Pyrite was first named "fool's gold" because prospectors often mistook it for gold. The name has attached itself to the shiny mineral, and some people who work with crystals get upset about that. They feel that the title diminishes the real spiritual value of pyrite.
It is a special stone, and I, too, wouldn't want anyone to be discouraged from getting to know it because of a label. Recently, though, I was thinking about some positive interpretations of the word, Fool. The foremost example that came to me was my favorite card in Tarot, the Fool. I sensed intuitively that the meaning of the card and that of the stone were somehow connected.
The Fool stands at the end of a crumbling cliff ledge, his bundle of belongings tied to a stick in one hand, flower in the other hand. He looks ready to either soar into the unknown or to tumble to the depths of the earth. Beside him a small dog stands on its hind legs, apparently barking to get the traveler's attention, perhaps to warn him of the danger ahead.
The Fool does indeed face danger, as do all who go beyond the safe boundaries of the unknown. Some Fools get lost; some, intimidated, turn away from danger; while others perish.
For me, the idea of the Fool demonstrates that those who think, feel, and act with the trust that all will be well open themselves to infinite inner wisdom. This wisdom and sense of connection to all that is allows the wise Fool to face the journey without fear and to understand that every experience has value for what it teaches.
When we follow the path of intuition, we travel a road that leads us directly to our deepest sense of what choices will best help us realize our full potential. This is always the road less traveled, and those who tread well-worn highways will warn us against following it. We must constantly renew our faith in the promptings from within so that the inner voice is stronger than the fears of well-meaning worriers. We must also trust that our path will lead us to where we long to go.
An important aspect of this journey is that it isn't based on getting one's sense of direction from the outside world. This is truly a voyage into the unknown, whose guidelines are your imagination and your dreams.
The Fool and Fool's Gold
Pyrite's first gift to the Fool is the kind of grounding that may keep a reckless traveler from tumbling off the cliff. Like hematite, this is a heavy, opaque stone. Though its color relates it to the third chakra, its density can make it a good first chakra stone.
This stone also has a fiery nature. Its name comes from the Greek pyrites lithos, "stone which strikes fire." This refers to the sparks that fly when iron is struck by a piece of pyrite. Fire relates to the inspiration that can guide the traveler.
The ancient Mexicans carved and polished pyrite to act as a mirror (elsewhere in the world hematite was shaped to the same purpose). Imagine the traveler taking out pyrite, looking for advice. The pyrite's shiny surface tells her all guidance must come from herself, from within.
Precision and Randomness
Often the natural shape of a crystal gives clues to its properties. Pyrite forms in clusters of cubical formations. Although the shape of individual cubes is precise, they are scattered randomly throughout the cluster, helping to create pyrite's unique beauty.
These geological qualities also indicate its most valuable properties. By combining precision and randomness, pyrite helps us to blend our creative and intuitive abilities with the powers of logic and reason.
It is generally considered to be a stone that can spark creative thinking and open one to new ideas. Referring back to pyrite's connection with both earth and fire, we can see that such ideas may be inspired and innovative while also grounded, i.e., possible to realize.
For this reason alone, pyrite belongs in the Fool's bundle of possessions. It makes the best map for that kind of journey: not a set of directions but a reminder that whenever we go into the unknown, we can expect the unexpected. Part of the beauty of the Fool's Journey is its unpredictability. Inspiration suddenly occurs; the traveler follows its fire, and he is protected by the solidity of the earth beneath his feet.
A Postscript on the Fool's Gold Label
Although its glitter deceived many prospectors, the more experienced miners knew that where pyrite was found, a little more searching could yield gold. In similar fashion, those who work with pyrite find it can lead them to a powerful journey and the realization of their dreams.
Beyond the Rainbow