Spirits of Stone: Chapter 3 -- Shamanism and the Technology of Sacred Stones
The human fascination with quartz crystals is ancient - predating the earliest archeological remains left by modern humanity, the species of hominid known as Homo Sapiens Sapiens, which first emerged on this planet approximately 200,000 years ago.[i]
In the 1920s scientists uncovered the remains of Peking Man, a distant ancestor of modern humanity also known as homo erectus, near Beijing, China. Peking Man appeared some 250,000-400,000 years ago, and Peking Man collected quartz crystals.
According to Chinese anthropologist W.C. Pei, "Almost all varieties of quartz occur in this [time] horizon. Of quartz crystals about twenty pieces of different size were found together with one perfect crystal 6 cm. length. This crystal is smoky in color and all the crystalline faces are complete." [ii]
Other digs within the last fifteen years have also uncovered the use of quartz crystals by humanity's ancestors, at much earlier time frames than had previously been thought likely - long before Homo Sapiens vanquished the other branches of the human family and became the dominant hominid species on Earth.
Chinese Enhydrous Smoky Scepter
"The Acheulians (as well as the Zhokoudian I hominids) collected quartz crystals and probably fossils, neither of them for utilitarian purposes (the crystals were often much too small for tool use)," explains anthropologist Robert G. Bednarik. "Among their manuports are also various colourful or oddly shaped pebbles, in some cases modified. Many hundreds of haematite or ochre manuports occur in the Acheulian sites of Africa, Europe, and Asia, and those from South Africa are thought to be up to 800,000-900,000 years old. These hominids distinguished between ordinary and unusual or exotic object types: they had begun to classify the object world, and they were undeniably using red pigment. We have no reason to assume that their level of encephalization was significantly less than that of more recent archaic H. sapiens; in fact it had begun to approach that of anatomically modern humans."[iii]
But what can we make of the fact that these crystal artifacts have been uncovered in sites once inhabited by hominids predating Homo Sapiens, in the very early dawn of the age of proto-humanity? Did these ancient pre-human ancestors of ours simply like the beautiful transparent crystals and hematite pebbles for aesthetic reasons?
"One could argue that these habits might have been the hominid equivalent of the behavior of certain birds, notably the bower birds of Australia, who collect brilliantly colored or reflective objects. But this is not a very convincing argument," says Bednarik, "and is in any case hardly relevant to the issue at hand. Firstly, the bower bird produces no stone tools or polished wooden planks and does not use hematite crayons or fire, nor is it likely to develop its present skills to those attributed to Middle and Upper Paleolithic humans." [iv]
Why these pre-human beings gathered crystals is still a mystery to modern science, but it is certainly possible to deduce that the crystals had some intrinsic value for these people, and that if they were making cave drawings, that they had a spiritual life, and that if they had a spiritual life, and if they gathered crystals too small for use as tools for manipulating objects, then the crystals may well have had a spiritual or energetic value to them.
As Homo Sapiens came to dominate the human evolutionary lifestream, the human propensity to gather crystals and gemstones and store them in human habitations continued.
"About 80,000 years ago, just as modern people were emerging in the Middle East, our Neolithic ancestors buried rock-quartz crystals with their dead," reports New Scientist magazine. "At the same time, shamans also used crystal amulets in primitive religious rituals."[v]
Moldavite: Meteoric Fused Glass
Human beings have prized a variety of precious crystals and gemstones since they first created rudimentary tools, cave dwellings and art objects aeons ago.
Natural Moldavite Crystalline Formation
Moldavites are the rarest of gems, perhaps more rare than diamonds, rubies or emeralds. Moldavite is a mineral formed by an ancient meteorite impact, and very little exists. Archaeologists have discovered moldavite shards and pieces in cave dwellings 25,000 years old.
