The Essential Three
WHILE THE IMMENSE DIVERSITY and wide availability of the quartz family make it an exceedingly resourceful group of stones to use for crystal healing, it is but one species in the mineral kingdom. There are thousands of minerals, each one containing varieties and subvarieties too. Out of this great breadth of mineral diversity, three stones stand out for their all-around metaphysical usefulness and versatility.
Much as salt, pepper, and cooking oil are staples in your kitchen, I recommend the stones I describe in this chapter as the staples of your crystal kit because of their ability to assist you with a wide variety of energetic needs. These stones are so useful that if you purchase only three stones, these would be the ones I recommend. So if you’re just beginning to work with crystals, I suggest that you acquire these first. And if you already have a collection of crystals, these are stones you want to make sure are in your crystal kit. As you read on, you’ll understand why.
In mineral circles, tourmaline is jokingly called the “mineral garbage can” because it so willingly accepts such a wide variety of other elements into its crystal lattice. This makes tourmaline one of the most chemically complicated groups in the silicate family and accounts for the dramatic range of colors it comes in.
Specifically, black tourmaline (also called schorl) is tourmaline with iron in its lattice (take note: iron is going to make a significant appearance again) and is the most common variety of tourmaline found on Earth. Black tourmaline is also what I like to call the energetic “first line of defense” because of how exceptional it is for dealing with the negativity found in ordinary everyday life.
Having a bad day?
Someone cut you off and gave you the finger?
Heard some upsetting news?
Planning to have a possibly complicated conversation with someone?
Work hectic and stressful?
Got weird energies floating around the room? Like the energetic remnants of some big fight or a creepy ghost-like vibe that gives you the chills?
Giving yourself a stream of negative self-talk?
Broke your toe?
Mercury in retrograde?
Black tourmaline. Black tourmaline. Black tourmaline.
Though you can find many descriptions of black tourmaline calling it a “shield for negativity,” I find this wording a bland and slightly inaccurate way to describe the properties of this very valuable stone. This is because the magic of black tourmaline is not about “defending” you, but rather its amazing ability to recycle negative energy into positive energy!
Like quartz, tourmaline is piezoelectric so, when squeezed, it develops an electrical charge. But unlike quartz, tourmaline develops its electric charge along its length. One end of the stone will have a positive charge while the other end has a negative one, like the ends of a battery. This inclination to create polarity on a physical level is also reflected on a subtle level, allowing a tourmaline to take in negative energy on one end and then transform it into positive energy on the other! This means any energetic crap in your life can be turned into nourishing, healing compost! And because black tourmaline is particularly associated with life in the physical dimension, it is the ideal tourmaline to help you take what’s energetically terrible in your life and flip it into something useful for you.
Understanding this one attribute helps you to perceive the opportunities and benefits in even the worst of situations while working with this stone. Black tourmaline teaches you to see pathways that can allow you to move toward a happier and more empowered space, rather than getting stuck in negativity. So instead of worrying about negative energy being hurled at you, bonking you on the head, and leaving you with some nasty energetic bump, with black tourmaline you are able to catch negativity like a ball and transform it into energy you can use beneficially. With this information, you are empowered with the knowledge that you have the ability to shift any energy that comes toward you rather than resign yourself to be a victim of circumstance. This is why I call black tourmaline the “first line of defense.”
However, there is an even deeper level to understand about the transformation of negative energy into positive energy. While it’s true that black tourmaline shifts negative energy into positive energy, what it is actually doing is bringing unbalanced energy into an equalized state. In algebra, if you add a positive 1 to a negative 1, the result equals zero (+1 + −1 = 0). In the same way, the addition of an equal amount of positive energy to negative energy ultimately brings the energy into a state of balance where it is neither pushing into positivity nor pulling into negativity. This same principle happens with the energy that is around you when you work with black tourmaline. If you are dealing with negative energy, you will need positive energy to bring the situation into a balanced state.
This also means that if you have an excess of positive energy around you, you will need negative energy to balance it out. While it is a common belief that “positive” energy means “good” energy, and “negative” energy means “bad” energy, this is not necessarily true. From a higher, spiritual point of view, energy is not divided into two separate categories; for all energy is part of the Universe, and everything in the Universe serves a purpose impelling you toward greater spiritual evolvement. Thus, from this nondualistic standpoint, there is no “bad” energy—just energy that is out of balance. But humans have an inclination to organize things into categories because this creates a sense of order and predictability. So humans will organize energy as being “good” or “bad,” when in each case the designation is a personal call of judgment. Either way, the reason the energy can be labeled as “good” or “bad” is that it sticks out in some way. This indicates that the energy is skewed toward one pole and is flowing in an imbalanced way.
For energy to flow at its best, it needs to be in a balanced state, and because the majority of life’s situations are skewed toward negativity, it is positive energy that is most often needed to bring balance to a situation. So while it’s true that black tourmaline recycles negative energy into positive energy, it does not do so exclusively. Black tourmaline will transform any energy that needs to come into balance, no matter how it’s labeled, in order to create an optimal energetic flow.
Black tourmaline in quartz cabochon
How Black Tourmaline Can Help
The following are specific situations where black tourmaline can be powerfully used to assist you in balancing polarities.
ON YOUR DESK, NEXT TO YOUR COMPUTER
Nowadays, computers are ubiquitous and requisite tools for life. Since they are the main tools of modern communication and productivity, the experience of being on a computer can contain some degree of stress—and sometimes quite a lot of it, especially when it comes to work. Because most people work on a computer at some sort of desk, this becomes an ideal place to interact closely with a stone that has a profound ability to shift stress and negative energies into positive ones, which will make your work life more productive.
Remember in the previous chapter when I said not to keep quartz next to your computer because of the way it magnifies all energies, including bad moods and EMFs? Well, unlike quartz and most other minerals, black tourmaline is one of the few crystals I can recommend keeping at your desk. Its ability to change polarities makes this stone your most useful ally in the workplace.
Keep your black tourmaline somewhere on your desk where you can easily see it. That way every time you glance at it you can be reminded of its ability to recycle energies, while remembering to stay open and accepting of its support. If you feel you are in need of extra support, you can also physically hold the stone, for instance when you’re on a tough phone call, in a challenging meeting, or working on a difficult project. Take whatever negative energies you are feeling and channel them into the stone in your hand. This allows you to communicate and energetically transfer to the stone what exact energies or situations you would like support transforming. Then feel yourself absorbing the balanced energy now being produced by the stone, and observe how this shift in energy affects you personally. At first, the shift may seem very subtle, perhaps just the slightest change in your demeanor or attitude, but once you recognize the movement happening, quietly observe how the situation changes. You will be surprised by how a tiny shift can make such a noticeable change for the better in your environment.
