Crystals : A Beginners Guide
Storage and Selection
One of the most important things to remember when working with crystals is that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way – trust your own feelings, beliefs and intuition, believe in yourself and you will choose what is ‘right’ for you regardless of what books or ‘experts’ may say.. I have tried to compile all of the different methods and information that I have learnt from many different sources relating to crystals in order to help you make the decisions that best suit you. I have described my preferences – but remember, the things that feel ‘right’ for me may not be right for you.
I personally prefer to have my crystals laid out around my house where I can see and appreciate them all and receive their energies and vibrations on a daily basis, even when I am not actively working with them. Every available space in my house is taken up by my crystals friends – clusters, generators, raw, uncut pieces, tumbled and polished ones and even a rose quartz bonsai tree. The larger pieces I place by themselves or in the little plastic and metal display stands that you can buy from crystal and mineral shops. For the smaller pieces, I have two large Mother of Pearl shells and a number of small lead crystal bowls that I keep them in.
If you decide to use this method, it is important to remember that crystals absorb energy from all around them – both negative and positive energy and they amplify the energy that they come in contact with, so it is necessary to clean your crystals regularly.
Crystals can also be stored in a wooden box (many people use Rose Wood) with the lid either open or closed, in a cupboard drawer or material bag (such as silk, cotton or velvet) when you are not using them. Personally, I have found that the energies of the crystals are stronger if they are not shut away. Even my very personal crystals are left out, but in rooms where they are safe from being handled by other people.
Choosing your crystals
When it comes time to choosing your crystals, trust your feelings and your emotions. Go with what you are drawn to, or the ones that you particularly like. Sometimes I have known immediately that a particular crystal is the one that I want, and at other times I pick up several different ones that I seem attracted to and feel the energies from each one before I make my choice. The best way to do this is by holding the crystal in your receiving hand (which for most people is the left hand) and sensing the energies which may be felt as a throbbing, heartbeat, heat or vibration. In many cases the crystal will heat up in your hand until it becomes quite hot – I find that this usually occurs in less than a minute or so.
I choose the crystal that makes me feel best when I hold it – this may not always be the one that has the strongest ‘vibrations’ although it quite often is. If you don’t feel any emotions, or if you feel negative emotions, that particular is probably not for you. I personally also avoid the ones that don’t heat up in my hand.
Everybody’s sensations of the crystal energies is different – some people may be able to feel the vibrations the first time they ever touch crystals, some people may have to work with them a while before this happens, but believe me, you definitely can feel the vibrations and the energy that radiates off these beautiful treasures given to us by Mother Earth!
Some other Selection methods:
1) Stand next to the crystal selections and close your eyes for a moment in meditation. You might like to say an affirmation such as “I will choose the crystal that I need at this time in my life” (or something similar) or you might just like to still your thoughts and clear your mind before you open your eyes. Pick the very first crystal that your eyes are naturally drawn to.
2) Move your receiving hand over all of the crystal in the selection and choose the crystal that your hand is drawn to (it can seem that the crystal is like a magnet to your hand).
3) People who are experienced with Dowsing techniques often find that their favourite dowsing method will enable them to select the crystal that is best for them.
And sometimes it you have no conscious choice in the matter as the crystal will choose you.
Choosing Crystals for a Friend
Crystals make wonderful gifts of love, energy and light and you can choose the right crystal for a friend in a similar manner to choosing one for yourself. The only difference when choosing for someone else is that it helps to visualize the person as you are making your selection.
Make sure that you clear the crystal before you give it to your friend, particularly if they aren’t familiar with crystal work themselves.
Other People and your Crystals
Whether or not you allow other people to handle your crystal is a very personal decision.
You will find, however, that the majority of people are drawn to crystals in some way, and their instinctive action is to pick up a crystal when they see one, and really, who are we to determine whether a crystal should or shouldn’t assist in healing or awakening those individuals who are directed to hold them?
Some people will not allow anyone to touch their crystals at all. Personally, I believe it depends on who exactly wants to handle them. If it is someone that I like and feel comfortable with, and particularly if it is someone whose personal qualities that I admire (such as honesty, wisdom, humour, motivation, generosity) then I believe it is fine for them to hold my crystals. When the crystal is returned to me, I just quickly visualize a cleansing white light passing through the crystal and clearing any negative energies that the crystal may have absorbed.
I would however hesitate to let someone who displayed energies that I felt were negative hold my personal crystals. Obviously, crystals that are used for healing work do not come into this category.
