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People from all over the world, both ancient and modern, have held the belief that all things in nature possess special powers that influence and encourage desired outcomes when used in specific ways. Even today, in our advanced technological society, some of these beliefs are so ingrained in our own culture that we don’t think of them as magical or shamanistic. For example: lovebirds give each other roses to symbolize their passion; diamond engagement rings are a token of unbreakable love; evergreen trees represent eternal life during the winter holidays; women wear pearls to symbolize elegance, power, and good taste.
Whether you’re a wee bit curious about the magical lore surrounding crystals and herbs, or you feel a stirring deep within yourself that is drawing you to the magic of the natural world, this article will introduce you to some of the most important crystals and herbs for both the spiritual newbie and the advanced practitioner.
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Amethyst – Stone Of Clarity
Amethyst gets its name from an ancient Greek word that means “not drunk.” According to the legend, amethyst was believed to prevent drunkenness if held next to the skin or in the mouth. I don’t know how true that is, but it is true that for thousands of years, amethysts were used to heal the soul, and remain calm and clear-headed during times of stress. Today, amethyst crystals can be helpful to people who are trying to release addictions and clear the mind of negative habits.
The energy of amethyst is soothing and deeply spiritual. To deepen meditation, hold a small piece in your hand, or keep a specimen nearby. When kept next to the bed, amethyst encourages lucid dreaming. Hold a piece of amethyst when writing in your journal to aid in clarity and personal growth. This beautiful stone is also believed to offer protection to travelers. For this purpose, keep a piece of amethyst in your car.
Clear quartz – The Master Crystal
Humans have always regarded clear quartz crystals as a potent talisman and source of spiritual power. Every ancient culture across the entire globe attributed fantastic powers to clear quartz crystals, including rain-making, astral projection, and divination. Some of the clearest and most beautiful specimens of crystal come from Arkansas.
Clear quartz is considered to be a master crystal because it amplifies your energy, promotes healing on all levels, and raises your vibration to help you become the best version of you. Carry or wear clear quartz whenever you need to feel more energized, and when you need to be mentally sharp. Large crystal specimens can be used to charge smaller crystals. You can also place your jewelry on a piece of quartz to cleanse it and power up the positive vibes. Keep natural clusters and points near your houseplants.
Lapis lazuli – The Truth Stone
For nearly 7000 years, people have revered the rich and beautiful gemstone named lapis lazuli. The name comes from the Arabic word meaning “heaven” or “sky”. Ancient Egyptians and many other ancient civilizations believed that lapis lazuli would lead the soul to heaven. It was a stone of royalty and was associated with the gods. The Egyptians ground the stone to use in cosmetics, and Renaissance artists created an ultramarine pigment to be used in paintings of the sea and sky.
The energy of lapis lazuli is powerful. It promotes self-knowledge and helps you live and speak your truth. Like other blue stones, lapis lazuli is believed to guard against psychic attack. This is a wonderful stone to have in your life when you are ready to live the life you were born for. Authenticity requires courage, so carry or wear this stone when you need to feel more confident. Place a larger piece near the front door to protect the home. Smaller pieces can be placed wherever you need to be reminded to be in your truth. They can also be wire-wrapped to wear as a pendant.
Smoky Quartz – The Purification Stone
Smoky quartz is the national gem of Scotland. Smoky quartz was sacred to the ancient Druids, with its distinctive dark color that represented the power of the earth. Queen Victoria had a special collection of smoky quartz crystals from Scotland, and it is said that she wore smoky quartz as mourning jewelry upon the death of Prince Albert, her husband.
The energy of smoky quartz crystals is purifying, cleansing, and is said to remove negative energy from the user. Like other dark stones, smoky quartz is grounding and stabilizing, and can be carried or worn during times of stress and anxiety. Keep a smoky quartz near you when you do periodic cleanses, or whenever you are in the process of moving or other major life change.
Cacao – The Plant Of Passion
Cacao is the plant where chocolate comes from. Cacao is native to parts of Mexico and South America. It was considered to be a sacred plant by the Aztec and Maya people. Consuming a beverage made with ground cacao was reserved only for royal elites. Cacao beans were used as currency. This magical plant was believed to awaken and ignite your inner passion and reunite you with the divine inner creative spark inside you.
Cacao, and the chocolate made from it, boosts anandamide, a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes relief pf pain, and stimulates feelings of wellbeing and euphoria. It is easy to reap the benefits of cacao in your daily life. If you’re feeling bored, uninspired, and restless, drink cacao powder mixed with hot water and your favorite milk with a touch of chili pepper. The ancients did not sweeten cacao, but you are more than welcome to. You can add some cacao powder to Matcha (check out this delicious recipe) or stir into your coffee or chai. If the passion in your relationship has cooled, share some cacao with your significant other to reignite the spark.
