In my Witches of Griffin series that I am working on, the triplet sisters use crystals and stones to aid in their energy work. My focus today is on the lodestone, which is a piece of magnetite or naturally magnetized mineral that can be used as a magnet. Lodestones occur naturally and attract iron. Magnetite is common in nature, while lodestones are more rare. The magnetite of the stone must hold a certain composition and crystalline structure to be considered a lodestone. If you suspend a lodestone by a string it will rotate until its magnetic field is aligned with the earth’s magnetic field. Lodestones were discovered during ancient times and were used to create the first magnetic compasses. The stones importance to navigation gave it the name lodestone, which means ‘leading stone.’ The stones are black or brownish-black in color with a metallic sheen, and a hardness level of 5.5-6.5. Geologists question the process in which lodestones are created, since only a small amount of magnetite on earth is magnetized as lodestone.
The lodestone was mentioned in China and in the West in the first millennium B.C. It was the Chinese who used the stone to create the first magnetic needle compass. Although the stones were initially used for divination purposes, in the 11th century, during the Song Dynasty, they were used for navigation. The compass needle was magnetized by rubbing it against the lodestone, thus giving it the ability to show direction. Lodestones were used before the compass. The lodestone was suspended by a string, allowing it to turn and point north, which enabled the sailors to also learn the direction of the wind. Another navigation method was to float the lodestone on a piece of wood in a bowl of water. The stone will drift towards the north. I remember reading that Chief Tecumseh of the Native American Shawnee used lodestones for direction. Viking explorers were also said to make use of these stones. Lodestones can be found all over the world and without their early discovery there is no telling how far the great explorers would have traveled.
Above is the first model of a known Chinese compass. The spoon shaped compass was made of lodestone and placed on a cast bronze plate called a diviners board. This board carried symbols referring to the constellations, with the circular center being heaven, and the square plate representing earth. The handle of the lodestone spoon pointed south. This divining board eventually became the first compass.
Magnetic lodestones were used for navigation, but they were also used in magical systems. The lodestone is often used as a powerful amulet and believed to attract what you desire, whether this is a person or situation. In Hoodoo and folk magic, the lodestone was used to attract money, and feeding the stone bits of iron shavings was believed to draw prosperity to you. In love magic, two lodestones are used, one stone male and the other female. You gradually move the stones closer to each other while imagining them being the two people you want together.
Lodestones are also used in energy healing and can be placed on the body in various positions to align chakras and balance ying/yang energies. Lodestones are said to have the ability to balance the hemispheres in the brain, by holding a lodestone in each hand. They are believed to help a person enter a deep meditative state and can lesson grief, fear, confusion, and attachment. It is considered a powerful psychic protection stone. Lodestones carry a strong attracting and repelling ability on the spiritual and physical plane. They hold a powerful vibration and connect the person using the stone to the earth, which is why it is considered an excellent tool for healers. The stones aid to develop intuition, while carrying the potential to aid in helping asthma, liver problems, and anemia. Lodestones have been used for navigation, amulets, and healing since ancient times.
A special thank you to: http://theinstitute.ieee.org/technology-focus/technology-history/a-history-of-the-magnetic-compass , https://www.originalbotanica.com/blog/bring-luck-and-prosperity-with-magnetic-lodestones/ , http://www.healing-crystals-for-you.com/magnetite.html , http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/othermagicspells/ss/What-Is-Lodestone.htm