I've thought long and hard about what to do for C, as so many things I wanted to write about begins with a C, although not many of them related to my heathen path (not a lot of Germanic/ Norse things begin with C!). But I decided on Crystals as without encountering crystal healers and healing, I probably wouldn't be on the path I'm on now. When I first came out of Catholicism and was becoming more involved in more spiritual things, I met someone who had studied crystal healing so I went on a course and there I met so many different kinds of alternative people - Spiritualist, Reiki healers, New Agers and in particular, Pagans of different traditions. I was really sceptical about crystals at first, wondering how a piece of rock could heal or even have power. But when I learned to tune in and attune to them the energy and power I felt in my hands was so tangible it was amazing. I spent three years studying to be a crystal healer, a year doing a 'Masters' and another three years learning to teach crystal healing and awareness. I however never practises as a crystal healer as I didn't feel right making a living from it and also didn't want to buy and sell them. I wanted to work with them and bring the awareness to others.
Crystals are one of the oldest healing and power tools on earth. For thousands of years our ancestors have used them as actual tools or for healing and magic and wore them as symbols of power. There are over 200 references to crystals in the Christian bible, such ad the High priests wearing carnelian in their breastplates. Every culture and tradition has their lore with regards crystals. The Romans drank out of amethyst goblets to stop drunkenness, they exchanged moonstones between lovers as the symbol of Diana. The Egyptians buried their Pharoahs in ornate tombs adorned with lapis lazuli and other semi precious stones. The South American shaman would throw crystals such as sunstone into fires so that the would split and the shards go up to the gods. The Aborigines believe strongly in the power of the quartz crystal. And so it goes on. When I started to follow a heathen path I didn't come across many references to the heathen ancestors using crystals, until I noted the archaeological evidence of small crystal balls being found mainly in women's graves in England and pieces of agate, as well, of course, as the Amber and jet jewellery. And more recent hordes have uncovered more exotic crystals, possibly as spoils of war.
These days much of modern day technology uses crystals, often in its replicated silicone form - watches, computers, laser equipment at the hospital, TV sets and the latest equipment being used to send out waves into space with an oscillating quartz crystal at its centre.
Over the years I have accumulated large numbers of different crystals, buying them whenever I felt the energy surging through me. I also bought lots of crystal jewellery, probably too many to ever wear and many that I've hardly worn since. But I became aware of the unethical way many crystals are mined and that I didn't need to keep buying more. I've given quite a few away. I also became aware of a lot of the New Age twaddle that is spouted about crystal work, some of which contains grains of truth or fact, but much using pseudo scientific language about opening Multi dimensional portals or connecting with ascended masters. Don't get me started on New Age stuff, particularly after reading "New Age or Armageddon" by Monica Sjoo!
Finally, crystal work can lead on to working with ordinary stones and pebbles that lie around us. Once you learn and feel the energies in crystals you can sense the energy in all stones, albeit a duller, denser, slower 'throbbing' energy. We work with ordinary stones to connect to the wights and landscape around us, often asking the Wight (spirit) in a particular location, eg a stream or wood to enter into the stone thus bringing some of the energy of that particular location away with you.
The mineral kingdom is a special, important realm of energies and beings to be honoured and to be thanked for what it has given to our realm fr thousands if years, but most especially to be treated with reverence and care so that we do not damage the balance of the planet more than we already have.