In his book Moldavites: The Czech Tektites, Professor Vladimir Bouska states that "The first human being that was interested in Moldavites was a Cro-Magnon man from the aurignacian age, i.e., the Upper Paleolithic. Several potsherds [fragments] of green Moldavite glass were found together with the famous statue of Venus of Willendorf, which is about 29,000 years old, at Willendorf in Lower Austria."[vi]
In the Western metaphysical traditions, moldavite has been the subject of intense speculation for centuries, and has attracted the attention of 21st century metaphysical rockhounds and mineral collectors.
Moldavite is known as the "Grail Stone". Legends say that the Holy Grail was formed out of a green stone that fell from Lucifer's crown as he descended from his heavenly abode to Hell, impelled by the force of a blow from the sword of Michael the Archangel. Until recently it was assumed the Grail Stone was emerald, but recently metaphysical rockhounds have suggested that the true Grail Stone is moldavite, a translucent green gemstone that fell from the sky millions of years ago.
Metaphysical rockhounds and crystal healers say that moldavite activates any and all of the chakras and also opens the mind to the limitless possibilities inherent in its cosmic origins. Moldavite's energy tends to dissipate blocks throughout the energy system and then center energy in the heart, opening the heart to universal love.
Moldavite is a the stone of transformation, par excellence. Working with Moldavite can have a profound effect, enabling the holder or wearer of this exceptional stone to consciously release unwanted programs, scripts, energies & thinking from their lives. The bearer of moldavite will often find that difficult or painful people, situations and conditions will be released, and then replaced by similar people, places or situations that are more congenial, more positive and more beneficial.
If you want change in your life, Moldavite can expedite that change, connecting you to Source and your own Divinity.
From personal experience during meditation with Moldavite, I can tell you that much depends upon intent. When my intent has been to quiet the mind, holding one of these crystals reduces mental chatter to virtually nothing, while stimulating the crown chakra, the third eye and the eighth chakra above the crown, creating a feeling of warmth and depth, a buzzing and a tingling on the crown of the head and between the eyebrows. There was a physical awareness of a tremendous flows of energy carried on the inbreath and outbreath from the eighth chakra and higher, spiritual sources, through these vital centers and deep into the body.
Concentration on the inner light, and inner meditative visualizations were greatly enhanced, and the ability to connect to inner spiritual guidance, Guides and Teachers increased markedly.
Quartz Crystal Used in Ancient Sacred Architectural Designs
In some prehistoric sites, quartz crystal has been used as a major component of sacred architecture. One of the most famous of all Irish prehistoric sacred sites in which quartz crystal was used as a building material is the Newgrange tomb complex in County Meath.
Newgrange was built around 3000 BC, and predates Stonehenge by about 1000 years.
Newgrange "consists of a vast man-made stone and turf mound retained within a circle of 97 large kerbstones topped by a high inward-leaning wall of white quartz and granite," according to the Wikipedia.[vii] "Most of the stones were sourced locally (within a radius of 20km or so) but the quartz and granite stones of the facade must have been sourced further afield, most probably in Wicklow and Dundalk bay respectively."
There is a special passageway built into Newgrange aligned so that sunlight fills the rear end of the passage at sunrise on the winter solstice, and at no other time.
The accuracy of the Newgrange solstice passageway is quite remarkable, and indicates that the entire structure had major spiritual significance extending far beyond the site's use as a burial site.
There is no doubt at all that human beings around the world have used crystals and other luminescent precious and semi-precious stones as power objects, spiritual tools, and components of sacred architecture for as long as humans have roamed the Earth. The shamanic lineages of East and West, North and South are united in affirming this ancient tradition.
The Metaphysical Basis of Shamanic Practice with Crystals
Animistic indigenous cultures around the world have always had an intuitive, holistic view of nature and of spiritual worlds, and that wisdom has been expressed in shamanic traditions.
In shamanic traditions worldwide, quartz crystals are considered Beings of Light, Spiritual Allies from Higher Worlds composed of solidified high-frequency lightwaves.
