From cell phones to satellites, crystals are critical elements of practically every tech-y item in the modern world. Colleen McCann, a certified shamanic energy medicine practitioner, emphasizes the importance of both the scientific and the more mystical aspects of crystals. Previously a fashion stylist (her appreciation for beautiful things is immediately apparent when you see her at work with crystals), McCann has traveled the world to research crystal traditions across cultures and history. Today, she divides her time between the coasts, conducting crystal readings, space clearing and balancing, shamanic healing, and intuitive business coaching sessions.
Here, she breaks down the eight significant crystals, inspired by a shaman’s medicine bag. McCann personally clears every stone of previous energy it may have been carrying (more on a crystal’s energy, below), and puts positive intentions and blessings into each one.
A Q&A on Crystals with Colleen McCann
Q Why and how are crystals so powerful? A This is where science and mysticism intersect: Crystals are millions of years old and were forged during the earliest part of the earth’s formation. I think of crystals as a timeless database of knowledge, because they retain all the information they have ever been exposed to. Crystals absorb information—whether a severe weather pattern or the experience of an ancient ceremony—and pass it to anyone that comes into contact with them.
Scientifically, crystals are the most orderly structure that exists in nature, meaning they have the lowest amount of entropy (a measurement of disorder). Crystals are structured in such a way that they respond to the inputs of all different energies around them, so they oscillate, emitting specific vibratory frequencies. The way they are balanced, the frequencies they emit, and their ability to store a tremendous amount of information make crystals essential to modern technologies. This is why there are crystals in computers, TVs, cell phones, satellites, and so on.
People have been attracted to crystals since the dawn of time for burial rites, divination practices, healing rituals, spiritual advancement, and even simply as decoration to connote power. Our ancestors intuitively knew that when worn, the energies of the stones would interact with the human electromagnetic field to bring about energetic changes. People gravitate towards vortexes (where energy is either entering into the earth or projecting out of the earth’s plane) like Stonehenge and Sedona because these ancient and massive magical rocks sit on top of energetic ley lines—making them, in effect, an energy portal or place of power. People choose to wear diamonds as a sign of binding two people together (diamonds are the most indestructible natural substance on earth), and adorn the crowns of royals with crystals.
Q How do you select good crystals? A Every crystal type has a different purpose, so it depends on what you’re looking for. Some stones may be best used to heal the body or to tap intuition during meditation, while other stones are used in technology or as a part of building structures. (See below for the powers of eight different crystals.) That said: Through my travels, I meet vendors from all over the world, and I source my crystals from vendors I trust. Knowing the lineage of a crystal is somewhat akin to knowing where the meat you’re eating came from or certifying that your engagement ring isn’t a blood diamond. Everything carries an energy in it; you want to have the most positive, clean, and clear energies in your crystal. I always ask crystal store owners where they get their stones, how they harvest the stones, and if they know any physical history about the stone I am choosing. Most importantly, though: If a crystal is yours, then it will speak to you. The stone may get hot in your hand, it can send tingles into your arm, or you might feel a third-eye buzz. Trust your intuition when a stone is yours. If it doesn’t feel quite right, then go with your gut—it’s not meant for you. If you feel that a crystal is yours, but it’s physically dirty or maybe just needs an energetic bath, you can follow the cleansing steps below.
Q Is there a particular way to care for crystals? A Crystals that live on altars should be cleaned on average once a month. If you wear a crystal or meditate with a crystal daily, it should be cleaned once a week. (Instructions below.) Cleaning is necessary because it removes any dense or stale energy the crystal may have picked up in its environment, or from you. It’s like washing our faces to remove dirt and debris. If someone else touches your crystal—which you want to avoid—it needs to be cleaned immediately before you wear it or use it again. People automatically want to touchstones, as they are pretty, shiny—and filled with your personal, sparkly energy. A crystal becomes personally attuned to you and nobody else should put their vibration or energy on it. Look at it this way: Would you share mascara or a toothbrush? There are a few different ways to clean stones—you can do any of the following:
Bury them in dirt for a week. Returning your crystals and stones to the earth allows them to cleanse and recharge with the vibration of the earth.
Wash them in water: Salt purifies and absorbs negative energy. Use salt on it's own without water (Note: Some crystals disintegrate when wet. Common stones that can’t get wet include: amber, turquoise, red coral, fire opal, moonstone, calcite, kyanite, kunzite, Angelite, azurite, selenite. A good rule of thumb: Many stones that end in “ite” are not water-friendly.)
Leave the crystals out in the moonlight for three days prior and three days after the full moon (or for at least 24 hours). Lunar energy helps cleanse and charge the stones, and the moon’s light is brightest and energetically strongest during the full moon.
Wipe them with a soft cloth and isopropyl alcohol to remove fingerprints and to sanitize.
Burn sage and run the stone through the smoke because it is purifying.
Q What are the crystals to know? A BLACK OBSIDIAN CRYSTALS Superpowers
This first chakra (the root) stone helps you feel more grounded. Mystical Homework
Put black obsidian in your pillowcase, on your nightstand, or fall asleep with it in your hand to help decompress and ground yourself at the end of the day.
Where It’s Sourced
Anywhere there are high amounts of volcanic activity, in places like the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Iceland, Russia, New Zealand, Japan, and Kenya. CARNELIAN CRYSTALS Superpowers
Fans of the product say carnelian, second (sacral) chakra stone, provides emotional support for female reproductive issues, supporting girls at menarche and women of all ages to value and respect their life-making ability.*
Pack your carnelian with your tampons! Menstruation is governed by the cycles of the moon, hence the phrase moontime, and the reason women used to sit in moon lodges and bleed together. When you feel PMS coming, hold the carnelian in your hand as much as you can. It is also helpful to lie down and put carnelian on your abdomen during that time of the month.
