What, Why, And Everything You Need To Know About Crystal Healing History
While it may look like crystal healing suddenly popped since celebrities like Adele, Victoria Beckham or Gwenyth Paltrow started vouching for it, the history of crystal healing began ages ago. It’s intermingled with the cultural and religious history of the world such that in some places, crystals are inseparable from popular beliefs today.
We aren’t talking about which country crystals came from, but where ‘crystal healing’ came from. Crystals come from the womb of Goddess Earth Mother Gaia but the rituals, traditions and history of crystal healing stretches across different religions and cultures.
Learn about crystal healing and its history to understand where exactly it all began and what led to this divine discipline in the first place. Which is the oldest culture that used crystals for healing? Who started worshipping crystals? When did the practice of healing with crystals begin first?
Read on to find out the answers for all these and much more.
Crystal Healing Through Cultures and Religions: Where Did Crystal Healing Originate?
Crystals are found all around the world and maybe that’s why most cultures and religions are intertwined with stories, myths and history of healing stones.
The book ‘Crystal Healing Practices in the Western World and Beyond’ by Kristine D Carlos points to writing as old as 400 B.C on the powers emitted by crystals. It particularly talks about ancient Indian Sanskrit scriptures during this era as a treasure house of crystal healing practices. Vedic traditions of Indian Hinduism found in texts from 5,000 years ago give weight to crystals for broadening spiritual knowledge.
One thing to note is Hinduism relies heavily on astrology when interpreting crystal healing. Astrologers often prescribe gemstones based on the body weight and birth chart of the person to negate their problems ages ago and even today. In Vedas, two books called ‘Garuda Purana’ and ‘Graha-gocara-jyotisha’ talk about the origin of crystals as well as their healing attributes.
According to the same texts, the Hindu Vedic demon called Vala who was a prominent player in the origin of Ayurveda is the origin of crystals. Gems are the organs and parts of Vala that fell upon the earth when he was dismembered by the demigods. For example, pearls were the teeth of Vala, Ruby his blood, Hessonite his fingernails, Yellow Sapphire his skin, Diamond his bones, Blue sapphire his eyes, Coral his intestines, Red Garnet his toenails, Jade his fat, and Emerald his bile.
Ayurveda associates the powers of crystals based on major and minor chakras in the body. During that time, crystals were popular in amulets, talismans, and other protective jewelry to counteract the effect of negativity.
The second religious scripture that uses crystals is the Holy Bible. Written at around 1200 to 165 BC, the Old Testament specifies 12 gemstones on the breastplate of the High Priest of Israel in the Book of Genesis.
According to historians, this was a gold grid made of stones like sapphire, diamond, ruby, agate, opal, jacinth, topaz, emerald, amethyst, beryl, garnet, jasper and onyx. Truth is, this is where the trend of birthstones first began.
Besides the breastplate of Aaron, God instructed priests to keep two stones Urim (the light stone) and Thummim (protection stone) in the pocket at all times. Historians say these were the stones that helped priests connect with the will of God and convey it clearly to masses.
In the book of Revelations written later, crystals are the ornaments that decorate the foundation of the city walls. It was Marbodus, the bishop in the 11th century who said agate mellows the personality of the person and Garnet is Christ’s blood. Marbodus Bishop also wrote about 60 other stones and its magical powers during the same time. For instance, he says diamond eliminates nightmares and senselessness.
St. Hildegard of Bingen was also the advocate of stones who said orange garnet was the perfect way to exorcise ghosts and demons. All one had to do was draw the Holy Cross on a loaf of bread and make the possessed person eat the same bread to free the demonic chains.
Historians say that churchmen in the 14th century claimed gemstones may contain demonic powers and were hence sanctified specifically before they were used or worn. This is the same process that you see today such as dowsing or smudging crystals with holy water.
When it comes to Koran, the 4th heaven is said to be made totally from the gemstone garnet. Apart from that, Prophet Muhammed was believed to have embraced ‘a black healing crystal’ (often thought of as black jade) and advised his followers to do the same.
To make things clearer about ‘crystal healing’ and its power to Muslims, it was Ali who wore four crystal rings on his hand. He wore opal (yaqut) for beauty, turquoise (feruz) for divination as well as victory, iron stone (hadid) for power and carnelian (aqiq) for protective power against foes.
Moreover, carnelian and turquoise are best for wearing at all times of prayer for boosting connection with God.
A 7th century Buddhist text explains Siddhartha Buddha sat under the ‘Kalpa Vruksha’ or the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ and meditated. This tree is made completely out of healing crystals like coral, emerald, green zircon, diamond, topaz, sapphire, coral and ruby.
Tibetan Buddhism reveres the power of crystals by using them as ornaments, and amulets that enhance meditation. In this culture, meditation brings out the best energies of healing crystals.
Another important text in Buddhism is the Sacred Lapidary Treatise, which is the Ratnapariksha of Buddhabhatta (a type of assessment) from the 6th Century where gemstones tend to provide the power of knowledge, strength and many other skills.