FOR NIGHTMARES AND RESTLESS SLEEP
The combination of black tourmaline’s grounding energies and its ability to help recycle negative situations into positive ones makes it an excellent stone for those having trouble sleeping because of restless thoughts or nightmares.
Smaller pieces of black tourmaline, like pocket, tumbled-size pieces, can be placed in your pillowcase. Larger, more substantial pieces can be placed in bed and slept with, allowing the black tourmaline to act as your personal cuddly teddy bear/energetic defensive linebacker. If the kind of black tourmaline you have is prone to flaking, instead of sleeping with it and having it shed splintered pieces all over your bed, just place it somewhere near you, like your bed stand, while you sleep. As long as it’s close to your body, it will be within your aura where its energies can support you.
While black tourmaline can help mitigate negative EMFs from electronics, it’s still best to keep electronics away from you while you’re sleeping. Otherwise, your black tourmaline will have to split its energy over multiple tasks rather than focusing all its energy on caring for you. While I strongly recommend keeping your phone and other electronics outside your bedroom, if that is not possible then keep them across the room, as far from your bed and stone as you can.
AT THE ENTRIES OF YOUR HOME
If you’re concerned about negative energies coming into your house, place black tourmaline at the entryways. Then set an intention for the stones to keep out anyone with negative aims from coming into your home. You can also use black tourmaline to help keep your home as your sanctuary by setting an intention for the negativity of the world to stay outside and not come through your doors. Though the black tourmaline will not keep all negativity from coming in (because negativity can still be self-generated after crossing the threshold of your doors), it can help you be more aware of negativity so you can be more proactive in keeping it out.
Other Notes on Black Tourmaline
If someone were to ask me what crystal I use most in terms of quantity, I would answer, “Black tourmaline.” I have it on my desk at home, on my desk at work, by my bed, guarding my house, and in my car, and it is one of the stones I most consistently wear. I even have a travel kit of black tourmalines I take on trips with me to help recycle the energy of spaces I stay in, as well as guard against any negative energies bothering me (including any lost spirits that may be in the building where I am staying). It’s a stone so useful I have it peppered everywhere.
It’s best to have different black tourmalines for different jobs. If you have a black tourmaline at your desk, designate it as your desk tourmaline and keep it there. If you have a black tourmaline to help with your sleeping, designate that specific one as your sleeping tourmaline. Having multiple black tourmalines ensures you will have them where you need them, when you need them, at all times. Having multiple black tourmalines helps them from overloading because of all crystals, black tourmaline is most famous for sacrificing itself for the people it cares for.
One of my favorite stories about this comes from a friend and colleague of mine. Black tourmaline is her stone, meaning that of all minerals it’s the one that resonates most deeply with her on a constitutional level. She was once in the middle of a very intense conversation with her partner when she suddenly heard and felt a pop on her chest. Immediately knowing that it was her beloved black tourmaline she wore around her neck, she caught it in her hand as it exploded into pieces. Like an overloaded fuse, her black tourmaline took the brunt of negative energy being released as deep wounds became surfaced during her conversation, and it sacrificed itself in order to protect her.
Many others have told me similar stories of their perfectly intact black tourmalines suddenly crumbling on them. I even had one client who was sitting on her bed when from the corner of her eye she saw her black tourmaline spontaneously shatter on her bed stand. Because so much negativity can surround daily life and because it quietly handles so much volume, black tourmaline tends to get overworked. When it does, it can break into pieces or just stop working.
While this doesn’t apply to all stones, bigger is better when it comes to black tourmaline. A larger stone will have a greater recycling capacity and ability to handle larger amounts of energy. But more important than having a larger specimen is regularly cleansing it, for this is what allows it to work optimally (cleansing will be explained in chapter 10). While for energetic capacity and portability I most often recommend a size that can fit substantially in your hand, if you don’t have a larger tourmaline yet, it is fine to work with multiple smaller ones, as long as you’re cleansing them often.
For general help with processing negativity, you can simply carry black tourmaline. The closer to you it is, the better its energy can interact with yours, so one good place to put it is in your pocket. That way it can support you as you encounter negative energies when going about your daily life. Or imagine any place or situation where you deal with a lot of negativity and place a black tourmaline at that location to help you.
As you continue working with black tourmaline’s energy, you will see all the different ways it can help you, and this will encourage you to figure out new ways to apply its helpful energies. Just remember that black tourmaline is here to teach you that shifting the polarity of energy to your benefit is always possible.
Hematite pseudomorph after magnetite, above a streak of ocher
Hematite has always been important to humanity.
Even though our Stone Age ancestors had charcoal left over from their fires to draw with, they traveled long distances to collect hematite. They then took great effort to process it into the pigment known as ocher. In addition to painting scenes of their ancient lives on cave walls all over the world, our ancient ancestors used this pigment to decorate jewelry made of bones and teeth, as well as to decorate funerary material in burials. And now, even after hundreds of thousands of years, it is still being used in indigenous rituals to symbolize blood, the principle of life.
When hematite is scraped, it produces a rusty red powder, which, when mixed with a bit of water, looks like blood. This is why the ancient Greeks named the stone hematite, literally translated as “blood stone.” When the iron in hematite combines with the oxygen in the air it produces the red color we see. In fact, this same synergy of iron and oxygen occurs within ourselves as well. Our bodies produce an iron-containing protein, hemoglobin, which carries the oxygen we breathe and transports it through our bloodstream to oxygenate the rest of our body. Hemoglobin is what makes the color of our blood red and is what allows our body to breathe and live. The iron within our blood is thus essential to our physical survival.
Both literally and figuratively, blood represents what keeps our bodies alive. And conversely, its absence in our body represents death. This relationship between blood and life is what our ancient ancestors saw all around them. They knew that hunting an animal and eating its bloody flesh allowed the one who caught it to live. While the female sex had the magic to create completely new life from within her body, from this same place she was also endowed with the mystic ability to regularly bleed and shed her life essence without dying. In these very significant ways, our ancestors experienced how blood was the medium of life and death.
