Let a new series begin! I’m done with the 101 crap. Everyone and their cousin is doing that. Besides, this AIN’T NO WICCA 101 PAGE! Instead, for your amusement, discussion, and sometimes edification, I introduce “Cave’s Notes.”
Like Cliff’s notes, only deeper…(*groan*)
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is into stones these days. From shiny well-formed crystals to lumps of rocks, everyone loves them. New agers, fluffy bunnies, white-lighters, heathens, pagans, witches, wiccans, ceremonialists and chaos magicians all grok our mineral brethren. We use them in ritual, wear them for protection, and use them in meditation and in spellwork. Their uses seem endless, they’re easy to find, simple to conceal or explain away, and best yet, real damn pretty too.
The last time I checked there were BAZILLIONS of books on the subject at Amazon. No, seriously here bazillions. I’m using the scientific use of the word as in…far more than fucking enough.
How many of these books are necessary? Well, I’m guessing not that many. In fact, I’m sort of biased on the subject. I can’t claim that my grandma was a witch as some do…but I cantruthfully claim my grandma was a rock hound. More than that. Born at a time when women weren’t really encouraged to work, and certainly not encouraged to indulge in any of the very manly sciences (*snort*), grandma was not only a member of the mineral of the month club and an avid collector of mineral specimens, she could (and would) explain the crystalline formation of nearabout any rock you quizzed her on, and could tell you how those rocks were formed, where on earth you’d be most likely to find them, and where in the sedimentary layer they would be found.
In short, my grandma rocked.
Unfortunately, she passed away when I was twelve or so so I was unable to truly appreciate her appreciation and bond with her over our mutual love of the earth. Fortunately, no one else in the family (except my dad who’s hogged the best specimens) shared in her passion. So, yeah, that was my inheritance. That and the seashell collection.
When I began making jewelry, I really had no interest in the metaphysical properties of stones. However, I found every single person (or nearly) asking me what the energetic usefulness of this, that, or the other stone was. Admittedly, I winged it on more than one occasion as I began studying the subject. Fortunately, I was more often right than wrong.
After I opened the store, I also had the advantage of having a friend who was a real dig-in-the-dirt rockhound. He used to make trips, going around the country, playing in the dirt and bringing his finds back to rock shows to sell. Between my grandma’s collection and books, my own research, and my friend the rockhound, I’ve learned an awful lot. Which I’m going to share with you guys, because you know, I love you.
Back to the bazillion books. As far as metaphysical books go, you can really choose any at all. Honestly. Because if you get too many of them, you’ll probably just end up confused. Everyone is an authority, and everyone has their own blasted opinion. Don’t get mired down too much. Eventually, the uses will be up to you anyway. It’s just a starting point.
I own three of the popular, most often quoted books. “The Crystal Bible,” by Judy Hall,
“Love is in the Earth,” by Melody, and “Healing Crystals and Gemstones,” by Dr. Flora Pescheck-Bohmer.
My quick synopsis/review of these three? Well…”The Crystal Bible” has real pretty pictures but not a lot of information and not a lot of range. “Love is in the Earth” is all-encompassing as far as every mineral I’ve ever heard of…and a few more than actually exist (I’ll get to that). “Healing Crystals and Gemstones” is much like “The Crystal Bible.” Not so many minerals, great pictures, limited information…however this one is well-organized, and also has geographical information as well as crystalline structure and basic chemistry. I find it helpful…if the stone is included.
These are not, however, the best books. Good, sure. But not the best.
My first pick for great books on minerals is the man who started the trend.
Original publication back in 1913. Such a hipster. He was into rocks before rocks were cool. But seriously…this is the book other books quote. Sometimes without actually quoting. All the different birthstone charts are in here…and there’s more than just the one Tiffany’s came up with to sell us more fancy jewelry. There’s different cultural birthstones, stones for different days of the week, as well as stones for zodiacal signs.
He also traced the urban myth involving opals…you know the one, that only Scorpios can wear opals because they’re bad luck for the rest of us? Patent nonsense. Apparently, this rumor began with a Victorian novel and just sort of took off. So relax, and wear those opals if you like them.
He points out that our ancient forefathers…or mothers…or whatever…had limited ability to “identify” gemstones, and likely didn’t care all that much. So all green stones were called emeralds, all purple stones were called amethyst, and so forth. Many of the “ancient” uses of stones therefore is related more to the color rather than the actual mineral. Interesting, eh? Oh, and apparently the idea that amethyst is a cure for drunkenness is probably a confusion between amethyst and garnet…garnet being the color of wine. Again, name confusion comes into play. Fascinating.
My rockhound friend turned me onto the next book.
This book may annoy my readers on two different points, but I feel it’s well worth it. After all, there is room for logic in witchcraft, if you ask me.
First, the author is very Goddess-centered. Some people will have some trouble with that. Get over it. It’s worth it for this book.
Second, she’s very critical of the “New Age” movement, hostile toward the idea of using crystals for healing in any physical manner, and the third chapter is entirely devoted to the “Real History of Atlantis,” so if you’re in any way, shape, or form partial to believing in Atlantis…you might want to skip that chapter.
Third, despite the title, the author is scathingly critical of other writers of metaphysical gemstone books. Scathingly may even be an understatement. She quotes from many of the older authors…and points out silliness, blatant lies, and outright stupidity. Yes, this includes the ever-popular and well-liked Scott Cunningham. The book was published in 1989 however, so many of the now-popular authors missed her ire. The point is made, however…and made well. I highly recommend this book so that you get a look at the other side…the scientific side, the practical side, the logical side, the side of reason. It also gives you a good idea of why you really don’t need many books on the subject. It’s immediately clear that no two authors agree about what stones are good for what.
On the positive side, she is very pro-meditation and creative visualization, has a true love for minerals, and highly recommends immersing oneself in their beauty to unlock your own subconscious. Which is really cool.
I’m not telling anyone not to work with stones…far from it. My own experiences with stones would have me extolling their virtues to the skies. Selenite alone…well, let’s just say I’m very partial and leave it at that. I’ve experienced the vibrations of stones, even if they don’t “put off energy” as Ms. Walker would claim. But I do believe Pythagoras was right. Everything vibrates. We know that now. We know that there is no such thing as “solid” matter…just slower moving molecules. I do believe that stones can influence us. A lot.
However I also believe that con-men and snake oil salesmen will always take advantage of a believer. Protect yourself. Use that mind of yours. It’s the best tool any of us have.