Mint – The Herb For Cool People
According to Greek mythology, the mint plant actually used to be a woman named Menthe. Hades, the god of the underworld, fell in love with Menthe. Hade’s wife Persephone was none too pleased about that, and, in a jealous rage, she turned Menthe into a plant. Although Hades tried to turn her back into a woman, the curse held, so instead, he gave his lover Menthe a fresh and beautiful aroma that perfumed the air. The mint plant (both peppermint and spearmint) has been a beloved and popular herb since the ancient Egyptians, who apparently invented the earliest known version of the breath mint. Peppermint and spearmint are close cousins: peppermint is brisk, invigorating, and contains more menthol; spearmint is milder, sweeter, and more relaxing than peppermint.
The medicinal properties of mint are well known – it soothes the stomach, freshens the breath, and invigorates the body and mind. However, mint is also one of the world’s oldest magical plants. Mint is said to cool off anger and restore emotional balance. If someone pushes your hot buttons and you’re feeling emotionally triggered, drink a cup of mint tea (hot or over ice) to cool down. If you’re drinking the tea over ice, add a few slices of fresh cucumber to be “cool as a cucumber.” The energy of mint is fresh, clean, and cool. Drink the tea as often as you like, and remember that you can add the tea to your mop water to clear the energy of your home if there has been discord and tension among the occupants.
Nettles – The Protector
Nettles, also called stinging nettles, have been part of people’s lives at least since the Bronze Age. Due to the stinging hairs on the nettle plant, nettles were always thought of as a protector plant. According to Celtic legend, thick patches of nettles indicate the presence of fairy dwellings. The nettle is there to stand guard to protect humans from mischief and misfortune caused by fairies. The tough fibers from nettle stems were teased out and woven into cloth. Up until the 18th century, textiles made from nettle was as common as flax and cotton.
The energy of nettles has always been protective. It discourages gossip, dispelling fear and anxiety. If you’re experiencing gossip and backbiting at work, bring your nettles tea with you. Drink some, and, when nobody is watching, sprinkle a pinch of nettles in the areas that the negativity is occurring. Just let nettles do its job. Don’t tell people about it, just keep it quiet and let nettles do what it does. Nettle leaf tea is rich, grounding, and deeply nourishing. Drink nettle tea any time of the day or night for strength, healthy hair, and as a natural detox.
Rose – The Flower Of Love
Originally believed to come from China, roses have been the most well-documented flower in history, and always it is about love. One Egyptian legend says that Cleopatra perfumed herself with roses, and soaked the sails of her ship in rosewater so that Marc Antony would smell her approach on the breeze. Roses are the sacred flower of Aphrodite, and the pure white rose is associated with the Virgin Mary. Whether platonic or romantic, everyone around the world agrees that roses represent love.
The energy of rose is soft, open, warm, and inviting. To tap into the power of roses, remember that it is better to attract, not chase. To invite love into your life, add rose petals to your tea and allow the fragrance and gentle flavor to permeate into your heart. If you have suffered from heartbreak, carry a small sachet filled with rose petals to help heal your heart and keep your heart open. Even though it hurts, it is better to be open than be closed off and bitter. For a self-care botanical bath, fill a sachet with rose petals (either alone or in combination with lavender and chamomile) and drop it into the bath. Your body and spirit will absorb the nurturing essence of rose.
Rosemary – Herb Of The Mind
The earliest written record of rosemary was found on stone tablets dating back to around 5000 BCE. Early physicians noted rosemary’s memory-preserving anti-aging properties. A wash made of rosemary tea was used to beautify the skin, clear acne, and preserve youth. Students in ancient Greece wore wreaths made of rosemary during study and to help them with their exams. Napoleon loved the scent of rosemary and used it regularly to invigorate his body and stimulate his mind.
Rosemary is loaded with antioxidants and helps keep your brain sharp and alert. Because rosemary stimulates circulation and strengthens blood vessels to the brain and scalp, it is a superfood for your brain and memory. Rosemary tea is also great for growing healthy hair. Drink the tea or use it as a leave-in rinse on a regular basis to stimulate circulation to your scalp and encourage healthy hair growth. South of the border, branches of rosemary are used to cleanse the aura of negativity. You can use rosemary in a similar way. You can also burn bits of dried rosemary and fan yourself with the fragrant smoke to sweep negativity from your energy.