I’m into crystal healing!
There, I said it. I’m coming out of the closet, er…crystal cave.
But here’s the real surprise – I’m a skeptic.
I have a staunch, naturalistic worldview, and while my love of natural history sparked my crystal obsession, I am not what you might expect as a healing crystal fanatic.
But if you were to peek into my office while I work, you’ll see a big quartz point, a fist-sized hunk of orange calcite, a selenite tower, a bumblebee jasper heart, as well as an assortment of mini-towers and tumbled stones surrounding my workstation that include citrine, black tourmaline, heliodore, amethyst, cinnabar, tiger’s eye, and labradorite.
These are just a few of the 185 (jeez!) specimens that I’ve collected over the past two years, many of which I “use” every single day.
What I’ve learned over the past two years of working with crystals – even though I’m not a “woo-woo type” – is that you don’t need to believe in magic to benefit from these stunning works of art from the Earth!
What Is Crystal Healing?
The use of “healing” crystals has become a growing trend in recent years, although their use goes back to ancient times.
People use crystals to promote peace and harmony in their homes, and to promote “good vibes” and protect against negative energy.
Still others believe that crystals have the ability to heal certain health conditions. For example, smokey quartz or malachite is said to help alleviate chronic back pain.
Blue lace agate and lepidolite are said to be the most effective at promoting calm, and taming anxious thoughts.
There are crystals that promote sleep, boost confidence, promote digestion, improve children’s behavior – essentially, if there is a problem in life that you face, there is a crystal for it!
Crystal healers are growing in numbers, as are those who turn to crystals for complementary therapy.
In crystal healing, certain crystals are often laid on the body along corresponding chakras to facilitate the drawing out of negative energy that is said to promote disease, while stimulating positive energy to promote healing.
Wearing healing crystal pendants, carrying crystals in your pocket, sleeping with them under a pillow, or keeping them in close proximity is said to support healing and promote positive energy while absorbing or dissipating negative energy.
Crystals are also used as a meditation aid, or a focus for setting intentions. For some, crystals play more of a “spiritual” role in their lives.
Crystals are a great way to connect to Earth – especially if you live in a place that is covered in snow and ice for six months of the year.
Just holding a beautiful hunk of stone in your hand over the coldest, darkest months of the year can help you feel grounded and connected.
Are Healing Crystals Just A Placebo?
While crystal healers write extensively about the science of crystal healing, it probably is no surprise that the mainstream scientific consensus on crystal healing therapy is that, at best, crystals act as a placebo.
The practice is still seen as pretty “out there” compared to some of the more common alternative medical practices like acupuncture.
So whether your views skew toward believer or skeptic, crystals may still provide a tremendous benefit – even if you think they are nothing but a placebo!
A recent article published on the Harvard Health Blog discussed clinical research conducted by Dr. Ted J. Kaptchuk, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard-wide Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter (PiPS) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
In a study on irritable bowel syndrome, Dr. Kaptchuk found that “…there was a dramatic and significant improvement in the placebo group’s IBS symptoms, even though they were explicitly told they were getting a ‘sugar pill’ without any active medication.”
So even if you don’t believe that healing crystals have direct physical or mental/emotional health-promoting properties (like I do), you can still benefit from a placebo effect in both physical and mental/emotional areas that need a little TLC.
(PS: Once again, and am NOT advocating that you forgo life-saving medical treatment or necessary prescription drugs in favor of crystals.)
How I Use Crystals
Now I said I “use” healing crystals, so let me explain what, exactly, I mean by that.
To be honest, I do not buy into the idea that crystals can heal – not in the sense that crystals will cure disease, or that they are a replacement for modern medical treatment, or life-or-death prescription drugs.
I hope most people who use crystals for healing use them as a complementary therapy.
I also don’t subscribe to the idea that crystals have consciousness, or that they are “beings”. I don’t believe they have “magic” abilities.
