Crystals for Beginners - by Jenna Volpe and Theresa Citarella

Crystals for Beginners: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Started

This article was co-written by Jenna Volpe, RDN, LD, CLT and Theresa Citarella, ATR, LMHC (see below for full bio).

From King Solomon’s temple and Biblical texts to ancient Egypt, ancient China, the Renaissance and so much more – the use of crystals dates back thousands and thousands of years! 

It’s safe to say crystals have withstood the test of time – not just because of their beauty or resilience.  The magnitude and degree of power, mystery, and healing potential contained within each crystal transcends far beyond what meets the eye.

In the past few decades as the New Age movement has continued to grow exponentially, the popularity and uses of crystals have since expanded past amulets and religion/spirituality, evolving into an entire branch of complementary alternative medicine (1).

As holistic-minded clinicians and like-minded crystal healing practitioners, we’re here to help you immerse yourself into the magnificent and wondrous world of crystals with more ease and intention!

We totally understand how navigating crystals in the beginning could feel a bit overwhelming – at times, maybe even more so than, say, drinking water from a fire hydrant… 

That said, please feel free to take what you need and leave the rest from our step-by-step guide on crystals for beginners! We’ve done our best to simplify and distill our crystal knowledge and insights for your benefit as much as possible.

Disclaimer: Humans are complex and multidimensional by nature. While crystals can often help to support, enhance, and accelerate a person’s healing process, we don’t ever recommend solely relying on crystals as a stand-alone intervention for health purposes . We encourage you to consider working with crystals alongside other complementary modalities and treatment approaches as needed!

What are crystals?

Elementally speaking, all crystals are a form of solid geological material with atoms arranged in a particular crystalline structure – usually one that is organized and symmetrical/geometrical in nature.  

  • According to the International Gem Society, “A crystal is a solid whose atoms are arranged in a ‘highly ordered’ repeating pattern. These patterns are called crystal systems. If a mineral has its atoms arranged in one of them, then that mineral is a crystal.” 

You may also hear crystals being referred to as “gems”, “gemstones”, or “stones”. Each of those terms could be considered accurate in this context!

Crystals vs rocks and minerals: how are they different?

While some crystals may also be considered a type of rock and/or mineral (geologically speaking), it’s important to keep in mind that not all rocks and minerals are considered crystals.

Crystals appear to be inanimate to the naked eye; however, crystals are actually believed to be sentient (like plants) in that each type of crystal generates, transmits, receives and absorbs/holds a specific vibrational frequency that we can connect with and be impacted by on some level.  

Fortunately, as the field of crystal healing and crystal therapy continues to become more widely accepted (1), there’s research being conducted on the electromagnetic frequencies that crystals emit (2) and speculations being made around how these special frequencies may impact our physical and emotional bodies.

The many uses and benefits of crystals

Crystals have been said to help ignite greater balance in our energetic systems, which could in turn benefit our physical, mental, and emotional state of being.

While there’s a need for more tangible research, quantum physics suggests that energy transfer is possible between humans and crystals (3). (We humans, although sometimes not consciously aware of it, are able to pick up on the perfect geometrical structure of crystals, which exist at a crystal’s atomic level!)

Below are the most popular ways to explore and benefit from the crystals:

  • Crystals for protection
  • Chakra-balancing with crystals
  • Supporting wellbeing with crystals
  • Meditating with crystals
  • Grounding with crystals
  • Divination with crystals
  • Manifestation and intention-setting with crystals
  • Crystal dreaming
  • Rituals with crystals
  • Adornment with crystals

Crystal colors and corresponding chakras

We have seven primary energy centers which are located along the centerline of the body.  These energy centers are called “chakras”, and the study of chakras dates back 4,000 years in ancient India!  “Chakra” is the Sanskrit word for “wheel of light” or “disc”. 

While there are technically hundreds of different chakras within the human energy field, the seven primary chakras that run along the centerline of the body are the most significant and impactful on our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual well-being.

