In this post, we tell you everything you need to know about black obsidian, including its properties, its meaning and its uses. Let's get started!
Black obsidian is considered the superior of all the dark crystals, and there is much to know about the inner workings of this particular stone. Was obsidian sent to save humankind from itself, in many respects? Read on and we’ll tell you.
In this article we discuss the following:
- Obsidian Properties
- What is Obsidian?
- Is Obsidian a Crystal?
- Obsidian Color
- Benefits of Black Obsidian
- Metaphysical Properties of Black Obsidian
- Black Obsidian vs. Black Tourmaline
- Obsidian Meaning
- What Does Obsidian Represent?
- Meaning of Snowflake Obsidian
- Obsidian Birthstone
- Obsidian Uses
- Obsidian Knife
- Obsidian Arrowhead
- How to Charge Black Obsidian
- How to Cleanse Black Obsidian
- Where to Place Black Obsidian in the Home
- Wearing Black Obsidian
- Obsidian Jewelry
- Obsidian Ring
- Black Obsidian Bracelet
- Obsidian Necklace
What is Obsidian?
Black obsidian is undoubtedly the most common and well known of the dark stones on Earth. It’s been part of the metaphysical healing movement for centuries, and people have long known of the benefits of proper use of this stone.
Black stones are typically known for being stones of protection, and obsidian definitely falls under this jurisdiction. Working with obsidian stone can change your life, and we don’t say this lightly.
Most of the world’s black obsidian is sourced from the western regions in the United States, namely California, Oregon, Nevada and Wyoming. There are also many smaller deposits situated across the rest of the continents, including in Argentina, Armenia, Greece and even New Zealand.
Is Obsidian a Crystal?
Technically speaking, no: obsidian rock is not a crystal as we know them by their existing definition. Obsidian does not form inside of cavities and geodes beneath the surface of the Earth, but instead as a result of volcanic matter that is left to cool rapidly above the surface of the ground.
Obsidian is a form of igneous rock that can be classified as natural glass. It forms when viscous lava from active volcanoes meets the land or sea and cools at a faster rate than usual lava would. It’s high composition of silica is what gives the cool rock its glassy texture.
In short, the process of formation for obsidian stones is one of crystallization. In spite of this, black obsidian retains healing properties similar to that of conventional crystals, with somewhat amplified effects probably due to the presence of these added elements.
The standard color for most obsidian is jet-black, however there are some varieties that form in the presence of hematite, which gives the stones a reddish or brown hue. Occasionally, obsidian may contain tiny gas bubbles that give it a slight golden sheen.
In rare cases, obsidian may exhibit bands of green, gray or yellow as a result of natural mottling.
Snowflake obsidian is a popular stone, and occurs when trace amounts of Cristobalite, a white mineral, introduce themselves in the solidifying process. The result is a black and white spotted crystal that looks as though snowflakes had fallen across the exterior.
Benefits of Black Obsidian
By using black obsidian, you can actively protect not only yourself, but also your home and mental body as well. Physical protection is important in the world, but a crystal that takes measures to keep you safe from psychic attacks can drastically improve one’s quality of life.
Black obsidian has the power to purify any negative energy that is present in a person or space. This kind of energy is a contaminant, and serves no purpose in the greater good of the individual other than playing catalyst for one to seek change.
In addition to this, obsidian can also protect one from energetic contaminants that come from radiation or electromagnetic signals in the home. Your televisions, laptops, microwaves and WiFi routers are constantly emitting harmful frequencies that could be causing an imbalance in your energy body — black obsidian seeks to protect from these as well.
Metaphysical Properties of Black Obsidian
One of the most significant black obsidian stone properties is the work that this special volcanic glass does with its users' aura. Any disharmony, negative attachments and patterns that hold you back will be brought forward for confrontation and eventual release.
Obsidian is a no-nonsense stone, and takes a stern approach to all who choose to work with it. That being said, it is never unkind or cruel, nor will it subject a user to more than they can handle at one time. It knows balance and boundaries, and all that is brought to the surface happens in due time.
You see, the end game for black obsidian is personal and spiritual growth that blends seamlessly for the greatest possible good of the individual. That which stands in the way is merely a brief obstacle, and this stone will help you to realize that.
Black Obsidian vs. Black Tourmaline
Many like to compare the black obsidian properties to that of black tourmaline, the next most common black stone in the world of crystal healing.
Black tourmaline is also a powerful protector, and has similar absorption and transformation abilities when it comes to negative energy. Like obsidian, black tourmaline can also sift out contaminants in the environment.
The biggest difference between black obsidian and black tourmaline is that the latter doesn’t need as regular a cleaning from the negative energies with which it works. You see, tourmaline can store vast amounts of negative frequencies within its crystalline structure without being compromised in ability, whereas obsidian is far more gentle and thus influenceable.
Tourmaline is also more grounding than obsidian, however it is less heavy energy-wise, so work is done at a much more glacial pace and over longer periods of time. Obsidian works fast and hard, wasting no time in charging toward the end goal from day one.
