It's the beginning of the 15-day festival known as the Lunar New Year/Spring Festival, and celebrations are happening throughout the world!
Whatever you are celebrating this weekend ... be it the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year 2021 is the start of the Year of the Metal Ox), Valentine's Day, President's Day, the Carnival Season ending with Fat Tuesday on February 16th ... or simply some not-so-desirable dietary life-style habits over the last year since COVID lock-downs started ... you may have had to reach for the Pepto-Bismol to help ease your upset tummy.
And believe it or not, Pepto-Bismol ... in all its forms ... from the pink chalky tabs that taste a little like the cliché valentine hearts, to the thick spoonfuls of milky, pink liquid ... is derived from Bismuth.
Luckily, Ash Wednesday is right after Fat Tuesday, and marks the start of Lent. What a perfect opportunity to 'give up' the not-so-healthy foods for 40 days and nights, and maybe even forgo the Pepto-Bismol and get your digestive tract back on track.
After our combined Chinese New Year, Valentines, Lincoln Birthday holiday celebration Friday night and eating an array foods we usually do not consume, I felt I was perhaps in need of some of this magical pink stuff myself!
I am fascinated with Bismuth. It's medicinal purposes were detected long ago by the first alchemists experimenting and discovering its usefulness for digestive issues. Bismuth salts have been used in Europe since the 1700s, and the formula that resulted in the end-product, Pepto-Bismol, was manufactured in the states in 1900. Feeling dismal? Take some bismal!
It is not just Bismuth's medicinal purposes though, that has me so intrigued by the mercury-esque element - Bi #83 on the Periodic Table of Elements. Bismuth is considered a "mundane" metal, and its alchemical symbol looks to me either like a head with horns, and/or a nearly completed figure 8.
As Bismuth is a metal and this Lunar New Year is the year of the Metal Ox, I like the interpretation of a head with horns. In regards to the the nearly completed figure 8-esque symbol, maybe this represents life -on this plane - is not infinite.
Bismuth subsalicylate is actually the active ingredient in the over-the-counter antacid drug. I was shocked to find out that Bismuth subsalicylate leaves a shiny metal oxide 'slag' behind after being completely burnt with a blow torch.
Wait, what? If we are what we consume, then apparently some caution is due. After ingesting the OTC drug, it can leave the consumer with a black tongue. Note: take as directed. Just like eating too much fish you can get mercury poisoning. Too much of good thing can be a bad thing. Always remember - duality and balance.
There are many do-it-yourself kitchen hack videos on the how-tos of extracting the Bismuth compound from Pepto-Bismol tablets and generating this metal oxide slag.
Un-oxidized Bismuth just looks like any old hunk of metal, really not that impressive as it stands by itself. Bismuth is a brittle metal with a white, silver-pink hue, often with an iridescent tarnish. You don't have that initial excitement of looking at it as if you just found a large nugget of Gold, but as the saying goes, we should not judge a book by its cover.
But on the other hand ... (and in honor of this Metal Ox Chinese New Year) Ox-idized Bismuth is mind-blowing! Naturally-occurring bismuth crystals are actually very rare to find organically.
Bismuth is therefore mainly sourced in a synthesized form, and when grown in a lab, the "hopper" crystal formation produces a beautiful, stair-step, crystal habit pattern. The spiral, stair-stepped structure of bismuth crystals is the result of a higher growth rate around the outside edges than on the inside edges.
The variations in the thickness of the oxide layer that forms on the surface of the crystal cause different wavelengths of light to interfere upon reflection, thus displaying a rainbow of colors.
When you see a Bismuth Crystal object with the iridescent rainbow pattern and a shiny coating to ensure it does not tarnish, it was grown in a lab. I love my Bismuth heart my hubby got me for Valentine's Day, lab grown or not. It still is a natural phenomenon that can even be explained more concretely than abstract Love.
Metaphysically, the Bismuth element is associated with the Root Chakra and is used to aid in transformation, focus and visualization and muscular health.
The structures of minerals provide good examples of regularly repeating three-dimensional arrays. Despite the hundreds of thousands of known minerals, there are rather few possible types of arrangement of atoms in a crystal defined by crystal system, crystal structure, and point group.
In geometry, a point group is a group of geometric symmetries (isometries) that keep at least one point fixed. For example, the Yin Yang Chinese Symbol has C2 symmetry of geometry with inverted colors.
In my last blog, I discussed how Geometry was not-so-sacred to me back in my high school days.
Now, I am completely enamored with patterns and geometry. The Flower Of Life geometric pattern is truly sacred, and I now know why.
I don't believe the Psychedelic Furs were referring to Bismuth back in their hit "Pretty in Pink" 40 years ago in 1981, but to me Bismuth is absolutely psychedelic ... and I didn't even have to ingest anything (including bismuth) to enjoy it's beauty.
To all your heart's desires,