Mercury Retrograde, Crystals, and Community

Yesterday Mercury went retrograde (12/19 – 1/8) and the memes started popping up on social media warning people off from making huge decisions, expecting their tech to work, or anything to go right.

Nope. No. Just…

Look, I’m not an astrologer. I’m not an astrologer in the same way I’m not a tarot card reader. I read cards for myself once in a while when I need my subconscious to become conscious and I watch Kaypacha’s Weekly Pele Reports because Tom Lescher (whom I don’t know personally) seems to be so heart-centered and gives a really grounded, inspiring, and pragmatic reports helping to put events into a wider perspective outside of my own limited one.

One of my personal mantras is, “Hold everything lightly.”

Given that I’m not an astrologer, take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt. This whole vibe around Mercury going retrograde causing chaos might be well-intentioned, but tends to be disempowering by way of the false narrative based on generalized assumptions.

Today on Facebook, I saw this post by OSHO right after I posted the following picture:

“Once you get identified with a certain idea, then you are sick. All identification is mental sickness. In fact, mind is your sickness. And to put the mind aside and just to see silently ? without any thought, without any prejudice ? into reality is a healthy way of being acquainted with reality.” OSHO

Mercury Retrograde Crystals Community
Here’s the deal: I don’t assume that the next two weeks are going to be hard for you or anyone else; at least, no harder than they would have been had Mercury not gone retrograde. The Lessons? They appear with every breath – not just when a planet goes indirect. Not just when we pull the Tower card. And what would happen if, instead of seeing calamity when Mercury goes retrograde or we pull the Tower card, we got excited about the possibility of change and expansiveness?

Are there better times than others – opportunities where our ability to be more awake and aware are heightened? Perhaps. Wouldn’t it be awesome if THAT was what the Mercury Retrograde memes advertised? I’m the last person anyone is going to accuse of being a Pollyanna. I’m not talking about the pseudo-light-and-love-it’s-all-going-to-be-wonderful-if-we-just-believe! attitude either. That feels just as inauthentic as the other warnings and dire predictions do.

I’m talking about being open to being awake, aware, fully present, self-reflecting, other-and-self-empowering, listening, open-hearted and unassuming, learning, seeing true. Regardless the planetary movements and other people’s ideas about them.

I believe in our ability to listen to our Hearts and follow the path it lays before each of us and to go the way of the Wise Ones we really are. I believe in our power which comes from a humble and trusting heart. I believe that every moment is a chance to choose, to take responsibility, to breathe deeply and be present and awake. Do we always live this way? No. That too is a lesson. These tools we use (astrology, tarot, etc.) are not tools at all if we allow them to become scapegoats for our challenging days or less than ideal choices or off-putting attitudes.

And here, bear with me, I’m going to go on a tangent because the following has been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks….

As well-intentioned as the spiritual community can be, sometimes we (not unlike religious communities) can be our own worst enemy. It’s part of the human condition to see dualism, to pick sides, to declare “good” and “bad.” It is also madness and counterproductive to what we claim our goals are.

We here in the States and elsewhere in the world, claim to mourn the loss of our ability to be a community of diverse people who lift one another up while in the same breath demonizing those who vote for a particular candidate, the candidate him/herself, support a particular organization, buy from a certain store, use prescription drugs, drive a certain type of car, eat a certain type of food – the judgments go on and on and on. Why? Because we identify more strongly with our individual ideas than we do with the people in our community whom we’re called to love and encourage and support.

The situation we find ourselves in as a community of America? Of the world? We’re all culpable. It took the whole of the community to create this chaos and separation and strife and it will take the whole of the community to heal it. But it requires us to each see our own culpability. No one is blameless.

Personally, in the last 6 months or so, I’ve been called to question every thought that flits through my mind; every judgement and declaration and idea. Where does this (fill-in-the-blank) idea come from? Is it true? Is it true for everyone? Is it true for all time? Who says? If it’s not true for everyone, maybe I can spend some time learning why – to keep my Heart open, to listen with my Heart to others who see the world through a different lens. Which is everybody by the way. The great irony is that we have our little enclaves of “like minded” people with whom we rally in the streets or on social media. And if we had an open, expansive discussion with them, we’d realize that we don’t see many things the same way even with the members of our own choir.

