Plant medicine and ritual during the eclipse

plant medicineMy dear friend, Tara Sage, has written a beautiful article providing information about the different ways different cultures have interpreted and worked with eclipse energy. She also provides recommendations for integrating plant medicine into your sacred rituals around this eclipse. Even if you have no plans to do anything specific during today’s eclipse, this article is chock-full of information about the different ways different plants are worked with in ritual to promote cleansing, purifying, manifesting, and more. Tara is, in my opinion, a wise and deeply knowledgeable teacher about the sacred art of smudging and incorporating ritual into our lives. Her background of study is deeply grounded, honoring and vast.

Tara has become my teacher in all things smudge-related. I also acquire my smudging tools and plants from her, knowing that she is growing many of the plants on her own property, growing, cultivating, harvesting, and selling with the highest integrity and respect. Visit her Sacred Land Sage store here.

 

Crystal Care Questions Answered – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KISS method

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

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

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

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

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

crystal care
Got questions? Comments? Email me at tana@tanaschott.com

Part 1
Part 3