I’ve chosen Amber as the stone for Imbolc, even though this attractive gem is not a stone at all, but is, rather, an ancient fossilized tree resin that once flowed from the wound of a conifer. The pine trees from which Amber hails are no longer in existence, and the specimens of their once life-giving resins which we hold today are roughly between 25 – 50 million years old. I think it fitting that just as Imbolc which means “in the belly” and Oimelc (or Oimelg) which means “ewe’s milk” which has begun to flow… so, too, was Amber once in the belly of the tree whose essence flowed forth to gift us in its new form.
The name Amber derives from the Arabic word “ambar” which refers to ambergris, a secretion from the sperm whale which is used in making perfume. The only similarity between the two, though, is color, for they are without a doubt two totally separate things. Although both are often transported on the waves of the sea, it is this, along with their color similarity, which was most likely how the two may have been once confused. Amber registers only 2 to 2½ on the Mohs Scale and is light enough that it can float on salt water. And it does…for Amber is often found in or near the ocean, with its deposits existing in sediments along the shore. Its most prevalent locales are on the shores of the Baltic Sea, predominantly in Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany. Other prominent Amber findings are in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
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