Monday, June 18, 2018

Get your rocks clean

This post originally ran awhile ago. While I clean some things up and move them around, please enjoy some instructions on how to treat meaningful rocks.

Can't burn incense? Not a fan of having to dry off dozens of crystals after you've cleansed them? Boy howdy, do I have some crystal cleansing suggestions for you!

By now, you've probably heard about or used all kinds of methods for clearing/cleansing/purifying/retuning/etc. crystals that've been used for healing, used in ritual work, or may just have passed through many other pairs of (potentially questionable) hands. Usual advice includes letting them sit under running water, letting them sit in the sun or moonlight, covering them in earth or salt, or fuming them with burning herbs. These definitely aren't the only means of crystal cleansing, though, and may not even be the best ones at your disposal. For example:

  • Running water should never be used on minerals that are either soluble, like halite or selenite, or have the potential to leach dangerous heavy metals, like pyrite.

  • Sunlight should not be used on crystals that are prone to fading in direct sun, like amethyst, rose quarts, or other colored varieties of quartz.

  • Moonlight should not be used if you are in danger of forgetting or being unable to retrieve your crystals before sunrise, for the reason listed above.

  • Burying crystals in earth should not be used if the earth is wet and the mineral may leach toxic metals into the surrounding ground.

  • Burying crystals in salt can damage delicate ones.

  • Recaning, smudging, fumigating, etc. should not be used if you've noticed that herbs or incense tend to leave an unpleasantly "sticky" feeling on your stones. Some of the most commonly used purification herbs are also now threatened by overharvesting.

If you've got a large collection, you may have to use some crystal cleansing methods with some stones, different ones for others, and remember which goes with which to avoid ending up accidentally damaging or destroying them!

Good news is, there're a lot more methods out there than what are in all the New Agey woo books. These other cleansing methods may work just as well (if not better) for you:

  1. Cleansing with air. This is one I dig a lot. Take your stones to a place where the breeze can blow over them, or open a window. You don't need a lot of wind -- too much may move around your crystals and let them bump and chip each other. While the wind blows over them, visualize any stray energies or negativity being carried away like smoke. When the breeze passes, it will leave nothing but the cleansed stones behind.

  2. Cleansing with sound. Sound has a long history of breaking up stagnant energies and chasing negativity away. It can be from a bowl, tuning fork, bell, rattle, other instrument, or song. I've seen it written that "ascending scales purify, while descending scales banish," but experiment with what feels the most "clean" and effective to you. One note of caution, though -- don't put crystals inside singing bowls, and be careful what tones you use. Certain tones can cause crystals to crack or shatter. I like using a combination of this and air cleansing when I can, sitting stones on a table before a window that's under a bright-sounding chime.

  3. Straight-up visualization and energy cleansing. Just like you can use your intentions to program or enchant something, you can use them to cleanse things. Project your love and energy into a stone, envisioning it becoming cleansed as you do so.

  4. Cleansing with other stones. Kyanite, selenite, and citrine are three stones that supposedly never need cleansing, but I do mine anyway. Selenite is also frequently used to cleanse and charge other stones by setting them atop slabs of it. If you can find selenite sand, you can set other crystals in it to let it absorb any nastiness. I don't necessarily hold with the idea that there are stones that never need to be cleansed, but your mileage may vary.

There's crystal cleansing with water, earth, and air. The only element I don't recommend trying to use is fire -- not only can it be complicated, if not dangerous, to try to pass small stones through a candle flame, heat can damage some crystals. Visualizing fire burning away negative energy is a pretty effective technique, but working with actual fire is probably going to end up just being an enormous buttpain.

Crystals and other minerals should always be thorough cleaned before being cleansed. For non-soluble, non-leaching stones, I use some cool water and a couple of drops of castile soap to get rid of fingerprint oils, dust, etc. I don't recommend that for clusters, though, since there's no way of knowing how well the base rock will hold up to immersion in liquid (with some heat-treated stones, the answer is"not at all"). For soluble minerals or stones that may leach, use a soft cloth instead. For crystal clusters, use a soft brush or some canned air to blow dust out of tiny cracks and crevices. Once they're all shiny and ready to go again, any of the techniques above can help get them ready to work.


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