Before we get into this, I have a few disclosures to make. I am a mostly-practicing Catholic, definitely a woo-woo wellness girl, and I can’t stand the summer heat— autumn is when I really come alive. With the Harvest Moon that came and went this past Monday, there is almost no better time this side of the autumnal equinox to begin new ritual practices in slower, more conscious living.
Today, a full quarter of American adults now identify as ‘spiritual but not religious.’ Given the socio-political polarization we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, it seems no wonder that many are trying to uncover a more intuitive way to understand the workings of the world. And it’s easy to dip your toe into today’s brand of alt spirituality — here are a few simple (and cost-effective) ways to experiment with crystals, the Tarot, and ritual home cleansing.
Feel the vibration with crystals
For hundreds of years, crystals have been at the heart of healing and spiritual practices around the world. They became less popular after the Age of Enlightenment, but in the New Age 1980s, they found their way back into the mainstream as a complementary therapy to modern medicine. As with everything, crystals have had spikes and dips in popularity, but today we’re on a spike. The question has become ‘where do you keep your crystals’ rather than ‘do you have them at all’. Any wellness practitioner’s handbag, pillowcase, water bottle or window ledge might boast a thoughtfully placed crystal beside it. As beautiful as they are, crystals don’t just catch and reflect light, they’re placed purposefully in certain spaces for their healing powers.
Crystals are believed to work in tandem with your seven chakras — the seven points of energy that center the human body — to support the perfect balance between your physical self, emotional core, spiritual foundation, and mental wellbeing. (I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘My chakras are out of alignment’ in at least one yoga class in your lifetime). To that end, if you’ve never used crystals as anything beyond a beautiful paperweight, how do you get started with them?
Before running out and buying random crystals for their looks, consider what you need support with in your life. Love? Mental clarity? Financial stability? You name it and there’s a crystal for that. We’ve rounded up five key players in the crystal world to get you going:
Selenite: Known as ‘liquid light,’ selenite works with your third eye and crown chakras and is known to raise your energy vibrations — low energy frequencies seemingly attract negativity — to drive away feelings like fear, anger and anxiety.
Clear quartz: Clear quartz is often recognized as the ‘universal healer’ of the crystal landscape. It has ties to all seven chakras (crown, third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral and root) and is thought to help manifest your internal intentions outwardly with focus and clarity.
Rose quartz: Rose quartz, more focused than its universally-healing cousin, is directly tied to the heart chakra. It is known to facilitate all types of
love — self-love, romantic love, familial bonds and friendship — and is the perfect stone to keep you calm during rocky points of these types of relationships.
Amethyst: The spa day of the crystal world, the amethyst is often associated with the third eye chakra. It promotes sleep wellness and deep relaxation and is said to help you address any problems you may be facing with clever, insightful solutions.
Citrine: This super sunshine-y stone is all about positivity, joy and success. Sometimes referred to as The Merchant’s Stone, citrine is associated with the root, sacral, and solar plexus chakras and carries with it energies directed towards wealth and prosperity in business and personal matters.
Tune your senses with the Tarot
Slightly off the path of the Instagram wellness crowd lies the Tarot. Cards like the Tarot have been used in divination rituals for centuries in the Western world, though the Tarot itself began as a playful alternative to more traditional card games, before assuming full time association with divination. Decks like the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck (the most popular deck in the Western hemisphere), The Wild Unknown (my personal favorite), the Etteilla Tarot (created in 1789!), and novelty decks like the Zombie Tarot all stem from a traditional base.
Almost all Tarot decks are divided into major and minor arcana. The former symbolizes powerful energies or life events in the life of the seeker, while the latter represents lesser but still present forces. Depending on the spread (the way the cards are laid out) a seeker can gain insight into the questions they’re hoping to have answered. Within the practice of Tarot, some people prefer to hold their own ceremonies, while others prefer to go to professional readers. Neither is correct or incorrect, however learning ahead of doing is important. For example, if you’re interested in solo readings, make sure that your deck is gifted to you rather than purchased and make sure you follow a simple bonding ritual to get your cards tuned in to your presence. There are places all over New York, like Enchantments, that hold Tarot readings and education classes about various spiritual practices that are well worth looking into.
Create relaxation with a ritual cleansing
Using sage to cleanse a space is a long-documented ritual practice that offers a way to rid yourself and your home of the energies of others — good or bad — that may be lingering and it’s an easy entry practice to try out. Called smudging, this ritual works to ward off negativity and shift your energy center to a happier, more settled space. Even if you yourself haven’t tried it, I’d bet you’ve seen smudge sticks — the leafy bundles of sage that create the smoke — all over Instagram.
To properly cleanse your space, all it takes is you and your smudge stick. Clear your space of clutter and open all of your doors and windows to help awaken the energy that’s lying dormant. Place your sage in a fireproof bowl, then light a candle, set your intention, and light the sage using the candle. Once lit, blow out the sage and, placing it back in the fireproof bowl, direct the smoke to your heart, over your head and down your body in a cleansing motion. Then, going room by room, direct the smoke from the bottom corners to the top corners and out the door or window.
When you’re finished with all the rooms in your home, extinguish your sage bundle in dirt, sand, or on concrete — getting it wet will ruin it for later use).
At the end of the day, practices like these can help draw you closer to your creative and emotional core of wellbeing. There are always other ways to achieve this — like fitness classes that blend mindfulness and exercise or at-home meditation rituals. It’s all about what works best for you to achieve a clear mind and a calm presence in a busy city.
Have you tried out any of these practices? Share your thoughts with us by tweeting @nooklyn, reaching out on Facebook or finding us on Instagram @nooklyn.stories!
1) Photo by Farzad Mohsenvand on Unsplash
2) Photo by carole smile on Unsplash
3) The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck | Image courtesy of https://littleredtarot.com/
4) Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash