The history of healing crystals
Kaz has extensive knowledge of the amazing healing powers of crystals and the history of their use
Kaz has had a life-long fascination with healing crystals and their amazing therapeutic properties, they are not just pretty to look at and for adorning your home but they have a healing purpose and an amazing history too!
You can also make tinctures out of crystals and enjoy their amazing medicinal properties.
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The use of talismans and amulets crafted using crystals and gemstones dates back to the beginning of humankind, though we cannot pin any exact date on the first such uses, which in many ways, are still used today and not just by those involved in the 'New Age' style of living!
Tusks of Ivory
Many early pieces were organic in their origin and beads carved of mammoth Ivory were extracted from a grave in Sungir, Russia, dating back some 25,000 years, in a period known as the Paleolithic period, there are also contemporary beads made from shells and Shark's teeth fossils.
The oldest of amulets are ones which were made from Baltic Amber, some from as long ago as 30,000 years. Amber beads were discovered in Britain from around 10,000 years ago, around the time of the last ice age.
The distance they traveled to reach Britain shows their value to the people who lived in that time period of history.
Jet was also popular. Jet beads, bracelets and necklaces have been discovered in Paleolithic grave sites in both Switzerland and Belgium. There have been Malachite mines in Sinai since 4,000 BC.
The first historical references to the use of crystals come from ancient Sumaria, where they were included in magic formulas.
Russian Malachite is believed to be one of the most important healing stones, in that it is supposed to be able to help the wearer of it, to draw out, acknowledge and discharge negative energy, old emotional patterns, past traumas, and suppressed feelings included. It will benefit us today in that it is thought to be highly protective, and able to absorb pollution, it apparently purifies and shields against radioactivity.
The ancient Egyptians used Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise, Carnelian, Emerald and Clear Quartz in their jewelery and hand carved grave amulets of the same gems.
Turquoise is believed to attract wealth and to be able to improve ones mental state overall by increasing positive mental characteristics - intuition, sensitivity, empathy, creativity, positive thinking, serenity, wisdom and happiness, all of which will being about a calmer state leading the much greater self-realization.
Lapis Lazuli is believed to be useful in heart conditions if placed close to where you sleep or sit.
Clear Quartz is used by natural healers who charge them by holding them and placing on the body where appropriate to healing a particular ailment. Clear Quartz also enhances psychic ability. It is believed to aid in concentration, unlock ones memory and to stimulate the immune system whilst bringing ones body into balance. It can also harmonize the Chakra's and align subtle bodies.
Turquoise Stones were used for protection and health. Turquoise is believed to be good at stabilizing mood swings and instilling calm. It is believed to have the power to prevent panic attacks.
Chrystolite (Peridot) (later translated as both Topaz and Peridot) was used to combat night terrors and purge evil spirits. It is believed to be an excellent stone for supporting honesty and sincerity and with the energy of resourcefulness and integrity.
Winged Goddess Isis
Chrystolite (Peridot) was considered a very spiritual stone in Ancient Egypt. Egyptian priests would brew a strong drink from the crushed up stones and partake of this hot beverage during ceremonies.
It was believed that drinking Peridot brought them closer to nature and helping to connect you with your power animal. Egyptian priests also drank from cups lined with Peridot to heal maladies and pay tribute to the goddess Isis.
Cleopatra the Queen of Egypt
Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, had a deep love of Peridot. Whilst many sources from the time, describe her as bejeweled in Emeralds, there is much archaeological evidence that the stones people were taking as being emeralds, were actually Peridot!
Peridot's were often mistaken for Emeralds. In fact, the Romans called them the “evening Emeralds” because of the way they caught and reflected lamplight. There was a long held belief that Peridot burned with an inner fire that would glow at night. In some ancient cultures miners searched for Peridot during the early evening or at night when they said it was the easiest to find.
Aaron the High Priest
Crusaders invading Egypt during the Middle Ages found the Peridot mines on Zabargad and brought many of the gems back with them to Europe.
These were used to decorate their churches. These stones had already played a heavy role in Christianity and appear numerous times in the Bible under the name Chrystel.
Aaron the Priest, brother of Moses, wore a Peridot into battle.
Peridot's represent purity in Christian folklore and commonly ornament high-ranking Catholic Church officials.
In Hawaii, Peridot's are rare, but as one of the few natural gems found on the islands, they quickly became a treasured part of native mythology.
