Simulants and synthetics in Crystal Healing

Crystal Healing with Lab Created Gems (aka simulants or synthetics)

The above video showcases a 374 carat Lithium Niobate simulant gemstone from Hashnu Stones and Gem’s YouTube page. (For Hashnu Stones and Gem’s website, click here).

As I mentioned in the article I published a few days ago, it wasn’t that long ago that I would have refused to work with lab created crystals or gemstone like this, simply because it wasn’t naturally occurring/dug from the earth. Over time and through direct experience, that self-imposed rule has been challenged. And boy am I glad those challenges have come, asking me to question my beliefs.

Growth, healing, and evolution happen when and where there is humility and malleability.

When we create a rule or belief from a thought or label, we box ourselves in (especially when the definitions and parameters are determined by someone else). In that box exists only so much room for growth and expanded awareness. Should we come to a place where our rules or beliefs no longer serve, we will undergo a deconstruction period that, depending on what you built your box out of and how attached you got to what you put in it, might be fairly time and energy consuming. Ask me how I know. (Insert smiley face here). 

I suppose without intending to, my THEME for the month of January has been this:

If someone or something challenges your understanding of yourself or the world, LET IT.

It doesn’t hurt to consider another perspective. And allowing ourselves the space to question our own premises doesn’t mean we are necessarily going to shift or change. It just means we are open to considering other perspectives. We are humble enough to not believe we have it all figured out (and none of us do so who do we think we’re fooling?). When we are wise enough to recognize that inner resistance is probably indicating an opportunity to become more aligned with our true self, life becomes easier. Sometimes the challenge will resonate and open up things for us. Sometimes not. Either way, we gain clarity and an opportunity to realign with our hearts.

But back to the crazy-beautiful gem above…

So here I am, with this amazing opportunity to work with this amazing simulant gemstone. How do I get to know it better? The cool thing about the crystal healing methodology that Michael Gienger teaches in his book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing (a required text for my crystal therapy certification course), is that it empowers me to work with lab created synthetic gemstones (sometimes called simulants depending on their purpose) from a deeply grounded place. Lab created crystals or gemstones such as these are often not listed in metaphysical crystal prescription books. So if you have the opportunity to work with a gem like the one above, how would you know what it might be offering in terms of healing properties?

The energetic message a person receives through their heartspace when working with a mineral is the ace of spades. It trumps all other externally-received information. So if someone asked me the above question, I would first encourage them to allow the gem to convey its energy directly. Meditate with the gem, carry it around (carefully), sit with it. Journal with it. Hang out with it. Play with it. It doesn’t have to be serious. Just pay attention however you pay attention.

If you do that and still desire to know more, or desire to know the physical aspects of the gem more definitively, this is where the methodology Michael Gienger created comes into play. It is rooted in geology, mineralogy, and crystallography. In other words – the sciences. While I would never call the art of crystal healing (which is an art for a reason) a scientific or scientifically-proven alternative healing modality (it’s not), we can still more firmly ground our understanding and experience of crystalline energy in what we can learn about stones through the lens of their geological, mineralogical, and crystallographic facts.

Crystals are crystals are crystals. There are 5 conditions any mineral must meet to be considered a crystal:
1. Naturally occuring
2. Inorganic
3. Internal atomic structure/1 of 7 crystal systems
4. Definitive chemical composition
5. Solid

This lithium niobate gemstone is not a crystal, technically, because it is not naturally occurring. While lithium niobate does exist in nature, it does so only microscopically. (It isn’t even listed on Lab created lithium niobate is mostly applied in the optics and electronics industries. It has a high refractive index (2.3) and was at one time used as a diamond simulant. With a Moh’s hardness of 5.5 however, Lithium Niobate is not ideal as a diamond substitute.

Let’s look at one of the above physical aspects this gem DOES have, which happens to be my favorite: the chemical composition. Lithium Niobate is LiNbO3

Based on his clinical studies as well as his knowledge of chemistry, Gienger provides healing properties for many elements individually in his textbook. This means that anyone can check out the chemical composition of any crystal and find out from the crystal itself, how it might be applied in crystal healing.

Lithium is an element which has been used in pharmaceuticals dealing with mental illness such as depression. Gienger mentions this and also attributes a general physical calming of the motor nervous system and nerves; improved memory; spiritual devotion and humility, as well as surrender to that which we cannot control.

Niobium (Nb) is a less common element in the crystal healing world. As such it is not listed in the textbook and when this happens, I head over to and read up on niobium uses and occurrences. Specifically, I pay attention to the Uses, Reactions, Geology, and Biology sections. Niobium is an element that assists me energetically when I am focusing on becoming more grounded, calming my mental auric field, and drawing that grounded earth energy up into my heart space.

Oxygen (O). Spoiler alert! Oxygen is the most common non-metallic element in the most common crystals used in crystal healing. We don’t even have to look at the book to know that oxygen is life-giving, life-sustaining, and is necessary for energy production. If someone is feeling especially unmotivated or experiencing an overall dullness, work with stones that contain a high oxygen content.

I spend maybe 15-20 minutes of checking out the most basic chemical information on the elements that make up the gem I want to work with, and I’m provided some insight that is extremely grounded and crystal-centric. This is but ONE way to uncover the healing properties of crystals in a truly grounded way. A crystal’s internal atomic structure, its mineral class, its manner of formation also tell us a lot about the various ways each crystal can become a crystalline ally in our subtle energy work.

*(Some might be wondering, “Why would I put stock into MG’s listed healing properties for elements, but not the healing properties for crystals found in common crystal healing books?” There are two clarifications I’d like to make. One: crystal healing books that are prescriptive in nature, have their place and purpose. They are not bad or useless or incorrect. The source of the information is simply different: this is important to some and not important to others. Two: the healing properties Gienger assigns to individual elements (as well as a number of crystals in the back portion of the book) are based on 2 important things: his study of chemistry at university, as well as the clinical studies done over a 5-year period in concert with a variety of medical and wellness professionals. These controlled clinical trials, which he speaks about in the forward of his book, were completed with a wide variety of people presenting with a variety of imbalances. Michael Gienger’s clinical studies are possibly the closest we’ve come to in terms of a long-term, clinical study for an as-yet scientifically-unprovable subtle energetic healing art).

Registration opens February 13 for this amazing, comprehensive, fully-facilitated, fully-guided crystal healing certification course. If you are drawn to crystals and have a desire to learn about the mineral kingdom’s effect on the subtle body from a deeply grounded perspective, please check out the course description page HERE
Students come to this course from a wide variety of vocations and practices:  gemstone faceters, massage therapists, jewelry designers, Reiki practitioners, Healing Touch practitioners, as well as those who want to practice crystal healing independently.
The course offers an affordable Independent Study track, as well as a certification track. Be sure to check out the Program Options and Tuition for more details.

My personal Arkenstone

Choosing our crystals – and letting them choose us

I’m a great example of a person whose crystal preferences have changed quite a bit over the years. When I first started working with crystals in crystal healing, I only wanted 100% natural crystals. If they came right out of the earth with a bit of dirt on them – even better. Turns out, this was a good preference to have in the beginning because I learned how to identify different minerals, as well as their home of origin in many cases.

Eventually though, I realized the benefits of working with polished and tumbled crystals: easier to carry, they don’t snag clothes, nice to hold during meditation, easier to place on the body during healing sessions.

crystal healing

Okay, I started accepting polished and tumbled, but I still didn’t want to work with synthetics, faceted crystals, or non-crystalline material, like smelter Zincite or obsidian. Yes, Zincite is the stone featured on my logo and website. I chose it to remind me of Humility. That Zincite is the piece that taught me to not be such an assuming snob when it came to stones that were non-crystalline. (I was astonished to realize through direct experience with that Zincite that it can be just as powerful metaphysically as “natural” crystals). Since that knock-me-on-my-butt lesson, I have worked with many non-crystalline stones such as petrified wood and obsidians.

crystal healing obsidian

Okay, fine, but I am not interested in cut quartz. You know those super fancy, extremely faceted pieces? Vogel-type wand? No, thank you. Faceted gemstones? No, thank you. I wanted to work with natural quartz points. Natural citrine. Natural smoky quartz. I didn’t need fancy and I hadn’t yet figured out how futile and limiting it can be to keep drawing lines in the sand.

But then, one day, I was at a local crystal shop – one of the few that rehomed Diamond Light Wands to subtle energy workers. I watched from across the showroom as the shop owner placed a DLW in each hand of my friend. For the first time in my life, I saw an aspect of her subtle energetic field light up. And I thought, “Oh, okay, I need to see what that is all about.”

crystal healing

Diamond Light Wands

My last hold-out was lab-created synthetics. I wasn’t going to work with anything lab-created. There are areas of my life where I am so clearly the one getting in my own way – and crystals – all sorts from all sorts of places from all sorts of sources – have been such amazing teachers to show me how to give myself permission to experience life in fuller, richer ways.

Sometime last year, I had the opportunity to work with synthetic, faceted rutile.

crystal healing

Picture does not do this gem justice.

And very recently I was given an extraordinary opportunity to work with a faceted Lithium Niobate.

crystal healing

374 carat Faceted Lithium Niobate by Hashnu Stones. Click photo for direct link to Hashnu’s website. 

The video featured in the International Gem Society’s article, “What is Gemstone Dispersion?” shows this gemstone off beautifully.

I share this tale to encourage each of us to compassionately consider the ways we might be holding ourselves back from experiencing life fully and learning all we can. What rules are we imposing on ourselves (and usually others)? Are they real? Are they necessary? Are they limiting? I’m grateful for Humility’s role in my life over the years – showing me that my assumptions and biases are unnecessary. There is so much more to celebrate when I’m in a posture of open-heart/open-hand/open-mind.

(I hope to write an article about my experiences with this Lithium Niobate soon).

Registration opens February 13 for this amazing, comprehensive, fully-facilitated, fully-guided crystal healing certification course. If you are drawn to crystals and have a desire to learn about the mineral kingdom’s effect on the subtle body from a deeply grounded perspective, please check out the course description page HERE
Students come to this course from a wide variety of vocations and practices:  gemstone faceters, massage therapists, jewelry designers, Reiki practitioners, Healing Touch practitioners, as well as those who want to practice crystal healing independently.
The course offers an affordable Independent Study track, as well as a certification track. Be sure to check out the Program Options and Tuition for more details.

Crystal Healing with Lithium Quartz

Lithium Quartz: a rare type of quartz from ONE location in the world

crystal healing lithium quartz

What exactly makes quartz “lithium quartz”? And does it matter? Aside from wanting to know what I’m really working with in my subtle energetic practice, there is also the price factor. “Lithium quartz” can have a higher price tag because it is more difficult to come by: it is mined out of only one region in Brazil. Add to that – only a specific amount of this material is allowed to be mined each year. (I’ve searched the mineralogical corner of the Internet for information about this to verify and weirdly, only reputable metaphysical sites offer the same information. If you have verifiable information that offers different facts about “lithium quartz” – please let me know in the comments).
You might be wondering why I type quotation marks around the words “lithium quartz.” It is because there isn’t a lot of readily-available, concrete information about quartz with lithium inclusions. And what we think of when we hear “lithium quartz” – quartz with lithium – can be misleading. Whether the element lithium is actually present and to what degree is debatable. The only way to identify an inclusion for sure, is through lab testing. Of course it would be very expensive to test every piece of quartz that might have Li in it, so we don’t. Which means we don’t know for sure which elements are present and in what quantities to create that lavender-mauve phantom.
What we in the metaphysical corner of the world call “lithium quartz” is quartz that comes from a specific region in Brazil. It doesn’t come from Madagascar or South America. “Lithium quartz” may have inclusions of lithium, manganese, iron, kaolinite, and/or iron. That’s what we can know for sure.
I see a lot of “lithium quartz” on social media that is not “lithium quartz” IF we are talking specifically about Brazilian quartz with inclusions creating that mauve phantom or coating. One of the most common types of quartz misidentified as being “lithium quartz” is candle quartz with hematite. Candle quartz refers to formation. It is a quartz point that has a specific look to its side terminations. Below are 2 photos of a candle quartz I sold a couple years ago. You can also do a Google Image search to check out more.
crystal healing
crystal healing
Neither are “lithium quartz.” Both are hematite coated quartz from Madagascar.
Sometimes, when hematite is present, candle quartz can look like “lithium quartz.” The coloration can be similar – check it out here. I’m not saying that the crystals featured on that page are not “lithium quartz.” What I do know is that I often see photographs of crystals on Google Image search and in social media that are claiming to show or offer “lithium quartz” that, because of its location, is unlikely to actually be “lithium quartz.”
The important thing – the idea I most want to convey – is that because other quartz (primarily hematite-bearing quartz) can also look like Lithium Quartz, it’s important to buy Lithium Quartz from a reputable, knowledgeable dealer. This is also true of Ajoite and Sugilite, and other minerals which are rare, very expensive, and have look-a-likes. 
One mineralogical website writes that “lithium quartz” is a common trade name (like a nickname – see my post on Trademarking for more information about nomenclature), for quartz that contains a “pink/purple translucent to opaque variety of quartz, possibly containing inclusions of a lithium-rich mineral such as lepidolite – however it could equally be a misleading/incorrect name, and should be regarded a simply a coloured quartz until further investigation on this material is done.” I don’t often refer or link to this website because of the members’ attitude toward the healing arts is mocking and close-minded. But being that it is an actual mineralogical website, providing actual mineralogical information, it bears noting.

