The Crystal Controversy
It would be hard to be involved in metaphysics or New Age philosophy and not learn the power of crystals. Crystals and gemstones are a cornerstone of New Age and metaphysical thought, practice and business. We use crystals and gemstones for empowerment, healing, chakra balancing, storing energy, meditation, divination, magick and manifestation. We use them for personal adornment as well, but most of us believe our jewelry serves a double purpose. Our crystal pendants are lovely to wear and also provide healing and support. Every New Age merchant stocks crystal and gem jewelry, as well as some pieces for healing, divination, magick and collections.
I first learned about the power of crystals and gemstones in the 1980s when the New Age movement was in full swing. I would use adhesive tape to affix gemstones to specific parts of my body and would swear they brought me healing. I would make medicine pouches for my friends complete with stones to offer the specific type of healing I thought they needed. I learned to make jewelry and, for a while, supported myself by stringing beads and wrapping crystals.
I went to Arkansas to mine crystals a few times. When I first arrived at the mines I was shocked at the damage we were doing to the Earth. It is, after all, a mining enterprise like any other. I learned from the locals that we had another choice. The local sheriff was also the preacher. On a Sunday morning we could break the law and go into the woods to mine crystals as the Native Americans had. Since the sheriff would be preaching there would be no one to arrest us. While the idea of mining in a more natural way appealed to me I understood the reason to protect the forests. I declined and went back to the commercial mines.
Unlike the “rockhounds” who were simply fans of geology my friends and I prayed and meditated before, during and after the mining process. We believed the crystals we mined were healing to those who would buy them, even as we hurt the Earth to get them.
Years after my time as a crystal miner and jewelry maker I successful pursued the calling that would become my life-long career – tarot. When, in the 1990s, I ran Christiana’s Psychic and New Age Fair I was happy to have a few wonderful vendors of crystals and gemstones, including the well-known Ed Mondazzi of Discount New Age Books.
When Ed heard I was planning surgery to be a living kidney donor he gave me a beautiful and very large quartz crystal. I still have that crystal today and I treasure it. After the surgery the crystal was by my bedside. Its energy was so strong it disturbed the machines that were attached to me. One nurse wanted to take the crystal away. The doctor (an internationally known transplant surgeon) wouldn’t let her. “Shield the machine.” The doctor ordered. “That’s her healing crystal. She needs it.” Whether the doctor truly believed in the healing power of crystals or was simply pandering to my belief system I do not know. The nurse shielded the machine and I recovered.
I believe in the power of crystals and gemstones. I believe in their ability to help us be healed and balanced. I believe that crystals store power. I believe that crystals and gemstones attract positive energy to us.
Indigenous people all over the planet used the medicine of stones in one way or another. But indigenous people did not rape the Earth wholesale to procure the stones. I’ve come to wonder if we are really in our integrity as spiritual people when we contribute to the destruction of the planet so that we can have this particular medicine.
There are other problems, too. Over the years we learned that the politics in certain countries were such that some gemstones came to us figuratively soaked in blood. Of course we knew that about South African diamonds, but some of our healing stones might be similarly tainted.
I love my small but potent collection of crystals and gemstones. I use them regularly. Many of my friends are jewelry makers. I treasure the gifts they have given me and wear them with pride. But I don’t go to the gem shows the way I used to. And I don’t think I’ll ever mine again.
I’ve come to wonder, too, if we could use the power of the crystals and gemstones without removing them from the Earth. If we simply ground ourselves to the Earth and focus on the crystals we know are there could we avail ourselves of that healing energy without doing such damage?
The metaphysical community claims to love the Earth. Some of us are Pagans, vegans and environmentalists. We are healers. We are organic farmers. We walk lightly on the Earth. We pray, chant, drum and dance for the healing of Mother Earth.
Am I the only person who sees a conflict here?
I’m not sure how to reconcile my love for crystals and gemstones with my love for the Earth. I don’t have any particular solutions, except these two.
Let’s work on developing meditative techniques that harness the power of gems and minerals without having to mine them from the Earth.
And let’s start a conversation about how we can heal ourselves without causing so much harm to Mother Earth.