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Author Topic: Getting started with stones and crystals  (Read 1122 times)

Snowdrop

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Getting started with stones and crystals
« on: March 22, 2014, 11:30:46 am »
I've become interested in working with stones and crystals, which is something I have zero experience with.  So:

1.  What resources do you recommend for learning about their properties?  

2.  What are some good ways of using stones and crystals, anyway?  

3.  Do you have any recommendations for stones/ways of working with them that are good for complete beginners?  

I'm especially interested in the grounding properties of stones, since it's something I have a lot of difficulties with.

kiarakapow

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2014, 06:56:21 pm »
Quote from: Snowdrop;143320
I've become interested in working with stones and crystals, which is something I have zero experience with.  So:

1.  What resources do you recommend for learning about their properties?  

2.  What are some good ways of using stones and crystals, anyway?  

3.  Do you have any recommendations for stones/ways of working with them that are good for complete beginners?  

I'm especially interested in the grounding properties of stones, since it's something I have a lot of difficulties with.

There's actually a thread here that I like that that says ways to spot scams and stuff so you might want to checked it out if you want to make sure you're getting your money's worth.

As for your questions, to learn about properties, I would maybe get a book on crystals and stones. Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions there. A good use of crystals would be for grounding. I see you mentioned your troubles with grounding but sometimes people do better at it with a crystal. Also practicing to ground with a crystal is great for beginners. IMO, they can also be a replacement for candles. For instances if you live somewhere that doesn't allow open flames or what not, you could use different colored crystals/stones instead. Also they can be used to make a circle. If you happen to need a physical representation of a circle. You could use that instead of say salt(especially outside). But honestly you could make use of crystals in your own way, whatever feels right to you is most important.

My advice is to learn about the crystals/stones before jumping in and buying a bunch that you don't need. Maybe just stick to one or two that are very useful to you and slowly add more if you're really into them.

I hope this was hopeful!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 07:03:58 pm by kiarakapow »

Redfaery

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 06:55:52 am »
Quote from: Snowdrop;143320
I've become interested in working with stones and crystals, which is something I have zero experience with.  So:

1.  What resources do you recommend for learning about their properties?  

2.  What are some good ways of using stones and crystals, anyway?  

3.  Do you have any recommendations for stones/ways of working with them that are good for complete beginners?  

I'm especially interested in the grounding properties of stones, since it's something I have a lot of difficulties with.

 

1.)  A good place to start is Scott Cunningham's "Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic" - just a starting place mind you! I happen to really, really be fond of Cunningham. He seems to have been the kind of person I would have personally liked. More to the point, the book I mentioned is nicely balanced between woo-woo New age crystal use and old folklore, and it also has a TON of recommendations for further reading. But again, it's just a starting point!

There are also a number of New Age encyclopedias of crystals, which can also be helpful. Judy Hall's "The Crystal Bible" is quite good.

Finally, if you want a thorough background on the folklore of stones, check out George Frederick Kunz's "The Curious Lore of Precious Stones." Be warned, this last book was written by an older white man in 1913 and some of the things he says show an attitude that is casually racist, to be frank (though to be fair, not the worst his time had to offer).

Another good recommendation would be to get a good, purely scientific field guide on stones and gems. There are plenty available, and there in fact should be some in most libraries, so you can look some over before buying.

2.) I'm still a newbie to working with crystals, and right now I'm having some health issues that are impairing my ability to work with them (booooo....) but normally I use their energies to help me meditate. In fact, since my ritual is basically just energy work, crystals are very helpful to me. I especially find clear quartz valuable.

My favorite stone is an iris quartz sphere (i.e., one with a natural rainbow inside). It is very well tuned to my energies. In fact, I haven't been able to get it to show the same effects on others. My BFF Carin said it felt calming, but she may have just been humoring me. My mom was perfectly blunt and said "it feels like a ball on my forehead." This particular stone emits very strong positive vibrations, and also drains away negativity. It's my belief that this stone is what the Japanese would call Kami. (Technically, anything can be kami, and just about everything actually IS, but some things are more strongly kami than others)

3.) Since I am a beginner, here I will just tell you what I will do. I still haven't "awakened" most of my crystals. It's just a couple of my quartzes and my jades.

