Crystals and Gemstones, Oh My!
Energy Work, Self-Care

Crystal Spirit Guides: How and Why to Work with Gemstones as Allies

“It’s an honor to be a caretaker for crystals. Treat them as you would dear friends; in other words nurture and respect them. Their support strengthens your ability to realize the essence of universal wisdom.” Virtue & Lukomski, Crystal Therapy

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What’s a Crystal Ally?

When it comes to energy medicine, everything alive is medicine. We can equally learn from members of the animal kingdom, as we can from the plant or mineral kingdom. A crystal ally, therefore, is an umbrella term used to denote any crystal, mineral, rock or gemstone spirit guide. For the purpose of this article, I will use the terms “crystal ally” and “gemstones” interchangeably to speak to guides from this larger mineral kingdom (likely much to the chagrin of geologists everywhere, ha!).

Why work with gemstones?

As I mentioned in the first of this short series on spirit guides, working with any guide is about learning a new quality of being. And nothing grows quite like a crystal! When folks wonder why one might work with gemstones as opposed to animals or plant medicine, that is my answer. Think about it: How long does it take for a stone to form? What tremendous strain does it endure – pressure and heat – to come into being? If you’re looking for unique resilience, stability, strength,  power, and beauty – stones are your answer. Stones are your medicine.

Let’s look at an example: Obsidian


Beautiful Volcanic Glass: Obsidian


How do gemstones form?Obsidian is one of my favorite stones for helping give people the sense of spaciousness when dealing with intimidating or fearful experience. To better understand why this might be the case, we can start by reflecting on the rock’s life experience. How did it form? What did it have to endure and master?

Technically, obsidian is a type of volcanic glass. It’s formed when hot lava cools too quickly to form a crystalline structure. As a result, obsidian’s texture is smooth; and the rock typically forms above the earth’s surface. To give you a more palpable sense of its ‘nurturing’ environment, let’s remember what a volcanic eruption looks like (see: photo).

Yea. So, that happened. 😉 Seriously, though — can you imagine what quality of being one would have to possess in order to feel calm under that level of pressure, heat, and smoke? Looking at these conditions of growth, we also start to understand why obsidian might also be helpful for clearing ‘psychic smog’ in addition to helping ground one’s fear and anger.

How to Choose Your Crystal Ally?

In my experience, many times, stones choose us. We’ll catch it out of the corner of our eye and simply feel drawn to it. We may not know why at first; but we feel interested. In those cases, I’ve found it’s best to just say “yes!” and learn about the stone later. But certainly, you can also go backwards and look up properties of stones or which stones resonate with a particular chakra’s energy. In those cases, however, I’d suggest you try holding the stone before committing to working with it to see if it resonates with you. Even within a container of many polished stones of the same gemstone, there may be one individual piece that resonates with you more than another. Allow yourself to explore and feel.

How do I know if a stone is resonating with me?

When you come into contact with a resonant ally, it might feel like things sliding into place– like the feeling of being with an old and good friend. Or maybe you might feel excited in a positive way– like finally starting the adventure you’d been waiting for. If your extrasensory perception is more developed, you might notice the stone telling you quite directly it’s been waiting and is (happily) ready to work with you. They can also be quite direct in letting you know when they’re waiting to work with someone else. In this case, we can express our gratitude for its coming to our attention, its beauty and wisdom; and move on confidently that our ally is waiting for us elsewhere.

What’s the best way to work with gemstones?

There is no right way to work with gemstones; but there are certainly many options! Regardless of what method you choose, you’ll always want to clear your stone of any lower vibrational energy before using it. Remember that part of your stone’s history may have been its traveling through the hands of many other people before getting to you. Cleansing your stone helps to clear it of any energetic residue left from those individuals’ experience. Think of it like an energetic dusting. (You’ll also want to cleanse your stone regularly based on how much you use it.)

When you’re ready to work with your crystal ally, you might consider working with your ally in any one or more of the following methods:

Carry your Stone

Tumbled gemstone pebbles arpThis is how I got started. This is largely an subconscious way to work with a crystal ally. You just clean your stone, set your intention to receive the stone’s assistance with [xyz], carry it on your person [either in your pocket or as jewelry] and simply invite its wisdom.