Shamanic wisdom traditions grasped the modern holistic Gaia Theory of Earth as biosystem tens of thousands of years ago -- or more -- and venerated the natural world as a Goddess.
Nature's multitudinous manifestations, elemental, mineral, vegetable, and animal, were recognized as a congregation of living, spiritual beings, and treated with appropriate respect.
Chief Seattle, in his famous 1852 letter to the white men who were to buy Indian lands said, "This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. One thing we know: our god is also your god. The earth is precious to Him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator. . . .As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know: there is only one God. No Man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart. We are all brothers after all."
According to a contemporary Sedona-based Native American/Mongolian Shaman, Jade Wah'oo Grigori [viii], quartz crystals and gemstones compose the fabric of the nervous system and brain of Grandmother Earth. Thus, these spiritual stones are sacred helpers of the Divine Mother, and human beings who receive them in their care take on a substantial responsibility. In effect, such humans become linked through the crystals to the nervous system of the Great Gaia, and assume the responsibility of acting as caretakers of the Earth.
Many of us simply see crystals and gemstones as adornment or collector's items. Forbes Collector recently devoted an entire article to the art of investing in semi-precious stones and minerals, pointing out that over the last five years the best specimens have increased 1000% in value - - and some people even swear they have healing powers.[ix]
However, we must remember that to the spiritually aware, each stone has a consciousness, a purpose, a connection to Mother Earth, a connection to the ancestors, and a connection to Higher Worlds, including the potent Beings of Light with whom the crystal resonates here in the material world.
According to shamanic traditions, when we accept a Sacred Stone into our lives, it is our duty to give thanks to the Divine Light, to the Great Mother, and to our ancestors who teach us how to live with these Beings of Light, and to raise our consciousness so we can act as Caretakers of the Ways of Spirit.
So it has been for more generations than we have fingers and toes.
Native American shamanistic practitioners like Jade Wah'oo Grigori revere quartz crystals as the brain cells of Grandmother Earth. Viewing the Earth as a living organism, primitive stones such as granite and sandstone comprise the skeleton of the organism, the Earth's crust is the skin. Vegetation and water channels make up the lifeblood of Earth's body, and metals and minerals function as glands, nerves and sensory organs.
Jade Wah'oo Grigori Conducts Healing
"The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors," Chief Seattle explained in 1852. "If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the lives of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father. The rivers are our brothers, They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother."
Quartz crystals, in the shamanic worldview, act as the wiring of the Earth's nervous system, through which Spirit, the Universal Mind, maintains communication with all parts of Earth's organism, equilibrating the earth's temperature, moisture levels, and other important variables.
In addition, quartz crystals and other gemstones collectively create and modulate an electromagnetic field around the Earth, which is a vital component of the Earth organism's auric field, or Soul, and clear quartz crystals, identified with white light, represent the unifying vibrational frequency that harmonizes the seven rainbow rays of Earth's many varieties of gems and minerals, within that auric field.
In the Native American shamanic tradition, any human being who can attune to the power of the quartz crystal is in tune with Grandmother Earth, and obtains the ability to communicate directly with Spiritual worlds.
Shamanism and the Technology of Sacred Stones
In animistic cultures, shamans and priestesses have always been the scientists of the sacred, entering into ecstatic trance states to venture into the world of Spirit and return with visions, messages, and healing energies. In the realm of Spirit these custodians of humanity's spiritual spark enact rituals of discovery, propitiation, cure and salvation.
These spiritual guardians of the community retrieve lost souls, healing the mind, the body and the soul of the afflicted. They operate as guides of the souls of the dead into the manifold worlds of Spirit, and communicate directly with the elementals, devas, angels, gods and goddesses whose activities affected earthly life, health and fertility.
Extending far into pre-historical times, in these ways, these practitioners of Sacred Science were the first Light Workers, spiritual warriors defending humanity against spiritual affliction, disease, death, and disasters.
