Yesterday Mercury went retrograde (12/19 – 1/8) and the memes started popping up on social media warning people off from making huge decisions, expecting their tech to work, or anything to go right.
Nope. No. Just…..no.
Look, I’m not an astrologer. I’m not an astrologer in the same way I’m not a tarot card reader. I read cards for myself once in a while when I need my subconscious to become conscious and I watch Kaypacha’s Weekly Pele Reports because Tom Lescher (whom I don’t know personally) seems to be so heart-centered and gives a really grounded, inspiring, and pragmatic reports helping to put events into a wider perspective outside of my own limited one.
One of my personal mantras is, “Hold everything lightly.”
Given that I’m not an astrologer, take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt. This whole vibe around Mercury going retrograde causing chaos might be well-intentioned, but tends to be disempowering by way of the false narrative based on generalized assumptions.
Today on Facebook, I saw this post by OSHO right after I posted the following picture:
“Once you get identified with a certain idea, then you are sick. All identification is mental sickness. In fact, mind is your sickness. And to put the mind aside and just to see silently ? without any thought, without any prejudice ? into reality is a healthy way of being acquainted with reality.” OSHO
Here’s the deal: I don’t assume that the next two weeks are going to be hard for you or anyone else; at least, no harder than they would have been had Mercury not gone retrograde. The Lessons? They appear with every breath – not just when a planet goes indirect. Not just when we pull the Tower card. And what would happen if, instead of seeing calamity when Mercury goes retrograde or we pull the Tower card, we got excited about the possibility of change and expansiveness?
Are there better times than others – opportunities where our ability to be more awake and aware are heightened? Perhaps. Wouldn’t it be awesome if THAT was what the Mercury Retrograde memes advertised? I’m the last person anyone is going to accuse of being a Pollyanna. I’m not talking about the pseudo-light-and-love-it’s-all-going-to-be-wonderful-if-we-just-believe! attitude either. That feels just as inauthentic as the other warnings and dire predictions do.
I’m talking about being open to being awake, aware, fully present, self-reflecting, other-and-self-empowering, listening, open-hearted and unassuming, learning, seeing true. Regardless the planetary movements and other people’s ideas about them.
I believe in our ability to listen to our Hearts and follow the path it lays before each of us and to go the way of the Wise Ones we really are. I believe in our power which comes from a humble and trusting heart. I believe that every moment is a chance to choose, to take responsibility, to breathe deeply and be present and awake. Do we always live this way? No. That too is a lesson. These tools we use (astrology, tarot, etc.) are not tools at all if we allow them to become scapegoats for our challenging days or less than ideal choices or off-putting attitudes.
And here, bear with me, I’m going to go on a tangent because the following has been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks….
As well-intentioned as the spiritual community can be, sometimes we (not unlike religious communities) can be our own worst enemy. It’s part of the human condition to see dualism, to pick sides, to declare “good” and “bad.” It is also madness and counterproductive to what we claim our goals are.
We here in the States and elsewhere in the world, claim to mourn the loss of our ability to be a community of diverse people who lift one another up while in the same breath demonizing those who vote for a particular candidate, the candidate him/herself, support a particular organization, buy from a certain store, use prescription drugs, drive a certain type of car, eat a certain type of food – the judgments go on and on and on. Why? Because we identify more strongly with our individual ideas than we do with the people in our community whom we’re called to love and encourage and support.
The situation we find ourselves in as a community of America? Of the world? We’re all culpable. It took the whole of the community to create this chaos and separation and strife and it will take the whole of the community to heal it. But it requires us to each see our own culpability. No one is blameless.
Personally, in the last 6 months or so, I’ve been called to question every thought that flits through my mind; every judgement and declaration and idea. Where does this (fill-in-the-blank) idea come from? Is it true? Is it true for everyone? Is it true for all time? Who says? If it’s not true for everyone, maybe I can spend some time learning why – to keep my Heart open, to listen with my Heart to others who see the world through a different lens. Which is everybody by the way. The great irony is that we have our little enclaves of “like minded” people with whom we rally in the streets or on social media. And if we had an open, expansive discussion with them, we’d realize that we don’t see many things the same way even with the members of our own choir.
Our ideas that OSHO talks about above have lead to a sickness of the mind, yes, and of the ego. Our assumptions and self-righteousness close our Hearts not only to others but to ourselves.