That’s about it with the religions but there are different regions and cultures with their own narrative about crystal healing.
Take a look at them down below.
The first people to use crystals are ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia who added it to formulas and potions circa 4000 B.C. Lapis Lazuli was the favorite stone of this culture and prominently used for divination and communication purposes at the time.
With their belief system rooted in polytheistic principles, ancient Egyptians are the most advanced civilization of the bygone era by the majority of historians and archaeologists.
When you look at it, their knowledge of crystals and its powers are even greater. Stones were representative of different gods and goddesses and royalty was often deciphered on the basis of the type of stones worn.
For example, Lapis Lazuli was regarded to have the power of Isis, Goddess of the Sky and women wore crushed lapis around the eyes to harness the mystical powers of the Sky goddess. The civilization also believed Lapis to bring powers of intuition, divination and spiritual enlightenment. Their use of crystals date back to 1254 B.C during the rule of Ramses II because an amulet featuring stones like carnelian, turquoise and gold was found from this era.
Clear quartz was thought of possessing the balancing power of energies Ba (the energy you’re born with) and Ka (the energy of your personality). Egyptians used crystals in amulets, and talismans for protective purposes too.
Emeralds going back to 1500 B.C from Mount Smaragdus by archaeologists is a recent discovery and it’s believed that this stone brings the power of immortality and fertility to the wearer.
Archaeologists have also found gemstones adorned with mummies and within the tombs of pharaohs as this civilization believed in the mystical powers of stones transcended into the afterlife with the mummy it was buried with. This culture also used powdered rose quartz to prevent wrinkles.
The Greek word ‘krustallos’ is where the word ‘crystal’ came into use from. It writes in Greek as κρύσταλλος and they so named it after clear quartz based on the belief that it was frozen water. Ancient Greeks even believed this wasn’t any ordinary frozen water, but one that was sent down from the heavens.
The first book on crystals called the ‘Peri Lithon’ written in 315 B.C by the student of Aristotle, Theophrastus included many powers of crystals. From providing the world with the word ‘crystals’ to founding many of the current traditions of crystal healing, Grecian history is of vital importance in the world of gemstones.
In fact, most of the crystal names that we know today have their origins in Greek. Amethyst is from the word ‘Amethystos’ meaning ‘not drunken’ as it prevents hangovers. According to mythologies, Amethyst was a nymphet who was chased by Greek God of Wine Dionysus after the latter was intoxicated. When the nymphet sought the help of Goddess Diana, she transformed the girl into glittery quartz, over which the overflowing goblet of wine that Dionysus was drinking fell over. This is how Amethyst was born.
Hematite is named after the Greek word for blood owing to the color it gets after being oxidized. As it's an iron ore and ancient Greeks regarded iron with God of War Ares, soldiers at the time used to rub (what you call smudging nowadays) hematite all over their body before going into battle. The popular belief was that doing so made the soldier invincible.
Magnetic lodestone was also widely used by Greeks over areas of pain for healing. Even today, many alternative medicines recommend using magnets to treat pain.
Pliny the Elder was a Roman historian who wrote the series of books by the name of ‘Historia Naturalis’ in 1 Century AD to record the combined knowledge available to humans at the time. In the series, the last book was entirely dedicated to healing stones and its powers.
The Elder Pliny also refers to Lapis Specularis crystals adorned over the windows and greenhouses of the elite class of people to attract prosperity. Moreover, one of the most important industries that expanded the Roman economy at the time owed it to mining of healing crystals.
Most often crystals in this culture were worn to attract wealth, beauty, courage, and victory. For example, soldiers often took Tiger Eye with them to ensure protection in the battle.
When it comes to lapidary medicine, the Hopi tribe of Native Americans in Arizona were believed to have used quartz stones for recognizing and treating illnesses. In this culture, crystals are considered an alive being that believers should respect. One of the finest ways to respect healing stones according to the Native American culture is by respecting Mother Earth.
Traditional use of healing rocks include wearing it to harness the healing vibrations in this culture. Native American history also dictates using crystals for making tinctures. Today, this is what’s called crystal potions or crystal elixir.
A popular practice of the Native American culture as part of crystal healing is creating geometric patterns on the ground and sitting in the middle to meditate. Often the tradition of placing stones on the energy center of the body is also seen popularly with the same culture.
Another interesting thing is the use of emeralds by the Incas. Some Incan legends say that they believed emeralds so dear that they would die at the hand of conquerors rather than part with the where their emerald mines were.
Jade beads were often allotted their own written characters in 1000 A.D in the Chinese language. Their use of jade in alternative healing and medicine dates back to 10th century B.C with artefacts supporting the same from the Han Dynasty.
Many historians date back the use of jade in China to the Stone Age that existed 2.6 million years ago. Chinese emperors were often buried in armors made of jade. It was believed to heal the kidneys by Chinese 3000 B.C. They also believe that this green healing stone contains the essence of love, which the Hindus call as heart chakra crystal.
