With so many varieties and forms, the idea of working with crystals can seem daunting. Everyone seems to have their own opinion of what stone is best used for what, and in what form it should be in for best results. And then there’s actually using the stone! The entire thing can seem like quite the complicated mess that’s better off just left alone. But working with crystals is actually very straightforward and can be quite rewarding as it is a rather basic and hands on form of magick.
While certain stones do possess certain qualities and attributes, basic correspondences for all stones, be they expensive gems or simple stones found in your own backyard, come down to one thing: color. There’s no need to memorize endless lists of correspondences for crystals to be able to use them successfully, just look at it. Oh, you’ve got a lovely purple stone? Why not use it for developing psychic powers and intuition. What, you found a small red stone walking to your mailbox? Bet it would be perfect for a protection spell or balancing your root chakra. It really is that simple.
Using crystals is also pretty straightforward. They work because, like all matter, they’re made of energy and this energy vibrates at a certain frequency (dependent largely upon what color the stone is, though not entirely.) For this energy to effect the change that you want, it must be near to what you want to be affected. For example, if you are using your crystals for healing, they should be near or touching the person you are healing, or their representation in the case of distant spells, for as long as possible. If you’re going to use crystals to protect or cleanse a space, the stones should be placed throughout the space, so that their energy can affect the space as much as possible (i.e. place crystals about on shelves, in corners, above doorways, etc.)
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that your crystals will need to be cleansed periodically. It is often suggested to soak stones in a mix of salt water, but this is highly ill advised, as certain stones can and will dissolve in water. The safest bet to ensure you don’t accidentally damage your stones is to pass them through incense smoke. Just pass the stone through or hold it in the smoke until you feel the energy of the stone change. It will feel lighter and stronger.
And as for what form the stone should be in, this truly does come down to personal preference. Smaller stones are easier to work with as they travel well. Tumbled stones are less likely to get damaged while traveling. Raw, uncut, unpolished stones can be quite powerful, especially if they contain a bit of the matrix material. Large stones are great for permanent displays, such as in a healing or sacred space, and work well for magick regarding the home. And stones that are set in jewelry are great for personal use as they are very discreet (who would ever guess you’re wearing those Ruby earrings for protection?)
When first purchasing crystals, the most economical thing to do is to get one or two small stones in each color. Not only do most metaphysical stores carry small crystals, raw and/or tumbled, at a very low cost, but that way, you’ve a stone for every need you can think of. An initial cleansing is advised. After that, you can begin using your stones immediately. As for what you use them for, well, you truly are limited only by your imagination. Good luck and have fun!