Apache Tear Obsidian
Also known as smoky obsidian
Key Words: Grounding, protection, Shadow, transformation, shift of consciousness
Chemical Formula: ~SiO2 (undifferentiated mineral matter)
Birthstone: Secondary Birthstone for Capricorn
General Properties: Obsidian symbolises the potential we are born with, in suspension, before it begins to crystallise through the experiences of our lives. All obsidians ground and protect, root spiritual energy, and dissolve shock, fear, pain and energy blocks. Obsidian aids inner reflection, and helps us to release addiction and other unhealthy behaviour patterns. It can elicit a paradigm shift in consciousness.
I have a large sphere of silver sheen obsidian in my treatment/teaching room, which aids transformational shifts in clients and students alike. For many, its grounding and protecting qualities are very comforting. For others there is a flip side to this stone, in that it enables us to gain integrity by allowing us to see and accept our Shadow side as it really is, helping us to become more balanced and whole. Because of this quality, it should be used with caution, and only when the user feels ready to face his/her personal darkness. Obsidian is also a useful scrying (crystal gazing) tool.
Smoky obsidian usually forms as small droplets. It is translucent rather than opaque, and often occurs as nodules in matrix. In the US it is known as Apache Tears, and in Hawaii as Pele's Tears (Pele being the goddess of the volcano). There are many variations on the Apache legend, including one account of a small band of Apache warriors fighting the US Cavalry in Arizona in the 1870s. Hopelessly outnumbered, they were driven to the edge of a cliff. Rather than face defeat, they chose to ride their horses over the cliff to their deaths. When their people heard of the tragedy, their tears fell to the ground and solidified. Smoky obsidian is used to bring comfort and acceptance to those who are grieving.