In the past few years, an interesting phenomenon has caught on: men and women, in increasingly large numbers, are coming out of the closet about crystal healing.
Crystals, if you believe this cohort, are an ancient healing method, believed by spiritual gurus to have magical healing properties and energies. For instance, white Selenite is claimed to be able to clear unwanted energy and make way for creativity and productivity in your life. Need to keep bad spirits away? Place Black Tourmaline near your genitals, or wear it as a pendant necklace, to diffuse anxiety and pray the bad juju away. The list goes on and on—there are so many different crystals, each with their own healing powers, it’s dizzying trying to keep them all-straight. Just walk into your neighborhood kooky crystal shop, where the smell of burning sage and Palo Santo hits your nostrils the minute you step inside, and you’ll find buckets of gemstones in every nook and cranny with barely legible descriptions scribbled out on notecards and, sometimes, no descriptions at all.
While these spiritual wellness practices, from meditation to reiki to crystals, have long been the terrain of the New Age set, they've suddenly gone mainstream, even hip, thanks to growing legions of fashion designers, beauty and fitness gurus, and celebrities who have openly gone down the rabbit hole and joined the crystal cult.
“It’s almost like having a dirty little secret, like can you believe gemstones are real? It’s like believing in fairies or something,” said the New York-based jewelry designer Anna Sheffield, who regularly incorporates gemstones into her pieces. “But then you look around or bring it up in a meeting and then somebody pulls one out and says, ‘I never leave the house without this.’ Or, ‘I am wearing this necklace right now because I feel like I needed balance or something.’”
Adele attributed her stellar comeback show last year at London’s 02 Arena to her crystals. She later blamed her botched 2016 Grammys performance on her misplaced crystals. “The Grammys came and I lost my f--king crystals,” she said in an interview with The Sun, calling it “the worst, most disastrous performance” she had ever done.
Star fitness instructor Taryn Toomey, who also has a jewelry line made of crystals favorited by actresses like Jennifer Aniston, embedded amethyst, clear quartz, and rose quartz beneath the floors of her New York workout studio, so as to protect and balance the energetic flow of the space.
Then there's Victoria Beckham, who has crystals, specifically Rose Quartz (supposedly good for creativity, calm and love) and Black Tourmaline, backstage before her fashion shows. “If I told you my backstage rituals, and was honest you would think I was a little weird. I carry my crystals with me, which some people might think as odd, but it works for us,” she said in an interview in 2014.
Cut to a few years later and in 2017 it’s anything but odd. In fact, carrying crystals at all times, keeping them in every room of your house or office space (fashion designers keep them in their studios, chefs keep them in their kitchens, etc.), regularly practicing crystal healing therapies, and, natch, posting about your crystal obsession on Instagram (a la Moon Juice queen, Amanda Chantal Bacon) might be the new normal.
“I wore smoky quartz for days after the presidential election,” said Sheffield. “I just needed to be grounded and purified. I felt like my head was going to explode, so I just wore my smoky quartz and carried the Apache Tear in my pocket wherever I went.”
According to Sheffield, you get more energy from crystals when they touch your skin rather than when they sit in a room. But these days, crystal healing seems to come in all different forms beyond jewelry and decor. There's crystal bed therapies, crystal massage treatments, beauty products made with crystals and even something called "sacred intuitive tattooing," offered at Earth Alter Studio in Eagle Rock, Calif., where the needle is attached to a crystal (hand selected for each client) to infuse the ink with intention and evoke healing through the tattoo process. (Such healing starts at $200-plus per session.)
L.A.-based holistic beauty guru Shiva Rose, who has been obsessed with crystals since she was a little girl, incorporates crystals into all different elements of her life, from her beauty line to her personal life.
“I have a little pouch that someone gave me and I carry a few crystals in it all the time, like a Rose Quartz for love, Amethyst for healing, Aquamarine for the ocean, and Apophyllite. I also have a new Moonstone—that’s all about the Third Eye,” she said. “I also have a couple altars in my home, one in my bedroom and one in my dining room, each with my favorite crystals and other things from the natural world.” And in her work space, she has a big Rose Quartz, as well as Amethyst, Quartz, Black Tourmaline for protection and Moonstone “to bring in the other realms.” Additionally! (Yes, there's more. ) she regularly bathes with her crystals. “I realized they work on such an energetic level and I do a lot of bath rituals, so I thought it would be great to add some crystals for whatever it is I am trying to clear,” she explained.
Parker Posey, Zoë Kravitz, Patrick Stewart, Hannah Bronfman, Melanie Laurent and Monique Lhuillier have all turned to Kalisa Augustine, a Brooklyn-based natural healer for crystal therapy. During her one-and-a-half-hour Crystal Light Bed Therapy healing sessions ($300 a pop), Augustine helps her clients work through everything from relationship issues to traumas to insomnia as they lay on the crystal bed. As they talk, she looks for energetic root blockages that would affect what they are experiencing.