It’s important that each chakra is open enough (but not too open) so the flow of energy is healthy, allowing for optional function of the mind, body and spirit on all levels.

Each chakra corresponds with a particular element, organ systems/functions, certain behavioral and mental/emotional/energetic patterns/tendencies, a specific color, and even certain types of crystals!

  • Root chakra:  red crystals
  • Hara/sacral chakra:  orange crystals
  • Solar plexus:  yellow/orange crystals
  • Heart chakra:  green/pink crystals
  • Throat chakra:  blue crystals
  • Third eye chakra:  purple crystals
  • Crown chakra:  white, indigo or clear crystals

Colors are made up of wavelengths. Each crystal has a unique color vibration that correlates to a specific wavelength as well.  

How it works:  when a crystal color is similar to a chakra color, it is thought to enhance and regulate that chakra system when used for the purposes of healing. The crystal vibration attunes to that particular chakra system. 

(We share this concept not to limit applying only certain crystals to certain chakras because of their color, but rather to help shine light on the relationship and correlation between the vibration of a chakra with its corresponding crystals!)

Common crystal shapes and textures

Each crystal shape corresponds to a specific purpose/meaning.  The use of each of these types of crystals may vary greatly depending on the color and type of the crystal being used!

  • Pyramid:  most well known for manifesting and amplifying
  • Cube:  known for grounding and/or protecting the energy of a space
  • Sphere:  known for promoting conflict resolution, and/or for raising vibrations of a space
  • Pendulum: used for divination and/or muscle testing
  • Wand:  used during healing sessions and/or casting protective circles
  • Heart: used for supporting the heart chakra
  • Generator tower: used for amplifying energy
  • Pointed: used for directing energy
  • Cluster/ “Geode”: great for decorating and incorporating onto an alter to represent the earth element; may also help to raise the vibration of a space
  • Egg:  traditionally used for enhancing fertility 
  • Flat stones: for healing/chakra balancing, or also great to carry in the pocket or bra
  • “Free-form”: very versatile! Most often incorporated into meditations, healing, or rituals

(More on this coming soon!)

Crystal textures – are they significant?

There remains controversy even among crystal healing practitioners whether crystals are best in their natural form or tumbled. The crystal texture best for you will most likely depend on the context of use, your intention, and many other factors!  

When in doubt, let your intuition guide you and trust that you can’t go wrong either way.

  • “Raw” or “rough”: These are crystals in their natural form after being harvested.
  • “Tumbled“:  These are crystals which have been tumbled so the texture is very smooth, like marble.

Types of crystals

Now that you’ve learned how to narrow down the colors and shapes of your crystal(s) based on chakra and purpose/intention, it’s time to introduce you to types of crystals!

Given there are currently hundreds of types of crystals available to work with, you may find this A-Z of Crystals list by Happy Glastonbury helpful to learn more and narrow things down a bit.

Who can benefit from working with crystals?

Anyone has the potential to benefit from crystals!  This goes for people, animals, and even plants.

  • We’ve found in our clinical practices that people who have a tendency towards being highly sensitive, intuitive, and/or empathic most often seem to have an affinity for crystals.  But you certainly don’t need to have any kind of special abilities, gifts, or certifications to work with crystals!

Bottom line:  all it takes to work with and benefit from crystals is to go down this path with an open mind, pure intentions, reverence, respect, and gratitude for what crystals have to offer.

A quick note:  As licensed healthcare practitioners, we strongly recommend using crystals as a component of complementary alternative medicine – which means crystals may enhance but not replace other forms of medical care, as needed!

While it can feel overwhelming figuring out where to start, feel free to use the following step-by-step guide to crystals for beginners.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started with Crystals

Step 1: Get crystal-clear on your intentions

You should be crystal-clear (pun intended) on your WHY – your main reason(s) for exploring the world of crystals!