As far as we know, black obsidian meaning dates back to as early as 100 BC, when Mayan merchants would trade the volcanic glass in the marketplace. It’s unclear as to what the crystal meant to them metaphysically, but it’s likely that they found great use in the stones for making physical tools.
The Aztec communities would use obsidian to fashion ceremonial knives, as this particular rock form can produce fragments with exceptionally sharp edges.
To these early civilizations, obsidian was a symbol of great strength and prosperity. It meant that one had not only the tools to assert their power, but also access to the natural riches of the Earth.
Today, obsidian means something very different to the people of the planet. No longer used for its physicality, obsidian now means something more metaphysical, albeit still strong, powerful and protective.
What Does Obsidian Represent?
If you consider the journey that obsidian takes in order to form, it’s very much a representation of what the stone goes on to embody during its use in the real world.
A volcano erupts, the lava flows toward the surface of the Earth, and the lava is met by the necessary elements to allow for rapid cooling to occur. These are very specific conditions, and thus not all lava can become obsidian and take on this second leg of life.
There is immense resilience and will power embedded within the crystalline structure of this rock. A will not only to survive, but to be transformed into someone immeasurably powerful, and even life changing.
Obsidian represents the tenacity to not only survive, but to go on to thrive in the world, and make a real effect on the lives of others. To protect not only oneself in the process, but also the environment that exists outside of ourselves, as well as the psyche that lives within.
Meaning of Snowflake Obsidian
This particular form of obsidian rock brings a few additional properties to the user. It’s a much more gentle form of obsidian, as a white mineral has been introduced into the crystalline structure.
Snowflake obsidian seeks balance for the body, mind and spirit, simultaneously. More than just protecting you from negative energies and thought patterns, it actually helps you to release them in a way that is most conducive to your current lifestyle needs.
If one is suffering from perceived isolation and loneliness, snowflake obsidian will help to empower the individual into seeing things very differently. Time spent alone is as valuable as time spent with others: all that has to change is one’s frame of reference.
Snowflake obsidian can be used to surrender more deeply into meditation. Hold it in the palm of your hand whilst in session and allow it to guide you gently into the higher vibrations.
Obsidian is the official birthstone for all those born under the Sagittarius zodiac, approximately between November 23 and December 21.
It is appropriate to gift this kind of crystal to anyone celebrating a birthday during this time, and they will receive great benefit from attuning to this stone that is already in alignment with this incarnation energy.
As mentioned, black obsidian stone didn’t begin its role amongst humanity as a metaphysical force. It was very much appreciated as a physical entity prior to its healing properties being uncovered, and there were a variety of alternate uses for this stone.
Because of how this natural glass can be shaped and adapted, there were many different types of tools made out of black obsidian. Historians have merely scratched the surface with regards to the variety of objects that were made with obsidian throughout the different civilizations, but there are enough remnants at present to shed light on how the Aztec and Native American communities valued this stone.
The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican culture of people who lived in central Mexico between 1300 and 1521. During this time, they found great use for obsidian rock, particularly in the formation of knives that they would use in ceremonial services, and for flint.
These were sacrificial blades, and there was great respect for the stone as it was deemed a natural element, worthy of taking life as needed.
Some historians are exploring the use of obsidian for knife blades much earlier than the time of the Aztecs. During the 5th millennium BC, there were great quantities of obsidian extracted from deposits in what would today be known of as Turkey.
Even the ancient Egyptians show evidence of using obsidian blades that they likely imported from the Red Sea regions, and the Mediterranean.
When used in knife form, obsidian has a cutting ability that is roughly five hundred times sharper than the sharpest steel blade in the world. It retains incredible smoothness when observed under a microscope, unlike steel that holds a jagged edge when sharp.
Not all historic cultures valued the use of knives, and some opted for more subtle hunting tools such as the bow and arrow. Obsidian proved to be a wonderful material from which to fashion arrowheads, and since it was so much sharper than steel it was effective for even beginners.
Obsidian is an abundant resource in America, particularly in the western regions. The native tribes had access to massive deposits of this rock, and thus could use it to gain the upper hand against prey and opponents.
It is not unlikely that these native tribes had an understanding of the metaphysical properties embedded within the obsidian rock, too. The Native Americans were known for being incredibly spiritual beings, and observed an interconnectedness between man and matter. Working with obsidian glass above other forms of rock would likely have been a strategic choice.
How to Charge Black Obsidian
If you want to know how to use black obsidian, you first need to know how to cleanse and charge it. There is little point in working with a stone that is not properly energized and in working order. You see, crystals take on the energies that they come into contact with, and sometimes the more negative ones can compromise the functioning integrity of the stone.
