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How to Clean, Cleanse, Charge, Activate and Program Your Crystals


Preparing Your Crystal For Healing

To prepare your crystal for healing, first clean the crystal physically of any mud, oils, sand or other debris. Then using a cleansing technique be sure any negative energies are removed from the crystal so that you do not transfer residual energies onto yourself or your client. For maximum healing effects, charging crystals will ensure the crystal is ready electromagnetically and is saturated with ultraviolet light which energizes each crystal. To "wake-up" your crystal, you may need to activate it into its role and mission.. And finally, program your crystal to direct the energy for a specific outcome or for support during a healing session.

Cleaning Crystals

If you purchased a crystal with mud on it, chances are it still has part of the growth matrix on it. The matrix is the part of the earth that the crystal grows in, full of mineral nutrients. Try using a dry brush first, to remove what you can but be careful as the crystal may be softer than the matrix it grows in. Then use a warm water bath and a stiff scrub brush for coarse crystals or a flexible medium-soft toothbrush for more brittle crystals. I sometimes use a high foaming dishwashing detergent with a scrub brush, using the lather to lift off small pieces of grit and sand from tight corners. The matrix on quartz crystals is usually yellow, somewhat cakey-hard like mud and can be removed in a 2-5 day bath of oxalic acid if brushing and water doesn't take it off. I suggest that you look at the following link to Clear Creek Crystal Mines in Arkansas which details the process better than I could write here for you.. A chemist/pharmacist may be able to get the oxalic acid for you or try contacting one of the many mines on the web. Use 1 part oxalic acid to 2 parts water. As for "normal" mud, I suggest that you use a warm water bath and/or a high pressure hose stream at the mud. You can pick at the mud with a firm wooden stick. If you use a steel tool, you will probably scratch or break the crystal as steel is harder than the crystal. Let your crystal dry in the sun and catch those rays!

Cleansing Crystals


Once you have cleaned the crystal physically, the next step is to cleanse the crystal of unwanted vibrations and energies that come from other people handling the crystals during its mining, packing, and transportation, unpacking and display before it has actually reached you. Crystals tend to take on energy indiscriminately and like wearing someone else's clothing, you can feel what's not the right energy for you.

I have read and heard a lot from people advised to do everything from burying their crystals in salt for several weeks to performing elaborate cleansing ceremonies. Do what you feel comfortable with and what makes sense to you. Experiment and see what works for you. From my own extensive experience, I recommend using a salt water bath for crystals that are able to take salt. Salt is really good for removing negative energies from most crystals. However, some crystals like Angelite and some marbles and pearls are sensitive to salt and their surfaces can be damaged very quickly in a salt bath. For those, you can use a smudge (see below.).

You don't really need to soak your crystals very long in salt water. A minimum of 7 hours is usually all that is needed unless you have crystals that are extremely toxic for some reason. When I do some really, really heavy clearing with clients (exorcism level), I will soak the crystals is heavily saturated salt water for 3-4 days or longer. However, in normal daily wearing of crystals, a light short 7 hour bath every 2 weeks or so is fine. Get a plastic bowl large enough to hold your crystal(s). Glass is fine but it is a hard surface and you could chip your crystals easily if not careful. Fill the bowl with water to cover the crystals by about 1 inch. Room temperature water is fine and it would be best to have spring water which is "alive" with nutrients that crystals like. For more refined energies, use distilled water. It doesn't matter to the crystal unless you go back and forth between extremes of very hot and very cold (even Pyrex has a maximum tolerance). Then, for each crystal, add 1 tablespoon of salt as a rough guideline. The "perfect" cleansing solution is a 30% solution of sea salt and spring water. If you have genuine sea water, use that! As an intuitive, I usually just throw a handful of salt over the crystals and just leave the bucket in the sun to soak.

Try using a pendulum to help you determine when the crystals are ready to come out of the bath. This method works well for me, although I usually walk past the cleansing crystals and intuitively know when they are "done". When you pour off the salt water, do not touch the water or you will be transferring the negative energies back onto yourself. Remember to thoroughly rinse off any salt residue from your crystals. I let the crystals drip on to newspapers or tea towels.


Some people ask if there is a difference between using sea salt and table salt (rock salt). There is. Most people are not very sensitive to subtle energies. In my experience, I find that sea salt leaves the crystals with a different feeling than table salt. Sea salt has a more refined energy signature with a lot of small rainbow-coloured vibrations. Table salt is like a workhorse, less subtle, coarser and has clunky yellow and grey-blue vibrations. If I plan to use a crystal at my upper chakras (3rd Eye or Crown), I will want it cleansed in sea salt, as these centres are very refined on my body and I prefer the more subtle vibration. Wouldn't you? Try soaking two crystals - one in sea salt and one in table salt. Rinse thoroughly and then see if you can tell the difference energetically.

I've also smudged crystals with sage, sweetgrass or incense such as frankincense to cleanse them. This is especially good for crystals that cannot be soaked in salt water. I usually spend about 3-7 minutes doing a smudge, fanning the incense over the crystals with a feather fan. This is particularly good of you have a whole cabinet full of crystals or some that are very large and awkward to bathe. Try not to use your hand as a fan - as the smoke rises, it pulls out and takes the negative energies away from the crystal. Passing your hand in this smoke will track these negative energies onto yourself. Don't forget to give yourself a good smudge to clear your own negative energies; especially your hands which are handling crystals directly. You can also rinse your hands in salt water after using the crystals either on yourself or someone else.

