The use of crystals for healing, abundance and other energetic practices continues to grow in mainstream popularity. There’s so much toxicity in this shallow approach to working with stones, from the deplorable ways they are mined to the dangers of blind faith in their healing power. Stone spirit magick works, but we need to know how to harness the power of these treasures, so I’ve added a few tips because ranting without offering solutions is also toxic.
As witches, we need to honor the spirits that we work with, whether they be goddesses or rocks. The hard truth that most crystals are mined in deplorable conditions that exploit both the land and workers is a serious consideration for those of us who practice witchcraft. I’m talking about actual witchcraft, not casual magick where we buy a crystal because someone tells us it will help our problem without considering how it works. I know we all love quick fixes, but witchcraft that’s effective takes effort and practice. It’s a lot more than just holding a stone in your hands while thinking good thoughts.
Confessions of a Stone Witch
I’ve recommended stones in several articles, but I’ve always felt that I needed to write about about the toxicity of “healing crystals.” For example, in Thirteen Types of Toxic Witches, I recommended stones for dealing with each harmful category. While my advice was sound, it kind of left me feeling that I was joining the toxic crystal writer club since I didn’t delve into how to actually practice stone spirit magick. I also didn’t talk about the horrors of crystal mining. So in writing about using stones to deal with toxic witches in this way, I stuck my toes in the cesspool myself.
The two lists below are my way of detoxifying. Before we get into the deleterious impacts of healing crystals and ways to practice true stone spirit witchery, I want to clearly state that I practice the latter. Stone spirits are a vital part of my personal witchcraft and I teach how to work with them.
Another confession is that I’ve loved stones since I used pebbles for childish divination. I take it personally when they are mistreated.
No one is perfect. Many of the things we use in witchery today have dubious origins, from sage that could exploit indigenous peoples to candles full of toxic chemicals. Products made in sweatshops overseas are inherently problematic. The reality is this is the world we witch in. Make your own informed decisions about how to offset the toxicity that comes with our crystals and other magickal supplies.
Ways that Healing Crystals Can Be Toxic
#7 They Often Come From Mines That Rape The Earth
I love stone spirit magick, but the exploitation that’s often involved in getting those sparkly stones to us is a real concern. If you, like me, have a few stones that may have been the result of horrific mining practices, consider correcting the damage through a donation to an environmental charity. It’s almost impossible to determine how a crystal was mined, with the exception of ones purchased from a responsible retailer.
#6 The Workers Who Harvest Them Are Usually Exploited
One way around using stones that were mined by laborers working in extremely unhealthy conditions is to harvest your own. Most American states have either public or privately owned areas where people can come collect their own crystals. Of course, irresponsible use of the land in this way can be damaging, but it’s always a better choice than a crystal retrieved by exploited workers.
#5 Much of the Information is Wrong
Honestly, many of these websites selling “healing crystals” don’t base their information on anything magickal or scientific. I know there’s a strong case to be made for intuitive witchcraft (see below). If I’m spending money to purchase something from a website or store that purports to be an expert, they better get their facts right or at least be clear that their information is based on their beliefs. Before buying a stone, find out not only how they were acquired but also what the information is based on. A crystal retailer with no basic knowledge of geology, mineralogy or correspondences is to be avoided.
#4 The Stone Spirits Are Dishonored
From the exploited laborers to the raping of the earth, through the many toxic hands that pass the crystals onto the retailers, and the greed driving the whole mess, it all dishonors the spirits of the stones. When we purchase a stone of unknown origin, the minimum we should do is to heal it through cleansing and communication before getting into our selfish uses.
#3 Lazy New Age Practice
Articles like this one extol the wonders of crystals without any real explanation of how they work or how to work with these beautiful creations. This reflects a very toxic approach to energy work that’s rampant in New Age practices: quick, easy and pretty. This approach that seems to be spreading into what some label as witchcraft deeply concerns me. If we don’t properly use stones, then our results will be random at best and disastrous at worse.
#2 Blind Acceptance Is Always Toxic
There should be no place for blind acceptance in witchcraft. I know it’s very appealing to believe that one crystal can solve all your problems, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. If you encounter someone dishing out this kind of advice, ask them what they are basing their claims on. If their answer doesn’t resonate with you, go elsewhere.
