Ok, let’s talk healing crystals.
Every house seems to have at least one, Gwyneth suggests we stick them in our vaginas, Adele credits her Grammy’s to them; crystals are eeeehhv-rywhere. Testimonials have credited them with being life-changing, tapping into specific grounding energies to heal and magnify certain abilities or traits.
But have we become a little too dependent on what is, essentially, just another point of focus? Are we externalising our power the same way we do with all the other stuff we surround ourselves with? Where energy flows, grows – it’s not the crystal that’s giving you power or abilities or energy, it’s your focus on that positive energy. It’s you! The power is always within.
And while we’re on the topic of unnecessary glorification – we need to talk about where our crystals are coming from. Because, gorgeous, there isn’t enough palo santo in the world to cleanse the trauma and impact from some of these stones.
First, let me say, I am absolutely not here to tell you to drop your stones. Do you. All I’m saying is let’s be conscious consumers. Let’s see our tools for what they are and let’s be aware of the impact of our choices.
Wait, where are Crystals From?
Crystals are sourced globally, depending on the specific type. For example, clear quartz is the most common mineral on the globe – the stuff is everywhere. What’s important about this is that there is no Fair Trade equivilent to the crystal world, unless you’re talking about specific precious stones like diamonds. So we’ve got a global commodity with little to no regulation. The cheapest will usually win the sale. And that’s not great for a number of reasons.
Crystals that we use in our yoga or healing are often actually byproducts of the mining of gold or copper or cobalt. Basically they’ve found a way to make money of their waste product. Great, right? Reuse and recycle and all that. But poorly- or unregulated mining wreaks havoc on the environment and communities around them. From water pollution to horrendous working conditions, these mines are well-documented for their abuses.
In Myanmar, jade mining has had such a brutal impact that it’s now referred to as their ‘blood diamonds’. Goop are selling jade yoni eggs for $66 a pop. Are they from Burmese jade? who knows, there’s no origin listed. In 2018, the children of the Democratic Republic of Congo were, globally, most at risk from child labour exploitation. The DRC is also well known for it’s mining of a whole host of crystals – such as this malachite table top running for over 750euro. In January, on a mining site in Brumadinho, Brazil, a dam broke killing almost 300 people…just four years after a similar disaster on the company’s property killed 15 and cause a full on environmental disaster. And, yes, you guessed it – Brazil produces a lot of healing crystals.
Things have gotten so shit in this area that an EY Metal and Mining report recently saw that 50% of global mining companies see community acceptance and winning grants to be the biggest risks to their business. People in some of the most impoverished places on earth are saying that the impact of mining isn’t worth the work it may bring. That’s important! There is a new programme being put in place by the World Bank called ‘Climate-Smart Mining’ which aims to bring more sustainable supply chains and reduced environmental impact to the industry.
The Great Unknown
Are your crystals problem crystals? The problem is there’s really very little chance of us ever knowing. They could be mined down the road, or they could be extracted in India. It’s a massively vague industry where sources and countries of origin are rarely mentioned. Significant online stores such as Mystery Mountain, Sage Goddess and Goop (I don’t have a vendetta against Gwen but she makes it so easy) make no mention of the background of their crystals. Irish site Crystal Earth label themselves as ‘ethical’ but give no further information on how that’s the case.
Many of these ‘to consumer’ sellers probably have no idea themselves. Many of these crystals travel through an extensive supply chain of miners-cutters-tumblers-wholesalers-trade shows before they end up on their shelves.
And, honestly, we haven’t really demanded to know. Because it’s all love, light and rose quartz-hued bliss over here, baby. Like so much that’s sold to us these days, the degree of separation is enough that we can be willfully ignorant to the hands it passes through before it reaches us.
A Note on Energy
So, looking at all this, it really does feel ironic to read some of the descriptions put on some of these stones. We buy them hoping to tap into their natural vibrations and attributes. How’d you think the vibes are on a crystal mined by a seven year old working 18 hour days?
What about engineered stones? There are a number of quartz strains being grown in labs out of lascas – seed crystals used to instigate the growth. Would you do a GMO amethyst? Maybe you have and you don’t know it.
But here’s the Real Magic
If you’re moving to make more conscious decisions in your consumption, this probably isn’t great news. You can’t say nobody told you now. But the brilliance is … you don’t need crystals to heal or grow or awaken!
Crystals aren’t the cause, they’re the tool. We use them as an external point of focus, a little hub for positive intentions. All that energy and potential for change resides internally. The magic is you! Your divine consciousness that is universally connected and, when used as an active participant in life, can’t change the game.
If you carry citrine for abundance, every time you see it you’re thinking abundant thoughts – you’re consciously opening yourself to receive, you’re telling the Universe you’re intention is to have goodness flow to you. That intention is the catalyst for change. The crystal is a reminder, a totem. You could be carrying around your egg-cup of abundance for all the difference it really makes. You water bottle of expansive love.
Just like fancy yoga props or elaborate meditation techniques – crystals are nice to have. They look pretty and, particularly if you’re new to the practice, can be helpful as an external reminder to draw the mind back on track. But they’re in no way necessary. And if we endow excessive power onto them we continue to strip it from ourselves. Ultimately, it’s the drawing inward. The reigning in and refocusing of the mind. The consciousness between the thought and the Self. The hard shit that can’t be bought. That’s what’ll change us.
So if you’re into crystals, please, belt ahead and enjoy. If they help your practice, brilliant! But don’t carry on doing yourself a disservice by thinking they’re the reason behind your growth. Adele could have just as easily talked herself into those Grammys, dealing with generational trauma could make a home truly loving and, for the love of jesus, please don’t put porous rocks in your vagina!
I’ve put together a little crystal cheatsheet that you can check out if you’re new to this game. It’s looks at choosing your stones, cleansing and charging them with intentions, and a quick overview of some of the more common crystals. Consume consciously, loves x