Tiny Peridot pebbles washed up onshore, causing the Hawaiians to believe they were the tears of the goddess Pele.
Pele is associated with fire, lightning, and volcanoes. In many stories Pele is a destructive goddess, but as the Hawaiian Islands themselves were formed from the explosion of the volcanoes beneath them, the Hawaiian people felt Pele was generous as well.
Peridot is one of the gifts it is said that the goddess gave to the Hawaiian people.
Throughout history it was believed that Peridot could cure respiratory problems such as asthma and that the gemstone acted as a salve to heart troubles. In the Middle Ages, Peridot was placed under the tongue of sick people to reduce fevers.
Modern day belief regarding the Peridot says that wearing one brings good luck and peace, as well as stronger friendships, success, and a knack for attracting wealth. In modern new age tradition it is also supposed to help soothe the wearer to deep sleep, to dispel negative energy, and calm anger.
Galena (Iron Ore)
Egyptians also used crystals cosmetically. Galena (Lead ore) was ground to a powder and used as eye shadow known as Kohl. Malachite was used in a similar manner.
Galena is also believed to encourage tolerance, temperance and peace. it is centering and grounding of our energies and can aid in our overcoming of self-limiting beliefs.
Green stones in general were used to signify the heart of the deceased, and were included in burials. Green stones were also used in a similar way during a later period in history by ancient Mexicans.
The ancient Greeks attributed a number of properties to crystals, and many names used today are of Greek origin.
The word Crystal comes from the Greek word for Ice, as it was believed that clear Quartz was water that had frozen so deeply that is would always remain solid!
Amethyst means 'not drunken', and was worn as an amulet to prevent drunkenness.
Jadewas highly valued in ancient China, and some Chinese written characters represent Jade beads.
Jade is thought to protect the wearer from harm, it is protective and brings harmony, friendship and good luck, whilst stabilizing the personality, promoting self-sufficiency, releasing negative thoughts and soothing the mind.
Musical instruments in the form of chimes were made from Jade, and around 1000 years ago, emperors were sometimes buried in Jade armour.
There are burials with Jade masks from around the same time period in Mexico.
Jade was recognized as a Kidney healing stone in both China and South America. More recently, dating from around 250 years ago, the Maoris of New Zealand wore Jade pendants representing the ancestor spirits, which were passed down many generations through the male line. The practice of wearing 'Green stone' pendants carries on their today. Jade is also believed to attract wealth, but don't be fooled, because many people sell Green stones which look very much like Jade but are not!
Crystals and gemstones have played a part in all religions too. They are mentioned throughout the Bible, and in the Koran.
The origin of the stones we attribute to various birth signs is the breast plate of Aaron, or high priest's breast plate, mentioned in the book of Exodus.
In the Koran, (Qur'an) the 4th Heaven is composed of carbuncle (Garnet). The Kalpa Tree, which represents an offering to the Gods in Hinduism, is said to be made entirely of precious stone, and Buddhist test from the 7th century describes a Diamond throne, situated, situated near the Tree of Knowledge (the Neem tree under which Sidhartha meditated).
Garnet is also thought to have healing properties, these allegedly being the ability to purify, rejuvenate, balance energy and able to bring passion and serenity whilst balancing sex drive and alleviating emotional disharmony. Additionally it is believed to be able to activate and strengthen ones survival instinct, hope and courage.
Blade of Diamond
On his throne a thousand Kalpa Buddha's reposed. The Kalpa Sutra in Jainism, speaks of Harinegamesi, the divine commander of the foot troops, who seized 14 precious stones, cleansed them of their lesser properties, and retained only their finest essence to aid his transformations.
Diamond apart from being a precious and expensive stone, is thought to impart invincibility, fearlessness and fortitude. It is believed to be able to clear mental and emotional pain, reduce fear and to bring about new beginnings. It is great for the artistic too, as it is believed to stimulate inventiveness, ingenuity, creativity and imagination. It has also been useful in the bringing of clarity to the mind and to aid in ones enlightenment.
Hindu Goddess Indira
There is an ancient sacred lapidary treatise, known as the Ratnapariksha. Some sources state that it is Hindu, but it is most likely to be Buddhist. The date is uncertain, but it is probably from the 6th century. In this treatise, diamonds figure highly, as the king of gemstones, and are ranked according to caste.