The Root Chakra
This focus on life and death is precisely the realm of the root chakra. The Sanskrit word for root chakra is muladhara, a combination of mula, “root,” and adhara, “support” or “base.” Located at the base (or “root”) of your spine, this chakra governs life’s first needs of physical survival.
When a baby is born, the very first things it requires to live are food, shelter, and warmth. And if these primal requirements are not met, the baby will die—the experiences of emotion, of love, and of intellect will have no foundation on which to exist. Human connection becomes irrelevant.
Physical survival then means that the most essential requirements to live are met. It means depending on the surrounding environment to provide you with all the materials needed to live, as well as the ability to take action with them to further create scenarios that support your ability to survive. Since Mother Earth provides food, shelter, and warmth for all her creatures, survival means depending on her and working with her so that you may live.
Any healthy ecosystem in nature demonstrates this. Though there exists a constant dynamic between life and death, the ecosystem still teems with the vibrancy of life. All its beings live in synergy, using only the raw materials provided by Mother Earth. These healthy ecosystems, with their lush expression of life, project resiliency and, inherent in this, the sense that Mother Earth provides everything that is needed to survive, even for the smallest of her creatures.
Likewise, when humans have a healthy relationship with their root chakra, they feel confident and safe about their physical lives. They do not worry about their most basic needs of living, for they know that everything they need to survive can be found on Mother Earth. This expectation that Mother Earth already has the resources all beings require to live is why animals are the greatest teachers of the lessons of the root chakra. They live their life in the moment dealing with their primal needs as necessary. They catch food to eat when they are hungry, sun themselves when they want to warm up, and dig holes and make burrows when they desire shelter. They don’t worry about time but are present with their needs in the moment, for their internal rhythms are harmonized with the energetic patterns of Mother Earth’s cycles so they always know when it’s the right time to take another action. And because animals implicitly know there are always ways to survive, it never occurs to them to give up and quit. Despite any odds against them, they will do whatever they can to keep going, surviving, creating new generations of life, for they live with the expectation that there is always some way to stay alive.
This is the essence of grounding. To be grounded you must be aware of your primal physical self, your relationship to physical nourishment and all things representing shelter and warmth. To be grounded means being connected to Mother Earth, working with her, and knowing that she has everything you need to survive. To be grounded means to be connected and balanced with these energies in your root chakra.
Mother Earth’s Root Chakra
While hematite has always been known as a grounding stone, modern technology reaffirms just how significant our relationship to the grounding energy of iron is.
Scientists have discovered that the center of the Earth is a solid iron ball. This means Mother Earth’s root chakra is literally made of iron! Our most valuable and useful root chakra stone is what actually constitutes her root chakra!
There is a dynamic in Mother Earth’s root chakra that is of great significance as well: Surrounding her solid core of iron is a layer of liquid iron. As the liquid iron churns around her solid iron center, it creates our planet’s magnetic field, and this field is what keeps our planet intact. It surrounds the entire Earth, acting as a protective shield, deflecting charged particles that flow from the sun on solar winds. Without it, our atmosphere, along with all our oceans and all our air, would be stripped away into outer space.
So can you see why hematite’s energy makes it one of the most essential stones for your crystal kit?
The Importance of Grounding
The way modern life is structured disconnects us from nature. We use clocks to schedule our day. We ride in vehicles to get to work. We box ourselves inside climate- controlled environments. We make our dinners from containers and packages we buy at the supermarket. We do so many little things out of convenience and habit, but over time they separate us from our connection to Mother Earth.
While plants and animals stay in tune with the rhythms and cycles of Mother Earth in order to survive and thrive, we depend on modern systems to take care of our physical needs, and this dependency has caused us to fall out of touch with the planet we live upon. The more we rely on technology, the less compelled we are to pay attention to the environment around us. This causes us to lose sensitivity to the information Mother Earth communicates to us through her body. Though she constantly sends us messages and signals, we have no idea that she’s even reaching out to us. So while animals will run for higher ground because they have heard her saying that a tsunami is about to hit, we remain clueless that anything is about to happen even though our bodies are also made to hear her.
We forget that we learn a lot about the world around us through touch. Information about an object can be gained simply by touching it with our fingers, for they are so sensitive they can distinguish a pattern within a smooth surface only thirteen nanometers deep, while also differentiating textures, materials, temperatures, and vibrations. We also communicate through touch, and the palms of our hands are among our most powerful tools for giving and receiving information. Whether by a gentle hand on your shoulder, or by someone rubbing your back, cupping your face, or holding your hand, the feelings of care, support, and love can be communicated through touch. Through touch, volumes of information can be given and received. So imagine what your life would be like if you constantly wore gloves. Though you would be touching things, the feeling of them would be muddled and the information you picked up about them would be imprecise. Your sense would not be accurate.
But this is what we do with our feet. In the same way that we use the palms of our hands to communicate and understand the world around us, we use the soles of our feet to communicate and understand the ground beneath us. The soles of our feet have the same sensitivity as the palms of our hands, but because we insulate our feet in shoes we lose touch with information that could be transmitted through them. We lose our ability to communicate with Mother Earth.
Imagine what would happen if a child was never able to feel the touch of a strong and safe maternal body. The world would feel horrid, cold, and unsafe, and on many levels the child would suffer from the lack of touch. Yet this is what we do by wearing shoes. We are the ones who have inadvertently rejected our mother, and we are the ones who suffer without her touch. In the seemingly mundane action of wearing shoes, we have disrupted a vital connection between ourselves and our planet. For it is through bare feet that we are able to connect skin to skin with Mother Earth. And through this contact, we are able to receive the information and energy she always provides for us.
Another way we become disconnected from Mother Earth and ungrounded is with our minds. The mind is like a software program in your mental body. Its original purpose is to help you survive by perceiving and evaluating situations in an accurate way to support your soul for its highest good. But while you were in the womb, before you were even born, the mind decided that it wanted to be in control and took over. It decided that “it” was your entire being. To protect itself, it always made itself “right,” and to do this it separated you from your direct experience by having you lose touch with your body and emotions.
The mind’s belief that it is always “right” is reinforced by a cultural obsession with the cerebral. The modern world has become convinced that the brain is the superior organ and values intellect, logic, reason—all forms of thinking—as the best way to evaluate the world. However, this belief only encourages us to be carried away by our thoughts. We are already unbalanced from our physical disconnection from Mother Earth, but we make things worse by directing too much energy into our minds.
