The English word crystal comes from the Greek word krystallos, meaning ice, from kruos, meaning cold. The Greeks found quartz crystals high in the frigid Alpine mountains, and as the historian and naturalist Pliny the Elder explains, ancient Roman scholars believed that quartz crystal was ice that had frozen so hard it would never thaw.

In his encyclopedic work Naturalis Historia, Pliny, also known as Gaius Plinius Secundus (c. 23'79 A.D.), says that quartz crystal is 'a substance which assumes a concrete form from excessive congelation. At all events, crystal is only to be found in places where the winter snow freezes with the greatest intensity; and it is from the certainty that it is a kind of ice, that it has received the name which it bears in Greek. . .'[i]

The Romans of the age of Nero -- valued quartz crystals immensely, for their beauty and for their healing properties, which Roman physicians found to be enhanced when the crystals were exposed to sunlight.

Pliny says, 'I find it stated by medical men that the very best cautery for the human body is a ball of crystal acted upon by the rays of the sun. This substance, too, has been made the object of a mania; for, not many years ago, a mistress of a family, who was by no means very rich, gave one hundred and fifty thousand sesterces for a single basin made of crystal.'[ii]

This health conscious Roman matron must have been serving her family water which had been stored in this very expensive crystal basin. Such water was believed to have restorative properties.

Nor are the Romans alone in viewing quartz crystals as coagulated water with extremely rare and valuable properties.

Crystals were originally heaven's holy water, poured out by God into the aethers at the dawn of creation, according to one legend reported by art restorer and New Age crystal expert Frank Dorland. 'As the water fell through the frigid air of outer space, it became frozen into solid ice," Dorland says in his book, Holy Ice. "Guardian angels, witnessing God's gift, feared that the frozen holy water would melt and sink into the earth. They promptly petrified the water so it would forever remain solid and be available to mankind as a permanent blessing, a solid link with heaven. Since crystal does not oxidize, change with age or decay, it is truly a permanent gemstone."

In this Twentieth Century retelling of an ancient legend, the spiritual properties of quartz crystal are emphasized, and crystals are seen as a bridge uniting heaven and earth, a natural communications device enabling humanity to better communicate with spiritual worlds, and with the Divine Source of all creation.

"Quartz crystal is the emerging symbol for the next great period of human history, the Age of Aquarius," Dorland explains. "One might imagine that the portrayal of the statuesque Aquarian water bearer pouring sacred water out of an ever-flowing jug is a symbol of the energy that continuously flows from electronic crystals."

The Goddess of the Night Sky, Queen of Infinite Space, known to the Egyptians as Nuit, is depicted in Aleister Crowley's version of the Tarot card known as The Star, a card which is associated with the Aquarian Age, as shown at the left. Nuit gave birth to the Sun each day in the East, and swallowed the Sun each evening in the West. Her body is the starry sky, and she is the deliverer of souls and helper of those who have passed to the Other Side after death. Nuit gives and fulfills the promise of resurrection for Initiates who have attained the knowledge and practice of the Great Mysteries.

In Crowley's Tarot card, the Goddess kneels at the intersection between spiritual worlds and material creation, her feet resting upon a mound of crystalline formations, depicting the spiritual templates upon which all organic and inorganic substances are based, the sacred geometry of Divine inspiration.

The Sky Goddess continuously transfers Universal Life Force Energy from the realms of Spirit into material creation, and continuously renews the balance of energy in spiritual realms through her dance of Divine Love. That Universal Life Force Energy flows from her ethereal cups into the Stars of her Realm. The sparkling night sky that symbolizes the Space-Time Continuum is filled with her light, which the Stars transmit throughout the Universe.

Her energy and her Love sustain the Universe, and she holds the keys to the kingdom, the knowledge of the sacred geometry that sustains all life and all structure in the material worlds. Thus the crystal is considered to be sacred to the Sky Goddess, and her devotees utilize quartz crystals for meditation, for healing, and for divination.

The Star is considered to represent the path of Meditation in the Qabbalistic Mysteries of the Tarot. The Path of the Star involves meditation upon the forms of nature, and the attainment of a consciousness that merges with the Universal Life Force energy that sustains all creation. In meditation the aspirant attains union with the unveiled Goddess herself, as figured in the Tarot Trump pictured above.

It is certainly no coincidence that in this Tarot card depicting the mysteries found on the pathway of deep meditation, Crowley emphasizes the large cluster of crystalline formations in the foreground of the picture of Nuit, the Star Goddess.

Crystals have been used to enhance meditation practices for hundreds of thousands of years in shamanic traditions around the world, for healing, to assist in astral travel, to stimulate creative visualizations, and to communicate with angels, devas, deities, saints, and ancestors inhabiting spiritual realms.

Quartz crystals are the most readily available power stones found across the planet, so it is no surprise these amazing spiritual allies have been highly prized by those treading the path of Spirit in all cultures since the dawn of human civilization.

Quartz is composed of Silicon Dioxide, which is the most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust, and quartz crystals in their various colors and forms, such as clear and smoky quartz, silver and golden rutile, purple amethyst and orange citrine can be found on every continent.