What’s interesting about charging crystals, is that it can be done even when a stone is not necessarily cleansed. We’ll get further into the latter in a bit, but for the most part all you need to know is that to charge a crystal one simply needs to do any of the following:
- To charge with intention, sit with your stone in the palm of your hand and enter a light meditation. Use your thought to charge the stone with whatever it is you desire, and make these very clear.
- Use high vibrating, amplifying crystals to charge your obsidian stone.
- Make use of a singing bowl to send sound energy into the obsidian.
- Place your obsidian on a bed of Himalayan salt and let it charge like this for up to 48 hours.
How to Cleanse Black Obsidian
Cleansing your obsidian, prior to charging it, is highly advisable. This guarantees that there are no lingering energies that may interfere with the crystal’s ability to do the work you are intending.
At a minimum, black obsidian should be cleansed at least once a month. Use any of the following methods to do so:
- There are some crystals that dissolve in water, but black obsidian is not one of them. Hold it under running water for up to a minute to give it a good cleanse and recharge.
- Create a saltwater solution and submerge your obsidian for up to 24 hours.
- Burn herbs or incense over your obsidian, sending the intention for cleansing from your mind’s eye.
- Leave your stones out under the light of the full moon, and retrieve them the following morning.
- Bury your obsidian in the garden, allowing the Earth to cleanse and charge it for up to 48 hours.
- Use prayer and meditation to cleanse your stones.
Where to Place Black Obsidian in the Home
Because it can pull pollutants from the atmosphere, it is wise to place black obsidian in home spaces that generate a lot of EMFs, which is short for electromagnetic frequencies. This would be any room containing televisions, laptops, WiFi routers or microwaves. Generally, keeping a generously sized piece in your living room is a good idea!
Alternatively, crystal enthusiasts advise placing large pieces of black obsidian by the front door of a home. This way, any energies that enter or exit the space are either neutralized or cleansed as they pass by the stone. In this manner, negative energies are less likely to enter your space from the outside only to wreak havoc on the inside.
If you have the means, suspend your stone above the actual door frame, leaving the floor space open and the crystal with the ability to cleanse from above.
Wearing Black Obsidian
Something you need to keep in mind when working with black obsidian is that this is an incredibly powerful stone. Many users report a number of side effects after having worked with obsidian directly on the body over long periods of time.
What can sometimes happen is that the potency of the stone’s frequency starts to become a bit overwhelming. One may feel a certain heaviness set in, particularly in the head area, which often translates to a heaviness of emotions.
Obsidian has the tendency to bring repressed emotions right back up to the surface, so that one can face them head on. For some, this can be extremely disorienting, despite being in pursuit of the greatest possible good for the user.
If you do find that wearing black obsidian, day after day, is causing you some overwhelming feelings, simply take a day off between uses. There is balance to be found in everything, and there is no reason to abandon the work being done altogether. Obsidian is perfectly safe to wear and use.
A black obsidian ring is a great way of getting a light dose of the stone’s powers, daily. Generally, a ring-sized piece of obsidian doesn’t have the overwhelming effect that some of the bigger pendants do, and you can use it to reap the rewards of the more gentle properties of the stone.
Always remember that even crystal jewelry has to be cleansed and recharged every so often. Treat these stones no differently to how you would an individual crystal collection.
Obsidian is a naturally hard and durable stone, so there is little risk of wrecking your ring by bumping it. It is also water-friendly, so you don’t actually have to take it off every time you shower or swim.
Black Obsidian Bracelet
If you want to enjoy the benefits that crystals can offer the physical body, we recommend wearing them on your wrist.
The wrist area is a highly energetic zone: one with nearly direct access to the bloodstream. Blood, as we know it, is the physical manifestation of life force energy, so working with energetic tools at this entry point can greatly affect the user for the better.
A black obsidian bracelet can be a shield between your physical body and the electromagnetic pollutants in your surrounding environment. If you work extensive hours on a laptop or PC, this kind of bracelet can protect the EMFs from harming your aura throughout the day.
When you want a crystal to work more closely with your upper chakras (heart, throat, third eye and crown), you should wear it around your neck.
The vibrations of a necklace pendant can work their way up, offering benefit to all of the chakras in the general vicinity. A piece of black obsidian around the neck will protect your heart, and help you in staying true to every word that escapes your throat.
You can also remove the pendant from your obsidian necklace, and use it as a pendulum. Obsidian is the best black stone to use for pendulum purposes.
There is great benefit in having a piece of obsidian either on your person, or in your home. It’s an important crystal to enthusiasts, and so the rest of us can take a note from their book and invest in a piece for our own use. Black obsidian also makes for a powerful center stone when building crystal grids.
If you are interested in incorporating crystals into your life, you should consider a mindful breathing necklace made of a crystal that resonates with you. Mindful breathing jewelry made of crystals not only help provide the benefits of the crystal you choose to wear, but they can also be used to help slow your breath, leading to a greater sense of calm and serenity. Also, if you are interested in reading more about anxiety and crystals, check out our comprehensive blog post on the 15 Best Crystals for Anxiety!