Beginner's Guide to Crystals
When I was a kid, I remember the first crystal I had acquired. It was a rose quartz. We had gotten it at a souvenir shop somewhere, and it came with this little index card describing its metaphysical properties. The card listed unique “magical abilities” such as the ability to restore youth, attract love, etc…We played with it for a little while, and my mother even jokingly rubbed her face with it in an attempt to get rid of the wrinkles.
It didn’t work. Go figure.
What puzzled my younger self about the rose quartz was how to use it. Even when I was younger and not as knowledgeable of crystals as I am now, I still felt there was something to their metaphysical attributes—I just wasn’t sure how to harness them. I eventually learned that crystal are a powerful tool for anyone pursuing their spirituality. I often recommend crystal to many of my clients because they’re versatile and can assist people in a variety of ways.
In this blog we will discuss how to use crystals, the benefits of using crystals (metaphysically), a good starter kit to begin your crystal collection, how to take care of crystal, and crystals to avoid.
You will be very surprised at how quickly your crystal collection can get out of hand if you’re not careful, mindful, and conscious with your crystal purchases. It can get addicting. It might first start out as just a couple of tumbled stones on Amazon, then maybe some pretty hand-wrapped earrings. Next thing you know, it’s a fight-or-die Ebay bid for a ridiculously-overpriced pyrite cluster starting at $1,200, even though you don’t need it because you literally have 6 specimens in your house already.
Just be mindful with your crystal purchases. Sometimes you find the crystal, other times they find you. And even on a rare occasion, you are meant to be the carrier pigeon for a crystal, because they wished to be passed down to someone else who needed them more.
The Purpose of Using Crystals
The primary metaphysical use of crystals is as energetic tools. I can’t say I’ve seen crystals get rid of wrinkles if you rub them on your face, or give you superhuman abilities, but I have heard gamblers carry Aventurine in their pockets for luck. I’ve seen an anxious person calm down after holding a Selenite, and a scared person feel safer after holding a smokey quartz. We can hold stones, put them in our pockets, wear them as jewelry, and use them in our readings. I’ve used stones in reiki sessions, in candle rituals, for extra protection, meditation, and anxiety. There are stones that can add an extra “boost” of energy to the water you drink (be careful with this though!), or help you relax in a bath. You can place stones around your house for grids, or under your child’s pillow to help them sleep peacefully. You can use stones to help attract love, and even increase fertility. There are many uses for stones, but their purpose is to change the energy of a person, an environment, or a ritual.
There’s a crystal for just about everything—but it’s important to note that a crystal’s “effectiveness” is also relative to how much you believe in it. The more you believe in energy (in a metaphysical sense), the more you allow yourself the ability to sense it working on you. Crystals will also react differently to different people. Two different people can hold the same stone and have two different reactions. The stone will change its “personality” in a way to react differently to the aura of the person holding it. For example, one person may hold a Black Tourmaline and it will reflect energy away. Another person may hold Black Tourmaline and it will transmute energy directed at the person holding it. You will find crystals have their own unique personalities.
Quick & Dirty
There is a “quick & dirty” guide to crystals and knowing how to use them. This isn’t 100% accurate all the time, but it definitely helps when trying to find a stone for a specific purpose. Here we have a basic chart of the chakra system. As you can see, each chakra is associated with a color. Generally speaking, stones that match chakra colors generally have attributes that benefit (or match the theme of) that chakra. So if you are looking for a stone that would help you speak better, that’s going to potentially be a blue stone (like Lapis Lazuli). Below is a breakdown of the chakra system themes and stones that relate to their energy.
Crown Chakra — White/Lavender/Indigo. Represents divine connection, Source, channel, religious beliefs & relationship with God. Stones include Amethyst, Selenite, White or Rainbow Moonstone, Howlite, Scolecite, Celestite, Angelite.
3rd-Eye Chakra — Deep purple. Represents intuition, mediumship, precognition, thought, dreams, astral projection, mental prowess. Stones include Amethyst, Fluorite (especially purple), Lapis Lazuli and Labradorite.
Throat Chakra — Blue/deep blue. Represents how you express, communicate, (and to a lesser extent) hearing/listening. Stones include Lapis Lazuli, Blue Kyanite, Blue Calcite, Celestite and Mookaite.
