by Oraia Helene

Moonstone is a member of the feldspar group of minerals, though “moonstone” is actually not really the name of a mineral, but rather a descriptive term for stones that have a distinctive sheen caused by internal reflections of light. Two different types of feldspar, called orthoclase and albite, form together, intermingling at first and then separating into stacked layers as the mineral cools. Light falling between those layers scatters in all directions, creating that wonderful reflective sheen.

One form of orthoclase feldspar that forms moonstones is called adularia, and so the reflective moonstone sheen is called adularescence. It’s comparable to the multi-colored sheen of the related feldspar mineral labradorite, which is called labradorescence.

Adularia is fairly hard, measuring a 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. In the rough, the mineral is fairly unremarkable, forming colorless or whitish crystals that are often striated and may be somewhat shiny. But it’s only when it’s cut into cabochons that it shows that moonlight shimmer.

Most moonstone that’s made into jewelry is white or gray, with that shimmery texture that makes it look so magical. Moonstone can also come in shades of pink, green, and brown, though, and even a deep blue color.

(As an aside, the first pentacle pendant I bought, back when I was in college, had a section just below the pentacle itself that depicted the full moon flanked by two crescent moons. The full moon in the center was represented by a moonstone, but this particular one had a pinkish cast to it. At some point it occurred to me that, hey, this looks a little too much like a nipple right there in the center of my chest, and it started to weird me out. Very pretty pendant, though, and I ended up giving it to a friend some years later.)

Be careful not to confuse moonstone with selenite, which is a form of gypsum. Some forms of selenite, especially when cut and polished, do look a lot like moonstone, but the two are probably most often confused simply on the basis of their names — selenite literally means ‘moon stone’ as it is named after Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. I’ve read that the ancient Greeks considered the moonstone ruled by Selene as well, though, and called it Aphroselene, which is a combination of the goddess names Aphrodite and Selene.

Metaphysically, moonstone has long been associated with the moon because of its color and the way even bright daylight plays across its surface like moonlight. As such it can be used for purposes related to lunar energy in general, or to connect with the various lunar deities. Its energy promotes balance and adaptability, and can assist with introspection and self-reflection. For this reason it is a good stone to wear while doing past-life work, or dream work.

It is an excellent stone for developing intuition and psychic perception, and the shifting play of light on its surface can be used for scrying purposes. It can also assist with approaching difficulties in life with a gentle and compassionate perspective. This is a good stone to help with connecting to goddess energies, particularly to goddesses of the moon and water.

This article was adapted from the Terra segment of Media Astra Ac Terra Episode #9.

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