First be sure to cleanse them. You can do this a few ways. I prefer rinsing under cold water, usually the sink. Be sure the stone won't be damaged by this. For example, Selenite (a pretty name for gypsum, I believe?) is actually water soluble. If you get it wet, it will actually start to dissolve. Go ahead, ask me how I learned this!;) (Well, to be fair, I *did* read it in a book...but I learned the hard way not to take it in the shower before then!). Another way is to bury in soil or salt. Just like with water, some crystals are very fragile and this might damage them, especially if you use coarse salt. Do your research!

To use the a stone in meditation, I usually first just roll it around in my fingers and let myself just feel it. Really, really feel it. This is how I awakened my jades. I just had the three stones and rolled them around in my palm, feeling their smoothness. I personally don't even have to look at them, though that might work for you. I just feel them. Just FEEL them. You might want to engage your other senses. Maybe try focusing your gaze on it?

Other tips: As to getting crystals, I've been warned to stay away from most metaphysical shops, but my favorite shop actually is a good source for some things. They sell small quartz spheres for $15. I've found that this shop in particular has pretty reasonable prices, and the stones are good quality. They are also very willing to answer my questions about where the stones themselves came from. This is important. There's a LOT of unsustainable mining and unethical work practices being used to obtain the precious stones in the Pagan and New Age communities.

It's also worth checking out what stones occur naturally in your area. I'm fortunate that North Carolina is quite mineral rich. I remember going into this metaphysical shop and seeing the price on a chunk of black tourmaline and smirking to myself...I had a chunk that size that I found myself, along with several samples of garnets, emeralds, calcite, peridot, amethyst, quartz, other colors or tourmaline, pyrite, and amazonite. All that for roughly the same price as the one chunk they were offering.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Aster Breo

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 02:43:14 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;143395
For example, Selenite (a pretty name for gypsum, I believe?) is actually water soluble. If you get it wet, it will actually start to dissolve.

Selenite is one variety of gypsum.  There are others. There are several kinds of selenite, too (4, IIRC), and they range in color from clear and white to brown.

The mineral world is very complex -- which is why a good scientific guide is so helpful.  As Redfaery said, some stones dissolve in water.  Others can be severely damaged by salt and salt water (by the chemical interaction, not just by physically scarring it).  Some fade when kept in strong sunlight (like amethyst).  So knowing a bit about their physical characteristics can help you protect your stones.

Also, while some stones have gotten their metaphysical associations because of color or other obvious characteristics or because of their roles in myths, some associations are based on the chemical makeup and other properties.  F'ex, lithium quartz (quartz with lithium mixed in) is sometimes recommended for calming properties, based on how lithium can affect people as a drug.  Magnetic stones are sometimes said to be good for prosperity, because they're thought to be able to attract good things. Quartz is sometimes thought to be a good transmitter to amplify the effects of other stones, possibly because of the piezoelectric properties of quartz crystals.  (BTW, there are many varieties of quartz, too, that run the gamut of colors and markings.
Most people think of clear crystals when they think of quartz, or maybe amethyst or citrine or smokey quartz -- which are macrocrystalline quartz -- but jaspers and agates are in the quartz family and are microcrystalline.)

All that said, it's super important to understand that the correspondence lists you find in books and online are usually based on one person's thoughts about those stones. There are a few associations that show up on most lists, like amethyst being good for the negative effects of drunkenness, which is based on a story about Dionysus, or for healing in general.  

But, really, stones can affect different people differently, and different specimens of the same kind of stone can affect the same person differently. I've also noticed that how a stone is cut can be a factor in how it affects me.  

So the best way to learn how to use stones is to experiment and figure out how they affect *you*.
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

dragonfaerie

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2014, 05:54:21 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;143395
Other tips: As to getting crystals, I've been warned to stay away from most metaphysical shops, but my favorite shop actually is a good source for some things.

 
Shops are only as good as their owners. Some are out to serve the community and provide good merchandise at reasonable prices, and some are just out to make a buck. It's always good to have an idea of what the average costs are on things before you go looking. If you use a lot of a particular stone, finding a wholesale supplier might be more cost effective.