Crystals have traditionally been among the preferred power tools of shamanic practitioners.
Shamans see crystals as solidified Light, originating in the realms of Spirit and manifesting on Earth to operate as a bridge to the powers that create, vivify, equilibrate and ultimately destroy this world and all its inhabitants. Crystals are more than quintessential shamanic power objects. Crystals are perceived by initiates to be living beings who operate as their allies in the realm of Spirit.
Himalayan Quartz Cluster
These crystal allies serve as communication channels attuned to the energy signature of community ancestors. In ecstatic trance, crystals are used as a bridge to the realms of Spirit, empowering the initiate to communicate with beings in other worlds.
Crystals serve the shaman, working to cleanse and enliven power objects used in ceremonies and medicine bags. In medicine bags, or on altars, crystals emanate Light, infusing all the power objects in the medicine bag with spiritual power.
Crystals amplify the will and intent and power of the shaman, acting as transmitters of Universal Life Force energy used to heal body, mind and soul, and catalytic converters that can transmute negative energies, emotions and thoughtforms into positive and healthy polarities.
These spirit stones are given to shamans and priestesses in many traditions on all continents of this world upon their initiation into the mysteries of Spirit, to empower them and facilitate performance of their many necessary community functions.
The shamanic initiatory process has often been described as the "death" of the egoistic self and a rebirth into a body of light, and during this process, crystals have often been abraded, swallowed, or inserted into the initiate"s body.
The anthropologist Mircea Eliade observes that in some shamanic initiation rituals ". . .[The initiator] throws the candidate into the sky, 'killing him'. Once they are in the sky, the master inserts small rainbow serpents. . .and quartz crystals (which have the same name as the mythical Rainbow Serpent)[x]. . .The candidate must silently submit to an operation performed by two old medicine men. They rub his body with rock crystal to the point of abrading the skin, press rock crystals into his scalp, pierce a hole under a fingernail of his right hand, and make an incision into his tongue.[xi]"
Other traditions involve "singing" a piece of crystal into the initiate's forehead or pouring "liquefied quartz" over the candidate"s body.
Indigenous Australian shamans are self-selected members of the tribe, according to the 20th century master of comparative mythology, Joseph Campbell, who describes the shamanic initiation rites of various cultures in his book Primitive Mythology.
Campbell describes how in Australia would-be shamans enter a sacred cave, and go to sleep. While they sleep, a spirit comes, and skewers the candidate with an invisible lance, which passes through the back of the neck, piercing the tongue, and leaving a hole big enough to pass the little finger through. A second spirit lance pierces the candidate's head from ear to ear. The candidate falls dead and is carried into the depths of the cave, where spirits live. The spirits remove his intestines and replace them with a new set of intestines, composed of quartz crystals.
The new shaman returns to the tribe, in a state of virtual insanity, poised between his old personality and the new, more powerful, more responsible individuality he is asked by Spirit to assume. He must stay apart from the rest of the community while the intense experiences he has undergone are integrated into his nervous system, and his newly reoriented mind, body and spirit attain a new equilibrium.
Eventually, he "graduates", and attains the powers of the medicine man. Then he is able to project quartz crystals into other people, and the crystals will effect the people for good or ill, depending upon the shaman"s intention.
Here the archetypal theme is quite familiar to us by now. The candidate dies to his egoistic self, and his dead body is refashioned into a body of light by the incorporation of the solidified Light of quartz crystals into his own body. This new body of light is the initiate's auric egg, newly connected to the Higher Self, by the rainbow bridge that connects the initiate to Higher Worlds and enables the initiate to see, feel, hear and speak in the worlds of Spirit.
