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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3 thoughts on “Stone: Pumice

  1. Thanks for the sanitising tip – the chunk I use on my depressingly callused feet is one that the parents used to have in their bathroom and I doubt it has ever been sanitised, certainly not in the 30-odd years I’ve known of its existence. However, it is now sitting on my draining rack and my kitchen smells of tea tree.

    • I hear you about the depressingly callused feet. Mine can get absolutely awful. If I don’t stay on top of them, I develop cracks that bleed. But I’ve developed a great routine over the last year, and my heels are looking better than they have since I was a child. The best “pumice” I’ve found is this thing called “Sof’Feet Callus reducer.” I’m fairly sure it’s just a nice acrylic handle that holds a strip of drywall screen (At least, that’s what the screen looks like to me…but I got replacement screens from them. Each screen lasts for ages. If you got their replacement pack of 20, you’d be set for maybe 3-5 years.), and it removes SO MUCH STUFF. Grate a bit, knock out the “dust”, and grate some more. Rinse when finished and let it air dry. There aren’t any blades, so you can’t cut yourself, and it really won’t “grate” skin that isn’t dry, so you can’t go too deep. It’s only like $15 here in the US, but on Amazon UK it’s waaaay more than that, which makes no sense. We can sometimes find them in more “commercial” beauty supply stores like Sally Hansen’s. Maybe you’ve got something similar over there?

      I usually finish with an Amope electric foot file (I have the wet/dry model…and I think this goes by the Scholl brand in Britain) which leaves a much smoother result than the Sof’Feet alone. The Sof’Feet and Amope are used dry, by the way. Then a bit of a soak if I’m feeling decadent, and then I slather on a 40% urea cream (I’ve been using PurSources, but I’m going to try out Mountain Forest Botanicals next time I need more as they use shea and cocoa butter, which I know my skin loves!). Pop on some socks, go to bed, and I’ve got feet like a five-year-old’s when I wake up. I file maybe once every 3 days and use the urea cream nightly for 2-3 weeks when I’ve neglected things for awhile, but usually it’s file once a week and use the 40% cream once every 3 days. I have a lower percentage urea cream (Dr. Foot Callus Cream at the moment, but Eucerin Advanced Foot Care is also good) that I use every morning after I shower.

      It seems complicated when I write it all out, but it’s really not. And I would have some serious podiatric problems if I didn’t do it.

      • Before I started using pumice regularly, my heels would also do the cracking and bleeding thing on a regular basis. And there’s a persistent callus on the outside of my left big toe that has in the past also decided to do the cracking and bleeding. To be fair, mine would be a lot better if I didn’t walk around barefoot so much, or continue to wear my socks long after they’ve developed massive holes in the heels… You also take much better care of your feet overall – mine get pumiced once a week and that’s it. I have noticed them getting worse over the last few weeks, possibly because I’m no longer sweating in my work boots for twelve hours a day five days a week, and/or walking around without shoes more as I’m at home every day and the weather’s been lovely and warm over here since lockdown. I should probably attack them with some sort of cream/balm as well, unfortunately wearing socks in bed is a sure-fire way to make me overheat dramatically unless it’s a very cold night, but something like the healing foot salves you mentioned in another post would be worth trying.

        Although the best my feet have ever been aside from when I was very small was after I came out of ICU in 2017. About four days after I was moved to the respiritory ward all my calluses just started to peel away, like they were SFX prosthetics. It was amazing, and my feet came out looking like the stars of a pedicure commercial. Unfortunately they all started coming back once I was up and walking regularly again, and while effective I wouldn’t recommend this particular method as a way to obtain luscious feet.

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