More and more of us are getting drawn to crystals – and for good reasons! Not only are they beautiful, but across times and cultures, many have felt that the energetic qualities of crystals can support them in their day-to-day lives and wellness.
But once you get one, what do you do with it? Lots of people talk about cleansing, charging, attuning their crystals – what does it all mean and how do you do it? I imagine there are as many responses to this question as there are people who work with crystals, but for what it’s worth, here’s my approach.
When I first get a new stone, I like to cleanse it. The idea of cleansing a stone is to release any negative energy that it may have absorbed before it got to you. There’s a few different ways of doing this.
Smudging – This is where you get some white sage, lavender, palo santo, eucalyptus leaves, sweet grass (or another aromatic dried plant!), light it, and then move your stone through the smoke. You can purchase smudging sticks for this purpose from health food stores or crystal stores, or make your own. You can also use incense, if you prefer. The concept is that by moving the stone through the smoke, the smoke attracts the negativity and draws it away from the stone itself. It’s a good idea to have a window or door open when you do this (or the air conditioner at a pinch) to draw the smoke away so you’re not just wafting it around your home! The great advantage of smudging is that it is really quick – and will make your home smell nice! I really enjoy the ritual of it, too.
Moonlight – This can cleanse a stone and also charge it up! Placing a stone on a window sill or outside during the full moon will cleanse it and charge it. This is particularly great for more “feminine” stones such as moonstone, amethyst, rose quartz, blue lace agate and rhodonite. For more about the phases of the moon and when to put out your crystals, see my recent blog: https://www.amethystyogaandhealing.com.au/precious-gems-blog/a-quick-and-dirty-guide-to-phases-of-the-moon-and-when-to-put-out-your-crystals
Sunlight – Sunlight can also cleanse and charge stones, but should be used more moderately. Some stones may fade if exposed for direct sunlight for too long, and some will refract light and potentially cause fires. So putting your stones in indirect sunlight for an hour or so will do the trick.
Earth – A lovely way to cleanse stones is to place them in a bag made of natural fabric (cotton, silk, hemp) and bury them in the earth for a day or so. Obviously, you need to take note of where you put them! I also like to place them in pot plants from time to time. The stones are from the earth, and the idea is that they love to go back to it for a visit.
Water – Some people use spring water, ocean water or running water to cleanse crystals. Again, this can be problematic. Some stones can dissolve in water or be otherwise impacted by it – this isn’t my favourite method (although it’s as quick as smudging), but for stones like the quartzes (including amethyst, rose quartz, citrine), it will work.
Selenite, Citrine, Clear Quartz – These stones are said to be free of any negative energy and can be used to cleanse other stones. Selenite in particular is great for this – and also is great for charging your stones (more on this later). Leave your stones on a selenite plate or citrine or clear quartz cluster for a few hours, and they will be good to go.
Reiki – If you are a reiki practitioner, crystals LOVE reiki. You can use reiki to cleanse and charge them, but this is most powerful if you are attuned to Level 2 or above (if this is you, and you’d like to know more about reiki for crystals, get in touch).
Sound – Sound is a GREAT way to cleanse stones. If you have a singing bowl, tuning fork, or chant, this is a fantastic way to cleanse stones, and also a great option for the fragrance sensitive. Just play your bowl near the stone you wish to cleanse, and let the vibrations do the work!
Salt – burying crystals in natural salt for a few hours is a great cleansing method. You can’t use the salt to cook afterwards, though! You need to throw it out. And you need to be careful with rock salt or Himalayan sea salt that it doesn’t scratch your stones.
Stones that don’t need cleansing (or charging) include: selenite, citrine, clear quartz and kyanite. That said, you may enjoy cleansing or charging them – I certainly do – but be careful that really high vibration stones such as selenite have been known to crack when they have too much energy from a charging! So go easy with the selenite under the full moon!
How often should you cleanse your crystals?