Charging Crystals

charging sunlight gemstones

Sunlight re-charges crystals with ultraviolet light, sometimes called light radiation. You see, when the crystal comes from the Earth, it is has been nurtured in yin energy, the feminine. The crystal has been taking nutrients from the ground - gases, water, various minerals and other nutrients to develop into a crystal. When it is "harvested" from the Earth, it is being removed from the yin energies and needs now to receive yang energies as its source of energy renewal. So, the ultraviolet light from the sun, the full spectrum of light, restores the crystals depleted energies. The time it takes depends on the crystal's capacity to absorb the light (it's crystalline energy structure has a lot to do with it), the stage of energy depletion within the crystal, and I think the will of the person who has been handling the crystal. Typically, I find 4 hours in the sun once a week keeps a small crystal energetic and alert. However, some crystals require a much longer time to recharge. You can experiment with the crystal by putting it in the sun for 1 week then holding it in your hand. You may receive and energy discharge from the crystal ! Also use your pendulum to check if it is ready and also to find out the percentage of replenishment.

There are another six methods of re-charging crystals that I teach in my crystal healing classes. Programming a crystal will also take up some of the energy of a crystal and that you may need to recharge more often depending on the usage of the crystal. Also crystals vary a lot between each other in terms of ability to store energy. Size has something to do with it, but also the energy structure of each crystal will be different in its ability to hold an energy charge.

Activating Your Crystal

Some readers will not be familiar with how to activate a crystal. Sometimes, a crystal can be a "sleeper", and needs to know it is going to be used for healing or meditative purposes. Making a spiritual connection with the crystal helps to activate it, to awaken its consciousness. You can activate your crystal through an initiation ritual, by holding it, rolling it quickly back and forth in your hands, sleeping with it, gazing at it, washing it and generally handling it. To awaken its consciousness through ritual, offer some sage, sweetgrass or tobacco and indicate your intent for use of the crystal (e.g. for healing). This event marks the initiation of the crystal and makes an energy connection with the person using the crystal. Remember to fully recharge your crystal after you've been handling it for activation purposes.

Programming Crystals


Why do we want to program our crystals? There is folklore that crystals carry programming (a set of instructions) put there by other people or other beings before we acquire the crystals and that sometimes we do not want that. Well, I have the view that first, crystals come on the planet already with a set of instructions on how to grown, what structure, where, how fast and with what energy characteristics - just like humans who have a set of genetic instructions. This inherent pattern cannot be changed. It is up to your own belief system whether there were extra-terrestrials or others who have loaded instructions into crystals or not. Let's move on then.

Second, each crystal has its own mission, or its own programming for healing. Sometimes, it is to provide a grounding force on the planet, maybe working energetically with other crystals in the earth to provide a network of stabile energy across the planet as part of the physical matrix of the planet. Sometimes, the crystal will carry a specific energy signature by resonating tones, colours and other vibrations that are provided through compassionate forces for humans and other life forms on Earth. Crystal people sometimes say that a crystal resonates for a particular chakra, or has a mission to "clear a past life" for instance. We don't want to harm that type of programming either.

Third, there is a blank database in each crystal. This is a spiritual (ie, not physical) energy centre which has the ability to store new instruction. Just like humans who have infinite capacity for spirituality, the crystal can translate and absorb an energy signature from outside itself and store it into a crystalline energy structure within itself. Now this is the real esoteric work of a crystal! The mundane science of a crystal explains some of how these energy instructions are stored, but now we've left that far behind now and are going into an area of deep inner science! This database sometimes gets filled up with unconscious instructions from people handling the crystal, unaware they are projecting energy thought forms that are picked up and stored by the crystal. So, we will want to be sure that the database is empty of any unknown programming first. When we add our set of instructions the crystal will then resonate with those instructions, amplifying, broadcasting, and projecting the new set of energy patterns to ourselves or others as directed.

Here are some different programming techniques used with crystals.

raw crystals 4

A simple method is writing a thought on a piece of paper then placing a crystal on top to absorb the thought energy. The crystal magnifies the thought and acts as the transmitter, sending the thought in its amplified state to the target person or thing mentioned in the note. You can also use one of the other methods below and place the crystal on a person's photograph to send them an amplified thought.

  1. You can also program your crystal by holding it in your hand then breathing in through your nose, hold the thought in your mind of what you want, then forcefully breath out (snort !) into the crystal through your nose. Do this on each side of the crystal to program it. There are 6 sides to a clear quartz crystal. This is a powerful programming technique that I teach in my classes and hope you will benefit from it. You can also read about this technique at the Vogel-Cut Crystal site.
  2. Another method is to create a circular breath by holding the thought of what you desire in your mind and then breath slowly and naturally through your nose into the crystal and then breath energy back in from the crystal. Repeat this circular breath for 10 - 20 minutes. This is an effective meditative technique and is quite powerful to direct your mind for positive results.

You can put as many thoughts, affirmations or items such as holographic images into your crystal. Whenever you want to clear them out, just forcefully breathe the word "CLEAR!" into the crystal 6 times (one for each side of the crystal) and this will be done. By the way, if you are holding a crystal and are thinking bad thoughts, don't. Put the crystal down and clear your mind. Revisit your intent and then you can proceed to use the crystal, unless you need to cleanse the crystal of any negativity its picked up or to clear it of any unintentional programming. Crystals are indiscriminate about energy, but Spirit isn't - so please use them for positive purposes.

I program my crystals for protection, to enhance my dream states, to store affirmations ("I am healthy, wealthy and wise!") among other usages. I have lots of suggestions for using programmed crystals and teach these methods in my classes. Please see my web site at www.crystaltiger.com for more articles about crystals.



Reprinted with permission from Karen Ryan, www.crystaltiger.com, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crystals", NY: Alpha Books, 2010.
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