Magical & Healing Properties of Amber
Above all things, amber is a stone of healing and protection. It is so naturally protective, that it is said to be ideal for beginners to magick as it is both powerful and safe to use. Some say that amber does not absorb the energies and intentions of others in the way that most crystals do. It will maintain its healing and protective properties whether or not it has been cleansed and charged. Amber is a symbol of eternal life and immortality which is reflected both by the way it weathers the test of time and for its propensity to preserve once living organisms. Amber’s warm color, silky smooth texture and soft edges make it a sensual stone good for love spells and magic related to sexuality. Amber is associated with the Sacral Chakra and Solar Plexus and the element of fire. In addition to general healing and protection it is ideal for bringing balance to emotions, clearing mental faculties, healing sexual disorders or trauma, and repairing poor self-esteem.
In the past, amber was used in incense and has a pleasant pine scent when burned. It seems a shame to burn a resin that hardened before the dinosaurs even began roaming the Earth. I’d recommend carrying amber in its raw form, incorporating it into jewelry or as a talisman.
Copal, known as young amber, has similar magical properties but can be used in different ways. Copal is also a tree-based resin that is in its gum state and is softer than amber. It comes in a variety of colors from off white or grey to honey colored, orange or deep red. The word copal derives from the Aztec word meaning incense. Copal is a terrific incense and can be burned on top of charcoal biscuits (intended for incense burning only). Copal comes primarily from East Africa and Mexico and was considered sacred by the Mayans. Still today it is used in sweat lodge ceremonies. In addition to its healing and protective properties, copal is used to convey messages to the underworld. Like amber, it can be used in magick to bring clarity to the mind and identify ailments.
Authenticating Amber and Copal from Fakes
Sometimes people sell fake amber or try to sell copal as amber. There are a few ways to tell the difference.
- Amber that contains insects, scorpions, lizards, etc., are incredibly rare and expensive. Nearly anything that amber would have trapped 300 million years ago is now extinct. If it contains a complete specimen or if the organism is perfectly contained within the center of the amber (and it’s cheap) it is probably a fake.
- Plastic knock-offs will burn where amber and copal will smoke. Obviously plastic will smell like burning chemicals where copal and amber smell sweet and like pine.
- Real amber fluoresces a pale blue under ultraviolet light. Copal may fluoresce a white or not at all. Fakes will not fluoresce.
- Acetone (nail polish remover) will make the surface of plastic or copal tacky to the touch or discolored. Amber will not be harmed by acetone.
- A trick for identifying amber; rub it briskly with your thumb or a piece of fabric until it is warm to the touch. If it is authentic it will give off a faint pine or sweet woody scent.
- Amber is highly electrostatic. The Greeks called it elektron because of this property. Rub it with a silk cloth and real amber will pick up dust and lint.
Have you used amber or copal in your spellwork? Does it have any special meaning or magical use to you? Share your experiences with magical amber and copal in the comments section below.