How To Use Obsidian For Healing, Grounding & More, From A Crystal Expert
There's no shortage of crystals available today to help with everything from balancing your chakras to offering protection and healing.
Obsidian is one grounding mineraloid that has become increasingly popular in recent years—and for good reason. Here's everything you need to know about obsidian crystals, including the different types to look for, how to use them, and how to take care of them.
History & types of obsidian.
Obsidian is thought of as a crystal, which has become somewhat of an umbrella term for stones with beneficial properties, but according to Ashley Leavy, founder and educational director of the Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy, it's actually a mineraloid, made of natural glass. Here are a few varieties of it you might come across:
Black, silver, and gold obsidian
In most crystal shops, you'll find black obsidian, which is a rich, opaque black color. But there's also silver sheen and gold sheen obsidian, which have a silver or gold tint, respectively.
Leavy notes these varieties usually come from countries in Central America, like Mexico or Guatemala, where there's a lot of volcanic activity.
There's an origin story for gold sheen obsidian that comes from Mexico, Leavy says, which describes a woman who lost her lover in a war. When she wept for her love, the gods took pity on her, turning her tears into the precious mineraloid.
Rainbow sheen obsidian
"There's also rainbow sheen obsidian, which you often see cut into really cool shapes to display distinct bands and layers of color," she adds. You can see basically any color in the color spectrum, with blue being more rare, and green and purple being more common.
Peacock, snowflake, and mahogany obsidian
Peacock obsidian, also referred to as velvet obsidian, has flecks of color swirled together rather than distinct bands or rings. And snowflake obsidian has flecks of white "snowflake-esque" minerals that actually grow on the obsidian itself, creating a unique black-and-white pattern. And lastly, mahogany obsidian looks like a marbled black with red or brown.
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Obsidian properties & benefits.
Like many black, brown, and red stones, obsidian (particularly mahogany obsidian) is often used for grounding, Leavy tells mbg. It can help with getting centered, feeling present, clearing energy, and connecting to the earth and our own bodies.
Snowflake obsidian, with its mixture of black and white, is "so good for reminding us to be in balance," Leavy notes, whether that's a work-life balance or balancing your responsibilities with your desires. "But deeper than that," she adds, "it reminds us of the balance of our inner duality, and exploring our own shadow."
Lastly, Leavy says, "rainbow or peacock obsidian have a modern history associated with dreamwork, lucid dreaming, and astral travel," which we'll describe shortly.
5 ways to use obsidian:
To remove unwanted energy.
As Leavy described, obsidian is great for clearing any unwanted energy in your own aura or even your home. One way you can easily do this is by simply sweeping it over your body, passing a piece of obsidian over a particular chakra or your whole body, to help clear your field.
To aid with dreamwork and astral travel.
If you're interested in exploring the astral realm, you'll want rainbow or peacock obsidian on your side. Leavy says you don't have to overthink it, either: Just put your obsidian under your pillow or on your nightstand, and of course, pair with the intention to have meaningful dreams or further your astral travel.
Don't expect it to necessarily work on the first go, she adds, but give it a few tries, always holding your intention in mind.
In feng shui.
One of the most straightforward ways to incorporate any crystal or stone into feng shui is to find the stone's corresponding color on the feng shui bagua map, Leavy tells mbg.
In this case, obsidian is black, so you would want it near the front door. On the bagua map, this area is associated with your career, "which would be great for obsidian because it has that ability to keep us grounded and focused on the physical realm, which our career is a big part of," she says.
Being such a good stone for grounding and centering, you can add obsidian to any of your favorite grounding practices, whether that's meditating with obsidian in your hand, keeping it in your bag when you go out anywhere, or placing it near your root chakra, which is associated with grounding and security.
And lastly, Leavy notes obsidian is often formed into a sphere and used for scrying, divination, and crystal gazing. She adds this can be great to use in conjunction with any dreamwork you're practicing, if you're into that.
"There are also obsidian mirrors, which have a long use in history," she says, adding that John Dee, spiritual adviser to Queen Elizabeth I in the 1500s and early 1600s, worked with obsidian tools for divination.
How to take care of obsidian.
Since obsidian is made of natural glass, it's pretty easy to keep clean. More porous materials aren't great with water, but you can definitely polish up your obsidian with water and even a bit of soap if need be. You can let it air dry in the sun, and it won't fade in color.
There are some sharper cuts of obsidian available, and if you do have a piece with rough or sharp edges, Leavy notes to be mindful of that when working with them and to store them in a cloth, to ensure none of the edges break off. Rounded pieces tend to be easier and safer to work with.
To clear your crystal, Leavy suggests cleansing it in a way that's not culturally appropriative, i.e., with sound, such as a bell or chime, or simply allowing the sunlight to refresh its energy.
Is obsidian associated with any birth months or zodiac signs?
While obsidian is not an official birthstone, it is often associated with Scorpio and Sagittarius, whose birthdays fall in either October and November, or November and December, respectively.
Which chakra is it associated with?
Because obsidian has a strong, grounding energy, it is often used when working with the root chakra, which is all about our sense of security, stability, and safety.
Is it a good crystal to sleep with?
Yes, obsidian is an excellent stone to sleep with, as it has a calming and grounding energy. Certain varieties of obsidian, as aforementioned, are also particularly helpful for dreamwork or lucid dreaming, like rainbow or peacock obsidian, according to Leavy.
How should it be worn as jewelry?
There's really no wrong way to wear obsidian, whether you opt for obsidian earrings, a necklace, a ring, or bracelet. That said, if you really want to play on its grounding energy, perhaps you go for an obsidian toe ring, to root you to the earth and keep you feeling balanced.
The bottom line.
With so many varieties, benefits, and uses, it's safe to say any crystal enthusiast would want to include a piece or two of obsidian in their collection. Whether you want to gain deep insights from your dreams, ground your energy, or do deep inner healing, obsidian might just be your next go-to stone.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.