Lapis Lazuli has an rich and ancient history full of legends and associations with the Gods. Find out how the Lapis Lazuli history contributes to and supports the spiritual benefits of this gemstone. Learn to unlock the Crystal Wisdom of Lapis by learning its phenomenal history.
Want to listen rather than read? Check out the video below:
How Old is Lapis?
As one of the oldest known gemstones, Lapis was said to be used for jewelry in prehistoric times and has been linked to multiple ancient cultures. The use and reverence for Lapis goes back at least 6000 years. In fact, the oldest Lapis mine is in Afghanistan and has been producing high quality specimen for, since about 7000 BC.
How did Lapis get its Name?
First, there are two ways to pronounce this stone. The first is LA:pis LA:zew:lee and the second is LA:pis l[e]:ZOO:lee – it really depends on the region you live in, but the standard dictionaries place the stress on the second word on the first syllable. LA:pis LA:zew:lee
There are many languages that contributed to the name of this stone. The Ancient Greeks and Romans called this stone sapphirus, but was changed to its current name during the Middle Ages. In medieval latin, the term Lapis meant “stone.” Lazuli is not so straight forward. In Latin it is generally interpreted as ‘blue sky.’ But the persian work lazhuward also meant ‘blue.’ Azul, which is a part of the word Lazuli, also means Blue. We eventually found our way to a name that generally means Blue Stone.
What Is Lapis’s Structure and Composition?
Lapis is composed of several minerals so is technically considered a rock –but, a semi-precious rock, as opposed to being its own mineral or a gem. It consists primarily of Lazurite, but can also include calcite, sodalite, pyrite, and several other minerals. Its inclusion of sodalite may explain why the two are often confused for each other. They do look very similar, but Lapis will have Pyrite inclusions, whereas Sodalite does not. The most valuable pieces of Lapis have little to no white calcite, are a striking blue color, with noticeable inclusions of pyrite. A high quality piece of Lapis looks like a deep blue, sparkly night sky.
Where is Lapis found today?
Lapis can be found all over the world. The largest deposits can be found in Afghanistan, Russia, and Chile, but it is also mined in Angola, Myanmar, Canada, Pakistan, California, and Colorado. This means that Lapis is easily accessible and reasonably affordable depending on the quality you prefer.
Which Cultures Used Lapis and Why?
As I mentioned before, it is believed that Lapis was used to make jewelry in prehistoric times.
- 4000 BC: Lapis was used as a symbol of royalty in ancient Sumaria and was linked to the Sumerian Goddess, Inanna.
- 3100 BC: Ancient Egyptians used Lapis in a wide array of decorations, jewelry, and holy objects. They ground it to a powder to use as a cosmetic. It was said to be Cleopatra’s favorite eye color. Lapis was also used to decorate the sarcophagus and funeral mask of King Tut.
- Starting around 22 BC: Lapis was used to carve statues and holy relics in China.
- In the Middle Ages, it was ground and used as a pigment in ultramarine paint. Michelangelo used it for the skies when he painted the Sistine Chapel. And painter Vermeer used it in the famous painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring.
- Lapis has been used throughout the ages to decorate palaces and churches. Such as Lyons Hall in Catherine Palace in Russia.
Stories or Legends Associated With Lapis
Lapis Lazuli history spans millenium and is steeped in lore. In 4000 BC, the Sumerian Godess of Love, Inanna, wore a lapis pendant and measuring rod. The color blue represented the color of the deep water and represent her role in creating the oceans and skies.
In Ancient Egpyt, the stone was said to contain the soul of the Gods, so would connect the bearer directly with the Gods. Lapis specifically represented the Goddess Maat, the goddess of truth, and was used by judges and high priestesses to who sought truth and wisdom. In the The Egyptian Book of the Dead it describes how to used Lapis in funeral rites, therefore, aiding those transitioning to the afterlife.
In one of the earliest works of literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Lapis is mentioned several times. In this story Lapis is used many times to represent the Gods. Either as gifts from the gods, or to indicate that something is the property of representative of the gods.
Legend describes how Lord Solomon was aided by an angel of the Lord who gave him a Lapis ring. This ring enabled him to control an army of demons that he used to build a temple.
From a healing perspective, lapis was ground and used as a poultice to draw out spiritual impurities. It would help a person release those urges and qualities that were preventing spiritual progress.
How these Legends Contribute to Lapis Benefits
How does the Lapis Lazuli history influence its spiritual properties today? Because of its shade of blue and flecks of sparkly Pyrite, it has often been associated with the sky, and to the Gods who ruled from above. Throughout history, from all over the world, and unrelated communities – Lapis has represented the Gods and the Spiritual World. It aids in connecting to the Gods, accessing the spirit world, and transitioning to spirit world after death. This connects directly with the benefits associated with Lapis. Sitting with Lapis can help you connect with all aspects your spiritual side.
Intuition and Inner Wisdom – Lapis can help to awaken intuition. This enables you to open and receive wisdom from whichever entity you consider greater than yourself, or from the collective unconscious. Lapis also helps you connect to your own deep inner wisdom. The wisdom stored within you from past experience, past lives, and past guidance. It strengthens your sense of gut feelings and ability to act on them. Lapis acts, in essence, as a gateway to the Gods, or external and internal wisdom.
Truth and Authenticity – As Lapis represented the God of Truth, so it also acts to unveil the truth you may be denying and to help you uncover authenticity in your life. I believe one of our ultimate spiritual goals in to discover and honor our authentic presence in this world. Lapis is a powerful tool for revealing the truth is a way that is undeniable, and helps us own this truth. It is the color of the Throat Chakra which regulates our sense of truth, authenticity, communication and wisdom. If you are in a stage of finding yourself, sharing your true self, or just acknowledging the truth within, Lapis is a great stone to help.
Spiritual Protection – Lapis is a stone that helps with spiritual protection. It protects your aura and energy. It will protect your mind, spirit, and body during meditations, rituals, and spiritual practices. If you have an active spiritual path and practice, especially if you are just starting, wearing or holding Lapis can keep you centered and protected during these practices. If you feel oppressed, surrounded by negative energy, or the target of someone else’s negative energy, Lapis acts as a shield to protect your energy.
In essence this is the perfect stone for spiritual awakening because it allows you to OPEN up, receive, express yourself, and protects you while you do so. So in your everyday life, if you are immersing into your spiritual life, performing spiritual study and practices, and trying to awaken your intuition – wear this stone. You can feel safe in releasing any hesitation about your practice.