One of the things to remember with crystals is that we do not own them. We are their temporary guardians only. Crystal guardianship may last a lifetime or just a few minutes if we are only the vehicle intended to take them where their healing energies are most needed. I once purchased a tumbled piece of Blue Agate that left my care before I could even get it home. I had no thoughts of buying for anyone other than myself, but when my Mum picked it up to look at it I knew the crystal was not for me and that I had to give it to its rightful guardian.
It is morally and ethically important to ensure that your crystals shall only be used for positive and beneficial purposes. Despite the many beneficial uses of crystals, their powerful energies can and have been used for negative purposes – in fact, according to the Sleeping Prophet, Edgar Cayce, the destruction of Atlantis was caused by the abuse and misuse of their sacred energies and knowledge.
As you now know, crystals absorb energy and vibrations from the people they come into contact with. These vibrations can be negative as well as positive, and it is important to protect your crystal from the harmful ones which can be done very simply by ‘dedicating’ your crystal as follows:
Hold your crystal in your receiving hand, close your eyes, relax and calm your breathing. Take a minute or so to do this (longer if necessary) and once you are breathing deep and rhythmically, start to concentrate on the crystal in your hand. Feel its shape, its temperature and its vibrations.
Verbally or mentally repeat these or similar words “I will this crystal to be used only for the highest universal, loving benefit for myself and others”. As you repeat these words, imagine a beautiful white light flowing down from the universe into your crystal, completely filling it with beautiful universal love and light.
Once you have cleansed and dedicated your crystal, it is ready for programming. Some people prefer to ‘bond’ with their crystal before they program it so that they can get the feel of the crystal to determine the best purpose for the individual crystal. Others may prefer to use only one crystal for many different uses, while others (like myself) have hundreds of crystals that can be used for different purposes and are most effective when programmed for the specific purpose that they are going to be used for. There are four main uses of crystals: Healing; Absent Healing; Meditation; and Manifesting.
Programming crystals is very simple and again focuses on the fact that crystals respond to the intent of the user. All you have to do is visualize the crystals energy being used in a particular way and it will be. The reason for programming is to concentrate or focus the crystalline energies towards one particular purpose, such as healing and it is important to remember that the crystal should only be used for the purpose it has been programmed for. If you change your mind and feel that the crystal should be programmed for something different, all you need to do is thoroughly cleanse the crystal and reprogram it.
Programme your crystal by holding it in your receiving hand, close your eyes, relax and calm your breathing. Again, take a minute or so to do this and once you are breathing deep and rhythmically, start to concentrate on the crystal in your hand. Feel its shape, its temperature and its vibrations and verbally or mentally repeat these or similar words according to the intended purpose of the crystal “I program this crystal to be used for (e.g.) healing purposes”. As you repeat these words, imagine a beautiful white light flowing down from the universe into your crystal, focussing and directing the crystals energies for the purpose you have chosen.
Crystals are usually programmed for the following, and it is generally recommended that you stick to one thing for each crystal unless it is reprogrammed…but I have to say here that there are NO RULES – do what feels right for you personally. I know of people who only have one crystal and they can effectively use it for multiple purposes. The key thing to remember is that crystals are only tools that we use – it is our minds that activate them.
Meditation: to enhance and enrich the spiritual depths of your own meditative experience Healing: Every one of us has the inherent ability to heal – we all possess healing energy, it is only a matter of learning how to access and use it. When we have learnt to access this energy, we can then channel this energy through our crystals to amplify the powers of healing.
Absent Healing Believe it or not, healing energies can be projected to people even when they are not physically with you (or even in the same country!). Once again, crystals can amplify and direct this healing energy to the person in need of healing – all you have to do is focus on the person (even if you don’t know them, just knowing their name and location can achieve remarkable results) and visualize as strongly as possible healing energies surrounding them.
Manifesting: Manifesting is simply a method of programming a crystal to assist your subconscious mind to create something tangible in your life that you may need. (Notice the word ‘need’ there is a big difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’). Once you have decided exactly what it is that you need, visualize it in as much detail as possible and imagine that you do already have whatever it is you are manifesting. Doing this regularly ensures that the need will be met, if it is for your highest good. Just remember, things (usually) don’t just fall in our laps – we do have to work and earn them, using crystals to help manifest them is just a very effective way of convincing our subconscious that we can do it, we can achieve and receive the things that are important!
