What are the main benefits of crystals?
Crystals are decorative, potent and fascinating. They have magical powers and properties. They generate, store, regulate, transmit and transform energy - a quartz crystal can run a watch or a radio and crystal lasers are now being used in surgery. Putting out 'good vibes' crystals harmonize the atmosphere, or your body. Taking in energy, they cleanse the environment and your aura, and provide protection. Many crystals, such as Black Tourmaline or Amazonite, have a structure that absorbs energy. This means that the crystal holds onto detrimental energies such as electromagnetic 'smog', or negative thoughts and ill-wishing, and counteracts the detrimental effect. Crystals can be programmed to radiate 'good vibes' out into your environment, which makes them ideal for enhancing your home, your car or workplace. They can attract prosperity, love, friendship and anything you can imagine into your life. The ability of crystals to focus energy means that they can be used for specific tasks, such as directing healing energy to a point on the body or to an emotional blockage. Crystals divine the future and much more. By harnessing the unique beauty of crystals you can change your life. They can bring you everything your heart desires - if you know how to access their power. Crystals are often used for healing. Healing, in this respect, does not mean 'to make better', it means to improve well being and to make you feel good, although, in ancient and medieval times, crystals were actually ground up and administered as medicines.
Have our ancestors shaped the way crystals are used today?
Absolutely. Crystals have been used for thousands of years not only for adornment but also for healing and to influence the course of life. Ancient peoples believed crystals were gifts from the gods and that they actually carried the essence of a god or goddess. Amber beads have been found in graves over 8000 years old, for instance, and amber is still used as a protective stone today. Their magical properties have been recognised in every culture and were used by shamans, healers, magicians and astrologers so there's an enormous body tradition behind their use today. I'm doing a masters degree in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology and am researching the origins of birthstones as a follow on to my book The Crystal Zodiac. I'm presently back in ancient Mesopotamia, about 4000 years ago, and some of the birthstones were already in use then to attract the favour of the gods and to provide healing - hematite, which contains iron, was sacred to Mars and was used to treat blood conditions, exactly as today. In ancient Egypt crystals formed an important part of medical practice. In India, the Vedic remedial gems associated with the planets have been used for at least 3000 years and probably much longer.
How can people discover the magic of crystals and gemstones in their everyday life?
Crystals come in all shapes and sizes. Some are shining, glamorous - and sometimes expensive. Others are rough pieces, seemingly dull - until you know their secrets. A diamond or ruby could be overlooked in its raw state. Many stones are tumbled, cut or faceted to enhance their appearance, but work just as well in their natural form. So you can easily slip a crystal into your pocket or under your pillow and let it do its work.
For a crystal to work its magic, it must be magnetised to your energies. This aligns the crystal to your intent. It helps focus upon precisely what you want your crystal to do and ensures that the crystal will carry out its task. It is intention that makes magic work. Dedicating a crystal greatly enhances the effectiveness of the crystal and ensures that good comes from its use. Take it home, run it under the tap to cleanse its energies, and then hold it in both hands and programme it to respond to you by dedicating it to your specific purpose.
Love radiates out from many crystals and stones can be gently romantic as in the case of Rose Quartz or powerfully erotic like Red Jasper. They attract a soulmate or put a zing into an existing relationship. Crystals change how you feel about yourself, making you more open to love. You can feel love radiating out from many crystals and, worn over the heart, such stones can be very soothing. They have a gentle energy that helps you to accept and love yourself - a prerequisite to being loved by someone else. One of the most enjoyable ways to experience crystal love is to take a bath with your favourite stone. Choose one that radiates out the qualities you seek: passion, romance, self-love, healing for your heart, for instance. Cleanse the crystal and place it in the water, to which you can add a few drops of rose oil. Take a long, hot soak and absorb the energies. If you share the bath with your partner, so much the better. At night, slip the stone under your pillow to reinforce its effects.
Any other advice for first time crystal and gemstone users?
The crystal that speaks to you is the one for you. A crystal does not have to be expensive or rare to be effective. Size and appearance matter little when it comes to crystal power. Don't be fooled by bright, shiny and big. These are not necessarily the most effective. Small, misshapen and less attractive crystals often have the same power - and cost a great deal less. When you visit a crystal shop, notice which crystal catches your eye first. It will probably be the one for you. If you are looking for a specific crystal, plunge your hand into a tub and the one that sticks to your hand has your name on it.
Remember that every body is different - we all radiate different frequencies, we have different attitudes, different family patterns. So there is no one magic 'cure all' crystal (although the many varieties of Quartz come close!). What works for you won't necessarily work for your friend, but there will be another one that does. So don't be afraid to experiment and to use crystals intuitively rather than following what someone else tells you is the way to do it - having said that, I've written several books to help you find the right way for you.
And remember also that many seemingly simple illnesses are really 'dis-eases'. There is an underlying emotional, mental or spiritual condition that is manifesting as an illness to draw your attention to itself. Crystals gently address these underlying conditions and bring you back into holistic balance: which the definition of healing I prefer.
One very important thing, crystals absorb negative energies so they need regular cleaning otherwise they become overstressed and stop working. The easiest way to do this is to hold them under running water for a few minutes and then put them out in the sun to recharge. They can also be put into brown rice or salt (but not if they are layered or friable) overnight or placed on a large Quartz cluster or Carnelian to cleanse and re-energise.
Are crystals and gemstones finally being recognised for the wonderful advantages they can offer?
Yes, I think the success of my books such as the Crystal Bible shows that more and more people are recognising the value of crystals. In England nowadays virtually every town has a crystal shop and they all report people coming in asking for a stone to take away a headache, attract love and so on, which is why, in addition to The Crystal Healing Pack, I've also compiled Crystal Prescriptions which gives you healing stones for every possible ailment and desire.
Enjoy your crystals!
For more about crystals and workshops visit Judy Hall's website http://www.judyhall.co.uk