However, I feel a deep connection with the stones and crystals that I have either collected or purchased.
I use healing crystals in much the same way I use tarot cards. I use them as a meditation aid. I use them in my mindfulness practice, and to perform rituals for calming and centering (more on this below).
I do not completely disregard the metaphysical properties of crystals, however. In fact, I’ve memorized many of them, and often purchase new crystals with the properties and uses taken into account.
I don’t believe that crystals have any “magic” ability to cure disease, or fix a broken relationship, or create a windfall of cash. However, I find that maintaining the association between metaphysical properties with certain stones can act as a visual and tactile reminder to channel that energy.
For example, the citrine on my desk reminds me to think of positive, prosperous thoughts – to work on my mindset as well as the tactics that grow my business.
I visualize my black tourmaline as a sponge for negative energy (anxiety, anger, frustration), and breathe out anxious feelings, or anger, into it (then I cleanse in water to dissipate).
My peanut wood reminds me that change is rough and uncomfortable, but that I can weather anything and build something beautiful from it.
My orange calcite reminds me to focus on what makes me happy, to not just pursue business and personal goals, but to pursue more joy.
The list can go on and on.
Even though I don’t necessarily believe that crystals have the power to transform my life on their own, they are stunning works of natural art that ad a visual and tactile experience to my meditation and mindfulness practice.
Healing Crystal Rituals
One of the ways I actively use crystals is in rituals.
One of the first rituals that crystal users perform upon buying or acquiring a specimen is to “cleanse” it.
Cleansing a crystal is said to remove unwanted energy (say, from strangers who handled it before you did) and prepare the crystal for working. Even though I’m a skeptic at heart, I still find myself cleansing certain crystals that I work with on a regular basis. It just feels right when they “feel clean”.
A crystal can be cleansed by running under water, placed in the sun (or moonlight), run quickly over a flame, or smudged with herbs like sage, or cedar.
(Caution: Some crystals – like selenite – cannot get wet, while others – like amethyst – will fade in sunlight. Know your stones before you use them!)
The second ritual that most crystal users perform is “charging”. Charging a crystal “activates” its energy to work with your intention.
You can charge a crystal by simply holding it in your hand and focusing on it while stating your intention or goal.
For example, you may hold a piece of citrine in your hand and state your intention to increase your income, get a raise at work, or double your client-base.
Once cleansing and charging is completed, you can use your crystals for other rituals.
A simple way that I use crystals in rituals is to simply hold the stone in my hands and mediate on the properties of the stone. I might recite appropriate affirmations that align with the stones metaphysical properties.
Another way I use crystals is as a focus for channeling or releasing energy. Here are a couple rituals I perform as needed.
Anxiety Release Ritual: Take a piece of black tourmaline. The size isn’t important. Hold it with one hand and exhale, visualizing that your anxiety, fear, stress, anger, and/or other negative emotion is being absorbed into the piece of tourmaline.
Take several deep breaths, allowing the tourmaline to absorb the anxiety with each exhale. Once finished, either drop the tourmaline into a bowl of clean water, or run it under a faucet for 30 seconds to dissipate the energy.
Forgive & Release Ritual: Use a small selenite tower or piece of selenite (ie: satin spar) and hold it over your heart. Close your eyes and visualize the selenite glowing with a bright white light.
Now picture the selenite drawing out all feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, and then dissipating it out and away from your body.
You can recite affirmations that strengthen the release. For example, if you are angry, say “I release all anger and forgive those who did me wrong.”
You can picture the person or situation that angers you and forgive, and even bless them. I’ve found this ritual is super-powerful for releasing residual anger when I perform it with my selenite tower.
My Top 10 Healing Crystals & How I Use Them
1) Clear Quartz – No crystal collection is complete without clear quartz. Whether it’s a point, a tumbled piece, or a geode, quartz is one of the most popular, multi-use crystals.
I often hold a small quartz point in my hand when I need clarity, or a clear answer to a problem.
