Stone: Pumice

A large chunk of raw pumice

It occurs to me that I’ve been neglectful of stones that don’t have the perception of being gemstones thus far in my scattered studies of magical properties, so today we turn to a favorite regular old rock:  pumice.

Now, I’m pretty sure pumice can be made of just about any sort of volcanic rock, as it occurs in a staggering variety of colors and grain textures and–probably–chemical compositions.  Really, then, “pumice” is more of a texture than a rock.  It’s basically just solidified lava froth that usually occurs when lava explodes from a volcano and is suddenly mixed with water.  The rapid depressuration of the lava causes gasses dissolved gasses to exsolve, and the sudden cooling from the water traps the bubbles in the hardening lava matrix.  And so we get a really light, holy rock that looks a bit like a sponge.  It’s so light for its surface area that it will even float on water.

Pumice floating in a beaker

As Melody notes, this last little quirk makes pumice a good reminder “for one not to ‘sink’ into despair when faced with ‘heavy’ problems,” and–in general–I find pumice to be something that helps inculcate levity.

Of course, anyone who’s so much as thought of a spa knows that the abrasiveness of pumice is great for practical matters such as smoothing calluses.  Magically, that can be turned to reminders of combating abrasive character traits and sloughing off negative attitudes.  Melody notes that pumice–like a sponge–“takes negative within itself in any situation and, hence, should often be cleansed.”  Scott Cunningham takes up that banner, too, and offers the following banishing spell suggestion:

Take a piece of pumice and hold it in your projective hand.  Visualize the problem you wish to be rid of–a damaging habit, negative emotion, physical ailment, or unrequited love.

While holding the stone, through your visualization, send the energy which is behind the problem into the pumice.  You might imagine it as streams of thick, black smoke, the consistency of molasses, flowing into the light, porous stone.

Then throw the pumice into a lake, stream, the ocean, or any body of water.  As it hits the water, it releases the problem and its root causes into that element.  Floating on the surface, the pumice strengthens your ability to “rise above” any and all negative conditions.

If you do not have access to bodies of water, fill a large basin or bucket with water and perform the ritual; then pour the water, stone, and all, onto bare earth.

Pumice, as Cunningham continues, “could also be put on the altar during protective magic workings, or set inside the home as an amuletic sponge”.  Just “empower it with the property of absorbing negativity” first and cleanse it often.

Of course, pumice is also great to use physically.  In addition to helping smooth calluses, light scrubs can help with cellular turnover on other body surfaces.  Of course, it can harbor bacteria and fungi in all its little crevasses, so it does help to sanitize the stone after such uses.  Simply bring it to boil in a saucepan with some water and a little bleach or tea tree oil.  Boil the pumice for ten minutes, then set it aside to completely air dry.  Do your best to rinse the pumice and air dry it after every use, and sanitation won’t have to be done frequently.

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