It was actually getting an image of a piece of Ochre in my collection which prompted me to unpack all the crystals I’d stored away a while back. This Ochre comes from Coochiemudlo Island (yes, it’s a real name!) off the coast of Brisbane, Queensland, and it was gifted to me, along with two smaller pieces, by a good friend who now lives in New Zealand.
Ochre isn’t strictly a stone. According to Wikipedia, it’s: ” a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide, which ranges in color from yellow to deep orange or brown. It is also the name of the colors produced by this pigment, especially a light brownish-yellow.”
In Aboriginal culture, red ochre is sacred. Along with other colours of ochre – yellow and white – red ochre can be used in artwork, body paint and protection for weapons. Although I can’t find any information on the internet, if I remember rightly red ochre is also used for medicinal purposes.
The piece I have is a rusty-red colour, it’s high in hematite as its hard and heavy, while the two other pieces my friend gifted me are a pale pink, much softer and easy to scrape for the pigment. For me, therefore the large piece of ochre is linked via hematite to earth energy and resonates with practical creativity. No point being creative if you don’t actually do anything!
The above image was developed from a photo of my piece of ochre. It represents our links to the stars, but also the long history of ochre being used in rock art with the image of hands re-appearing not just across the sacred sites of Australia but also in other places, such as the caves in France, and in Native American art. It’s why I’ve included a hand-print to link to those who’ve walked on this earth before us and connect with us through their use of red ochre. I also added in the metallic decoration at the top to link to present-day work with ochre by creative spirits and by those working with Aboriginal cultural heritage in Australia.
Below is a link to an Aboriginal artist talking about the sacred aspect of working with white ochre and also how to use the pigment. The second piece is about Aboriginal art while the last link is to Aboriginal cultural stories. Hope you enjoy this information – I got quite homesick looking at all this!