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Crystals have been beloved by people for thousands of years. Historians and archeologists have uncovered lots of fascinating evidence showing that crystals played an active role in society.
Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Native Americans, Nordics, Mayan, Indian, and more each had their own unique practices and beliefs regarding the use of crystals. While some of these practices have stood the test of time, most of them have evolved and been reinterpreted by the modern mystic movement.
I love how crystals have been bedazzling our lives for many lifetimes!
Throughout history, crystals have worked many jobs within bustling civilizations. Their uses were diverse, ranging from spiritual and religious practices to medicinal and practical applications.
Crystals in History
In order to really answer the question “how to use crystals,” we should seek to understand a little bit more about our historical connection to them as a collective. I am an amateur history enthusiast and I firmly believe that history teaches us more than speculating about the future ever will. Especially since history tends to repeat itself (globally and individually). Anything that has persisted in the many iterations of civilizations throughout history begs the question, “What makes this so special?”
Let’s chat a bit about the interesting ways ancient people used crystals, in the hopes that you’ll be able to take inspiration.
Carrying and Wearing
Historically, people often carried crystal talismans and amulets for protection, prosperity, and good health. They’d often be carved into figurine shapes, usually of deities, or into certain shapes to further reinforce their powers. Otherwise they would just have the crystal on their person, similar to what many of us still do today.
It was common for high ranking and first class citizens to carry stones to attract more wealth. Stones would be carried for specific purposes as well, such as into battle or during religious ceremonies. Depending on the purpose of the stone and what their desired outcome for the event. They would also be brought out during special occasions in castles, mansions, and palaces. You know, all the fancy places. They require the fanciest crystals.
Of course, many cultures crafted jewelry from all kinds of crystals, gemstones and minerals. And it’s safe to assume that most people have at least one piece of crystal or precious gemstone jewelry that they wear.
Beyond jewelry, the most extravagant stone designs were reserved for royalty, emperors, leaders, priests, and the like. Their crowns and such were crafted from the finest crystals, often symbolizing more than just their status as ruler.
Way back then, people might have been much more selective and intentional when adorning themselves with crystal jewelry. They’d be much more likely to pick stones that aid in any physical healing process, or some activity they were about to do. I think this is still fantastic to do now.
Egyptians are routinely documented as having adorned themselves with all kinds of jewelry. Each stone served a purpose, from anti-aging to protection to various diseases and ailments. They would also grind crystals into fine powders for cosmetics (which can potentially be toxic) like malachite and chrysocolla. Both of which are that beautiful rich green, emerald and teal color. From what I understand, Egyptians loved many kinds of crystals like lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, emerald and of course clear quartz. Plus more!
Romans were known to invigorate soldiers using tiger’s eye, which prompted courage and protection. I still feel these energies exist within tiger’s eye, personally. The Greeks did something similar, and are also infamous for using amethyst to prevent hangovers and promote sobriety. So they would wear them while drinking wine (or the day after) with the intention of escaping the after effects of intoxication. Again, these properties are still associated with amethyst today.
Beyond the more practical applications of crystal energies (like sobriety or protection from enemies), ancient cultures also used them in their religious spaces.
It’s important for you to understand that religion played a much different role in society multiple thousands of years ago. And even up to several hundred years ago.
The average person (meaning, nearly every single person in the city) had no differentiation between their daily life and their religious life. It was a persisting collective belief and awareness that permeated all things. For better or for worse. Unlike today where we might feel like we have a spiritual life and a “normal” life. Ancient people didn’t think of spirituality in this “separate” way. Things were happening around them constantly because of the spiritual nature of all things. . Even today, indigenous cultures continue to express this truth in their sacred practices. And in truth, they had it right.
But let’s get back to ancient religious practices and how crystals were used for them. Because of the intimate relationship everyone had with religion, everyone understood (in the context of their lifestyle) that crystals were mystical tools that opened connections to their gods and goddesses. There were other tools as well, but crystals were extra special because they weren’t as readily available.
They would be used on shrines and altars as offerings, as well as to promote the opening of the connection. This also happened with herbs like sage and frankincense, but that’s a story for another episode.