  • What do you hope to learn/achieve from working with crystals?  Would you like to feel more grounded / energetically protected? Enhance your meditation practice? Open or balance a particular chakra? Something else?

Whatever your reason for wanting to work with crystals, keeping your intentions top-of-mind will help you to narrow down the types of crystals you’re going to work with.  

Based on the answer to the above question, you can narrow down your list of crystals to choose from accordingly!

Step 2: Narrow down the type(s) of crystals you’d like to start with

When it comes to getting started with crystals in the beginning, less is more! 

It’s considered good practice to go deep in your practice with just a few crystals at a time, versus trying to dabble in a bunch. (This is also a common philosophy when it comes to incorporating new herbs and supplements into your routine!)

  • If you start working with too many crystals at once, it’s going to be more difficult for you to eventually determine and assess what could be helpful and in alignment for you versus what isn’t.  

Step 3: Hand-select your crystals

Your crystals will often find/choose you to the same degree you’ve found/chosen them! There are no rules, but we’re happy to share some best practices we like to use when picking out new crystals.

It will likely be in your best interest to go to a local crystal shop where you can check out and explore lots of different crystals in-person and choose whatever resonates most for you. Intuition is key in this process!

  • Also, make sure to do your research in advance to verify the shop(s) you choose to explore are ethically and sustainably sourcing their products.

Upon entering the shop, you may like to set an intention that you’ll find the crystal(s) aligned with your highest good. Once you’ve entered the store, it may be helpful to consult someone who works at the shop and can help you to narrow down your options to avoid “decision fatigue!” 

We encourage you to take some time to hold different crystals in your hand, which will help you determine which crystal(s) will be the best fit for you.

  • When a crystal is calling out to you, you may feel heat or a warm sensation, tingling, magnetic energy, an intangible “good” feeling, or have an intuitive inner knowing. 

It’s also 100% okay and normal to sometimes feel drawn to a certain crystal without having a conscious tangible reason! 

Don’t overthink it, and don’t worry if you don’t have any kind of groundbreaking experience while shopping for crystals. You can’t go wrong! 😉

Step 4: Work with your crystals

How you work with your crystals will depend on the purpose of your crystal practice!

Below is a brief list of examples to give you more clarity on which direction to take:

Crystals for grounding:

  • Consider looking into crystals that correspond with the lower chakras for grounding, i.e. the root, sacral and solar plexus chakars, since people generally tend to feel more centered and stabilized particularly when our lower chakras are in balance. (Think red, orange, yellow, brown and/or black crystals!) Below are a few examples of crystals for grounding:
    • Agate
    • Black tourmaline
    • Carnelian
    • Citrine
    • Garnet
    • Hematite
    • Orange calcite
    • Shungite
    • Smoky quartz
    • Tiger’s eye

A few different ways to ground with crystals:

  1. Hold a crystal in your hand and breathe with it for a few moments.
  2. Have a stone near your work place, where you sleep, and/or where you lounge.
  3. Place them in your pocket or tuck it in your bra.
  4. Wear crystal jewelry especially pieces that can touch the skin.
  5. If lying down, you can place these stones near or on your feet, legs or lower abdomen. Feel free to ask the crystals where they need to be placed upon the body if you feel so inclined!

Crystals for protection

  • Selenite is often kept at the bedside table to call in light energy, which repels dark energies.
    • You may use a selenite wand for an energetic cord cutting.
    • You can also use a selenite wand to cast a protective circle around you (such as before sleeping, meditating, prayer, or rituals).
  • Keeping a black crystal nearby is a great way to divert negative energy! Just make sure to clean these daily.
    • Shunguite, black tourmaline, and labadorite are three top-of-mind examples.

Crystals for enhancing meditation

  • Crown chakra and third eye chakra stones
    • Amethyst
    • Clear quartz
    • Selenite

Crystals for divination 

  • Crystal pendulums are great for divination (muscle testing); an increasingly popular way to work with a crystal pendulum is via the Emotion Code! Any type of crystal can be made into a crystal pendulum.
  • Twin clear quartz crystals (crystals which come from the same mine) are used in crystal readings to help us connect to your Akashic records.

