Before You Bandwagon: The stone-cold truth about crystals

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It definitely doesn't have to break the bank, but it could if you go bougie.

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Won't be a lifestyle-changer, unless you want It to be...



Was it the crystals or was it just a state of mind?

By: Sofia Distefano

If you've been to a health spa, Urban Outfitters, or stumbled across an LA mom's side table, then you've probably come across crystals. The word around town is that certain rocks have magical vibrational energies. Before I hop on this trend in hopes of some spiritual transcendence, I want to familiarize myself with what exactly “crystal therapy” entails and where the practice traces back. Let's dive in.

woman holding a crystal sitting on a bohemian carpte

The practice of crystal and gemstone healing dates back to ancient times; however, the purpose has shifted dramatically. Back then, it was about adorning yourself with crystals to ward off diseases and negative energies. Today, the modernized philosophy is borrowed from the chinese concept of life-energy and the Hindu or Buddhist concept of chakras. During a treatment session with the stones, the intention is to place them along the body, according to chakra, to connect the physical and supernatural elements of the body and rid it of illness and energy imbalances. 

Two quick side notes before I begin: 

#1: You probably wouldn't expect a crystal collector to be indifferent about child labor or unsafe mining conditions but the reality of crystal mining is that these practices are prevalent within the industry. Most buyers don't know simply because the industry lacks transparency. I found myself asking, "where do these crystals come from, who sells them, and why don’t sellers want customers to know the origins?" According to Julie Abouzelof, owner of Moonrise Crystals, the obscureness stems from “the deep, psychological construct of the mining industry, where everything is a little bit hidden.” The result is an undeniable irony in buying crystals for "good vibes" when the person who harvested the object had anything but. 

#2: When I was looking to purchase a set of healing crystals online, something else struck me as murky. I ended up with a set of 14 stones for $15.99. Meanwhile Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company, sells a set of 8 for $85 as well as an “an obelisk-like amethyst crystal to infuse water with positive energy” for $80. The bottom line is that there's tons of ways to get your crystals, so be sure to do some research beforehand. 

three crystals

Day 0:

The crystals have arrived. I am not completely sure where to begin, but I am going to keep a weekly log of my experience and see what all the hype is about. According to the packaging, “the effect of AMPPBI crystals and healing stones kit: promote brain cell activity, make the brain work faster, help to think, focus, and enhance memory, enhance your mind's feelings, promote communication and self-expression, strengthen balance, release negative energy, eliminates fatigue, relieves anxiety and restlessness.” As amazing as that all would be, I am a bit skeptical that all these benefits are just a stone's-throw away. 

Day 1:

Here we go. Day one. Right now, these crystals on my side table just look like pretty rocks I used to collect on vacations as a kid. There is an awkward silence between us as I stare at them and they stare back at me. I'm not exactly sure what to do nor where to start. Do I hold them? Place them on my stomach to best this bloat? Keep one under the pillow while I sleep? 

To break the silence, I start speaking to them. Something along the lines of, “Hey. I'm Sophia. I’m looking at you to hopefully gain some sense of ease and positive aura.” I couldn't tell you why or what made me start talking to these inanimate objects, but it was a start. 

Day 2:

I obviously know that yesterday's ice-breaker wasn't going to be the answer, but I had to start somewhere. I’m not familiar with crystal practices but I am familiar with mindfulness meditation. So, I figured I would hold the amethyst cluster in my hands as I meditated and use the remaining rocks to form a ring around me on the floor where I sat. To be transparent, I chose the amethyst cluster simply because I found it the most attractive. This all sounds ludicrous, but I feel like I've seen a cyclical rock ceremony done somewhere before. Maybe in a movie... I very much could be thinking of the time my sister lined by body with seashells when I was a sand mermaid. Regardless, something felt spiritual and “juju" about it all. 

I ended the meditation not feeling much different than if I hadn't used the crystals. On the bright side, I think I've officially befriended them. 

multiple crystals arranged

Day 3:

Still waiting to see some real “healing effects.” I gave the crystals a semi-permanent home on my side table, a kind of “Anthropologie home decor” aesthetic. They have made their way into my daily routine as I hold different ones during meditation. I read that amethyst acts as a “natural tranquilizer” (kind of intimidating) that relieves an individual from stress and strain. I was happy to find that the stone I first chose based on attractiveness had some potential to make changes in my day-to-day (I've been stressed as I prepare for exams). 

Day 4:

Today, my exam presentation went really well. Maybe the stones had some influence? Today is the second day of fall and I don’t typically accept the end of summer with ease. So, I figured I'd try out the second prettiest stone: green fluorite. It's supposed to help me connect with nature and align with the natural order of the universe. As I held it, I told myself positive affirmations. For example, this season I want to feel ____, this season I’m actively manifesting ____, and so on. 

Day 5:

I read in ELLE that “when you have a crystal, the best thing to do is to set an intention on it. Hold it in your hand and visualize a white light going through it.” I was halfway there! I was holding them with intent but I never got the memo about the white light. 

Day 6:

Not that I feel like I have a new and profound special energy, but I do feel more grounded than at the start of the week. It's hard to lend all of that credit to the crystals but I feel like I will try to continue using them in my routine when I can. Why not? 

Day 7:

For the record, I was never expecting immediate results. If anything, I feel like all these crystals, regardless of kind, do the same thing. However, I do think the experience has made me more mindful, self-aware, and connected to nature. 

It’s tough to say whether, after just one week, crystal healing is worth it. I can certainly see how, if I remained open to the process, continuing a journey with the practice would set me forward on a journey towards finding my inner-peace and wellbeing. Maybe it's placebo, maybe it's a forcing mechanism to meditate and think positive thoughts, or maybe there's something to this.

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