Intro to Healing Crystals: Brief History and How to Use
So you want to get into crystals...But where do you begin?
Starting your journey with crystals can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different kinds of stones and crystals. The metaphysical properties associated with each stone or crystal are different, and there is usually more than one property for each stone. The most important thing to know going in is that you don’t have to know everything before you get started.
It is going to be a long, exciting and rewarding journey and you will learn as you go. I have been into healing crystals for as long as I can remember, and my life has been surrounded by crystals both personally and in my work and I still learn a lot of new things about crystals each day! If you feel yourself being attracted to different crystals, you’re already on your way. Here are some tips for you if you are just getting started on your healing journey.
A Brief History of Crystals
While crystals are especially popular in our culture today, humans have been using crystals for their metaphysical healing properties and powers for thousands of years. Archaeologists discovered a calcite mirror that is over 30,000 years old, and amber beads that are 8,000 years old. Crystals were also used in ancient Egyptian culture as far back as 4500 BCE. Funerary masks, including Tutankhamun’s, were adorned with crystals for decoration, but also to help guide them on their spiritual journey to rebirth. There are even mentions of priests wearing crystals in the Old Testament. They wore twelve crystals in a pouch around their neck to signify the twelve tribes of Israel. There are countless texts written throughout the centuries on crystals and their healing properties.
Formation and Shape
With the exception of a few man made crystals, the majority of other crystals are formed underground in various ways. Many crystals, like quartz, are igneous rocks. This means that gases and minerals from the earth’s molten core rose towards earth’s surface and cooled as they hit solid rock, forming a crystal. Other crystals, like peridot, are created at very high temperatures of magma. Some other crystals are metamorphic rocks. In this process, some crystals, for example garnet, are formed from extreme pressure and heat deep in the earth. Sedimentary rocks, like calcite, are formed through erosion.
The way the molecules are arranged determines the shape of the crystal. There are seven basic crystal forms: hexagonal (ex. emerald), orthorhombic (ex. celestite), cubic (copper), triclinic (ex. charoite), trigonal (ex. carnelian), monoclinic (ex. kunzite), tetragonal (ex. Zircon). There is also a category called amorphous (ex. obsidian) which means there is no inner structure to the crystal. Some believe that the crystalline structure contributes to the metaphysical properties of the stone.
Choosing Your Crystals
There are many different ways to choose the right crystals for you. You don’t have to immediately spend lots of money on an expensive piece, or on a bunch of stones to get started. A small tumbled stone is a great way to get introduced to a crystal. It’s a small investment and you can carry it around in a pocket or a purse to see how it vibes with your energy.
The simplest way to choose your crystal is by using your intuition. A crystal that is right for you will catch your eye. If you’re attracted to a certain crystal, focus on its energy and see if it feels right with your energy. For many, it is important to touch the stone to feel if it is the correct choice. The crystal will tell you if it is the right one for you.
If you are not comfortable using your intuition, another method that is helpful is dowsing. You can do this using your fingers or a pendulum. To finger-dowse, on one hand loop your thumb and your finger together. Then put your thumb and finger from the other hand through the loop and close them. Hold your hands over the crystal or a picture of the crystal you are interested in. Pull your hands apart. If the loop breaks, it is not the right crystal for you. If you want to use a pendulum, hold it above the crystal. Establish which direction is yes or no by asking it a question you know the answer to. Then ask if the crystal is right for you. You can also use either of these methods to ask the universe and your subconscious other questions.
After Taking the Crystal Home
Once you acquire your crystal, the first thing you need to do is cleanse it. This will clear the stone of any negative energy or vibrations that it may have attracted. Crystals will pick up all energy they are surrounded by--good or bad--so it is wise to start with a clean slate. There are many different ways to cleanse your stones, like smoke cleansing, using selenite, or putting the stone in water. Learn more about crystal cleansing here. Like with choosing a crystal, your intuition will help you choose the cleansing method that is right for you and your stone.
After cleansing your stone, it is important to set your intentions for the stone. A good way to do this is to hold the stone in your hands. Your intentions do not have to be complicated or too specific if you do not want them to be. Picture in your mind what you want this crystal to help you with and visualize your energies attuning to the stone’s energies. Repeat the intention out loud or in your head until you feel that the crystal has absorbed your intention.
Be sure to cleanse your crystal often using your preferred method. Crystals will also need to be physically cleaned from time to time as well. Do this as gently as you can, using a damp rag for crystals that are insoluble. Keep your crystal in a safe place where it will not be bumped or dropped. Some sources suggest wrapping your crystals in a silk or velvet scarf in between uses. Some stones will fade in the sun, so be sure to check before leaving crystals by windows or outdoors. Take care of your crystals and they will take care of you.
While starting your journey with crystals may seem a little intimidating for beginners, remember that working with crystals is all about finding what works best and aligns with you and your intentions. Experiment with different stones and find out what you like. This process is about you. What works for some people may not work for others, and that is okay. Good luck!
Crystal Muse by Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro
The Encyclopedia of Crystals by Judy Hall
Healing Crystals and Gemstones by Dr. Flora Peschek-Böhmer and Gisela Schreiber
The Crystal Companion by Judy Hall