Where It’s Sourced
Brazil, Uruguay, India, Madagascar, United States. CITRINE CRYSTALS Superpowers
A stone of the third chakra, which is the energetic power center of the body, citrine catapults a woman into embracing a leadership role, making things happen in business. It is associated with creativity and wealth. Citrine can assist with standing firmly within your personal power, self-confidence, and establishing healthy boundaries in every area of your life.
Citrine is great for a thirty-day Abundance Altar: Place the piece of citrine on top of a stack of clean, crisp $1-bills on your desk. (I do one hundred $1-bills.) The new bills symbolize that money coming in has fresh energy on it. (This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “dirty money.”) In addition to the citrine, add other items to your altar that symbolize power and abundance to you. It could be a small statue of Goddess Lakshmi (the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity); or perhaps a picture of someone you really admire in business; or in the Chinese Buddhist Feng Shui tradition, you could add a small money tree to your altar as green represents money, prosperity, and growth. After you’re done decorating your Abundance Altar, it is ready to be activated. Make a ceremony out of this occasion. Burn some sage or palo santo to clear the air and take some time in front of your altar for positive visualizations of what you would like to call into your career. Thoughts are very powerful, and if we put positive energy behind our thoughts than we can more quickly manifest what we want. You can also hold the money and citrine in your hands as you visualize. Repeat this ritual for thirty days. (If you really want to go whole hog: Within Feng Shui, everyone has a “success direction” in their Bagua Chart. Locate your success direction here before beginning the thirty-day ritual and put your Abundance Altar in that corner of your home.)
Where It’s Sourced
Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, Argentina, Bolivia, France, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Uruguay, Zambia.
ROSE QUARTZ CRYSTALS Superpowers
Rose Quartz activates the heart (fourth) chakra and promotes positive energy. It enhances all types of love: self-love, love for others, and unconditional love. This tiny but mighty baby-pink wonder raises self-esteem, restores confidence, helps with emotional balance, and releases stress/tension/anger.
You can make a mystical love spray with rose quartz: First, clean your rose quartz crystal using sage, or salt and sand as mentioned above. Place your rose quartz in a glass bowl of filtered water, in direct sunlight from sunup to sundown. Then, pour the crystal-charged water into a glass mister bottle, and add 22 drops of argan oil (jojoba and almond oil also work well), and 11 drops of rose oil. Give it a shake, and mist yourself whenever you feel like you need a little pick-me-up in the love department. In addition to the positive vibes of rose quartz, you’ll also benefit from the rose oil, which is super good for your skin.
Where It’s Sourced
United States, Germany, Brazil, Madagascar, India. LAPIS LAZULI CRYSTALS Superpowers
The fifth chakra (throat) stone promotes speaking one’s truth with grace, ease, and confidence. Mystical Homework Have a fear of public speaking? Use lapis lazuli as your worry stone: Hold the stone in your left hand when practicing your speech, the day of your speech, and when it’s your turn to get up to the mic. Let your anxieties release into the stone.
Where It’s Sourced
Brazil, Uruguay, India, Madagascar, United States. CLEAR QUARTZ CRYSTALS Superpowers
The seventh chakra stone (the crown of the head), clear quartz is known as the master healer. It amplifies the energy, thoughts, and vibrations of other crystals. It’s used for connecting you with your higher self, intuition, and spirit guides.
Where It’s Sourced
Brazil, United States, Swiss Alps, Himalayas, Peru, Madagascar. AMETHYST CRYSTALS Superpowers
Ever wonder why crystal stores often have a giant purple amethyst geode in the corner of the room? Amethyst rids negative energy within a room, and also keeps “energy vampires” out of your personal space. Amethyst is a stone of the sixth (third eye) and seventh (crown) chakras: It is super high-vibration (in addition to being super pretty); it helps us tap into our intuition and connect us to the higher planes of existence.
Drop amethyst into your water filter pitcher or bottle and just drink the water. Amethyst is absolutely safe to drink (some crystals are NOT so please check a reliable source before ingesting gem water). Make sure to clean your amethyst before putting it into water, though (see details above).
Where It’s Sourced
Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Siberia, Canada, India, Bolivia, Argentina, Zambia, United States. CHRYSOCOLLA CRYSTALS Superpowers
Also known as the Goddess Stone, chrysocolla is associated with the fourth (heart) and fifth (throat) chakras. It aids women in embracing their divine feminine power through strong communication, self-expression, empowerment, and education. While it stimulates the mind, calming effects allow truth and inner wisdom to surface and be heard. It emphasizes the power that our words and actions have on those around us, and encourages compassion and strengthening of character. It brings forth prosperity and eagle-eye discernment in business by enhancing analytical and intuitive abilities. As it is the stone of goddesses, high priestesses, and medicine women everywhere, those who resonate with chrysocolla will feel its ancient energies and connection with indigenous wisdom traditions.
It’s time to put that goddess voice to work and help raise our collective vibration by showing some love. Every day for the next thirty days, tell another woman how much you respect who she is, or what she does—or make a long overdue apology if you need to. Once you have spoken to that woman (be it mom, best friend, colleague, or stranger), find a quiet place to sit and hold your crystal in your right hand (again, we send energy out of our right side). Visualize sending that woman some extra good vibes for a few minutes. According to universal law, what you put out is what will come back to you, so if you need a little love in your life, the best thing you can do is pay it forward to others.
Where It’s Sourced
Israel, Zaire, Chile, England, Mexico, Peru, Russia, United States.
* An earlier version of this story stated that the benefits of carnelian were fact, when they are the opinion of fans of the product. It also stated that the product aids shame around female body parts and sexual trauma, when that is also the opinion of some fans of the product.