More ancient than the oldest civilizations, yet emergent as one of the new leading interests of modern time, healing crystals and stones are a timeless fixture of human society and life. Crystals have likely never before seen such an explosion of popularity and desirability on a worldwide market both as jewelry and spiritual talismans as well as décor and collector’s items. New mineral specimens are regularly being discovered and studied as the ever-shifting layers of our implacable home planet reveal what is created through weathering, volcanic activity, and tectonic shifting.
Yet with what seems like an incredible peak in interest towards crystal healing and the use or carrying of stones for empowerment, protection or spiritual self-development, the sheer variety in stones can seem overwhelming. Where to begin?
Crystal expert and author Nicholas Pearson dives deeply into the study of the crystal and mineral realm. Both from the perspective of mythology and history as well as their scientific specifications and everything in between. Pearson is an avid reader of crystal literature and has distilled his research and experience of stones down to a list of 7 Archetypal Healing Stones.
What makes his perspective different? All crystal books are reflections of the relationship of the author to the stones. Each crystal worker or author with perceiving the energy of the stones they work with through a different lens and will also literally experience different stones. While groups or types of stones may indeed share commonalities based on their chemical makeup, place of origin, and other characteristics, each very stone is also an individual presence, and specific specimens will exude different energies as well. This creates ambiguity as well as diversity.
There are, however, a core handful of stones that, although each person or even culture may experience them somewhat differently, seem to have through history and a multitude of civilizations strikingly similar healing affinities and medicinal uses. Thus clueing us into the concept that perhaps some stones are working with human beings with a specific mission as their ability or destiny.
Let’s take a Journey through 7 Archetypal Stones as outlined by Pearson
Number One: Obsidian “The Smoking Mirror”
Obsidian is a volcanic glass created when hot lava cools very quickly. Although technically it is not a crystal, being that glass has an amorphous molecular structure, it has nonetheless been revered in cultures worldwide over the millennia as an extremely powerful stone. The pre-colonial people of Mexico used and revered obsidian for many purposes relating it to ‘the smoking mirror’ – a reference to its ability to reflect the ‘dark’ and ‘light’ aspects of one’s nature back to them.
Indeed even in modern ‘new-age’ crystal lore, obsidian has still been revered a stone of working with the shadow. A stone we select when we are ready to see the distorted aspects of self that need to be forgiven, corrected, integrated, or restored. Obsidian is not a gentle stone for feel-good purposes but a stone to go deep with.
The stone is also profoundly purifying of those aspects we hide away while simultaneously offering a cloak of protection to us while we brave the underworld.
Number Two: Jade “The Stone of Immortality”
Jade is a form of quartz and is, therefore, a relatively hard and durable stone with a hardness of 7 out of 10 on the Moh’s hardness scale (used to rate the relative hardness of minerals). This stone has long been in the healing repertoire of Traditional Chinese Medicine and, at least partially due to its harness, is recognized not only as a stone of vitality but also of self-sovereignty.
Its hardness also associates it to eternity and as such, its gift of immortality relates not only to the vitality of the physical but also of the spiritual self.
Pearson reports that according to legend, jade was formed by an ancient rainbow which explains the multitude of colors it can form in from reds to purples to greens and beyond, though green jade is the most well-known.
Keeping with jade’s legendary genesis from a rainbow, it is associated with the sky and the heavenly realms and is, therefore, to be considered a stone of insight, of the higher realms of consciousness, of dreaming and an excellent stone for dreaming and meditation.
Jade is frequently carved into archetypal shapes such as dragons, serpents, and other such protective mythological beings. It can serve as a connecter to spirit guides and helpers in other realms.
Number Three: Lapis Lazuli “The All-Seeing Eye”
Lapis Lazuli is yet another stone revered since ancient times. Used by Daoists, European artists, and the Egyptians, Lapis has long captured the imagination and appreciation of people around the world.
Also technically not a crystal, Lapis Lazuli is a metamorphic rock combined of many specimens, including the rich indigo blue lazurite and the sparkling gold of iron pyrite. It is the inclusion of calcite that lends this stone white flecks and veins of this rock may include many other constituents as well.
In line with its celestial sky-like appearance, this stone serves to remind us that we are connected to higher realms and the heavens, which are always in support of our lives. It is a heart-centered stone that simultaneously helps those who work with it to keep an open mind. This dual understanding creates a harmony that reveals there is no actual competition in life, but rather a sense of connection that bridges us all.
Lastly, Pearson points out that Lapis Lazuli is an exceptional choice for increasing the abilities of psychic insight and intuition.
Number Four: Emerald “The Grail and the Tablet”
Emerald is a stone deeply interwoven with the mythical and real history of alchemy. This stone was famously engraved as a tablet of secret universal knowledge. This legendary Emerald Tablet is a bedrock source of information on Alchemy, even forming modern concepts of western alchemy. It is no accident that emerald would be the stone of choice for such a profound creation as Emerald’s deep earth-green hue naturally associates it to the heart chakra. It could be said that all true alchemy and transformation originate in the heart.
