History of Bloodstone

Bloodstone is one of the most commonly used healing crystals, with a long and detailed historical tradition. It has been known by a wide variety of names throughout history, including Heliotrope, Plasma, Green Jasper, Green Chalcedony, Blood Jasper, and Babylonian Jasper. Today it is typically called either Bloodstone, referencing the drops of bright red, or Heliotrope, which comes from the Greek word for “solstice” and is thought to refer to its healing powers. For centuries it has been lauded for bringing courage, strength, and mental health.

It was first described by the ancient Greek historian/philosopher Damigeron in his work De Virtutibus Lapidum (The Virtues of Stones). He described Bloodstone’s incredible power stating, “Now, if it is put in a silver basin full of water and placed against the sun, it turns to it and makes it as if bloody and cloudy…the air becomes cloudy with thunder and lightning and rain and stones, so that even those experienced in the power of the stone are frightened and perturbed, such divine powers does this stone have.” Damigeron went on to call Bloodstone, “a preserver of health…offers protection against deception.” It was thought to be particularly good for detecting poison.

Although Bloodstone is a fairly common stone today, at one point it was considered quite rare. According to the Leyden Papyrus (ca. 250 CE), “The world has no greater thing; if any one have this with him, he will be given whatever he asks for; it also assuages the wrath of kings and despots, and whatever the wearer says will be believed. Whoever bears this stone, which is a gem, and pronounces the name engraved upon it will find all doors open, while bond and stone walls will be rent asunder.”  During the Middle Ages, Bloodstone was thought to be capable of making a person invisible. This power was referenced in the 12th century by Dante in The Divine Comedy, when he saw the damned in hell, “No hope of hiding-hole or heliotrope.”

Bloodstone has long been used against hemorrhaging. Europeans routinely pressed the stone against wounds. Spanish conquistadors later reported that Native Americans used Bloodstone for the same purpose. In 1574, Franciscan Frier Bernardino de Sahagun described how the Native Americans used Bloodstone during an outbreak of the plague, “The stone must be wet in cold water, and the sick man must take it in his right hand, and from time to time wet him with cold water. In this sort, the Indians do use them. And as touching the Indians, they have it for certain, that touching the same stone in some part where the blood runneth, that it doth restrain and in this they have great trust, for that effect hath been seen.” Europeans and Native Americans also had independent traditions for cutting Bloodstone into the shape of hearts for healing purposes.

One of the most famous legends associated with Bloodstone is a Christian one. Bloodstone was said to originally have been pure green Jasper which had formed at the foot of the cross. When drops of blood fell from Jesus Christ, they splattered on the stone marking it forever. Christian artists routinely used the stone for carving religious icons. The most extraordinary examples were carved so that the red spots appeared to flow from wounds on Christs face and body.

Crucifixion

“The Crucifixion of Jesus” by Titan