“The sessions are a multi-sensory experience where the senses and their energy are being touched and I’m guiding them through meditation while I am playing sound bowls to get them to relax and into that healing state and then I go into the energy work,” she said, adding that people do an energy clearing session every four to six weeks as a general rule of thumb, or more if you are going under a major transformation in your life.
The benefits of the crystal bed therapy sessions, according to Augustine, include clarity of thought, elevated energy levels, decreased depression and anxiety, and spiritual transformation. “The most common thing I hear is ‘I feel lighter,’” said Augustine. Plenty of clients have experienced major transformational results. “I had someone come in with sex addiction and then it’s gone. People have come in with chest pains and said they went to the doctor and couldn’t figure out why it was happening and then it’s gone.” (Though, to state the obvious, if you do have chest pains, get them checked out by a medically-trained doctor first.)
On the more extreme end of things, there are even crystal sex toys on the market these days, like Chakrubs, which are made from 100 percent pure crystal “to bring a sense of sacredness to your playtime,” according to the website. They have everything from Rose Quartz dildos to Yoni Eggs, an ancient Chinese practice used by women that’s intended to strengthen their feminine sexual prowess. “It can help with hormones and fertility. It can release trauma,” Rose, who uses them and also sells Yoni Eggs on her site, told W in an earlier interview.
This all raises a valid if confounding question: Why now? Why is it that crystals and all things related to so-called "high vibrational living," which for so long had a patchouli-scented stigma around them, have struck a chord with the zeitgeist? Why are people are going nuts for all things crystal? Among the enlightened, if you will, there's a school of thought that we are all on our phones too much, our lives are oversaturated, and as a culture we’re grasping for ways to declutter and cleanse our physical (why do you think Marie Kondo has been so successful?) and emotional lives through these practices. They say Americans are looking to go deeper inward in a time when our outside lives are so intense, and crystals are a vehicle to help you do that.
"All I have to say is the old s--t ain’t working," said Augustine. "The systems we have in place aren’t deep enough and people are just ready for deeper meaning.”
Rose likened it to the stigma that once surrounded feng shui. “We used to not really believe in feng shui and now everyone does it. Crystals are sort of the next level to that,” she said. “It’s a whole new way of thinking. People are gravitating towards it because it works and they are hungry for it and it’s familiar. Going back to what we used to do as tribes, it’s calling into parts of our souls that have been locked.”
Crystals, as an industry, have also received a much-needed image update that appeals to the jet set, thanks to high-end crystal shops in L.A. like Place 8 Healing and Spellbound Sky; newly minted crystal brands with designer packaging, like Advisory Board Crystals by former Band of Outsiders employees Remington Guest and Heather Haber; and beautiful new apps like the sleek, crystal glossary app Stone by crystal enthusiasts Laura Nolte and Andrew Smart, “designed to bring a little light to modern life” by making it easy for crystal enthusiasts to find exactly what crystal they need at any moment.
“The books on crystals get way too hippie, or they talk about celestial energies to the point where you don’t even know what they are talking about. I just want to know if this crystal with help me in love, or at work, or if it will motivate me,” said Nolte, who was formerly the marketing director for The Standard Hotels until her recent move to Amsterdam. “Andy and I started talking about crystals and how people are getting so into them, but there is no modern crystal source. With Stone, we wanted to create something really sexy, something we wanted to look at and something that aligns with all the other apps we download, like Headspace, the meditation app.”
Of Stone, Sheffield said, “I feel like there aren’t many places where you can easily get information on crystals like it. There are sites that have information, but they are pretty weird. They’ll say things like, ‘Wear this crystal while traveling on horseback’ or something. I don’t travel on horseback very often,” she said. Even if you don’t own the crystals yet, it’s supposedly beneficial to just look at the images of them. “You might need that crystal’s energy right then and there, so you just pull our your phone and look at the picture on the app. That’s pretty cool,” Sheffield added.
Could it all just be a big placebo? Sure. But placebos themselves can have a therapeutically psychic effect. As 2017 gets underway, Augustine suggests getting an Ametrine, a combination of an Amethyst and Citrine. “Citrine brings that new life and energy and mojo to get going again, and Amethyst connects you to your higher self and divine energy,” she said. “It connects you to your highest potential. Just don’t forget to charge and cleanse your crystals, bathe them in moonlight, and use your energy and breath with them, it’s all very important.”
That's right, now that you have your crystals, you have to take care of them too, like an inanimate pet.
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