Published May 2017  •  Updated June 2022  •  Read Time: 7 minutes
Galena is a silvery mineral and the most important lead ore.  It melts at a low temperature and was first smelted in prehistoric campfires.  Thousands of years later, it would be instrumental in creating the first radios and other electronics.  Unsurprisingly, it is a stone for transformation and for having an open mind.  It helps us to be more than what we have been, to embrace new beginnings, and to be curious about, rather than dismayed, by complexity.  Galena is a Sulfide mineral that looks very similar to Hematite, an Oxide mineral.  While both are silvery and heavy, they are easy to distinguish because Galena is much softer and has a grey streak instead of a red one.

Galena

Galena Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Galena inspires self-transformation and harmony.  It is a grounding stone for spiritual work, as well as a centering stone that can bring our body and spirit into proper alignment.  Galena shows us how we can make practical changes in our everyday life so that we are in better congruence with our most cherished spiritual beliefs.  Galena awakens us to our spiritual life and supports on the long winding path.  It helps us to gradually move from the novice to the master.  Galena helps us to make peace with the parts of ourselves that make us uncomfortable and shows us how we can heal and integrate these shadow sides.  Galena’s energy is fantastic in grids meant to heal our Mother Earth and is also useful for protection from harmful environmental energies, such as EMF.  It is also one of the very best stones to work with when studying alchemy in any form.

Metaphysical Properties Galena
Chakra Root
Element Earth
Numerology Master Number 22
Zodiac Capricorn

Emotional Healing Properties

Galena reduces emotional over-reactions and helps us behave more sensibly.  It is a strong protector for anyone who gets overwhelmed by negative energies.  Galena provides us with strength, courage and fortitude so that we can face difficult things head on.  Galena invites us to take more personal responsibility for ourselves and to be wary of anyone who tries to dictate what we should think or how we should feel.  Galena reminds us that we have a good mind and a good heart, capable of drawing its own conclusions.  Galena helps us to be more comfortable with complexity and more willing to ask questions.   It is an excellent ally when we want to do deep personal work, exploring our baggage and issues.  Galena helps us to figure out whether or not our “stories” about ourselves, our past and others, are actually true.  If they aren’t true, this crystal helps us to release those outdated lies with ease.  Galena helps us to reclaim our true power and to prioritize our own self-care.

Mental Healing Properties

Galena inspires a great love for Truth and is an exceptionally practical and grounding stone.  It encourages logical, holistic and scientific modes of thinking.  It teaches us to take our beliefs and assumptions as a starting point, rather than an end point.  It pushes us to think critically, to actively experiment and to make conclusions based on good evidence.  Galena reminds us that each conclusion is in fact a new starting point, and we should always be striving for greater understanding.  Galena encourages us to have “flexible ideas” rather than “firm beliefs” and to remember that ideas can and should evolve as new information becomes available.  Galena dissolves limiting assumptions and helps to open the mind to intriguing possibilities.  It is an excellent talisman for all types of scientists and engineers, as well as healers ranging from modern doctors to traditional herbalists.

Physical Healing Properties

Galena is recommended for anyone suffering from cancer, especially those getting chemotherapy.  It helps us to stay grounded and calm when life is hard and to always believe that life can change for the better.  It helps us to focus on the idea that our body can heal and that the cancer cells can be destroyed forever.  Galena asks us to trust good doctors, to seek out second opinions when we need one, and to be open to new treatments.  It helps us to put together a solid plan for our healing journey and to gather the people and resources who can help us win our battles.   Galena is also a great talisman for anyone who is ready to change their own life.  This change can be as simple as changing a small daily habit or as huge as releasing a deadly addition.

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Galena Mineralogy

Where does Galena come from?

Galena is a wide-spread mineral found in dozens of countries around the world. Major mining deposits are in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Serbia and the United States (Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Utah, and Wisconsin).

Mining and Treatments

Galena is the most important mineral ore for lead and and so many industrial mines exist to extract it. It also contains small amounts of Silver, Zinc and other desirable metals. Typically the Galena and other mineral ores will form in long bands, and miners dig the mineral out in a chamber and pillar method deep underground. These chambers can be 40 feet high and extended for hundreds of miles in interconnected tunnels.  The ore is easily smelt for metals – the embers of a wood campfire are hot enough for this purpose.