Another prominent belief about the jade crystal in Chinese medicine is that it protects users from bad luck. It was often thought of as the stone of immortality too because Queen Hsi Wang Mu apparently drank powdered jade and herbs and lived over a thousand years.
Crystals were reportedly used at the tip of the acupuncture needles for healing during the Shang Dynasty according to the book ‘Celestial Lancets: A History and Rationale of Acupuncture and Moxa’ by Cambridge History of Science. The fun fact is this practice is popular even today.
Ancient Japanese believed clear quartz was created from the breath of the white dragon and most people of the time revered it as the symbol of perfection. In fact, crystal spheres were one of the ancient techniques of divination that’s practiced even today and is used for seeing the future.
From jade masks that were used for masks during burials to amulets made of turquoise, Mexican history is rich with gemstones. Obsidian, red jasper, and jade with metals like silver and gold were prominent in this culture.
Toltecs were a prominent civilization in Mexico that used turquoise often for rendering themselves invincible against enemies. Another reference is that of Xiuhtecuhtli, the Aztec God of Fire that translates to ‘Turquoise Lord’.
The Zuni tribe was also infamous for its gemstone love and production of stones based on animal spirits. Powdered turquoise was the most famous feed for these spirits offered by believers.
Aztec of the Mesoamerican geography considered jade as the best stone to heal stomach-related disorders during 1150 A.D. There were many crystal skulls found around Aztec ruins, signifying the use of healing rocks.
One of the common Aztec crystal rituals that’s still practiced is the clearing of the energy field with black obsidian. Mayans on the other hand used the power of crystals to recognize and diagnose physical ailments.
Maoris wore pendants made from the crystal jade as per archaeologists. They did so to revere and remember ancestral spirits and these pendants were often passed down generations via the male lineage. Even today, many New Zealandians believe green to be a lucky color for the same reason.
If you look into the Icelandic voyages of the 10th Century, you’ll come across several references to the power of healing crystals used in popular culture. Calcite known as Iceland Spar was found by archaeologists in the Elizabethan ships that sank during the end of the 16th century.
One such example is that of the Viking voyages explaining the power of a special stone called sunstone that was used by seafarers. The Scandinavians used this stone to locate the position of the sun in the sky and to navigate the seas safely when it was too cloudy.
With all that said, the oldest writing on the prevalent use of crystal healing is by Plato about the lost continent of Atlantis. Most of the current thinkers believe the rituals practiced in Atlantis popularized crystal healing into Egypt, Tibet, and other parts of the world later. It’s believed that the misuse of these crystals lead to the disappearance of Atlantis as well as Lemuria.
During the 11th Century, many medical theses appeared in mainstream publications that talked about the use of gemstones in the treatment of physical ailments and diseases. Popular books that included the power of crystal healing were written by Arnoldus Saxo, John Mandeville and Hildegard von Binghen during this time.
When it comes to Britain, Anglo-Saxon pagan history evolved into Wiccan traditions and New Age culture that directly harnesses the powers of crystal healing as seen today.
In the book Stars and Stones: An Astro-Magical Lapidary, Peter Stockinger traces lapidaries to the third century B.C and says it was popular until the 17th century. One proof of the same is amber discovered by archaeologists in Britain dating back to 10,000 years ago.
Even minerals like copper, gold, and iron were also attributed to planets at that time. Archaeologists have also found the gemstone Jet in the paleolithic gravesites in Switzerland. When it comes to Sinai, there have been malachite discoveries since 4000 B.C.
Popular beliefs around this region say when gemstones were used by sinners, the powers of the crystals would vanish, which is also found in Hindu beliefs about healing crystals. Hence, crystals were always cleaned before wearing at the time. Renaissance was the time when crystal healing was promoted and practiced largely with the use of logical explanations.
The Current Era
Towards the 80s, the New Age Culture began and as this was after the Hippie-era, healing stones emerged as an integral part of alternative healing. During this time, most of the traditions and knowledge about the power of crystals were drawn from earlier texts.
Today, gemstones therapy is its own field with experts and therapists offering healing sessions for a variety of ailments ranging from spiritual to physical and emotional. Historians associate the popularity of crystals as being brought about by authors like Michael Gienger, Katrina Rafaell and Judy Hall towards the 80s and 90s.
Truth is, crystals have grown out of the garages and backyards and there are even colleges that offer crystal healing as a qualification subject nowadays.
Too Long; Didn’t Read?
We talked in length about the power and history of crystals today so that you can determine where and how humanity found answers in the shimmering world of healing stones. It was prominent in Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism besides cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Native America, China, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Icealndic, Atlantis, and Europe.
In fact, there was even a book called ‘Lapidarium’ of Alfonso which was created by the collaboration of Muslim, Hebrew and Christian sages from the 13th century where the mineralogical knowledge recorded by Pliny the Elder became known.
Now you know crystals aren’t a new fad but one that’s been researched and studied perhaps since the start of humankind. Moreover, most cultures have one and more references to the power of crystal healing. Crystal healing points towards the same powers even though different cultures explain it differently.
Do you know any other stories about where crystals originate from? Let us know in the comments below.
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