History repeats itself, and in the age of five-second dances breaking the Internet, crystals have made a comeback. The eccentric image of long, bony fingers, holding shiny orbs, as a shrill voice cackles over a boiling pot may come to mind. But this time, it is the teens and young adults of Gen Z, with their dyed hair and ambitious eyes, who are taking to this age-old healing practice.
With the pandemic, many sought comfort in this holistic medium of healing, finding themselves through these glimmering gems of nature. We spoke to some of these youngsters about why they developed a love for crystals, and how it has helped them navigate the hustle bustle of life.
Almost every TED talk about the human psyche starts with an inner child begging to be freed, showing how science has proved that almost every psychological or emotional turmoil begins at the core of one’s childhood. For Saima Suroor, a 20-year-old medical student based in Sharjah, it was exactly this part of her subconscious that she was looking to heal. “I was going through pretty tough times amidst the pandemic and was desperately looking for inner peace. Crystals became a coping mechanism for me,” she says.
Her journey began with rose quartz, known for promoting self-love, purple coloured amethyst, known for its stress-relieving properties, and obsidian, a black colour stone used for healing and protection. During the chaos of the pandemic, Saima found solace through these crystals.
Humans have statistically always ended up searching for a structure to place their beliefs in. It is what helps them identify themselves and their higher purpose. Saima believes that the framework of her life is based on what she believes about herself and the world. “I think crystals help you sort of pre-programme and optimise your belief systems based on what you personally want to be like,” she says.
Growing out of your teens and entering the formative years to the rest of your life can be a daunting process, as one grapples with making their mark, while also dodging all the curveballs life throws at them. And living in one of the most fast-paced periods throughout time, watching things change rapidly in the blink of an eye is not an ideal growing up experience one would hope for. “One of the first crystals I got was carnelian, which is for confidence. Maybe it was just a placebo effect, but I really felt the change in my life. I made a lot of friends during that time, I started working out, and was more confident about my body image. I also did very well academically,” says Niharika Chauhan, a 21-year-old student studying in the Netherlands, who was having a hard time adjusting to normalcy post-lockdown.
Stones like citrine, which are used to welcome prosperity and abundance in one’s life, and opalite, which is used to help clear one’s mind are some of Niharika’s most commonly used stones while meditating.
Adapting to new environments and situations is often an anxiety-stricken process. For Pooja Pania, a 19-year-old student living in Dubai, transitioning from high school to university during the pandemic was a challenging step. “That is when I started putting my mind into meditation and used crystals to set my intentions to help me give more peace. I realised I had to first learn how to believe in myself, only then would I be able to thrive in any given situation,” says Pooja.
Why this sudden shift towards crystals? Why the prioritisation of the mind and soul? Why are more youngsters, stereotypically known to be cynics of the spiritual world, drawn towards it?
“I think that people are now becoming aware that the outside world has not been able to provide us with answers, our parents have not been able to provide us with these answers, and despite the fact that technology has advanced so rapidly, people are still depressed and unhappy. So, when there is nowhere else to look, you end up looking within, and when you look within, you start to understand how the mind, emotions, and intuition work,” says Soniyaa Kiran, founder of Illuminations World, an alternative and holistic health service in the UAE.
Soniyaa believes that it started with curiosity and then, there is a whole generation of authors, speakers, and motivational trainers who have been talking about it constantly. And with information at the tip of our fingers, youngsters have the means to research more into the practice.
For Firdaus, a 20-year-old student living in Dubai, crystals have helped her in clearing her confusion and making her own decisions while she is on the brink of adulthood. “I think a lot of us are scared to grow up and get out there, and for me, certain crystals made me confident in my own voice. I stopped relying on others’ opinions,” she says.
Countless hours of scrolling on TikTok and Instagram was a universal experience for teens and young adults around the world during Covid-19, providing a means to kill time and get away from the cloud of gray thoughts taking over their minds, as the world reeled into an unknown confusion. But it also became a bridge for many to become more connected with their spiritual side, as the Internet gave a lot of exposure and built a community.
“I had joined a discord server where many people who were interested in spirituality talked about their experiences and journey with crystals without any judgment. I learnt a lot from there and TikTok, as it gave me a safe space to discover my inner strengths and goals,” says Pooja.
Burning sages, retro clothing, and decorative items. Just like anything over the Internet, crystals have become a trend. So, will this fade away just like any other trend, or is it here to stay?
“I think it is okay if people just do it on a level where they are using crystals as a decorative piece or jewellery item. As long as people don’t disrespect the practice and those who use it, it is okay,” says Saima.
Truth versus hype
There is more to crystals than what glitz seems to be at the surface: cleansing the crystals, be it with water, sunlight, or sage, keeping them in a clean place to make sure there is no negative energy around them, and using them to set goals. Many have decided to plunge into the practice completely, while others just use it for a desk side piece.
“I think some of them did it for the trend, whereas a lot of teenagers were really immersed, and it has helped many with anxiety and self-love. So, I think the ones who were in it for the right reasons will definitely stay,” says Holly, the owner of Holly Holistic, who noticed a number of younger people visiting her store with the onset of the pandemic.
Holly says her shop is often crowded with youngsters looking to purchase crystals. She says most of the teens coming in are looking for stones that will help them with anxiety, self-love, optimism, and confidence. The crystal choices of these individuals speak volumes on the mental health issues prevalent in modern society.
Despite the expensive nature of crystals, they are becoming popular among the younger generation who are willing to make the investment while soul searching.
Growing up with social media and trying to find confidence among the perfect ideals and standards created on a visual and materialistic platform can be tough, which often leads to people relying on others for unhealthy love and validation. Rose quartz, which is famously known to ignite self-love and appreciation, has seemingly become the stone that many start with while starting their crystal journey.
“I think in the end it is all about building a connection with yourself. And crystals just become a medium to help you concentrate better and channel your emotions through,” says Niharika, who meditates while holding crystals in her hands to focus better. Actively journaling and putting down her growth on paper has helped her see the effects of crystals in her life. “There are days where I am low and my room is a mess. On those days, I do not bother cleaning my crystals or practising, since I want to do it when my own frequency is vibrating higher and my space is clean,” she adds.
It does not always work. And you cannot always force it to work. Pooja used to be a sceptic of the practice before she got into it and saw changes in her life. Saima, on the other hand, had a difficult time at the beginning as she desperately hoped for changes to happen in her life until she realised that she had to stop chasing it and let it take its course naturally.
“People paint a very rosy picture of holistic healing. It is not about being happy, rather it is about being authentic. There is a lot of deep darkness that comes into achieving that final product, and it is okay to accept that,” says Soniyaa.
Non-believers of the practice argue that crystal healing is incompatible with science. Despite most scientific evidence supporting this, believers are opting to look at the other side of the grass. Be it the power of one’s mind, a placebo effect, actual healing powers radiating from stones, or simply colourful and shiny rocks, the younger generation seems to be willing to give crystals a shot while trying to discover themselves.
To many these seem like mere stones, whereas for others they have become a medium to place their beliefs in. Be it the power of one’s mind, a placebo effect, actual healing powers radiating from stones, or simply colourful, shiny rocks, the younger generation seems to be willing to give crystals a shot while trying to find themselves among the entropy of the contemporary age.
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