How to Incorporate Crystals into Your Everyday Life

Crystals are commonly used to balance the seven chakras, which are considered the energy centers providing an individual's emotional and physical functions. SHUTTERSTOCK

This article along with others on mastering your mind, body and soul connection are featured in Newsweek Special Edition: Spiritual Living.

So-called "precious" and "semi-precious" stones have cast an ethereal spell over mankind since before civilization. Such gemstones as could be found by our hunter-gatherer ancestors held deep spiritual value, deserving of a reverence that led to their eventual use in commerce. "A love of crystals, gemstones, minerals—or just plain rocks—is a natural instinct we as humans have from a very young age," explains Veronica Bero, owner of The Bodhi Tree crystal shops, upstate New York's primary destinations for spiritual ephemera. "As children we are drawn to rocks. We pick up driveway rocks—much to the chagrin of our mothers, who often find them in the washing machine. What is it that draws us to this little crumb of earth? What makes it special?" According to Bero this phenomenon is simply explained: "Energy. Children are open to and tend to feel energy better than adults; after all, most adults have many years of conditioning that seeing equals believing," she says. "However, if you are willing to suspend that conditioning, the subtle energy of crystals can make a huge difference in your day to day life."

When the agricultural revolution brought us together and took away the constant need for movement along with the herds that fed us, the roles of precious and semi-precious stones evolved from the hunter-gatherer concepts more primitive humans adhered to. Crystals were still objects to be revered, but now this concept often came in the form of ornamentation. Stones like Carnelian and Garnet in addition to Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire and Jade, held pride of place as symbols of power worn by civil and religious authorities. The beauty of these crystals was meant to draw the eyes of commoners to the finery of their "betters," but the stones' proximity to the skin of these privileged aristocrats had uses besides beauty and earthly power. "Everyone has an energy field around them," says Bero. "Think about close talkers—those people who get way too close to you when they are having a conversation with you. The reason that bothers you is they are in your personal space, i.e. your energy field." Bero, and an increasing number of people across the globe, believe crystals have an energy field around them as well. "When you pick up a crystal and put it in your pocket, you are adding the energy of that crystal into your own," she says. "This crystal energy builds up your own aura—or energy field. I call it a spiritual back brace." The idea of expanding one's aura through crystals may have been the reason for the crystal and the gemstone's place of prestige among ancient cultures as well as the recent resurgence in their use by spiritualists.

According to Judy Hall's The Crystal Bible, each of the stones revered by our ancestors had a sacred meaning: "Their healing properties were as important as their ability to adorn." Some of the same crystals used in antiquity during the golden ages of China and Egypt are used today for healing, but in addition to these old standbys, centuries of seeking, discovering and tinkering by the metaphysically minded have added new names like Phenacite and Larimar to the well-worn ranks of Amethyst, Quartz and Onyx, creating an arsenal of crystals with new uses in a new age. According to true believers like Bero, the reason for the continued importance of such an elemental technique in an increasingly modern and technologically dependent world is that these crystals are not inanimate objects—they are living, growing beings like plants. "How do these crystals and minerals have energy fields? What makes their energies so unique? This is the part that blows people's minds and probably the part I love most," Bero continues. "Crystals are actually alive. I know it sounds crazy, but they live and grow. A geode cut in two [with its halves] set facing each other will over a very long time grow back together. Some crystals still growing in the earth are more than 1.2 billion years old."

Early humans might have been drawn to crystals and precious stones because of their beauty, but this early fascination soon became attached to religious, alchemical and metaphysical journeys of soul searching and spiritual improvement that continue to this day. Whether using crystals for physical healing, emotional well-being or simply a more complete life, Bero sees this direct link to our ancestors and their beliefs as nothing short of divine intervention. "The crystals and minerals of the earth are often so beautiful that we as human beings simply have to pick them up. It is in picking them up and keeping them with us that their beautiful, subtle energy gets to work on our energy fields. It makes sense that they are a divine gift," says Bero. "Anyone waking up to the energy, I encourage you to follow your instincts, pick up the crystals that seem to call to you, even if you don't know why yet."

Should you choose to follow Bero's advice and invest in crystals as a form of healing, be sure to heed her final warning: "Remember to take them out of your pockets before putting them in the washing machine."

This article was excerpted from Newsweek Special Edition: Spiritual Living. For the ultimate guide to all things metaphysical and to discover the secret to peace and happiness pick up a copy today.

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