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holding an amethyst crystal

Crystals bring so much beauty and joy into our lives. To ensure that your crystal and mineral collection stays beautiful and lasts for the long term, here are some tips for the care and keeping of your crystals, plus methods you can use to energetically cleanse and charge crystals to better serve your intentions. Please remember that these energy cleansing practices are suggestions, and you can use any method (or a combination of these) that feels right for you.

Keeping Crystals Out of the Sun

Some crystals and minerals are susceptible to fading over long periods of time in the sun. Pink, purple, and light blue crystals (like rhodonite, amethyst, and celestite) are especially sensitive to sunlight, and their vibrant colors can dull, or even take on a yellow tone over time if left in an area with sun shining directly on them, like a brightly lit windowsill. Short term sun exposure will not cause damage to your crystals, so if you want to take your favorite amethyst cluster outside to get photos of it sparkling in the sunshine, or you want to bring a blue calcite palm stone outside for a meditation session, don't be afraid to do that.Also worth noting is the potential danger of leaving clear crystals in the sun. When exposed to direct sunlight, a quartz crystal sphere or certain faceted crystal shapes can have the effect of a magnifying glass and start a fire! So take care to avoid placing clear stones in the sun, too.

Physically Cleaning Crystals

Keep crystals sparkling by cleaning them once a month or so. Many crystals can be dusted or wiped clean with a soft, damp cloth. For delicate or water-soluble crystals, like okenite or halite, you can use a can of compressed air to blow dust particles off. Compressed air dusters are handy for getting in those nooks and crannies you can't quite reach with a cloth.

Crystals and minerals have diverse molecular structures, and some will be damaged if they are cleaned with water. Some dissolve in water, while others are weakened and can become brittle and break apart. These stones are best cleaned with a dry microfiber cloth or air duster. True agates and quartz are safe to clean in water, as well as quartz varieties like amethyst, citrine, rose quartz, and smoky quartz. If you do use water, never use hot water as it can stress the crystal and cause fractures.

Here are some common minerals that should not be cleaned with water:

  • Halite
  • Celestite
  • Angelite
  • Ulexite ("TV stone")
  • Kyanite
  • Sodalite
  • Azurite
  • Malachite
  • Gypsum (selenite, desert rose, and alabaster)
  • Labradorite and calcite (can handle a quick cleansing with a damp cloth or rinse under running water, but should never be soaked)
  • Pyrite, fluorite, and hematite (can cause a chemical reaction)
Make sure to clean the space where your crystals live, too! Dust the surface of the shelf or table before putting your crystals back.

Energetically Cleansing Crystals

After you've cleaned your crystals' physical form, it's a great time to cleanse their energy too. Many people feel that their crystals' vibrations are dulled by coming in contact with or absorbing outside energies. This could be caused by others handling your crystals, arguments or negative emotions flaring up in the same space that they are in, or just a build up of energy over time as you regularly work with your stones. Cleansing crystals is a means to "reset" their energy.You'll want to cleanse any crystal when you first receive it, and then on a regular basis. There are several ways to do this, and there isn't a right or wrong way. As long as you are cleansing crystals with intention, any method you choose will be effective. Here are some ways you might cleanse your crystals' energy.

Sound

Whether you prefer to crank up the volume to a song that resonates with you and let the beats pulse through the room, or you prefer the calming tones of a singing bowl, sound is a great method of cleansing your crystals. Some people choose to use drums, bells, tuning forks, or even their own voices. Choose whatever feels best for you. While you are immersing your stones in sound, visualize the sounds dissolving all the negative energies that may be clinging to your crystals.

Water

Keeping in mind the precautions mentioned above, water cleansing is another commonly used method of cleansing crystal energies. If you choose to cleanse crystals this way, I advise holding crystals under a running water source for a few moments, or giving them a quick dunk. Dry them off completely afterward. Soaking crystals overnight is popular, but you run the risk of damaging stones if you don't know how they'll react to long term water exposure.

For this purpose, you can collect rainwater in a bowl, take your crystals on a trip to the beach or a lake, or set water out overnight under the moon to use the next day. Again, just follow your intuition in choosing the best method to use.

Salt

Many people like to use salt as an energy cleansing tool. One way to do this is to create a circle of salt, and place your crystals in the center. You can sit with your crystals and envision purifying energy, light, or any visualization that resonates with you. You could also say a prayer, mantra, or incantation as you place them in the salt circle, then leave them there overnight.

Smoke

Smoke cleansing (also called "recaning" from an old Norse word for smoke) is the process of cleansing a room, an object, or yourself with smoke. Smoke is believed to have a purifying effect, and there are many different materials you can use for this purpose. Commonly used items are white or blue sage, lavender, sweetgrass, incense sticks, red cedar, sandalwood, Palo Santo wood, cinnamon sticks, and amber resin.