Galena Placeholder
Galena

Mineral Family

Galena is a common Sulfide mineral.  Sulfides combine sulfur with one or more elemental metals. They tend to have simple symmetrical structures and often have a brilliant metallic luster.

Galena is sold in its rough cubic shape as well as polished shapes.  Sometimes Galena has a bright metallic silvery color, that may closely resemble silvery Hematite.  While both stones can be silver, it is relatively easy to ID these metallic stones.  Galena is heaver and has a black streak, while Hematite is slightly lighter and has a red streak.

Galena’s energy works well with its family – other Sulfide minerals.  Try it in combination with Bornite, Chalcopyrite, Peacock Ore, Pyrite.

Galena Formation and Crystal Associates

Galena forms as cubic crystals, usually in limestone rocks in a contact metamorphic zone. Occasionally Galena may form in a hydrothermal vent, these rarer deposits contain the highest silver content.  Miners also find it in in coal beds.

Galena’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Barite and Fluorite

What is a crystal radio?

Many sulfide minerals have electrical conductivity and so they are used extensively in electronics.  In the early days of radio, Galena was part of “crystal radios” a simple AM receiver.  These radios need no external power source, the crystal itself detects the radio signal within a limited range.  They do however require earphones, since a crystal cannot power a speaker.

Mineralogy Galena
Chemical Formula PbS
Cleavage Perfect
Color Gray
Crystal System Cubic
Form/Habit Cubic
Fracture Subconchoidal
Hardness – Mohs Scale 2.5
Luminescence None
Luster Metallic
Mineral Family Sulfides
Specific Gravity 7.6
Streak Gray
Transparency Opaque

History of Galena

Galena is an interesting mineral with a long history.  Unlike many healing crystals, the history of Galena is tied to its industrial usage and elemental content, rather than its metaphysical properties.  There are over 60 minerals that contain the element of Lead, but Galena is the most important and abundant one.  In fact, its name is Latin for “lead ore.”  Miners have continually extracted it for thousands of years and is one of the primary minerals mined in huge quantities today.

Galena was one for the minerals that helped mankind shift from nomadic hunter-gathers into settlers capable of sustaining large civilizations.  Archaeologists believe that Galena was the first mineral smelted, or melted down, to release the metal inside.  Galena has a low melting point and doesn’t require sophisticated technology.  In fact, it is soft enough to be smelt over the embers of a campfire.   Lead beads from Çatalhöyük, a neolithic site in Turkey date back to 6500 BCE.  That’s more than 3000 years older than the Pyramids of Egypt.  Çatalhöyük is a fascinating archaeological site and is notable for its many female figurines.  The original excavator theorized that Çatalhöyük was a matriarchal society and may also have practiced some form of goddess worship.  But as the site pre-dates the invention of writing, such theories are educated guesses rather than absolute fact.

Ancient and medieval lapidaries sometimes describe the powers of Lead, which give us insight into older traditions about Galena.  Lead is associated with the Roman God Saturn, the lord of time, wealth and age.  Lead, and by extension Galena, was also firmly associated with alchemical practices, particularly the magical study of turning lead into gold.

Today, Galena is mined in the Mississippi Valley, where it produces over 90% of the iron used in the United States.  Galena is the official state mineral for both Missouri and Wisconsin.  In Illinois, the city of Galena gets its name from the silvery ore that prompted the first mineral rush in the United States.  Decades before the California gold rush of the 1840s, there was the Midwest Galena rush of the 1820s.

References:

  1. Galena, mindat.org
  2. Hodder, Ian, ed.  “The Metallic Finds from Çatalhöyük: A Review and Preliminary New Work” in Substantive Technologies at Catalhöyük: Reports from the 2000-2008 Season.  British Institute at Ankara Monograph, 48 (2013) https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/79498371.pdf
  3. “Prison POW Survival Radio – Free Crystal Receiver – How to make a cat’s whisker set” Dubious Engineering (2017), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIiqhbbj9o4