Our ideas that OSHO talks about above have lead to a sickness of the mind, yes, and of the ego. Our assumptions and self-righteousness close our Hearts not only to others but to ourselves.

Perhaps this Mercury Retrograde moment is a chance to be still with ourselves. To question our attitudes and beliefs and reactions and fears and angst and anxieties. Because until we are honest with ourselves about our own blinders and self-righteousness and closed hearts, we cannot begin to see and hear, care for and about each other through our Hearts. We cannot begin to heal our communities and the Community at Large. And whatever is coming in 2017 and beyond – we need each other. Not just people who we assume are like us – we need our communities, full of beautiful people with diverse ideas and beliefs and perspectives and histories and experiences. Iron sharpens iron – except when we refuse to engage with one another. We all need honing.

Crystals for self-reflection, for doing deep inner work, for getting real with ourselves might include sulfides such as chalcopyrite, pyrite, covellite, and sphalerite. Halides such as halite and fluorite for breaking down barriers, in this case of our own minds. Aluminum-bearing minerals can help us remember who we really are; copper-bearing minerals may resonate with promoting a more open heart – there are others, but this is a good start.

May 2017 be the Year of Opening Our Hearts. Dissolving our Fears. Empowering ourselves and one another.

With so much gratitude, through Light. Tana

Crystal Care Questions Answered – Part 2

Part 2 – Crystal Care Questions Answered:
the most common cleansing methods and the KISS Method

There are many different crystal cleansing practices to choose from. Here in Part 2, (click here for Part 1) I’ll cover some of the most popular, talk a bit about the purpose of the ritual and mention any precautions we want to take before exposing our crystals to these cleansing methods. You’ll notice that I won’t give specific instructions like how long to cleanse a crystal using a certain method and that’s because there are no rules. If you find a method or two you are drawn to, the right way to do it is your way. Spend the amount of time with the ritual as you are guided to.

And because I’m a gal who likes to keep things simple whenever possible, I’ll talk about the method we can employ that is safe for virtually every crystal.

Water is the universal cleanser and purifier. Water represents life – sustaining life, giving life. It is used in religious and non-religious rituals the world over and soothes the soul when we are troubled, sick, or cold.  Water mirrors back to us our thoughts – see Masaru Emoto’s important work with water here. No surprise then that for many, the first thing we want to do with a crystal that has come under our care, is to wash it with water. Holding under the tap, setting in a nearby stream, soaking in a bowl of purified water – there are many ways to cleanse crystals with plain water.

crystal careA few things to keep in mind: some crystals are water soluble, meaning they will disintegrate to some degree when exposed to moisture. Minerals that are in matrix, I recommend not soaking in water because depending on the type of matrix, it could crumble and fall apart. Other crystals will rust – iron oxides, for example. I go over this in more detail in part 3.

Also, we want to be mindful to not shock the crystal with too-hot or too-cold water. If the crystal has been sitting in the mailbox all winter’s day and you bring it in and run it under warm or hot tap, it might crack from the too-abrupt temperature change. Or if you bring a crystal in from sitting in the hot summer sun all day and run it under cold tap water, it may crack.

One more thing to keep in mind: water can leach toxicity from minerals, especially rough/unpolished ones. Be mindful of your crystal’s chemical composition and toxicity and be careful to not drink, soak, bathe, or expose yourself to water that has been used to cleanse your crystal if it contains any potentially toxic elements.

Salt bath/saltwater soak/ocean dipcrystal care
Salt has a long history of use in religious ritual. It is symbolic of the Earth element in pagan traditions and is featured in many other religious scriptures and rituals. Crystal healers, to help a crystal re-tune and cleanse itself, will place it in a bowl of salt, saltwater, or if one is lucky to live near the ocean, take it for a dip at the shoreline. This is thought to recharge and cleanse the crystal. (Again, it might be freeing to remember that crystals don’t “lose” power or energy, and in the subtle field, all is part of the greater whole and so there is no duality of “dirty” or “negative” to contend with).