The Sanskrit word for Diamond, varja, is also the word for the Hindu goddess Indira's thunderbolt, and Diamonds are often associated with thunder.
The Ruby was highly revered. It represented an inextinguishable flame, and was pro-ported to preserve both the physical and mental health of the wearer. The treatise lists many other gemstones and their properties.
Ruby is believed to encourage a zest for life and passion. It is supposed to instill confidence and balance the heart whilst encouraging the setting of realistic goals, improving motivation, laughter, courage, spontaneity and joy.
In Burma, stones, especially Rubies, were inserted into the flesh to become part of the wearer's body, in the belief that it would make them invulnerable.
Amulets were banned by the Christian church in 355 AD, but gemstones continued to play an important role, with Sapphire being favoured as the gem for ecclesiastical rings in the 12th century.
Sapphire is believed to release mental tension, depression, spiritual confusion and unwanted thoughts, it restores balance within the body by aligning the physical, spiritual and mental planes to bring about serenity and peace of mind whilst stimulating concentration and bringing joy and lightness.
Marbodus, the Bishop of Rennes in the 11th century, claimed that Agate would make the wearer more agreeable, persuasive and in favour of God. There was also many symbolic references, such as the carbuncle representing Christ's sacrifice.
Blue Agate is believed to be able to boost your ability to communicate and especially with your thoughts and feelings which come from your higher self. It is a nurturing and soothing stone believed also to bring about calmness, emotional healing and peace of mind. It also has strong metaphysical properties as well as being beautiful to look at.
Hildegard von Bingen
Illumination from the Liber Scivias showing Hildegard receiving a vision and dictating to her scribe and secretary
In Europe, from the 11th century, through Renaissance, a number of medical treatises appeared, extolling the virtues of precious and semi-precious stones in the treatment of certain ailments, alongside mainly herbal remedies. Authors included Hildegard von Bingen, Arnoldus Saxo, and John Mendeville.
Hildegard’s medicinal and scientific writings, though thematically complementary to her ideas about nature expressed in her visionary works, are different in focus and scope.
Neither claim to be rooted in her visionary experience and its divine authority. Rather, they spring from her experience helping in and then leading the monastery’s herbal garden and infirmary, as well as the theoretical information she likely gained through her wide-ranging reading in the monastery’s library.
As she gained practical skills in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, she combined physical treatment of physical diseases with holistic methods centred on “spiritual healing.” She became well known for her healing powers involving practical application of tinctures, herbs, and precious stones.
She combined these elements with a theological notion ultimately derived from Genesis: all things put on earth are for the use of humans.
Hildegard cataloged both her practical expertise and its theoretical basis in two works: Physica, whose nine books focus on the scientific and medicinal properties of various plants, stones, fish, reptiles, and animals; and Causae et Curae, an exploration of the human body, its connections to the rest of the natural world, and the causes and cures of various diseases.
Hildegardis Causae et Curae
These works document a variety of medical practices, and Hildegard may have used them to teach another nun at the monastery to be her assistant. Moreover, they serve as a valuable witness to areas of medieval medicine that were often not as well documented because their practitioners (mainly women) did not often write in Latin.
Among the practices that Hildegard discusses in Causae et Curae is the use of bleeding and home remedies for many common ailments.
She also focuses many of her remedies on common agricultural injuries such as burns, fractures, dislocations, and cuts.
In addition to its wealth of practical evidence, Causae et Curae is also noteworthy for its organizational scheme. Its first part sets the work within the context of the creation of the cosmos and then humanity as its summit, and the constant interplay of the human person as microcosm both physically and spiritually with the macrocosm of the universe informs all of Hildegard’s approach.
Her hallmark is to emphasize the vital connection between the “green” health of the natural world and the holistic health of the human person. Thus, when she approached medicine as a type of gardening, it was not just as an analogy. Rather, Hildegard understood the plants and elements of the garden as direct counterparts to the humors and elements within the human body, whose imbalance led to illness and disease.
Thus, the nearly three hundred chapters of the second book of Causae et Curae “explore the aetiology, or causes, of disease as well as human sexuality, psychology, and physiology.”
In this section, she gave specific instructions for bleeding based on various factors, including gender, the phase of the moon (bleeding is best done when moon is waning), the place of disease (use veins near diseased organ of body part) or prevention (big veins in arms), and how much blood to take (described in imprecise measurements, like “the amount that a thirsty person can swallow in one gulp”). She even includes bleeding instructions for animals to keep them healthy. In the third and fourth sections, Hildegard turns her attention to treatments for malignant and minor problems and diseases according to the humoral theory, again including information on animal health.