So what does “Lithium Quartz” from Brazil look like? Lithium Quartz is quartz that has phantoms of a mauve-hued mineral. Sometimes it has a whitish coating on the outside of the point. I was very fortunate to be able to acquire this very large, double terminated “lithium quartz” a few summers ago that exhibits both:
crystal healing lithium quartzWhile the assumption is that “lithium quartz” contains lithium and is therefore a great stone to work with when transforming stress and anxiety, we don’t know for sure that these quartz points actually contain lithium. They probably have at least trace amounts if they were formed in a lithium-rich environment. But other crystals and minerals contain lithium for sure – and are much easier on the pocketbook and easier to obtain. When you understand the role of the chemical composition in your crystal healing practice, there’s a lot less guesswork involved. Check out what Web Elements has to say on Lithium’s page:
Lithium does not occur as the free metal in nature because of its high reactivity. Deposits are known all around the world. It is a minor component of nearly all igneous rocks and is a component of many natural brines (see below). Large deposits are located in California and Nevada (both in the USA) in several rock forms, particularly spodumene. The four main lithium minerals are spodumene, lepidolite, petalite, and amblygonite.
If you want to check out what other minerals contain lithium and in what quantities, you can check out this page and scroll through the list. You’ll see Sugilite, Montebrasite, and Elbaite.
lithium quartz crystal healing
When metaphysicians and healers encourage meditating or working with “lithium quartz” they are doing so because lithium is a known element applied in pharmacology to alleviate manic depressive disorder. If this is our primary impetus for working with lithium-bearing minerals, I’m going to recommend lepidolite everytime in place of “lithium quartz.” I have experienced anxiety since I was born and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in my early 20’s. Anxiety – regardless of diagnosis – has been a center-stage Teacher in my life. And I have turned to the mineral kingdom to help me as I learn how to work with that energy and allow it to show me what I want to know. While I have some lovely “lithium quartz” pieces available to me, each time anxiety has arisen, I have grabbed lepidolite. Botryoidal, sheet mica, or tumbled, lepidolite has been a great crystalline ally for me.
Botryoidal Lepidolite
crystal healing
Lepidolite “book”
The role of a mineral’s CLASS:
Unlike quartz, which can MAGNIFY energy, lepidolite – being a sheet silicate (aka phyllosilicate) – has a unique role in its shielding and mirroring properties, metaphysically speaking. Depending on how you wish to work with the energy arising, you can incorporate lepidolite in your healing to shield you from outside influences, or you can use the mirroring aspect to help you see how these seemingly external energies are internally co-created. For this reason alone, lepidolite seems a better crystalline ally. But then, it also has the lithium, so while regrouping or assessing, the energy of lithium is also present.
Regardless the crystalline ally you choose, I hope this post helps you as you determine which minerals to incorporate into your healing work and helps you in your identification quests.
Grace and peace,

I will be accepting new students to the Crystal Therapy Program next month (February 2018). If you have been feeling drawn to learn about crystal healing and its effects on the subtle body, I welcome you to check out the course description page HERE
The course offers an Independent Study track, as well as a certification track.

“Self healed” Quartz

What does “self-healed” mean as a descriptor? Can it be applied to all minerals or just quartz? (Loads of photos below)

I’ve seen some confusion about this on social media and on some sites, so I thought I would write an article and add to the confusion. Just kidding. Though, honestly – it can be all a bit subjective. Do I think there is a definitive way to identify self-healed quartz? Sure. But there are those who would disagree with my identification standards. Here’s my take, should you be interested in it.
First, let’s get clear about “floater” crystals – which are not the same as self-healed crystals. Let’s look at what says:
Floater crystal
Crystal that formed without being attached to a host rock or matrix, and thus fully developed without any contact points. All sides of floater crystals are usually fully intact without damage being that they don’t have a fractured attachment point.
A floater crystal may also refer to a crystal that lacks any attached matrix.
Minerals of all types can be floater crystals – not just quartz. You see a lot of minerals labeled as floater that have etching from hydrothermal solution and this points us to the fact that defining “floater” is not so cut and dried, as can be seen in many online mineral collecting forums, such as this one.
(The more I researched the physical properties of crystals, the more I realized how little the scientific community finds 100% agreement when it comes to definitions and classifications. I think that’s important to note – not to discredit the value of science! – but to remind ourselves that as much as we yearn for “THE” answer – for solid, inarguable facts and figures – the reality in most fields is that definitions and boundaries are oftentimes affected by one’s personal perspective. I personally find a lot of relief in this and remind myself of this whenever tensions rise between people or groups over the “right” view of any given thing. Potato, potahto).
At any rate – I digress. Back to the show, which is about self-healed crystals. If you buy crystals from social media sites like I sometimes do, you see a lot of mis-identified and mis-labeled minerals. (Lithium quartz is a BIG one – and I’m going to write a post about that soon). When it comes to quartz and its numerous formations, there is a lot of room for confusion: what constitutes a Cathedral Quartz or a Devic Temple Quartz or window quartz/timelinks or Lemurians or Isis Quartz or self-healed? We can do an Internet image search and see some wildly different specimens – all claiming to be the same formation.
Before I get all nitpicky about self-healed quartz, it’s really important to note that at the end of the day, for metaphysical purposes, it doesn’t have to matter. We can choose how much stock we put into these labels. Not unlike the way we use labels and categories in other areas of life to distract us from what’s true and important, these metaphysical labels we apply to quartz really don’t matter. If you’re a crystal person – someone who feels very strongly drawn to crystals, someone who has energetic experiences with crystals – what matters is the experience you have with your quartz. That’s it. Is that experience determined by the number of facets the piece has? Or if there are ladder striations on the sides? Or if the quartz has rainbows or fractures, is skinny or fat, big or small, from Brazil or Namibia? Maybe, maybe not.
More importantly, is your experience determined by how someone else has defined the experience one will have with a quartz that has a seventh facet/ladder striations/rainbows/fractures/etc? Most of us come to our crystals through an initial resonance experienced through a “first look/first feel” before we even notice that 7th facet or think to ask where the specimen was mined. Hold onto THAT. Go where THAT energy takes you. Who cares what I might have to say about it? I’m not the one having the experience with that unique piece!
Sometimes we put too much stock into what the metaphysical crystal books have to say – what we can expect when we carry a garnet or lay a rose quartz on our heart chakra or meditate with a Lemurian quartz, for example. Upon reading about these fantastic experiences, we set off to the local new age shop or get online and start hunting for that experience. And we spend a lot of money chasing after experiences that cannot be guaranteed.
It begs the question: what exactly are we trying to achieve, gain, or experience? And it also begs the question: what kind of relationship with our crystals do we wish to have? 
Are the crystals our employees? Do we approach them with expectations that if not met then, what? Why should I expect a Lemurian to do with me what another Lemurian supposedly did with Crystal Healing Book Author? Or my friend? Or my crystal teacher? This, right here, is why I’m so hesitant to talk prescriptives and generalities. Because when I pick up a Pink Himalayan Quartz cluster, I have X experience – then that evening, I have Z experience. Two weeks later I have C experience. On the very same day, in the very same moment, I could pick up the cluster, receive a blessing (energetic information) of some sort, pass it to my friend, and he could have a completely different experience! Whose experience was right? Whose experience was more meaningful? Neither! And what if we had just read about Elestial Quartz from a metaphysical book, then started working with Elestial Quartz and find that the energetic information we were tapping into had NOTHING to do with what the book told us to expect? Was our experience less worthy or meaningless? Absolutely not.
I’ll tell you, in my personal experience, crystals tend to clam up on me when I approach them with a pre-determined desire. One of the Big Ideas crystals have imparted to me is how important it is to remain neutral and unassuming when stepping into a relationship or encounter. When I do, there is all this room for a multitude of blessings to come rushing in. When I approach anything or any event with an expectation, I miss out. If the energy can’t fit or flow into my expectation, I can’t possibly experience it – I miss out because I was busy looking for something else instead of being open to what is.
I know, I know, once again I digress. I would apologize, except I can’t with any authenticity because I feel really passionately about this – that each of us is our own expert of our own experiences.
Now, self-healed quartz. This page defines and shows photographs of what constitutes and does not constitute self healed quartz. Some metaphysicians include internal fractures in their categorization of self-healed quartz. I do not, personally.  A couple rare instances have popped up for me when I came across a quartz which had, during its formation, experienced a total break during seismic activity and over time the piece rejoined. In this case, there is a fracture that wend around the entire point (or very nearly the entire point). I had a cathedral quartz which I sold that was internally self-healed in this way. To this day, it is one of the pieces I wish I had not re-homed, though I trust it is exactly where it needs to be. It was pretty cool and very rare, having also some trigonic markings. Here is a photo:

I would include this trigonic cathedral as a self-healed quartz. But they are pretty rare.
Here are some other examples:
This gorgeous, bright, clear cathedral quartz has a bottom which shows the beginning stages of healing:
And this Quartz piece from Nepal is fully self healed, in some areas exemplifying multi-terminations. 
Here is an Arkansas point which also has a self-healed bottom:
Here is a Himalayan Quartz point which is not self-healed:
And here is a “Lemurian” quartz point that is also not exhibiting any self-healed markings:
If you are someone who works with crystals in a metaphysical sense, then you might be wondering what self-healed crystals offer in terms of energetic support. Again, I’ll briefly reiterate that the best way to know what YOUR crystal is communicating to YOU is to spend time with it and keep your ears, mind, and heart open. Whatever comes through always trumps what any book or definition will tell you, including mine.
Generally speaking, self-healed quartz are known to be powerful teachers of our own personal healing. It’s pretty straightforward – having gone through the process of healing itself, self-healed quartz can be meditated with, slept with, carried, etc., as we, each experiencing imbalance, learn how to heal ourselves. They make a great addition to any healer’s crystal set and are lovely crystals to work with individually.

