layered type of quartz.
Onyx is mined in many different areas throughout the world. It’s found in Asia, the Middle East, South America, some areas of the United States, and Australia.
If you use onyx in your work, it’s a good idea to also have sardonyx on hand. Sardonyx consists of the reddish-brown mineral sard alternating in layers with white bands of onyx.
Users and sellers of onyx from ancient times to today have subjected the crystal to various processes to enhance its color. Much of the onyx you find on the market has been treated to produce a greater contrast between the black and white layers.
You may also find pure black onyx that is actually gray sections of the stone that have been dyed. These color-enhancing treatments are acceptable to most people and should not affect the power of the crystal.
Be aware that many crystals sold as onyx may be beautiful and have their own uses, but they are not onyx. There’s a banded, black-and-white type of agate that’s virtually identical to onyx chemically, but its layers are curved and swirled rather than being parallel to each other.
Crystals sold as red, green or blue onyx may be other forms of chalcedony, or they may just be dyed versions of any other banded stone. Crystals that aren’t true onyx are usually softer and more common, and they won’t have the power you’re looking for.
The name of the onyx crystal comes from the Latin and Greek languages. It means “claw” or “fingernail” because it was thought to resemble those structures.
A less literal characterization is found in the Arabic language. Its word for onyx means “sadness.”
Onyx, more than many other crystals, has a variety of meanings for the spiritual practitioner. These meanings can even be in direct opposition to each other.
If you work with onyx, you’re free to call upon whichever of its powers you need at the time. Your intent always counts in spiritual workings.
Healing Properties of Onyx
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When you think of the healing properties of onyx, think of strength. It’s the stone of stability and grounding.
Onyx also helps you use your strength and will for positive purposes. It guides you away from using confidence and self-mastery to hurt or destroy.
One often overlooked aspect of strength is the ability to accept guidance. Onyx helps you listen for and hear the advice of the Universe.
Please remember that if you’re experiencing symptoms that threaten your physical, emotional, or mental health, you should consult your doctor. Use onyx as an enhancement to, not a substitute for, professional care.
Think of the strongest structures in the physical body: the bones and teeth. Onyx supports these structures and aids in easing conditions that cause them pain or lead to poor functioning.
When you’re standing, your skeleton rests on your feet, and your feet ground your body into the earth. Through this relationship, onyx brings strength and vigor to the feet and legs.
Overall, you could argue that the vitality of your body rests most heavily upon the health of your immune system. Onyx helps bolster this system, especially after you have faced down an illness and are recovering your strength.
Finally, onyx has powers to support the functioning of your ears. If you are to hear the words of the Universe, you need healthy inner ears and acute hearing.
Perhaps the greatest power of this dark crystal is its ability to foster deep grounding. When you’re experiencing tumultuous emotions, it may be time to turn to onyx.
Maybe things in your life have become scary, and you’re filled with anxiety and dread about what’s happening. Maybe you’re under a great deal of stress, and your energy is scattered and negative.
Shaky emotional states can have an impact on the people around you, too. You may be lashing out at those you love or misinterpreting what they do and say.
If you’re in the grip of any of these unsettled emotional states, onyx can bring you back to a stable place. It calms you and restores your self-control.
Once you’re calm, onyx helps you be more receptive to rational coping strategies for the situation you’re in. It clears away confusion and brings focus and confidence in your ability to make good decisions.
Another aspect of onyx is its ability to help you recognize when separation is the best course of action. When a job or a relationship or even things that you own have become oppressive burdens, you can work with Onyx to help you cut ties and let go.
This need for separation may come after you’ve lost someone to death. Onyx is a powerful aid in coping with your grief and moving forward.
Be aware that onyx is said to have the ability to retain memories of your past when you wear it. If you’re doing work that involves pain from the past or deep trauma, there is the danger of creating a sort of feedback loop with the crystal.
To protect yourself from this effect, limit how long you wear onyx when you’re doing difficult emotional work. You might also want to perform a cleansing ritual on the crystal from time to time.
When you think of onyx, think of duality. Its black and white layers symbolize the two sides of the human spirit.
Onyx is particularly useful if you’re seeking to channel your negative personal energy into more positive paths. It helps ground you, so you can dissipate your dark energy and refocus on the light.
When you need to communicate with your spirit guides, onyx can help you align yourself with their energy. It also provides protection, so you’re not spiritually mugged while your psyche is open.