Cleaning Your Crystals
There are as many different methods of clearing crystals as there are choosing them, but once again, the important thing is what feels right to you personally. There are a few things that do need to be remembered regardless of which method you decide to use:
1) Crystals need to have some form of clearing when you receive them. They have probably been handled by many different people from the time they were mined to the time that they appear in a shop. As crystals absorb (and amplify) energy from people and their immediate surroundings, your crystal is likely to have absorbed negative energy that needs to be purified. If you don’t clear a crystal that has absorbed negative energy, you may find yourself absorbing it from the crystal, and any work you do with the crystal is not going to be as effective.
2) Some types of crystals and minerals can be damaged by certain cleansing methods, in particular from the sun and from water
Be very careful using HOT or freezing cold water on crystals as it can very easily cause them to crack and break apart. Warming them up slowly rather than immersing them in either extreme temperature water straight away can prevent this from happening. Some crystals will be more susceptible to damage, particularly if they have large cracks or inclusions in them. If you wear crystal jewellery in the shower or bath, there is less chance of damage as the crystal (if worn against your skin) is going to have a slightly higher temperature than normal – just make sure that the water is not too hot initially to reduce the risk of damage to the crystal. I have worn crystal pendants in the shower for years without any damage occurring.
Some crystals and minerals, such as Selenite and Halite can be severely damaged by water to the point that they can actually disintegrate. It is best not to use water (particularly salt water) on any of the ‘soft’ crystals and minerals.
Please be aware that sunlight can cause Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Citrine, Smokey Quartz, translucent Aventurine, pink Apatite, Aquamarine, some Beryl, Green and Purple Fluorite and Kunzite to lose their colour (and there may be others!). I have been told that geologically speaking this is not true, however I and many others have seen this happen on many occasions. Some people believe that you should not expose any coloured crystal to sunlight while others recommend a maximum time of 15 minutes in the sun. Personally, I don’t think it is worth the risk of damage to my crystals, so I use the full moon for coloured crystals.
3) A complete clearing can remove the energies or information that has already been programmed into the crystal.
4) If you place your crystals outside, make sure that they are protected from dogs and birds because it is common for them to steal crystals!
When I first started collecting crystals, my cleansing ritual was very long and very thorough, combining several of the following methods. As I have learnt more about crystals I have adapted my cleansing ritual as I felt that I was being overzealous and as a result was losing some of the information programmed into the crystals when I first received them. The cleansing process I now use is still thorough in removing the unwanted negative energies, without losing any of the programming.
For those of you new to crystal work, I would still recommend the thorough cleaning, despite the possible risk of losing programmed information. Thorough cleaning ensures that the only energy and vibrations that the crystal has when you start working with it (apart from its own) are yours rather than anyone else’s as crystals respond to the ‘intent’ of the individual using (and handling) them, which may not always be positive and harmonious.
Methods of cleaning
Water is a wonderful universal cleanser and purifier and is a lovely cleansing method for (most) crystals. You can hold your crystal under a flowing tap (using cold or luke warm water) and visualize all of the negative energies and vibrations being washed out of the crystal, leaving only the pure, clean and natural energies of the crystal.
When using this method, I visualize the negative energies as a blackness inside the crystal that melts out of the crystal and flows down the drain, through the water system and out into the ocean where the blackness is neutralized by Mother Nature as it breaks up into tiny little particles that transform into nutrients that can be re-used. I visualize this neutralizing and transformation of the negative energies because after just visualizing the ‘blackness’ going down the drain for a long time, I started to feel guilty about the innocent creatures that may have been affected by this displaced negativity.
Once you have cleansed your crystal, allow it to dry naturally rather than using a towel or a cloth. A good way to dry crystals naturally is to leave them in sunlight, moonlight or on an open window sill where they can be dried by the breeze.
If you don’t like the idea of using tap water because of the chemicals used, distilled or bottled mineral water can also be used, and for these you could try letting the crystal soak in a bowl of this water in the sunlight or moonlight.
Other water methods of cleaning that many people use include holding the crystal under a waterfall, in a natural stream or creek, or in the waves at the beach.
Sunlight and Moonlight
Sunlight and Moonlight are great ways to cleanse and energize crystals, and the full moon is the best time for moonbathing for all crystals, although other phases of the moon certainly can be used effectively. Some crystals such as Moonstone, Mother of Pearl (a shell actually, not a crystal) prefer moonlight and don’t forget the others that can actually be damaged by sunlight.
If you have a crystal sphere (whether it be quartz crystal or Austrian glass crystal) that you use for scrying, it is traditionally believed that they should not be exposed to sunlight which is thought to hinder the ability to contact the psychic mind, so Moonlight is used for cleansing and energizing energising scrying crystals.
