Devil's Toenails and the Magick of the Past

I absolutely love this tactile Gryphaea fossil. Also known as devil's toenails, these bivalves are an extinct genus of oyster that lived 200-145 million years ago. They lived on the seabed in shallow water, where their heavy, curved shell acted as an anchor.


The fossil folklore attached to the Gryphaea comes directly from its appearance. People thought it resembled a gnarled, twisted claw or toenail from that of a monster or the devil himself. Of course we now know different, but back in the days when everything was seen as a sign or an omen, fossils had very different meanings and beliefs attached to them. Gryphaea are very tactile. They're cool to the touch and very soothing, because of this they were seen as healing stones. They were carried specifically for joint pain (this was due to their similarity to that of an arthritic joint and the belief in like curing like) but also ailments of the heart. Other names for these fossils include 'crouching stones', 'cuckoo shells' and 'Milner's thumbs'. In the 1600's it was said that burnt and powdered Milner's thumbs could cure the sore back of a horse in 2-3 days.


All fossils have an intrinsic link to the past. They were here long before us, making them amazing to work with. They have an energy I can't describe...gentle but raw, past but present, being from the sea that shouldn't be surprising though. They encompass not only the creature they were, but the energy of the sea too. They are perfect for use in ancestral work and connecting to our past, they are also effective at neutralising negative energy and turning it into positive 🐚


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