Besides connecting you to higher powers, onyx can heighten your own self-awareness. It helps you make contact with your higher, more enlightened impulses and motivations.
When you’re in this higher state, you can make better decisions and draw happiness into your life. You can clearly identify the negative energy you are holding, and release it.
Some people attribute a very different spiritual energy to this dark, layered stone. In their traditions, it’s thought to be dangerous.
This is the duality of onyx. For all its positive powers, it may also be capable of doing harm if you use it unwisely.
Onyx may bring bad luck, depression and family discord. Some people believe that giving the crystal to someone else can destroy your relationship with that person.
If your tradition believes in the darker side of onyx, you should keep sardonyx on hand to temper the black stone. Even if you see onyx as primarily positive, keeping sardonyx around when you use it is a smart precaution.
Uses of Onyx
Ancient cultures were familiar with onyx and used it for a variety of purposes. Sometimes they sought its protective functions, but it was also used for ornamentation.
It’s easy to see how the black-and-white crystal came to be associated with death and burial rituals. Some cultures believed that it symbolized a lasting bond with their loved ones and would assist them in the afterlife.
Warrior cultures incorporated onyx into their swords, shields and armor. They believed this would bring them protection from their enemies during battle.
Because of its beauty, onyx was and continues to be, used to make jewelry, carved figurines, seals, and bowls. Some of these are intended for magical workings, while others are simply intended to be visually striking.
Onyx is said to increase the psychic powers of people who are scrying, reading tarot cards, exploring past life regression, and other tasks that require reaching out with the mind. If you’re involved in these activities, use onyx to protect you while you’re spiritually open and vulnerable.
You can also keep onyx in any environment where you feel psychically threatened. If you’re trapped in a toxic workplace, you can keep onyx at your desk, for example.
If you’re a spiritual practitioner who counsels others, the onyx crystal is essential when you’re dealing with someone who is struggling with aggressive, hyper-competitive energy. The dual nature of onyx can help reorient this energy so that it can be used to drive positive goals with the same strength and persistence.
The tradition of feng shui assigns water energy to onyx. Water demonstrates the duality of having the power to wash away everything in its path while also being perfectly malleable, taking the shape of any container.
To create the energy flow of feng shui in your home, you should place onyx toward the North. It will bring calm and help your life unfold as it should.
Onyx in Meditation
The practice of meditation is another area where you may want to use onyx and sardonyx. They work together in wonderful ways.
When you’re meditating for the purpose of seeking spiritual guidance, onyx crystals should be with you. They can make you receptive in the same way they do if you’re scrying or performing a tarot reading.
Onyx also helps you clear your mind. This is where sardonyx comes in, as it helps keep persistent thoughts and outside interference from disturbing this clarity.
If you find that your meditative sessions are leaving you overwhelmed with powerful images and sensations, remember the grounding power of onyx. It allows you to benefit from the input you’re receiving, but it channels off the overflow of energy.
Onyx as a Birthstone
Onyx isn’t one of the traditional monthly birthstones that you are probably familiar with. In modern times, though, it has become associated with both July and December.
You can also wear sardonyx as a birthstone. Many jewelers, including the American Gem Society, consider sardonyx to be an alternative to peridot for people born in August.
Onyx and the Zodiac
There are two signs of the zodiac that are associated with onyx. Depending on the tradition you follow, this stone may represent Leo or Gemini.
If you think about the legendary qualities of the lion, it’s clear why onyx corresponds to Leo. Both the crystal and the animal symbolize strength, wisdom, and stability.
An aggressive nature that can be used as a force for good or ill is another thing onyx and the lion share. They also have the power to protect if the will to do so is there.
Gemini, the twins, are the perfect symbol of the dual nature of onyx. The very look of the stone brings forth images of dark and light, positive and negative.
You don’t have to born under the sign of Leo or Gemini to gain the benefits of working with onyx. If you were, though, you may feel a particular affinity with the stone.
Onyx and Chakra Work
Onyx is used to activate and balance two of the body’s chakras. The first, the Earthstar chakra, is found between the feet.
This chakra relates back to the strong grounding that can be achieved with onyx. The Earthstar chakra allows excess or negative energy to be dispersed into the earth.
The second chakra associated with onyx is the Base chakra. This chakra is found at the bottom of the spine.
The Base chakra serves as a foundation for the body’s energy. Like onyx, it gives strength, confidence and rebirth.