Definitely when you first bring them into your home, if you can. Thereafter, it’s up to you! If you feel like its energy is getting “tired”, or it’s been doing a lot of work for you, then it’s a good time to give it a cleanse. Protective stones like malachite, turquoise, black tourmaline, hematite, obsidian, jet and onyx are said to do a lot of energetic heavy lifting – so it’s a good idea to cleanse them quite often. I have a black obsidian bracelet and a black onyx ring that I wear most days – and I smudge them most evenings, to release any negativity they’ve been absorbing on my behalf.
As mentioned above, sometimes stones will feel a bit “tired” energetically, especially if they’ve been working hard for you! Then it’s time to give them a bit of a charge.
My favourite way of doing this is moonlight. As above, place your stones under a window sill or outside if you can during a full moon, and they will get a serious boost! I leave many of my stones in front of an east-facing window during the full moon – it is worth the time to do it each month, as they really feel much happier! This is particularly useful for moonstones – if you don’t have time to put out any other stones under the full moon, at least try to put out your moonstones. As above, some people have had selenites explode under the full moon – and they are perpetually charged (and charging), so you don’t really need to expose them to moonlight – unless you particularly get the urge to.
Also mentioned above, another method is sunlight. Again, just an hour or two of solar energy can be great – especially if you’re concerned about your stones fading (this can happen to rose quartz in particular, which is a pity). Some people say that only coloured or fake stones will fade in sunlight – and other people I respect say otherwise. I have no idea, but I’m not keen to risk it! Indirect sunlight is fine, however. I feel like sunlight is great for more “masculine” stones – onyx, shivalingams and mookaite – but this is completely subjective – you might feel something completely different.
Reiki is great for charging stones if you have been attuned to Level 2 or above and have the appropriate symbols.
For me, the absolute easiest method for charging stones is selenite. You can buy selenite plates and bowls which are perfect for this. I like to smudge my stones and then leave them on a selenite plate to charge for a few hours.
How often should you charge your crystals?
Again, I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule about this – just when you feel like they are “tired” and need a bit of a boost, or when they’ve been working hard for you. Stones that you are using for protection are best cleansed and charged more frequently. With the exception of selenite, or if you felt like a stone was naturally extremely high in vibration, having a monthly ritual of charging your stones under moonlight is a lovely habit to get into, and will keep your stones at their best.
Attuning, Programming and Intention Setting
Once you’ve cleansed and charged your stone, it’s a good idea to spend some time getting to know it – attuning to it. All stones have their own qualities (like a personality!), above and beyond those traditionally associated with the type of stone it is.
A great way to do this is to sit quietly with your stone, and to take a few breaths to enter a mindful and open state. Use your senses of sight and touch to engage with the stone, to see what it is like, and then go a little deeper, opening yourself up to awareness of its energetic qualities, and how it makes you feel – also how it might like to work with you. At the end of such a session, it’s a lovely idea to “thank” the stone for being with you and for all that it is doing for you.
You may also like to meditate with your crystal as a way of getting to know it better and attune with it. Crystals are great to meditate with in any case, but in particular when we’re first getting to know a new stone, it can be lovely to open up to it in a meditative state of awareness.
Clear quartz stones are said to be the only truly programmable stones – that is, after attuning with it, you can set an intention for the stone to support you in a certain way. If you use a clear quartz in this way, it’s important not to cleanse it or charge it again until you feel like it has accomplished its task – the cleansing is wiping the slate clean, as it were.
Although only clear quartz stones are programmable with intentions, you may feel drawn to use stones whose energetic qualities are in line with a certain intention you might have for your life to support your hopes and goals. If so, a great way to use a crystal might be to sit with it in a meditative state, and after attuning with it (checking that it can support you in the way you wish), you might say to yourself something like:
“With this crystal, I set an intention that ….. May this stone support me as I move forward with this intention, in alignment with the highest good and greatest joy of all concerned. So be it, and so it is.”
Please note that crystals should never be used as a substitute for appropriate, qualified medical and/or psychological care.
I hope you have found this blog useful, and may you and your crystals be healthy and happy! This is from my perspective - other crystal healing practitioners might have different perspectives - and you might too. You'll find your own way with stones, and I hope this helps you to do so.
If you’re interested in working with crystals more deeply, a crystal healing session might be for you – if so, find out more at Amethyst Yoga and Healing.