A few years ago now when I was just starting to work with crystals, I signed up for classes with a woman who was also a vendor of rocks and other magickal tools. Every week, she had an array of beautiful tempting new stones and I was like a crow with a credit card wanting to snap up and learn about all the shiny, pretty things. And for a while, I did.Fluorite, labradorite, scolecite, rose quartz, selenite, obsidian, jasper, garnet, aquamarine. You name it, I had or wanted it.
Pretty soon I had quite a collection of crystals that I was afraid to take out of the little bags they came in for fear that I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart and wouldn’t know what they were for, if I couldn’t match the rock to its identification tag. That right there was a huge red flag and a problem, but it took me a while to really grok that, because for me life has always been an exercise in wanting to learn all the things and the bigger my collection grew, the more there was to learn.
It wasn’t until I started studying earth medicine with a really wonderful teacher, who encouraged us to shift our mindset from “using” tools to one of “partnering with” that I really began to understand that the tools that we use are not just things, but sacred objects that call us to be in relationship. It was at that point that I began to make the shift from collector to practitioner. And the first lesson was that being a practitioner is not about collecting ALL the tools, but about developing deep relationships with the ones that choose us. If you want to have a collection, there is nothing wrong with that, but if you want to be a practitioner, narrow and deep is where the gold is.
But how do we become responsible practioners?
We start by procuring our tools from ethical sources who only do business with vendors committed to responsible practices and who have respect for the earth. This goes for mining, harvesting plants for oils, really anything that relies on the earth as a source for tools.
We also do it by sharing. Not every tool is meant to stay with us for a forever or to become a close, personal ally. Like people, some are only meant to stay with us for a season, others a lifetime. There are so many crystals already in circulation that if we would trade the crystals we no longer use once our work with them was done, there would never be a need to mine another stone again. Think about that. That is a HUGE impact.
Being a responsible practitioner also means developing a relationship with our tools.
Cleanse them, spend time with them, hold them, feel their vibration and energy, meditate with them, get to know them. Be a responsible steward and practice reciprocity. When we work with the goddesses and gods, we make offerings. When we work with the Earth, we should be doing the same and the most profound offerings we can make is to treat her offerings as the sacred gifts she offers us with the wisdom and care they deserve.
So, tell me. What are your narrow and deep partners in doing your work? And if you don't have that practice already, which ones would you choose, if you were going to begin to cultivate such a practice?