Natural crystals are so powerful that metaphysicians and healers throughout history have used them to alter the flow of energy in the physical world.
Crystals and gemstones of different kinds are mentioned in magical texts from ancient Sumer and Egypt and were worn by the high priests of the Hebrew faith.
Sages of ancient India, Asia, as well as Native American and Celtic shamans, utilized crystals for healing, protection and ritual purposes. The Greeks also made use of crystals for healing purposes, prescribing different stones for specific ailments – some of which are still recommended today.
These cultures utilized crystals in their work because they knew a secret that modern science has only recently discovered: crystals have the power to transmit energy. Scientists understand that applying pressure to certain crystals, such as quartz, generates a specific form of electricity. The computer and electronics industry depends upon crystal technology and could not exist in its present form without it.
Whether used as talismans, healing tools, or simply for their decorative beauty, the spiritual awakening in the Western world has brought crystal power back into popular awareness. As interest in spiritual and energetic healing has increased, practitioners have developed high levels of expertise in the use of crystal energy to achieve some impressive results. Testimonials from their grateful clients include reports ranging from corrected spinal deformities to increased financial prosperity and accelerated spiritual and psychic development.
I recently sat down for a fascinating conversation with Aza Derman, Paleontology and Metaphysical Specialist at the Astro Gallery of Gems, an exquisite store in mid-town Manhattan, to learn more about crystals and how they can help us lead more empowered lives.
JA: What is a Crystal?
AZA: A crystal is a solid substance with internal order that physically manifests in symmetrical, geometrical shapes. Salt and ice are examples of crystalline substances that we encounter every day.
JA: How long does a crystal take to form?
AZA: Each mineral has a different rate of crystal formation. Most take millions of years, and some form nearly instantaneously. The majority of crystals take a very long time to form. This is because they are gradual accumulations of solid substances carried by ground water. All crystals are formed under incredible amounts of heat and pressure. That’s what makes them special. The degree of heat and pressure, coupled with their depth in the Earth, determines crystal size, symmetry, and transparency.
JA: Is there a start and finish to a crystal’s growth?
AZA: As long as a crystal remains in its natural environment, it will continue to form and change. Layers of minerals can accumulate over eons so that several different types of crystals can form on top of each other. Once the mineral is removed from the pocket, crystal growth ceases.
JA: Where do you source your crystals from and why?
AZA: Every mineral has a different locale that is considered classic or ideal for collectors. This can lead to differences in chemical composure and appearance among members of the same species. This can even determine the overall quality of the particular mineral. Some crystal healers believe that these different locales also yield substances of differing power levels, in accordance with their differing appearances.
For example, the amethyst that comes from Uruguay has a deeper color and can have smaller, tighter crystals. But when Uruguay amethyst has large crystals, the deep color makes it breathtakingly beautiful, and ideal for collectors.
On the other hand, amethyst from Brazil is generally lighter in color, and has larger crystals that are almost ‘fluffy’ in character. Then there is Veracruz amethyst from Mexico, which has a pale color, but large, vertical crystals, and cluster formations very much like clear quartz. There are people that prefer each of these locales for subjective reasons. Healers interpret them as levels of amethyst, each with different levels of healing energy.
JA: Is one crystal better than the other, in terms of energy?
AZA: Not really. But it also depends on the crystal healer. For most people, it is simply personal preference as to the look and ‘feel’ of the crystal. People often report feeling the energy of various crystals differently. To some people, a certain crystal is very strong, whereas other may hardly ‘feel’ anything from that very same crystal. It very much depends upon how each person is drawn to the mineral in question.
JA: How important is it to have good quality crystals?
AZA: Each crystal is a miracle in itself. For healing purposes, the very ‘best’ aesthetic form is usually not necessary, unless you’re talking about Fung Shui. For practical purposes, any quartz can cleanse, any pyrite can attract wealth and any citrine can bring you good fortune.
Most people display their crystals, so there is always and aesthetic element to choosing them. For collectors, there is definitely a variance of quality. Characteristics like clarity, color, symmetry, locale, rarity and provenance are essential in mineral collecting. But for crystal healing, all that really matters is a personal ‘bond,’ with the crystal you take home.
JA: Do crystals come as both positive and negative?
AZA: The belief is that minerals have positive energy, and that all crystals have differing types of positive energy. This energy variation can be used to accomplish diverse ‘healing-goals.’ The crystals that aren’t considered positive are usually chemically toxic, relativity rare, and not easy to come by through consumer markets. Stibnite is one that is mildly toxic, but still used in healing.
JA: Do Crystals hold energy, and does the energy dissipate?
AZA: Crystals are basically expressions of chemical energy, rather than having energy. One can say they ARE energy. Crystal healing posits that they can take on people’s emotional energy as they heal, and that they weaken and need cleansing to restore them to original energy levels (see cleansing instructions at end of article).
JA: What effect can crystals have on the body and senses?