Perhaps this Mercury Retrograde moment is a chance to be still with ourselves. To question our attitudes and beliefs and reactions and fears and angst and anxieties. Because until we are honest with ourselves about our own blinders and self-righteousness and closed hearts, we cannot begin to see and hear, care for and about each other through our Hearts. We cannot begin to heal our communities and the Community at Large. And whatever is coming in 2017 and beyond – we need each other. Not just people who we assume are like us – we need our communities, full of beautiful people with diverse ideas and beliefs and perspectives and histories and experiences. Iron sharpens iron – except when we refuse to engage with one another. We all need honing.
Crystals for self-reflection, for doing deep inner work, for getting real with ourselves might include sulfides such as chalcopyrite, pyrite, covellite, and sphalerite. Halides such as halite and fluorite for breaking down barriers, in this case of our own minds. Aluminum-bearing minerals can help us remember who we really are; copper-bearing minerals may resonate with promoting a more open heart – there are others, but this is a good start.
May 2017 be the Year of Opening Our Hearts. Dissolving our Fears. Empowering ourselves and one another.
With so much gratitude, through Light. Tana
Crystal Care: Mineral Care Based on their Physical Properties
This final section is perhaps the most important because it is the most empowering. Knowledge is power and when we understand the minerals we are called to work with not only from a new age perspective, but also from their physical perspective, worlds can open up to us. We become less and less reliant on getting answers about how to do our subtle healing work from others, and instead learn to turn to our own Hearts more and more frequently for the answers to questions we ask.
We can look to a crystal’s chemical composition and get a lot of information without having to be experts in chemistry. We can look to a mineral’s formation origin and understand that mineral’s energy in a deeper way without being geologists. Understanding our crystals’ physical properties teaches us so much about their subtle healing properties. It also helps us understand how to better care for them.
Most minerals will react to various types of environments and in what way depends primarily on the mineral’s photo-sensitivity, Mohs hardness, water solubility, and chemical composition. Researching each of your crystals properties can save you disappointment from a faded Celestite geode, a dulled or disintegrated Selenite wand, a marred or pitted Malachite palm stone, or a scratched Fluorite sphere. Here will look at three of these properties as they relate to common crystal cleansing methods discussed in Part 2.
Photo-sensitivity – I have yet to find a definitive list of minerals based on anything and photo-sensitivity is among them. Photo-sensitivity has to do with a mineral’s susceptibility to fade or become darker when exposed to light. To make matters a little more complicated, different minerals will be affected by different light wavelengths: it’s not just sunlight that can cause a mineral to fade or darken. If you work with crystals based on their color, you will want to be especially mindful of how you store your crystals – away from direct sunlight, outside of UV lamp rays, preferably covered when not in use. My Fluorites and Spodumenes, for example, are always covered when I’m not working with them.
This forum on mindat.org was especially informative about light sensitivity, how mineral dealers may temporarily “improve” a mineral’s color for shows, only to have it fade later, storing recommendations, and more: http://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,5,115692,page=1
Of the minerals we are most likely to work with, the following can be affected (faded or darkened) by exposure to light:
Some are suggesting Disthenes (Kyanite) though that’s debatable
Spodumenes (Kunzite and Hiddenite for example)
As you can see from this list, the easiest assumption is to treat all of your crystals as though they might be affected by lightwaves and minimize their exposure as much as you can while not working with them. Many mineral collectors keep their collections in darkened rooms for this very reason.
Having said that, I know many people who understand that most crystals are photo-sensitive and they still set their crystals out in the sun every day. Sometimes the fading can take years, sometimes weeks, sometimes days. While we want to be aware of our crystals’ susceptibility to fading or darkening, we don’t want to protect the minerals at the expense of working with them the way they desire to work with us.
Mohs Hardness – Mohs hardness tells us how soft a mineral is and therefore how easily it might be scratched or break. You can do an internet search “Mohs hardness” and find thousands of websites or images that give you the Mohs scale.
Used primarily as a way to assist in identifying minerals, it also tells us which minerals are easily scratched (Mohs of 4 or lower) and therefore should not be stored with other minerals which have a higher hardness. In other words, we might not want to throw all of our tumbled stones into one bowl where they might knock against each other if some of those tumbled stones are a 3 or 4 on the Mohs scale and others are a 6, 7, or 8. The softer tumbled stones could be cracked, chipped, or scratched.
Crystals of the same hardness will not scratch one another. The minerals listed are example minerals of that hardness and the list is certainly not conclusive. Wiki shows an intermediary list which is interesting and can be found here.