There are a few things to be mindful of when using salt this way. Salt can be a harsh compound for certain other minerals. It can cause pitting, marring, or scratch the surface of some crystals. My personal recommendation to someone called to this particular practice would be to place crystals around a bowl of salt rather than place the crystals in the salt or salt water.

Burying in the ground
Some, in an effort to “reset” their crystals, will wrap their crystals in a cloth or place them in a box and bury them in the soil. The idea being that we let the crystal visit home again to regain its original vibration. In many traditions, we’re taught to bury our old energy – swipe it back into the earth to be recycled. As different soils have different pH levels – some more acidic than others – I would recommend placing the crystal in something so that it is not directly touching the soil. And of course, place a marker where you buried your treasure so that you can find it again. How long the crystal stays buried is up to you.

crystal careMoonbath
Ah, Bella Luna! Throughout recorded history, moon worship has been a feature of many earth-based religions and today the moon and all her shining glory still hold sway over many and for good reason. She influences many things here on planet earth from the ocean tides to human behavior (just ask a police officer if there is more activity on nights when there is a full moon). If you’re on social media and follow any crystal healer, on days preceding a full moon you’re likely to see posts about how you better get your crystals outside to get recharged. This is probably one of the safer methods, unless you live in a particularly damp climate – in which case you might want to keep water soluble minerals inside on the window sill.

The sun – powerful, masculine energy (except when it wasn’t in Baltic mythology where the Moon was the masculine and the Sun was the feminine). Cleansing, recharging, warrior energy. And it is a potent light energy. So potent that it can cause imbalances in the skin and overheat bodies. Working with the light energy of the Sun needs to be done mindfully, including when we set crystals in sunlight. This is especially true for those who work with crystals based on color. Many minerals, which I will talk about more in Part 3, will fade when exposed to various types of light. Sunlight in particular will fade certain crystals quickly such as amethyst and kunzite. Other minerals will actually darken when left exposed to light for too long. The effects of light on minerals will vary but it’s something to be aware of.

Rice soakcrystal care
I cannot find any origin information on this practice and if anyone knows where and why it began, I’d love to know. I find a lot of recommendations for this practice, but not a lot of solid explanations for this practice. Some recommend placing crystals in a container of rice overnight (cover up the crystals, unlike the ones in the picture to the right) and some say it should be brown rice instead of white.

crystal careOther Crystals
Some crystal authors/teachers claim that certain crystals never need to be cleansed and that some of those crystals can in fact cleanse other crystals. The list of which crystals don’t need cleansing is different from one source to the next – there is no consensus. When seeking to understand why certain crystals are thought to not need cleansing while others do, the reasoning is based on crystal prescriptions passed along throughout recent decades. In other words, there is no explanation based on unique physical properties, mineral inclusions, etc. If I did cleanse crystals regularly, based on my research I would cleanse all of them. I wouldn’t have a list of crystals that never needed cleansing or that could cleanse other crystals.

As varied as the lists from one person to the next can be, there are a few crystals that make most lists: Selenite, Citrine, and Kyanite (Disthene). When studying these minerals’ properties, there is nothing to suggest that these crystals would not need cleansing while other crystals bearing the same or similar properties would. Nor is there any aspect of these crystals that indicates they might be excellent cleansers of other crystals.  Having said this, I know a couple crystal healers who practice this method and it works for them. And I always say, if it works – keep doing it. Remember in Part 1 I mention how the way each of us relates to crystals can be very unique and personal? It’s true and never moreso when it comes to the rituals we do with the crystals given into our care.

Should this method be one you’d like to try, it can be safe for most minerals but you’ll want to check the Mohs hardness of each crystal and remember that softer minerals will be scratched when rubbed up against harder minerals and do your placements carefully in light of this. Selenite, for example, is quite soft and most minerals might scratch the selenite plate upon which they rest.

