While crystal healing is experiencing a surge of popularity through social media, it has been practiced for centuries and is tied to several different spiritual practices.
The practice of crystal healing uses crystals and stones to attract and ward off different energies. Crystals are often used in conjunction with meditation, tarot cards, and other spirituality practices. Practitioners of crystals emphasize that they are not meant to replace medical treatment, but rather should be used to heal and connect with oneself.
After having grown up collecting rocks as a kid, Jesse Tuttle developed an interest in the significance of different crystals and began buying them intentionally. Her collection ranges from crystals she’s purchased from Etsy shops or metaphysical stores to ones she’s been gifted or has found in creeks.
Tuttle, a junior studying environmental and global studies, uses crystals when she meditates and finds it comforting to keep them in her purse or pocket.
“To me, spirituality is an investment of time into improving yourself and staying connected to the present and acknowledging the negative sides of yourself,” Tuttle said. “And just feeling compassion and empathy for other people and being able to put yourself in other people’s shoes.”
For Tuttle, this self-improvement comes with becoming comfortable going down your own path — regardless of what other people think.
Wellness and spirituality
Kayla Dang, a junior majoring in human development and family studies, enjoys reading books about wellness, spirituality, meditation and mindfulness. One of the first crystals she bought was citrine to help with creativity.
“I was feeling like I was really stuck in a rut creatively,” Dang said. “At the time, I had a YouTube channel and I didn’t upload anything because I didn’t have any motivation to.”
Dang said that using crystals, along with practicing spirituality, has helped her be more in touch with nature.
“I find myself just thinking, 'Wow, these things came from the earth and they carry so much energy and that energy helps me,'” Dang said. “And it makes me more appreciative of the small things.”
For people who are looking to be more in touch spiritually, Dang advises to start by self-reflecting and ruminating on what your values are. From there, she suggests figuring out what the next steps are to connect more to yourself spiritually. When choosing crystals, she recommends holding the crystal and seeing how it feels.
Sam Bryan Jr., owner of The Crystal Garden, has been collecting crystals for 20 years. He often begins with smoky quartz and black obsidian because they can help remove negative energies from the body and aura.
“I went to a store and touched a crystal and felt some energy go from my body into the crystal and I was like 'Whoa, these crystals really do have healing energies to them,'” Bryan said.
He began meditating with crystals and educating himself on them until eventually, he began selling them at a flea market in Raleigh. Five years ago, he opened up his shop in Timberlyne in Chapel Hill.
Bryan frequents gem shows to purchase crystals, where thousands of vendors set up shop. He's visited a variety in North Carolina, Arizona, and Colorado. He's also mined for his own crystals before.
Often, customers enter The Crystal Garden looking for crystals with specific healing properties. Bryan leads customers toward a good fit for them and recommends that customers hold a crystal to see how it feels. For those looking to learn more about different crystals and their properties, he suggests the book, “The Crystal Bible.”
Bryan emphasizes that crystals should not substitute for medical or psychological care, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. However, he believes that they have healing energies that help with the holistic side of healing.
“It pleases me when customers are like, ‘Oh man, this exactly what I needed,’ or people come back a day or two later and say, 'This crystal did this for me,’” Bryan said. “It makes me happy to be able to empower crystal healing.”
Tran Nguyen, a junior studying advertising and public relations, began routinely meditating over the past year to find a calm space within herself amid everything that was going on in the world. After receiving a crystal as a gift from her psychic, she got into incorporating crystals into her individual spirituality.
The first crystals Nguyen bought were amethyst and rose quartz, meant to promote calmness, clear-headedness and self-love. She gets most of her crystals from MagikCraft Bull City Magic in Durham.
Nguyen uses different kinds of crystals depending on what kinds of energies she is trying to attract or protect herself from, putting them on her body while she meditates every morning.
With the rise of spirituality content on platforms such as TikTok, Nguyen sees spirituality as having morphed into a tool to manipulate outcomes. Rather than attempting to control outcomes in her life, Nguyen embraces detachment from the idea that you need anything to be whole and complete.
“That’s the whole point of the law of attraction," Nguyen said. "It’s that if you are in a good place in terms of your spirit and your soul and actively work to do that, then you’ll be more grateful for the things that are around you and attract things.”
But Nguyen said that sometimes, social media and crystals can be useful for introducing people to spirituality practices.
Concerns about appropriation
Nguyen, who was raised Buddhist, has concerns with the misinformation and cultural appropriation that has spread with the attention that spirituality practices have received on social media.
“The roots of Western spirituality are based in Eastern religious practices,” Nguyen said. “Make sure you’re being self-aware of the cultures and religions that you’re interacting with.”
For those who are looking to get into spirituality and meditation practices, Nguyen emphasized the importance of educating oneself and being careful while choosing where to source information.
“There are a lot of great books out there, just make sure that you research the author,” Nguyen said. “I feel like we should give those spaces to people who belong to those cultures and religions.”
Nguyen said that the hardest part about growing into your spiritual self is not being critical of your progress.
“For anyone who’s wanting to get into spirituality, don’t let the fear of being wrong scare you away from doing it,” Nguyen said. “Go into it with an open heart, and it’s a super rewarding place to be.”
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