I can’t actually remember my first crystal. As a child I loved anything small and shiny and had pockets, bags and jewellery boxes full of special trinkets, shells and stones, many of them crystals acquired in seaside souvenir shops on summer trips to see my grandparents in Cornwall. I know I had lots of them but none of them stand out as particularly significant in my memory. Likewise, my ’90s tarot card days were more about magic spells and sky-gazing than they were about crystals. But I do remember the first time I felt the ‘power’ of a crystal, if that is even the right term.
I don’t know where my power crystal came from originally but it was a small rose quartz palm stone (I still have it) that had been knocking around underwear drawers and memento boxes for years. It’d moved house with me multiple times, from a council estate in Mile End (my first London abode) to a flat-share in Finsbury Park, my now-husband’s flat in Spitalfields, on to a boat on the Thames (while we lived briefly lived in separate cities) and finally to Bristol, where we moved after our wedding in 2008. I remember picking up that crystal every time I packed for a move or had a clear out and always deciding to keep it.
I found out why when I was pregnant with my first child. It was a breeze of a pregnancy and I was running around London writing for Time Out like nothing had changed. I took a rare day off work to have my 20-week scan and was looking forward to finding out whether we were having a boy or a girl, going out for lunch and buying some sort of horrendously gender stereotyped onesie as a memento of the day.
As I rummaged through my drawers for socks that morning, I came across the stone again but this time, instead of leaving it where it was, I picked it up and put it in my pocket (partly, I think, because it was pink and I was secretly wishing for a girl). So, to cut a long story short, that piece of rose quartz was what I was holding in my hand when the radiographer started explaining that there was an anomaly on the scan. Thud. Back down to earth. No more plain sailing.
We were lucky. This story has a very happy (nine-year-old girl) ending, but while I stressed and waited and googled myself into a frenzy, finally ending up in hospital with threatened premature labour at 29 weeks, that piece of rose quartz was with me. It became a talisman. And I came to believe that there was a reason it’d come with me on the morning of the scan. It defied all logic and made my scientifically-minded head explode a bit, but I felt like that crystal was a symbol that everything would be ok in the end. So I held on to it and I wished on it and packed it in my hospital bag and made sure it didn’t leave my side until my tiny daughter eventually arrived earth-side, healthy and heartbreakingly beautiful, right on her due date.
Rose quartz is known as the love stone, a calming, gentle, peaceful crystal that’s said to encourage love (including self love), romance, compassion, balance and forgiveness. It’s recommended as a stone for use in pregnancy to help a mother connect with her unborn child.
Now, I’m not saying that running around reviewing bars and restaurants was the wrong thing for me to be doing while I was pregnant (I don’t believe that for a SECOND) but maybe there’s something in the idea that I hadn’t really connected to the great change that lay ahead (note: I KNOW that nothing I did or didn’t do caused that scan anomaly). I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that something bigger than me made me pick up that crystal that day. And the way I felt when I held it – calm, grounded, ready for whatever lay ahead – was definitely real.
Is that, right there, mystical thinking in action? Is it possible that there could have even been an element of healing? I always try to maintain an open mind to things that don’t make sense to me or I don’t fully understand but crystals are one aspect of the spiritual world that – despite the story above – I’m yet to be totally convinced by.
I mean, I LOVE them. They’re beautiful. I want them to wear them, have them around me and see them in my house. And I very much believe in the power of talismans. I give crystals to my children for this purpose all the time, shiny good luck charms tucked away in coat pockets to hold on to when friends are mean or teachers get tough. In fact, my rose quartz nine-year-old has quite a collection herself now. She even chose to put crystals in the party bags for her friends on her last birthday.
But healing? Really? Vibrations? Umm… Energy flow? What does that even mean? Can a pretty stone really release negativity, ward of illness and make you a better person? Is it just a case of suspending belief a bit harder than I am right now? Is it total rubbish? Do I just not get it? What’s it all about?
I have two crystals by my side as I write this, a piece of shiny clear quartz and a smooth grey banded agate. Both I picked out for myself while funding one of my daughter’s crystal purchasing sessions, simply because I liked the look of them. The quartz is the planet’s most powerful healing and energy amplifying stone, an ancient symbol of light, clarity and focus. The grey agate is said to offer protection, a sense of balance and help with overcoming addictions. Sounds great but do they really have that kind of power?
It occurred to me while writing this that I also wear two star sapphire rings every day – stones that for some reason I feel compelled to touch every time I wake up in the middle of the night – yet have never thought to research their meaning. In fact, I very nearly chose a star sapphire for my engagement ring. And even though I plumped for diamond tradition in the end, I remember feeling an instant connection to the pearly grey ‘asterism’ stones my jeweller showed me when I said my favourite colour was “probably grey.” The rings (both given to me by my amazing Greek mother-in-law, who has some impressive psychic powers of her own) are definitely among my most prized possessions and, as it turns out, have the most fabulously mystical meaning.
Star sapphires are said to increase clarity, clairvoyance and help us understand the intentions of others. They bring a cheerful disposition to any situation, boost psychic powers and help users to stay on a spiritual path. How perfect is that for a year of mystical thinking? Between them and the amethyst bracelet I’ve found myself wearing recently (my birth month/zodiac stone and another crystal strongly linked to clairvoyance and intuition), I might just work out this crystal thing after all.
So much more to come on this one.
Beautiful images c/o Crystal Muse