When we believe that we need to give the mind all the control, it sets up a scenario for excess energy to remain around the head. The mind then hoards the energy and keeps it from moving freely into the other chakras where the energy can be better processed. This is a problem because the chakra best positioned to counterbalance the mind’s surplus of energy is the chakra farthest from the head—the root chakra.
How an excess of mind energy will appear to clairvoyants differs, but for me the overabundance causes a person’s head to look like an overinflated balloon. If they are particularly ungrounded, their balloon head will look as if it is attached to a flimsy, anemic string of a body. Because their other chakras have no “weight” to counteract what’s going on in the head, any thought that begins to run around in the mind will cause the person to become unanchored. And just like an untethered balloon, they will be carried away by their thoughts, continually splitting hairs and worrying about outcomes that bear no relationship with reality. For when a mind is in conflict with the root chakra it will think it is doing what is best for your survival, but it’s not connected to reality.
But connecting to the root chakra allows energy to be released from the mind. Because the root chakra is located farthest from the mind, connecting to it means that energy must pass through all the other chakras to get to it. As this energy moves downward, the flow of energy causes the chakras to become activated, creating a pathway that relinks all the chakras. So as your energy becomes more evenly balanced across them, you no longer look like an oversize balloon on a string.
The concept of “work” also has a significant effect on the root chakra. This is because “work” is how we get money, and money is what we use in the modern world to survive. Though we use money to pay our bills, buy food, and keep a roof over our heads, we forget that “money” is a symbol, abstracted into colored pieces of paper. We also attempt to translate our feelings about a product or service, along with the effort that was put into it, into a numerical value. But because “effort” and “feelings” are immaterial, they intrinsically have no physical worth. However, we still ascribe numbers to objects because in our modern world this makes it easier to trade goods.
We forget that Mother Earth has always provided for all her creatures. So when our minds forget that we always have her to depend on for our most basic needs, and instead believe that money is the only way to survive, the result is that the mind hoards an excess of mental energy, the root chakra becomes neglected and unbalanced, and we develop a skewed relationship with money.
Though other chakras influence money issues, understanding the root chakra is crucial in understanding them. So while there is a widespread belief that manifestation (an expression of the navel chakra) is all that is needed to make and have money in one’s life, this is a fallacy. While the navel chakra does influence the generation of money, challenges generating it are not why people have money problems. For even if you were able to manifest lots of money, you could still be dealing with profound fears for your own survival.
For example, if someone blatantly shows off their money, they are attempting to subconsciously convey their ability to survive better than someone else. But they have this desire to overtly demonstrate their worth because they are overcompensating for their own profound internal feelings of lack. This is why an exceedingly wealthy person can still be manically compelled to make far more money than they could ever spend. If you look deep down, their drive stems from insecurities about survival, for they believe the more money they have, the more they will be insulated from any primal experiences of want (not realizing that their obsessive concern actually puts them in a constant state of primal desperation).
Root chakra issues can also affect one’s relationship with money through poverty consciousness. If you believe money is “bad,” then its existence can only cause harm. Thus you will conclude that any kind of financial success can only be achieved by hurting someone else. This can lead you to deny opportunities for your upliftment because you believe that you must hurt someone else to make your life better. Also, you may believe that success is limited and comes from a finite pool of energy. You will resent those who have money because you will assume that it was stripped from someone else in order for them to have it. Poverty consciousness can also result from feelings of unworthiness. On the surface you may not be aware of it, but you can have subconscious beliefs that you are not deserving of abundance. Deep inside, you may think you are not special enough in God’s eyes to be allotted the resources to survive. So, to confirm this belief, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy of lack. You can also experience poverty consciousness as a way to make yourself feel alive, for the struggle to live can stimulate the root chakra out of stagnation, though in a potentially imbalanced and detrimental way.
As nature shows us in healthy ecosystems, there is nothing wrong or bad about surviving well and with abundance on Mother Earth. And because money is an innate part of the modern world, one has to interact with this symbol in order to live within it. But that so many people have issues with “money” is an indication of how pervasive root chakra imbalance is and just how much our root chakras need healing.
An imbalanced root chakra also expresses itself as an obsession with the physical body. Extreme compulsions around physical health may actually shroud a deep fear for one’s survival. For if someone fears ill health so much that they take obsessive measures to avoid it, it means they are actually focusing not on health but on their fear of death. If someone is overly preoccupied with their youth and beauty, it is because of their fear of aging—a precursor to death. They may also feel that beauty confers a kind of social status that makes it easy to move through the world. Thus, losing their beauty becomes something to obsess over, for they believe it is the only buffer that keeps them from being rejected and cast out of society, without support, unable to survive.
Since food is necessary for physical survival, the root chakra will play a major role in your relationship with it. If, instead of listening to your body, you eat in a way determined by rules created by your mind, you will unbalance your root chakra. Mental rules about food can come as a result of religious beliefs that involve extreme restrictions on what can or cannot be eaten, or on how much food can be eaten at a time. Even well-intended practices like veganism can be an issue if they cause you to ignore your body’s unique nutritional needs. Though other chakras have significant roles in eating disorders, they profoundly affect the root chakra because of its relation to the nourishment, and thus survival, of the physical body.
While there are other ways root chakra imbalance can be presented, the above are the ways I have most commonly seen it. Between our ever-mechanized and technological lives and our society’s obsession with money, youth, and beauty, grounding is a core issue that needs healing in our lives. This is no coincidence, for the experience of living on Earth is a major part of our spiritual journey, and before we can advance ourselves spiritually we need to understand who we are on a physical level. This means gaining experience and wisdom about the variables inherent to this dimension—which for our bodies means accepting and understanding our primal natures.
When your root chakra is balanced, you accept the physical world for what it is. Instead of fearing its primality, you accept and embrace it. Instead of running away from your physical self, you capitalize on its strengths to enrich your life. You no longer live in a constant state of worry, for when the mind is in tune with your body, it is unable to dominate you. You now have the energy to physically prosper and thrive. You also are now able to receive the energies projected by Mother Earth. Her energy freely passes through the soles of your feet, up your legs, and into the root chakra. But her energy does not stop here—it continues to rise.