Crystals for manifestation

  • The type and shape of the crystal is key for manifestation!
    • For example, pyrite is most often used for financial manifestation, while rose quartz is most often traditionally used for manifesting love.
    • Pyramid shapes are significant for promoting and supporting general manifestation of any kind. (This practice dates back to ancient Egypt! Sacred geometry is a conversation for another time.)

Crystals as jewelry/adornment 

  • Crystals of all kinds and any color can make a beautiful adornment or piece of jewelry! It can be beneficial to choose the type or color of your crystal based on a theme (for example, if you’re trying to open your heart, you may benefit from wearing rose quartz jewelry). Crystal jewelry is most popularly worn in the following ways:
    • Pendants
    • Necklaces
    • Rings
    • Bracelets

Crystals for Feng Shui or decoration

  • Consider placing a sphere-shaped crystal in your home.
  • Explore crystal geodes to place strategically in areas of your home based on what feels good!
  • Add crystals tof your choice to altars or mantles to increase the earth element in your home
  • Explore the world of crystal gridding, to bring more light into your home

Crystals for supporting wellbeing

Step 5: Cleansing and charging your crystals

You may hear terminology like “charging” and “cleansing” in regards to crystals – these two terms can sometimes be used synonymously in this context, but they are actually two different practices!

Since crystals are energetically charged, and they also absorb energy around them (this is why they are so darn helpful!), they should ideally be cleansed and charged regularly.

We recommend cleansing crystals first, before charging them.  (Cleansing crystals is more important in that it has a more direct impact on their energy and vibration, more quickly.)

Cleansing crystals 

Crystal cleansing means to release the crystal of any energy that has gathered within it over time. This energy could be heavy or dense and can affect the crystal’s energy field as well as the degree of benefit you may receive from working with the crystal.

The crystals most in need of cleansing are the crystals used for healing and protection, since they’re the most likely to absorb and hold negative energies around you (so that YOU don’t absorb those unwanted energies).

How often should you cleanse crystals?

Ideally it’s best to cleanse (energetically clean) your crystals after each use. (That isn’t always possible, but just do the best you can!)

  • As crystal healing practitioners, we aim to cleanse crystals before and after each healing session so they can provide optimal benefits for our clients.

Below are our favorite methods for charging and cleansing crystals energetically:

  • Smudging:  Smudge your crystal(s) with smoke from ethically-sourced white sage, palo santo, nag champa, or other smudging herbs/incense of choice. Make sure to maintain reverence and respect for this practice.
  • Salt bowl method:  Place your crystal(s) in a bowl of sea salt, for a few hours or overnight.  Discard the salt after it has been used.  You can put multiple crystals in the same bowl of salt.
  • Salt water method:  Place your crystal(s) in a bowl of homemade salt water (filtered water and some sea salt), for a few hours or overnight.  Discard this salt water after it has been used once.  You can cleanse multiple crystals at once in the same bowl of salt water.  
    • Note that certain crystals (specifically malachite and selenite) can’t get wet without degrading! 
      • Soft/porous crystals such as malachite can benefit from any of the other methods listed here except the Holy water method.
  • Sunlight method:  Place your crystals on an open windowsill or outside in direct sunlight for at least a few hours or longer. 
    • There are a handful of crystals that can have their pigment fade in prolonged exposure to sunlight, such as amethyst and rose quartz. 
  • Holy water:  Spray your crystals with holy water from a spritzer bottle.  
    • Don’t use this method for selenite or malachite since they degrade in water (as noted above!).

There’s been debate around whether or not crystals need cleansing and if certain crystals can cleanse themselves. Selenite and pyrite come to mind. This is case-by-case; use your intuition! 

If you feel these crystals can benefit from being cleansed after each use, it doesn’t hurt.  And if you don’t think selenite or pyrite crystals need to be cleansed, it’s totally fine to honor that.

