If you really, really want to use crystals for magick or jewellery it’s actually not impossible to find them yourself. And you don’t even need a mine! All you need is a forest, patient and sharp eyes. Of course the conditions for finding crystals will change depending on where you live but If you live near a forest in the northern hemisphere you should have a decent chance. When I first started looking for crystals I did a huge mistake. I went to a quarry. Then I went to another quarry and then a ravine and I found nothing. The best place to find crystals is, believe it or not, here:
Beneath uprooted trees. Probably, I think, because the earth and rocks beneath have been safe for many, many years and also, you don’t have to dig very much because the tree has already done the hard bit! If the earth is stony, as in this case, you’re chances are pretty good, if it’s just mud and marshland I wouldn’t bother with it.
Study each rock carefully. Sometimes you can only see a few millimeters of the actual crystal. Sometimes all you need to reveal a crystal is clear water, a strong brush and a pair of calloused hands. In other cases you may have to grind it. If you don’t have the equipment or knowledge to do it yourself you can ask a jeweller or even at a museum (preferably one with a geological section).
What crystals can you find then? First you should find out what crystals are native to your country (and which are legal for you to pick, this post is adapted to the Scandinavian laws, make sure you check what the laws are in your own country) and where those are usually found. Quartz are what I mostly come upon. From personal experience I have determined that rose quartz are the most uncommon while rock crystals are so common I don’t even understand why anyone would pay for them. I have heard rumours you can find amethysts here in Sweden but I’ve never seen one. Then there’s the crystals I don’t know a name on (I’m not a geologist after all).
Above is three of my crystals in different states. The rose quartz has obviously been polished to reveal it completely. The crystal in the middle is recently picked and has neither been cleaned or polished. The last crystal has been cleaned roughly.
Have fun finding you own crystals and spare Mother Earth while at it! 🙂
Last week I wrote a post about crystal mining and I want to give you an example on how miners gets treated by the big companies they work for. I have been following the miners’ strike in Marikana through the newspapers but since everyone hasn’t I’m going to explain the situation for you.
Marikana (also called Rooikoppies) is a town in northern South Africa where the mining industry is very important. They don’t mine crystals but what they are mining isn’t really relevant in this case. Working in a mine is dangerous. On August 10 this summer the miners initiated a strike. International Labour Organisation commented the state of the mines as: “a variety of safety hazards: falling rocks, exposure to dust, intensive noise, fumes and high temperatures, among others.” while Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davis described the conditions in the mines as “appalling” and said the owners who make millions had questions to answer about how they treat their workers. The purpose of the strike was to increase the miners pay to 12500 South African rand a month, which is about $1500. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s Jeffrey Matunjwa said to Aljazeera that: “As long as bosses and senior management are getting fat cheques, that’s good for them. And these workers are subjected to poverty for life. [After] 18 years of democracy, the mineworker is still earning 3,000 [South African Rand – approximately $360] under those harsh conditions underground.”
Sadly, this world isn’t a peaceful one. Conflicts escalates and often they end with violence, as was the case in Marikana. To this day 36 mine workers, 2 police-officers and 4 unidentified persons has been killed. 78 mine workers have been injured. The conflict is a difficult matter because there’s a lot of eye-witnesses reporting different stories, but I’m not here to solve the conflict. What I’m here to say is that the mine in Marikana is not unique. Most of the mines that supplies crystals and metals are located in the third world. Where many of the miners are living in poverty. They risk their lives for goddamn $360 a month.
What I want is for these miners, these people, to have rights. To have security. To make the mine as secure as possible should be first priority. Mining is no small business. The mines are owned by huge companies who earns millions of dollars. They can afford making the working environment better, instead of sitting on their mountains of wealth that grows bigger for every year.
I don’t want to live in a world where 30 miners must die just so someone across the world can have a topaz to wear around the neck or work magick on. I hope you don’t want that either, so please, please stop using crystals unless you know for sure that they have been ethically mined! Ask the suppliers were the crystals come from and criticize companies that abuse their workers. The more criticism they get the more inclined they will be to change their ways!
Grey Catsidhe has written an interesting blogpost about using silver in Druidic rites while Diandra Linnemann has written about using crystals in magickal work. Or rather, they have both posted about how unethical both of these are. I agree fully with their opinions and I feel this is a matter that needs to be brought up as often as possible. The first book I ever read on witchcraft was very centred on crystals, as are most of the witches I have contact with. Actually, I can’t name anyone except myself who doesn’t use them at all. It bothers me that some of the most popular witch/wicca-books out there present lists of important crystals and how to use them without mentioning that if you buy them you also abuse Mother Earth. They should tell you that. Everyone doesn’t think about that by themselves.
I know a lot of people who gets aha-moments when you inform them about things like this. Not everyone is hard-wired to analyse what they do or what they read. I don’t blame them because everyone is different. But! If you’re going to write books that will reach a big audience you have to analyse even if it’s not in your nature. You can’t write a book on magick aimed towards beginners if you can’t mention that those crystals are good for a lot of things, but people and nature gets hurt while mining them.
I personally do not buy any crystals. I’m not going to say that it’s ok if you do because I don’t actually think that. If you buy crystals I think you should stop. I don’t care if you pay it back to nature through offerings afterwards, the best for nature would still be to abstain the crystals. And let’s not forget about the people. The miners. The people who gets used and abused so you can have your crystals. Is it worth it?
There are tons of material to work with all around us, no matter where you are. There are cones, rocks, plants and feathers everywhere. You can find substitutes for crystals, I promise!