Karen

Snowdrop

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 08:06:54 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;143395
1.)  A good place to start is Scott Cunningham's "Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic" - just a starting place mind you! I happen to really, really be fond of Cunningham. He seems to have been the kind of person I would have personally liked. More to the point, the book I mentioned is nicely balanced between woo-woo New age crystal use and old folklore, and it also has a TON of recommendations for further reading. But again, it's just a starting point!


Thanks for the recommendation.  I know books of stone properties are pretty easy to find, but I've been kind of leery of just going out and grabbing one at random because it seems to be a field that attracts a lot of bullshitty stuff.  I knew someone once who spent thousands of dollars on a crystal she said came from the moon and would let her boyfriend see through people's bodies.  (???)  

Quote
To use the a stone in meditation, I usually first just roll it around in my fingers and let myself just feel it. Really, really feel it. This is how I awakened my jades. I just had the three stones and rolled them around in my palm, feeling their smoothness. I personally don't even have to look at them, though that might work for you. I just feel them. Just FEEL them. You might want to engage your other senses. Maybe try focusing your gaze on it?


Interesting, and thanks again.  I do think something tactile sounds good for grounding, somehow.

Aster Breo

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 08:27:52 pm »
Quote from: Snowdrop;143455
I knew someone once who spent thousands of dollars on a crystal she said came from the moon and would let her boyfriend see through people's bodies.  (???)  

There are a lot of scams out there.  I've never heard that one before, though.
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Snowdrop

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 03:31:31 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;143459
There are a lot of scams out there.  I've never heard that one before, though.

 
To be fair, I'm not sure if it was actually being sold as something to help see through bodies.  She seemed to think her boyfriend already had that ability, but the crystal was supposed to improve it, or . . . something . . . ?

Nuummite

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Re: Getting started with stones and crystals
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 09:21:59 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;143395

There are also a number of New Age encyclopedias of crystals, which can also be helpful. Judy Hall's "The Crystal Bible" is quite good.

 I recomment against Judy Hall's Crystal Bible series. She is flakey. She e.g. writes that "Muscovite can be used to grid earthquake areas as it gently and safely relieves tensions within the earth." She believes that fluorite or iron pyrite repair DNA damage. Her geological information is sometimes ridiculous. She writes that a chrysoberyl is a form of beryl, and a hawk's eye is different from blue tiger's eye. She thinks that hawk's eye must have a "hawk-like form", whatever that means.

She also believes in miraculous powers of azeztulite, a well-known scam. In Crystal Bible 2 she promotes even more stones from Heaven & Earth company with spiritual-sounding made-up names and high prices.

Instead, I recommend Michael Gienger's Crystal Power, Crystal Healing. I am not a native English (or German) speaker, but Gienger's writing is more clear than Hall's. Gienger has a chemistry background. He has done some small-scale research on crystal healing. People in his research group wore a a certain crystal for weeks. They reported their psychological, spiritual and physical experiences. Gienger noticed recurring themes.

If you want brief but illuminating descriptions of crystals, try Simon and Sue Lilly's book The Essential Guide to Crystals. This book has some magical information, too. The pictures have been useful for me for identifying stones, unlike the typically too small or lump-like pictures in the Crystal Bibles. I am not familiar with other Lillys' books, but I intend to get another one in the future.

I agree that scientific stone and crystal books are useful, but I am not familiar with good English language books.

Carrying crystals with me, sleeping with them and (most importantly) trying to feel and experience them has developed my energy sensitivity. I have moved my fingers close to a crystal and asked, if it e.g likes to go to my pocket today. Do my fingers feel anything? I have kept a crystal in my hand, looked at it steadily, and let things flow to my consciousness.

Don't bury crystals in salt. Salt can damage crystals: it can scratch the surface or get inside the crystal. Someone wrote on an Internet forum that her clear quartz got clouds and her two selenites got cracks when she buried them in salt overnight. The forum no longer exists, so I can't link to it. Gienger recommends that you place a crystal in a small glass dish that is embedded in a larger glass dish full of salt. A crystal and salt don't touch, so this should be a safe method.

Personally, I clear a crystal by praying that it gets cleared, or by concentrating and having a steady intent that it gets cleared, or with Sekhem. (Reiki should work, too.) There are several other safe methods.

A word about metaphysical shops: some of them accidentally mislabel crystals. I have noticed it. If you are looking for a certain crystal, research what it looks like.

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