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Cinnabar | History & Properties

Posted by Colette Weeks on

Cinnabar is a deep red crystal that forms found recent volcanic activity. It is a mercury sulfide mineral that forms tabular rhombohedral and prismatic crystals that can be quite striking. Used for thousands of years across many cultures, Cinnabar has a long history as a stone of Alchemy, magic, inspiration, and protection. 

Cinnabar History

Throughout history, Cinnabar has been used as a symbol of blood, victory, success, the duality of life and death, and immortality. Cinnabar is one of a very few minerals that was independently discovered and utilized by ancient people throughout the world. People in nearly every country where volcanoes are present discovered Cinnabar and realized its potential. Evidence and record of its use has been uncovered in Italy, Greece, Spain, Japan, China,  Turkey, and the Mayan countries of South America. Cinnabar was used to create pigments used in artwork and in modern times, it is known as the only major ore of Mercury in nature. Mayans surrounded and embedded tombs with Cinnabar for protection. The natural philosopher Pliny the Elder noted cinnabar as having great importance and sacred associations to the Romans.

Alchemists also acknowledged the unusual properties of Cinnabar and were intrigued by interaction with gold and siver. 

Apparatus for the distillation of cinnabar, Alchimia, 1570

Cinnabar Toxicity

Is Cinnabar Poisonous?

While mercury is of course toxic, Cinnabar itself is safe to handle as long as it is not vaporized. Mercury is derived from the vapor on Cinnabar by heating it in a furnace. You would have to crush up and inhale lots of Cinnabar to have a toxic effect. Use common sense when handling all minerals and wash your hands afterward. Cinnabar should never be consumed or used in an elixir.

Cinnabar Metaphysical Properties

Cinnabar in ancient cultures been associated with immortality and the protection of the immortal spirit. It is a thread between worlds, connecting us to the divine and eternal as well as the ancient human spirit. Cinnabar ignites inspiration and helps us make unexpected connections.  It is a crystal of discovery and manifestation at the highest levels. A perfect stone for creatives and entrepreneurs, Cinnabar is associated with ingenuity, financial growth and preservation.

Emotionally, Cinnabar aids the release of trapped feelings of anger or guilt. It is thought to be an excellent crystal for removing energetic blockages as well.

Cinnabar targets the root chakra, but also opens the Third eye. This combination helps us discover and enact our best plan of action. It connects our most primal drives with our higher selves, allowing us to break through perceived limitations. Cinnabar has also been accredited with allowing one to better sense the movement of energy within the body or deal with energy changes in one's environment.

See Available Cinnabar Specimens Here

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