Navaratnas, Gemstones and the Cosmos

Our Planets

Our Solar System by Marco Lobo    Winner of the 2012 Contest “50 Great Writers You Should  Be Reading”

In ‘The Witch Hunter’s Amulet‘, Manuel Andrade collects gems to make a navaratna,a nine-jeweled amulet that he believes will cure him. As some readers may not be familiar with the belief held by various cultures, that gemstones have healing powers, I am providing some basic information.

The Witch Hunter’s Amulet, a Historical Novel

Listed below are the  the heavenly bodies and each of the nine gems they relate to, the deities represented by them and their effects on body and mind.

*  *  *


The Sun

The Sun

 and its gemstone, Ruby


The Sun’s Gemstone, Ruby

The Deity, Aditya

Assertive, Independent, Illuminating and Purifying. Rides a chariot pulled by 7 horses. Representing 7 visible rays of light and their colors. In three hands, he holds the lotuses of purity and with his fourth.


Aditya, Sun God


It gives vitality, the power of resistance and immunity. It also rules wisdom, the understanding of the phenomenal world and governs man’s relationship with temples and holy places. In the book, its effect on Andrade is instant; filling him with vigor and causing him to imagine himself as a giant. When he finds the ruby, he is in the holy city of Hampi and declares that he is now home.

*  *  *


The Moon

The Moon

and its gemstone, Pearl


The Moon’s Gemstone, Pearl

The Deity, Chandra

Represented riding on the back of a deer. In one hand a disc (chakra of Vishnu – to remove obstacles). In another, a conch, (symbolic of primordial sounds;  liberation from the cycle of birth and death). In the third hand a lotus of purity and in the fourth the reins of the deer representing psyche.

Chandra, Moon God


The Moon gives illumination, allows intuition and gives a sense of purpose. Its feminine energy encourages a love for art and music and makes the wearer tender-hearted. Andrade is wearing the Pearl at the auto da fé when he releases the prisoners.

*  *  *


Mars, the Red Planet

Mars the Red Planet

and its gemstone, Coral

Coral, gemstone of Mars

The Deity, Mangala

Masculine, authoritative and aggressive, he is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident, a lotus and a spear. His mount is a ram symbolic of muscular strength and combat.




Mars rules over self-confidence and leadership abilities. Coral also promotes health but can make the wearer impulsive and insensitive. Andrade believes it protects him from the evil eye.

*  *  *



The Planet Mercury

and its gemstone, Emerald


Emerald Gemstone of Mecuty

The Deity, Budha

Budha is emotional, joyful, evergreen, wise and rules the power of communicationIt rides a lion with an elephant’s trunk. He is represented holding a scimitar, a club and a shield, riding a winged lion. In other illustrations, he holds a sceptre and lotus and rides a carpet, an eagle or a chariot drawn by lions.



Mercury is the planet of intellect and communication. It rules education, writers and teachers. In the body it controls the nervous system, speech, lungs and intestines. One of the Emerald’s effect on Andrade is that it makes him see himself as a great teacher, even though he is mostly speaking gibberish.

*  *  *



The Planet Jupiter

and its gemstone, Yellow Sapphire


Yellow Sapphire, gemstone of Jupiter

The Deity, Brahspati

Teacher of the gods, disciplined and priestly it rides and elephant. Holds a scroll of sacred knowledge, a disc of Vishnu to cut through illusions and a conch symbolizing sacred sounds. With the fourth hand a blessing is bestowed.

Brahspati, Teacher of the gods


Jupiter is said to preside over mental powers, a teacher of astrology and astronomy. It controls the movement of planets and is ruler of the Sun and Moon. This is the last gem Andrade collects for the navaratna and it completes the circle of gemstones, creating a mini-cosmos.

*  *  *


The Planet Venus

and its gemstone, Diamond

Rough Diamond

The Deity, Shukra

Hedonistic, it rules the sensual side of human nature. It is shown riding a horse (of heroic desires), holds a scroll as writer of scriptures, sometimes shown also holding a sword and a lotus.



 The planet rules over regeneration and is life giving. In the body, it presides over reproductive systems. It is connected to beauty and sensuality and also governs comfort and luxuries. In the book, Andrade receives a diamond for the he played in a battle; from there he goes to sack the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire.

 *  *  *


The Planet Saturn

and its gemstone, Blue Sapphire

Saturn’s Gemstone, Blue Sapphire

The Deity, Shani

Planet of darkness and confinement. It is seen riding a vulture. Shani holds a sword of lawlessness, trident of Shiva, a mace of strength and material power. The fourth hand holds the reins.




A cold dry planet, Saturn is old and suffers from poor eyesight. It is referred to as the ‘enemy of light’ and brings misery and disappointment. It rules over prisons and labor. In the body is controls hair, teeth, bones and the nervous system. When Andrade finds the blue sapphire, he immediately feels a chill. His mental state deteriorates and he travels to Bijapur in search of the next gem.

*  *  *

A shadow planet representing the NORTH lunar node

and its gemstone, Hessonite


The Deity, Rahu

One of the two points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they around the celestial sphere. Rahu is disruptive and creates Confusion. It is seen as a disembodied head, riding a chariot and shouting obscenities. The chariot is pulled by a tiger representing the mind wandering in a forest of desires. 



Rahu is interested only in what gives pleasure. It is never satisfied even if it achieves what it wants. It destroys one’s ability to judge and to lose control. Andrade is given a hessonite gemstone on purpose and its effects on him are disastrous.

*  *  *

 A shadow planet representing the SOUTH lunar node

Shadow Planet of the Moon

and its gemstone, Cat’s-Eye


The Deity, Ketu

This is the rest of the body of Rahu. It causes disturbs physical bodies and causes a loss of interest in life. It carries a sword, a shield and a flag. The last hand is open, palm out, fingers pointed down. It is seen as a headless torso on the body of a fish.



Ketu bestows spiritual tendencies as well as wisdom and powers of discrimination. When Andrade dreams of Ketu and subsequently receives a cat’s eye, his star is on the rise. He manages all his affairs expertly and is for a time greatly admired.

*  *  *

 Andrade’s Navaratna

Some readers may also be curious as to what Manuel Andrade’s navaratna looked like. When writing this story, I needed to have a reference to is as well and so I sketched one. Below is one idea I had for it.

The Witch Hunter's Amulet

A concept drawing of Manuel Andrade’s Navaratna

If you would like to buy a copy of The Witch Hunter’s Amulet, please click on one of the following links:

The Witch Hunter’s Amulet: Christopher Matthews Publishing

The Witch Hunter’s Amulet:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s