Taken from the book "Jewelry, Ornaments, Personal Decoration and More...The Spiritualism Connection"
by Gwen and Rick Shorter (Used by Permission)
The Engagement Ring—A Symbol of Eternal Life
"In ancient Rome, when young lovers were betrothed, the bride's father promised her to the groom in a ceremony involving the exchange of rings. Gold could only be worn in those days by the privileged, so a ring of iron, called the annuluspronubis, was given instead by the groom to his bride. By the third century A.D. this ring was made of gold, and familiar symbols decorated the betrothal ring: clasped hands, lover's knots and sentimental inscriptions. In time this betrothal ring became a wedding ring, the symbol of the marital contract, and another ring, the engagement ring, took its place as the appropriate gift for troth-pledging. But this took almost a thousand years.
"In the intervening centuries the custom of giving some kind of ring as a love token or marriage token continued in different forms. Many of these rings survive today, with the same symbols inscribed on the inside or outside: clasped bands, lover's knots, and amorous sentiments. But it wasn't until the nineteenth century that the custom of wearing both a wedding and engagement ring took hold. Queen Victoria's engagement ring, a token of love from her adored Albeit, was in the form of a snake with its tail in its mouth—a symbol of eternal life known as a oroborus. In the mid-nineteenth century, pearl engagement rings were popular, but by the end of the century diamonds took their place as the most romantic engagement symbol, perhaps because the DeBeers empire (consolidated in South Africa at about the same time) advertised that the diamond as the most enduring and pure gemstones, was really the only proper gift when declaring one's love."' 1
Note: De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. Is the huge South African conglomerate that controls virtually all of the production, distribution and pricing of world diamonds.
In the history of the marriage ceremony, the first Catholic Christians always gave a ring, which was placed on the left hand, third finger. This, by the way, switched back and forth from the left to the right hand during the medieval years. Why the third finger? The Romans superstitiously believed that the vena amoris, a vein which ran from the third finger to the heart, precluded all other fingers. However, after placing the ring on the third finger, wedding rings were worn on the thumb. Here are a few highlights from history:
1549 - The Anglican Book of Common Prayer decrees the third finger, left hand as the only choice for the wedding ring.
1700s - Puritans seek to abolish the wedding ring as frivolous.
1800s - A separate ring as an engagement ring becomes customary.
Women and men wear wedding rings in Europe more than in America. (But that is changing. Europeans are also not as religiously minded or biblically fundamental in their beliefs.)
Dr. Johnson declared the wedding ring a "circular instrument" for the noses of hogs and women's fingers to bring them into submission and restrain them.
So we can see that the wedding ring has had quite an evolution among Catholics, Puritans, Anglicans, and even Greek Orthodox—who, by the way, are known for the bride wearing a ring of gold and the groom a ring of silver! 2
With such an unstable and volatile history, can we really put our faith and confidence in the whim or prowess of man on moral issues? Ring-wearing is a moral issue for two reasons: (1) it is jewelry; and (2) the Bible prohibits the wearing of jewelry. Note. This prohibition is for Bible-believing Christians only.
The Ring: A Symbol of Marriage?
Tradition and custom are so strong in the minds of many today that, when confronted with Bible truth which contradicts these long-favored and practiced ideas, very few stand with God, but, instead, they choose the approbation of friends, family, and peers. Jewelry, particularly the wedding ring, is still the most coveted symbol of the holy institution God ordained at Creation. When God gave Eve to Adam, did He do so with a ring? When He gave that first woman, Eve, to the first man, Adam, in holy matrimony, did He choose a piece of metal or a gemstone to symbolize that self-sacrificing love and purity that should characterize the mysterious oneness of marriage? No, a thousand times No!
Our Lord chose only one symbol to represent that spiritual relationship. He chose a spiritual institution, the church. And he set the parameters for peace in the home by giving preference to the man as the head of the woman, comparing marriage to the church, and commanding women in Christ to submit to and reverence their husbands, as the church is subject to Christ in everything and looks to Him.
• Ephesians 5:22-33 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
• Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" Matthew 15:3.
Sigmund Freud, the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis, said, "Beauty and sexual attraction are two of the attributes men seek to attain by self-adornment."