Beauty in fresh starts and crystals to support us, part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about a paradigm shift I’ve been experimenting with (thanks to the wisdom shared by a friend) about new beginnings, re-dos, re-starts, etc. I also mentioned that I was going to try something new this year: to write follow-up posts about the crystals I was working with specific to the subtle energy topic in the previous post.
If you read Michael Gienger’s book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing, (required book for my course), you’ll understand why I have been so hesitant to share my personal experience with crystals in healing. Not only is each mineral expressing different energies based on different aspects of itself, but each person might be resonating with one or two aspects (which means one or two information frequencies) at any given time, based on their unique need at that moment. This means we cannot solely rely on crystal prescriptions to know how to work with crystals in subtle energy healing, unless we’re okay with working only in generalities, which by its definition, cannot serve us in deeply nuanced, specific ways.
I’m going to share with you which crystals I’m working with personally for the topic I’ve written about with the caveat (that you’re sure to get sick of seeing) that just because these are the crystals I’m working with doesn’t make them THE crystals everyone else *should* be working with for the same energetic support. I’m simply sharing my personal experience which may or may not resonate with you. What it can be is a jumping off point into your own personal discovery which can manifest your own personal crystalline experience.
As I think about my intention for this moment: To be present, open, and compassionate toward myself as I surrender to the understanding that all is well and exactly as it should be and that nothing needs fixing…. The following crystals speak to me: Obsidian (any form), Phosphosiderite, Villiaumite, and Cathedral quartz
Let’s take a look together.
crystal healing obsidian
Obsidian – there was a time I was intimidated by this one. I was taught at some point that only people really ready to dive into their Holy Crap should work with obsidian because it was “ruthless.” And herein lies an example of the ways carrying past ideas around with us can sometimes become a hindrance, as well as exemplifying the way individual experiences cannot always be good indicators of the experiences we will have with the same minerals.
Last year I was drawn to obsidian more and more. I decided to delete the previous programming (old thought forms) about obsidian and approach it from a new place and see what it would have to say to me. My friend, Nicholas Pearson (The Luminous Pearl which you can find and follow here and here), wrote about obsidian in his book, The Seven Archetypal Stones: Their Spiritual Powers and Teachings, and says of the stone:
Obsidian is an amorphous solid; really, it is just a super-cooled liquid that as a glass lacks the long-range order that characterizes true minerals. Its composition is mostly silica, but the rapid nature of its cooling process prevents its constituent compounds from ordering themselves into neatly organized, regular structures. Obsidian is therefore disqualified from being counted as a true mineral because of its lack of crystalline structure. Although under close magnification obsidian shows evidence of short-range order—minute clusters of molecules that began to arrange themselves in crystal-like ways—these groupings do not add up to a complete crystal lattice. This incompleteness is part of obsidian’s beauty; it has one foot in the realm of the mineral kingdom and the other in the void of becoming.
This spoke to me – feeling like I had one foot in one realm, and the other foot in a different realm. And I then understood why I was suddenly so attracted to the stone. As I was becoming aware of this feeling and creating a study around it – to integrate the All and see how I could feel whole in the midst of it all – obsidian came alongside me to support that subtle energetic working. Given the way conflict, divisiveness, and duality have been so center stage over the last couple of years, it makes sense to continue this study.

crystal healing phosphosiderite

Phosphosiderite is a gorgeous lilac-purple mineral that has become more available recently. A monoclinic mineral containing iron, phosphosiderite is a lovely stone to carry as an energetic ally when a person is feeling or experiencing life in a rather manic way and seeks to create balance and a more sustainable energetic experience. The iron content is very grounding which can be helpful to those who experience life too much inside their heads.  When I want to get out of my head and into my heart, I enter into a study of getting into my body, doing some earthing, and sensing the energies of my root, sacral, and solar plexus chakras, and merging those energies with my throat, third eye, and crown. As I draw those energies toward center – toward the heart, I pay attention to the way each chakra informs the others to find myself realigned. This is a great stone to hold when doing a meditation or body work around this study. It’s a great stone for someone who can jump from peace to “hot headed” rather quickly.

crystal healing villiaumite

I first came to know villiaumite, a rather rare Russian mineral, through one of my suppliers. A cubic halide, Villiaumite can be a great mineral to support a person who is in a study of releasing that which no longer serves. If a person is aware of “things” in their life which is no longer supportive, working with halides can be helpful allies as the person releases those “things.” Concepts, items, beliefs, labels, relationships, anything that we can hold onto really. Now, this is true, generally speaking, of any halide, given that it’s a mineral class. Villiaumite in particular, has two important distinctions: it contains fluorine and it is a deep, blood red color.

crystal healing villiaumite

Applying chromotherapy principles to the mineral kingdom can be problematic. So I’m going to skip over villiaumite’s color and talk instead about the element. Fluorine is an element which, according to Michael Gienger, increases flexibility. This is seen in each aspect: physically (joints), emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. So as we do the work of releasing, we also have support in not becoming married to a replacement of that thing we just released. We remain supple and open.
Just a note – villiaumite is a toxic mineral: I wouldn’t recommend handling it. Set it in a place where you meditate or study, pray or read and allow it to be an energetic support within that sacred space. If you do handle it – not to worry, simply wash your hands thoroughly before eating or touching your face/skin.

crystal healing course

Cathedral quartz is one of the crystals that is a constant in my personal work. There are 5 which I have the pleasure and honor of working with, this smoky being one of them. As it sits tall in the wooden stand, all 16″ inches of it, I am daily reminded to stand tall in the awareness of the interconnectivity of all things. All energies. When I cannot energetically reside in that knowing, I know to lay down and enter into my body for a study. As above, so below. If I see or sense disharmony externally, it surely can be found within and that’s okay. It’s simply an opportunity to rest, be still with myself, and to become acquainted again with my true self. Only then can I conceive of standing up again, rejoining the Whole from a place of peace and trust and humility.

2018 brings new opportunities to those who are interested in working with crystals for subtle energy healing. I can accept up to 16 new students to the Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work Program this year. I will begin working with new students, one-on-one, as soon as February. Visit for full details about the program and how to get started.

Beauty in fresh starts and crystals to support us

New Years is in every moment: crystal healing support during new beginnings.

crystal healing
A friend recently shared her expanding awareness about how each moment is a fresh, new do-over. She’s not talking about waking up every day with a clean slate. She’s talking about being aware that each millisecond, each breath, is a new, fresh moment of opportunity. If we allow it, if we can embrace each moment afresh without referring back to the past or worrying over the future, we can tap into a groundswell of joy and peace.
The gift of this lesson appeared through her relationship with her daughter. There was tension. There were words spoken. And so, each time they came back together, there was the habit of hauling in previous tensions and words from past experiences. But it occurred to her one fine day – she could choose to meet her daughter as though for the first time, every time. It occurred to her that she doesn’t know her daughter in her present iteration – in the now moment. Who could possibly forecast who her daughter would be this time – in this moment that hadn’t even yet arrived? And her experiment was a huge success! The next meeting of these two amazing souls was fresh, light, joy-filled, and peaceful for my friend who didn’t carry an outdated understanding of her daughter into a fresh, new moment.
Imagine that…. think of a person with whom you feel tension or anger or disappointment or some other uncomfortable feeling. Imagine the next time you encounter them – see how it might feel differently if you reframed your experience as though you were meeting a new friend for the first time?
This story came to my mind as I was witnessing the annual new year’s resolution posts on social media. I’m not someone who finds a lot of meaning in New Years, usually, but it seemed an important occasion this year for a reason I couldn’t quite grasp. On Instagram, a friend asked what our new year’s resolutions were, and one of his followers responded:
“My res is to keep my thoughts open and unbiased while encouraging and loving those around me.”
And I thought, “YES!” Open and unbiased. Being present with who I am with in the moment. This is a harkening to my friend’s beautiful lesson mentioned above.
To achieve this, we would come to an internal agreement to stop worrying about achieving. (The paradoxes are limitless). We would agree to stay present, not referring to the past – past beliefs, past experiences, past hurts, past successes. And we would remain trusting that the “future” will be exactly what we need when we stay rooted in the here and now. We can trust that the future is taking care of itself. We don’t have to create a story about it before it’s even become real.
Were I to look back, just over the year we have labeled “2017,” and if I were asked to label it using one word, the word would be “difficult.” People were challenged in numerous ways, on numerous levels. Ailments arose: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. A lot of crap came to the surface for us to look at and that crap manifested itself in a wide variety of ways.
  • Relationships with ourselves, our partners, our friends, our co-workers, our communities were challenged and in some cases, broken, oftentimes because of mental imbalance – each of us giving too much power to our mind and its unending output of judgment.
  • Our bodies were challenged by the stress of feeling untethered and manifested through death and illness and chronic pain.
  • Our spirituality was challenged by the way we perceived external events and how we chose to relate to them – how we chose to allow ourselves to identify with them.
  • Our emotions – originating from our beliefs derived from the mind, about ourselves in relationship to our relationships, bodies, and spiritualities created a persistent feeling of being challenged, defeated, and overwhelmed.
It was a wringer of a year. If you were doing the inner work of becoming more authentic, more aware, more honest with yourself, more centered and grounded – this year put you through a wringer. At every turn, there was an opportunity to come face-to-face with those aspects of ourselves we dislike and try to ignore or deny or cover up, or worse, dress up as something valuable so that we could maintain an identity we have of ourselves, nevermind that that very identity is what was slowly chipping away at our souls.
They often demanded to be seen through our interactions with each other – our politicians, social media, culture, and sometimes through aspects of our lives closer to home like our teachers, students, friends, and family. If there was a button to be pushed, someone was pushing it.
“Love and Light” wasn’t enough anymore. Suddenly the darkness we so fervently denied or tried to “protect” ourselves from was undeniable. Because if we really believe in oneness, in nonduality, then we were part of that which we determined was “dark.” It was part of us. It was, literally, Holy Crap. 
So of course, the collective is anxious for a “new year.” To begin “anew.” Though these ideas, these concepts that we’ve created of a “new year” and “fresh beginnings” being tied to dates or the moon phases or any other such event, is just that – creations, which means we can change them. We can see them through a different perspective. The truth is that we don’t ever have to wait for a new moon, a new year, a birthday, or some other event to wipe the slate clean and begin again. All that is required is a willingness to cut ourselves slack as we maintain our awareness and continually realign with our truest selves.
And cutting ourselves slack is going to be key because that Holy Crap isn’t going to go away just because we’re typing 2018 instead of 2017. The darkness that arose to be seen (that was always there) just yesterday? Yeah, it’s still there, still waiting to be integrated. There is no magick-ing this away with mantras of light and love. The magic is found through our courage: courage to see and be seen in every aspect and to surrender to truth in all its forms – regardless how it makes us feel. A key truth to remember might be that feelings are fleeting, often unreliable indicators of Truth. The ego thrives on feelings – our emotions, those borne of mental activity, are oftentimes the food of the ego.
That isn’t to say there is no merit in New Years celebrations or in birthday goals or in new moon rituals. These can serve as helpful realignment events if we want them to. Just know you aren’t limited by a calendar or moon phase or birth date to start anew. In every moment you have an opportunity to take a fresh, deep breath and choose to start again. You get to choose which beliefs, perspectives, ideas, and feelings you want to carry with you in every moment. What freedom.

A friend and I were talking a few months back and she was generous to allow me to ramble about a problem I couldn’t see my way through. You see, I know that I teach this amazing crystal healing course and so I *should* be writing about crystals and crystal healing here on the blog – that’s what seekers of crystal healing information would want, right? But the thing is – I just couldn’t seem to do it. Because after the above post about being Present and cutting ourselves slack and being courageous – the natural question is, “What crystals would be good for me to work with as I work to become more present and courageous?” To which I would respond, “The crystals that call you.” And that’s not typically what people expect or want in an answer to that type of question.
So this year, I’m going to try something – I’m going to share which crystals I’m working with personally for the topic I’ve written about with the caveat (that you’re sure to get sick of seeing) that just because these are the crystals I’m working with doesn’t make them THE crystals everyone else *should* be working with for the same energetic support.
That post will be published tomorrow where I’ll give an overview of obsidian, phosphosiderite, villiaumite, and cathedral quartz.
crystal healing obsidian crystal healing phosphosiderite crystal healing villiaumitecrystal healing villiaumite

Keep an eye out for it, or if you’d like it sent to you directly, be sure to sign up for blog updates (in Navigation on your mobile device, or in the left-hand menu on your desktop/laptop).
Until then, grace and peace.
(And if you’d like to check out the 2018Crystal Therapy Course opportunities, click HERE). 

Trademarked Stones and Crystals

“Why don’t you sell or work with insert-trademarked-name crystal?”

Truth is, I’m often working with stones and crystals that, had I purchased them from a particular dealer, would have been labeled with a trademarked name. We’re all probably working with trademarked stones and don’t even know it. It isn’t that I won’t work with a specific mineral because of its other name – it’s that I won’t work with a crystal based on a trademarked name and its accompanying story. Neither will I sell anyone a crystal by its trademarked name. (For example, if you contact me desiring to work with Anandalite ™, I will tell you that I can provide you with a naturally iridescent quartz geode from India sometimes trademarked as Anandalite ™ but also called Aurora Quartz, Rainbow Quartz, and 7-color Quartz, and I can save you a bunch of money because I’m not buying or selling it from the company that trademarked the name ‘Anandalite ™’). 

A couple years ago I visited a rock and mineral shop in Sequim, owned and operated by a gentleman who had traveled the world for 40 years, personally collecting just about every item in his store. It was a sight, let me tell you. I saw he had “Cinnabar in Quartz” for $5.00 each. Not having any Cinnabar and knowing that Cinnabar is toxic, I thought, “This would be a cool way to work with the energies of Cinnabar,” so I bought 1 one tumbled, again for just 5 bucks.

