The Feldspar Minerals - Labradorite, Moonstone and Sunstone
Feldspar is an umbrella term for a family of silicates (quartz), bound to aluminium and oxygen with the addition of either sodium and calcium or potassium. Feldspars are divided into two main categories depending on their mineral compositions, Plagioclases and Orthoclases. Plagioclases contain varying degrees of calcium (Anorthite) and sodium (Albite), with labradorite being one such example (70:30% calcium:sodium). In comparison, orthoclases are potassium rich feldspars, such as Moonstone. Sunstone is a feldspar that is formed within either category but with the additions of hematite, iron or copper creating an orange hue.
Feldspar makes up around 60% of the earth’s crust. It is found in igneous rocks formed by magma but also in metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Interestingly, feldspars are major constituents of the moon! Anorthosite (a feldspar composed of calcium) is uncommon on the Earth yet a major feature of the lunar highlands! Feldspars lustrous gems hold a magical connection to our wonderful planet and understandably been revered through history.
The Inuit peoples of Labrador and the native tribes of North America found good fortune in Labradorite. In folklore, Labradorite fell from the skies of the Aurora Borealis and contained the fire of their ancestors. An alternative legend says how a brave warrior struck his spear into a piece of labradorite and created Aurora Borealis - either way a real feeling of ‘as above, so below’ and a connection between the earth and sky.
Sunstone was revered by the ancient Greeks to represent their sun god and bring fortune. Around the 13th century, the Icelandic peoples were believed to used sunstone to locate the sun in an overcast sky. Interestingly, in 2013 a piece of sunstone was found in a sunken 16th Century war ship, providing evidence of its navigational use in Viking times.
In ancient folklore, moonstone was created by moonbeams that fell from the sky thanks to its magical shimmering displays. The ancient Greeks associated this stone with the great Goddesses such as Selene, Artemis, Diana and Aphrodite. In Indian cultures Moonstone was called Chandrakanta, to mean ‘beloved of the moon’ and was considered as a holy gemstone.
Perhaps these outer-worldly vibrations were due to the wonderful optical phenomena of feldspar and their magical light scattering effect. Iridescent, labradorescence, opalescence, adularescence have been used to describe the shiny lustres. Feldspar has many rectangular crystals which break into two 90 degree angles (like a staircase) to produce its iridescent effects. The lamellar like layers with the sodium, calcium or potassium inter-growths produce the wonderful iridescence; thin layers diffuse the light, travelling through the layers and breaking up the light into a rainbow which bounce around the stone and are deflected.
So before we move on we should mention a few cautions with the Feldspar family. Feldspars contain aluminium and therefore they should not be used in gem water; they also contain minerals which could be toxic in large amounts so stick to using them externally. Feldspar is softer than quartz and being slightly more fragile they are prone to scratching. It is also important not to drop your crystals because they contain natural cleavages which are prone to breaking and cracking.
Feldspars are slightly water sensitive and if submerged for any length of time they will lose their lustre, although, they can cope with a quick cleansing rinse, ideally in rain water. I tend to cleanse my feldspars every two weeks and I like to give them a delicate polish. I most frequently leave them to recharge until the light of a full moon. That said, if they have been used for lots of healing work I sometimes like to bury them in some dry soil for a few hours to let any stagnant energies dissipate.
I like to think of these three stones as the moon, the earth/sky and the sun. I like to hold, carry or wear these particular gemstones. They are really wonderful for spiritual work. They will work with most of the suggestions given in the previous series, just avoid the gem water suggestions.
Labradorite - the Sky and Earth Child
A gemstone of travellers, shamans and those seeking universal knowledge, it is said to improve ones intuition, enhance communication with spirit guides and provide prophecy; I find meditating on the crystal is the best way to seek its knowledge.
Like the Aurora Borealis it is a stone of transformation, helping to remove unwanted habits, thoughts and feelings; especially useful when used as jewellery.
Carry a piece of labradorite with you to make sure you are in the right place at the right time. Said to bring good mental health to those who own it as well as bringing strength and perseverance. It relieves the burdens of responsibility and allows you to appreciate what you have.
The colour green is a healing colour that relates the to heart chakra. Why not lie down and allow the heavenly properties of Aurora Borealis bring peace and tranquility. Simply lie down and place the crystal over the heart chakra and breathe in and out, releasing stress as you do.
Moonstone - the Feminine Moon
Carry a piece of moonstone with you that has been charged in the light of a full moon for comfort and reassurance when you need it.
Moonstone is said to bring unconditional love and affection; worn as jewellery it can help to heal a broken heart or bring a new love into your life.
Connected strongly to the moon, moonstone is perfect for honouring the full moon. Make a list of the things you wish to gain for the month and a list of things you wish to banish. Call on the moon deities to hear your wishes and spend some time doing self-care, chanting or singing in celebration of the full and the feminine in all her glory. Once you are finished you can burn your lists safely.
Connected to the third-eye and crown chakras, moonstone can help you to develop intuition and communicate with ancestors and your higher self. Simply lie down and place the crystal over the third-eye or crown chakra, breathe in and out and see what comes to you.
In Arabic countries, women used to sew moonstones into clothes to increase their fertility.
Sunstone: The Masculine Sun
Enhances intuition and connects to Father Sun. Placed on your third-eye or crown chakra it can help you to develop your intuition and communicate with spirit guides.
Wear as jewellery to become more accepting of change - the sun rises each day and alleviates the fear associated with change.
Place a piece of sunstone over your sacral chakra to restore a masculine, creative, passionate and warming energy.
Carry a piece of sunstone to bring joy, peace and balanced emotions.
I personally see many reflections between these crystals, our solar system and our body. The metallic additions of sodium, calcium and potassium are just the same as the electrolytes in our body which are needed at the cellular level. The lamella structures are similar to the structures found in our bones - I suppose in some way we are crystalline beings and we are indeed all connected by energy.
Tatsuyuki Arai, Shigenori Maruyama (2017) Formation of anorthosite on the Moon through magma ocean fractional crystallization, Geoscience Frontiers, 8, (2), 299-308. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2016.11.007