"Incidentally, there is plenty of historic evidence of the pagan origin of the wearing of a wedding ring. John Henry Newman (after he forsook Anglicanism to become, later) a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, wrote these words: 'Constantine, in order to recommend the new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward adornments to which they had been accustomed in their own... . The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints,... incense,... candles,.. . holy water,,.. processions,... the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date,... are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.' An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 373." 3
"Over and over again the Bible connects the wearing of colorful cosmetics and jewelry with sin, apostasy, and heathenism. When they turned away from the Lord, they put on ornaments, as Isaiah said, 'declare their sin.' There is no lack of texts which spell out the truth clearly and without equivocation— the great God of Heaven was displeased with those things, and used them to symbolize departure from His will." 4
"Just as God used a pure woman to symbolize His chosen people and His movement in the world, so does the 'Harlot of Revelation' in the seventeenth chapter, represent Satan's huge system of false worship, and his movement in the world. She is the Mother of all pagan religions of the world. That is why in divine language she is called, 'Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.' Revelation 17:15." 5
"Satan is the chief designer who has invented the ever changing fashions that are a snare to most, to both the Christian and the unbeliever. The love of display or self-glorification develops and cultivates the attributes of the author of self- glorification, which are pride, envy, jealousy, hatred, conceit, etc. There is no such thing as Christian jewelry. The wearing of gold and silver ornaments by men and women, was most strikingly condemned after the Israelites made the golden calf:
" 'Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.' Exodus 33:5-6." 6
Thought Question: Is the wedding ring jewelry? Should we obey God or man?
"the rings,. .." Isaiah 3:21
"In no instance do we find any biblical precedent for wearing a physical sign of marriage. The history of the wedding ring is tainted with pagan sun-worship and papal superstition." 7
The Wedding Ring and Spiritualism
Occultist and Mason, Manly Palmer Hall, asserts:
"The wedding ring originally was intended to imply that in the nature of the one who wore it the state of equilibrium and completion had been attained. This plain band of gold therefore bore witness of the union of the higher self (god) with the lower self (nature) and the ceremony consummating this indissoluble blending of divinity and humanity in the one nature of the initiated mystic constituted the hermetic marriage of the Mysteries." 8
"More about the wedding ring can be found in The Occult Sciences. There we find: 'It may be pointed out that wedding rings are a remnant of the magic rings. They are worn on the ring finger, because in chiromancy that finger corresponds to the heart. The husband will be master in the home, if, on placing it on his wife's finger, he is careful to push it right down.'
"According to A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural, 'Chiromancy is based on the * cabbala.... Also, chiromancy is another name for palmistry. This is a form of divination. For instance, the Dictionary of Mysticism states: 'Chiromancy: The art of divination from the shape of the hand and fingers and the lines and other markings which appear on them.' The World Book Encyclopedia indicates under palmistry: 'It is sometimes called chiromancy. It is a combination of astrology and hand-reading. See also fortune-telling.'
"Of course, divination and astrology are strictly forbidden by the Scriptures in Deuteronomy 18:10-12. See also 2 Kings 17:17 and Acts 16:16." 9
"The ring was used in connection with marriage before Catholic times. The Greeks had it. We find from Juvenal that the Romans employed the ring. There was commonly a feast on the signing of the marriage contract; and the man gave the woman a ring (annulus pronubus) by way of pledge, which she put upon her left hand, on the finger next the least: because of the suggested nerve running to the heart. The ring was generally of iron though sometimes of copper and brass. ...
"Maffei gives a gem, upon which is engraved only the two Greek words AOANACIIIICTIC, in English, Faith Immortal, which he considers as intended to be set in a betrothal ring—in some one of those rings which lovers gave to their beloved, with protestations of eternal constancy, as a tacit promise of matrimony." 10
Thought Question: Have you ever heard the phrase, "I will love you for ever?" Who only can keep the marriage vow true and faithful?
The following statements are taken from The History and Poetry of Finger-rings by Charles Edwards, 1854.
• The ring denoted eternity among the Hindus, Persians, and Egyptians.
• No ornament was more generally worn among the Romans, than rings.
Rings were put upon statues of deities, heroes, and emperors.
Cornelian rings have been discovered near the Pyramids.