The fifth section is about diagnosis and prognosis, which includes instructions to check the patient’s blood, pulse, urine and stool.
Finally, the sixth section documents a lunar horoscope to provide an additional means of prognosis for both disease and other medical conditions, such as conception and the outcome of pregnancy. For example, she indicates that a waxing moon is good for conception (for humans) and is also good for sowing seeds for plants (sowing seeds is the plant equivalent of conception).
Elsewhere, Hildegard is even said to have stressed the value of boiling drinking water in an attempt to prevent infection, the human microcosm and the macrocosm of the universe, she often focuses on interrelated patterns of four: “the four elements (fire, air, water, and earth), the four seasons, the four humors, the four zones of the earth, and the four major winds.”Although she inherited the basic framework of humoral theory from ancient medicine, however,
Hildegard’s conception of the hierarchical inter balance of the four humors (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) was unique, based on their correspondence to “superior” and “inferior” elements—blood and phlegm corresponding to the “celestial” elements of fire and air, and the two bile's corresponding to the “terrestrial” elements of water and earth. Hildegard understood the disease-causing imbalance of these humors to result from the improper dominance of the subordinate humors.
This disharmony reflects that introduced by Adam and Eve in the Fall, which for Hildegard marked the indelible entrance of disease and humoral imbalance into humankind. As she writes in Causae et Curae c. 42:
It happens that certain men suffer diverse illnesses. This comes from the phlegm which is superabundant within them. For if man had remained in paradise, he would not have had the flegmata within his body, from which many evils proceed, but his flesh would been whole and without dark humour (livor).
However, because he consented to evil and relinquished good, he was made into a likeness of the earth, which produces good and useful herbs, as well as bad and useless ones, and which has in itself both good and evil moistures.
From tasting evil, the blood of the sons of Adam was turned into the poison of semen, out of which the sons of man are begotten. And therefore their flesh is ulcerated and permeable (to disease).
These sores and openings create a certain storm and smoky moisture in men, from which the flegmata arise and coagulate, which then introduce diverse infirmities to the human body.
All this arose from the first evil, which man began at the start, because if Adam had remained in paradise, he would have had the sweetest health, and the best dwelling-place, just as the strongest balsam emits the best odour; but on the contrary, man now has within himself poison and phlegm and diverse illnesses.
There are also references to stones with particular qualities of strength and protection.
Hugh (Hubert) de Burgh
In 1232, Hubert de Burgh, the chief justicular of Henry lll, was accused of stealing a gem from the King's treasury which would make the wearer invincible, and giving it to Llewellyn, the King of Wales and Henry's enemy.
It was also believed that gemstones corrupted by the original sins of Adam, could possibly be inhabited by demons, of if handled, by a sinner, their virtues would depart. Therefore, they should be sacrificed and consecrated before wearing. There is an echo of this belief today in the cleansing and programming of crystals before use in crystal healing.
During the Renaissance, the tradition of using precious stones in healing, was still accepted, but the inquiring minds of the period sought to find out how this worked, and to give it more of a scientific explanation.
Anselmus de Boot
In 1609, Anselmus de Boot, court physician to Rudolf ll of Germany, suggested that any virtue of a gemstone has, is due to the presence of good or bad angels. The good angels would confer a special grace to the gems, whilst the bad angels would tempt people into believing in the stone itself, and not in God's gifts bestowed upon it. He goes on to name certain stones as helpful, and put other's qualities down simply to superstition.
Anselmus de Boot (also Anselmus Boëtius de Boot) (Bruges, 1550 - Bruges, 21 June 1632) was a Belgian mineralogist and physician from the city of Brugge during the European Renaissance. Along with the "Father of Mineralogy", the German known by his nom de plume Georgius Agricola, Anselmus is responsible for establishing the modern geological earth science study of mineralogy. Anselmus was an avid mineral collector. He traveled widely on collecting trips to the mining regions of Germany, Bohemia and Silesia. His definitive written work was the Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia.
Anselmus and his work were also mentioned briefly in Helena de Jong's Bibliography.
