Discussion in 'New Age' started by maya, Mar 29, 2003.
i'd like to learn more about crystals. Can anybody explain me how they work here?
Yay! my first topic! ;D :bounce:
What precisely did you want to know?
What did you mean by "How they work". Are you refering to the use of crystals in practices such as dowsing, healing etc?
Healing, Insight, Intution
Of Crystals, Stones And Minerals To Aid In Holistic Healing Practice
Hopefully something in the above links will help. If not, be a bit more specific and I will see what I can find. If it is a scientific explantion of why crystals appear to contain unexplainable powers you want, then you are unlikely to find one. As with most topics of this nature, science can produce loads of proof of the healing properties of crystals, but all explanations will only be conjecture. For this reason, scientists tend to leave alone topics of this nature. Many psychologists would argue that the healing is not a result of the crystal, but of the PMA of the person being healed, but this would not explain why dowsing works. Its all a bit of a grey area.
I think I could do with exploring some of those links as well...
Especially as I'll need to get a distinctly "New Age" section up sometime in the future.
I could definitely do with finding out more - thanks for that!
thanks i am looking at the links now. ;D :scream: :scatter:
No problem. Was that roughly what you were looking for?
Yeh great thnks! :angel2: :biggrinjester:
Glad to be of help. ;D
Bigmacscanlan--thanks for the links. Most useful!
Maya--the short answer is that crystals work the way you BELIEVE them to work. There are thousands of books on the topic, and most contradict one another on one point or another! If a particular rock or crystal grabs you, you have an emotional link with it. Such links are potent conduits for subtle energy--whether for healing, spellworking, visualization, scrying, whatever. As with casting spells, much of the emphasis is on the intent. Believing that clear quartz is good for projecting healing energy is far more important than pseudoscientific babblings about "crystalline structure," "vibrations" and "frequencies!"
That's actually a very nice perspective on crystals. Coming from a science background, the terminology kept the whole concept of crystals, their use and meaning, very confusing - what is implied by "vibrational rate", for example? The idea of approaching them as meaningful psychological tool first is a far more helpful perspective.
Amen, brian! I stayed well clear of all New Age woo-woo crap, as I thought of it, for a LONG time because their pseudoscientific babble gave me a pain. When they would say, "you have to increase your molecular vibrational rate," my first thought was . . . okay, molecules vibrate. Molecular vibration is HEAT. Increase your vibrational rate and . . . my God! We've just found an explanation for spontaneous human combustion! ;D
Here's a side note that might interest you, however. Our molecules do vibrate, yes. There is now evidence that it is possible for the body's molecules--specifically water molecules--to vibrate *in phase.* Scientific studies have demonstrated that a subject performing a healing--through reiki or some other forms of faith or energy healing--actually seem to align their own in-phase molecules with the vibrations of the patient, bringing them all in phase. Similar effects are noted in, for example, a number of people worshipping together, engaged in deep conversation, or performing experiments in telepathy.
Maybe the New Agers just got the exact terminology wrong!
New Age terminology is strictly a community-specific language - and that's part of the key to the problem, as science itself is like it's own distinct language. People well versed in one rarely understand the other, especially when relating to a single event that can be described by both.
The in-phase vibration comments above show how the two languages can begin to move towards reconcilliation. Unfortunately as the languages can have a very partisan expression, being able to walk and talk both in a constructive way can no doubt be very difficult.
Agreed. In my experience, the biggest problem to understanding lies not in the language itself, but in the dogmatic worldviews of the people using it. A New Ager can read a book about "vibrations" and "higher frequncies" and assume that he now is an expert, that what he read is how it is, no question. Sadly, a scientist can also be so boxed in by the limitations of his own discipline--the need to stay within the box to get funding, say, or the fact that his entire career is based on the currently understood schemas of egyptology, that he's reluctant to look at something new. Of course, part of the scientific method demands questioning, scepticism, and proof, and scientific dogmatism DOES change with time.
The New Age variety is harder to deal with. They can be as absolutist as any Biblical fundamentalist. I recall, with mingled glee and horror, a woman who gives lectures professionally on various New Age topics. She spoke once about how dolphins are clearly higher beings, further, that all of us have incarnated in past lives as dolphins, and in order to connect with the lessons learned, we need to . . .
wait for it . . . . .
"channel our inner gills."
