Amber: The “Tears of the Gods”
Since many years forgotten, amber is having
a revival as jewel and fumigant – and for a short time
it is also available in a liquid alchemical form: true to the
recipes by Paracelsus, one succeeded to gain an essence from
dissolved amber, which is regarded as a universal remedy since
the Middle Ages.
By Ulrich Arndt
“This is a noble medicine for the head, stomach, intestines,
and other sinews complaints, the same also against stones.” Like
this Paracelsus adores the amber-essence and he further writes: “That
is the Magisterium Carabe (thus he describes amber), which showed
in many ways wonderful virtues.”
Still in the 19th century amber was regarded as a kind of remedy
for all purposes. Nowadays its healing power is almost forgotten
and solely the knowledge about
the application of amber used in a necklace for babies against complaints with
teething was preserved in general public. Thereby amber was highly estimated
since ages as a healing stone, fumigant, and medicine. Already in the Bronze
Age, around 1300 B.C., amber reached, starting from the Baltic sea coast, all
parts of Europe and was very sought-after as “Gold of the North”.
The sight of a particular clear amber, even one with an inclusion, is fascinating
the observer still today. And its sunny, strangely melted and coagulated brilliance
then warms the heart and mind and calms the emotions. The Teutons called it “Glaesum” in
former times. It is derived from the old-germanic word “Glaes” and “glisis” and
means to gleam from which the today’s word glass derived. For the Romans
it was called succinum according to its origin, the sap of trees, called “succus”.
The Greek called amber “electron” and related to its strange powers,
such as today the well-known electro-magnetic qualities. Since the 13th Century
it is called “Agtstein”, “aiten” in Old High German,
which means something like “to burn” or “Börnstein”,
derived from “börnen” (which means to “burn”) – thus
it was called a “burning stone” from which nowadays the word became “Bernstein” (the
meaning of amber in German).
As hardly any other “gem” amber is twined with myths and is even
regarded as “Tears of the Gods” – in such a way at least
the myth of Phaeton describes its origin.
Birth out of Fire and Water
Ovid described the myth of Phaeton in his “metamorphosis” and
from other poets it was also preserved in many variations. Phaeton
(engl. the “beaming”, “shining” one) is
the son of the Sun-God Helios and Klymene, one of Okeanos’ daughters – i.e.
a child of archetypal union of the fire and water principle. Phaeton
grows up with his mother and since he is teased because of his
unclear descent from children of the same age, he one day wants
to prove to everybody, that the Sun-God is really his father. He
persuades Helios, that he himself may drive the “sun-carriage” across
the sky for one day long. As Phaeton is not able to tame the horses
of the sun-carriage and the earth is already burnt for one half
by the sun, Jupiter flings him with a flash away from the carriage.
Phaeton falls into the river of the sky called Eridanus and drowns.
At its banks his sisters mourn for him. They freeze due to grief
and become trees. But their tears become amber – therefore
there is the epithet “Tears of the Gods” respectively
the ”Tears of the Daughters of the Sun“.
The myth of Phaeton reminds of integrating harmoniously in oneself the masculine
and feminine elemental forces. Otherwise sun-principle (burn up by sun-carriage
and Jupiter-flash) and water-principle (drowning in Eridanus and flood of tears)
mutually foam over. This equalizing principle between fiery and watery processes
is found in the traditional healing application of amber again. Here it is
used for stopping the blood flow and pus as well as it is used with fever;
it is applied both with “overfoaming”, growing ulcers and also
with hardenings and stone formations. A great nurturing power in ointments
and oils is attributed to amber besides.
Nowadays even more familiar is its use as fumigant and as jewellery and healing
The easiest application of amber is to wear it as jewellery in
direct contact to the skin. As a healing stone it was put on with
stomach, spleen, liver, gall-bladder and kidney complaints, and
with sufferings from stone diseases and nervousness. Thus for instance
duke Albrecht gave white amber to Martin Luther as a medicine against
his stone disease. While wearing amber, it supported moreover a “sunny
nature”, strengthened flexibility and creativity and helped
to keep traditional values in a positive way.
When the petrified resin is used as a fumigant, its smoke shall have a purifying
effect and helps mentally to digest and integrate “old subjects”.
It was purposefully inhaled with stomach complaints, heart anxiety, lack of
air, and having stitches. Besides amber-incenses should be able to chase away
paralysis, gout and rheumatism.
Already Plinius the Older (he died 79 A.D.) recommended also the intake of
amber remedies with eye diseases among wearing a chain of amber against diseases
of the throat, fever, and mental disorders.
Dioskurides and Galen (1st century A.D.) used amber against stomach complaints,
diarrhoea and flatulence; and their contemporary Rufus from Ephesos praised
amber as a universal medicine.
Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1178) recommends as well the intake of amber
with stomach and intestine pains, aggravated urination, against black death,
and mixed with wine as a kind of universal remedy. And already in the early
Middle Ages amber was also used as powder for wounds, in bandages for wounds
and in healing salves.
Georgius Agricola (1494–1555), a well-known doctor and alchemist, the
pharmacist of town in Joachimsthal and Chemnitz, already discovered in his
experiments with amber the extraction of amber-acid through distillation, which
centuries later should be of great importance for the production of colours.