As her energy moves upward, each chakra it passes becomes infused with her powerful vibrations. But that’s not all. Because the root chakra has now been stabilized, it becomes a strong footing for the chakras above it. The crown chakra can then more widely open to funnel greater amounts of divine energy through it. These energies then move down, and as they pass the other chakras, they become enriched with these vibrations. This energy then moves through the root chakra, down the legs, through the soles of the feet, and into Mother Earth.
This is one of the reasons why we are present in this physical reality, for we are all meant to be vectors to bring spiritual energy from the Universe down to Mother Earth. We help Mother Earth connect to more divine energy by serving as conduits for this energy. This is something Mother Earth could do herself, but as the universal energy moves through us it becomes imbued with our own unique energies and vibrations of love. This is the energy Mother Earth seeks—the energy of her children charged with divine light. For she can then take this energy, filled with our love, connection, appreciation, and honor for her, and reproject it out into the world, healing herself, humanity, and all the other beings that live upon her. This is a process that can happen only if we are grounded. And this is why honoring your root chakra is so important.
How Hematite Can Help
Of all grounding stones, hematite most resonates with the core themes of the root chakra, which is why it is an essential stone for your crystal kit. However, you cannot totally rely on hematite to ground yourself, for no crystal will do all the work for you. In order for you to balance your root chakra, you must integrate other adjunct grounding practices.
Anything that directly connects you to Mother Earth is an activity that will ground you. One way to begin is to place your bare feet onto her. Start communicating with Mother Earth by walking barefoot on soil, grass, sand, or any land that comes directly out of the earth. Anything that puts you in nature like hiking or camping, or anything that has you interacting with the earth, like gardening, will help you as well. Outside of being in nature, the mind-quieting, energy-centering abilities of meditation will always be helpful in grounding yourself. As you engage in practices like these, the scaffolding produced by hematite’s energy will help you deeply integrate patterns of grounding that will form an even stronger platform for a balanced root chakra.
Though you can always use hematite for general root chakra support, the following are specific ways hematite can help you with grounding.
TO CALM THE MIND
One of the most frequent questions I get is what stones are helpful for anxiety. While there are deeper, underlying issues that create the sense of anxiety, what always contributes to this feeling is a lack of grounding. When someone feels anxiety, energy is bouncing around inside their head, with each new thought adding further energy that agitates the mind. If this energy has no outlet, it will have nowhere to go except to recycle itself into repetitive thought.
Grounding takes the overabundance of energies from the head and creates an energetic pull downward, allowing the excess energy to move down through the body, into the root chakra, and then down through the legs and feet into Mother Earth. This process creates a pathway for energy to travel, “deflating” the head and allowing energy that was misplaced to be correctly distributed to other chakras as it travels toward the root chakra. If you ground yourself with hematite it will sort out what is happening within your body and thus help illuminate what is causing your anxiety, which helps you get understanding on how you can calm your mind.
Botryoidal hematite photographed on my cat, Elvira. Animals are naturally connected with the energy of Mother Earth, so they innately understand—and make exceptional teachers in—grounding. You can learn much from them by observing how present they are within their bodies.
TO GROUND ELECTRONIC ENERGIES
Remember in chapter 3 when I said quartz would amplify a computer’s electromagnetic frequencies and make it more stressful to work around them? Well, hematite works the opposite way. Hematite is one of the best stones for grounding subtle EMF energies emanating from computers and other electronic equipment. While hematite does not completely negate these energies, it will diminish them. Think of hematite as being like energetic earplugs that turn the EMF “volume” lower. Thus hematite is an ideal desktop companion for your computer (it helps to ground all the mental activity around your desk too!).
Limonite and hematite pseudomorph after marcasite (aka Prophecy Stone)
TO HELP WITH SLEEPING
If you’ve been thinking a lot, running many different scenarios through your head, it can cause your mind to go into high gear. If you are worried, you may try to push your anxiety away by occupying yourself with other tasks. However, your thoughts will continue to run in the background, keeping your subconscious mind on a mental treadmill. This will cause a surplus of energy to remain in the head. This prevents grounding, which makes sleeping difficult.
Mother Earth is an expert in recycling and transforming energy, for the theme of her body is a constant and simultaneous state of growth, change, and decay. Grounding drains the energy from the mind and directs it into the root chakra; from there any excess energy can be given to Mother Earth, who is then able to take the energy and transmute it for her own benefit.
One of the easiest and most helpful ways to facilitate the movement of overactive mind energy into the ground is by using hematite while sleeping. Placing a tumbled piece of hematite in your pillowcase, or a sizable hunk of it above your head, on your bed stand, or between your legs, can give you the benefits of grounding while you are in your subconscious, sleeping state. For this is a time when your conscious mind is turned off and you are far more open and receptive to any kind of healing that is for your higher good.
As a reminder: All electronics, including phones, should be placed outside the bedroom, or at least across the room. Otherwise, the hematite will divert its energies into grounding the energies of your electronics rather than devoting itself to helping you.
TO HELP WITH JET LAG
Jet lag is more than a physical experience. In addition to your sleep patterns becoming disrupted, quickly traveling through time zones causes your energetic body to become discombobulated. Like playing a record and then abruptly moving the needle to play another track, your quickly traveling long distances causes a major energetic jog by lifting you from Mother Earth and then touching down somewhere else. The energy of the place you are visiting is different. And not knowing which way the sun rises or sets can disorient you even more. Though some people are hardier when it comes to orienting themselves energetically, for others, flying across many times zones is energetically akin to being stuck in the dryer, tumbled, and then asked to walk straight when they get out.
Since hematite’s energy is analogous to the center of the Earth, you can use hematite to help orient yourself energetically. Having a bolder energetic point of grounding helps you to become more easily connected to the land you stand on, shortcutting the energetic adjustment of traveling from one place to another.
TO HELP WITH PERIODS (OR RED BLOOD CELL ISSUES)
The first time I did a crystal grid of hematite around my body, it was before the start of my period, when my desire for consuming iron-rich foods was at its greatest. As I lay with hematite on and around me, I suddenly realized I was smelling the iron coming off of completely polished stones. My body was not only craving iron physically but craving the energetic expression of it as well! Even though the stones had no smell, I so needed hematite’s energy that I energetically picked up on its scent.
Hematite is an excellent stone for anyone seeking energetic support with any kind of red blood cell issues. I’ve had crystal healing clients with anemia who have felt a palpable sense of physical relief when, unbeknownst to them, a hematite-based stone was placed on their body.
