Finding peace in a world that feels like a ticking time bomb hasn’t been easy for anyone over the past year. Between the slow rollout of the COVID vaccine and an insurrection on American democracy, our 2021 anxiety levels aren’t much different than they were in 2020.
As I’ve written before on this site, my need for focus and grounding has gone beyond conventional mental health treatment like psychotherapy and prescribed drugs, which is why I’ve been exploring alternative options like reiki, and now, crystal healing. To be clear: I don’t believe reiki or crystals should be used as alternatives to therapy and medication — only as supplemental care. However, they can be used for calming anxiety and the nervous system. “They’re not going to do everything,” warns Mariah K. Lyons, 35, an L.A.-based crystal healer and the founder of Astara, a luxury crystalline grounding footwear company, “but they are a tool that we can work with for our overall holistic journey.”
Before a few months ago, I knew nothing about crystals and dismissed them as pseudoscience. But with tensions rising throughout the country from a deadly pandemic and a growing white supremacist movement, I started to notice people I knew — and didn’t know — were working with crystals to help them keep calm.
Let me put it this way, if Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty is getting into crystals, then it’s safe to say this practice has entered the mainstream.
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“Working with crystals brings us back into a deeper understanding of ourselves and a connection with the earth,” says Lyons, the author of Crystal Healing for Women. “On a broad-stroke level, it’s fine-tuning our relationship with ourselves, with what we need at that time, with how we’re feeling, and then understanding how we relate to the earth.”
Sure, that sounds great, but how do we actually do that? Well, Lyons’ book provides a multitude of information for inexperienced practitioners like myself, without coming off as overwhelming. But more importantly, because it’s for women in particular, Lyons expertly puts certain crystals and rituals into a real-life context for her readers.
“There wasn’t a book about crystals that was specifically for women, that was catered toward us in terms of the changes that we go through biologically as well as symbolically throughout our life,” Lyons tells SheKnows of the motivation behind Crystal Healing for Women.
(Although two of the chapters are dedicated to fertility and pregnancy, as well as the menstrual cycle, Lyons stresses that her book is for all self-identifying women.)
For those starting out, Lyons believes that less is more. Crystal Healing for Women does contain a chapter called “Ten Crystals Every Woman Needs,” breaking down the benefits of certain “beginner” stones, but Lyons suggests starting with no more than three crystals. “Ideally start with one, max three, and start to work with it on a consistent basis,” she says. “Sitting with it, meditating with it, and tuning into the subtle shifts that happen in your body and in your mind when you’re holding that specific crystal.”
Lyons goes on to say that crystals can be useful when deepening a meditation practice, or heightening creativity: On that note, I do find that my meditation practice has intensified once I began using an amethyst — one of the book’s “10 Crystals Every Woman Needs” – during Lyons’ Daily Mindfulness Meditation Ritual (available in her book).
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Given how many crystal choices there are out there — Crystal Healing for Women features no less than 70 different kinds of stones — Lyons is, again, quick to emphasize the importance of starting small. “I have so many people that come to me, and they’re like, ‘I have a million crystals, I have no idea what they are, I have no idea what they do, but I like them!’” says Lyons. “Which is great, but it doesn’t really do a lot for you [laughs], if you’re not working with them intentionally.”
Lyons suggests beginning with two stones from her “10 Crystals Every Woman Needs” list: Clear quartz (for setting intentions) and rose quartz (for healing). She also recommends a grounding stone “because we’re on our computers so much,” like shungite, black tourmaline, black onyx or smoky quartz.
Another benefit of crystals if you’re a parent? The colorful and sparkly nature of these stones makes them an instant hit with children. “Kids are already innately drawn to crystals,” says Lyons. “There’s something about the frequency of the stones that, because it’s so pure, children resonate with it.”
I’ve actually been able to bond with my four-year-old daughter by adapting Lyons’ Chakra-Boosting Meditation Ritual (available in her book) into something we call “Rainbow Relaxation” — because who wouldn’t want to imagine a rainbow going up and down his or her body? My daughter holds a piece of crystal quartz to her heart, while visualizing one of her favorite cartoon characters for each color chakra: Owlette from PJ Masks is Red, Zuma from Paw Patrol is Orange, etc.
Given everything children have had to endure throughout this tumultuous year, Lyons is completely on-board with using crystals as a tool to help our little ones find balance: “Kids this year, they’ve had a lot of change with wearing masks and not going back to school.” She recommends lighter-colored stones like celestite, rose quartz and amethyst for kids, which are more calming and relaxing.
When doing your initial research, it’s also important to acknowledge the dark side of this popular wellness trend, which is the possibility that your crystals haven’t been ethically sourced.
“It is a big conversation in the gem and mineral space now,” says Lyons, who says the best way to know if you’re about to make a sustainable investment, is to ask as many questions as possible. “If people are being transparent about their sourcing, then great — but it’s also up to the consumer to have that conversation with the retailer about where they’re getting their crystals from. If you’re buying a box of 20 stones for $10 from, say, Amazon, they’re probably not sustainably sourced, and they might not be real.”
While it’s been difficult to find positive outcomes from the past year, Lyons sees a silver lining in the upswing of crystal enthusiasts. “[Crystal healing] is something we can do at home, by ourselves — and it comes back to that relationship with the self and the relationship to the earth,” she says.
Lyons points to the increase of people reconnecting to the earth via travel by way of road trips, and visiting national parks: “Being inside [so much], we realize how amazing and how important it is to get outside, and how much we need nature.”
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