Heart Chakra — Green (for chakra color), green & pink stones are associated with this chakra. Represents how you receive love, give love, abundance, health and prosperity. Stones include Green Aventurine, Emerald, Moldavite, Rose Quartz and Jade.
Solar Plexus — Yellow/Gold. This chakra represents will, confidence, courage, happiness, resilience, stubbornness, and abundance. Stones include citrine, yellow apatite, iron pyrite, Amber, and Tiger’s Eye.
Sacral Chakra — Yellow-Orange/Orange. This chakra represents sexuality, creativity, and inspiration. Stones include Carnelian, Orange Aventurine, Cinnabar, Orange Coral and Citrine.
Root Chakra — Red in color, though stones that assist with this chakra are red and/or black/brown in color. This chakra is associated with grounding, security, practicality, sleep and relaxation. Stones include Smokey Quartz, Hematite, Black Tourmaline, Obsidian, Onyx, Tektite, Garnet, Carnelian and Brown Tourmaline.
As you can see, many of these stones overlap in chakras because the energy of the chakras can overlap too. For example, bot the crown and 3rd-eye chakras are associated with intuition, so it’s only natural that some of the stones that are associated with one would be associated with the other.
Some people can be particular about crystal shapes, but that’s ultimately up to you. Crystals can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from rough to tumbled to points. The reason they come in a variety of shapes is because it’s believed the shape of a stone changes the energy that flows from a stone. So for example, a point would direct the energy to a specific area, whereas a sphere would allow the energy to emanate evenly throughout. Here’s a list of shape definitions:
Point: A crystal with a focalized termination at the end (like a pyramid or an arrow). Can be natural or carved.
Tumbled: usually smaller in size, and “tumbled” in a tumbler to become round and smooth like marbles.
Matrix: Multiple established terminations.
Druizy: A baby version of a matrix (a tiny matrix). Looks like velvet or an almost “soft” texture.
Elestial: A unique formation (usually found in quartzes) that has multiple termination points within one facet of the stone. Believed to increase connection to Spirit.
Twin: When two points grow together.
Phantom Quartz: When there is a trace (or shadow) of a point within another point. Believed to help with past-life recall and energy clearing.
Enhydro: Means there’s water in it.
Wands: A man-made hand-carved stone that has a rounded focal point. Usually used in rituals, reiki, and other instances where focalized energy would be beneficial in a metaphysical practice.
Another important thing to note is that stones have an “area of effect” (thank you D&D). Most stones will emanate an energy throughout an area. So, just because you can’t wear a stone doesn’t mean it won’t do its job hanging out in your pocket. The only exemption to this are resins, such as Amber and Jet. Those tend to work best when in direct contact with the skin.
When you first get a crystal, it’s important to cleanse it. It has passed from hand to hand, so you have no idea who as touched it or what energy level the person was at when they held it. The stones pick up these energies, so it’s important to give your stones a good “energetic bath” before putting them to use. I usually put mine in a bowl of salt for a few days. Then I take the salt, put it in the garbage outside (or wash down the drain) and wash my hands afterwards. I use salt because it’s notorious in the metaphysical community for being able to extract negative energy from that which it comes into contact with. Other forms of purification include washing/rinsing the stone in water, sunlight (for dark/black stones), moonlight (for white/clear stones), and burying the stone for a few days.
Shop around when looking for stones. There are tons of fakes out there. More notoriously difficult (authentic) stones to find are Lemurian Quartz and Moldavite. Know the differences and pay attention to the reputation of the seller. If it’s a cheap stone that’s supposed to be rare, you know you’ve found a fake.
Other stones, such as Mystic Merlinite, can be found at a much cheaper price when simply labeled “Gabbro Stone”. They’re literally the same thing, but one is a bit more hyped-up than the other. So do your research!
Some stones are toxic. Stones such as Cinnabar, Asbestos and Galenite to name a few are harmful if exposed to the skin at all or for long periods of time. Be careful when handling stones. Most are OK to touch, but avoid stones with Mercury in it or Asbestos. Some stones may even be radioactive so watch out!
So now you know some basic information on how to use and maintain your crystals. Just remember they have their own personalities, and will show their personalities to you as you develop a relationship with them. So don’t try to “program” or “force” them to do something — just gently ask them instead. Sally forth!