This is great if you need more physical support or if you’d like more active, ongoing support. For example, you might carry hematite in your pocket throughout the day if you had trouble staying grounded. Or, you might consider wearing an aquamarine necklace if you wanted ongoing support for the throat chakra in building trust, ease, and the courage to speak your truth. If you’ve been working on an affirmation using a gemstone mala, continuing to wear your beads throughout the day is a great way to extend the benefit of your practice. Any stone is a good candidate for carrying on your person.

Sleep with Your Crystal

2008-04-12 Freilichtmuseum Detmold (12)This would be another largely subconscious practice of working with gemstones, but no less effective! Just as you would carrying a stone, you’d always start by clearing your stone energetically, setting your intention for working with the ally, and welcoming its support. Reasons to sleep with your stone may include to reduce nightmares, to protect your energetic space while you [astrally] travel, to deepen sleep, or to invite lessons through dreamwork. (It’s helpful to keep a journal next to your bed if you’re inviting dreamwork!)

Some examples of stones that are helpful to sleep with include moonstone, rose quartz, prehnite, labradorite, and danburite. I remember when I was going through a particularly stress time in my life, I found sleeping with a huge chunk of rose quartz was the only thing that could get me to calm down enough to fall asleep. What a gift!

Meditate on Your Ally

Labradorite detailAll stones make for a great meditation partner! We can consciously meditate on stones to better under their way of being and medicine. We can also meditate with our crystal spirit guide in order to see our experience more clearly in times of doubt or confusion. Lastly, some meditate with stones simply to improve their psychic and mental activity. Remember to always clean your stones and set your intention before meditating. You can connect with eyes open or closed, gazing into the stone or simply holding the stone in your hands as you slip into the astral plane for guidance.

This method of working with stones, I’d say, is better for folks whose extrasensory perception is more developed. In my experience, working with stones in this manner is not unlike lucid dreaming in which even inanimate matter can speak and point to insight. You do not need a physical stone to meditate on a crystal ally; however, I have found a direct physical connection does deepen meditation and learning. Stones that aid with insight are particularly great to meditate with, such as clear quartz, labradorite, dumortierite, or fluorite.

Take an Elixir

This would be an internal method of stimulating change, by using a gem essence or elixir. This is essentially a ‘decoction’ of the stone, either directly or indirectly. I don’t recommend folks try making their own without proper training as some gemstones are toxic. Even when elixirs are made indirectly (e.g. placing a toxic stone in a glass container that is then placed in the water that will later be consumed), the medicine is quite strong. For this reason, I’d suggest sticking to very few remedies from a reliable source or asking a qualified professional for their recommendation.

Thank Your Crystal Ally

Love propels the universe. If you’ve benefited from working with a stone, let it know. In the world of energy work, appreciation goes a long way!

Has there been a stone whose wisdom has been particularly meaningful for you? How did it find you? I welcome your story in the comments section!

how to cleanse stones energetically
Stones (Rocks - Minerals - Gemstones)

How to Cleanse Stones (Rocks, Minerals, and Gemstones) Energetically

“To experience dis-ease is to experience a total or partial disconnection from wholeness, a loss of awareness of the innate and universal source of perfection. The members of the mineralogical kingdom have been used for centuries to act as catalysts and to assist one in becoming re-united with that source.” –Melody, Love is in the Earth (32)

Rose quartz and clear quartz stonesChoose a stone

You don’t have to be a specialist in mineralogy, petrology, or gemology to appreciate the countless benefits of working with stones. I think I was first introduced to them by my Reiki Master/Teacher in 2003? 2004? We’d go down to the shop in San Francisco and try holding the different tumbled rocks in our hands, feeling out which felt most appropriate for what we needed at the time. There’s a lot of intuitive connection people can find with stones. Not only can one feel drawn to a particular type of stone, but even to a particular one within a collection of that stone (e.g. one specific piece moonstone within a bin of moonstone pieces). You might consider feeling out and choosing the piece that is particularly appropriate for you and what you’re going through.

Why we cleanse stones

Once you’ve decided on a stone, there are a number of ways you can work with it (I’ll leave that for a later post). As a precaution before working with it, it’s always best to cleanse your stone energetically. You might think of this as an energetic dusting, dusting off any attachments people have had to the piece, or any anger, fear or grief that had inadvertently accumulated on the stone. Your intention in cleansing the piece is to refresh its natural vibration, welcoming its wisdom and inviting its participation in supporting your efforts towards manifesting that which is in the greatest and highest good for all.