For those who wish to see a skeptical, more scientific discussion of pretty much any new-agey topic, check out http://www.skepdic.com/
The article specifically about crystals is at http://www.skepdic.com/crystals.html
I'm one of those people who is of the opinion that crystals are highly likely to be psychological tools. The implication of that is a pebble I pick up myself from the ground is just as likely to be effective for whatever magickal purpose as a $200 cut and polished rock I buy in an occult shop. (Unless the magickal purpose is to convince someone to marry me... then the expensive cut and polished stone would more likely help me reach my goal! But I don't think that has anything to do with supposed occult properties of the rock itself.)
Am I the only person that believes that a crystal with its specific mineral properties may just happen to have some form of useful property we cannot yet describe? I am saying that there are ideas new to science there. It happens all the time where cultures and beliefs are ridiculed as primitive only to be mined for valuable information and not least in herb use. 20 years ago natural medicine was laughed at by science but is now highly respected and drug companies trawl local cultures to guide them to new wonder drugs and cures for a variety of conditions.
I'm not saying that everything written about crystals is true, but simple dismissal here seems little better than saying "You are wrong and I am right". The skepdic link is particularly poor and is nothing more than a self-parody example of where science fails. It would be better suited to those 16th century collections where early scientists believed that they knew everything there was to learn and there was nothing new left to know. The skeptics dictionary is in the same league of opinionated sillyness.
Using the explanation that everything is a psychological tool is a roundabout argument as well as it says that everything we believe is not real and just a psychological tool. If that is true then it doesn't matter if we call ourselves pagan or christian or jehovah's witnesses or join the solar temple because our opinions will all be wrong and just psychological tools anyway.
I'm not saying we are all right when we try to explain something, but I do think went we try to explain we can go too far. When we explain away other peoples opinions we can undermine our own.
I'll bite, Talia.
[quote author=Talia link=board=6;threadid=63;start=msg953#msg953 date=1056398753]
Am I the only person that believes that a crystal with its specific mineral properties may just happen to have some form of useful property we cannot yet describe?[/quote]
I'm more of the skeptical and scientific nature myself (and yes, I still consider myself an eclectic Wiccan). The vast majority of scientists I've encountered are level-headed people who have open minds to the possibility that current theories might be wrong. The difference with scientists, though, is that they tend to be skeptical of a claim unless there is some sort of verifiable proof to support it.
Claims about crystals' "healing powers" could certainly be true, at least in some specific circumstances. At the moment there doesn't appear to be any scientific proof for any of those claims, though. If the proof isn't there, the proof isn't there. It's up to those making the claims to come forward with the actual evidence, or to convince scientists to divert their scarce monetary resources currently earmarked for other research to investigate these claims.
I do understand the frustration that scientists feel when non-scientists try to validate unsupported claims by pretending that it is scientifically backed -- throwing in some scientific-sounding terms or phrases to impress the uneducated has worked for snake-oil salesmen in the past, and continues to work today in all sorts of scams.
To quote a bit on scientific proof from the dreaded skepdic website (specifically from http://www.skepdic.com/testimon.html )
If others cannot experience the same thing under the same conditions, then there will be no way to verify the experience. If there is no way to test the claims made, then there will be no way to tell if the experience was a delusion or was interpreted correctly. If others can experience the same thing, then it is possible to make a test of the testimonial and determine whether the claim based on it is worthy of belief.
Science is about being able to prove things are the way they say they are. Tests have to be performed and they have to work. And they have to work no matter who does the tests so long as they follow the method and circumstances correctly. Any claim, including that crystals can heal, should be possible to test. If it can't be tested then how can we be sure that it's real and not just a delusion?
As a Wiccan I want my spells to work. That means doing my best to understand what is going on in a situation and doing my very best to manipulate whatever forces are in play to my advantage, according to my religious path's ethics of course. I don't want to waste time on things that don't really have any effect. That's why science is important to me.
As a Pagan and a polytheist, I don't believe there is such a thing as a "One True Way" that is right for everyone. Where some would say, "they're all wrong!" I'd argue, "in some ways, each of them is right!" It's the old question about whether the glass is half-full or half-empty.
Regarding the opinion that at least some magickal tools such as crystals are really just psychological props... this is not really a new idea. Dion Fortune and Israel Regardie, as two examples that pop in my head right off the top, both considered magick to be more or less a form of operative or practical psychology. (They were both practicing psychologists working in the mental health field, I believe. I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong on that.)