Because crystals work on your body on an energetic level, I always tell people with physical ailments to get direct support on the physical level. This can be through medical, nutritional, and other physically based treatments, whether traditional or alternative. But crystals can serve as an adjunct, powerfully helping you on an energetic level to influence your body to heal itself. You may not feel direct physical results from working with the crystals the way you would with strictly physical treatments, but working with crystals can help you discover the emotional, mental, and spiritual pieces contributing to your health issues.
TO SUPPORT PHYSICAL RECOVERY IN SEVERE ILLNESS
Groundedness is an important theme for those who are dealing with severe illness. If someone has a chance of recovering into a healthy life, hematite is an excellent stone to help them stay oriented in their bodies. By supporting the body’s energetic connection to the primal physical experience, hematite activates the root chakra in order to draw on its resources of survival on an energetic level.
But if someone is in hospice or any end-of-life condition, I would discourage the use of hematite. This is because its energy can cause someone who is transitioning out of their physical life to become tied down to their physical body—creating more physical suffering for them. If hematite is intentionally used to keep someone alive in this way, then the act can be a form of black magic that can cause serious karmic repercussions for the person initiating it.
TO CONNECT TO MOTHER EARTH WHEN NOT IN NATURE
There are those who are attracted to cities because they are where they can intellectually thrive. However, by default, the environment of a city can easily cause disconnection from Mother Earth. Thus hematite becomes a very important stone to energetically connect to Mother Earth when you are living in an environment covered in cement and asphalt.
While many noncrystal methods of grounding can be found within the city, such as meditation, walking in a tree-filled park, or feeling a patch of grass under your bare feet, you can still have hematite’s energy with you for additional support when you are in places farther removed from Mother Earth’s energy. Hematite will heighten your perception of Mother Earth’s vibrational energies so that you can stay better connected to her in places that are outside of nature.
TO INCREASE INTUITIVE CAPACITY
Another question I frequently get asked is which stones can help one to become more “psychic.” While there are specific stones that encourage psychic ability, opening one’s self psychically is a serious problem if you are not grounded.
If you want to open up your psychic abilities or travel to other realities, you want do this without harming yourself. In order to do so, you need to be strongly counterweighted with grounding energy; otherwise opening up to your psychic abilities without the necessary precautions will cause problems you don’t want. If you open yourself psychically without being grounded (or protected by a shaman or guide who is holding your energies while guiding you on your inner journey), the surplus of psychic energy will distort your perception long after your initial exposure. The psychic information you receive will be faulty, not grounded in reality, controlled by your mind and its beliefs, and colored by your unfinished business. And these detrimental experiences can lead to anxiety and depression.
You will also be a danger to others. The lack of grounding causes disconnection from physical reality, and this imbalance will cause you to misinterpret other people’s energies. What you intuitively “see” and “feel” will be dark, because you will be able to pick up only the portion of energy that matches your own unfinished business. Worse, like a person who has had too much to drink but believes they are still able to drive, the push of psychic energy can trigger your ego, causing you to believe that there are no problems with your perception and that you are in far more psychic control than you are.
You want to be able to increase your psychic sensitivities, but without psychically blowing yourself out and disrupting your own or someone else’s life in a detrimental way. The only way to do this is to make sure you are adequately grounded, and hematite is the best stone to teach you how. Hematite helps you connect to your physical body, which helps you connect to yourself and in turn allows you to more clearly see the pieces that are clouding your psychic ability. So if you become grounded, and your heart chakra stays open and tuned in to the perspective of love, it will help you develop your psychic abilities without damage or harm.
TO SUPPORT PROSPERITY
Recall the information from the previous section about grounding and how it relates to physical prosperity. The fundamental requirement for true financial abundance is a strong, healthy relationship to your root chakra. Because hematite resonates with this chakra’s core properties, it is the central stone to use for cultivating a deeper connection to the root chakra and the material well-being that can come from it.
Hematite with rutile
TO SUPPORT STRONG ENERGETIC BOUNDARIES
As previously stated, the churning of Mother Earth’s molten iron outer core against her solid iron center creates the magnetic shield, a “force field” of sorts, that protects our planet from solar winds. In the same way, the energy of iron moving throughout your blood creates an energetic field that helps to contain the boundaries of your energetic space and helps you to deflect any disruptive energies that come from others.
If your “force field” is weak, then other people’s energies can encroach on and influence you. You may know someone who makes you feel as if they are always in your personal space even though they don’t stand any closer to you than others do. You may also find yourself weirdly influenced by their thoughts and opinions, even though you are conscious of how uncomfortable they make you feel. Or perhaps you have a friend whose only topic of conversation seems to be about their troubles. Because you care for them, you spend time and listen to them, but you find yourself subjected to some variation of the same sob story they have been telling you for years. Even though this friend has plenty of tools and resources, and even though you give them all your help and support, they frustratingly never rise from their problems. You wonder how difficult it could be for someone to improve their lives with everything they have going for them, but this is because you do not realize that you are in a dynamic with someone who is siphoning energy from you.
People like this are unconscious of their behavior, but they are compelled to act in these ways because it gives them an energetic “high.” Draining energies from others gives them a boost of energy. Because they do not know how to generate this energy on their own, they search for people whom they can take it from.
Human boundaries are broken by trauma. Whether it’s physical, emotional, sexual, or otherwise, the experience of trauma affects one’s sense of survival. And because survival is the theme of the root chakra, the root chakra plays a major role in creating your boundaries. While energy cannot be taken from an emotionally healthy person, if you have weaknesses in your root chakra, energy can be taken from you.
You will know if someone you have been with has taken energy from you. Even if you are around them for only a few minutes, the interaction you have with them will make you feel unusually drained and tired. You may also feel an icky heaviness, as though some kind of sticky energetic sludge has been smeared on you. Not only has this person siphoned energy from you, they have energetically slimed you with theirs, leaving you with an unpleasant residue of their interaction to deal with.