Depending on the method used, cleansing your stones can be as fast as 15 seconds to one week.

When to cleanse stones

In addition to clearing the stones when you first get them, you will likely want to ‘refresh’ their energy as you continue to work with them. Some examples:

  • Daily: For pocket stones that are carried with you throughout the day, gemstone jewelry, or stones you sleep with under your pillow.
  • After a healing session: For stones used in healing work or pendulums after use.
  • Monthly: For gridding stones or those kept on one’s altar.

I might also mention here certain stones, like selenite or kyanite, never accumulate so-called ‘negative energy’; for this reason these stones do not need to be cleansed.

How to cleanse stones energetically

smudge is a way to cleanse stones energetically

A sage smudge-stick can be used to cleanse both objects like stones and people, as well.

You might choose to work with a particular element’s assistance; alternatively, you can couple or double or more your efforts with combining multiple techniques. No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to include your firm intention to cleanse the stone of any energy that no longer serves its greatest and highest good. You might hold your stone in your non-dominant hand before and after the cleansing and ask yourself, “How if all does this stone feel different?” It’s fine if nothing comes to you; but it’s always worth inviting to mind what you notice.

Wood element

  • Smudge (sage is ideal). This method is safe and beneficial for all stones.

Fire element

  • Sunlight: Leave your stone in direct sunlight for one day (best done outdoors, as opposed to through a window). Note: This method is not appropriate for all stones, such as opals.
  • White and/or gold light: This is a largely intentional method, in which you are using your intention and concentration to direct white light and/or gold light directly from the universe (or via your third-eye) to the stone. Imagine the light surrounding and penetrating the stone, transmuting any lower-vibrational energies. This method is safe and beneficial for all stones.

Earth element

You can use selenite to cleanse stones energetically

Higher-quality selenite may be clear; however, opaque selenite works just as well for cleansing stones.

  • ‘Dirt bath’: Bury your stone in earth, leaving it to rest and purify over about a week. Obviously, one would want to clean off the dirt before using, which makes this method less ideal for stones in jewelry, etc.

Metal element

  • Quartz: Use a tumbled quartz bed to rest your stone upon for cleansing. Retrieve after 12-24 hours. This method is safe and beneficial for all stones.
  • Selenite: Use a selenite wand to transmute the lower-vibrational energy accumulated on your stone to higher-vibrational energy. You can also lie your stone on top of the selenite as you would do with quartz. This is my favorite technique, using the wand to draw and embed Reiki symbols into the stone. This method is safe and beneficial for all stones.
Cleanse stone in a rolling stream

If you use moving water to cleanse your stones, be sure to place it in an anchored net bag to prevent your friend from washing away!

Water element

  • Running water: You can place your stone in a running stream or river to cleanse it, retrieving it after one to two days. Certain stones may benefit from energizing in the sun after this kind of treatment.
  • Salt/water: You can either bury your stone in sea salt for up to 24 hours, rinsing with pure water and charging it afterwards. Alternatively, you can soak the stone in saltwater placed in a glass bowl/jar and let it cleanse and charge over 24 hours by the full moon and sunlight. This method is not recommended for softer stones, which can dissolve and/or be marred by the salt crystals.


  • Level one practitioners: You can hold the stone between your hands and direct Reiki to clear and charge the stone in the name of its greatest and highest good. Channel Reiki until you feel a shift, and/or for three to five minutes.
  • Level two+ practitioners: Open the Reiki channel, directing Symbol 2 followed by 1 into the stone, intending to clear it of any lower-vibrational energy and to charge the stone for its greatest and highest good. As I mentioned above, I love coupling this with my selenite wand, clearing my Reiki stones in between treatments.

Thank your stone

The more we connect with life, the more we find it in all things. After you’ve taken the time and care to clear and charge your stone, you might express gratitude for its being and its age-old wisdom; you might welcome its willingness to work with you in the name of your greatest and highest good. The more you connect with your stone out of love and appreciation, the more it beams back these qualities to you in your work together. Remember, they’ve been around a lot longer than you — they have so much to offer to those who ask respectfully!

Your Practice

This week, for fun, look at pictures of rocks online or visit your local rock shop. Do any call to you? What catches your eye? Feel free to share in the comments!