Water solubility – This is important to know if you want to cleanse your crystals using water in any way. Whether soaking in a water bath, setting in a stream or river, running under the tap, or setting out in the rain (which can also happen during moonbaths), certain crystals can become dull, dissolve, or become weak when exposed to moisture or water. Some of these dissolve more slowly than others. There is a “general rule” out there that says if a mineral name ends in “ite” that it’s probably water soluble. This isn’t exactly true, as there are a lot of minerals whose name ends in “ite” which are not water soluble. As this has a lot to do with chemistry, the subject of solubility (which can be referring to not only water but acids and other solvents) can quickly become complicated and muddy. This chart, for example, can be helpful, but if you read this forum thread that discusses the chart, you’ll see there are many factors undefined and thus, the chart is limited in its usefulness. Fortunately for us, we are not necessarily called to be chemists so we can approach this generally. And generally speaking, the following crystals that we most commonly work with are to some degree, affected by moisture/water:
- Some calcites
- Villiaumite (a rarer mineral that is also toxic – not recommended for our purposes without extreme care in handling)
- Metallics such as Pyrite
- Lodestone/magnetite – all iron oxides will rust when exposed to moisture
This list may not be complete. And because crystal healing rarely (ever) requires handling acids, we don’t have to concern ourselves with that either. (Though if you’re interested in how to mine and clean your own crystals, you will want to do some research on that topic).
And that about does it! Thank you for checking out this three-part article on cleansing crystals. I hope it was informative and helpful. Got questions? Comments? Head over to the Facebook page and let’s start a chat! I’m also on Instagram and if you’re interested in receiving the Elemental Healing Arts and Training’s newsletter, you can subscribe to that here. Information about the Crystal Therapy Course can be found here.
Your Crystal Care Questions Answered
The way we interact with crystals is very personal and it has to be said out of the gate that there there is no right way to care for your crystals. There is YOUR way. But one of the top five questions I am asked is, “How do I cleanse my crystals?” So I’m going to share my personal lessons learned, some things you might want to keep in mind before choosing a particular cleansing ritual, and I’m going to challenge the status quo a little too.
It might surprise you to learn that I don’t cleanse crystals and I explain why in the next section. I work with crystals everyday. I create essences, crystal grids, I do distance healing sessions, in-person healing sessions, and never once have I gotten an impression or received a message that the crystal masters I am called to work with have become dirty, weaker, or out of tune. Quartz is a bit of a different situation because of its unique programming and storage abilities. Even then, a simple request to clear is usually all it takes before I can work with it for another purpose.
I understand that the ritual of cleansing is an important one for many people who are called to work with the mineral kingdom for subtle healing purposes. When I’ve asked people about their crystal cleansing rituals, what I’ve found is that oftentimes, the ritual is more for the crystal caretaker. This ritual of “resetting” a crystal is actually an opportunity for the subtle healer to express gratitude, and to personally reset, realign, and rebalance which is really beautiful. Also, just as I’ve rarely had a crystal communicate a need to be recharged or cleansed, others have! So I’m not here to judge anyone’s practice of crystal cleansing. If you are drawn to the practice – for whatever reason – and it feeds you in some way, keep doing it!
If you practice the ritual of cleansing, there are a few factors to consider before choosing a method of cleansing, primarily each crystal’s physical properties. This is so that the crystal is not accidentally damaged during the ritual. In this 3-part article, I’ll review some of those factors. In Part 1, we will explore why we cleanse crystals and I’ll address the issue of toxicity. In part 2, I’ll briefly describe the most common cleansing methods and I’ll talk about the KISS Methods (never-fail, works for all crystals). In Part 3, we’ll explore the different properties of crystals that we want to be aware of when choosing a cleansing ritual. Ready?
Do we need to cleanse our crystals?
That’s a great question and one that often goes unasked. It is one of those assumptions in the crystal healing community that of course (!) we cleanse our crystals. But why? Well, generally there are two reasons:
- to get rid of negative energy that the crystal has “picked up”
- to help the crystal recharge its energy
Let’s consider these in light of the working theory of crystal healing. It is understood in subtle energy healing that crystals are valuable tools because they have a strong, constant vibration – stronger than our own weaker and constantly changing vibrations. We place crystals in our subtle fields, along our subtle channels, and on our chakras in order to help that field, channel, or chakra regain balance. It’s resonance through entrainment.
This working theory depends on the crystal having a strong, stable vibration which is evidenced by the rate of entropy of most minerals. And not just strong and stable, but stronger and more stable than the vibrations of our subtle anatomy. If the crystal’s vibration were weak and easily influenced – we wouldn’t rely on them as co-creation tools in our subtle healing practice.