2) Amethyst – One of the most popular crystals, amethyst is used to promote calm, boost intuition, and promote prosperity and harmony in the home.
I sleep with an amethyst geode piece on my nightstand.
3) Black Tourmaline – Black tourmaline is one of my favorite crystals, and its most commonly promoted benefit is to absorb and remove negative energy from a person or space.
I keep mine at my workstation, and meditate with it when feeling stressed or anxious.
4) Citrine – The crystal of abundance and increased joy, citrine is also said to improve self-esteem. Citrine (as well as pyrite, aka “fools gold”) is a stone commonly used by people who want to attract success, abundance, and prosperity into their lives.
I keep my citrine near my work station.
5) Labradorite – The stone of transformation, helping you grow and become the person you need (or want) to be, Labradorite is also believed to boost intuition, and is often dubbed “The Magician’s Stone”.
6) Selenite – Selenite (satin spar) is a crystal of purity and cleansing. It promotes peace and harmony in the home, and dispels and protects against negative energy. It cleanses people and spaces of negativity.
Selenite is often used to cleanse and charge other crystals.
My selenite tower is often the centerpiece to my crystal altar, and I use it ritualistically (see the Forgive & Release Ritual above.)
7) Tiger’s Eye – This stone is about hard work and perseverance. Just grab this stone in your right hand while Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” plays on full blast and you’ll get the overall vibe of this beautiful crystal.
When I’m feeling run down or discouraged, I hold my tiger’s eye, or carry it with me, as a reminder to keep strong, dig in, and get resourceful so that I can rise up to meet any challenge.
8) Rainbow Fluorite – Helps to clarify and rejuvenate. There are several varieties of fluorite, the most popular being rainbow fluorite, which has translucent green, blue, and pinkish brands of color.
I have a small rainbow fluorite tower that stays by my desk.
9) Green Aventurine – The crystal of luck and good fortune, green aventurine is one of the most common and least expensive crystals you can get.
Tracy and I use aventurine as a “gratitude crystal”. We take turns holding it when we do our gratitude meditation in the evenings. We also hold it during our visualization and affirmation rituals.
10) Rose Quartz – This is the stone of love – both romantic and self-love. Rose quartz is said to promote harmony and bonding in relationships, as well as boost self-esteem.
We keep a piece of rose quartz visible to remind us to connect as lovers, and not get too caught up in being business partners.
Where To Buy Healing Crystals
The best crystal specimens can be found in metaphysical supply and boutique crystal shops.
My absolute favorite place in the world to get crystals and gems is Tushita Heaven in Saratoga Springs, NY (I have no association other than being a fairly regular customer.)
I feel recharged just by being in this store for about a half hour or so. Plus, they have the largest selection that I’ve ever seen, anywhere.
You may be lucky enough to have a “rock shop” near you, which caters more to gem and mineral collectors. They tend to have lower prices on awesome specimens without the “metaphysical markup” in price.
You can also look up gem & mineral shows in your area.
Geological attractions often have gift shops that have good prices on gem, mineral, and crystal specimens.
Of course, you can buy just about any gem or crystal online. However, you should be careful to ensure that you are getting what you pay for, and that you aren’t being duped by fakes.
(Yes, there are a LOT of fake, man-made, or mis-labeled crystals out there, so be careful when buying online!)
Personally, I prefer to hand-select my own crystal specimens rather than purchase them on the Internet sight unseen.
You can also find your own. Look for mines that are open to the public. I have both a garnet and Herkimer diamond (quartz) mine near where I used to live in Upstate New York. Look for local rockhounding groups in your area for tips on where to find them.
Quite often, you can find stunning specimens on the ground pretty much anywhere. As I write this, I have a stunning piece of pinkish granite that I picked up along the water’s edge in Myrtle Beach, South Caroline a couple weeks ago.
Sometimes, the very stones in your own backyard can take their place next to perfectly polished specimens that you pick up at a boutique shop.