Carnelian is a type of Chalcedony with yellow to orange-red coloring caused by ferric oxide. Its old name, Cornelian, derives from either its resemblance in color to the berry of the cornel or the Latin for 'horn' (cornu) and a somewhat bawdy reference to the stone's fleshy colors. The original name became corrupted to Carnelian, in part from the Latin carneus, 'flesh colored'. The stones known as 'Burnt Carnelian' are crystal pieces with white inscriptions and images burned into the surface with heat and chemicals, a technique often used to decorate inscribed carvings and devotional figures.
In ancient Egypt Carnelian was sacred to the Goddess Isis. Carnelian amulets carved in the shape of the 'Buckle of Isis' were wrapped up in the funeral shrouds of the dead so that they would be revived by Isis in the afterlife, just as she resurrected her murdered partner Osiris. Carnelian is said to help the living move between the worlds as well as the dead. It is believed to encourage the separation of the astral and physical bodies, and Siberian shamans were recorded using the stone to help ease their spirit body out of their physical body so that they could travel on the astral planes. Carnelian is believed to help boost all psychic and magical powers, especially intuitive gifts like psychometry, dowsing, clairvoyance and clairaudience ('clear-hearing', the ability to hear messages from other realms of being). Sleeping with Carnelian under your pillow is said to cause vivid dreams and astral experiences.
Carnelian has long been associated with elemental Fire, and it is a useful stone for magic concerning confidence, independence, personal power, sex magic, passion and sensuality. It can be used ritually to cleanse your past so that you are free to step into your future.
Carnelian is linked to the Base Chakra and is an excellent stone to use if you are working with any of the energies associated with that Chakra, especially appetite, desire, sexuality, energy, power and the fulfilment of basic needs. Because of its affinity with elemental Fire Carnelian has a long history of use in sexual magic. As well as amplifying the power raised it is also said to lower inhibitions, shyness and insecurity so that you can become comfortable with your sexual nature and fully enjoy the pleaures of the flesh.
In crystal healing Carnelian is used to help with PMT, endometriosis, sciatica and pelvic and reproductive disorders. In the ancient world it was sometimes tied to the upper arm or the inner thigh during childbirth as a charm to help prevent miscarriage and ensure a quick delivery.
Meditation with Carnelian is believed to help you recognize and appreciate your unique gifts and talents so that you can develop them and use them for the benefit of others. It is said to balance spiritual meditation and physical energy so that your insights and ideas can be used constructively in the real world to create change and help your community.