When an aspect of our subtle anatomy is unbalanced, a CCTP will choose the crystal (or crystals) which carries the vibration that the unbalanced aspect would be singing were it in a healthy, balanced state. That crystal’s vibration, being the stronger one, will entrain the weaker subtle body vibration until it matches the vibration of the crystal – until the crystal and the subtle aspect has resonance.
I think it can be difficult sometimes to remember that our day-to-day physical-plane existence of cause and effect does not necessarily apply to our subtle-plane existence. When we use a dish, wear clothes, drive our cars, use our cellphones, what happens? They get dirty and/or they need to be recharged. So we wash the dish, launder the clothes, wash the car, and charge our phones. When we “use” (and here I much prefer “work with”) crystals, we don’t have to assume the same cause and effect is occurring. This work is mysterious and happens in subtle time/space so the usual way of things don’t necessarily have to apply.
And yet we’ve been teaching each other for decades now that if we use a crystal we have to clean it/charge it afterward. The natural inclination toward this cause and effect makes perfect sense. Our lives revolve around cleaning up tools that we use. But do we have to? Is it true? Is it true that crystals become “dirty” with “negative” energy after we work with them? Is it true that crystals give away their energy and have to be recharged after a healing session? The answer to this questions could easily be answered differently be different people who have had a wide variety of experiences. Know that your experience is the one that counts for you.
The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not crystals require your help to recharge, release, or get clean after you’ve worked with it. That’s personal and not for me to decide. Please note – I am simply pointing out the difference that may exist between our ordinary, physical, work-a-day lives and the potentially different experience of the subtle. I’m not making any definitive statements here. It’s often a case-by-case situation. A now-moment to now-moment, intuitive urging.
Okay, I do cleanse my crystals. How should I do it?
There are a lot of different cleansing practices to choose from and if you design your own, all the better! When we understand how the mineral kingdom responds to certain environments, it is very helpful so that we don’t accidentally damage the crystals. Crystals, depending on a lot of factors, can breakdown in various ways when exposed to certain light, heat, acids, moisture, and other compounds such as salt. We also want to be aware of the elements in our crystals’ chemical compositions – we don’t want to expose ourselves to heavy metals or toxic elements. (Understanding the chemical composition of your crystals helps you in numerous ways).
Most crystals that energy healers work with are perfectly safe. Especially when those crystals are highly polished or tumbled. When a crystal is labeled “toxic” – you don’t have to get rid of that crystal. There are minerals that are highly toxic, that’s true. Most of those crystals on that short-list are not easily acquired. Still, some hear the word “toxic” and get overly nervous. For example, I know some who refuse to work with Malachite because they heard that Malachite can be poisonous. This is true when Malachite is being cut by a lapidary artist. The dust is toxic and special care should be taken to ensure that it is not breathed in or ingested and so people who cut or polish Malachite are urged to wear masks and eye protection.
Polished Malachite – the form we typically work with – is not dangerous. Rather, we ought to work with it mindfully. Do not lick Malachite. Do not create a crystal essence with Malachite unless using the indirect method. If you have a piece of rough, unpolished Malachite, handle very carefully and wash your hands afterward. Do not handle those forms of Malachite and then touch your face or eat or put your hands in your mouth.
These are good guidelines to follow whenever working with most minerals.
Same goes for other:
– copper-bearing (Cu)
– lead-bearing (Pb)
– arsenic-bearing (As)
– mercury-bearing (Hg)
– antimony – bearing (Sb)
minerals such as Stibnite, Cinnabar, Realgar, Orpiment, Chrysotile, Galena and others. You’ll note many, many crystals contain Aluminum which is also considered a toxic element. As such, I simply encourage all crystal essences be made using the indirect method and that people do not touch their face, eyes, or mouths when handling their crystals and to wash their hands after. The minerals listed specifically above require extra care and this list is not comprehensive. Handle minimally if at all. I have Stibnite, Cinnabar, Galena, and Orpiment in my collection, but they are on the top shelf of my mineral cabinet and I do not handle them. As always – keep out of reach of children.
Please know that while you might find various toxic crystals lists online, there is no definitive list. New minerals are being found and no list can be comprehensive. If we learn about the elements that make up the crystals we work with, we won’t need a list because we’ll understand how to read a crystal’s chemical formula and we will understand not only if it contains toxic elements, but much, much more.
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