But draining energy isn’t the only way to infringe on energetic boundaries. Anytime you believe your needs are more important than someone else’s, you will push your energy onto them and encroach on their energetic space. This can happen in many small ways. For instance, you may try to get the car in front of you to move faster by driving right behind it, or perhaps you’re on the phone with customer service and instead of calmly explaining your situation you dump all your frustrations onto the representative. If in any situation your only concerns are your wants and feelings, you will be pushing your energy onto the person you are interacting with. Even if the interaction is temporary, you are still in a two-way relationship with someone else’s energy. The opposite can happen too. If you believe that other people’s needs are more important than yours, you will voluntarily allow them to go past your boundaries and come into your energetic space. When you make your needs subservient to others, you give them the right of way to your energy. In order for this not to happen, you must clarify your needs and resolve any limiting beliefs that prevent you from holding your energetic space. Whether you think that you’re not special enough to demand respect or that you must martyr yourself and sacrifice your needs in order to be a good person, you alone create the conditions that cause you to be an energetic doormat for others.
Also, be aware that your boundaries are dynamic and can morph and change depending on the situation and who you are interacting with. If you have a mother who constantly sacrifices herself for her kids, putting their needs over her own no matter the circumstance, you have a mother who gives up her boundaries. Though you may not consciously want to take advantage of her, you may find yourself asking for her help even when you don’t need it. This is because your mother’s energy has set up a dynamic that encourages this to happen. Maybe instead you have a mother who guilt-trips you into doing things for her. You let her take advantage of you, and thus you allow your mom to encroach on your energetic space. If you don’t have solid boundaries, you will be taken advantage of.
The dynamic of boundaries impinging and being impinged upon can even happen with the same person. There may be circumstances where your mother takes advantage of you and other circumstances where you take advantage of her. However, if your goal is spiritual evolvement, it is your job to become aware of both of these dynamics. Though it’s the interaction of two people’s energies, as the more spiritually aware person you are the one that needs to be more conscientious and disciplined with your energetic space. You are the one who needs to be responsible for your own boundaries and to hold them in such a way that you do not take advantage of others or get taken advantage of.
Boundaries are especially important for empaths and healers because of the way they interact with other people’s energies. The psychic ability of an empath will cause them to “feel” others’ energies as if these were the energies of their own body. What they will pick up may resonate so closely with some issue already within them that they may unintentionally “accept” another person’s energies as if they were their own. If their energetic boundaries are not clear, they will not know how to separate their energies from those of others and will have trouble recognizing what belongs to them and what doesn’t. If they do not take care of their boundaries and if they allow their boundaries to become indistinct, they will find themselves infiltrated with other people’s energies. Because they feel constantly bombarded, they will avoid social situations and will isolate themselves to avoid dealing with the energies they would otherwise easily absorb.
All healers need to have strong boundaries because the nature of their work means they will interact with energies in a deeper and more complicated way. At this level, energies overlap, making them more challenging to distinguish, so the healer must develop skills that help them recognize the subtleties in different kinds of energy. So in order to facilitate healing for their client, they must delineate the energies being worked on—if these belong to the client, themselves, or even someone or something else. The stronger and clearer a healer’s boundaries are, the deeper the healer will be able to go into a client’s energies to help heal them. And because all healers have some degree of empathic ability, strong boundaries protect them from mistakenly taking other’s people’s energy onto themselves. Ultimately, it is a strong energetic boundary that allows the healer to be of greatest service to their clients, for it enables them to distinguish the different energies for what they truly are.
Luckily, we have something quite tactile to model our energies against. Hematite helps you to clarify and strengthen your energetic boundaries. The iron content in hematite makes it a physically heavy stone, so simply holding it can give one a feeling of weight and steadiness. But this sensation also translates on a subtle level, for hematite helps to give your energetic boundaries this same kind of weight and steadiness too.
Hematite asks you to be alert and conscious of your personal space and to be cognizant of any beliefs that would cause you to overstep your bounds or feel that your energy is worth less than that of others. Of all stones, it is the best one to model your energetic boundaries against, for it is the stone that fully embodies the resonance of energetic stability. Hematite will show you how to be disciplined with your energetic space; it will teach you how to keep strong boundaries that allow your energy to flourish, and in turn, allow others the energetic space to flourish as well.
Rose quartz with dendrite inclusion
What is the meaning of life?
There is a lot of confusion about what love is.
Desire, adoration, passion, physical attraction, longing—these emotions are all associated with love, but they aren’t love. This is because love is not an emotion. It is in a category of its own.
As souls in pursuit of knowledge, experience, and understanding, we have projected our focus into the physical plane, a new environment in which we could further explore the dynamics of life. We began this journey filled with a great sense of adventure, becoming infatuated with our new playground and everything that could be experienced within it. With a great sense of amusement, we mischievously initiated hijinks just to see what would happen. But our inconsiderate pursuit of fun resulted in many mistakes that caused great pain both to ourselves and to those around us. Because we had purposefully entered a linear environment, we needed to finish the lessons that came with it. Caught in our own setup, we returned lifetime after lifetime to resolve what we began. As we became absorbed with daily life and all its details, our focus became immersed in this reality and we quickly forgot that we are more than just physical beings. But even in our darkest moments as we struggled, even if it was only the smallest, quietest dot of feeling, we never lost the sense that life had some kind of important meaning.
Everything we experience in this world, every lesson we encounter is, at its root, a lesson in love. Love’s attributes include compassion, hope, joy, peace, respect, gratitude, understanding, and kindness. In turn, these attributes beget other characteristics including truth, honor, purpose, nurturing, forgiveness, and patience. These subsets would all fall under the grander heading of love, the highest vibration in the Universe.
Think about it: The opposite of kindness is cruelty; of respect, contempt; of benevolence, spite. A bully is hurtful, waste is a lack of respect, the person cutting in front of you is inconsiderate, and greed is entitlement that is self-justified. If you follow the thread to the source of any situation containing pain and suffering, you will always find that it was caused by some kind of lack of love. People may believe that they are unhappy because of some issue with their career or finances or relationships and will blame their selected scapegoat in the conviction that it is the reason why they are unhappy and unfulfilled. But if you follow their pain beyond the surface, deeper into the source of the problem, you always find their suffering was caused by a situation needing more love. Because life in the physical plane triggers our fears of scarcity, we convince ourselves that love is in limited supply—that there is not enough to go around and not enough to ever possibly heal us. Yet true love is a divinely infinite, continually generated resource.
Think of someone who was dear to you but has since passed on. Take a moment to remember something about them. As you connect to your memories, recall how they made you feel. Can you feel how much they loved you? Can you also feel how much you loved them? What’s so interesting about this exercise is that the love you feel, you are actually feeling in the present.
