Learning the historical significance of an object or material helps to understand its contemporary cultural value, which can explain its symbolic meaning. The word crystal is derived from the Greek word “krystallos”, which means “coldness drawn together,” or more succinctly, “ice.” Humans have been fascinated with precious stones since the beginning of recorded history. Early cave paintings found in Europe depict light coming through crystalline objects.
Scholarly articles cite multiple legends surrounding crystals with magical healing, energy-producing and spiritual powers. Ancient writings show the belief powers of crystal predate the Roman Empire and describe the origins and attributes of the beliefs being based on superstition and religion.
As it means “ice” in Greek, the crystal’s transparency and glacial-like appearance are reminiscent of pristine snow-covered mountain peaks and clear waters. Dating back to times when the world was believed to be controlled by supernatural forces, many thought crystals could heal by channelling positive energy into the body and drawing the negative energy forces out, like a magnet.
From a scientific perspective, while most people will accept that crystals have no healing power, crystals can generate a placebo effect. Sometimes referred to as the power of belief, the placebo effect is the scientifically proven result of believing a treatment will work and actually produce a healing effect. Some people believed, and some still do, how light is filtered and refracted through the crystal creates a particular frequency that arises from its molecular makeup. This vibration was thought to be produced by the healing energies of the diffused light.
Humans have tried numerous ways over the millennium to harness the power of nature’s energy into their daily lives. One of the more durable methods practised throughout the years of capturing that power is to channel the power crystals are believed to hold. The belief is so strong among some that crystals have been displayed in homes, incorporated into jewellery and used in ceremonies for centuries. These energy crystals are thought to imbue that are the catalysts for the current practice of presenting crystal awards in recognition of achievements. Two of the most common ways crystals are still used today is in yoga and meditation. These practices have been used worldwide for centuries in Eastern medicine to nurture the mind, the body, and the spirit. Both yoga and meditation use breathing techniques and physical postures to enhance the overall feeling of relaxation and well-being. This is done through several mechanisms that crystals are believed to aid, most notably realigning the body’s energy centres or chakras.
Spiritual and Religious
In Western religion and Christianity, religious text often sighted crystals symbolising purity, such as the perfection and virtue of the Virgin Mary. Crystals were often used in religious ceremonies and in decorating churches, books of the gospel and religious artefacts. People felt a need to have something physical that embodied faith and spirituality. Many believed crystals had the power to summon a spiritual presence during the Middle Ages and transcend the light of the heavens. However, there is also a dark side to the power of crystals in spiritual and religious practices. While priests and followers believe the crystal’s energies could be focused on inducing spiritual enlightenment and invoking healing during religious ceremonies. It was also believed that crystals could summon the occult’s powers and support mystical practices such as spirit channelling, astrology, numerology and sorcery.
From Africa to New Zealand, crystals are abundant across the earth’s far reaches. Part of the fascination people have with crystals is partially believed to be due to the crystal’s contradictory physical qualities of opacity and transparency. These negative qualities or forces that can transmit light but not be easily seen through are considered the yin and yang properties of the spiritual world and the Earth’s life forces. Even though many people today would not buy wholly into the life-forces powers philosophy of crystals, the symbolic meaning is still a popular and durable ideal.