Mayan shamans would bring crystals into their sacred rituals with the intention of divination, or receiving knowledge from an outside source about situations or illnesses that had no other explanation. I found a fascinating research article from the University of Chicago Press that went into detail about how Mayan shamans would awaken the crystals using various tools and magical things, used in a specific ritualistic way before they’d be able to receive wisdom through them.
Norse pagans in the age of the Vikings, over 1,000 years ago, might have been using similar shamanic rituals and practices in their own culture. In researching this podcast I learned that clear quartz has been called the “Viking Compass,” which is a pretty cool nickname. I also learned that there’s evidence suggesting sunstone was important to this group of people, as well as labradorite which was easy for them to get ahold of.
Generally speaking, most cultures would use crystals in ritualistic, religious (or inherently spiritual) ceremonies to ward off negative influences (protection), for divination, and to heal. They would be incorporated into ceremonial tools such as staffs, wands, or knives. Some were just for show, others were fully functional.
Crystals provided an energetic anchor, on top of being extremely practical. Have you ever seen a real obsidian knife? They are CRAZY sharp. Crystals like quartz were used for cutting and polishing other stones or materials due to their hardness. And wands are used to direct energy in specific directions (still useful today).
Pretty much every culture had religious and spiritual significance. So these sorts of things have been happening all over the world for a long ass time. Centuries and centuries.
Medicinal and Healing
As I’ve alluded to a few times already, crystals were regarded as powerful healing tools for our predecessors. I’m sure you already knew that, which is why you’re listening to an episode about how to use crystals! Historically and in modern times, crystals can be used for physical healing in several ways.
They help target specific diseases and ailments of all kinds. Any function in the body can be supported by certain crystals. And anything that’s going wrong in the body can be alleviated.
But medicinal healing goes beyond the physical body. Crystals also help with emotional healing, spiritual enlightenment and other intangible malady.
Medicinal practices with crystals are usually pretty simple, even historically speaking. Often carrying the stone with you at all times, or as much of the time as you can, can produce great results. Other options include laying on of stones, which is when the recipient is still while a practitioner places stones around their body in purposeful ways. This creates a healing grid that works in conjunction with the body’s natural healing abilities.
Ayurveda is the ancient Indian natural healing system, and it’s existed and persisted for at least 5,000 years. I interviewed an Ayurvedic practitioner back in 2021 I believe. I don’t think we spoke about crystals specifically in that episode. But there are crystals and gemstones that can promote good health according to your dosha. This is still actively practiced by millions of people all over the world, and they incorporate crystals to connect them with the planets as well as improve their physical & energetic health.
Native Americans are another example of a culture that has understood the profound power of crystals for thousands of years. Turquoise immediately comes to mind, especially in the South West. Obsidian and clear quartz are regulars in their practices as well. Similar to other cultures we’ve discussed, they use crystals for diagnosing and treating disease in the body. As well as in ceremonies for specific channeling purposes.
Growing up my mom, sister and I would go to an annual Native American powwow in the summer, and my parents STILL go to the powwow each year! They share all kinds of prayers, ceremonies, and beautiful handcrafted tools and art of all kinds. And of course, plenty of crystals! I remember how lovely all the stones were and how proud the tribe members were to share them with us.
We’re barely scratching the surface on the many ways people used crystals and minerals throughout history. I could probably go on for HOURS but let’s switch gears just a bit and talk about how you, a modern mystic in 2023 and beyond, can use crystals.
How Do You Use Crystals?
I hope by now you already have some awesome ideas of how to use crystals in your everyday life. All those things I just listed are how we’ve used crystals as a collective throughout history. Many of them are still applicable today!
We aren’t so different from those many generations of people who loved and used crystals before us. But the society around us certainly is, with all the modern conveniences we know and appreciate.
I want to outline 5 really simple and fun ways you can get the most out of your crystal friends.
- Strategic placement around your space
Display your crystals! More specifically, intentionally place your crystals around your home to help set the tone. For example, I’ve kept pyrite and tiger’s eye in my office for years to help with manifesting abundance, business confidence, ambition and drive.