Whether the things work because of psychology or because of some other reason still means that they can work. Getting a better understanding of WHY they work, though, allows us to be that much more effective with them. If we know why they work, then we can fine-tune how we use the tools to take advantage of the real power in them instead of wasting effort with parts of their use that really don't do anything.
That last sentence is quite interesting... and it is a double-edged sword. When scientific viewpoints are dismissed out of hand, why shouldn't nonscientific viewpoints also be dismissed out of hand? If we take one viewpoint seriously, shouldn't we keep our minds open enough to at least consider the other viewpoints?
Science has gotten humans a lot -- modern medicine, abundant and varied food, computers, the internet. It certainly has its problems too, but then so does the religious community. I just find it hard to dismiss science out-of-hand when it's clear that science is not just a matter of opinion and ego.
Hi, Ben, and welcome to comparative-religon.com! Nice to see you came in - I was about to send a personal invite.
As to the nature of science versus mysticism - one of the more immediate problems is that science cannot describe what it cannot quantify.
Despite the dazzling descriptions of the physical world, science still cannot quantify consciousness, let alone the spiritual experience involved in the conscious experience.
Thus there is a place for rationalism - even cynicism - but the limits of science must always be recognised.
As for Talia's latter objection - effectively, our personal experience of reality is always described through psychological tools. Different people may use different ones.
Ultimately though, as the conscious experience remains an unquantified one, then difficulty will arise from determining possible objective reality through subjective belief.
In other words, saying that a certain perception is a psychological tool isn't a way of rubbishing that perception, but merely indicative that it also has limitations.
Effectively, any perception of Divinity can be regarded as a psychological tool, regardless of how that belief is expressed or practiced.
As a sort of agnostic rationalist my big problem is that the spiritual is not rational, and the rational is not spiritual. That's why I play straight and admit I don't know.
Hi, bgruagach! Welcome. And may I call you Ben too? Your handle is a mouthful!
At the risk of saying "Me, too," I strongly echo both Ben's and brian's statements. I possess a number of crystals that I use for various healing and/or magical purposes. They work. Is it because they possess a special internal and objective quality? A certain crystalline alignment? A special vibratory rate? Or is it because I BELIEVE them to work? And, more important, does it matter?
My most precious stone is a half-fist-sized meteorite I found while walking on the beach while engaged in prayer-meditation with the Goddess. It resonates with me in indescribeable ways... but that's because of my astronomical/SF interests, the fact that this sort of accidental find is so rare, and the fact that I truly believe the Goddess led me to this creature literally of earth (it's a lump of iron), air (it fell out of the sky), fire (as a fiery shooting star), and water (the sea brought it up to the beach for me to find)!
Apologies. I haven't figured out how to pick up quotes on this thing yet. But, Talia . . . about where you said, "If that is true then it doesn't matter if we call ourselves pagan or christian or jehovah's witnesses or join the solar temple because our opinions will all be wrong and just psychological tools anyway."
As a matter of fact, I do believe this to be the case--all except for the part of all of us being wrong. No--we will find that we are all RIGHT, since all of those religious forms are expressions of our individual quests for our own spiritual path. THAT's what's important, not the name of the church we go to, IMHO. I used to be a born-again fundy Christian (my dark and secret past coming out of the closet!) and thought that MY way was the only way that was right. Everybody else was wrong. B***S***!
None of what we've said on this thread is meant as a definitive, "This is how it is, and everybody else is wrong." Hell, no! But it is difficult to scientifically and objectively verify some of the New Age statements about crystal properties, and much of what IS said is demonstrably false--such as my statement about the woman channeling her gills. (Dolphins--the mammal variety, not the fish--don't HAVE gills!)
I especially appreciate Brian's statement that calling something a psychological tool isn't meant to trash it. "Psychological" doesn't mean "imaginary." And "imaginary" does not mean "not real!" One of my toughest lessons as a newbie witch was getting past the hurdle of, "but, I'm just making that up!" And my teacher would say, "Yes, what's your point?" The human mind is the most powerful instrumentality there is. When I teach a class on witchcraft, one of my first lessons is, "The most powerful and useful magical tool you will ever use is yourself." I can cast a circle--or heal--with a gorgeous double-ended 6-inch quartz crystal that I bought for something like $80.00. Or I can use my hand. Or I can close my eyes and bring up a powerful inner visualization of myself performing the task, all conveniently tucked away inside my mind. Which is right? The question is meaningless. There IS no right, except in whether or not I get real-world results.