A very natural way to cleanse your crystal is to bury it in the earth somewhere in your garden, or if you are lucky enough to live in the country you could choose your favourite spot under a tree or near a river (just make sure you mark the spot so that you can recover it later). The powerful magnetic energy field of the Earth will cleanse and purify your crystal of negative energy and vibrations. There are different opinions on the length of time that the crystal should be buried for from overnight to seven days, although much longer periods are recommended for crystals that have been over worked. This method is also used for crystals that have died, in order to permanently return them to Mother Earth.
One thing to remember with this is if you have been using your crystal for intense healing or other work and you know that the negative vibrations are high within the crystal, it is a good idea not to bury it near a plant as the plant can then absorb the negative energy with detrimental effects, including complete death of the plant.
Using a quartz crystal cluster is another effective method of cleansing. All you need to do is place the crystal needing cleansing on the cluster as the crystalline energies within the cluster are able to neutralize the negative energies and vibrations. You can leave the crystal on the cluster from a few hours to several days depending on what you prefer, and placing the cluster and crystals in either sunlight or moonlight (depending on the crystals). Just remember that the cluster will also require cleansing every now and again!
Personally, despite the popularity of the salt water cleansing methods, the only salt method that I ever use is the Dry Rock Salt method, and even then very infrequently and usually only with clear quartz, with a tissue or piece of cloth between the crystal and the Rock Salt. I feel that the chemical reaction of salt added to water (particularly when placed in sunlight) disrupts and distorts the flow of energy through the crystal/gemstone. In addition, the salt can get into the tiny cracks and inclusions in the crystal and damage the crystal. I prefer to be safe rather than sorry, so I predominantly use a combination of running tap water with visualization and either sun or moonbathing as appropriate for the individual crystal or smudging with sage or incense.
However, many people use (and recommend) this method, so the following are some ways that salt can be used for cleaning (rock salt not table salt which has added chemicals):
Ocean Water: If you live near the ocean you can either take your crystals to the beach for cleansing and energizing in the waves, or you can take some salt water home with you and can place your crystal in a bucket with the salt water. You can leave the bucket in the sunlight or moonlight.
Salt water: You can make your own salt water, preferably with Rock Salt or Sea and put your crystals in a bowl (a lead crystal bowl is best) or bucket of this water, also in the sun or moonlight. Make sure that the crystal or mineral is not a water soluble one.
Dry Rock Salt: Place your crystals on a bed of dry Rock Salt in a lead crystal bowl (glass will suffice) and place the bowl in either sun or moonlight.
The time required for cleansing with salt again varies from several hours to several days depending on what you intuitively feel is needed.
Remember: If you are cleansing crystal jewelry in this way, the metal can be corroded by the salt.
Smoke – Smudging Method
Crystals can be also be cleansed by passing them through smoke, from either incense or more commonly from smoke from burning dried herbs commonly used by Native Americans such as sage, cedar and sweetgrass. The herbs can also be placed in a heat resistant bowl and burned or they can be made into a stick.
The crystals can either be passed through the smoke or you can fan the smoke over the crystal, while focusing your intent on clearing it of unwanted vibrations. If you have lots of crystals to smudge you could place them in an open weave basket that allows a lot of smoke to come through.
The smudge method is also effective for clearing houses and other buildings of negativity, as well as yourself and other people. A feather is often used when smudging to direct the smoke in the required direction.
As previously mentioned, crystals respond to the intent of the user, and as such it is possible to clear your crystals by your intentions, either verbally or mentally. To do this, hold your crystal in your receiving hand (usually the left), close your eyes, relax and calm your breathing. Take a minute or so to do this (longer if necessary) and once you are breathing deep and rhythmically, start to concentrate on the crystal. Feel its shape, its temperature and its vibrations.
At this point you can verbally or mentally repeat the words “I will this crystal to be self-cleansing”. As you repeat these words, imagine a beautiful white light flowing down from the universe through your crystal, first absorbing and then neutralizing any negative energy within the crystal.
When using this method of cleansing, I repeat the words seven times, as seven is a special number for me – if you have a special number you may like to use that instead. Remember that it is the intent that is important, not the number of repetitions. For this method to be completely effective it is necessary to maintain your concentration and the strength of your intention, otherwise the crystal may not be completely cleared.
Other times to clear or cleanse your crystal:
As crystals store the vibrations and energies that they come in contact with which can then affect the people who come in contact with the crystal, after the initial cleansing when you first obtain the crystal it is necessary to clear it before and immediately after the crystal is used for healing, whenever it feels like it has ‘lost’ its energy and also if it has come into contact with negative vibrations (such as an argument in the room).