Sodalite

by Oraia Helene

Sodalite is primarily used for decorative purposes, both for jewelry and for carved ornaments. It’s a silicate mineral with a fairly complex chemical formula, namely sodium aluminum silicate chloride. (The sodium content is actually what gives it the name sodalite.) It usually forms in masses, though in rare instances it will form dodecahedral (12-sided) crystals. The stone is primarily a bright blue color, though it can be white or gray, and the blue stones that are used for jewelry often contain areas of these lighter colors as well, or veins of white calcite. In some cases, its color is a dark enough blue for it to be mistaken for lapis lazuli, but it almost never has the gold flecks of pyrite that lapis usually does.

It’s a fairly hard mineral, at 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, but it’s also somewhat fragile. It’s generally opaque, though it can be transparent when it crystallizes. It has a low density, so the stone feels light in the hand; this is another thing that makes it nice for jewelry, as a strand of sodalite beads won’t weigh too heavily around your neck. Sodalite has poor cleavage, and large specimens — including carved decorative pieces — may have many visible cracks running through them.

Some sodalite will fluoresce bright orange under ultraviolet light. A variety of sodalite called hackmanite also demonstrates a property called tenebrescence — also called reversible photochromism — which is when the color changes due to exposure to sunlight. And I don’t just mean that it looks a different color under different light; with tenebrescence, the color change is persistent, although it can be reversed. It’s basically the same as the mechanism behind color-change sunglasses, which darken when you step into bright sunlight, then lighten again when you go inside.

With hackmanite in particular, it starts out as a pink or violet color when it is first taken out of the ground, but then fades to a nearly colorless white or grey. If it’s left in the dark for a long period of time, however, it will return to its original pink color. The color can also be restored by exposing it to UV light — and then, with some specimens, if you put them back into the dark after exposure to UV, they’ll glow in the dark for a little while. Then if you take them out into visible light again, they’ll fade into colorlessness once more.

And actually, with some hackmanite specimens the effect is reversed — the stone will go from a creamy white color to a dark pink or violet in the sunlight. Then the color will fade if it’s left in the dark. Either way, I think this is a pretty neat effect!

Sodalite was discovered as a mineral species in Greenland in 1806, though it didn’t gain much popularity as a decorative stone until great quantities of it were found in Ontario, Canada in 1891. So the stone wasn’t known in the ancient world, and therefore doesn’t have much in the way of historical or mythological records behind it.

In the modern metaphysical world, I have most often seen sodalite connected with the third eye chakra, though some also relate it to the throat chakra — it probably depends on whether the stone is a really “blue” blue, for the throat chakra, or more of an indigo color that would relate to the third eye. As a third eye stone, it can help in deepening meditation and opening pyschic faculties, while as a throat chakra stone it can aid in communication and interpersonal relationships within groups. When these two areas of influence are brought together, sodalite can assist in giving voice and expression to one’s deep spiritual insights and psychic visions, and to balance the logical and intuitive elements of perception. And although there are no traditional Qabalistic correspondences for this stone, its blue color does relate it to Chesed, the sphere of Jupiter on the Tree of Life, and it could be used in workings related to that sphere.

So that’s sodalite! Again, there’s not a lot to say about historical uses or beliefs about the stone, since it was only recently recognized, but it’s a very pretty and generally inexpensive stone that can be found in jewelry and other decorative objects.

This article was adapted from the Terra segment of Media Astra Ac Terra Episode #23.

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