Smudgecrystal care
Smudging is another ritual some people do to cleanse their crystals. If you burn incense or sage or other herbs, maybe some resins – you can hold your crystals in the smoke created for a period of time that feels right to you. Or, if you have shelves of crystals you want to cleanse, you can light some of your favorite smudge material in a heat-safe bowl and waft the smoke over the shelves. Sometimes I will do this after a particularly intense healing session or meditation as an act of gratitude to all the elements.

KISS method

This method is safe for all minerals. It is also thought to be one of the most effective methods of cleansing crystals which makes sense to me because it relies on vibration and what we’re seeking to cleanse or reset when doing these rituals is our crystal’s vibration. Sound tuning can be done in a variety of ways and here I’m going to talk briefly about two: vocal toning and using an external tool to create vibration.

Vocal toning
Vocal toning is a great, easy exercise for the throat and solar plexus chakras. It helps us with breath work and can be a really empowering exercise. It does not require a beautiful singing voice, thank goodness. When we vocal tone, we can sit or stand with good posture and begin by watching the breath. Notice your breath coming into your body through your nose, and going deeper into your abdomen each time you inhale. Once you’ve gained control over your breath and slowed it down a bit, begin releasing your breath by opening your mouth and throat and allowing whatever tone naturally comes to come forth. The tone does not have to be a particular note, nor does the tone have to remain the same through the exhale. It can modulate up and down – whatever happens naturally is what is supposed to happen. Take a deep, slow breath and on the exhale, open your throat and mouth and allow the air to pass through your vocal chords. That’s it.

This exercise, while simple, can be challenging for some of us who are not used to speaking our truth or expressing our emotions or opinions or thoughts. It can feel weird to breathe in and then make this long, sometimes guttural sound. With each breath, the sound can become more and more pleasant, but not necessarily. And that can cause someone to feel self-conscious, even if they are totally alone. I recommend this exercise especially to people who might feel self-conscious at the mere idea of vocal toning.

But what does this have to do with crystal cleansing? Great question. You can cleanse your crystals when you do your vocal toning by simply holding your crystal in front of your mouth as you tone. Do this for as many breaths as you like – whatever feels right.

Bang a pot
You can also create a vibration by simply banging a pot, pan, lid – anything that will make a consistent, loud noise – in the vicinity of your crystals. The vibration from the noise will quickly cleanse/clear your crystals. Some use a Tibetan Singing bowl and that is lovely but not necessary. We don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to create a loud, consistent noise (ask anyone who has a toddler). If you have a singing bowl – you can certainly use it for this exercise. I recommend holding the crystal with one hand while tapping the rim with the mallet with your other hand repeatedly. I do not recommend placing the crystal in the bowl and then tapping the rim to make sound. The crystal will likely gyrate along the bottom and it could chip or crack your crystal, depending on its formation.

crystal care
Got questions? Comments? Email me at

Part 1
Part 3

crystal healing course

For information about Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work – simply click here. 

crystal healing course

Crystal Care Questions Answered – Part 3

Crystal Care: Mineral Care Based on their Physical Properties

This final section (click to find Part 1 and Part 2) is perhaps the most important because it is the most empowering. Knowledge is power and when we understand the minerals we are called to work with not only from a new age perspective, but also from their physical perspective, worlds can open up to us. We become less and less reliant on getting answers about how to do our subtle healing work from others, and instead learn to turn to our own Hearts more and more frequently for the answers to questions we ask.

We can look to a crystal’s chemical composition and get a lot of information without having to be experts in chemistry. We can look to a mineral’s formation origin and understand that mineral’s energy in a deeper way without being geologists. Understanding our crystals’ physical properties teaches us so much about their subtle healing properties. It also helps us understand how to better care for them.

Most minerals will react to various types of environments and in what way depends primarily on the mineral’s photo-sensitivity, Mohs hardness, water solubility, and chemical composition. Researching each of your crystals properties can save you disappointment from a faded Celestite geode, a dulled or disintegrated Selenite wand, a marred or pitted Malachite palmstone, or a scratched Fluorite sphere. Here will look at three of these properties as they relate to common crystal cleansing methods discussed in Part 2.