When a wealthy Egyptian had been embalmed and placed in a superb case or coffin with a diadem on his head and bracelets upon his arms, rings of gold, ivory and engraved cornelian were placed upon his fingers.
There were Roman rings which carried poison.
Egyptian rings with the goddess Ator sitting between two cats.
Egyptian women wore two or three rings on each finger.
The idea of wearing rings on the third finger of the left hand; a superstition by physicians. They stirred up their medicaments and potions with it because they believed no venom could stick upon it.
The Roman custom at one time: "We adorn our fingers with rings and a jewel is displayed on every joint."
The Pope's Ring
"A Pope wears a ring of gold with a costly emerald or other precious gem set in it. The decrees of the Romish Court consist of bulls and briefs. The latter are issued on less important occasions than the former. Briefs are written upon fine white parchment with Latin letters; and the seal is what is called 'The Fisherman's Ring.' It is a steel seal, made in the fashion of a Roman signet, (signatorius annulus). ... The author has obtained a sight of an impression of the Fisherman's Ring, attached to a bull or brief in the archives of the Catholic bishopric of New York.... The impression is in ink upon bellum or fine parchment, at the left hand of the extreme lower corner, balancing the signature at the other (lower) corner....
"A 'Fisherman's Ring' was used at a very early period; and no doubt the original device has been renewed... . When a Pope dies, the cardinal chamberlain or chancellor (camerlengo), accompanied by a large number of high dignitaries of the Papal Court, comes into the room where the body lies; and the principal or great notary makes an attestation of the circumstance. Then the cardinal chamberlain calls out the name of deceased pope three times, striking the body each time with a gold hammer; and as no response comes, the chief notary makes another attestation. After this, the cardinal chancellor demands the Fisherman's Ring, and certain ceremonies are performed over it; and then he strikes the ring with the golden hammer, and an officer destroys the figure of Peter by the use of a file. From this moment all the authority and acts of the late pope pass to the College or Conclave of Cardinals.
"When a new pope is consecrated, it is always the cardinal chancellor or chamberlain who presents the renewed Fisherman's Ring; and this presentation is accompanied by imposing ceremonies." 11
One commentator, Gavazzi says, " 'The Fisherman's Ring now in use is most valuable, and would hardly square with the simplicity of Peter;' and he remarks, in reference to the present pope: 'This man has on one of his fingers a splendid ring, composed of diamonds and pearls of great price, and this ring of $8,000, is called the Fisherman's Ring; it symbolizes the ring of poor St. Peter, which cost, perhaps, two cents.'" 12
How did image and idol worship come into the Christian church?
"To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number." 13
Other examples of the use of rings within the Roman Catholic Church are as follows:
"The delivery of the pastoral staff in the Roman pontificate was preceded by its consecration and followed by the consecration and putting on of a ring in token of his marriage to the church. [See Jeremiah 3:14.] ...
"From bishops, the custom of the ring has passed to cardinals, who are to pay a large sum for the right to use a ring as such. [Cardinals and prelates do not belong to the hierarchy]...
"A bishop, like a pope receives a gold ring set with a green gem. Sometimes an abbot of a convert is invested with a ring, but this is said only to occur when he possesses a bishop's powers.
"Solid gold rings are frequently found in the tombs of abbots and bishops. ...
"It is said that no priest, during the reign of Catholicity in England, was buried or enshrined without his ring....
"High dignitaries of the church do not appear to have restricted themselves to a single ring. On the hands of the effigy of Cardinal Beaufort in Winchester Cathedral, there are gloves fringed with gold and having an oval-shaped jewel on the back; while on the middle and third fingers of each hand are rings worn over the gloves." 14
The official liturgy of the Consecration of a Bishop includes the following ceremony: "The Consecrator rises and blesses the ring, if it has not been blessed before, saying: 'Let Us Pray, 0 Lord, Creator and Preserver of the human race, Giver of spiritual grace, Bestower of eternal salvation, do Thou send forth Thy blessing upon this ring; so that whosoever shall be adorned with this sign of holiest fidelity, it may avail him by the power of heavenly protection unto eternal life. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.' He then sprinkles the right with holy water, and sitting with his mitre on, himself places the ring on the ring finger of the right hand of the one consecrated, saying: 'Receive the ring, the symbol of fidelity, in order that, adorned with unspotted faith, you may keep inviolably the Spouse of God, namely, His Holy Church. Amen.' " 15
"When the faithful kiss the bishop's ring, they are paying tribute to Christ, Bridegroom of the Church." 16
"This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of 'the man of sin' foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan's power—a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will. ,..
