An introduction to Crystal Alchemy

March 27, 2020 |

By Shirley O’Donoghue

Shirley O’Donoghue, Principal of Lucis College, is a therapist, author and lecturer for the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT). She has been teaching energy-based complementary therapies for over 25 years and has written numerous courses accredited by the FHT, the Open College Network and the Complementary Therapists Association (CThA). Her fourth book, ‘Crystal Alchemy, A Practical Guide to Crystal Therapy’, provides a comprehensive insight in to how to confidently use crystals to promote self-healing and personal and spiritual development.

From the Egyptians burying their dead with crystals placed on their brows, to the Chinese incorporating them in acupuncture needles and ancient ayurvedic healing systems harnessing their therapeutic capabilities, cultures and civilisations around the globe have acknowledged the power of crystals for thousands of years.

Today, crystal therapy continues to flourish. More than simply being worn in jewellery or incorporated into artefacts, crystal therapy works by placing crystals on or around the body to influence energy flowing through the meridians, chakras, or aura; like batteries to help rebalance, energise and unblock the body, mind and soul.

Crystal cleansing

Crystals work by absorbing energy, so it is important that you regularly cleanse your crystals of any stored trauma or stagnant energy – much like a beauty therapist sterilising their equipment between clients. You can do this in one of many ways:

  • Holding your crystals under running water (be careful with certain crystals such as gypsum, which can become fragile in water)
  • Visualisation – such as white light flooding through the crystal to clear any stagnant energy
  • Sound – chanting. Tibetan bowls etc
  • Soaking in salt water or gem essence
  • Burying in the ground

The chakra system

While they can be used with astrology, angel guides, and incorporated into complementary therapies such as reiki, many people begin to work with crystals by balancing the chakras; intersections which link with the meridian systems and carry chi (life-force energy) throughout the body. I often describe them as like roundabouts, with energy acting like roads which flow in and out of them. The chakras – and there are seven key ones – each represent specific points and functions within the body.  The throat chakra (Sanskrit name Visuddha), for example, is linked to communication and creativity, and physically to issues relating to the thyroid, neck, shoulders and jaw. The Solar-plexus chakra (Manipura in Sanskrit), just above the belly button, relates to personality and ego, and to the solar plexus area and large intestine. If any of the chakras become over or under-energised it can trigger physical, mental or emotional symptoms, and this is where the healing energy of crystals can be brought in to help restore balance.

The chakras and their symbols

Choosing your crystals

Crystals are selected based on individual needs and are typically laid on the body (on the chakras, for example), used in massage, placed on acupuncture points, or even simply carried around. Often with beginners I suggest starting with the ‘fab 4’ – namely:

  • Rose quartz – promotes gentle unconditional love
  • Clear quartz – promotes clarity, purity, and detox energy
  • Amethyst – healing, calming and spiritual
  • Haematite – grounding and gently protective

Of course, different crystals hold different qualities for different people. Through a process of attunement you will naturally begin to develop a bond with each one depending on your energy and the energy of the stone and, over time, your connection with the stones will deepen.

If you are new to crystal healing, I encourage you to expand your knowledge and delve in to this amazing subject a little bit more!

In ‘Crystal Alchemy – A Practical Guide to Crystal Therapy’, Shirley O’Donoghue shares the history of this fascinating subject and guides the reader, step by step, through the process of understanding and tapping into the energetic qualities of crystals and the ways in which they can be used to enhance energy flow within the subtle energy systems. This practical guide is the most comprehensive resource available for crystal therapists as well as practitioners of other therapies and those seeking a deeper understanding of how to use crystals to promote their own wellbeing.

It is available to buy now through Lotus Publishing and on


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