Category Archives: Crystal Healing Considerations

Ponderings on current directions in the crystal healing modality.

When Good Stones Bring Up Bad Feelings

One of the first things I say to my new students is, “You’re going to be bringing up your *stuff* for healing and healing doesn’t always feel good.” They don’t really believe me, but they humor me. Then, they work with a certain stone or elemental force, and their *stuff* doesn’t just come up– it hits the walls. It may be physical symptoms that arise in uncomfortable ways, emotions that surface suddenly and for-no-particular-reason, old memories resurfacing or external situations that come to a head. The first question they usually ask is, “is this really because I worked with that stone?” Yes. “Is the stone carrying negative energy? Does it need to be cleared?” No. The hard stuff you’re experiencing when working with a particular stone isn’t the stone’s negativity– it’s yours. It is old, festering, icky energy and emotional goo that has been triggered within you by the pure vibration of the stone you engaged. The stone doesn’t need to be cleared– you do. The stone is helping you with that by bringing it to the surface for you to see, smell, taste, hear and feel.

Crystals and minerals are very precise vibrational tools that act as energy markers. Each stone has a specific vibrational signature that is unique to itself. When you bring that stone into your energy field, a bunch of things happen. The nerves in your hand pick up tiny electrical impulses and transmit it through the nervous system to the brain. Your brain digs around in its filing cabinet to see what it knows about that frequency. It then throws out all kinds of information related to that specific frequency. That information may be memories, thoughts or feelings that it had associated with that frequency in the past. The association of these inner references with a particular frequency is not a science. It’s a complete accident. When you encounter a vibration for the first time, your brain automatically associates with it anything that is happening concurrently, with which it is already familiar. It doesn’t say, “Hey, what’s this new thing all about? Let’s explore its true essence!” Heck no! It says, “What the heck is that? Oh well, let’s just say it’s related to this other thing over here.” And, that’s that. That’s also why you can’t say that a certain stone is going to cause the same effects for everyone. Everyone has different content stored around those frequencies. It is a highly subjective experience.

The vibration of the chemical elements in the stone vibrate those same chemical elements within your body, through the mechanisms of the law of resonance. This changes the vibrations your brain and heart are picking up, and can trigger biochemical shifts in your body in response. This is a much more precise reaction, because we have a pretty good understanding of how the chemical elements can act upon and within the human body, through both allopathic and homeopathic applications. This can create temporary physical symptoms that can be both unpleasant and uncomfortable at times, but are clear indicators of where imbalances lie in the energy system.

The energy with which the stone oscillates can also affect the chakras. Each of the primary seven chakras (in the modern system) also correlates to a major nerve plexus in the body. Each of these nerve plexi is hooked into various parts of the autonomic nervous system, which control different systems, bits and bobs in the body. Sudden changes in the frequency and amplitude of energy moving through the nervous system creates very sudden changes on a physical level, as anyone who has had the twitches and jerks on a healing table can tell you.

Unfortunately, many people have been taught that when a stone brings up your hard stuff or creates unpleasant physical symptoms, it is because that stone is somehow carrying “bad vibes”. It actually is very rarely the case. It takes a lot of high amplitude energy to knock a stone off of its normal base resonant frequency. It is much more likely that the stone is hitting your junk square in the trunk, but you can benefit from this experience if you are mindful of what is happening.

Protocol for *stuff* hitting the wall:

  1. Don’t try to make the discomfort stop. If you feel like crap, sit with that, be mindful of it, journal about it and inform yourself of what is arising.
  2. Put the stone aside for 24 hours, then come back to it. Don’t use other stones in the meantime– they’ll just confuse the process. Sit with the stone again, and notice if more information/experience arises. Journal it. You’ve got to keep track of what the stones bring up for you, or you will lose track and the whole point of the exercise is wasted.
  3. If you are very symptomatic (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.), then don’t carry the stone with you. Give yourself space to integrate and be aware.
  4. Continue with steps 1-3 for at least 3 days, or until you no longer experience the symptoms.

And, if you’re really ready to dig into your stuff and heal it, then you might want to try approaching stones that repel you. If you have a stone, or see one in a store, that makes you go “Yuck!”, pick it up and work with it. It isn’t the stone that’s making you go “Yuck!”, it’s the stuff inside you that the vibration is hitting. Instead of saying, “Oh My God! That stone is possessed by the devil!”, try saying, “Wow, that stone is hitting my *stuff*!”. Then, work with it. Get to know your stuff. It’s the only way to heal.

Of course, you should always clear a stone when you first receive it into your life and after you’ve put it in a position of being exposed to very loud energy– such as an emotional release. Sound is the most effective way to quickly and easily clear multiple stones at once.

The Crystal-Color-Chakra-Correllation Quandary

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!

Crystals-by-the-numbers: How Prescriptive Stone Use Fails.

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.