When I purchase a new-to-me stone, I come home and start researching the mineral’s properties: chemical composition, internal crystal structure, formation origin, mineral class, etc. The first thing I do is a Google Image Search to make sure that yep, I’m actually holding what I was told I was buying. (This can be tricky and not always the best way of identifying stones, but more on that at another time).

I keep scrolling and JACKPOT! There it is! Only wait a minute, these pieces – similar in weight and size – are being sold for $64 and $32. What???? How did my $5 pieces suddenly become worth $30-60?

And then I see it – the Trademarked Name. 

And I’ll admit, I get a little irritated when I come across this and for a few different reasons, not least is because usually when someone applies a trademarked name to a stone, they remove any actual helpful information about the stone such as manner of formation and chemical composition. In the place of this factual, objective information (from which we then get to experience the stone individually), they sell the stone based on their personal, subjective experience. The prices for what are usually very common minerals (easy to obtain) suddenly go through the roof. People often pay more than they need to for lack of knowledge. It’s problematic on a lot of fronts.

Why do I get so bothered about these applied trademarks?  There are a few issues at play. 

Nomenclature confusion

Sometimes minerals already have multiple accepted mineralogical names from within the mineralogical community. Then there are trade names – names that aren’t necessarily trademarked but is a name sometimes given because the mineralogical name is complicated to pronounce. Then the new age/healing community will sometimes give minerals what I refer to as a nickname. For example, in some circles, Malachite is known as the Midwife Stone (in other circles Moss Agate is called a Midwife Stone). As you can see, the nomenclature is already confusing enough without adding another group of names to the mix.

In recent years, there are a few who have taken it upon themselves to assign yet another name – the trademark name. Oftentimes, the name hides all mineralogical information from the buyer in lieu of a story about a spiritual experience to be had. There are exceptions when a trademark is helpful like when the trademark name helps us identify a common mineral’s location that, because of the location, the mineral’s chemical composition or physical appearance makes it uncommon.

From a purely practical perspective, with all of these names for minerals floating around, it can be difficult to ID and research crystals and stones. It was tricky before, but now with the trademarked stones, I’ve noticed it has gotten more complicated. Generally speaking, these pieces being sold under a trademarked name have descriptions that make fantastic healing claims and are labeled “high vibration” (another pet peeve of mine). There are rarely any notes given of the actual mineralogical name, let alone chemical composition, crystal system, occurrences, manner of formation, etc.  Why? Well, I’m spitballing here, but if I can buy a tumbled blue onyx stone from an Etsy seller for $7, why would I buy a tumbled blue onyx stone called “Ocean’s Rapture” from another seller for $30? But if I don’t know that “Ocean’s Rapture” is actually blue onyx, I might be more willing to roll the dice for that beautiful blue mystery stone suggesting a rapturous experience. See what’s happening here?

Trademarked crystals are sold with suggestions that the stone will offer heightened mystical experiences and are often sold as having been “super activated.” The stone usually arrives with an authenticity certificate and it should be noted that, generally speaking, this certificate authenticates only that the stone in question came from a specific dealer/shop. It is not typically guaranteeing elemental makeup and of course, no one can guarantee an experience so neither is the certificate guaranteeing specific energetic qualities. Which leads us to ask, to what end? 

(Clarification: the stones themselves are not trademarkable. It’s only the name that is trademarked. For example, I cannot now sell my Cinnabar in Quartz stones under the trademarked name I found online because I did not acquire them from the person who owns the trademark. Make sense? It’s like Nike can’t stop Adidas from selling running shoes, but they can stop Adidas from selling running shoes using the Nike name and symbol).

I need to be clear here about something – I don’t question that someone has had a specific experience with any stone. That’s not my place to question other people’s experiences. But it is my place to remind myself and others that one person’s experience does not guarantee another person’s experience. The prescriptive culture of healing (ironically similar to the Rx culture of traditional medicine which is often eschewed in subtle healing circles) is antithetical to everything I have learned about subtle energies and the way they interact through my personal healing experiences, study, and professional practice. I am not questioning another person’s healing or mystical experience. I am calling into question the idea that it is transferrable, buyable, or one-size-fits-all.

Let’s dig deeper – and it harm none? 

There are ripple effects that I see playing out in the crystal healing community that come from this trademarking/marketing. From where I sit, the practice of assigning specific roles and a “hierarchy of specialness” to crystals is disadvantageous for a few reasons:

One – it is disempowering to people seeking their healing who work with crystals as allies. How do people come to know a thing from an empowered place? They get facts like mineralogical names which lead to chemical compositions, crystal systems, manner of formation – in other words, the crystal’s story – rather than only the stories of other people’s experiences (Third Eye awakening! Quick ascension! High vibration!). The facts about the crystal allows the crystal to tell its own story and those facts inform our inner wisdom and allow us to discern with nuance what energetic messages are being conveyed for us in that specific moment in time.

“Wait, you mean a crystal can provide different energetic support from moment to moment?” Absolutely. I might pick up a Zambian Citrine and work with it for one purpose on a Tuesday morning, but Thursday evening, for many, many reasons, it is communicating something entirely differently to me. This is but one example why I don’t read  crystal prescription books anymore. In the subtle field, where this work is done, where this energy exists and accessed, there are no hard and fast rules, definitions, or labels.

When we approach crystals from a prescriptive stance, it’s like going to a meet and greet with a friend whose mouth you’ve duct taped shut. You walk around introducing people to your friend, telling others all about your experiences with your friend based solely on your personal, subjective perception. The friend meanwhile, never really gets known on her own terms and the people meeting her don’t really have a true sense of the kind of relationship they might have with her.

When I understand the process a crystal went through to get from its seed to my hand and all of the elements included and its sacred geometry and more – my intuitive experience with that crystal is much more heightened, grounded, and most importantly – Heart centered. (There are no egoic hopes and dreams hanging in the balance, getting in the way of my healing work).

When I was new to self-healing and crystals as allies, I glommed onto anything that promised a quick healing/awakening or an amped up experience of any kind. I was eager to grow and expand my awareness. I was a sponge and I soaked up EVERYTHING I read or was told about each crystal and I was so anxious to evolve that I didn’t question where this “information” was coming from. I didn’t yet realize that healing and evolution is almost always a process – a meandering journey – with no quick fix. I also was still under the illusion that I could be “fixed” by someone else/something else outside of me. I wasn’t taking responsibility for my healing. So of course I read the books that told me what crystal to use for which issue presenting! Which brings me to number 2:

My personal concern about this marketing method is that it may take advantage of people who have not yet honed their discernment skills. Discernment – the ability to judge well – is so important and is something learned over time as we get more familiar with our Selves and our Hearts. The more honed a person’s discernment skills, the less flitting and fluttering, the less grasping about there is; the more grounded a person’s experience will be with deeper, lasting healing taking place.

Discernment is about being able to recognize when something is truly resonating with your Heart or when something is feeding an aspect of your ego. It’s about being able to recognize when I am trying to take the easy way to healing which is a short road full of disappointment and confusion. It’s like those weight loss ads – “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days with this new fad diet!” We all know that for most, generally speaking, losing weight in any real, lasting way requires a well balanced diet of limited caloric intake and a consistent exercise schedule; in other words – it takes work, much like lasting personal growth and healing.

And three – it places crystals in the role of quick-fix servants. They aren’t our toys – being used to play out a scene. They are the teachers. We don’t tell them what they do – they show/tell us how to work with them for the highest good. Remember when you were first drawn to crystals and realized they had the capacity to help you evolve? Wasn’t there wonderment? For me, it was an understanding that there was something here to uncover in/about me; there was no urge to categorize or figure out what this object was going to “do for or to me.” As I began exploring, I learned to see crystals as quick-fix, one-size-fits-all tools from various sources within the community. I had to unlearn that in order to find the wonderment (and respect) again.

The aim of this article isn’t to suggest that all trademarked crystals and purchases of trademarked stones is bad or wrong. This article is about being aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. There are some instances when trademark names are informative. When we hear, for example, Auralite 23 or Aurora Quartz, we automatically know, oh, that crystal is amethyst from that specific mine in Canada or, oh that is quartz from India. So yes, I have an Auralite 23 and some Aurora Quartz. But I also know that Auralite 23 is Amethyst with inclusions and that Aurora Quartz is quartz often found as plates of small points, having an iridescence. I know the price reflects availability and not an experience.

Fair questions any consumer might ask:

  • Am I buying into hype? Have I considered working with this stone from my Heart Space or is my brainbox and Solar Plexus on overdrive right now?
  • Am I drawn to this crystal because of someone else’s experience, hoping to bypass important self inquiry?
  • Am I expecting this crystal to provide a quick-fix in my healing journey?
  • Does the seller freely give important information like mineralogical name, chemical composition, and crystal system? (Which can also inform us of important safety information like toxicity).
  • Does this energy exchange feel empowering or does it feel like I am relying on someone else or something else?
  • Does this exchange increase my feelings of dependence on the seller?
  • Is there a mark-up that is not in line with current market value? Why?

Have questions? Email me at Remember that I don’t identify crystals and stones through photographs, but I’m happy to answer any question related to the above.

Crystal Healing Spotlight: Stilbite

Crystal Healing with Stilbite

crystal healing stilbite

Stilbite is often found in “wheat” or “bow-tie” formation

Stilbite isn’t a “sexy” mineral in the crystal healing world: it doesn’t garner the attention that say, Amethyst, Ajoite, Sugilite, and others enjoy. I don’t often hear people recommend stilbite to others or mention working with the mineral personally because, well, I don’t know. It’s a fairly inexpensive and easily obtained mineral both in rough/natural and tumbled form. And it’s a great mineral to work with when we understand its physical properties and know how those aspects might have effect on the subtle anatomy. (Real quick note – stilbite is sometimes confused with stibnite because the spelling is so similar. Stibnite is the silvery-gray mineral that contains sulfur (S) and antimony (Sb). Super different minerals with super similar names). 

Stilbite is actually a series name. Depending on the chemical formula, we might have Stilbite-Ca or Stilbite-Na. Stilbite-Ca is the most common type and the differentiation is usually not mentioned because without proper testing, it is impossible to tell the difference. The appearance and growth, crystal system, and manner of formation are usually the same. So -Ca is assumed when testing has not been done. Because it’s the most common and the chemical formula doesn’t deviate drastically, this article is going to talk about Stilbite generally.

Stilbite is found in zeolite deposits, often found alongside apophyllite when in matrix in its most common habit – that of bow-tie or sheafs of wheat. Often peachy in color, stilbite can also exhibit a pearly luster and is often mistaken for heulandite (and vice versa).

Stilbite stats:
Chemical formula: NaCa4Al9Si27O72 · 28(H2O)
Manner of formation: secondary/sedimentary
Mineral Class: tectosilicate, zeolite group
Crystal system: usually monoclinic
Mohs: 3.5
Crystal habit: thin, tabular aggregates in bow-ties or sheafs of wheat; can also be found globular

crystal healing stilbite

When in matrix, stilbite is most often found with apophyllite Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Each physical property listed above an inform us of the mineral’s healing properties. I’m going to take just three physical properties and break them down with you, to show you how the crystal itself is always telling us what its role might be in our healing practices. When we understand how to approach crystals in this way, it helps us make sense of the prescriptions provided in crystal healing books (in case you’ve ever asked, “But how do they know?”). It can also explain why you might have had a different experience than what is described in the crystal Rx books (no, you’re not wrong). It also, if we allow it to, deepens our understanding of and relationship to our crystals because when we learn about the whole crystal and each of its physical properties, we experience it in a multidimensional way that the crystal encyclopedias simply can’t convey.

I typically like to explore new crystals in this order: Manner of formation, mineral class, chemical formula/elements, crystal system. (Color rarely plays a role in my personal practice).

Manner of formation: secondary/sedimentary

The sedimentary (or secondary) MoF is about awareness of influences. Sedimentary minerals are deeply affected by outside influences – weather, erosion, water, wind, and more. As such, sedimentary minerals can be excellent agents of support when we want to become more aware of the ways we are influenced in our lives. Our thoughts, actions, and beliefs are formed and continually influenced by the world around us: our families, cultural mores, societal expectations and norms, religious upbringing, and more, these influences can affect the way we perceive and interpret the world around us which in turn, affects our reactions and responses to it. When we desire to change a thought pattern or belief or way of being in the world, we are often calling into question assumptions about life that have in fact, been taught to us one way or the other. When we begin the work of self-inquiry or calling into question our beliefs, sedimentary stones and crystals can be a supportive ally. Being a sedimentary crystal, stilbite can be a useful ally in this type of healing work. Let’s learn a little more about stilbite to get a more nuanced view of the stone and the specific ways it can assist us.

