Crystals and Gems for Everyday Use
I was asked recently about my stones and crystals, and thought I’d make a post about them; specifically, about how they’re used. But first, some basics!
Most of the Pagans I know tend to think of their stones as ‘living’ objects, and by that, I mean that they recognize the energy and effect that stones and crystals have on their user/wearer. If you’re not familiar with stones and crystals in your personal practice, they can be a useful addition. I recommend getting a couple of books on stones, both scientific/geology-related and Pagan-related, to get an idea of what it is you’re dealing with. Knowing the geological profile of a stone can help you place it into your practice and correspondences more easily, in my opinion (especially if you use non-traditional correspondences, or follow an eclectic path). DK Press has several ‘stones and gems’ books, and I found one that is organized by color that is useful for identifying stones I find in the wild. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic is another good one, and The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall is another good one.
While it’s tempting to start your stone and gem collection and pack it away, stones and crystals can’t help you if they’re tucked away in a drawer. To get the most effect, they need to be handled, loved and taken care of. It’s important to recharge your stones, too. But first, let’s talk about choosing the right stones for your collection.
Choosing Stones and Crystals
So how do you go about choosing the ‘right’ stones and crystals? Mostly, it’s by ‘feel’. Sometimes, you can be drawn to certain stones or crystals and know instantly that it’s right for you. Other times, you may need to touch and hold several in the bin before finding the ‘right’ one. It’s not uncommon for me to be walking around outside by the beach or in the woods and be drawn to something I can’t readily see, only to find a beautiful bit of sea glass or a stone that feels like it’s ‘mine’. Crystals seem to be a bit different, in that they often warm to the touch if they’re meant to go home with you! I can imagine that it has something to do with the cuts and the vibration of your personal energies, but that could be a load of hooey. In either case, crystals are easier for me to choose or recognize that it’s not meant to be mine than stones.
Can you use ‘just any’ stone or crystal? Probably, but if you don’t feel it, then chances are you won’t see the result that you were looking for.
Cleansing & Charging
I’ve read a lot of different methods for cleansing and charging. As with any magickal tool, I feel like cleansing prior to use is essential. Not only does cleansing clear whatever other psychic vibrations or energy attached to it, but it also gives you a chance to impose your energy on it, and ‘tune in’ to the stone or crystal. I use crystals and stones all the time – herbs and stones/crystals are probably the most often used in my personal practice – so I want to make sure that my stones work for me. Cleansing is a vital step for best results.
Among my favorite methods for cleansing are Sun Cleansing, Moon Cleansing, and Water Cleansing. With Water Cleansing, you can use Salted Water, Moon-Blessed Water, or Holy Water to cleanse. For Sun Cleansing, I choose a day when the sun is bright and the sky is clear. The Summer Solstice is an ideal day to cleanse stones in the sun, but any day would work. If correspondences are important to you, then you might choose a day that corresponds to the stone you’re cleansing, and use other favorable trappings as well (like color of tablecloth, or herbs on the table as well). I don’t cast a Circle for cleansing stones, but I do set a small, temporary altar, with the elements represented and the stones in the center. I leave the stones out in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day, and bring them in afterwards. A word about Sun Cleansing for crystals – I don’t use the sun for crystals. The UV rays can discolor your crystals, and some crystals can crack or shatter if they get too hot. They’re still the same, energetically speaking, but not as pretty.
For Moon Cleansing, I recommend waiting until the Full Moon. I try to cleanse and charge my crystals by moonlight only, and every month. If I am home, it’s easy to leave them out overnight, but even just a little while under the moon can cleanse and re-charge them. You don’t have to do anything fancy; leaving them in a windowsill where the moon can touch them is perfect if you can’t get outside.
Something that is also very effective is Spirit Cleansing. Spirit Cleansing is ideal for those on a limited budget, or who practice discreetly, or just prefer to do things without a bunch of ‘stuff’. We Pagans tend to like our ‘stuff’, so sometimes it’s nice to get back to basics, and really connect with the idea that the power is in the witch. Spirit Cleansing is essentially using your own energy to cleanse and charge a stone or crystal. Using Spirit to charge is common; it’s how I charge all of my stones and crystals – but using Spirit to cleanse as well is just as effective. If you think about it, the intent is what matters. Even with other methods, you’re still drawing on your energy to set the intention. Spirit Cleansing is just a little more overt. To cleanse with Spirit, like with other methods, I don’t cast a Circle. I prefer to do Spirit Cleansing at my altar, with my altar and working candles lit. Spirit Cleansing is a little like meditation practice, in that you’re holding the stone and focusing your energy into it, and through it, and drawing your will and intent into it.