"To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan—the bishop of Rome." 17
Rings as Charms, Amulets, and Talismans
Rings were used as charms*, amulets*, and talismans*. Their potency was directed against the:
Evil eye • The power of flames
Debility • Wounds in battle
Mischief • Every danger
Other forms of magic • Most diseases
Storms of rain and hail that would injure ripe fruits
Other superstitions included the supernatural power of gems in witchcraft and magic: Jasper—supposed healing power which becomes extra strong when combined with silver; preserves men from drowning
- Diamond—renders a man invincible; has divine virtues
- Agate—renders a man eloquent, prudent, amiable and agreeable, strong and of good cheer
- Amethyst—resists intoxication
- Cornelian—appeases anger
- Hyacinth—provokes sleep
- Ruby—restrains fury and wrath
- Carbuncle—good against poison and the plague, drives away sadness, evil thoughts, terrible dreams, and evil spirits
- Sapphire—is said to keep men pure, and therefore is worn by priests
- Opal—sharpens the sight of the possessor and clouds the eyes of those who stand about him, if you wish to be invisible take an opal and wrap it in a bay leaf. [How ridiculous!]
- Turquoise—the forget-me-not stone or Turkey stone. If worn in a ring of gold will preserve men from falls and bruises 18
"That kind of fortune-telling, called divination [see Deuteronomy 18:10], has held an empire over the mind of man from the earliest period. It was practiced by the Jews, Egyptians, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks and Romans, and is known to all modern nations. The species of divination by rings is called Dactylomancy." 19
"Clemente Alexandrine speaks of enchanted rings which predicted future events—such were two possessed by Execustus, the tyrant of Phocis, who was able, by striking them together, to know, by the sound, what he ought to do and what was to happen to him. He was, however, killed through treason. The magnificent rings had been able to tell the time of his death, but they could not point out the means of avoiding it." 20
The ring is a circle, symbolic of eternity, unity, reincarnation and the universe. In earlier times, the ring was associated with the sun and moon. It was an object of protection, a magical guard that warded off negativity through its continuity....
All rings were once magical or sacred. Even goddesses and gods wore rings; Babylonian mythology is replete with stories of the rings of Shamash and Marduk. Rings have also been linked to the zodiac, the yin/yang and the 'magic circle' of magicians and Wiccaus. Their magical history is complex and fascinating.
In a magical sense, wearing a ring "binds" you with power, with energy. The materials of which the ring is constructed, plus your visualization, determine the nature of this energy... .
The finger on which a ring is worn has magical significance. The index or 'ring' finger was once thought to be especially powerful. Herbal medicines were applied to the body with the ring finger to strengthen the effectiveness of the cure. Thus, rings containing stones which speed the body's healing are best worn on this finger....
In astrology, the thumb is correlated with Venus, the index finger with Jupiter, the middle finger with Saturn, the ring finger with the sun, and small finger with Mercury. In popular parlance, the ring finger used to be called the 'heart finger' because people believed that it was directly connected to the heart by a special vein or nerve; the symbolism of love and fidelity of the ring ringer, particularly of the left hand (the side of the heart) also has to do with this. 2I
The previous information are facts of history. In case you think this is not applicable now, please read again the Twenty-Five Characteristics of Modern-Day Spiritualism (see chapter 3).
Talisman: A magical figure cut or engraved under certain superstitious observances of the configuration of the heavens to which wonderful effects are ascribed; or, it is the seal, figure, character or image of a heavenly sign, constellation or planet engraven on a sympathetic stone, or on a metal corresponding to the star in order to receive its influence. They were to be preservatives against all kinds of evil or to destroy diseases. Talismans are of three kinds, astrological, magical and mixed. The wearing of talismans and amulets is a pagan/ heathen custom steeped in demon worship. This is the beginning of the wearing of ornaments/ jewelry as we know it today.
"The minds of many have been so darkened and confused by worldly customs, worldly practices, and worldly influences that all power to discriminate between light and darkness, truth and error, seems destroyed." 22