Mineral Class: tectosilicate, zeolite group

Simply put, minerals are organized into classes according to their chemical composition. Stilbite is a tectosilicate. Some classes are further subdivided based on factors such as appearance, the presence or absence of water, which cations are present and more. Silicates are a huge group and in the Dana class system, there are 6 subcategories, of which tectosilicate is one.  Tectosilicates, also called framework silicates, are 3-dimensional crystalline structures which according to Gienger, have an absorbing and reflecting energy. When tectosilicates are opaque in appearance, they tend to have a more absorbing effect. When having a translucency, a more reflecting effect.

Stilbite, with its pearly sheen and opaque appearance therefore, is a tectosilicate that has absorbing qualities that also have a calming and sobering effect on the mental and etheric aspects of the subtle anatomy. Stilbite is a great stone to work with then, when we are feeling emotionally or mentally overwhelmed, specifically by anxiety or fear. When we are beginning to look at our “stuff,” things can get overwhelming pretty quickly sometimes. If we’re ready to have reflected back to us that which we need to see to create change, we might want to work with a translucent tectosilicate. If it’s beginning stages of this type of personal healing work, and maybe we need to slow things down so that we can process the anxiety and/or fear that is arising, a tectosilicate that is opaque might be a more appropriate ally.

What does the chemical formula: NaCa4Al9Si27O72 · 28(H2O) tell us?

When we look at the elements a crystal contains, we can start to get a more nuanced view of how the broader categories of formation and class might be applied to healing work. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be an expert in chemistry to refer to a chemical formula for information. Let’s pull two elements from this formula and check out what Michael Gienger said about them: Calcium (Ca) and Aluminum (Al). Gienger conducted numerous crystal healing clinical trials with doctors and non-medical practitioners alike who tested the effects of different minerals with a wide variety of people. The results of these trials, together with his scientific understanding of the elements and their roles in geology and biology, provided a grounded and nuanced understanding of how elements can inform us about the healing properties of minerals. His findings are shared in the book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing. Application of crystals in any way is meant only to be carried or worn against the skin – never ingested.

Both calcium and aluminum are abundant elements in the earth’s crusts. According to Gienger Aluminum has physical, mental, and spiritual effects. Physically, Al promotes alkaline metabolic processes, supports absorption of iron in the intestines, and normalizes conductivity in the nerves. Mentally, Al has a calming effect on nervousness and fears, as well as feelings of guilt. Al also can support one in expressing feelings and releasing behavioral patterns – releasing that which no longer serves. Spiritually, Al helps with loss of identity and finding out who we really are and what our purpose might be in this life while also exposing illusions for what they are and helping us learn to deal with them (p 112-113).

Calcium’s physical support is in the metabolism of the cells and absorption of nutrient by cell membranes. Ca is necessary for the formation of DNA and RNA. We all have heard that strong, healthy bones and teeth rely on proper Ca intake. And Ca plays an important role in a healthy heart: regulating rhythm and strengthening the muscle. Mentally, Ca affects receptivity, is emotionally stabilizing, and lends self-confidence. When feeling confused and lethargic, grab those Calcium-bearing minerals. Spiritually, Ca regulates development. Where a person is sluggish, Ca speeds up and regulates that evolutionary process. Where development is happening too fast and there exists chaos, Ca assists in normalizing it.

In looking at two important elements in stilbite’s chemical formula, we come to understand that being a sedimentary tectosilicate, stilbite can specifically assist someone seeking energetic support in maintaining a healthy pattern of spiritual growth, who might experience fear and anxiety, who might benefit from some support in speaking their truth. Stilbite, as with other minerals that contain Al, can help someone who is feeling rather undefined and purposeless, who may benefit from seeing that there are aspects of their life which is holding them back from seeing their true self.


crystal healing stilbite

Stilbite is less commonly found as globular formations: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

crystal healing stilbite

Stilbite can be found tumbled

I have found great freedom in relating to minerals in this way. While these “properties” (I rather prefer the term “possibilities”) are, in my opinion, more grounded being that they arise from a less singularly personal experience (instead arising from different clinical trials combined with what we can learn from the geology and mineralogy of the stones), the most important information (energy that vibrates) that you can get from any crystal is the information it gives you directly when you work with it. I do this type of research with crystals I’m called to work with, but then I follow it up with a meditative experience too. At the end of the day the overriding message has to come from the crystal itself, through my heart space. And I encourage the same for you – give yourself permission to have your own unique experience with your crystals and stones and take their lead, regardless what any book or website has to say about it.

Grace and peace.

PS – Interested in approaching crystals in your personal or professional healing practice in this unique, empowering way? Check out my course here. Enrollment opens in September.
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Working with Cathedral Quartz

cathedral quartzCathedral Quartz in subtle energy healing

Cathedral Quartz Information
Quartz are given unique names to help distinguish between different growth processes, environments, and appearances. Both the mineralogical community and the metaphysical community give names to different formations, for different reasons. Sometimes the names match, sometimes they don’t. And yes, that can be confusing. To make matters more confusing, metaphysical folks tend to apply names based on the energy of the piece, rather than its appearance and formation. This creates confusion about true rarity and quality, location, as well as price. In the mineral world nomenclature is a bit of a mess. Don’t worry, the more you engage with different communities, minerals, and sellers, the more comfortable you’ll get identifying minerals and quartz formations. It just takes time and experience.
A mineral’s price is (or should be) most affected by the availability of the mineral. The more difficult a mineral is to mine, or the less frequently it is found in excavations, the more expensive the mineral will be (before considering internal clarity, color, weight, and condition). When I first started studying crystal healing, natural, unheated Citrine was relatively easy to acquire and afford. In recent years, natural, unheated Citrine became scarce and the price jumped accordingly. Same with Sugilite. Ajoite, especially that from the most popular site – Messina – is no longer available except from collections and the price has gone through the roof. Should a new pocket be discovered for any of these minerals, we will see the price fluctuate accordingly.
Sidenote: (In my opinion, pricing a mineral based on subtle energy experiences is unethical. A personal experience cannot be proven, let alone guaranteed for anyone else, and conveying that minerals and certain quartz formations only offer X is misleading and limiting. Promising a specific energetic experience based on working with a specific mineral and then upcharging sometimes 10 times the actual value of the stone is taking advantage of the customer base, especially those who are new to the art. I have seen this done time and again and it breaks my heart. People are easily influenced and people who are hurting and seeking answers can be especially vulnerable.
Each of us needs to be empowered to have our own experiences: to build our own unique relationships to the mineral kingdom based on sound, grounded knowledge that helps inform the most important aspect of communication between a person and a crystal – that person’s HEART. Just because some people find Moldavite to be powerful doesn’t mean everyone will feel that way with Moldavite. And that doesn’t make either party wrong in their experience or interpretation of their experience. When we price a stone or mineral, the only ethical thing to do is price it according to availability and quality (as well as the hours and energy it took for us to source it. I’m not suggesting people cannot make a living or have a business selling crystals), and to provide the actual, mineralogical name, rather than a made-up and trademarked name that hides the fact that the mineral is actually very, very common and can be purchased elsewhere for pennies on the dollar).
I’d like to address what a Cathedral Quartz IS, because there are a lot of quartz being sold as Cathedral Quartz that are not, in fact, cathedral quartz. Elestial/Jacere quartz, sprouting/artichoke quartz, cactus quartz, candle quartz, and others are often mis-identified and sold as Cathedral Quartz. It’s confusing partly because the term ‘elestial’ has been a mineralogical identifier as well as a metaphysical identifier. Meanwhile other metaphysical names are flat out rejected by the mineralogical community. Knowing which names or labels are truly mineralogical (and therefore used to identify properly the types of minerals we have) can be tricky and just takes time and experience to figure out. Sometimes the mineralogical community will begin to use metaphysical labels when the label just won’t go away and becomes common, or, when they realize they can make a bigger profit selling certain minerals using the metaphysical labels. (Hint, when you know your stuff and can buy your crystals from rocks shops rather than metaphysical shops – you will save money a lot of the time).


But even without the mineralogical community, we in the metaphysical community can make things rather complicated all on our own. :) For example, Lightbraries are often known to be Cathedral Quartz, yet the Lightbrary name has since been applied to sprouting Citrine Quartz, once very popular from the DNC (Congo). If you do an Internet search for “Cathedral Quartz,” you will see images of Elestial/Jacare, Sprouting/Artichoke Quartz, Candle Quartz, even Quartz clusters and Cactus/Spirit Quartz. Different groups giving different names to the multitude of quartz formations can create a bit of confusion.
For example, if Crystal Healer Steve decides that Artichoke form should be called Lightbrary because of his personal experience with the stone, and then begins teaching about or selling Artichoke growth crystals as “Lightbrary” crystals, it makes sense that those who have read elsewhere that Cathedral Quartz are also called Cathedral Lightbraries start mixing up Artichoke Quartz formation with quartz that display the specific parallel-grown, stepped formation that we know as Cathedrals.
Artichoke/sprouting quartz are much easier to come by while Cathedral Quartz is rarer. The price tag often reflects this because not only is the formation rarer, but to find a Cathedral Quartz with good clarity and not a lot of damage can be difficult. Plus – Cathedrals seem to arrive in waves every 20-30 years. Right now, we are entering a drought. How long that drought will last is anyone’s guess. But past experience shared tells me that these special formations tend to be found in spurts before a long dry spell when none are mined. I do wonder if the time between showings is getting shorter. 
Though states that parallel, stepped growth formations of quartz are quite common, I have found that true Cathedral Quartz formation is one of the rarer formations of quartz growth and I know I’m not alone in that experience. It can take some time and experience to learn how to distinguish a true Cathedral Quartz – having a specific parallelly-grown, stepped formation – from other parallel growth forms but once you see it, you’ll be able to identify a Cathedral forevermore. (When I say “true,” I am not speaking about the crystal’s energy. I’m speaking about the formation requirements to be classified as a Cathedral Quartz).
What are the identifying features of Cathedral Quartz?
One very important identifying distinction is this: while it might appear that there are numerous quartz points which grew together (smaller attached to one primary larger center crystal), the crystal is in fact, one crystal. If you turn the crystal upside down, you won’t see lines where crystals fused together. Sometimes a Cathedral Quartz can actually be multiple Cathedrals which fused together in which case you will see those boundary lines on the bottom – but the individual points which fused, may still, in their own right, be Cathedral formation.

cathedral quartz

Elestial quartz is more of a patterning on the surface of the quartz. Sprouting or artichoke quartz has one center crystal with numerous, smaller crystals growing separately but attached to the primary point. In a cathedral, even though it may appear that separate crystals are growing off of a main point, in fact, it is all one piece.  A great website to visit is (specifically their Growth Forms page). This site is a wealth of information about quartz.
Parallel, step-growth occurs when a quartz crystal experiences a phenomenon called twinning during its formation. In the case of Cathedral Quartz, a double spiral rotation occurs which gives the point a multi-terminated appearance, though in reality, it is ONE crystal, rather than multiple crystals fused together during growth. This is KEY for identifying a Cathedral.
Cathedral quartz are interesting quartz specimens in that they can look like completely different pieces depending on which side or angle you are looking at. Consider that these two photos show the exact same piece – just from different vantage points. For this reason, if purchasing online, be sure to ask for numerous photographs from different sides of the piece if not already provided.