As a doctor Agricola highly appreciates amber-remedies, for it “possesses
the ability to spread, and therefore, taken as a drink, stops the bleeding
everywhere it appears. It inhibits vomiting, diarrhoea, pyorrhoea, which attacks
the ulcers and finally catarrhs of the head and thus is effective against tonsillitis
and sore throat. It also vitalizes the torso and other parts of the body.” Besides
amber was good for the heart and with “heart palpitation”. “Moreover
fumigant of white amber chases away epilepsy” writes Agricola.
Sebastian Münster, a hebraist and humanist, well-known because of his
first complete edition of the Hebrew Bible in 1534, recommends: ”In medicine
one uses the ‘Augstein’ (= amber), … thus one drinks it,
it stops the displeasure of the stomach, stops all flows which run into the
ulcers …” Moreover it was good against stomach complaints and ulcers
as well as with problems of the thyroid.
The later doctors, especially in the 17th and 18th century, recommend amber-remedies
with rheumatic diseases, heart diseases, skin- and other convulsions, neuropathy,
lung diseases and especially against formation of ulcers in the lungs and kidneys,
with common cold cough, stiffening of the neck and degeneration of the joints. “Mixed
with rose oil and honey amber heals damages of the ears, inwardly used it strengthens
the stomach and liberates it from old bad moistures … strengthens enormously
the heart, takes away jaundice, chases away the stone and soothes pain, stops
blood in the urine,” Johann Schröder reports in his book “Trefflich
versehender medizin-chymischer höchstkostbarer Artzneiy-Schatz (precisely
providing medicinal-chemical highly precious treasure of drugs), published
in 1709. And further he writes: “The ‘Agstein’ (amber) is
truly a remedy against almost all main diseases … mainly it serves the
head and nerves, since it hardly has its equals in all three kingdoms … with
catarrhs ‘Agstein’ (amber) is a remedium specificum. The catarrh
fevers are cured in the best way with amber.”
“The practice for Carabe is as follows”, explains
Paracelsus the first simple preparation of an amber essence in
the sixth book of Archidoxis, “Take Carabe (= amber) well
pulverized. Then add Circulatum (= a solvent of alchemy; for first
experiments conditionally replaceable by high-proof alcohol) into
a bottle and leave it in ashes for six days. Then distillate it
as long as an oil is found at the bottom.” This oil can be
further processed for intake, what for one “circulates (the
oil with) wine spirits, for the essence itself becomes better and
the dissolving Menstruum stronger … The tincture has to be
golden-yellow … The dose of this essence is 20 to 30 drops.” Whereas
an essence prepared in such a way had an universal healing effect,
the processing with the help of vinegar chased away specifically
the perspiration and urine according to Johann Schröder, and
strengthened the heart. “Pour distilled vinegar on pulverized
white ‘Agstein’ (amber) … let it boil for several
days in the sand … until the distilled vinegar is becoming
red, filter and extract and repeat this three times, then precipitate
with the juice of lemons.”
Nowadays the amber essence is produced again true to laboratory-art according
to Paracelsus, where far more than the three mentioned distillations are carried
out in order to achieve a high degree of purification. The reason: taste and
smell of amber essence, as it had been always described, is “strange” or
even “unpleasant”. Even the amber essence according to Paracelsus
has still a slight resinous typical taste.
Therapists’ Experiences of Today
the beginning of 2005 therapists collect their first experiences
with the amber essence by Paracelsus, which is again available
now. According to their reports it has in fact an amazing intense,
purifying and balancing effect on the entire digestive apparatus
and on the respiratory tracts. The amber essence activates similar
to the gold essence at once several chakras and therefore is effecting
energetically in manifold ways. Especially stimulated are the solar
plexus, sexual, and root chakra, which are under the control of
the entire “digestion” and “incorporation”,
thus the energetic integration into one’s own self as well
as into the vital and sexual energies.
On an energetic level it strengthens the inner harmony – particularly
with disharmonies due to problems connected to sexuality and roles of the sexes
and difficulties touching the polar elemental principles of male and female,
of fire and water. Like this the amber essence contributes by energetic means
to enable the integration of this polarity in a better way and to accept oneself.
Thus it supports the overcoming of “old tears” of psychical hurts
and helps to look trustful into the future.
While the alchemical amber essence is at disposal since about one year, amber
jewellery has a boom since 2 to 3 years, after having been almost insignificant
for about 40 years. It seems as if the specific energy of amber, its effect
of force from “fire and water” is especially needed of today’s
time again. And thanks to the rediscovered amber essence according to Paracelsus,
now one is able to get a little bit “illuminated” from inside.
Arndt, Ulrich: Schätze der Alchemie: Edelstein-Essenzen, and Schätze
der Alchemie: Metall-Essenzen. Both: Freiburg/Germany: Hans-Nietsch-Verlag
Testreports of Paracelsus essences:: www.life-testinstitut.de und www.edelstein-essenzen.de
Bildquellen: ©Ulrich Arndt, Edith Ochs / www.pixelio.de
der Bücher „Edelstein-Essenzen“ und „Metall-Essenzen“ im
Bezug alchemistische Rubedo-Essenzen im Esoterikfachhandel.
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