Charging your stones and crystals is something different from cleansing (though you can do both at the same time). Much like with Spirit Cleansing, charging uses either your own energy, or the energies of the elementals and things around you, combined with your will, to help the stone or crystal do the work you intend it for. One of the reasons stones and gems and crystals are effective is because you’re drawing on its own energy as well. When your intent is in alignment with the energy and purpose of the stone or gem or crystal, then it just works! Generally speaking, to charge my stones, gems and crystals, I hold it in my hands, and use visualization and focused meditation to set the intention for the stone. Some stones, I have specific goals for; others are for more general use.
One of my favorite ways to use stones is by wearing them. Lots of places have necklace pendants that you can either tuck a stone into, or open and put a stone in. I have both kinds, and they’re ideal for wearing small stones. The ones I have are large enough to put multiple stones in, which makes customization easier. Using harmonious stones or gems in one group can maximize a particular effect, or mediate the effects of one stone by using another. I wear my stones to help control anxiety and stress, and to promote compassion and harmony in my interactions with people. My son wears stones to help with gastrointestinal stress, and digestive issues. They’re also useful on the bed-side table, to help with falling asleep, staying asleep and dream-magick.
Another way to draw on the healing and/or magickal properties of crystals and stones is to make tinctures or oils with the stone or crystal inside. My jars and vials of Moon Blessed Water, for example, usually also contain a bit of moonstone, or quartz (or both). If you’re making massage oil, adding rose quartz, amethyst, tiger’s eye, or carnelian can either help with relaxation or help spice things up. For prosperity oil, gold, adventurine, unakite, goldstone, labradorite and other stones that attract wealth or luck can boost the oil’s effectiveness.
Many stones also have a deity connection; that is, a stone or crystal is associated with a particular deity. They can be used to focus on your connection and communication with a particular deity, or to establish one. In some cases, being drawn to a particular stone may be deity trying to get in touch with you! If that’s something you’re open to, a little research can go a long way towards figuring it out.
I also use stones in spellwork. Larger stone can be used as candle holders – I drip some wax onto the stone, and set the candle into it, then place it on my altar until it’s done or my work is finished. Stones are also great for long-acting spells; stones are very stable and can hold onto an intention for a long time (especially with regular care). I use them on my altar as place-holders for intention or as the visible reminder of spellwork for prosperity and protection that are either in other areas of my home or outside (like Witch Balls).
Crystal grids are another good way to maximize your intent. Laying a grid can be somewhat time-consuming, but once it’s laid, the stones use each other to stay active. The old infomercial ‘set it and forget it’ comes to mind (only don’t ‘forget it’ – you ARE the magic)…. Stone massage is another great use for your stones. Much like the very popular (and costly) ‘hot stone massage’ that many spas offer, you can achieve similar effects with your own stone collection. Certain stones are aligned with the seven chakras, and can be used to balance them, and affect your musculature and overall health. Though you can buy fancy sets of chakra stones (and there are some really nice, big flat stones that are engraved), you don’t have to go to such lengths to get the same effects that you can get from stones you find our buy in rock bins.
Crystals, stones and gems can also be used in decorating. I mentioned a while back that I was somewhat interested in Feng Shui, and found that they can be useful in bringing harmonious energies in, and helping the flow of energy in your home in general. I haven’t put this to the test, but I am fascinated by the possibilities and will probably try it and see what sticks.
Something that I’ve found to be very useful is purchasing vials of stone or crystal chips or shards. Those are very small, and can go into things like charms and spell bottles more easily than larger stones. They can also be ground in a mortar and put into things that you might not otherwise think to put them in (like sprinkling in doorways or around the foundations of your home for protection).
If you’re not currently using stones in your personal practice, I encourage you to give it a go. Start simple; your birthstone is a good place to start. Those are really easy to find and
completely inconspicuous (if discretion is important to you). From there, you can learn about the correspondences associated with it, and how you can use it to focus your energy, will, intent or spellwork. Birthstone jewelry is simple, but can be an important tool, too.
This is far from an exhaustive guide to how stones, gems and crystals can be used, nor are my methods the only ones. One of the most important facets of many Pagan paths is personalization. Trial and error are expected; ask any witch and they’ll tell you about the many mistakes and fumbles that they endured when they were new to the Craft. It’s okay to try something and if it doesn’t work for you, to scrap it. It’s also okay to try something multiple times until you get it (to a point where it feels) right, or to discard it today only to pick it up down the road.
How do you use stones in your practice?