Cleansing And Programming Crystals
As with everything you use as a tool, treat your crystals with respect. It is especially important in the case of crystals to cleanse them before you begin any healing or meditation work with them, even if they feel okay, so that it’s your own energy you are working with. Their strong electromagnetic field means they can easily collect or hold energy. They should also be cleansed regularly when in use to keep them clear and vibrant. Every few weeks is probably a good idea, but as you work with your crystals you will begin to sense when they feel dull and in need of cleansing. If using crystals as a therapist, they should be cleansed between each use, so you are not carrying energy from one client to another. If you are using them directly on the skin, they should also be washed between clients.
There are a number of methods for cleansing:
- Flowing water – This is good if you live near a river or stream. Hold the crystal under flowing water for a few minutes. The method can also work with tap water. Visualise any stagnation, cloudiness or negativity within the crystal washing away with the water and down the drain. Some crystals are hydrous (containing water), and water-soluble. Don’t use this method for selenite or satin spar gypsum, or for halite.
- Sunlight or Moonlight – Leave out in bright sunlight for a few hours. Some people also leave their crystals in the light of the full moon, or even bury them in the garden on the night of the full moon. Sun has a masculine energy, while the moon is feminine, and stars represent spirit, so you might want to leave them out for a full 24 hours. Some crystals are photosensitive, and will eventually fade in strong sunlight, so be careful when using sunlight for amethyst, fluorite and some calcites and rose quartz.
- Salt – Bury crystals in dry sea salt overnight or longer. Throw the salt out afterwards – it will absorb any negative energy, and it is not a good idea to ingest it or bathe in it. This method is not recommended for malachite, celestite or fluorite, as the soft surface scratches easily. Contrary to some recommendations, please do not cleanse your crystals by leaving them in salt water. It is corrosive, and will damage many crystals. Some crystal healers will not use salt at all, as salt is itself a crystal, and they feel it might affect the crystal being cleansed in it. Salt cleansing is particularly helpful when a crystal is in need of a serious cleanse.
- Energy – Crystals can be cleansed by visualising a clear white light, violet flame or blue light coming through your hands into the crystal. Visualise the light coming from above and filling you first, then filling the crystal from the bottom up. Anything stagnant or negative will be released as a puff of smoke, which disperses out the window. Reiki practitioners can also use Symbols.
- Selenite or Satin Spar – A large block of clear selenite or satin spar is not only self-cleansing, but has a high vibration. You can cleanse and recharge other crystals and crystal jewellery by leaving them on selenite overnight.
- Large Quartz or Amethyst Clusters – Crystal clusters have a similar effect to selenite. The many points disperse any energy held within the crystal, which does not originate from it.
- Bells – The clear tone of a bell, a singing bowl or Tingsha prayer chimes will immediately cleanse crystals and the area around them. The sound waves move the energy, and shift any stagnation.
- Incense or Smudge – Cleanse using the smoke from a lit incense or smudge stick in the same way you would use it to cleanse a room.
- Breath – Using intention, crystals can be cleansed by using your breath to blow away any unwanted or negative energy, preferably out through a window, allowing it to dissipate in the fresh air.
- Flame – Use this method with extreme care! Fire is an effective cleanser in many ways, the same as flowing water, and a room with a fireplace that is in regular use will usually stay quite clear. For crystals, use the flame of a candle. Find the area above the flame where it is no longer hot enough to burn you, and move the crystal in and out of this space a few times.
The most important element of any of these methods is your intention. If you intend to cleanse the crystal, it will be cleansed. If you go through the motions without much consideration, it may not be.
Once you’ve cleansed your crystal, or during cleansing, if the method you are using is channelling light into it, you can programme the crystal for a specific purpose. This purpose can be as simple as guiding and supporting you on your journey, or as precise as bond-cutting*. It is not necessary to programme every crystal you own, but is a good idea for the crystals you will use in certain treatments, and absolutely necessary if you are planning to use a crystal for more powerful or intricate work. It is possible to programme a crystal for someone else, such as a friend or client. Just make sure the person knows you are doing this**, and you are not programming it for something against their will.
Occasionally you will come across a crystal that needs to attune to you, and visa versa, usually after you have been working with crystals for a while. You may become aware that, even after cleansing, there is something jarring between your energies, yet you know you need to work with this specific crystal. Attuning can be done in much the same way as programming, though you need not be specific about its purpose. As you channel light into it, you might feel a subtle change and smoothing of the energy between you.
Channel white light into the crystal, imagining it filling with light, from the bottom up. If there is any stagnant or unwholesome energy left in the crystal, this should dissipate. You might experience it as a puff of smoke, in which case visualise it or literally blow it out the window. This is charging the crystal, giving it an extra boost of energy, not unlike charging the batteries on your new phone or laptop for the first time.