Photo-sensitivity – I have yet to find a definitive list of minerals based on anything and photo-sensitivity is among them. Photo-sensitivity has to do with a mineral’s susceptibility to fade or become darker when exposed to light. To make matters a little more complicated, different minerals will be affected by different light wavelengths: it’s not just sunlight that can cause a mineral to fade or darken. If you work with crystals based on their color, you will want to be especially mindful of how you store your crystals – away from direct sunlight, outside of UV lamp rays, preferably covered when not in use. My Fluorites and Spodumenes, for example, are always covered when I’m not working with them.

This forum on was especially informative about light sensitivity, how mineral dealers may temporarily “improve” a mineral’s color for shows, only to have it fade later, storing recommendations, and more:,5,115692,page=1

Of the minerals we are most likely to work with, the following can be affected (faded or darkened) by exposure to light:

Pink apatite
Hued barites
Hued selenites
All beryls
Certain calcites
Some are suggesting Disthenes (Kyanite) though that’s debatable
Hued quartz
Spodumenes (Kunzite and Hiddenite for example)
Hued topaz

As you can see from this list, the easiest assumption is to treat all of your crystals as though they might be affected by lightwaves and minimize their exposure as much as you can while not working with them. Many mineral collectors keep their collections in darkened rooms for this very reason.

Having said that, I know many people who understand that most crystals are photo-sensitive and they still set their crystals out in the sun every day. Sometimes the fading can take years, sometimes weeks, sometimes days. While we want to be aware of our crystals’ susceptibility to fading or darkening, we don’t want to protect the minerals at the expense of working with them the way they desire to work with us.

Mohs Hardness – Mohs hardness tells us how soft a mineral is and therefore how easily it might be scratched or break. You can do an internet search “Mohs hardness” and find thousands of websites or images that give you the Mohs scale.

crystal care

Used primarily as a way to assist in identifying minerals, it also tells us which minerals are easily scratched (Mohs of 4 or lower) and therefore should not be stored with other minerals which have a higher hardness. In other words, we might not want to throw all of our tumbled stones into one bowl where they might knock against each other if some of those tumbled stones are a 3 or 4 on the Mohs scale and others are a 6, 7, or 8. The softer tumbled stones could be cracked, chipped, or scratched.

Crystals of the same hardness will not scratch one another. The minerals listed are example minerals of that hardness and the list is certainly not conclusive. Wiki shows an intermediary list which is interesting and can be found here.

Water solubility – This is important to know if you want to cleanse your crystals using water in any way. Whether soaking in a water bath, setting in a stream or river, running under the tap, or setting out in the rain (which can also happen during moonbaths), certain crystals can become dull, dissolve, or become weak when exposed to moisture or water. Some of these dissolve more slowly than others. There is a “general rule” out there that says if a mineral name ends in “ite” that it’s probably water soluble. This isn’t exactly true, as there are a lot of minerals whose name ends in “ite” which are not water soluble. As this has a lot to do with chemistry, the subject of solubility (which can be referring to not only water but acids and other solvents) can quickly become complicated and muddy. This chart, for example, can be helpful, but if you read this forum thread that discusses the chart, you’ll see there are many factors undefined and thus, the chart is limited in its usefulness. Fortunately for us, we are not necessarily called to be chemists so we can approach this generally.  And generally speaking, the following crystals that we most commonly work with are to some degree, affected by moisture/water:

  • Some calcites
  • Halite
  • Hanksite
  • Gypsum/selenite
  • Trona
  • Villiaumite (a rarer mineral that is also toxic – not recommended for our purposes without extreme care in handling)
  • Fluorite
  • Metallics such as Pyrite
  • Lodestone/magnetite –  all iron oxides will rust when exposed to moisture

This list may not be complete. And because crystal healing rarely (ever) requires handling acids, we don’t have to concern ourselves with that either. (Though if you’re interested in how to mine and clean your own crystals, you will want to do some research on that topic).

And that about does it! Thank you for checking out this three-part article on cleansing crystals. I hope it was informative and helpful. Got questions? Comments? Email me at Information about the Crystal Therapy Course can be found here.

Part 1
Part 2

crystal healing course

For information about Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work – simply click here. 

crystal healing course