AZA: There are many ideas and beliefs on this topic. But the simplest and most frequently used technique is pairing crystals with chakra points. And again it depends on individual needs. For instance, if someone has trouble speaking up for themselves, then that relates to the throat chakra and turquoise is an effective crystal for this area. If someone has undergone an emotional trauma, it is believed to affect the heart chakra. Moldavite, malachite and emerald are minerals for cleaning this chakra out, so that one can start over emotionally.
JA: What do most people use crystals for in their everyday environment?
AZA: I’ve heard of people using crystals for energy clearing, Feng Shui around the home, and attracting or dispelling energy. Most people will come into the store with a particular problem they have, or a situation they want to correct, like clearing negative energy. At Astro Gallery of Gems, we can advise them as to which crystal they need for this problem (it’s usually black tourmaline or schorl).
JA: What are some of the main reasons people buy crystals and what crystals would you recommend?
Clients ask often ask me for help deflecting negative energy in offices or homes, and combatting negative people. I usually recommend black tourmaline, or schorl, to deflect negativity, and clear quartz to dispel it. Placement of these crystals depend upon what you intend to do with them. Schorl can be worn to combat negative people, placed in a doorway to deflect negativity as people enter, above a bed, for nightmares, and on a desk in a work place. Clear quartz ‘needs’ light, and can have the same effect as smudging. Therefore, it works well hanging from windows, or in contact with direct light sources (Sun or Moon). It is said to brighten up the atmosphere and energize a room, and can make clients feel uplifted in their own homes.
For protection and nurturing energy, I often recommend amethyst; in entrance-ways to protect a house or office, under a pillow for nightmares, and worn for personal protection. Amethyst can also be a crown chakra stone.
Citrine is a good fortune stone, and suitable for business and work, good to place on a desk. In a home, it should be placed in the living or family room to encourage good health and abundance.
Tiger’s Eye is good for inner-confidence and authority. However, for confident expression, I recommend turquoise. It should be worn over the throat for expression and can be worn anywhere for evil-eye protection. Amazonite also does this rather well, and has a lovely color.
Love and relationship
Love is associated with the heart chakra. Rose quartz is used to attract unconditional love, when worn by the wearer. It is unique because it works best carried on one’s person, or worn. To release heart baggage after bad breakups, or traumatic relationships, moldavite or malachite are both great to cleanse the heart chakra.
Passion and intimacy:
The solar-plexus chakra reawakens passion for someone or something you love. Carnelian, which is an ancient stone used by the Egyptians and Romans, can be used as a passion stone and to attract success. Vanadinite is also an excellent voom-voom-passion stone. It is believed that it can ignite passion like a spark, and also attract that electric passionate energy between two people.
The root chakra relates to groundedness, or feeling your place in the world. When people feel like life is out of control, moving too fast, or feel lost, I recommend iron-based grounding stones, like hematite and magnetite.
Focus and concentration:
The crown chakra aligns with focus and concentration. Amethyst is great for this purpose. If you want to clear the chatter in your mind to gain clarity and receive information, amethyst is your mineral. It can magnify with quartz.
Awareness and intuition:
The third-eye chakra aligns with awareness and intuition. Celestite, kyanite and sapphires are usually go-to stones for this chakra.
Anxiety, relaxation and sleep disorders:
Kunzite is a powerful stone used to dissipate anxiety, and a mood-balancing stone. Kunzite and kyanite are both fantastic for anxiety, and can either be carried or worn. For sleep, it can be kept next to a bed, under a pillow, or suspended over a bedroom window.
Dreams: To enhance your dreams and receive messages.
Phantom quartz and amethyst are both good for enhancing dreams and controlling the messages you receive. Phantom quartz has inclusions that are shaped like quartz crystals. They are essentially quartz within suartz, as a metaphor for our dream world within the real one.
JA: How do you cleanse a crystal?
Leave crystal exposed to sunlight or moonlight for 24 to 48 hours. You can leave on a windowsill, or anywhere exposed to either.
Salt water is good to cleanse, too, but not for every mineral, as some will dissolve in water.
Sage is another great cleanser. Burn the sage, either loose-leaf white sage, or a smudge stick, and smudge the crystal with the smoke, then let it sit for a day or two.
Selenite is a cleansing mineral, and a self-cleansing crystal. It can be placed underneath other crystals for cleansing, for a day or two.
JA: How do you know when your crystal needs cleansing?
AZA: It is believed that as you use your crystal, you develop a type of relationship with it. People say that their crystals start to ‘feel,’ heavy and weak. If your mineral feels different in some way, it’s a time to start cleansing. Selenite is self-cleaning.
JA: How do you know when it is cleansed?
AZA: While cleaning, it is okay to touch your crystal. As you get to know the energy of your individual crystal, you will learn when it feels right to remove it from the cleansing process.
JA: Does the crystal pick up energy from other people and should you share your crystal or keep it only for your own use?
AZA: This is an individual choice. You may want to keep the energy of your crystal sacred to your own energy, but you can share it with loved ones too. It’s a very personal decision.
by NY Daily News