Most crystals do not need charging, and those that have been charged usually hold that charge once they are working. If you feel one of your crystals is flat, even after cleansing it, there are a few different ways in which you can charge it again. Either repeat the method above, or lay it on a large selenite gypsum crystal or block of satin spar, a bed of amethyst or a clear quartz cluster. Usually one night is enough. Some crystal healers point a selenite spear at the crystal, rather than placing the stones on top of it. I seldom wear jewellery without a purpose, so after the gemstones I am wearing have finished their job for the day, I lay them on a large selenite over night, to give them a chance to recharge before I put them on again in the morning.
Occasionally I have been brought a crystal that the owner feels has some bad energy or bad luck attached to it, and wishes to get rid of it in a thoughtful manner. Sometimes these crystals have supported their owners through recovery from severe trauma, abuse or addiction, and have worked extremely hard. I usually find that the crystal in question will clear easily, but then feels absolutely flat, and even charging it will not be enough. When this happens, I leave the crystal in my treatment and teaching room, which is full of crystals, sometimes for several months. I have a sense that it is a bit like a person going on retreat. The other crystals nurture and support it, while it has time to recover. Most of these crystals come back, and are happy to be of use again. Those that don’t stay with me, but are never used in healing or meditation – I would never use or pass on a crystal with this kind of history, unless I am absolutely convinced that it is clear and vibrant again.
Sometimes the negative association the owner feels is directly related to an unpleasant experience, which may have had nothing to do with the crystal. It is very difficult to dismiss this type of association, and is probably better that they part with the crystal anyway.
Continuing on from the visualisation above, when the crystal is full of light, ask for it to be blessed, and in your own words, state the purpose for which you intend it to be used. Also, if appropriate, state that it is to be used only by yourself for this purpose, or by the person you are programming it for. Ask that the programming is only for the greatest and highest good, and say ‘thank you’ when you are finished.
Usually you will have some signal that the programming is complete. You may be aware that the light is starting to fade, or the crystal is feeling calmer. When it feels right, set the crystal down, close your Crown Chakra, and make sure you are centred and grounded. Pick the crystal up again, and see if its energy feels any different.
Certain uses require very clear programming. If you are using a crystal for bond cutting, it’s a good idea not only to programme it for the purpose, but to specify between which people the bonds are being cut. When using vanadinite for the treatment of cancer, programme it not just to treat the disease, but describe how it will be used, i.e. containment of the cancer.
When programming a gemstone for someone else’s use, consider boundaries and appropriateness. Does the person know you are programming the crystal for them? Are you programming it in such a way as to change a behaviour pattern without their knowledge? Use your awareness, and if in doubt, make certain they know it has been programmed and what the programming is for.
When a crystal has done the job you have programmed it for, you can use a similar ritual to remove the programming. It can then be reprogrammed for another purpose or person.
In very rare circumstances, crystals have sometimes been programmed for negative purposes. I have no personal experience of this, but if you are not sure of the source, for example if the crystal has come through a private sale, and you don’t know how it may have been used in the past, ask for any previous programming to be removed before programming it yourself.
The term dedication in reference to working with crystals is often applied as an alternative to the word programming: to dedicate the use of a crystal to a specific purpose. To me, dedication implies a deeper spiritual connection between oneself and the crystal, such as attuning to a Control Crystal, or programming a large crystal to be used explicitly for a particular group energy, and will usually involve some ritual work in addition to the programming. Attuning with a Control Crystal is covered later in this section.
Dedicating a Group Crystal
Favourite crystals for group work are usually large quartz points or cathedrals. With proper programming and dedication, a group crystal can be used as a focus for group meditation and distant healing, as well as a focal point for tuning in to group energy. For example, if a member is unable to attend when distant healing or ritual work takes place, and wishes to be involved, they can tune in and visualise the crystal at a pre-arranged time. It can also be very effective when group members need support from the group at a time when they are not meeting, or wish to tune into the group energy to deepen meditation or other work they are doing.
Start in the usual way, cleansing the crystal first, but before charging it, pass it around to be held by each person in the group. If a member is absent, it is okay for them to hold the crystal at a later time. This will allow each person to become familiar with both the physical appearance and the energy of the crystal, as well as imbuing it with the energy of every group member. Then seat the group in a circle, and place the crystal in the centre. Make certain everyone is centred, call in the energy in your usual way, and create a connection between members of the group, such as visualising a line of light connecting the left hand of each person with the right hand of the person seated to their left, eventually joining the group with a clockwise circle. Charge the crystal as a group, either with one person leading, or each group member contributing. When complete, release the energy, deactivate the circle and make sure everyone is back and grounded. I have deliberately not given a set ritual for this practice, as each group works differently, and I believe it is more powerful to work in a way that is appropriate for you and the others you are working with.
*Bond Cutting: The ritual cutting of invisible and inappropriate bonds between yourself and another, such as an ex-partner who still has some hold on you.
**You don’t need to explain the details – just that you are sending them good wishes with the crystal.