on crystal ethics

The below is the first portion of a longer piece that includes instructions on how to make gem water. The full piece can be read on my Patreon, and is available to all patrons at any tier.

I don’t share about this much, but I fucking love rocks, and stones are a really important part of my various practices.

I don’t share about it much because there’s an unconscionable amount of exploitation associated with the crystal trade, and I don’t want to perpetuate exploitative, trendy consumerism when it comes to crystals.

From what I understand, many of the pretty specimens and colorful tumbles we see in stores and scatter on our side tables are byproducts of mining for things more useful for industry, like copper and iron ore. In that sense, crystal collecting is sort of the “use the whole animal” of extracting minerals from the Earth.

But it’s still extracting minerals from the Earth, something that literally rips into Gaia’s body and destroys ecosystems in order to pull out things deemed precious in this late-stage capitalist era.

Habitats lost, species endangered, human workers exposed to toxic chemicals and dangerous mining conditions, water polluted -- and then, depending on what the extracted materials are being used for, there’s all the pollution that comes from the smelting process, the excessive energy use, the end-products that may or may not be recyclable without causing even more harmful impacts to soil, air, animals, & human livelihoods.

I say all this as someone who deeply connects with stones & crystals. I say this as someone with a decent number of beautiful minerals in her life. I say this as someone who uses crystals in reiki healing sessions, as participants in meditations, as tools for self-grounding, as vibrational medicine.

Once, while sitting with one of my favorite quartz friends, a thought crossed my mind:

What if, through crystals & healing stones, the Earth is giving us tools to help us heal in a way that then helps us heal her in turn, that helps us better honor the magic she contains? What if, as we poison and destroy our Mother, she is still generously doing everything she can to nurture us towards consciousness?

This kind of thinking could very easily be spun in order to justify unsustainable practices, such as ongoing destructive extraction and going into debt in a frenzy to collect the very best and most excessive crystal specimens. Don’t for one minute think that this insight is designed to gloss over the harmful aspects of crystal extraction and collection.

At the same time, this kind of thinking can lead us to better honor & respect the stones that we’re lucky enough to foster in our lives. Remember: rocks have been here for billions of years, and will remain long after our species goes extinct. They’re the material of the Universe, the bones of this planet. Almost every rock you “own” -- assuming it wasn’t lab grown and isn’t newly-formed volcanic rock, like pumice or obsidian -- is wayyyy older than you and has a very high chance of “outliving” you by a considerable amount. When a stone comes into your life, understand that it carries power & wisdom that differs from what we, as humans, can carry & cultivate, and that if you approach that stone with care, respect, and a desire to collaborate, it will provide you with care & respect in turn (reminder, for those who may have forgotten: I am an animist, and therefore believe that all of matter has some form of consciousness).