THE HISTORY OF CRYSTAL HEALING AND HOW IT'S EVOLVED
Let’s take a step back in time to when the Earth was young and its inhabitants younger, scrabbling about on the untamed surface with bare hands and feet, uncovering mysteries and miracles of the unknown. Imagine finding a bright, colorful, even luminous stone that sets itself so far apart from the dun rocks that surround it—a beautiful gem fit for the gods.
If we can put ourselves in that ancient mindset, then we can better understand what first drew humans to gems so they might discover the hidden, healing potential of crystals, minerals, and gemstones. There is a long history behind the power of crystal healing, and it is quite the adventure to follow (and, even more, to understand).
As early as during the lives of the Ancient Egyptians, crystal healing was considered an effective form of treatment for different kinds of diseases or physical conditions. Primarily, crystals and gemstones were seen as receptacles of power, capable of guiding “the departed safely into the afterlife” or to increase one’s mental acuity and wisdom.
Crystals were used in everyday life and embraced as vessels of power or items of beauty to enhance one’s appearance. For a vivid visual example of this, take a look at any pharaoh’s sarcophagus: laden with gemstones set in shining solid gold, each with a unique purpose in its placement and color choices.
Ancient Chinese cultures had a particular fondness for jade, which was used for numerous medical purposes and was believed to embody the “five great virtues: charity, courage, modesty, justice, and wisdom.” Ancient Vedic texts speak about the power of different forms of stones and the Indian kings who were supposed to wear them as protection. Nearly every ancient culture has some connection or belief in the power of crystals, and this belief continues to run strong into the Twenty-First Century.
Early Modern Beginnings
The belief in the power of crystals has persisted in the Western mind since at least the 11th Century and the birth of the Renaissance and iconic leaders such as Queen Elizabeth I. In Early Modern England, there were “numerous lapidaries and astrological works published on the topic” of precious stones and their magical properties. Each stone held its own magical properties and, when put together, could produce effects even more powerful.
In line with the thought process of the time and place, the powers of stones were attributed to the power of God or his angels. In most societies, belief in the power of crystals and their healing or protective abilities often falls in line with a belief in a greater deity that bestows his or her power in an object for the benefit of the people.
Regarding healing, the publication of lapidaries acted as medical manuals that taught which precious stones could be used to treat specific afflictions of mind and body. Since a great deal of the population at this time was poor and uneducated, they couldn’t afford to go to a local physician or did not live near one.
Therefore, it was up to each individual to learn something about healing so he or she could take care of their family and neighbors. Crystals and other gemstones already had a strong backing as objects of power, so their use in early medicine should come as no surprise. For more information on the use of crystals in Early Modern England, see Cassandra J. Auble’s thesis The Cultural Significance of Precious Stones in Early Modern England.
Across the world in India, crystals were being used with other traditional techniques to bring one’s life into balance so he or she could find nirvana. It is from ancient Indian and Chinese medicine that most modern crystal healing derives from, and it is within those cultures that the practice remains so deeply etched in the history of the people, including the balancing of chakras and healing of the body by using crystals to transfer or absorb energies.
When the “New Age” of the West began seeking out these holistic, ancient remedies, the processes became more mainstream, resembling what crystal healing looks like today.
Crystal Healing in the World Today
The emergence of crystal healing as a medicinal tool began in the 1980s, as the so-called “New Agers” rose to the forefront and began demanding more written material on this ancient practice (and others like it). Two of the earliest published works were written by Katrina Raphaell and Melody and Michael Gienger, and their works are still sought out to this day.
The demand for more knowledge and practice of crystal healing continued to increase over the years, and it led to increased study and speculation into the nature of crystals and precious stones as objects of power. Much as they were used in ancient times, gemstones are used today as healing tools or in decorations and jewelry, displaying their beauty and mystery in everyday life.
The general purpose of crystals in healing is to shift the energies of the body, in much the same way that chakra balancing works. Most crystals used in crystal healing come from the quartz family and are adept at holding and channeling a variety of energies. Crystals can work to clear one’s mind and relieve headaches, move energy throughout the body to decrease lethargy and fatigue, bring one’s mind back into balance while it is in the midst of emotional turmoil—and so much more.
Finding the Perfect Stone
One of the first steps to discovering the power of crystal healing is to find the right precious stones to help. There is a reason the human eye and imagination are drawn to the beauty of crystals and gemstones; their worth is so much greater than a simple decoration. Whether it’s a string of beautifully cut amethyst beads to wear around the neck for protection or a shimmering pearl plucked from the depths of the ocean to instill a sense of calm serenity, finding the perfect stone to fit one’s needs is the first step and, perhaps, the most important one.
The Future of Crystal Healing
In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has the last say in matters of medication and medicinal therapies. While these holistic therapies are becoming increasingly more prevalent, research into their scientific possibilities (or research into them at all) has been stunted by the FDA’s stubborn refusal to consider alternative medicine in any serious light.
So long as the FDA continues to turn a blind eye to this growing phenomenon, mainstream society and the U.S. government will continue to ignore alternative medicines like crystal healing—but that does not mean that crystal healing is dead in the water; it will just have to continue as it always has, and the world will have to catch up.
Author: Roxanne Burg
Roxanne Burg has recently fallen under the spell of crystals. She’s working on increasing her knowledge of their healing powers and how to use them for heightening her vibrational frequency. Roxanne also loves night swimming on Folly Beach and reading metaphysical books. She blogs for BeadsofCambay.com and TheBeadTraders.com.