Put the red stone on the root chakra, the green stone on the heart chakra and the purple stone on the crown chakra. Use this stone array to heal your inner child. Use this one to super-charge your ascension. Use this stone and you’ll see angels. Use this stone and all of your dreams of wealth will come true. Crystal-healing-by-numbers and prescriptive stone use are an epidemic, and one that is making the entire modality of crystal healing ill.
There are many reasons why this approach is popular. The first and primary reason is the easy availability of books that tell you what each stone is for. I admit, I’m a perpetrator here. The Book of Stones is nothing if not another encyclopedia of stone properties. That had not been my intention, but there you are. I won’t go into the gory details, but it should suffice to say that when I contracted to contribute to the book I was under the impression that several different authors would be contributing. That was an exciting idea, because it’s no secret that different teachers ascribe vastly different properties to the same stones. How great that people would be able to get those varied viewpoints all in one place! It didn’t happen that way, but I guess the Universe had its reasons for that particular outcome. While some people find the varied perspectives and often conflicting information frustrating, I feel that it is a blessing. If nothing else, it illustrates rule number one of effective crystal healing; different people will have different reactions to the same stone. Of course they do! We are all individuals, with very unique experiences, memories and triggers associated with different frequencies. While there are some very basic indicators that help you to determine what a stone will do (of which, by the way, color is not an effective one), any given stone will affect two different people in two different ways.
Reason number two that the prescriptive stone approach is so popular is because it is easy. All you have to do is memorize your favorite author’s take on stone properties and you can confidently choose your stone for your particular issue. How simple to go to a book, pick a stone according to your symptoms, and tuck it in your pocket to solve your problems. *fail buzzer*. I can’t tell you what a trap this is to fall into. A few issues develop from this approach. The first is that when the stone doesn’t do what you think it’s “supposed” to do, it creates a sense of failure. I am often told that “crystals just don’t work for me” or “the stones didn’t do what they were supposed to do, so I gave up on crystals.” How sad that a powerful vibrational modality has been turned into a color-by-numbers approach that leaves many feeling like failures; or worse, feeling that the whole stone rap is bunk. It’s not their fault. We are encouraged by almost every aspect of crystal healing culture to use the “magic pill” approach and to expect a predictable result. I used to believe it as well. But, after a couple of decades I’ve come to realize that this approach is both ineffective and yes, even toxic.
Even worse than the personal sense of failure or of being a spiritual under-achiever that can result from the prescriptive approach, are the problems that can occur when a crystal healer uses it and it fails. When a healer uses this approach with a client and the outcome isn’t what was expected, it can create conflict or worse– judgement of the client’s spiritual development. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the excuse that a stone “failed” because “the client just wasn’t ready to heal that issue yet.” Another way to look at it is that perhaps the stone didn’t work for that client’s issue because it was the wrong stone, chosen by rote instead of through a true understanding of the stone’s energy pattern, gained through deep inner work with the stone, and the developed skill to match that with a client’s energy.
Another issue with the prescriptive approach is that it encourages the use of stones as “energy slaves” instead of as teachers. You wouldn’t walk up to someone on the street and say, “Hey you, come over here and do this for me.” Or, if you did, you probably wouldn’t do it more than once. We know that relationships are a vital part of our humanity. Do you want to be around someone who talks incessantly, but refuses to listen to you? Or, who constantly demands your time and attention and energy, yet doesn’t give in return? The prescriptive approach encourages a “master and slave” mentality, where we demand the stones be our performing monkeys, without any reciprocity beyond clearing them and putting them out under the full moon. Building a true relationship with stones means listening to them. This requires dedicated time to sit in stillness and open yourself to what the stone’s vibration feels like, and what it brings up within you. Relationships take work, and your relationship with your stones is no different than a relationship with a friend. Sometimes you have to make the time even when you’re busy, or you just don’t feel like it. Because it’s important.
Having said all of this, I do believe that books on stone properties and a basic prescriptive approach has its benefits. The biggest one being that everyone needs to start somewhere. Let’s face it, a lot of people who are engaging crystals and stones for personal growth and healing right now would not be doing so if they hadn’t picked up a gemstone encyclopedia and discovered the tantalizing potential of the mineral kingdom to help them. And, they certainly wouldn’t be doing it if they had to invest their time and energy in mindfully engaging a single stone’s energy over a period of time in order to get to know it. But, just as learning your ABC’s doesn’t make you a writer, learning what an author (or several) have to say about a stone’s energetic properties can’t replace actual personal experience with that stone’s vibration. And, that experience needs to come from setting aside what everyone else says about the stone and committing yourself to taking the time and using the energy necessary to develop a relationship with each stone as a teacher and as a friend.