Later in the same century, Thomas Nicols expressed his 'Faithful Lapidary' that gems, as inanimate objects, could not possess the effects claimed by the past. Thus, the 'Age of Enlightenment', the use of precious stones for healing and protection began to fall from favour in Europe.
In the early part of the 19th century, a number of interesting experiments were conducted to demonstrate the effects of stones on subjects who believed themselves to be clairvoyant. In one case, the subject claimed to feel not only physical and emotional changes when touched with various stones, but also to experience smells and tastes!
Although no longer in use medicinally, gemstones continued to hold meaning.
Until recently, Jet was popularly worn by those in mourning, and Garnet was often worn in times of war.
Jet is also believed to be a powerful protection, warning off negativity, psychic attacks and evil. It apparently absorbs negativity both around you and within you. It also helps with depression.
There is a tradition in a family in South West England, where every female descendant wears an antique Moonstone necklace for her wedding, which has been in the family for many generations. It was only recently that one family member realized that this was a fertility symbol!
Moonstone is a stone for 'new beginnings'. It is a stone of strength and inner growth, soothing in stress and emotional instability, helping to stabilize the emotions and promoting calmness. It is believed to be good at promoting inspiration, enhancing the intuition, promoting good luck in business and love and also success.
Many tribal cultures have continued the use of gemstones in healing until very recently, if not through to the present day.
Zuni - Lutakawi - Zuni Governor of the past - New Mexico
The Zuni tribe in New Mexico, make stone fetishes, which represent animal spirits. These were ceremonially 'fed' on powdered Turquoise and ground Maize.
Beautiful inlaid fetishes are still made to sell, and are very much collectible artifacts or sculptures, although the spiritual practice surrounding them is no longer much in use.
Other Native American tribes still hold precious stones, especially Turquoise, sacred.
Both Aborigines and Maoris have traditions regarding stones and healing or spiritual practice, some of which they share with the rest of the world, while some knowledge is still kept private within their communities.
It is interesting to note that there are many examples of gemstones meaning similar things to different cultures, even when there has been absolutely no interaction between these cultures, and no opportunity for crossover.
Jade was considered to be a Kidney healing stone by the ancient Chinese, and also the Aztec and Mayan civilizations, whilst Turquoise has been worn to give strength and health all over the world, and Jasper's have almost always conferred both strength and calm.
In the 1980's, with the advent of the New Age culture, the use of crystals and gemstones began to re-emerge as a healing method. Much of the practice being drawn from age old traditions, with more information gained by experimentation and channeling.
Different cultures have used crystal healing over time, including the Hopi Native Americans of Arizona and Hawaiian islanders, some of whom continued to use it as of 1997.
The Chinese have traditionally attributed healing powers to micro crystalline Jade.
Crystal Power Crystal Healing - The complete Handbook - Michael Gienger
Books by Katrina Rafaell in the 1980's and Melody and Michael Gienger in the 90's helped to popularize the use of crystals.
In fact there is an excellent book well worthy of purchase by Michael Gienger it's called "Crystal Power Crystal Healing - The complete Handbook". This is a most beautifully illustrated book with photographic quality picture plates of a whole host of beautiful crystals. This book contains the chemical compositions of crystals and also the science of Crystals. A must buy for the more serious enthusiast of crystal healing.
These days there are a large number of books available on the subject of crystal healing and crystals generally, to include gemstones, rocks and fossils. The use of crystals also features in magazine and newspaper articles too.
Crystal therapy crosses the boundaries of religious and spiritual beliefs. It is no longer viewed as the domain of alternative culture, but as an acceptable and more mainstream complementary therapy, and in many colleges, a qualification can now be obtained for the study of crystal healing. The BSY group are one such educational establishment offering courses in crystal healing.
There is no peer reviewed scientific evidence that crystal healing has any effect. It has been called a pseudo science.
Pleasant feelings or seeming successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect, or the believers wanting it to be true and seeing only things that back that up; - cognitive bias.
Crystal healing techniques are also practiced on animals, although some veterinary organizations, such as the British Veterinary Association, have warned that these methods are not scientifically proven and state that people should seek the advice of a vet before using alternative techniques.
As with other other non-scientific methods the practice of "crystal healing" can be actively dangerous or possibly even fatal if it causes people with illnesses that are treatable by scientifically-based medicine to avoid or delay seeking treatment. So the advice is - consult your physician first!
I hope you have found this article enlightening.
Thanks for reading!
Bright Positive Blessings,
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