The philosophical study...
of our reality—what is tangible, and in some ways more important, what is not, is metaphysics. The term is used rather broadly, and different groups of people have slightly different understandings of it. Here, the word is used to describe a group that believes in the ideology of transcendence—the belief that certain things have a reality outside our own. Whether or not you believe that certain minerals radiate power and energy, the folklore of these gems has been documented for thousands of years. You do not have to be Pagan or Wiccan to believe the lore; you do not have to practice metaphysics to practice your own version of gem therapy—and you do not have to believe or practice anything—you can simply love to look and admire these specimens for their physical beauty alone.
For those interested in gem therapy, you will find a few notes below on how to best care for and use your gems and minerals as well as a bit of lore that has been used for thousands of years to connect minerals with their bearers.
CLEANSING + CHARGING
Cleansing: Many practitioners think that when you acquire a new gem you should cleanse the stone of spiritual impurities before employing it for personal use. Gem therapists tend to believe that salt water is the ultimate purifier. You can use natural sea water or make your own. Simply fill a clean 8-ounce glass or ceramic cup (do not use plastic or metal) with tepid water, add roughly a tablespoon of sea salt, and stir until the salt dissolves. Then place your mineral in the glass for up to twenty-four hours. Some softer minerals cannot take this treatment, however, and are best cleansed in a pure, tepid water bath. Dry your stone in either the light of the sun for an hour or the light of the full moon overnight. You might use an additional cleansing practice involving herbs. To do this, bury your stone in a mixture of sage and frankincense overnight or pass the stone through the smoke of sage incense. Many practitioners bury their stones in the earth for up to a week to be spiritually cleansed—just be sure to mark where you've buried them!
Charging: Once your stone is clean it is ready to be charged. Charging simply means placing your purest intention—what you are asking of the stone—into the mineral itself. Those gems already identified with specific properties (for example, citrine is thought to aid in achieving creative potential) are the best ones to use when asking for specifics. (In the case of citrine, your intention may be the vision and inspiration to finish a work of art.) There are two primary methods used to charge stones. The first is sunlight. By placing the stone in direct sunlight it allows the sun to fill the stone with its natural energies and refuel its metaphyical properties, thereby making it a stronger tool in gem therapy. Certain stones should not be exposed to direct sunlight for more than an hour or so at a time because the sun can cause their natural colors to fade. The second practice has to do with moonlight--and it is important that you take into account the phase of the moon. The moon has several phases and each one can be used to harness specific requests. When the moon is full, it is believed that the energy associated with this phase is abundant, strong, and full of intention. When the moon is waxing (growing toward a full moon), it is a good time to ask the universe for something you may need more of—love, work, healing.; when the moon is waning (growing smaller), practitioners use this time to try and rid things from their lives—sickness, unstable relationships, etc.; and finally, when the moon is new (appearing like a dark shadow in the sky) it is believed to be an excellent time to work towards rebirth, growth, and change. Place your stone under the moon overnight to absorb these energies. This type of "moon magic" has been used for thousands of years.
After your stones are ready for your personal use, you can coax your minerals to work with you in any of the ways described below. Many of these methods have been used by ancient civilizations including Mesoamerican and Native American, Early Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Celtic cultures and continued to be used and expanded on in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Medicine men throughout tribal history have been considered powerless without their "pouches." It has become a common practice for a person who believes in the metaphysical properties of stones to carry a small pouch of minerals. When selecting the stones you would like to carry, it is important to note not only what you wish to manifest from the gems, but the combinations as well. It is important that you not carry stones whose energies cancel each other out. Additionally, it is thought that a natural fabric pouch—especially one that is made by the wearer—purifies and deepens intentions.
It is believed that allowing the stone itself to touch the wearer’s skin, perhaps by using a gemstone with an opening on the back of the setting, will facilitate the absorption of the energies of the gem. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that when women wore rubies against their skin, their lives would be full of happiness. However, again you must use caution here as some very porous gems such as turquoise can change color with prolonged skin contact.
Sleeping with stones is a frequent practice. Absorbing the stone’s energy when one is in the most relaxed state is powerful. It is thought that putting certain minerals under ones pillow will grant foretelling dreams. Mothers in Medieval Europe often placed malachite under the pillows of their sleeping children to prevent nightmares.
Another practice for absorbing crystal energies is the mineral bath. Placing the mineral around your bath, or more effectively, in the water itself, allows the properties of the mineral to be absorbed into the practitioner. Use caution when selecting stones for this use, as some minerals are toxic when absorbed into the body.
Gem essences have been used for thousands of years. One, called a moon elixir, is created by placing a stone in a glass of water under a full moon overnight. It is thought that drinking the charged contents (save the stone of course!) will manifest the energies of that gem. Some believe that elixirs can be used for up to a month by simply adding a few drops to a daily glass of water; some find more success by sipping straight from the elixir glass throughout the following day. Users also add droplets to bathwater and combine drops with homemade, natural home cleansers. Gem essence can also be made by exposing the water and stone to sunlight rather than moonlight. Again, be aware of which minerals have toxic properties.