Origin: Worldwide, notably Mexico, Peru
Mineral Species: Pyrite
Mineral Group: Sulphides
Chemical Formula: FeS2
Crystal System: Cubic (Isometric)
Colour: Pale brassy yellow
Typical Appearance: Crystals typically cubic or pyritohedral (pentagonal dodecahedral), and combinations are common. Less frequently octahedral, most commonly massive or granular.
Chakra Alignment: Solar Plexus
Origin of Name & Mythology: Literally “fire stone”, named in antiquity from the Greek "pyr" for "fire", because it creates sparks when struck with iron or flint, and has been used for thousands of years as a means of starting fires. Pliny states, “there is a great amount of fire in it”. He describes it being heated (or “roasted”) and washed, then used pharmaceutically for its warming, drying, dispersing and reducing effects. The powder of unheated pyrite was used in the treatment of some skin complaints. Native Americans sometimes used pyrite crystals as amulets. The ancient Mexicans carved it into wonderful mirrors, usually with one flat and one convex side.
Pyrite encourages self-realisation and critical self-reflection, showing us both our light and dark sides. It is also useful in clarification, on both emotional and diagnostic healing levels, and for uncovering suppressed memories. It is an important protection stone, and acts as a shield and defence on many levels.
Pyrite is in the cubic crystal system, but forms in a wide range of habits, reminding us that we can adapt to our surroundings and still retain our individuality. In sacred geometry the cube is the symbol of Earth, meaning when formed as an actual cube, pyrite acts as a powerful grounding crystal, strengthening our connection with the Earth, and giving the user a sense of structure and containment. Many find this comforting, but some may find it too restrictive. However, this is one of the few instances in which size does matter – the larger the cube, the stronger the grounding, so some find it more comfortable to work with or carry a smaller crystal for this purpose. Larger crystals are particularly helpful when a person is extremely ungrounded and needs to be brought back into his/her body quickly.
Because of its high iron content, pyrite can be used in the treatment of anaemia. It’s long association with fire makes it an ideal mineral to bring in heat or fire into the body where it is lacking, and its alignment with the Solar Plexus means it can be helpful in the treatment of depression, as well as instilling motivation and drive, and stimulating creativity (although the cubic shape is not necessarily recommended for this purpose).