I also have kept lepidolite next to my bed for the last 10 years. This helps promote restful sleep and lucid dreaming. Selenite has been there too for cleansing and protection. Lately I’ve also placed black tourmaline and angelite there too. I’ve always enjoyed having crystals scattered around the house or apartment or motorhome. It makes it more magical looking and serves a magical purpose too. And all you have to do is think about how you want to feel when you use that space in your home, then place crystals accordingly. So fun and easy!
- Crystal meditations
I would say this is my personal favorite, but I really love the next one too! Crystal meditations are a great way to deepen your meditation practice and add a layer of healing. It’s much easier to hold an intention in your heart while meditating if you’re tapping into a crystal that resonates that same energy. And sometimes silent breathing meditation is a little too difficult to do when your thoughts are running amuck. Having a focus point like a crystal to concentrate on makes mediation magical, and potentially more accessible.
Each week I release exclusive reiki infused guided meditations for my monthly members. And I always make sure to include crystal healing meditations each month! So if you have that crystal, you can connect with it through the meditation. And if you don’t, you can still receive the healing energy.
Right now, there’s a rhodonite meditation, a rose quartz meditation, mookaite jasper, rainbow fluorite, amethyst, and pyrite, plus a whole bunch of other themed meditations infused with reiki healing. If you’re interested in exploring some guided crystal reiki meditations, go to spirituallyinspired.co/membership Thank you!
- Crystal Jewelry
Okay so this is my other favorite one. Crystal jewelry!! I mentioned diamonds before, which many of us own as jewelry. But think also pearls, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, opals, even gold, or any other precious stone and mineral you can wear. Diamonds, rubies and sapphires, opals, moonstone, and more are still used today! Have you ever thought about how these precious gems can offer you more than something lovely to wear? Then there’s more casual pieces like chunky bracelets, wire wrapped pendants, dangle earrings, rings, ENDLESS OPTIONS.
You can make your own crystal jewelry very easily, or you can buy from handmade artists at psychic fairs or online. And metaphysical stores that sell crystals often sell crystal healing jewelry too. I wear at least one piece of magic every day. My favorite are earrings and rings. I have a special place in my heart for crystal jewelry because I taught myself how to wire wrap crystals and sold them on Spiritually Inspired for a few years before I started coaching. Do any of you listening remember that?? From like 7 years ago?? If so you’re AMAZING and I love you.
- Crystal sachet (or pockets)
There’s always good ol’ fashioned “putting rocks in my pockets.” I’m sure plenty of people listening still do this…picking rocks up off the ground simply because you like them. Then you put them in your pocket and it becomes your little pet rock and you love that little rock. It’s pretty to you and you connect with it and that’s good enough.
Do that with your crystals! Put them in your pockets or a little sachet or mesh bag and put them in your pocket. This works very similarly to wearing them as jewelry. They stay close to your body for long periods of time, and your energy begins to mimic that of the crystal. And that’s where the magic of crystal healing happens!
There’s a little caveat with this one. I really recommend not putting crystals IN YOUR BRA. This is something that I see people say they do a lot online…I’m not sure if that’s true or if it’s just supposed to be a funny thing. But let me tell you, it is not the best idea. First, you can be like me and completely forget that it’s there, and then you whip your bra off at the end of the day in a frenzy and it goes FLYING across the room and breaks in half. Another reason you shouldn’t do this is that they could press into your skin for a prolonged period of time, potentially causing some harm or bruising. And what if the crystal chips or has little slivers or a crack in it? It could potentially cut your skin. Not to mention the amount of sweat that could be detrimental to the crystal itself depending on the type of stone. Just don’t do it. Stick to your pockets or jewelry.
- Crystal grids
And finally, everyone’s favorite way to use crystals, GRIDS! The most common crystal questions I get are related to crystal grids. And I LOVE grids. I love them as decor, as intention amplifiers, and with clients to facilitate healing within their bodies.
So there are grids that you can set up and display in your space, and there are grids that can be set up temporarily, either on or around the body or in a space.
The purpose of a grid is to connect the healing powers of several crystals (with their individual properties) under one intention. And we usually set them up using some kind of intentional shape or sacred geometry pattern, or even mandalas, as a way to further amplify the energy.