Crystals: History, Meditation, Culture

Crystals: History, Meditation, Culture

Introduction

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to share this blog post with you all. This blog post is basically a crash course on crystals. What they are, where they come from, and how to use them. This post is a whole experience — before you get too deep in the reading, feel free to relax, dim the lights, light a candle or some incense, and press play on the Spotify playlist I created below:

I specifically curated this playlist with some of my favorite chill, calming songs. They pair well with meditation, or yoga, with crystals because, like crystals, they encourage you to be mindful, to take your time, and to reflect.
Now that you’re hopefully zen-ed out, I want to talk to you about a growing love of mine: crystals. Crystals are a very popular in the yoga and meditation world and I wanted to explore why. For almost the past year, I’ve been curating my very own collection of crystals (Picture 1). From amethyst to quartz, from centuries ago to today, they all share their own unique properties and history.
Picture 1: My collection of crystals. From left to right, top to bottom: Carnelian, Amazonite, Amethyst, Quartz, Tigers Eye, Opalite, Rose Quartz

Picture 1: My collection of crystals. From left to right, top to bottom: Carnelian, Amazonite, Amethyst, Quartz, Tigers Eye, Opalite, Rose Quartz

What are Crystals?

In short: they are beautiful rock structures. The more scientific answer? Crystals form from crystallization — which is the solidification of atoms. Gemstones, however, are what people normally think of when they think of crystals (think: jade, opal, tourmaline, moonstone, etc.).

Back in the 50s and 60s, Marcel Vogel, was a very influential scientist at IBM. Some of his main research was on quartz crystals and their use in technology. Quartz are used in every day pieces of technology — for example, your watch. This is because quartz, “maintain a precise frequency standard, which helps to regulate the movement of a watch or clock, thus making the timepieces very accurate,” according to LiveScience.com. Vogel studied how thoughts can change the composition of these crystals. He found scientific evidence that quartz can store and amplify thoughts, which you can read more about here.

And that is the the science (the power) that we can harness to use crystals as a way of healing.

History & Culture

The origin of crystal healing, often referred to as an alternative medicine, is unknown. However, it has known ties he way back to ancient Egypt which lasted from 3100 BCE to about 30 BCE. Since 1975, Yoga Journal, has been a reliable yoga and healthy-living magazine. According to them, “The earliest archaeological evidence of yoga culture was depicted on seals of Harappan,” Harappan is an ancient urban culture in the Indian Subcontinent which consists of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan. Harappan was around during 2500–1700 BCE, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Yoga culture has been a prominent figure of wellness in Indian cultures for a very long time.

The intertwining timelines of crystal healing and yoga culture makes one stop and think… this way of healing has a very long history. The fact that the tradition hasn’t fizzled out over these thousands of years is very telling of how powerful people believe these practices to be. In fact, yoga has grown more popular over the last few years. As you can see by the graph from Google below (Figure 1),  the word “yoga” wasn’t mentioned in books (now google searches, internet databases, etc.) almost at all until the 1950s, and since then, has significantly grown. Even though it dipped a little in the late 1900s, you can see the graph is trending upwards past 2010, meaning it is growing in popularity as more people desire to learn more about yoga.

A graph of the mention of "yoga" in books and google searches over the years

Figure 1

As shown in Figure 2, after searching the word “crystal,” the mentions of the word has grown and declined. I believe that has something to do with crystals and crystal healing being more of a niche activity that many, deep in yoga culture, adhere to. I believe many like to buy crystals because they happen to be trendy nowadays, (e.g. Sephora’s “Witch Kit”) but practicing with them is far less common.

Side note:  It’s great that this culture and way of life can be available to so many more people through selling those Witch Kits, but it is problematic in the fact that people who buy these kits could very easily disrespect it and use it for the wrong meanings — not fully understand the culture. As of late, Sephora has pulled the Witch Kit from its shelves due to the backlash it has recieved — and rightfully so. Sephora is a makeup store — it has nothing to do with spirituality. And calling it a “kit” directly diminishes the meaning and significance behind crystals and that lifestyle.

A graph of the mention of "crystal" in books and google searches over the years

Figure 2

So as you can see, yoga is getting more popular, and that is awesome! Its so good for you in so many ways and incorporating crystals into your practice makes it even more special. Understanding (even just a bit of) the history behind these practices is really important, too, because it can help you appreciate even more the good you are doing to your body and mind even more.

Applications in Meditation & Yoga

Yoga instructors have been doing it for years, but now, many people have adopted this “New Age,” “Hippie” type of wellness. There are many different ways to incorporate crystals into your meditation or yoga routine. Or you don’t have to do it at all, Adriene Mishler, a famous “yogi” with a YouTube channel that boasts more than 4 million followers, shares her favorite yoga and meditation practices with her followers and rarely every mentions crystals in any of her practices. They are definitely not necessary but they add something to your practice. They add a sense of grounding and spiritualness as they connect you with your innermost self.

The owners and creators of Energy Muse, a leading lifestyle blog state in their blog that healing stones are great for “manifesting your intentions and what you want to create in your life. When it comes to crystal basics, these otherworldly rocks connect us to the Earth because they are tangible, physical forms that have powerful vibrations.” Setting intentions while meditating sends these vibrations out into the world. Set out goals, think about how you can achieve them, decide you’re going to do it, and go do!

Crystal Profiles:

Typical crystal profiles look like the ones below, they show a picture of the crystals, its healing properties, and more relevant information about the crystal. Here are 5 of my favorite crystals, which happen to be a part of my very own collection.

Carnelian Stone

Carnelian Stone

Name of Crystal: Carnelian
Properties: Boosts confidence, courage, passion
Uses: Bring a carnelian stone along with you when you are doing something nerve-wracking — a job interview, audition, etc.

Clear Quartz Wand (sorry if it's a little hard to see)

Clear Quartz Wand (sorry if it’s a little hard to see)

Name of CrystalClear Quartz
Properties: Amplifies energy around it, symbolizes space, patience and purity
Uses: Meditate with it and focus on your intentions to help bring them to life

Rose Quartz Stone

Rose Quartz Stone

Name of Crystal: Rose Quartz
Properties: Unconditional love, forgiveness, helps you understand
Uses: Meditate with a rose quartz when you’re feeling a lack of compassion or when you need help to forgive

Amethyst Stone

Amethyst Stone

Name of Crystal: Amethyst
Properties: Helps you discover your true self by ridding your mind of negative thoughts
Uses: Meditate with an amethyst stone to help clear dark thoughts

Amazonite Stone

Amazonite Stone

Name of Crystal: Amazonite
Properties: Replenishes the feeling of tranquility, reduces anxiety, helps you find your true self
Uses: Hold onto this crystal when you’re feeling anxiety

 


I hope this post helped you understand what crystals are a bit more, as well as how to go about using them in your daily meditation and yoga practice! Go find a crystal that speaks to you, and go meditate with it. Tell me your story — how has incorporating crystals in your practice helped you in your wellness journey?

Lastly, I’m not an expert but If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!

2 Comments

  1. October 25, 2018 / 9:08 am

    This is actually so interesting. I had NO idea about crystals and what they do, so thanks for sharing this! I saw your post on twitter, so I’m glad I came across it. I like that you added a lot of support and background on it!

    • madisonheise
      Author
      October 25, 2018 / 9:11 am

      Thank you so much! That means a lot, in glad you enjoyed the post!

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