The main premise of many branches of modern crystal healing is the widely accepted model of crystal-color-chakra correlation. In this model, the color of a stone reveals its primary healing properties, because of the correlation of that color to a specific chakra in the body. A red stone must be related to the root chakra, because the color red is related to that chakra. Therefor, it’s properties must have to do with the properties of the root chakra itself; survival issues, money, etc. If a stone is light blue, it must be related to the throat chakra, and so is therefor involved in communication issues. If it is dark blue, it must have properties affecting the third eye chakra and so must stimulate psychic awareness. This model is widely accepted as a self-evident truth in the crystal healing community, and questioning it results in many raised eyebrows, huffy breathes, and raised tempers. Trust me on that. If you’re huffing and raising your eyebrows even at the thought of questioning this holy cow of a BS (belief system), I apologize in advance. But, I’m still going to do it.
Let me say that I had this holy cow in my own personal belief system manger for a long time before I could even allow myself to consider the possibility that it… well… just didn’t work that way. This uncomfortable and, honestly, unpleasant realization came on gradually through several channels. The first was study. The second was application in actual healing sessions. The third was study of data that arose from the healing sessions I had done over time. The last was my own deepening relationship with the stones themselves. All of these avenues of inquiry have also led to my eventual rejection of prescriptive stone work in general. But, for now, let’s focus on turning this one holy cow out to pasture. This explanation will be a bit long, so best get your cup of tea and settle in.
The first reason this model doesn’t work as effectively as advertised, or as we are taught to expect it to work, is that the color a stone exhibits on the outside is not the frequency it is vibrating with, but is, in fact, the frequency it is rejecting. The stone is not emitting the color from its own energy, it is simply rejecting that color frequency and bouncing it back from its body. This is basic physics. The color of an object is generated by the object absorbing every color frequency except the one that we see. That color is reflected back at the eye, thus making it appear that the object is that color. So, a crystal is actually absorbing every color except the one that we see. That color frequency is not absorbed by the stone, but is rejected and reflected and therefor bounces back at us and hits us in the eye. It is for this reason that crystals (or any object) are not particularly useful in color healing. Color healing is best done with colored light sources, not colored objects. But, that is another blog post.
So, the color of a stone is actually the one visible frequency it does not resonate with, and so rejects. That doesn’t mean that the color of a stone isn’t important. It is. But, not for the reasons you might think. The color of a stone is created by the chemical elements it contains. For instance, copper (Cu) tends to turn stones blue to green (think, Chrysocolla and Malachite). Manganese tends to exhibit as pink to purple (as in Rose Quartz and Sugilite). These chemical elements have very specific correlations to the body in healing, and so are critical in the clinical Crystal Resonance Therapy™ that I practice and teach. Understanding the chemical elements and their effects in the body on physical, energetic and emotional levels is a vital part of understanding the healing properties of a stone. However, these are not related to specific chakras, which brings us to the study of why the colors of the chakras are not actually the colors of the chakras.
The idea that each chakra is directly related to a specific color permeates modern vibrational healing. Most people believe this be an ancient truth, originating from the original Hindu understanding of the chakras. However, it is actually a very modern creation that originated primarily with two well known spiritual and psychology figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; Sir John George Woodroffe and Carl Gustav Jung.
Sir John George Woodroffe was a British colonial judge in India in the late 1800’s. He was highly educated and very interested in Hindu philosophy and religion– specifically, tantric practices. Under the pen name of Arthur Avalon, he wrote The Serpent Power — The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga in 1918, which is a very thick and slow reading book on the chakras, tantric practice, and Hindu spirituality. He wrote further books and treatise on the subject, as well as translating many of the Hindu texts into english.
His writing on the subject was foundational to western understanding of the Hindu chakra model, and it fell upon the rich soil of colonial culture in England and the popular practices of spiritualism and theosophy of the day. Later, his teachings and other theosophical teachings on the subject were revived in the spiritual rebirth movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Like Native American beliefs being co-opted and changed in American colonial culture, these Hindu teachings were also changed to suit the western (white) mind and to make tantric teachings more palatable in an era of lingering Victorian and Edwardian prudism. The later sexual revolution in the middle of the last century brought even more interest in tantra and Hindu philosophy in general and revived Woodroffe’s work.
Many authors took Woodroffe’s information and ran with it, including his famous contemporary, Carl Gustav Jung, who was the founder of analytic psychology and depth psychology and also an early student and cohort of Sigmund Freud.
Many of Carl Jung’s ideas were fundamental to current New Age thought, including; dream analysis and symbolism, archetypes and, yes, the color associations with the chakras. This last was created as a teaching tool to help students to symbolize the progressive energies of the chakras through the colors of the rainbow. Let me be clear that these color associations were not original to the Hindu philosophy of chakras. They were a modern model created solely for the purpose of helping people to understand the progressive nature of the chakra system as Jung taught it. In fact, many of the modern associations we have with the chakras stem from Jung’s work with the model for personal exploration through depth psychology. Please feel free to explore Jung’s work for a complete understanding of this remarkable man’s contribution to modern psychology and spiritual thought, especially Modern Man in Search of a Soul and The Undiscovered Self.
The color associations of the chakras were only meant as a teaching tool, not as a literal statement. The chakras do not actually emit the colors of the rainbow. The root chakra does not emit red, the sacral chakra does not emit the color orange, etc. If they did, those colors would be easily detectable using even basic equipment today. That is not to say that the chakras are not real, or that they do not emit energy. They do. But, not in the visible light spectrum. Before you go there, aura cameras do not actually detect the emitted light of the chakras. They are designed to assign certain colors to certain electrical frequencies, and to then project those colors onto film. The resulting image has colors on it that can give us information and, for an intuitive, can be helpful in understanding what is going on with a person’s energy, but they are not the actual capture of colors emitted by the chakras.
So, the color of a crystal that we see is not the color it actually vibrates with, the color associations with the chakras were created as a modern teaching tool and are not part of the ancient understanding of the chakras, and the chakras themselves do not emit colored light. You may be seeing how the crystal-color-chakra-correlation model is melting a bit under this very basic scrutiny.
Some of you may be thinking at this point, “Then, does crystal healing even work?!”, and I’ll answer with a resounding “YES!” Just not, perhaps, the way that you thought it did. This model can be a good way to begin to get your head around crystal use and healing, but it is ultimately a belief-based template, not an evidence based one. Using this model you absolutely can create change, energy shifts, and even healing; you just may not be doing what you think you’re doing. That can cause issues when you are trying to discuss with your client what is going on under the surface, or in understanding underlying patterns and progress in any ongoing therapy.
I’m not writing about all of this to judge or denigrate those who use this model. I am writing about it as a way to help practitioners of crystal healing to become more effective and more knowledgeable about this very important and powerful work. It is not easy to voice a viewpoint that I know will challenge some people’s cherished belief systems. But, it is necessary if we are to break out of the Belief Systems and take this modality to a place where it can fulfill its potential.
So, when you next approach a crystal, don’t get too wrapped up in its color and what that “means”. Instead, close your eyes, hold the stone to your heart, and feel what it is conveying to you. Like any stereotype, the crystal-color-chakra-correlation model can actually prevent us from getting to know the real energy of the stone. One way to circumvent the interference of this model if you have been using it for awhile is simply to do a healing session or twelve blindfolded. Yes, actually blindfolded. Choose the stones purely on vibrational feel, not on color and all of the associations you may have with that. Place the stones where you’re drawn to place them, not where you’ve been told they are “supposed” to go. “See” what happens! You may even experience some real breakthroughs in your healing practice!