(More on crystal cleansing coming soon.)

Charging crystals

Crystal charging means you amplify its energy field that is already within the crystal. You may want to cleanse a crystal before charging a crystal. 

Best ways to charge a crystal:

  • Moonlight method:  Place your crystals on an open windowsill or outside in front of the moonlight, overnight.  We prefer to do this when the moon is full for best results!
  • Sunlight method:  Place your crystals on an open windowsill or outside in direct sunlight for at least a few hours or longer. 
  • Nature method: Take your crystals on your nature walks or hikes.
  • Reiki: Tadao Yamaguchi sensei, the lineage holder and co-founder of the Jikiden Reiki institute, teaches that we can infuse crystals with Reiki energy.  According to Tadao sensei, this only needs to be done once – but you can do this as often as you like!

Step 6: Where should you keep your crystals?

There’s no one “right” or “wrong” place to keep your crystals when you’re not working with them.  The most important thing is that you place them somewhere with reverence and respect.

Practicality and convenience can also be taken into account!  

For example, if you’re working with crystals to enhance your dreams at night or you like to keep one in your pocket during the day, it might make the most sense to keep your crystal(s) at your bedside table/night stand.

If you work with a crystal pendulum, wand, or other types of crystals for healing purposes, you may like to display your crystals on an altar or mantle.

Your office desk might be a good spot for pyramid-shaped crystal for abundance and manifestation.

Below is a list of popular and appropriate spots to consider keeping your crystals:

  • Altar
  • Bedside table
  • Book case
  • End tables
  • Jewelry box
  • Mantle
  • Jewelry box

Crystals for beginners: final thoughts

Whether you’d like to balance your chakras, increase the vibration of your space, protect your energy, enhance your meditations or hone your unique gifts, or just enjoy the beauty of crystals for adornment/decor purposes, crystals are a wonderful tool which can serve to help enhance wellbeing, improve quality of life, and assist a healing journey for anyone.

However, we’d like to remind you it’s not enough to rely on crystals for all healing needs, but rather include them as a helpful addition to the process.

Thank you SO much for taking the time to check out our guide on crystals for beginners! We appreciate you and wish you the best of luck on your crystal journey. 

If you found this article interesting, helpful or informative, please share with someone you love!

XOXO

Jenna & Theresa

References 

  1. Ishaque, Sidra et al. “Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding gemstone therapeutics in a selected adult population in Pakistan.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine vol. 9 32. 26 Aug. 2009, doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-32
  2. Kuo, Chao-Hsien, and Zhen Ye. “Electromagnetic energy and energy flows in photonic crystals made of arrays of parallel dielectric cylinders.” Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics vol. 70,4 Pt 2 (2004): 046617. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.70.046617
  3. Ross, Christina L. “Energy Medicine: Current Status and Future Perspectives.” Global advances in health and medicine vol. 8 2164956119831221. 27 Feb. 2019, doi:10.1177/2164956119831221

Co-author bio: Theresa Citarella, ATR, LMHC

Theresa Citarella, ATR, LMHC - Holistic Therapist, Reiki Master, and Crystal Healing Practitioner
Theresa is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Registered Art Therapist who is passionate about working to create stronger mind-body-spirit connections. As a Reiki Master and an Energy Medicine facilitator, Theresa uses various energetic healing techniques to help people attune to their personal truth and leverage their individual strengths. She enjoys utilizing crystal and flowers in her healing sessions to help cleanse and recharge one’s energy.

Theresa is a certified crystal healing practitioner and was taught by her teacher, Paulette O’Rourke, at Cape Cod Center for Whole Health. Theresa has been working with crystals for over 15 years for healing and enjoyment. Knowing the innate capacity that all being have for growth, Theresa seeks to help individuals tap into their inner power. She enjoys communing with nature, dancing, and meditating as ways to realign to her well-being in order to be the best version of herself as a practitioner.

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