cathedral quartz   cathedral quartz

One more thing: Cathedral Quartz can be found in clear, smoky, and citrine
Cathedral Quartz Crystal Healing & Properties Information
I hope that more than anything you feel empowered to discern for yourself what your crystal masters are trying to communicate to you and through you. Crystals are not stagnant. They are pulsing energy sources with one of the lowest rates of entropy of any physical thing on planet Earth. They are always working with each of us individually in the NOW moment. Therefore, their messages to us will be unique from person to person and applicable to the NOW moment. Tying them down to a singular purpose or chakra or healing focus limits OUR ability to work with them to the highest good of all Beings and to evolve and grow spiritually.
Having said that, when we are learning something new, it helps to have a starting point, a spring-board, right? In the new age community, many have written down their personal experiences with crystals and published them so that we could have just that – a starting point from which we can begin our own unique work with crystals. Even when an author insists their understanding is THE understanding – I always encourage my students to hold these writings lightly, to not create dogma or true/false narratives based on other people’s personal, subjective experiences. The following information comes from Katrina Raphaell’s book, The Crystalline Transmission: A Synthesis of Light, pages 173-183. Katrina Raphaell is considered by many to be THE teacher for metaphysical work with Quartz. Many people resonate with her work and her experiences and so her books have, over time, become the go-to reference tools for learning about different quartz formations from a metaphysical perspective.
Here are some highlights from her section on Cathedrals:
  • Are “universally oriented…synchronized to universal frequencies.”
  • A Thought-Form gatherer and translator:
    • A tool to “…receive new waves of consciousness…” from the Masters. These messages are translated for our understanding through the crystal so that we can comprehend and integrate these messages. “…the wisdom of the soul can take tangible form in thoughts that the mind is capable of understanding.”
  • Exist to aid whoever comes to them, when the heart is open and the desires are in alignment with the Light.
  • Contains knowledge written in the language of Light. (Though is also said to be void of information until programmed – which is not my personal experience).?
  • Can be an access to the Hall of Records (Akashic Records – records containing every thought, word, and deed of every living thing throughout time).
  • Is said to be a “group” crystal (2 or more) though an individual can work with Cathedral Quartz imo
Recommendations for working with Cathedral Quartz
cathedral quartzGroup work
In a group of 2 or more like-Hearted individuals, who all share the intention of grounding Light to Earth, and bringing Universal Divinity into their joint endeavor. Sit in a circle with the Cathedral in the center, apex pointing up to the sky. Holding hands, focus on the inner world of the crystal. Imagine oneself within, focused on the common intention and desire, open to receiving knowledge from the Universal Masters.
Individual work
While many teach that Cathedral Quartz are not “personal” crystals or are specifically meant to be a Master Tool for groupwork, I have found that communing with a Cathedral Quartz can be a very expansive, powerful, empowering, and humbling experience. Holding the crystal or being near it, open yourself to the messages awaiting you. I recommend getting grounded first, firm in your Light, centered in your Heart before entering into this energy so that your discernment is clear. Setting the crystal on your Heart (if not too heavy), or placing the crystal at your feet pointing up, at your head pointing down, or however feels “right” to you in the moment, go into your meditation. Focus on your breath and allow your body to relax. Be open to receiving wisdom, assistance, messages.
Some people meditate while gazing into the crystal. This is particularly wonderful when the crystal has an internal clarity and lots of clear facets on its surface through which to look. Some say that each of the turrets or spires is a room of knowledge unto itself and that we can enter into these rooms and access Akashic Records or universal wisdom or enter into the collective consciousness through these “rooms.”

Personal share:
I do personally find Cathedral Quartz to be neutral, Universally-oriented, as Katrina Raphaell has mentioned. That resonates with me and my experience of the crystals. This may not be your experience – your message – from the Cathedral you’re called to work with. That’s perfectly okay. There is no one-way or right-way to work with the Crystal Masters. There is YOUR way.
I work with Cathedral Quartz when I am seeking clarity on a “big world” type of issue. Or when my mind is not serving my Heart and I am seeking to create a calm ebb and flow between the two with the Heart in the lead. I find myself reaching for Cathedral Quartz when I want to consciously, intentionally send waves of compassion to the Earth or to a specific group of people experiencing difficulties. I go to the Cathedral to ask for clarity; to see the Mirror being reflected back at me from my community, country, from the world. When I perceive the world to be “going mad,” I must ask how I might be going mad. How might I be contributing to the madness within and in my community? I find the Cathedrals to be powerful helpers in this. I also asked for help, guidance, and perspective-widening from my ancestors.
Because Cathedrals are Universally-oriented, they are about The All. Our work with them can often be to understand our place and purpose within The All.

Crystal Spotlight: Crystal Healing with Sugilite

crystal healing sugilite

Crystal Healing with Sugilite

Sugilite (less frequently known by the trade names lavulite or royal azel) is an increasingly rare mineral. It has been found in various places including Canada, India, Italy, and Australia; however the deposit in South Africa has yielded some of the most popular and sought-after material. Its gorgeous purple hues – sometimes bright and vivid like neon lighting – have endeared many a subtle energy worker to its energies. Oddly, the first discovery of Sugilite was described as an ugly yellow-green-brown rock-forming mineral, discovered in Japan by a petrologist named Ken-ichi Sugi in 1944. Sugilite’s prices rose dramatically in 1980 when the stone was classified as a rare gem after other deposits were discovered containing the gorgeous purple stones. (The correct pronunciation of Sugilite is with a soft “g,” having been named after its discoverer – Sugi (su-ghee), but the mineral was mispronounced by so many for so long that the common and accepted pronunciation is now with a hard “g”). 
Sugilite’s color range is somewhat wide, depending on quality and location. The most sought-after Sugilite is the vivid purple or dark magenta colors, but it can also be found with bluish-purple, dark-purple, and gray-purple hues. The color comes from the manganese and lithium content. The stone can have a layered, mottled, or veined appearance. Rarely occurring as individual crystals, Sugilite’s habit is most often massive. It can also be found in fibrous-massive habit. Its hardness on the Mohs scale which is 6-6.5. “Gel” Sugilite is extremely rare and quite sought after, considered the highest gem quality for its vivid purple hue and translucency.


Having a 6.0 – 6.5 hardness on the Mohs scale, as well as an indistinct cleavage, Sugilite makes a great crystal to set in jewelry and decorative pieces. It should be noted that the surface can still be scratched when in contact with minerals or materials with a higher hardness. Sugilite can be washed under tepid water and a very mild soap can be used if needed.
Working with Sugilite
In the metaphysical community, Sugilite is often prescribed for healing the Third Eye and Crown chakras. Said to carry the Violet Flame, it is a stone often recommended for those who are on a personal spiritual quest, seeking spiritual wisdom. It is also known as one of the premier love stones, aiding a person in accessing divine love and forgiveness – both of self and others.
Let’s look at Sugilite’s physical properties and see if they don’t help support these ideas.
Sugilite’s manner of formation is usually sedimentary, sometimes metamorphic, and rarely igneous. Crystals and stones which come to us through the sedimentary formation process offer support when we know that things are not going quite right, but we’re blind to our ability to change anything.
As we grow in our emotional, mental, and spiritual development, it is crucial to be able to recognize the ways we have been shaped by our society and culture, and influenced throughout our upbringing by family through tribal perspectives, religion, and politics. Our ability to recognize these influences does not necessarily mean we must change them; but understanding the root of our beliefs and behaviors enables us to at least examine how we got to where we are, and ultimately discern if any influences need to be released. We cannot let go of that which we don’t know we’re grasping.
crystal healing sugiliteWhen we consider this in light of Sugilite’s crystal system – which is hexagonal – we see how Sugilite might especially be helpful to those of us who tend to be efficient, rational, consistent, and driven by a strong personal set of ethics. While efficiency and honesty are helpful attributes to hold to, when clutched too tightly, they can cause a person to become inflexible and unforgiving.
And this is where Sugilite’s chemical composition Na3KLi2(Fe3+Mn3+,Al)2[Si12O30] can come into play. As a potassium sodium lithium iron manganese aluminium silicate (whew!), Sugilite has a complex composition. Let’s consider two of the major elemental players here: manganese and lithium. According to Michael Gienger, manganese offers specific subtle energetic support through increased empathy, generosity of heart, and forgiveness. It also helps us reframe our reality by helping us clear outdated consciousness. (It should also be noted that manganese supports heart function).
Lithium, according to Gienger, also serves to calm down the physical body, dampening physical and nerve-related restlessness. It is calming and soothing. Lithium also encourages self-confidence while promoting spiritual humility and devotion to that which we acknowledge is bigger than our individual selves. I have personally had great experiences working with crystals that contain either of these two elements.
Sugilite’s mineral class also supports the kind of work we might want to do with this rare gem. Cyclosilicates which are opaque, tend to have a “spongy” amorphous ring structure which is less conductive and more absorbing. (Other cyclosilicates, such as beryl, have a pillar structure which makes them excellent energy carriers (through and into).This makes Sugilite, with its spongy opaqueness, an excellent hexagonal crystal ally for someone who finds themselves clutching to their efficient, rational ideals.
The color of Sugilite definitely supports the idea that Sugilite carries the energy of the Violet Flame. Containing potassium, which supports the functioning of the pineal gland, also makes it a great contender for healing, balancing, and opening the Third Eye. And we now know that the chemical composition contains elements which support heart health and functionality at the physical level which can certainly help transmute imbalanced energies at the etheric and auric fields. Crystal healing with Sugilite can be a multi-layered, multi-field experience.
Sugilite makes an excellent meditation crystal and can be worn in jewelry. Aura sprays and crystal essences made from Sugilite (indirect method) are also very potent and effective ways of working with the energy of Sugilite.

Alchemy and Crystal Healing: the story of the Cinnabar Skull

Alchemy and Crystal Healing

I woke up one morning this past December, and in my mind’s eye I saw a crystal skull of Cinnabar in Dolomite staring at me. It was the first image I saw, it was the first thought I had that day. This is strange for 3 reasons:

One: My first thought upon waking is always, “Coffee. Now.” I would love to say that my first waking thought on any given morning is gratitude or compassion or a prayer for peace for the world. But no. It isn’t. It’s coffee. You should know this about me if we become friends.

Two: I hadn’t thought about or seen this particular skull in nearly a year. It simply wasn’t a part of my consciousness.

And three: I don’t relate to crystal skulls like other people do. I got the first (and I thought only) crystal skull because of a message I received. “It’s time to work with skulls.” I thought, okay, maybe students will start asking about them soon, and I need to know more. I’m not naturally drawn to them. I respect what they represent to many people. They can be excellent examples of gemstone art. But I’m typically not drawn to the more enigmatic aspects of crystal healing.

Because I want to become more and more open, listening and trusting, I texted D that same morning to tell her what happened and after a short conversation, she set the skull aside for me to pick up when next I visited her studio.

In the world of crystal healing, being called to a particular crystal is an honor. It means a lesson has arrived and we are ready to learn it with the subtle energetic support of the elements of the Earth. It’s a privilege: not everyone is drawn to crystals in this way. This has happened with many minerals – I’ve been called to them and then we do healing work together. I felt off-kilter about not being excited about working with this skull. Skulls have a magick about them that I can’t seem to grasp onto. And that’s okay – each of us has our “thing.” Skulls aren’t my thing, except they seem to be: there are four staring at me right now, after all. Perhaps my job is to provide a home for them until the person who is meant to work with them comes along. Who knows? In the meantime….

After the waking vision in December but before I actually picked up the skull in mid-January, I began re-reading the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. When I bought the Cinnabar skull, I was still in Book 1, A Discovery of Witches. A couple of nights after I brought the skull home, I was getting ready to read before sleep. I had placed the skull on my bedside table and there it was staring at me when I read this line:

“It is a wedding – the chemical marriage of mercury and sulfur. It’s a crucial step in making the philosopher’s stone.” (page 444 on my Kindle app).

Cinnabar, with a chemical composition of HgS (what the skull pictured is made from – cinnabar in dolomite) is mercury and sulfur.

I know it is fiction, but Deborah Harkness’ doctoral degree focused on the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700 (from her website). And fiction or not, I’ve learned to not only recognize but also appreciate “coincidences” wherever they occur and follow where they lead. We are being given opportunities to expand at every turn. It’s up to us to recognize them and follow-up. So of course I opened and looked up Hg and S.

Mercury – “It is a rather poor conductor of heat as compared with other metals but is a fair conductor of electricity. It alloys easily with many metals, such as gold, silver, and tin. These alloys are called amalgams. Its ease in amalgamating with gold is made use of in the recovery of gold from its ores.” (

Sulphur – “…is essential to life. It is a minor constituent of fats, body fluids, and skeletal minerals….Sulphur is found in meteorites, volcanoes, hot springs….Jupiter’s moon Io owes its colours to various forms of sulphur. A dark area near the crater Aristarchus on the moon may be a sulphur deposit. (

(See how understanding the chemical composition can be so helpful in crystal healing)?

Historically, the philosopher’s stone is essentially a quest to overcome death. It was a thing that was believed to be able to transmute base metals into gold or silver and heal any illness, prolonging the life of anyone who partook of it. Many alchemists throughout human history sought to create the philosopher’s stone.

