Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Magickal Crystals

(Picture of my hand and my new babies! SCANDAL)


It occurs to me that here at the Dusken Path, I tend to do things horribly out of order. In the spirit of that, let's proceed with the Practical Crystal 101 post I'm making after doing an extensive guide to gridding said crystals, shall we? Indeed.

Anywho. Practical Crystal education.


Step 1: Consider picking up a decent Crystal Encyclopedia

The first step to learning about crystals is having a handy reference to what is out there, since there is a LOT out there.

It doesn't have to be occult. In fact, I prefer to know random rock facts before occult facts. Is your crystal of choice formed with extensive heat and pressure, or thousands of years of dripping water? Science is cool, people. Embrace it.

If you want an Occult book after that, take it with a grain of salt.

As for basic Crystal 101 books, I personally prefer The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall, and Cunningham's encyclopedia is pretty alright too.

My feeling on '101' encyclopedic books are as follows: It's good to educate yourself on the huge variety of things out there, but never let your knowledge begin and end there. The Crystal Bible is nicely illustrated and bright, but the meanings are generic at best, so please expand your knowledge beyond any single book, especially a 101 book.

Step 2: Understand that Crystals have individual personalities

Just like Guides and Totem 101 books, a Wolf is not a Wolf is not a Wolf for every person on the planet. Wolf is not ALWAYS a totem of familial loyalty. Neither is a red jasper always a courage stone, or a clear quartz always a cleanser.

For instance, I have in my possession 3 tumbled clear quartz stones right now. One has an energetic signature that is cold and clear, so I liken it to glacial ice. Another has a hot, intense signature that reminds me of molten glass. The third was a pleasant, soft signature that reminds me of a clear day. Despite being the same stone, they have markedly different energies, and that needs to be taken into account when using crystals.

Step 2.5 : Accept that Crystals have Will outside of you

If a Crystal doesn't want to be used for healing, then don't fucking use the thing for healing.

Always ask before using crystals for a purpose--despite the fact crystals can be Charged for a purpose, this can't override will.

They existed before you, they will exist after you, and you are a Tool if you think you can tell a crystal what to do if it's Not Having That Shit. It's more like the crystals are doing YOU a favor by lending their power. Understand you're the smaller energy here.

Step 3: Understand how Crystals fit into the Real World

Learn about the process of crystals. Most gemstones don't come out of the earth shiny and round--they have to be tumbled with grit and sand for a long time to become polished like you receive them. Does that change the property of the crystal? Does it change its inherent energy? These are questions you can ask and explore yourself. How are crystals mined? Who mines crystals? Are you buying crystals from a reliable source that does not support slave wages?

Does owning crystals at all mean you're creating an ecological footprint? You could argue it does, what with strip mining and such. These are all things you should consider when looking into owning your own Crystals.

Consider finding your own crystals, especially if you live near mountains. Crack some geodes, get your hands dirty.

Step 4: Accept that some Crystals will not like you

Just like in real life, not everybody is going to like you. Nothing against you, necessarily, but maybe your personalities don't jive so well. Hey, that's fine. For instance, I could swim in a bathtub of Hematite and Red Jasper because they make me feel like I'm in a vat of delicious jello and everything is okay.

But stick me in a tub of Red Coral or Citrine and my temperature skyrockets and I suddenly feel like clawing my own skin off because everything feels like electricity.

Some energies will NOT jive with yours. I have a huge amount of energy, and it's very hot. A red Coral has a huge amount of energy and is very hot. You do that math.

By the same token, you will be attracted to stones that work with you again and again. Nothing wrong with owning 20.

Step 5: Accept that some Crystals will not like each other

Remember the Personalities thing up there? Some crystal energies clash horribly and will not work in the same place or in the same grid. Like 5 year olds they will fight for their position and nothing will be accomplished.

Accept that this happens and allow for personality clashes. Crystals have Spirits like anything else.

You won't know stones that refuse to work with you until you go through a whole lot, and there's the rub.

Step 6: Accept that you will very likely fall out of sorts with crystals repeatedly

Assuming you're anything like me, that is.

