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By Witchipedia, Crystals and Minerals

Obsidian: Varieties, Healing and Magickal Uses & More

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass that is formed when lava that is rich in feldspar and quartz is cooled too rapidly for crystals to form.

It is basically a beautiful chunk of dark-colored glass and behaves as you’d expect glass to behave, it is hard and brittle and breaks into very sharp shards.

Obsidian is found around the globe and has several variations, some rarer than others. It’s closely associated with the root chakra, and with protection, self-reflection, and personal growth.

Black obsidian, the most common form of the gem, can be used to help make difficult changes – and will support us on every step of the journey undertaken.


Obsidian is a versatile stone with various varieties, including Snowflake Obsidian, Rainbow Obsidian, and Mahogany Obsidian.

Each type has unique properties and healing attributes, making Obsidian a valuable gem for emotional and spiritual well-being.

In the realm of magic, Obsidian is prized for its protective qualities, especially against negativity and psychic attacks.

This volcanic glass is known for its grounding abilities and its capacity to reveal hidden truths, making it a powerful tool for self-discovery and transformation.

History and Folklore

The name Obsidian comes from the name Obsius, a Roman credited with discovering a similar stone in Ethiopia (though Obsidian was in use by humans well before Romans started writing things down).

Obsidian is prized flintknapping material as it makes a wonderful, sharp blade that was once the preferred tool for circumcisions in the Middle East and is used for surgical scalpels even today. The Macuahuitle, or Aztec War Club was a fearsome weapon used by the Aztecs consisting of several obsidian blades on a wooden handle. This weapon was capable of inflicting nightmarish injuries. (See it in action on Deadliest Warrior)


Obsidian also polishes to a highly reflective surface, making it useful for mirrors and decorative objects. Obsidian scrying glasses and crystal balls are popular. 

John Dee had a scrying glass of obsidian that is currently on display at the British Museum and Nostradamus is said to have used one as well. Small pieces of obsidian make lovely beads and cabochons and a thin slice of obsidian placed behind an opal cabochon offset’s the opal’s fire.

Archaeological sites where obsidian was mined and used to manufacture tools have been found throughout the world and obsidian tools have been found thousands of miles from the nearest obsidian outcrop, suggesting that it was an important prehistoric trading commodity.

obsidian close up by tina caro magickal spot
Copyright: Tina Caro


Obsidian has long been used for protection and is known as a limitless stone that can obliterate even the most negative or destructive of circumstances or elements. This crystal sees all and has traditionally been deployed to bring truths to the surface, so that we may see them with clarity.

It can remove blockages, encourage us to be the highest versions of ourselves, and help to heal traumas from the past that continue to haunt us.

Obsidian Correspondences

Video about the symbolic meaning of Obsidian

Healing and Magickal Uses for Obsidian


Obsidian is said to be helpful in healing related to the digestive system and muscular system and to help relieve pain. It is also said to be a helpful ally when combating bacterial infections.


Meditate with obsidian to help clear unconscious blocks and buried emotions and to bring issues to the surface before they build up and get out of control. Obsidian can be worn to protect against bouts of depression and to help fight chronic depression.

This crystal is a powerful aid to catharsis and is very useful in strengthening resolutions made to bring about positive change. It can help us to see how we’ve fallen into patterns of behavior or thought, and how to escape them.


Obsidian is a protective stone that can be used to guard against all forms of negativity and in spells designed to remove negativity from a person, object or area.

Obsidian jewelry can be worn to protect against psychic attack and obsidian blades can be used in rituals to cut unwanted links between people. Obsidian cut into the shape of an arrowhead is a powerful protective amulet.

Place four obsidian arrowheads around your home, pointing in the four cardinal directions for protection.

Obsidian is also useful for grounding.

Obsidian TypeMagickal Associations
Snowflake ObsidianScrying, past life recall, meditation
Rainbow ObsidianTransformation, energy work, joy
Mahogany ObsidianProtection, banishing, divination
Black ObsidianPsychic defense, grounding, scrying
Table: Magickal Uses of Obsidian
obsidian altar by tina caro magickal spot
Copyright: Tina Caro

Care and Cleansing of Obsidian

Obsidian can safely be cleaned using a soft cloth and soap and water, though soap residue can build upon it, so rinse well and polish afterward. Take care to store your obsidian in a soft case away from hard objects as it can easily be scratched. For this reason, obsidian is not recommended for rings.

You can cleanse your obsidian in running fresh or salted water and recharge it in either moonlight or sunlight.

Varieties of Obsidian

Type of ObsidianColorCharacteristics
Snowflake ObsidianBlack with whiteInner reflection, balance, purity
Rainbow ObsidianDark with iridescent colorsJoy, optimism, transformation
Mahogany ObsidianDark brown with blackStrength, protection, grounding
Black ObsidianPure blackPsychic protection, truth, purification
Table 1: Types of Obsidian and Their Characteristics

Apache Tear


Apache tear is a translucent form of obsidian found in Arizona, USA. The stones are round and anywhere from .5 to 5 centimeters in diameter.

According to legend, a group of Apache Indians was cornered by soldiers during a battle in the 1870s on a cliff overlooking what is now Superior, Arizona.

They had run out of arrows and to avoid capture, they leaped to their deaths from the cliff where they were trapped. The women of the tribe wept so bitterly that their tears turned to stone.

Apache tears are carried to protect from grief. Whoever carries one need never cry again as the Apache women have shed enough tears for their whole lives.