For me, the philosopher’s stone is an important symbol. The sought-after riches and health represent a potential born only from a simultaneous awareness of death while at the same time living life fully present in the now through an open heart. What are we the most afraid of? Death. And what is death if not a loss of control. At a time when fear is running rampant throughout the States and echoing throughout the world, now is the time to look death in the face and say, “Come at me.” The Philosopher’s Stone’s offering of overcoming death represents a life lived fearlessly.

When my gaze rests on this interesting piece of art, I am reminded that in every moment I am offered a chance to transmute and resurrect. That’s powerful stuff.

An aside: Deborah Harkness and Diana Gabaldon have ruined my experiences with other authors and book series. This is a compliment to them and also a shaking of my fist at the sky.

Why Crystal Prescriptions Can Leave Us Wanting More in Crystal Healing: An Allegory

Zina and her struggles with Crystal Healing

Zina, was struggling to know what her purpose in life was, so she went to her favorite crystal prescription book, looked up “purpose” in the Index, and…. Uh oh. It wasn’t listed. Okay, maybe “destiny.” Nope. “Fate”?  No, not listed either. Hmmm. Well, Zina knew from past experience that the next step was to scan the Index until she found a keyword that might apply. Then she knew that she’d find either a short list or a very long list of crystals associated with that keyword. She would then have to go look up and read about each one and try to determine if the general properties listed would help her with her specific and not-at-all-general situation. She could also do a Google search and see what various people on the Internet had to say – often contradicting and confusing, or she could try another book which usually bore the same results.

Zina loved working with crystals. She felt a deep connection to them and couldn’t give them up, even when it felt frustrating and fruitless. She wished there wasn’t so much mystery.  She didn’t want to have to rely on what other people said crystals “do” – especially when they don’t explain why and how. Moreover, she had a suspicion that crystals were not magical talismans meant to be carried and poof! problems would disappear but that’s the only kind of information she could find.

Zina has a lot of questions:

What exactly is crystal healing? 
What relationship do crystals have to our subtle anatomy and healing? 
How then, do we work with them from this paradigm?

The first thing Zina already knows but hasn’t realized she knows, is that crystals are not cure-alls. Anyone who has begun the study of healing knows that there is no such thing as a magical cure-all for any emotional, mental, or spiritual wound. That means the “carry X Crystal to experience Y result,” is too simplistic. It’s ignoring the energy from within that wants to be seen and engaged with. In other words, it’s a form of spiritual bypassing. (A quickie explanation of spiritual bypassing is  when we use spiritual/religious practices and beliefs to avoid the hard work of personal and evolutionary growth. Robert Augustus Masters has more recently written on the subject, since the term was coined in the early ’80s, and you can read his blog here).

In my personal healing work, it has always been through the pain, not around it, that has brought clarity and peace. The times I’ve either knowingly or unknowingly tried to bypass the work of healing have resulted in frustration and confusion and sometimes anger. The symptoms of imbalance get more pronounced.

When I agree to meet the symptoms of imbalance face-to-face, from my Heart, it might be uncomfortable at first, it might even be painful, but I also pass through a level of my study a stronger, more Heart-centered, more grounded person.

Most crystal resources present crystals as tools for spiritual bypassing, not healing. Have a headache? Carry Bustamite. Feeling blue? Carry a Lithium Quartz. Need a new job? Wear Citrine or create a citrine grid.

Not only that, these “need this, carry that” prescriptions are based on subjective, personal experience that’s been passed around long enough to have turned from “an experience” into “fact.” That’s happened with a lot of crystal lore that has been passed down through the ages as well. Not only are both of these resources highly subjective and too general (which limits our ability to fully work with them) but they are sometimes downright wrong depending on the individual seeking healing support.

Most of the time, Zina has much better luck choosing to work with a crystal intuitively yet she’s still wondering what more she can know about the crystal that is such a help to her. She wants to be more deeply connected to the mineral kingdom she so loves. Zina wants to understand crystals more deeply.

crystal healing

Cathedral Quartz – Pakistan

What exactly is crystal healing? 

Crystal healing is the practice of working with the intelligence (energy = information that vibrates) of the mineral kingdom to support us in our healing work and evolution. Crystal healing is energy medicine. We come into relationship with the energy of the mineral kingdom to find support as we do our healing work within.

This means that we have:
1. agreed to do our deep study, our deep healing work
2.already identified imbalances and areas that we need to pay attention to when we approach the crystal
3. taken responsibility for our healing and come into relationship with the crystal as an energetic ally.

Crystals are tools in our toolbag: ancient, powerful subtle tools from the Mineral Kingdom that deserve our utmost respect.

What relationship do crystals have to our subtle anatomy and healing? 

In crystal healing theory, of all the natural world, crystals emit the most stable vibration. Humans on the other hand have the least stable vibration. We take a cue from the concept of entrainment and, when applying the stronger, more stable vibration of the crystal into an aspect of our subtle anatomy (auric fields, etheric field, chakras) we suspect that the crystal’s stronger vibration guides the weaker vibration into resonance with itself.

How then, do we work with them from this different paradigm?

A key difference between the current, popular Rx approach to crystal healing and the crystal therapy approach outlined here has a lot to do with the level of personal responsibility someone believes they have in their healing work and how we each relate to the guides, tools, and teachers available to us. If we’re looking for a quick fix, a savior, a guru, dare I say a bypass…. the Rx model is the model that will be the most attractive to us. There is still a lot to be learned through that model. It’s where a lot of us start out.

If we understand that there is no quick fix or guru and that the work to heal comes from within, we can begin to relate to our external modalities, tools, and teachers in more authentic, deeper, richer ways.

Mineral Kingdom. I love that it’s called the Mineral Kingdom. Picture the Kingdom of Minerals in your mind’s eye. Who sits on the throne of this Kingdom and rules? Who are the lairds? (Yes, I’ve been reading too much Outlander). A world-renowned crystal author? A crystal healing teacher? A book? Or did you picture a crystal sitting on the throne of its kingdom? Crystals running the hamlets (mineral classes) and guiding the subjects?

In the library of this kingdom, do you see shelves lined with books written by people outside of the kingdom describing the Beings within the kingdom? I don’t. It doesn’t make sense. Autobiographies are so much more interesting than biographies. Why? Because I’d much rather hear from Shirley MacClaine herself about Shirley MacClaine’s life and experiences than I would anyone else who could only tell us how they interpret the life of Shirley MacClaine.

When I work with a crystal – the crystal is the guide: the teacher. I am the one doing the work, the digging of the well so to speak, and the crystal is the Director.

Every time I’ve tried to force a crystal into someone else’s box (X does Y) – everything goes radio silent. Crystals instruct me by “speaking” to me through the field of my Heart. Since I began to approach them based on what they tell me about themselves both physically as well as intuitively I have been able to work with them in deeper and more expansive ways than ever before. Confusion? Gone. Self-doubt? Gone. Lack of resonance? Gone. Before I found what I call the “Gienger Method,” I was frustrated by this feeling that I was missing some really important piece of the puzzle. That frustration is gone.

Crystal Power Crystal Healing, by Michael Gienger, teaches us that the crystal, through its own numerous physical aspects, tells us directly what its healing properties are. No middle man. No confusion. No generalities. When we understand what the physical aspects of the crystal are telling us about the subtle energetic aspects of the crystal, our work with them becomes more and more refined. We understand the various ways to work with crystals, why we’re working with them for a specific purpose or in a specific way, which crystals would work well together as an energetic ally with a singular purpose, and more. When we intuitively pick up a crystal, we do so understanding on a much deeper level what that crystal is offering to us.

crystal healingI encourage you to find Michael Gienger’s Crystal Power Crystal Healing if you’ve experienced the same kind of frustration Zina has had. It’s a required textbook when you register for the comprehensive, in-depth course that bridges crystal healing with the subtle energetic realm, the subtle energetic anatomy, personal healing, professional healing, and more. This course will not make you reliant on me. Its whole purpose is to empower you in your healing – personal and if applicable, professional. See more here:


Protection and Shielding – part of our healing and evolution?

protection shielding Protection and Shielding – part of our healing and evolution?