The way things are described in the physical dimension, we use love in the past tense when speaking of someone who is no longer on the physical plane. However, the feeling you experience, both toward the person and from them, is a feeling of love that exists in the present. Though you may have initially felt grief and sadness, what persists and outlasts all other feelings is not a memory of this feeling but the feeling of love, now. This is because the vibration of love never degrades. Once the connection is created, it remains in infinity, even when you are not sensing it.
You may have not realized this, but you have always had the ability to create unlimited amounts of love. No matter how much love you have created and put into the world, you are still able to make more. You don’t have a limited amount to parcel to a certain number of people. Nor do you need to take love away from someone in order to give it to someone else. You are able to generate love with no loss to anyone, including yourself. In fact, the more you generate, the more love you feel. Though you are a single, humble human being, you have been born endowed with the power to perpetually generate the highest vibration in the Universe. So why is it so difficult to do so?
Because you are still in the process of learning about love.
As a soul, you came to the physical plane to learn about both sides of an experience. You were going to experience hurting others and then learn what it felt like to be hurt. In these lessons, you were abandoned and traumatized, and because of the pain that you felt, you could not feel the love that was always there. As you continued through your lifetimes, as you mastered each spiritual lesson of love, you dissolved the enemies you had self-created in fear. Whittling down your list, you eliminated many illusory foes until you met the greatest and worst enemy of all—yourself. Though you had come very far, learning to love the world and others, you still had to fully learn the greatest lesson on the physical plane, how to love yourself. For how you treat the world is a reflection of how you treat yourself. To become more loving of the world means looking closely at yourself, seeing what you don’t accept about who you are, and then learning to accept and love yourself. And this has been the most challenging lesson of your spiritual journey.
Love is an overarching experience, a context that holds all emotions. This is why you can be angry at someone, hurt by them, or disappointed in them, yet love them just the same. Love does not change because of emotions. It is a constant, a force that holds the energy of all creation.
Everyone in the physical dimension is learning how to embody love, but at different levels of mastery. Some are young souls who are just beginning to gather the experiences of life. Others are old souls who have been around many times before and have a better understanding of love’s purpose. But if you can step back and look at the world without judgment, you will see that everyone has been doing the best they can to learn their lessons about love.
The lesson of love is an infinite one with ever-deepening levels to understand at each step of your journey. Love is the only thing that heals the wounds of the soul. It heals fear, guilt, and shame and brings people closer together. Love opens the heart and brings compassion, peace, kindness, and healing. There is nothing greater than love. Love is the meaning of life. It is the purpose of why we are here.
Above all, rose quartz is the stone that resonates with the core purpose of universal love. Unlike other stones, its energy is not overt and dynamic but rather has a gentle and steady quality to its vibration. The energy it emanates can be likened to a warm hug from a loving mother to her child; the gentle, happy wag of a dog’s tail; the soothing vibration from the contented purring of a cat on your lap.
Rose quartz energy is so soft and present that it can seem vibrationally still. But this is almost a trick, for its unassuming vibration belies a most powerful strength. For what rose quartz does is pull you into your own energy, closer to the center of yourself, so that it may gently present the pieces within you needing more healing and love. As you go deeper into your layers, resolving even deeper wounds, it brings you closer to the center of your heart. And it is here in your heart where the greatest power within you lies—the ability to generate and manifest unlimited quantities of the omnipotent vibration of love to give to yourself and the world.
When you have reached a certain point of understanding, you will truly realize how powerful love is and how a simple change in your vibration of it can create a “butterfly effect” that affects the whole of the Universe. Not only does rose quartz help you to fundamentally understand this, but it can help you recognize and feel these effects too. Quieting yourself and meditating with rose quartz can help you to feel how the center of your heart is the center of the Universe—for the center of your heart is love!
This understanding of your own God-nature increases as you venture deeper into the spiritual core within your heart. Because there is always another layer to discover, another deeper layer to understand, the journey of your soul becomes infinite with no final destination except toward even deeper love. This is the true spiritual ecstasy you have been searching for and are in the process of discovering. And it is what rose quartz is here to help you connect to.
Rose quartz geode (left) and pink quartz (right)
When to Use Rose Quartz
Because the lesson of rose quartz is so encompassing, it can be broadly used in any situation where more love is needed.
· If you’re having a bad day (or could just use a hug)
· If you’re having a great day (or want to enhance any feelings of love and happiness)
· When you want to bring more love into a place, situation, or person (including yourself)
· Any time you want to more deeply connect to the resonance of love, or any of its attributes (e.g., acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, kindness)
Remember, the vibration of rose quartz is of a universal, unconditional love—and this is the core of our soul’s journey. As you can always go deeper into this lesson, it is a stone to be used liberally.
Found in rough chunks, this kind of rose quartz is relatively plain and humble. But its modesty belies one of the most powerful stones in crystal healing.
Types of Rose Quartz
Though there are other varieties of pink-hued quartz, the most important benefits of rose quartz are present in its most modest and inexpensive form—as plain, humble chunks of semitranslucent pink rock.
From this rough form, rose quartz can be polished into different shapes like spheres, oval gallets, or cabochons for jewelry. But the way you will most likely encounter rose quartz is as tumbled stones small enough to be slipped into your pocket. Since love is what you need the most, you want to use rose quartz generously in your life. I recommend having one sizable piece, something that would fit in your palm or hand, to work closely with. Working with tumbled stones or other easily transportable forms of rose quartz will always be useful for you too, for it will keep you working consistently with rose quartz energy.
A Question about Your Life
Write down one question about your life you want insight on.
Make sure it’s one question about one specific topic. Asking “Is taking this new job and getting serious about the person I’m dating the right change for my life?” actually covers two different topics and may have two different answers.
Instead, you’ll want to phrase the question so that you are asking specifically about the job or about the person you’re dating. Otherwise you will get a blended answer that covers two topics at the same time. The results will be muddy and will make your answer unclear.
Additionally, you will want to avoid vague questions, which will lead to vague answers. Instead, be specific. “How can I improve my life?” is a broad question. Asking “How can I improve my life emotionally?” or even more specifically, “How can I improve my life romantically?” will allow you to receive clearer, more precise answers.
Write this question in your notebook and go on to read the next chapters. It will be helpful to take a break and to focus on other things before you get your answer.