“COVID-19.” A word which had no meaning two years ago but now permeates every aspect of our current lives. However, the fear of attracting this deadly virus is not the only worry on people’s minds, as the mental toll of confinement has also affected us all. With no foreseeable state of “normalcy” in sight, people have resorted to all sorts of wellness habits to stay sane. One of these practices being that of crystal healing. In a time where innovation is welcomed as this novel disease is foreign to us all, is this secular form of healing perhaps, a cure for our collective melancholy? Let us first find out what this phenomenon is.
The first recorded citations of crystal use date back to Ancient Sumerians and Egyptians used both cosmetically and for protection and health, to rid themselves of evil spirits of the night. There are references of crystal healing in all religious texts, from the Quaran to the Bible to the Siddartha, as certain stones usually represented higher symbols of power such as thunder or fire. To follow, the European Renaissance brought in crystal use in conjunction with herbal remedies during medicinal treatments. It is during this time where individuals believed certain gemstones could contain demons, thus starting a consecration and sanctification process of these gemstones before use, which is still practiced to this day in crystal healing.
The Enlightenment period pushed individuals farther and farther from natural remedies and into what we now call conventional medicine, as the shift towards humanism became more prevalent with invention and science. It was not until the 1980’s where new age culture reemerged in the US, reverting back to the old practices of alternative healing and medicine.
Fast-forward to the troubling times of today, and crystal healing has made a resurgence into mainstream spiritual practice. “At a time when many people have cut back on superfluous expenditures and even the diamond industry has taken a hit, Americans still account for 35% of the growing global market for gemstones, and metaphysical retailers cite current stresses for driving as much as a doubling in sales,” says Stephen Robert Miller of the Guardian. Americans are loving these pretty rocks, but what are they providing for those who use them, and why the sudden popularity?
I spoke with my close friend Anna, who has practiced crystal healing since last April, when the anxieties of the pandemic were at an alltime high. She originally started regular meditation to alleviate some of her stresses, and happened to stumble on crystals through Tiktok. Through the platform’s meticulous algorithm, she then learned a lot of information from crystal healers and witches regarding the experience. After performing her own research, she decided that she would try them out. Now, she describes that crystals help her meditation process become a lot more worthwhile. “I dont think crystals themselves necessarily have some kind of magical properties that make one act a certain way, but they help me categorize my thoughts and focus on specific ideas when I’m meditating. I like to meditate and hold rose quartz, because it reminds me to focus on being a loving person.” She then described how through this practice, she is now more cognizant of her emotions in her everyday life: “Now even when I’m not meditating, keeping certain crystals around help remind me of a certain goal or mindset that I want to sustain throughout the day.”
But Anna is not the only one newly interested in these ancient healing tools. It is clear that the younger population is turning toward metaphysical practices at a growing rate. “There’s a whole new subgroup in the mineral world of people in their mid-20s and 30s who are buying online” Miranda Lehman of the the Colorado School of Mines explains. This is clear as Tiktok’s #crystal hashtag has 2.1 billion views worth of videos online, followed by #crystalhealing’s 125 million views. As everyone is locked in their homes, Tiktok has encouraged the youth to get out and explore their spiirituality through these interesting rocks.
It is not only virtually where the crystal attention is growing, as crystal shops around the country are gaining more traction than ever before. Meggin McAnally of Mystic Sisters, a metaphysical shop in Ohio says, “more people are opening up to it, so they’re posting more things about it. More time alone means more time to self-heal, and then you get more questions.” She then confirms Tiktok’s big influence on the increased interest, as Moldavite, a rare green glas-like rock said to have enormous powers reached the platform and sent many new customers into her shop to buy it. Interestingly enough, religious stores of all types have been on the decline in this same time period, as Americans seem to be moving more secularly, with the use of social media and closing of religious buildings.
“Scientifically, every object in existence vibrates at its own frequency related to its specific density. This is true for stones, trees, water, and even humans — everything. This can be quantified in a scientific lab and is a vast subject entirely on its own. When you place objects beside each other, their vibrations affect each other. So, if a specific thing (crystal) has a specific density (frequency), which has a specific meaning and usage, theoretically, utilizing that stone will have an influence on us.” These are the words of Carrie Eller, owner and operator of Under the Elder Tree, a wellness center in West Virgina. Whether you’re a devout pagan witch or just trying it out for the hype, it seems as if there will be some effect if you set your intentions purposefully.
“If you believe that it will work for you, I think it will. If you don’t have that optimism, it’s simply not going to work,” Kyiana Vargas, a New Jersey resident says. The crystal healing sensation makes us all question how much of our general wellbeing is dependent on where our headspace is.
It is clear that COVID-19 is not the first of major pandemics that have devastated and uprooted a society worldwide. History often repeats itself, and when it does, we often resort back to our roots. Are earth-religions such as crystal healing the answer to our stressful confined lives? Is gaining a closer connection with the universe the answer to COVID-19? What is the future of American spirituality?