From cell phones to satellites, crystals are critical elements of practically every tech-y item in the modern world. At the same time, their extraordinary ability to store, transmit, and transform energy is equally critical in the pursuit of health, wellness, and deep spirituality. Colleen McCann, a certified shamanic energy medicine practitioner, emphasizes the importance of both the scientific and the more mystical aspects of crystals. Previously a fashion stylist (her appreciation for beautiful things is immediately apparent when you see her at work with crystals), McCann has traveled the world to research crystal traditions across cultures and history. Today, she divides her time between the coasts, conducting crystal readings, space clearing and balancing, shamanic healing, and intuitive business coaching sessions.
Here, she breaks down the major benefits (from relaxation to enhanced connection and serious empowerment) of eight significant crystals; she’s also curated them into a goop-exclusive starter kit, inspired by a shaman’s medicine bag. McCann personally clears every stone of previous energy it may have been carrying (more on a crystal’s energy, below), and puts positive intentions and blessings into each one.
Why and how are crystals so powerful?
This is where science and mysticism intersect: Crystals are millions of years old and were forged during the earliest part of the earth’s formation. I think of crystals as a timeless database of knowledge, because they retain all the information they have ever been exposed to. Crystals absorb information—whether a severe weather pattern, or the experience of an ancient ceremony—and pass it to anyone that comes into contact with them.
Scientifically, crystals are the most orderly structure that exists in nature, meaning they have the lowest amount of entropy (a measurement of disorder). Crystals are structured in such a way that they respond to the inputs of all different energies around them, so they oscillate, emitting specific vibratory frequencies. The way they are balanced, the frequencies they emit, and their ability to store a tremendous amount of information makes crystals essential to modern technologies. This is why there are crystals in computers, TVs, cell phones, satellites, and so on.
People have been attracted to crystals since the dawn of time for burial rites, divination practices, healing rituals, spiritual advancement, and even simply as decoration to connote power. Our ancestors intuitively knew that when worn, the energies of the stones would interact with the human electromagnetic field to bring about energetic changes. People gravitate towards vortexes (where energy is either entering into the earth or projecting out of the earth’s plane) like Stonehenge and Sedona because these ancient and massive magical rocks sit on top of energetic ley lines—making them, in effect, an energy portal or place of power. People choose to wear diamonds as a sign of binding two people together (diamonds are the most indestructible natural substance on earth), and adorn the crowns of royals with crystals. For millennia, crystals have been used to heal, restore, and enhance physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance.
How do you select good crystals?
Every crystal type has a different purpose, so it depends what you’re looking for. Some stones may be best used to heal the body or to tap intuition during meditation, while other stones are used in technology or as a part of building structures. (See below for the powers of eight different crystals.)
That said: Through my travels I meet vendors from all over the world, and I source my crystals from vendors I trust. Knowing the lineage of a crystal is somewhat akin to knowing where the meat you’re eating came from, or certifying that your engagement ring isn’t a blood diamond. Everything carries an energy in it; you want to have the most positive, clean, and clear energies in your crystal. I always ask crystal store owners where they get their stones, how they harvest the stones, and if they know any physical history about the stone I am choosing. Most importantly, though: If a crystal is yours, then it will speak to you. The stone may get hot in your hand, it can send tingles into your arm, or you might feel a third-eye buzz. Trust your intuition when a stone is yours. If it doesn’t feel quite right, then go with your gut—it’s not meant for you. If you feel that a crystal is yours, but it’s physically dirty or maybe just needs an energetic bath, you can follow the cleansing steps below.
Is there a particular way to care for crystals?
Crystals that live on altars should be cleaned on average once a month. If you wear a crystal or meditate with a crystal daily, it should be cleaned once a week. (Instructions below.) Cleaning is necessary because it removes any dense or stale energy the crystal may have picked up in its environment, or from you. It’s like washing our faces to remove dirt and debris. If someone else touches your crystal—which you want to avoid—it needs to be cleaned immediately before you wear it or use it again. People automatically want to touch stones, as they are pretty, shiny—and filled with your personal, sparkly energy. A crystal becomes personally attuned to you and nobody else should put their vibration or energy on it. Look at it this way: Would you share mascara or a toothbrush?
There are a few different ways to clean stones—you can do any of the following:
Bury them in dirt for a week. Returning your crystals and stones to the earth allows them to cleanse and recharge with the vibration of the earth.
Wash them in salt water: Salt purifies and absorbs negative energy. (Note: Some crystals disintegrate when wet. Common stones that can’t get wet include: amber, turquoise, red coral, fire opal, moonstone, calcite, kyanite, kunzite, angelite, azurite, selenite. A good rule of thumb: Many stones that end in “ite” are not water-friendly.)
Leave the crystals out in the moonlight for three days prior and three days after the full moon (or for at least 24 hours). Lunar energy helps cleanse and charge the stones, and the moon’s light is brightest and energetically strongest during the full moon.
Wipe them with a soft cloth and isopropyl alcohol to remove fingerprints and to sanitize.
Burn sage and run the stone through the smoke because it is purifying.