Perhaps one of the very first uses of sacred stones and talismanic gems was to provide safety and protection under the auspices of the mineral kingdom. By flipping through the pages of a book of gemstone lore–ancient or modern–you’ll find many a stone with protective or apotropaic uses.
When each rock and mineral is so unique, why is it that so many of them are considered to be protective? The short answer to this question is that since these materials were considered sacred and somehow otherworldly, their otherness eclipsed the dangers of the mundane world. Their blessings offset what we experience in our day-to-day lives. Ancient people also sensed that gemstones provided some sort of energy that could be channeled into their own varieties of magic; thus one could potentially harness any gemstone’s energy for whatever your heart desires, including protection.
As the practice of working with crystals for healing and spiritual development has grown over the last few decades, we have arrived at a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in crystal energy. If we take a deeper look into what protective crystals are really doing, they usually fall into one or more of these three categories:
• spiritual hygiene
• increasing your light
• psychic self-defense
The first group are those stones that promote spiritual hygiene. Just like physical cleanliness is important to your physiological well-being, spiritual hygiene promotes your non-physical health. This means keeping your energy field–consisting of your aura, chakras, and other subtle anatomy–as well as your heart and mind free of contaminants. These contaminants might include harmful or disharmonious thoughts and feelings, thoughts projected onto us by others, etheric or karmic cords, as well as harmful patterns of energy or entities that otherwise attach to us.
Crystals can help release and transform these energetic pollutants by bringing our energy field into a more coherent state of being. Many stones help to release stagnant and foreign energies and help the body, mind, and spirit return to balance. Some of our “protective” stones that work by fostering good spiritual hygiene include amethyst, black tourmaline, chalcedony, citrine, emerald, fluorite, hematite, jade, jet, malachite, moonstone, selenite, shungite, smoky quartz, and turquoise.
The stones that help to increase your light are those that affect the amplitude, rather than the frequency, of your energy field. To use the analogy of a radio, frequency is the station to which you turn your dial, and amplitude is the volume. We often talk about frequency in the world of energy healing, but amplitude is neglected. When two energy fields interact, they go through a process of synchronization or harmonization called “entrainment.” The field with the higher amplitude always brings the lower-amplitude field into synch with it. We’ve all felt this before when someone walks into the room and their joy seems infectious, and we find ourselves smiling. Conversely, this same process happens when someone in a foul mood approaches you, and suddenly you can’t understand why you feel so terrible. It’s nothing more than the comparative amplitude of your energy fields.
So why do we consider this to be a protective function of crystals? Simply put, if you turn up the volume on your own energy field loud enough (and to an enjoyable frequency), you won’t be subject to the thoughts, feelings, and energies of those around you. It’s not an impenetrable fortress; rather, it allows you to be present and empathetic to others without having to be concerned with taking on energies that don’t belong to you. In other words, it helps maintain the integrity of your whole being. Some protective stones that help to increase your light include amber, chrysoprase, diamond, labradorite, lapis lazuli, quartz, ruby, selenite, shungite, and sunstone.
Finally, the third category of stones are those that are truly protective by the classical definition: the stones of psychic self-defense. These gems are those that strengthen boundaries, deflect unwanted vibes, and return psychic attacks upon their sources. I don’t like to think of them as erecting walls around us; although this imagery works well for many people, I find it isolating and reductive. These crystals are those that are watching over us, helping us enforce our boundaries, and turning away the energy that doesn’t serve us. They don’t cut us off from the world around us; instead, they help us be more present and more connected in the world without being concerned with the energies that are coming and going from our energy fields. Examples of psychic self-defense stones include black onyx, carnelian, fire agate, hematite, moonstone, obsidian, pink tourmaline, tiger’s eye, and many more.
You’ll notice that some of these crystals are classified in more than one category. Members of the mineral kingdom, much like the human one, have more than one function in life, and they are much better at multitasking than we are.
There are countless ways to use these crystals for protection. We can wear and carry them–just be sure to do so with clear intention, otherwise they may only be working quietly in the background. We can also craft them into crystal grids, make essences from them, add them to mojo bags or charm bags, use them in meditation, and otherwise incorporate them into our lives. We can use these techniques for personal protection, as well as for protecting our homes, cars, and virtually anything else we can imagine.