Crystal Healing

What is it? Does it work?

by Kristine Bonner


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Molded by pressure and time, deep in the earth, elements transform into gems of vivid colors and sparkly depths. Flung from the sky, meteors arrive bearing metals smelted by their journey through the stars. To cultures that feel the earth and the sky are living entities, stones and metals are powerful, dynamic objects not only representative of their sources but carrying the power that their origin has endowed upon them.

Minerals' and metals' use as adornment, in healing, and in sacred ceremonies dates from the dawn of time. Fossils have been found in ancient Celtic and Norse tombs.1 Ancient Sumerians are said to have used crystals in their magical traditions, and the ancient Egyptians crushed malachite for their green eyeshadow, and made amulets from green stones for placement in the hearts of their mummies. The Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese and Islamic cultures all used minerals for medical and magical applications. Medicine and magic were not seen as separate; healing was kind of magical activity. Some of the medical applications may have had a basis in biologic composition - Pliny the Elder refers to malachite as a wound dressing; it contains copper, which is antimicrobial. A fascinating article in Forbes Magazine by David Bressan "A History Of Collecting Rocks And Minerals: Minerals As Early Medicine"2 says

Assyrian and Babylonian texts contain description of the magic-medical powers of minerals. At the time it was believed that diseases were caused by ghosts and spirits. Minerals, like lapis-lazuli, hematite and native copper were used as talismans to protect from evil spirits, along many other minerals which old names are nowadays forgotten. Minerals were also pulverized and used in lotions to be applied on the body.

According to Indian sources dating to the 13th century, but based on far older beliefs, diamonds were used as pulverized medicine against impotence and to increase longevity. Aquamarine cured fever and topaz was used against skin diseases. Some of the supposed powers of minerals still play a role in the modern Ayurveda medicine.

Nine iron beads were found in an Egyptian tomb in 1911. The tomb dated from 3200 BC, two millenia prior to the Iron Age. Scientists later determined the iron must have been hammered into beads from meteoritic iron, iron from a meteor. They were found with "lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, gold foil beads, [and] carnelian from the Eastern desert..." 3 Were these items solely for decoration or were they thought to have some power of some kind? We'll never know.

Sasanian Seal
Seal with stamp made from meteoric iron, Sasanian Empire, Iran, circa 5th century CE. Gift of Miss Helen Miller Gould, 1910. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Public Domain.

A seal with a stamp from the Sasanian period of Mesopotamia in the 5th century A.D. was made of meteoric iron. The Gem Society says that people "believed these stones had healing properties. Iron meteorites were also commonly associated with balance and strength, and the nickel in these meteorites was believed to purify the wearer’s blood." 4 This may have been due to their magnetism, or perhaps people realized that they came from the sky.

It's not only ancient cultures that react and interact with stones and metals in this way. Today, there's a resurgence of interest in crystals and gemstones, not only for their beauty, but for their life-enhancing energetic powers.

Chart Showing Chakras
The Chakras as Shown on the Body

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Many people believe that wearing stones, or carrying them in day to day life, can help heal mental, emotional, physical, or psychical problems. Placement on chakra points or pulse points on the body is thought to have a direct impact on energy fields. Chakras were first postulated by early Hindu culture as part of a theory of a subtle body that supports and sustains the physical self. Seven main chakras are positioned along the spine, from the base to the top of the head. These spheres of energy are each thought to control different qualities from successful adaptation to earthly life, to life force, to a sense of purpose and personal identity, to unconditional love and peace, to expression and speaking truth, to inner guidance, and finally to cosmic consciousness.

Person Using Stones Set on Chakras

Crystals are said to have energy fields that resonate with those chakra energies. There are scores of sites online with descriptions of the healing and spiritual properties of stone, and rituals for using them to energize, heal and protect. Some people say they can actually feel the different energies between various types of stones, and from individual stones within a single type, like different pieces of quartz, for example.

There is a school of thought that says the mind is the power behind these sensations – that the belief itself is the important element, rather than the crystal. The placebo effect has indeed been shown to be very powerful. National Geographic, in a 2016 article entitled, "Unlocking the Healing Power of You", by Erik Vance, says this power of the mind to heal consists of a combination of personal belief, the theater (trappings and surroundings) in which the treatment is delivered, and a consciousness of what other people believe. 5

Consider the rise of the internet's role in publicizing and thus increasing the popularity of crystals. Add to that the increased awareness of others' belief in them, together with descriptions of ritual use. It makes sense that many are truly experiencing energies even if it is their own mind that is creating the experience. Since the results of the placebo effect are sometimes more powerful than actual drugs (sometimes even if the person knows they have received a placebo), the use of crystals would seem to be validated whether you believe they actually have power or not.

So, do crystals really heal? The answer must come from the user's own experience - which provides a good motivation to give it a try.

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Read about smudging, the practice of burning sage for purification.

Read about the history of smudging - how did it start?

More about healing with crystals:

 

Footnotes

  1. Kenneth J. McNamara, Jan. 1, 2007, Shepherds' crowns, fairy loaves and thunderstones: the mythology of fossil echinoids in England, Geological Society of London Lyell Special Publications, (accessed Nov. 26, 2019), https://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/273/1/279
  2. David Bressan, Sept. 30, 2016, A History Of Collecting Rocks And Minerals: Minerals As Early Medicine, Forbes Magazine, (accessed Nov. 26, 2019), https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2016/09/30/a-history-of-collecting-rocks-and-minerals-minerals-as-early-medicine/#602e417e4ae7
  3. Aug. 20, 2013, Oldest Egyptian iron artefacts made from meteorites, UCL News, (accessed Nov. 26, 2019), University College of London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2013/aug/earliest-known-iron-artefacts-come-outer-space]
  4. Meteorite Jewelry: An Introduction, International Gem Society, (accessed Nov. 26, 2019), https://www.gemsociety.org/article/meteorite-jewelry-introduction/
  5. Erik Vance, Dec. 2016, Unlocking the Healing Power of You, National Geographic, (accessed Nov. 26, 2019), https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/12/healing-science-belief-placebo/

 

 

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