Jade Wah'oo GrigoriSedona based Mongolian-Native American Shaman Jade Wah'oo Grigori has been a good teacher for my wife Jane and me. Jade has a spiritual and healing practice rooted in the ancient traditions of both Mongolian and Native American practitioners.

Jade teaches that in the shamanic healing traditions of both East and West, quartz crystals are considered to be the nervous system and brain of Grandmother Earth.

Jade teaches that quartz crystals should only be used for spiritual purposes, and never for adornment or merely displayed as collector's items. Jade recommends giving an offering to Grandmother Earth when one obtains a quartz crystal ally. The recipient of the spirit stone gives back energy and love to Grandmother Earth from time to time thereafter to help balance the energy exchange that is taking place between the human and the mineral realms.

New Age metaphysicians constantly refer to the crystal-powered civilization of Atlantis, and it is thought that many crystal healers and Lightworkers alive today, especially in America, are reincarnated souls who experienced life in Atlantis untold millennia ago.

The Atlantean civilization was said to utilize quartz crystals for healing, for spiritual purposes, and to communicate over long distances.

Today's semiconductor revolution, which depends upon the use of quartz crystals, a primary component in computer chips, coincides with the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and the achievements of both the physical sciences and the spiritual sciences of the 20th and 21st centuries rely heavily upon the properties and the power of quartz crystals.

Today's global human civilization utilizes quartz crystals to power the planetary communication system known as the Internet, which far surpasses the ancient Atlantean system of crystal communication devices in geographcial extent and technological sophistication.

As we shall see in subsequent chapters, sonar, radios, television, cigarette lighters, stereo amplifiers, transistors, computer chips, liquid crystal displays, digital watches, cars, satellites, cell phones, oscilloscopes, and many other technological pillars of today's global society utilize quartz crystals in their manufacture.

The use of crystals in the dawning Aquarian Age is as much spiritual as technological. Lightworkers and crystal healers are building upon the groundbreaking work of such visionary scientists as Marcel Vogel, the IBM luminary who invented the method used to create and store memory in today's computer hard drives.

Vogel used quartz crystals for healing and developed a unique awareness of the sacred geometry of quartz wands that has led to the creation of industrial-strength power tools for Aquarian Age shamanic healers, meditators and Lightworkers, such as the remarkable 88-sided Vogel wand pictured at the bottom of this page.

The use of intricately cut Vogel wands and of many varieties of natural quartz crystals and healing gemstones has become immensely popular in the last thirty years. Our Editor, Curtis Lang, is providing an edited version of Marcel Vogel's book manuscript that was prepared for publication in the late Nineteen Eighties, not long before Vogel’s death, but never published. We are pleased to offer this free online edition of Marcel's book.

Collectors of art objects and gemstones have turned their attention to the formerly humble 'semi-precious' mineral specimens. Demand is so great for tourmaline, aquamarine, and other highly desirable stones that there is currently a shortage of high-end collectible mineral specimens.

Shortages of high-quality Lemurian quartz crystals, citrine and the highly prized and difficult to fabricate Vogel wands have led to increasing competition among rockhounds, meditators, crystal healers and collectors in America, Europe, and the emerging new rich economies of China and India for the finest specimens. The finest specimens of these healing stones are increasingly sold in European and Asian markets because these highly prized quartz crystals command much higher prices in those countries.

We currently stand at a crossroads in human history, confronting an increasingly interconnected global village, global marketplace, and global environment. We are becoming increasingly aware of our increasingly intimate connections to individuals in other parts of the world, and of how our actions impact their lives, while their actions shape our possibilities. There is no doubt that the use of quartz crystals in digital technology, healing and meditation will continue and increase as we attempt to address the social, economic and environmental concerns of the 21st century.

It is hoped that this book can provide an introduction to and an overview of the use of quartz crystals throughout human history which will open new doorways of consciousness and perhaps even demonstrate some of the common spiritual principles taught for millennia in both East and West.

In addition, there will be practical information concerning the sacred geometry of healing stones, the correspondences between the chakra system and the various types of healing crystals and gemstones, and specific techniques for using Vogel wands and a large variety of crystals and healing gems for meditation and healing.

I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it, because I have made many friends in the mineral kingdom the last few years, and those crystalline allies have acted as my keys to a new consciousness, as well as acting as magnets, attracting a large number of very dear new friends ' rockhounds, healers, Lightworkers, spiritual seekers, and lovers of beauty -- into my orbit.

I hope you will also find your own crystalline allies and that your work with them will prove empowering. My prayer is that you receive the grace and guidance to achieve your loftiest spiritual goals, and that you receive some help along your path from my friends, the Spirits of Stone.

READ NEXT CHAPTER: Chapter 2: The Crystal Wisdom of Lemuria and Atlantis

[i] Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (eds. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A.)

BOOK XXXVII. THE NATURAL HISTORY OF PRECIOUS STONES, Chapter 9, Crystals. See;query=chapter%3D%232533;layout=;loc=37.8

[ii] Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (eds. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A.)