One more note. (Just one, I promise! Geeze, brian, this board is WAY too addictive! Howza guy supposed to get any work done?)
Within many metaphysical disciplines, there exists a principle that recognizes power within not only our own belief, but within the collected beliefs of many people over many years. Have you ever walked into a large and imposing cathedral, and felt an indescribable upwelling of awe and spiritual presence? That's not just the archetecture speaking to you; it may well be the collected beliefs and prayers and emotions of millions of worshippers all on that one spot, going back for generation upon generation. Certain holy spots--Stonehenge comes to mind--have the same impact. (True, some of that may also involve ley lines or other poorly understood physical phenomenon.)
As a witch, I can either go to a spellbook and do a working by recipe, or I can write the thing new, for myself, using what is meaningful for me. Which is right? Both are. I can get tremendous power out of using whatever tools I find personally meaningful--that meteorite, for instance. But I can also draw on tremendous power by using a spell that has been done and done and done successfully by generations of witches for hundreds of years. I think of it as "ruts on the astral." The more people do something successfully, the more likely it is to be successful in the future.
Certain qualities of crystals and minerals have become more or less set by llong repeated use and belief. Amethyst, for instance, supposedly can prevent drunkeness. (The ancient Greeks sometimes carved drinking goblets out of amethyst for this reason!) Is there some poorly understood property of amethyst crystal that neutralizes alcohol? I don't think that's likely. Amethyst, scientifically speaking, is silicon dioxide (SiO2) with a trigonal crystalline archetecture, and with a touch of iron to give it its color. Carnelian, Agate, Bloodstone, Jasper, Quartz, Chrysoprase, Citrine, Aventurine, Tiger's Eye, and many others ALL are SiO2 in a trigonal cyrstalline alignment, some with minor inclusions like iron, some without. So far as science is concerned, there's nothing about silicon, oxygen, or iron that can prevent drunkeness. (Okay, okay, pure oxygen can alleviate hangover symptoms, but that's gaseous O2, and all of those other stones are oxides too!)
But . . . have millions of people BELIEVED that it does? Yes. And that fact may provide the psychological handle necessary for their own bodies to alleviate the effects of alcohol in their systems.
And, as it happens, amethyst has all-round healing properties, it's wonderfully calming, seems to energize the fifth and sixth chakras, and helps improve psychic awareness. If this is due to its chemical nature or to the belief structures that have accreted around it seems completely immaterial. If it works, use it!
And, if I seemed dogmatic or dismissive in my earlier posts on the topic, Talia, please forgive me. That was neither my intent nor my belief. One of the deep and abiding joys of this board is the fact that it offers a forum where we can trade ideas and ramble on about religious topics WITHOUT giving or taking offense, withour putting down others or feeling put down ourselves. It's great!
Ah, it's a shame I forgot about the gills mention. That was quite a revelation! I simply hope she wasn't charging for lessons.
And I don't think you're coming across as dogmatic, WHKieth - I don't believe anybody here is particularly - which is quite a relief.
As for quoting:
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remove the spaces between the brackets to quote...[ /quote ]
...or else click on the "quote" button on a post and edit as required in the posting box you end up on.
As for the issue of crystals itself...I've tried using empathy on them before. Sometimes no effect – sometimes I feel something like a high-pitched ringing sound. Once during my asceticism I tried to use empathy to feel the state of a woman where there was a mutual attraction – but I was surprised to feel her a crystal around her neck seemingly repulse it.
What does that mean? It means I can see potential in the idea that crystals may have an objective spiritual function. What that is exact I don’t know. However, my own outlook on the world attempts to be as rationalistic as possible – I cannot accept New Age terminology because it makes little sense to myself. But if I were to read up on the mechanics of crystals – the way different minerals affect the electromagnetic spectrum, (or the force itself), not least with respect to polarisation – then that could give me some clues for a speculative theory.
On that subject – I just realised – I'm under the impression that Neolithic peoples in Britain had a habit of using quartz in their circles and burial mounds (the few I'm visited). Certainly interesting to wonder how that relates in spiritual terms, and especially curious as to whether the piezo-electric effect may be involved there.
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