In about 587 BC, Thales discovered magnetism through a lodestone, a black and gleaming form of magnetite. The lodestone symbolizes all the mysterious and almost irresistible forms taken by magnetic attraction. It was regarded as being related to lime formed from magnetic dust, with which all individuals were charged like a lodestone. The whole universe was saturated by it and through it kept its cohesion and its movement. The lodestone became a symbol of cosmic, emotional and mystical attraction.
In magical practices lodestones were used as love-charms, to attract and to seduce.
The Ancient Egyptians would seem to have regarded the natural lodestone or magnetized iron as holy substances, since they believed that they derived from Horus. Non-magnetized iron, on the other hand, was abominated as a substance deriving from Set, or Typhon. This explains why it is so seldom that pieces made from iron are to be found among Egyptian antiquities, since their original owners would only have used them with vast repugnance or in deliberate defiance of their religion.
The lodestone, however, was interfused with Horus’ solar virtues and, like the god, took part in regulating the movements of the universe.