“The words you speak become the house you live in.”
~ Hafiz
Words are incredible tools that reveal conscious and subconscious thought patterns. We carry these thoughts (forms of energy) around with us always, until we determine that the energy no longer serves us and we seek healing. Our thought fields are really subtle energetic manifestation generators. This means the words we choose to describe our experiences are important symbols.
I engage with people who are in the spiritual/metaphysical/healing (SMH) community-at-large and I read SMH blogs and articles. The SMH community is filled with people who express an authentic desire to help other people heal and to work on their own healing. They see this Earth and their life in it as a school of sorts, designed to provide opportunities for evolution.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed one particular recurring theme that reveals a need to shift subconscious thought patterns so that we can more accurately convey to each other and to ourselves what we desire – which is our personal healing and the desire to help other people experience healing. Metaphysical-based healing talk can have a self-victimizing energy. Here I’m speaking specifically to the concepts of protection and shielding – a belief that we need to protect or shield ourselves from “negative” energy. Whenever we point outside of ourselves for how we feel, we dis-empower ourselves and we bypass our healing work. Blaming external sources for our discomfort subconsciously perpetuates the idea that we are not fully responsible for our lives and how we choose to experience them.
I do think much of this is subconscious because when I speak to other subtle energy workers or clients of subtle healing, no one says they don’t expect to take responsibility for their lives or that they are looking for “easy healing.” Many acknowledge that this experience of healing is not for the faint of heart. People are willing to do the work.
I think what has happened is that humanity has evolved but our language has not. I think our realization of Oneness has blossomed but we’re still using duality-based, tribal language. What once felt empowered now creates a defeated and passive energy because we haven’t updated our word processing software.
Let’s look at some examples:
“What crystals should I carry to protect me?”
“How can I protect myself from energy vampires?”
“How can I shield myself before going into a store/session/family gathering?”
When someone asks me how to protect or shield, I ask, “What do you believe you need to protect yourself/shield yourself from?” and, “Why or how does X feel threatening for you?” I want to help the person (and me) get clarity about exactly what they are seeking to change and why. Through discussions I come to understand that the real opportunity for each of us is to learn how to maintain our energy and space by knowing ourselves deeply and authentically. Usually the person isn’t seeking protection or shielding at all; especially when their overarching desire is to evolve and heal. Protection and shielding are separators and rely on a foundation of dualism. To learn and grow, we require integration – being fully present in the classroom with everything that is present.
Let’s talk about separation for a minute. People who work with subtle energy experience physical time/space and subtle time/space. Physical time/space – our 3-dimensional reality of time – yields birth and death, growth and decay, and is dualistic in nature. Separation abounds. Subtle time/space is Oneness. It is where everything nearly exists simultaneously in harmony. All options are available, popping in and out of existence at faster than light speed. There are variations on this theme, but this is the gist. Subtle time/space is where we do our work, the “place of understanding” from which we experience healing. It is everywhere and nowhere. We experience our lives in multiple dimensions simultaneously so paradox, which is “both/and” is natural. This is important in healing work.
In The Gift of the Body, Jonathan Goldman writes, “The heart is truthful and clear; it refuses polarization.” When we are living from our Heart space duality feels uncomfortable. That feeling of discomfort is a signal that we’re being given a choice to move from response to reaction, from Heart space to ego. Duality is firmly in physical time/space and we see it being lived out in the way people choose to live and view the world. It is perpetuated by philosophies such as nationalism, tribalism, and is found in religion. Humanity is slowly shifting from dualism to integration. But we’re in Redwood seedling stage and we’re still relying on old dualistic language to talk about integrative, Heart centered healing.
Protection and shielding are words that by their definitions create “us versus them” energy which is a dualistic approach to a situation perceived as a threat. It is a reactionary stance. Seeking protection or shielding indicates you need to defend against someone or something that can harm.
Think I’m being overly pedantic?  (It’s entirely possible. I was an English major who wanted to focus on Rhetoric. Because there are so many career opportunities for English majors with a concentration in Rhetoric). But just for grins, let’s imagine we are standing in a park. You are barefoot, feet in the grass, at peace, enjoying the view. Someone walks by and says to you: Protect yourself. How do your body and mind react to that phrase? Do you take a boxing stance? Think of all the exit strategies out of the park? Cower? Look around for a table to hide under? Panic and wish you had a weapon?
Shielding is the act of creating a barrier between a person and something else for the purpose of providing protection. Its definition is also defensive, creating a dualistic and reactionary attitude.
“Wait,” I can hear people saying. “Are you suggesting that we not protect ourselves? Are you suggesting we actually interact with that which we perceive as harmful?”
Buckle in because yes, that is what I am suggesting – most of the time and when we are feeling strong enough to engage. Why would I suggest such a thing? Because perceptions are not necessarily truth and we are rarely in actual danger. There are certainly experiences which can end life or severely cripple us in some capacity and no, I am not suggesting we run toward that. However, we need to ask ourselves, for the sake of Heart-centered healing, whether we truly require protection or if we are simply uncomfortableThere is a natural tendency to treat anything that makes us uncomfortable as a threat. But 99% of the time, it’s simply a natural state of growth. Learning and growing and healing are uncomfortable experiences. If we are comfortable all the time, we’re in stasis.
When people ask me how they can energetically protect themselves and I ask from whom/what? The answers are usually something along the lines of:
  • I don’t like how I feel when I go to someone’s house/a public place/etc.
  • A person really makes me uncomfortable and drains me of my energy.
  • I don’t trust the energy of that person/place/thing.
What I’m hearing is, “I feel uncomfortable, I don’t feel like I’m in control, and I don’t know how to process it.”
“I don’t like how I feel at…” is an example of not feeling sure how to stay firmly Heart centered and grounded no matter where I am at.
“A person really makes me uncomfortable and drains me of my energy…” is an example of not feeling sure how to stay firmly Heart centered while being clear about my boundaries.
“I don’t trust the energy of that person/place/thing (or the energy is really negative/evil)…” is an example of not feeling sure how to stay Heart centered and grounded in my truth no matter where I am or who I am with.
When we are willing to face what we fear or what makes us feel uncomfortable and work toward understanding it, our perception of it changes and we open ourselves up to healing and transformation. To approach something from the space of our Heart requires letting our guard down. If we’re healers and we’re shielding ourselves, how are we engaging with our clients’ energies? I know it can feel scary to feel other people’s stuff or unfamiliar energies. But we need to be willing to learn to discern between feeling scared of what actually helps us do our work, and feeling scared because we are actually in danger.
As a subtle energy worker, I don’t teach people shielding visualizations. I personally find the practice disempowering. That is my personal experience. I know it is a helpful practice for others and if you practice shielding and it is helpful – I’m not telling you to stop. I tried to learn how to shield for a couple of years after I was first told that I was an empath because it was what I was told to do. I felt frustrated and stopped trying to learn the technique when I realized that in order to heal I needed to be with what made me feel scared. For me, shielding (or attempting to) kept me in a state of fear of the unknown which was actually quite knowable and usually not at all scary once I came face to face with it. The energies that made me uncomfortable for so long just wanted to be seen. All I had to do was look and acknowledge it and the fear dissipated.
As a crystal therapy practitioner/teacher, I don’t recommend crystals for protection. I don’t view myself or others  requiring protection and in my practice, crystals are not worked with as talismans. Crystals are fantastic subtle energy tools for those who are sensitive to them. They offer much in the way of subtle energetic support when worked with for the highest good of all. In my practice crystals help us see ourselves more clearly, help us get in touch with our subtle anatomy, our emotions, mental processes, and spiritual development as well as offer energetic support as we work toward healing. Crystals can help us transmute unwanted energetic patterns, yes, but before we can work with a crystal for that purpose, we need to understand what we want to transmute and why. If you ask me, “What crystal would you recommend to me as I learn how to become less fearful,” I can help you with that with some discussion.
So, okay, you won’t recommend a crystal for helping me protect myself, and you don’t teach shielding exercises. So what do I do?
Creating healthy boundaries is about becoming familiar with your own energy, learning how to maintain Heart-centered groundedness, and being clear about what energies you are willing and ready to work with. When energy you don’t want to engage with arrives, you can say, “I see you. Not now,” without experiencing fear or self-doubt. It’s the difference between feeling fear and victimization, or being firm in one’s autonomy, willing to take responsibility for their experience of life. That’s what we focus on when I work with people.
Someone asked me, “What is the difference between setting a boundary and shielding?
When I visualize an energetic boundary, I see it as a wooden fence a little lower than shoulder height. Similar to the fences people erect to discern property boundaries. (This is my dance space. This is your dance space. Let’s cha-cha.) I can easily talk to my neighbors over the top of the fence. Sometimes I open the fence gate and invite them in for coffee, dinner or game night. Other neighbors who meander by are acknowledged from my Heart space, but are not invited in because I know that in that moment I’m not up for it and I am respecting myself by not engaging out of shame or guilt. But I see them and they see me. We smile at each other. There is still movement and interaction between me and what is on the other side of the fence.
When I was taught to shield, it involved visualizing being completely encompassed within a golden egg of light. I know there are variations on the theme, but this is what I was taught and when I couple that with what I envision when I hear the word shield: I see myself crouching behind a big metal plate, sword drawn – it just doesn’t feel fluid enough for me. To me, shielding feels defensive and carries an energy of survival – it’s either it or me. While setting a boundary feels both/and to me. I’m still available for engagement with whoever comes along if I decide I am up for it, and I’m also responsible for how I choose to engage and for how long. Again – that might feel pedantic to some. That’s okay. My point is – are we being defensive or open? Are we honoring ourselves without shutting down or shutting out?
This is a lifelong process and we can expect to change our boundaries to accommodate new findings and growth. For the person who desires to heal – there is no getting around the work. It involves learning to be honest, vulnerable, living with integrity and in your truth. Regardless from where or how the work arrives – it often involves feeling uncomfortable and even sometimes existentially scared. But we are not alone in this work. We have each other and if we are willing to be vulnerable with trusted fellow journeyers and honest with ourselves, the experiences of this life can be infinite and expanding in ways we can’t even imagine.
In gratitude and Love, Tana

Crystal Healing and Citrine

Choosing and Working with Citrine in Subtle Healing

 Natural Citrine is difficult to find these days and when one does find it, it is usually quite expensive. Most of what is sold as Citrine in metaphysical and crystal shops is actually heat-treated amethyst. These heat-treated amethysts should not be as expensive as naturally occurring Citrine because amethyst is an abundant crystal and the treatment is not expensive. Additionally, I would assume that unless a piece is labeled as “natural” that it is not – so buyer beware.

Amethyst gets its color from iron – Fe2 or Fe4. Michael Gienger gives the exact same chemical composition for Amethyst as he does Citrine, noting that the difference is in how many valences the iron is lodged within the crystal lattice. Because the chemical composition of Amethyst and Citrine is the same, I personally do not have a problem working with a baked amethyst as a Citrine piece. The process of Amethyst changing to Citrine is the same whether it happens naturally in the earth or by human hands in an oven: it requires heating.

But what is Citrine when it is found and sold as a naturally occurring crystal? If you do a message board search in, you’ll notice that there are on-going debates about what exactly counts as Citrine: which trace element included in the SiO2 changes Quartz to Citrine Quartz (Al or Fe3+?), and how exactly it is included into the atomic structure of the Quartz. What we realize is that among mineral collectors of all stripes, what counts as “true” Citrine is debatable and on numerous levels.

So is all yellow Quartz Citrine? Some say yes, so long as the Quartz is not made yellow by an external iron dusting. Others say no – that there are more qualifiers that must be met.

Does it matter?

For crystal healing therapists: does it matter if we are working with yellow Quartz or Citrine? In recent years within the crystal healing community, naming has become quite important – so important that some have created trademarks on the names given. I sometimes wonder if this focus on nomenclature might sideline our personal and practical progress toward healing our Selves and helping others to heal. When we work with a crystal, are we working with it because of what someone else calls it? Or are we working with it because of the subtle energies we sense? Does the name determine those subtle energies present, or does the crystal itself declare its purpose?

In the crystal therapy world, color is a big deal because chakras each have their own color assignment which correlates to the visible spectrum of light: ROYGBIV – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Crystals are essentially Light information. One of the ways (there is more than one way) this information from a crystal is organized and conveyed (its purpose being declared) is through its color. (Recommended: What is Light? by Jonathan Goldman of The Essential Light Institute.)

Yellow is the color ray of the Solar Plexus Chakra. This is the chakra where the energies of destiny, personal will, emotional baggage, fear, Who Am I questions, ego, and personal health tend to reside. When this chakra is imbalanced – more specifically, underactive, the color yellow can be applied with the intention of boosting that energy – re-reminding that chakra of its role in a healthy, balanced state.

Crystal Therapy Practitioners turn to yellow crystals to help clients in a type of color therapy. Can we work with any yellow crystal to help bolster the solar plexus chakra’s energies? Sure. So in one respect, it doesn’t matter if we’re working with yellow Quartz or Citrine. However, we could get a little more refined in our approach.

 Let’s get refined

Consider what yellow Quartz is: SiO2 with impurities in the atomic structure and according to the thread on the topic, these impurities could be from Aluminum (Al) or Iron (Fe). What subtle energies are carried in the elements Aluminum and Iron? This is when I turn to Michael Gienger’s book, Crystal Power Crystal Healing. (When we look up the roles each element plays in the realm of biology and physics, we begin to understand the connections being made on the subtle energetic level between elements and our subtle well-being.)

Gienger assigns the following properties to Aluminum (Al):

  • Calming effect on nervousness, fears, and feelings of guilt
  • Encourages the expression of feelings and releasing of behavioral patterns of holding back and holding onto things

To Iron (Fe), Gienger assigns the following properties:

  • Stimulating, activating effect
  • Encourages activity, initiative, dynamism, endurance, willpower, the ability to assert ourselves and more

We can see how, based on the subtle energetic roles of the Solar Plexus Chakra, either Aluminum or Iron could be helpful aids in reestablishing a healthy, balanced Solar Plexus depending on the unique situation and needs of the client.

I’m not a geologist – how would I know what elements are present in my yellow Quartz?

If your approach to crystal therapy is like mine, it is ideal to purchase a crystal knowing its chemical composition. This is why I prefer to purchase crystals from rockhounders, mineralogists, mineral hobbyists, and geologists. I purchase crystals from reputable, knowledgeable metaphysical dealers too. Of course, sometimes I purchase a crystal from someone who does not know the chemical composition and I can do some mineral testing or I simply can’t know for sure what I am working with. In those cases, other energies are drawing me to work with the crystal and I don’t have to know the elements present – it’s not important.

Just as we can get caught up in nomenclature, so too can we get caught up with any other aspect of a crystal, including chemical composition – sidestepping our personal healing by getting distracted. If we can’t know, we can’t know. When we can know – we work with that knowledge to help us refine our art.

 A baked Citrine druse:

citrine and subtle healing









A natural Citrine point, likely from Zambia:

citrine and subtle healing







 Not Citrine. This is a “golden healer” or yellow Quartz from Arkansas:

citrine and subtle healing









Natural Citrine cluster from DRC (Congo):
citrine and subtle healing







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What’s so great about Black Tourmaline?

Why do so many people talk about Black Tourmaline being important? For many, it’s THE go-to crystal for grounding, earthing, protecting. Why might that be?

Black TourmalineTourmaline is both pyroelectric (generates a charge when heated) and piezoelectric (generates a charge with applied pressure). These qualities are notable in subtle energetic healing practices when we wish to transmute energies that no longer serve. There are well over 4,000 named minerals on planet Earth. Of those, only a handful of common minerals are both piezo- and pyro-electric.

Black Tourmaline is a basic sodium iron aluminum boro-silicate. The primary elements in Black Tourmaline are Na (Sodium) and Fe (Iron). Iron is believed to make up 80% of the Earth’s core and has magnetic properties providing us that grounding energy we sometimes need when we haven’t spent enough time in nature, away from electronics, or when we’ve spent too much time inside our heads. Sodium and boron are known for their cleansing, protective properties giving us the support to transmute energy which no longer serves.

Fun fact: both Sodium and Iron are found in the stars and the Sun.

Black Tourmaline can be found in both igneous and metamorphic rocks. Igneous formation is, simply put, liquid turning into a solid. Sometimes our energy is like uncontained liquid – all over the place. Igneous formations carry an energy of regrouping and reorganizing into a productive form. Metamorphic rocks – nothing remains as it was before. Sometimes we need change – transformation – and with that transformation comes pressure. Black Tourmaline offers a reminder that it is entirely possible to survive major pressure and transformation.

© Copyright, All Rights Reserved, Elemental Healing Arts & Training, LLC 2015