#1 Discouraging Witchcraft That Works
I certainly love insta-magick, so I get the appeal of grabbing a crystal to quickly solve a problem. While stones certainly can be part of highly effective witchery, the whole cult of crystal healing denies the practitioner their fundamental sovereign power. We are the most powerful part of any working. Crystals and all other magickal objects work for us. It’s not the other way around. Another problem is that the “healing crystals” approach can be like Kardashian witchcraft – they only care about appearance and not what’s underneath. I feel bad for the stones they have since they are being neglected for who they are, and for those who have such a tertiary approach to stones.
Ways to Practice Real Stone Spirit Magick
#7 Be An Informed Magickal Consumer
There are so many websites making claims as outrageous as their prices, such as Goop which is owned by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow. For example, one small bag of crystals on the Goop website is about $100 more than a comparable one on Amazon. I’m not advocating for shopping on either website. I am saying that both most likely come from the same sources which in all probability are sourced using vastly underpaid laborers working in desperate conditions in mines that rape the earth. Does this sound like the source of healing to you? Ask retailers about the origin of the stones and what they based their information on.
#6 Learn About Stone Spirit WitcheryWitchcraft is both an art and science. Geology and mineralogy speak to the scientific side of stone spirit witchery. Learn the basics about the different type of rocks and delve into crystalline structure if you’re so inclined. Those structures correspond to various sacred geometric shapes which is fascinating. Piezoelectricity refers to the electrical currents found in many stones. The mineral composition of stones can be related to planets and deities. For example, the granite that is ubiquitous where I live is classified as plutonic rock, so named after Pluto himself. There’s a correspondence with associated currents that I can use without spending a penny. There are some great books about crystal magick, including those by Nicholas Pearson.
#5 Follow Your Intuition
I’m always going to advocate for using a mixed-methods approach to witchcraft. It’s important to know the established properties, methods and applications for anything, including working with stones. However, when it comes right down to it, intuition is just as important. If a rock speaks to you, work with it. Seeing the world through your third eye is also a great way to get past the glamour of sparkly objects. Seeing the soul of a stone is much more beautiful.
# 4 Let the Stones Find You
Working with stones that occur naturally where we live is one way of practicing real stone spirit magick. Associated with this approach is just being more in tune with your local natural world. Open up to the possibilities around you. Get yourself outside, set an intention, and call out to the spirits of the land to share their treasures with you. Observation, one of the most important parts of witchcraft, is required. Don’t miss those stones that want to get to know you because you’re not paying attention. Purchasing second hand stones is a great way to give a spirit a welcoming home. This also works the other way: sometimes stones will disappear on their own. It’s important to contemplate why.
#3 Heal, Cleanse and Activate Stones
There are stones that are found on the beach who are clearly ready for witchery, then there are those who arrive with deep wounds. When you get a new stone, open yourself up to it’s spirit. See your energy currents reaching down into the crystalline structure. What is there that needs to be removed? There are so many ways to go about this. Psychic surgery to remove the blight is one approach. Fumigating the stone with smoke from an ethically sourced sage wand or sweetgrass braid can be very effective. Once cleansed, let the stones further recover on a bed of soil, sand or salt. Drawing the moon into stones is another way to help them rid the past. They’ve come a long way to meet you, treat them like you would any welcome weary traveler.
#2 A Little Goes A Long Way
Stones who are properly treated or healed before we start to work with them have amazing capabilities. A small pebble attuned to your purpose will yield results far superior to huge stones who have been mistreated, either through exploitation or not being properly honored by their owner. Stones can be used as correspondences in spells, potions, energy grids, and more. Seeing them as part of your magickal repertoire will ease the burden on both of you. Correspond botanicals, stones and animal spirits, and don’t forget color magick, too. This is how to construct a well woven spell that yields real results.
#1 Treat Stones Like Any Other Spirit
When we first meet someone, a gradual deepening of the connection usually leads to a sustainable relationship. Sometimes, we fall in love instantly, whether with a person or a rock. This sort of intense association often has disastrous results. To avoid this with your stones, approach them with respect beyond an initial healing session. Take it slow. One stone that’s attuned to your energy field will be more helpful than twenty who aren’t. Some stones have one specific purpose, like in a spell, while others become part of my magickal family. When a connection to a stone ends, give it a respectful farewell.
If you’re new to stone spirit witchery, read this Stone Spirit Healing Ritual for a simple way to connect with obsidian.
Read the other articles in my series exploring “Truth, Lies, & Witchcraft:”