Apache tears may be used to help work through grief and other troubling emotions. It is also useful for healers to help protect them from becoming polluted with the energies causing the illnesses they are treating in others.

Apache tears absorb negative energy and should be cleansed often.

Mahogany Obsidian


Mahogany obsidian shows swirls of brown and black together. This excellent grounding stone helps instill confidence while protecting the wearer from the effects of negative thoughts, self-doubt and the doubt and scorn of others. This stone can be used in healing to improve circulation and relieve pain.

Snowflake Obsidian


Snowflake obsidian is black obsidian with white “snowflake” designs in it caused by the formation of crystals within the stone. Snowflake obsidian is useful for bringing things to the surface: emotions, secrets, anything hidden that needs to be revealed. It also helps maintain grounding and a sense of balance, especially during times of stress brought about by change.

Rainbow Obsidian


Rainbow obsidian is a black obsidian with tiny crystals in it that give it an iridescent look. Rainbow obsidian helps banish negativity while drawing joy into your life. It is also used to enhance clairvoyance.

Fire Obsidian

Fire obsidian is an iridescent variety found in Glass Butte, Oregon. Its iridescent appearance is due to very thin layers containing tiny crystals of magnetite.

Fire obsidian can be used the same way as rainbow obsidian as they are similar in nature though fire obsidian is a bit more intense.

You will also want to consider the magnetite when considering uses for fire obsidian. Very protective.


Simple Ways to Use Obsidian in Your Daily Practice

There are lots of ways that you can use obsidian every day to work with its powerful protective, self-reflective energy. Try the ideas below to bring some unique obsidian magic into your daily routine.

Protecting Your Space

Place an obsidian crystal near the front door of your home or the entrance to a room to repel negative energies and protect the space. As well as being wonderfully purifying for the home or room, those crossing the threshold may also feel a soothing burst of energy as they pass through the crystal ‘portal.’

Affirmations for Release

Obsidian is effective at both releasing and ‘mopping up’ negative energy. It’s so powerful, however, that this should be done with care, to prevent overwhelm. However, using obsidian alongside an affirmation is a gentle way to harness the negativity-busting capacities of this gem.

Write out an affirmation with your obsidian crystal to hand. A good affirmation to use with obsidian would be: ‘I am grounded and supported. I am protected and I release negativity.’ Hold your crystal and repeat this affirmation a few times every morning before getting up, and every night before falling asleep.

Shielding Bracelet

Obsidian is adept at removing pollutants in our environment, particularly of the electromagnetic kind. Wearing an obsidian bracelet is, therefore, a good way to protect your aura, energy, and physical self from emissions that could cause issues.

The bracelet will act as a shield, the wrist being one of the best places to wear crystals due to its proximity to the bloodstream.

In Dreamwork

This crystal can be an aid to understanding the meaning of your dreams to learn from them and grow. Its ability to bring the truth to the surface and its grounding properties make it the ideal stone for dreamwork.

Try keeping a small piece of obsidian on your bedside table (or under your pillow, although some may find the stone’s effects too powerful for this) as you sleep, and hold it upon waking as you contemplate your dreams and what they’re trying to convey.

A Beautiful Obsidian Ritual for Grounding

Obsidian can help us to look at our situation, or our own destructive patterns of behavior, directly in the eye and make changes. Releasing all that negative energy can take its toll, though. Luckily, obsidian can help with that, too, grounding us and helping the healing process begin. Try this ritual for re-centering, and to promote inner harmony, especially in the wake of emotional turbulence.

  1. Find a peaceful space and lie down, holding an obsidian crystal lightly in your hand. Concentrate on your breathing and release all other thoughts.
  2. Once you feel fully relaxed, place the obsidian on your navel chakra (also known as the solar plexus chakra).
  3. After some time, move the crystal to your root chakra (located at the base of your spine).
  4. Now hold the obsidian loosely in the palm of your hand, and visualize the energy released being held by the stone, allowing you to move on free of its burden.

Before using your crystal again, be sure to cleanse and recharge it using one of the methods outlined above.

Obsidian and the Zodiac

Obsidian is associated with the Earth sign Capricorn, and the crystal is in alignment with this zodiac sign’s powerful, earthy energy, drive, and commitment.

It may also be particularly useful for Scorpios, matching this sign in intensity while also promoting self-reflection and honesty.

Sagittarians, too, are likely to find obsidian a powerful ally, with its ability to ground without making the Sagittarian feel fettered. The crystal is also a means of mopping up some of the excess energy that the sign is famous for!

Crystal Combos

To clear your aura or to amp up the protection still further, carry or use obsidian in combination with selenite (also known as the angel stone). This energizing, purifying pair will wash away any negative energy and revitalize your spirit.

If you’d like to use obsidian but find it to be a little too strong, try wearing it as a bracelet alongside a rose quartz bracelet. The latter is a gentle stone that’ll soften the effects of the obsidian and help you process any difficult feelings that come up.

Clear quartz has beautiful synergy with obsidian and can boost its healing and blockage-busting abilities. Similarly, obsidian will amp up the power of obsidian to bring negative energy to the surface and transform it through release.

Obsidian: Mirror, Healer, and Fierce Ally

If you’re ready to welcome the profoundly powerful energy of obsidian into your life, you won’t regret it – but you better be ready, as big changes could be on the cards!

This crystal insists on bringing negative thoughts and destructive patterns of behavior to the surface, smashing through blockages, and impelling us to be our best selves.

If you’re up for the ride, there’s no better crystal to have in your corner if you want to make lasting, positive change.

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Image Credits

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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