I go in cycles of heavy crystal useage and in-tune-ness, and cycles of nothing and my crystals just being pretty altar adornments. I don't know why this happens, but it always has for me. I'm hoping my recent revival will keep for longer this time.

Step 7: If on a budget, buy crystals from non-Occult vendors

Supporting your local shops is one thing, and a great thing to do when you can, but honestly the prices can be insane. Why? We ascribe occult value to the crystals that Scientific outlets don't. In short: We know what we're looking at.

My Tiger Iron sphere would easily have been $30+ in an Occult outlet because of its awesome quality and somewhat-rarity. It was actually $10 in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC's gift shop, along with tones of other tumbled stones and spheres.

If you're going to a natural science museum, check out the gift shop. They may just have one of those fill-this-bag-with-assorted-stones-for-a-flat-rate jobs, and that's okay too. Get deals where you can while on a budget, especially with special shapes like spheres, pyramids, or carved forms.

Step 7.5: When you do support your local Occult vendors, be friendly!

I visit a local Pow-Wow every year that just attracted some Reiki-based vendors last year. I spent 25+ minutes feeling crystals and kept coming back to a point that I found a little pricey for me. I held some quiet conversations with the shop keeper as I browsed.

I left and came back to the booth in the end, still eyeing the same clear quartz point. I eventually bought it and confessed it was a little high for my price range, and the woman knowingly smiled and knocked 10 bucks off because it obviously was 'meant for me'.

That Quartz point is the large one now sitting on my Unicorn altar and featured in most of my crystal healing grids.

Supporting Occult vendors pays too!

Step 8: Know Basic Crystal Quality

There are some scammers in the Gemstone industry, so learn to know the problems. For instance, Turquoise stones, if being sold for an insanely low price, are known to be dyed Howlite, which is a white stone. It has a different look to it. In my experience, true Turquoise is actually greener than you think it should be--the Howlite is usually almost "too" sky blue to be real.

Many stones in the grab bags mentioned above are just Quartz that have been dyed. Once you get accoustomed to dyed stones and their often lackluster appearance you can begin to pick up on this. Be on the lookout for stones that are Dyed or altered.

Personally, Dyed stones have never worked well for me. I feel as thought the process nulls the energy or something. When in doubt, if you have energy awareness and know the signature of Turquoise, you should technically be able to tell real from fake.

A lot of vendors have A, B, etc quality crystals for large clusters and points. You really do get what you pay for. Is it important to you to have a WATER-CLEAR quartz point? You're going to pay more than for a somewhat broken one.

Some crystals come from rare places or only one mine in the entire world. They will obviously be much more expensive. Some crystals, like Aqua Aura, are made via an infusion process that will make them pricier than a normal tumbled stone. Be aware of how crystals are priced and why.

Last Tips

Decide if you want Rough, Tumbled or Cut gemstones. Rough are less 'pretty', but maybe you like them more. Cut refers to pyramids, hearts, etc. Tumbled are the rounded, shiny baubles most people own, and are usually the cheapest. Some stones are impossible to tumble because of crystalline structure and fragility. Research that, it's fascinating shit.

When looking into cleansing, make sure you understand your Crystal's scientific structure. If you plop Hematite in water it will rust! Amethyst when left out in the sun will slowly fade--and Red Coral tends to dye water red and fade. Certain types of Quartz do weird shit with salt. Be aware of these things when deciding how to cleanse your crystals, or else you could destroy them!


  1. Fascinating! I loved reading this post. I have tons of stones/gems/crystals, of all varieties and even though I feel I am fairly knowledgeable when it comes to the ones I own, I still think your guide is a must-have. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Derp moment: buying beautiful amethyst, trying to cleanse it with salt water, and ruining it. D:

    Besides crystals, why not rocks? Specifically, sea stones?

    1. Oh yeah you have to be SUPER careful with knowing what you can use or not. I don't use water on anything besides quartz now just in case. Selenite especially goes bye bye.

      You can definitely use rocks. I'm just a shallow shiny crystal fan. XDDD (it's the artist OCD)

  3. On the topic of fake crystals:

    I see a lot of vendors passing off treated amethyst as citrine and it's so obvious once you know. Makes me wonder how much I know about the other crystals and stones people try to sell me.