"Parthenogenesis" by Jane Sherry
Ancient Vedic Wisdom: Subtle Energy and Precious Stones
This archetypal pathway of shamanic initiation, involving the "death" of the candidate and a later "resurrection" into a "body of light", is an extremely ancient, oral tradition that contains many archetypes found in the earliest Wisdom Teachings of the East, embodied in the Vedas, the oldest sacred scriptures known in the world, and taught in the Mystery Schools of India for thousands of years as part of the discipline knowna as yoga or Union with the Divine.
Obvious parallels exist between shamanic initiation rituals, and the ancient Hindu yogic system of spiritual advancement, which involves the use of physical austerity, fasting, breathing exercises, vegetarian diet, meditation, visualization, prayer, and ceremonial offerings to attain a highly purified state of body, mind and heart, resulting in the arousal of the kundalini energy, which is normally resting quietly at the base of the spine.
When the kundalini has been awakened, the yogi has attained Nirvana, and often attains siddhis, or special powers, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, bi-location, and the ability to travel in astral realms. All these powers are familiar to us from the accounts we've read of pre-historical, pre-literate shamanic initiations.
In the yogic system, there is almost always a living spiritual Master involved in the training of the aspirant. This Master is known as a Guru. The Guru provides a rigorous program of spiritual development for each disciple, and provides guidance and energetic supports which insure safe passage through the intense process of self-transformation.
Generally the yogic path requires sustained practice over a period of many years and can require diligent work over many lifetimes to achieve the final goal. Over time, the successful yogic disciple experiences an ego-death comparable to that experienced by Gautama Buddha, similar to that which the shamanic initiate experienced in the dawn of prehistory after having his intestines replaced with quartz crystals. The limited and limiting personality of the disciple is no longer the Master of the mind, the heart and spirit.
Shri Anandi Ma
As a result of the disciple"s spiritual practices, under the guidance of the Guru, the kundalini, or serpent energy, rises up the central channel in the spine to the crown, resulting in the attainment of Unity Consciousness, also known as Krishna Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness, nirvana, or liberation. At this point, the disciple becomes a Master, and can take on his or her own students.
Shri Anandi Ma, pictured here, is considered one of a mere handful of modern SatGurus teaching today.[xii] She teaches kundalini maha yoga at ashrams in California, and India.
The Master of Yoga is thought to be liberated from the Great Wheel of Reincarnation, and can choose to unite with the Absolute Source of creation in Bliss forevermore, to take up residence in Higher Worlds in order to direct the spiritual development of generations of new disciples to come, to reincarnate in a new body, often with memories of past lives more or less intact, and even to appear in the material world clad in a Body of Light, as Jesus Christ did on Easter Sunday.
In the Hindu traditions of yoga, clear quartz crystal and precious gems are normally used to accelerate spiritual development, to ward off malefic astrological influences, and to transmute negative thoughts, emotions and energies. However, most yogis traditionally do not have access to very expensive gemstones, nor are they considered a necessary part of the spiritual path. The most expensive stones are for the Brahmin class, and are tools of the social and economic elite.
New Age Ascension Path, Alchemy, Crystals and Gemstones
Both the ancient shamanic initiation rites and the Wisdom Teachings of the Path of Yoga have many correspondences to the modern metaphysical goal of Ascension which is a part of New Age philosophy.
Like shamanic candidates and disciples of yoga, New Age spiritual aspirants are also self-selected members of the larger community. In the Ascension process, the candidate works to purify the body, mind and heart, and to elevate the vibrational frequency of the various chakras governing the aura or energy body.
In pursuit of the final goal, the New Age aspirant may engage in a variety of practices including but not limited to prayer, meditation, chanting of mantras, fasting, a restricted diet, sexual restraint, dance, drumming and elaborate rituals involving offerings to the Divine.
Crystals and semi-precious stones are used by New Age spiritual aspirants as an integral part of the Ascension path to Higher Worlds -- to enhance meditation, heal old wounds and accelerate the purification process.
