Since lapis lazuli has been mined as early as the 7th millennium BCE, it has a long and rich history of folklore and legends. Due to its stunning shade of blue flecked with gold, it has long been associated with Godliness and supernatural forces.
In Ancient Rome, lapis lazuli was believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac. The stone often represented love, peace, and joy. It was ground into powder and mixed with liquids to be used as a compress in order to relieve negative emotions and energize the throat chakra. Creating a poultice out of lapis lazuli was used to draw out spiritual impurities.
Ancient Egyptians were particularly fond of the azure stone. The deep blue color stood out against the drab, desert tones. Since lapis lazuli often resembles a starry night sky, it was associated with the heavens and the supernatural. Priests would often dye their garments with lapis lazuli paint to solidify their status as Gods.
Lapis lazuli was often used in religious rituals. It was commonly employed in exorcisms. The stone was pulverized and mixed with gold and the mixture was then placed on the head of the afflicted individual. As the poultice dried, it would draw out the demons. Lapis lazuli was also a highly popular material for amulets. The image of Truth was always inscribed on lapis lazuli, which was worn around the neck of the Egyptian High Priest. The Egyptian Book of the Dead describes in detail the importance of lapis lazuli in funeral rituals. Lapis lazuli amulets were used to protect the deceased from evil spirits by placing amulets of the blue stone on the person’s body.
Many other cultures have incorporated lapis lazuli into their rituals and folklore. One famous legend states that King Solomon was given possession of a lapis lazuli ring by an angel. This ring allowed him to control an army of demons, which he used to build his temple. Lapis lazuli is described as a stone of great power and an ornament of the Gods in Assyrian texts. The Babylonians told of a tree of precious stones, which sprouted lapis lazuli from its top. In Summerian mythology, the goddess Inanna roamed the underworld and used rods made of lapis lazuli to measure the length of a person’s life. Lapis lazuli was commonly viewed as the physical flesh of the Gods.
Despite the differences and distance between these ancient cultures, they all held lapis lazuli in high esteem and generally granted it the same designation as a powerful and spiritual object. It seems clear that the gemstone has inherent properties that evoke strong emotions, and this holds true as it continues to be idolized for its beauty even to this day.