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Should we use birthstones and horoscopes?

As I am sure many of you are aware (and if not you know now) August's birth stone is the Peridot. I came across numerous posts during August informing me (as I have an August birthday myself) that the Peridot gemstone is an essential item for me - believed to 'instill power’ as well as bring ‘qualities of peace, good fortune and happiness.’ The birthstones have been used as a marketing strategy for a number of years, enticing customers, who believe that they must have their birthstone. It is also used as the perfect way to personalize a gift by adding the recipient’s birthstone. Untitled design (12)   Personally, this is a problem for me as the peridot birthstone is not the gemstone I would have chosen for myself. Green is not my favourite colour. That got me thinking, who decided which gemstone was assigned to each month? As I would have personally chosen a sapphire as my birthstone which all you September birthdays were fortunately assigned. (Below comment, I am interested to see who is happy with their assigned birthstone and who isn’t). It was this that inspired me to write today’s blog. I thought many of you would find it interesting to discover who choose the birthstones. Initially there were four different systems of gemstones:
  • Mythical Tibetan birthstones
  • Biblical birthstones referenced in the Old Testament and associated with the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • Ayurvedic birthstones from ancient Indian culture which were believed to have medicinal effects.
  • Zodiac birthstones, which astrologers assigned to the twelve signs of the zodiac to represent the power of the planets.
It was believed that the gemstones held powers with the ability to guide the soul carefully into the afterlife. It was mainly the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Incas, Aztecs, Persians, Tibetans, and Indians. Apparently our modern Western system of birthstones most closely derives from the biblical birthstone system. Although it was in fact Tiffany & Co that published a pamphlet in 1870 with the birthstone calendar poem that ultimately became the foundation for the traditional birthstone system used by most English-speaking societies. It has only been tweaked slightly since to create the birthstone list we use today: January – Garnet February – Amethyst March – Bloodstone, Aquamairne, April – Diamond May – Emerald June – Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone July – Ruby August – Peridot, Sardonyx September – Sapphire October – Tourmaline, Opal November – Topaz, Citrine December – Tanzanite, Zircon,Turquoise (and Blue Topaz depending on the source) Not only have we been told which gemstones we should have, but, with the Zodiac signs, which horoscopes refer too, our personality traits and even our futures have been assigned for us! It is believed that the twelve stones relate to the twelve months of the year and the twelve signs of the zodiac. The extent to which this is true is debated by scholars, although many suggest that people would wear a particular stone during the corresponding month as a talisman which was believed to hold magical properties. Being born on the 9th of August makes me a Virgo. Apparently I should be ‘neat and clean’ and because Virgo is the sixth sign of the zodiac it means they have a ‘strong attention to detail.’ They are also ‘modest and humane’ as well as being ‘reliable and practical.’ I have to admit that these characteristics do not all apply to me, attention to detail and the ability to keep everything tidy is something I have always struggled with! (Below comment, I am interested to see who fits their zodiac personality or how you are different). Astrology is the oldest of the sciences and the word Zodiac is a Greek based word. The signs of the zodiac are subdivided into four groups that are based upon the position of the sun, moon and planets: Fire Signs: Aries, Sagittarius, Leo Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces Air Signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini Earth Signs: Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo In the same way horoscopes are an astrologer’s interpretation based upon the position of the sun, moon planets and stars at the time of a person’s birth. Today many regard astrology as superstitious nonsense, lacking any scientific basis. Whilst others have the view that astrology can provide an understanding of ourselves and our future, based upon the gravitational forces exerted on our planets by the Sun and Moon. (feel free to comment with your opinions below)