When using smoke as a crystal cleansing method, it is important to differentiate this process from ceremonial smudging and burning ceremonies practiced by some Native American, First Nations, and Aboriginal Australian people. If you do not belong to those groups, you should not attempt to emulate sacred rituals that are not yours to borrow.

Burning herbs and incense for aromatic and cleansing properties has history in many cultures. Create your own smoke cleansing rituals using whatever tools you feel work best for you - for example, you could recite a poem you've written while cleansing with smoke, sing, speak your intentions, or wave your incense stick in a specific pattern to represent something meaningful to you. Get creative, and make your ritual personal and unique.

It is also important to make sure that the materials you are burning are renewable and ethically sourced. White sage is commonly cited as an endangered plant species. While this is not the case, itis true that wild white sage is often stolen from public and private lands for resale due to the high demand for it. When buying white sage, Palo Santo, or any other organic material to burn, ask sellers where the product is sourced from, and find out what they do to contribute to the plant's regeneration. Even better? Grow your  own herbs for smoke cleansing!

Charging Crystals

After cleaning and clearing crystals, some people also like to charge their stones. What is the difference between cleansing and charging crystals? Cleansing a crystal is clearing and neutralizing existing energy, and charging a crystal is to amplify the properties of the stone and prepare it for doing healing energy work. Some people may choose to do both simultaneously, like using sound cleansing as crystals charge under moonlight. Here are some methods you can use to charge your stones.

Sun and Moon Light

Sun and moon light are two of the most traditional ways to charge crystal energies. The moon is generally associated with feminine energy that will gently infuse stones with calm and steady strength, while the sun is said to hold more intense, fervid, and masculine energy.

If you decide to use sunlight, avoid damaging sun-sensitive crystals by setting them outside in the morning or evening when the sun's rays are not so intense, and keep the charging session under an hour. That is plenty of time for your crystals to soak up the sunbeams' energizing warmth without harming them. 

If you're utilizing moonlight, most people would suggest planning for a night with a full moon. Much has been written about the meaning and energy associated with different moon phases, so you can also choose a night with a new moon, or any moon phase that resonates with you personally. You could also choose a night that marks a significant event for you.

Set your crystals in a secure spot, either on a soft cloth or directly on the earth, if it is dry. Leave your crystals out for a few hours or overnight. If this is not possible, you can place crystals in front of a window facing the rising moon, or under a skylight.

You can also use both sun and moonlight in the same charging session - set your crystals out at golden hour before the sun starts setting, and leave them out until the moon is high in the sky.

Earth

You can recharge crystals' energies by returning them to the earth for a short time. Bury your crystals in the soil in a secure spot you will be able to remember. You can also fill a container with earth and bury crystals in the container so you can keep it indoors, if you don't have a secure place to bury them otherwise. Another safe way of doing this is to place or shallowly bury crystals in the pots of your houseplants.

Environment

Similar to the method of returning crystals to the earth is bringing your crystals to a natural, calming environment. You could take your crystals into the woods and place them on a large rock or a tree stump, exposing them to the wind, rustling leaves, birdsong, and clean air of the forest. You might also choose to set them by a river or brook, letting the water's sounds infuse your crystals with pure energy. The beach is another great location, where you can make a crystal grid in the sand or hold them in your hands and let the waves break over them.

Crystals

There are a few crystals that do not need to be charged, and actually contain charging properties that can charge your other stones - these would be clear quartz, kyanite, and selenite. You can buy a selenite charging plate and use it as a surface to place other crystals on. Also available are quartz and selenite bowls, which can be filled with other stones. Another option would be to buy a large bag of quartz chips and fill another container with them, then set or bury your crystals in that. You can also surround a stone with any of these charging crystals, or make a grid out of several different types of stones.

Programming Crystals

Programming a crystal is a way to focus your intention on a specific crystal, for a specific use. For example, you might want to program a citrine crystal to help you manifest financial stability. Crystals do not need to be programmed to heal or be effective - programming is just a means to work on a very specific intention.

Make sure your crystal is cleansed and charged before programming it. Here are some ways you can program a crystal.

Written Directions

Write down whatever it is that you are trying to bring about. When you are writing your intentions, write in the present tense, as though they have already come to pass. For example, instead of writing "I want to heal my broken heart," write "My heart is whole and healed." Each day, take the crystal in one hand and the paper in the other, and read your words out loud. When you are done, fold the paper and place it under the crystal. Do this for as many days as you feel you need to.

Mental Projection

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, making sure you are in an environment free of distractions. Hold your crystal in front of your third eye and take a moment to clear your head. When you're focused, envision the task you are programming the crystal to take on. Try to picture your desired outcome as clearly as you can. Spend as much time visualizing as you need.

 Voice Your Desires

The simplest way to program a crystal is to hold it in your hands and state what you want to accomplish. As long as you are doing it with intention and conviction, you can program a crystal in any way you choose!

I hope this guide was helpful to you. How do you cleanse and charge your crystals? Leave a comment and let me know!

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