Much of the spiritual work done by New Age practitioners is said to be shaped by the guidance of Ascended Masters who inhabit Higher Worlds, and the aspirant may not receive schooling by a single living spiritual teacher who has attained the final goal and can guide and protect the aspirant at every step on the spiritual path.
This obviously increases the risks involved with this intense process of spiritual self-transformation, and also means that the New Age Ascension process more gentle and slow in the early stages than more traditional shamanic or yogic spiritual disciplines, which require the guidance and supervision of a living teacher.
On the other hand, the New Age Ascension process rests upon an eclectic metaphysics, combining the Wisdom School Teachings of both East and West, and so the aspirant is allowed to work on various occasions with a variety of teachers, from different spiritual schools, religions, and traditions. Thus elements of yoga, Buddhism, mystical Christianity, Native American traditions, and other spiritual practices can be combined over time.
In the end, the New Age aspirant is responsible for his or her own spiritual progress and for the difficult task of integrating the many intense experiences that will undoubtedly be encountered on the path of Spirit. This is believed to increase self-reliance, develop the will forces, and train the aspirant in crucial practices such as discernment which are vital for success on the spiritual path.
Eventually, no matter what pathways he or she chooses to travel, in order to reach the final goal, Ascension, the New Age spiritual aspirant must undergo an ego-death, must connect with Higher Mind and Higher Self, must purify body, mind and emotions, and must raise the kundalini energy lying dormant at the base of the spine into the crown chakra. When this life-altering goal has been achieved, the power of the kundalini energy triggers a transformational event in which the aura of the new initiate is transformed into an immortal rainbow colored body of light.
Count St. Germain
After this monumental achievement, the new initiate becomes an Ascended Master, a pure channel of the Holy Spirit. The New Age Ascended Master, exemplified by the very popular Count St. Germain, is very similar to the SatGuru and to the practitioner of Buddhism who has attained to the exalted state of the "bodhisattva" or enlightened one.
These Great Master Teachers are granted the freedom to dissolve into the Unity of Bliss that exists at the very Crown of Creation or to serve humanity as teachers and healers in this world and the next, until all beings achieve the final goal.
They join with the Ascended Masters of all religious and mystical and shamanic traditions in a community that exhibits many of the characteristics of a group mind, directing the spiritual evolution of struggling humanity in ways that transcend the ability of the untrained human mind to comprehend.
READ NEXT CHAPTER: Chapter 4: Ascension Maps: Mystery School Teachings of the East and the West Reveal the Power of Crystals and Gemstones
[i] Dr. Dennis O'Neil, Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College, San Marcos, California, Early Modern Homo Sapiens,
[ii] W.C. Pei, "Notice of the Discovery of Quartz and Other Stone artifacts in the Lower Pleistocene Hominid-Bearing Sediments of the Choukoutien Cave Deposit," Bulletin of the Geological Society of China, 11:2:1931:109-146, p.120
[iii] Robert G. Bednarik, "Concept-mediated Marking in the Lower Palaeolithic," Current Anthropology, 36:4(1995), pp. 605-634, p. 611
[iv] Robert G. Bednarik, "On Lower Paleolithic Cognitive Development," 23rd Chacmool Conference Calgary 1990, pp 427-435, p. 433
[v] NewScientist.com; Review of Crystal Power by Lawrence E. Jerome, 24 June, 1989.
[vi] Mineralogical Research Company, "Basic Information about Moldavites", http://www.minresco.com/moldtek/moldinfo.htm
[vii] Wikipedia, Newgrange, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange
[viii] Neoarchaic Ecstatic Shamanic Techniques with Jade Wah'oo Grigori, Caretaker of the Ways, help you to redream your life and rediscover the sacred within you. Jade runs wilderness camps for drum making, sacred warrior awakening, men's empowerment, shamanic dreaming, shamanic trainings, soul retrievals, spiritual parasite removal, story telling, private healings and much more.
[xii] For more information, consult her website, Dhyanyoga Centers.