Meditation with emerald can, according to Pearson, show you what truly matters in this world; love. The heart is the meeting place of the Heavens and the Earth; it is the catalyst for all goodness in the world.
Emerald’s appearance in mystical legends of antiquity does not stop here. Emerald is commonly thought of as a stone of the holy -grail carved and used as the vessel or cup of miraculous powers. It has even been associated with Lucifer’s crown in the story of his being cast out of heaven. The story goes that when Archangel Michael struck Lucifer’s crown, the emerald fell out.
As a final note on the marvelous powers of Emerald, it is a stone that represents and supports the embodiment of truth. Those working with emerald can grow in their authenticity and ability to show up in life as their true self in radical honesty with others.
Number Five: Quartz “The Great Crystal of Atlantis”
When we hear the word ‘crystal’ itself, the image that most quintessentially will come to mind is that of a clear quartz crystal. Indeed all forms of quartz, a relatively hard silica dioxide mineral, is one of the most abundant minerals produced by Earth.
Quartz is a fundamental stone in all senses of the word because it enhances and magnifies any other stone or vibration and can attract like vibrations to itself. This is an excellent stone to employ with the law of attraction work as it can be charged with any intention, making it extremely versatile.
A very clear piece of quartz becomes a prism of light when hit by sun rays. It loves to be in the sunlight and can be charged this way directly, unlike many other more opaque stones. Like a laser beam, quartz can focus, condense, refract and direct light itself.
In terms of attraction, clear quartz is a “go-to” for crystal healing modalities as a quartz crystal placed on specific areas of the body will energize and bring life force to that chosen spot. Quartz with long and thin ‘wand’ formations can be used in energetic surgery and healings to cut energy cords and psychic healing.
Quartz forms in a wide variety of colors, and the color it exhibits can serve as an intuitive visual indicator of how that stone may best serve. Smoky quartz, for instance, is brown, gray or black. This variety of quartz can act as an energetic vacuum to cleanse negative energy or entities and is also grounding like the dark soil of the Earth.
Quartz is also the great legendary crystal of Atlantis known for its use in crystal technology. According to what legends we have, people during the time of Atlantis lived in harmony with the world around them and the forces of nature which included an intimate connection to the mineral realm. It is said that crystal in Atlantean society was used for technological advances such as clean energy and as ways to store and transmit information. It is said that ego-driven misuse of the stones for power gain contributed to or possibly caused the fall of Atlantis.
Number Six: Amethyst “Stone of Temperance”
Amethyst is the purple form of quartz and another widely beloved member of the mineral realm. The word amethyst derives from the Greek "amethustos", meaning ‘sober’. It was believed to be rock crystal dyed purple by the tears of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry. Indeed it has long been associated with the breaking of addictions and the cessation of negative habits.
Energetically amethyst carries the ability to help develop temperance. This is especially true because most addiction is rooted, on some level, in a sense of emptiness or disconnection a person may feel from source and nourishment. Therefore, amethyst also carries the message that divinity resides in each of us and so a sense of belonging and deserving and the ability to be redeemed to wholeness.
Amethyst, with its connection to the divine, is able to transmute emotions and base energy to a higher level and finding peace within the circumstances.
Number Seven: Diamond “The Unconquerable and the Thunderbolt”
The diamond is a highly coveted and beloved mineral worldwide, prized for its unique character. While most stones are a mineralogical combination of 2 or more elements, Diamond is a product of only carbon with the highest hardness rating possible on the Moh’s scale- a 10. It’s hardness and chemical simplicity hint at its character of permanence, strength, and simplicity.
The word diamond is also rooted in Greek comes from the word “adamas” meaning not tamed or conquered. It is an invincible stone, one might say. While it can cut through other stones, no other stones can cut it. This energy gives the person working with it certain invincibility.
The mindset that you are unconquerable is what creates invincibility, and the force that brings it to life is unconditional love. Although the modern diamond industry may have twisted roots and practices, there still are very legitimate reasons to associate diamonds with unbreakable bonds of love.
The strength and transformational capabilities of diamonds can be seen by understanding how they form and examining the elements that are involved. Diamonds and graphite are both forms of carbon. Graphite is soft enough to create the tip of the pencils we use in school yet when carbon is subjected to incredible pressure within the Earth then, and only then, can a diamond be born. It is within a moment of intense heat and pressure that something as strong and brilliant as a diamond can be produced. The energy of diamonds serves to remind us that the moments of greatest challenge shape us to become brilliant expressions of who we are.
An exhaustive list of stones could fill up a text larger than the famed emerald tablet, yet Pearson’s insightful research produced a very thought- and spirit-provoking journey through the 7 Archetypal Healing Stones that are an excellent guide and starting point with your crystal journey.