Chackras, Rainbows & Gemstones

My first ever chakra related piece used gemstones that Debra gave to me and which I have only just come to understandUpon my return to Brighid's Pagan Jewellery I inherited a number of chakra inspired designs incorporating various gemstones. I decided that I needed to gain some further understanding in this area in order to keep making them and to create new designs. To this end I began reading around the Internet and bought a number of books (see thelist at the end). Odd though it may seem, given that I am writing an article for the web, I tend to have a little more faith in printed books than in online information, which is often copied and pasted with only slight alterations, by people wanting to create a "quick article" without taking the time to do any in depth research or get a proper understanding of the subject.

What I found, is that as with other similar areas of study, there is a lot less agreement between sources of information than might be anticipated or hoped for.

I had already seen the 7 chakras related to the 7 colours of the rainbow, and this was something about which I was dubious as that the original models of chakras from the Brahama and Yogatattva Upanishads (which describe 4 and 5 "chakras" respectively), date back thousands of years, whereas the 7 colours of the rainbow/spectrum were defined much more recently by Sir Isaac Newton; less than 400 years ago. Additionally, his decision to define 7 colours was for rather less scientific reasons than you might think (see my article on The Magnificent Seven) and had nothing to do which chakras.

Despite this implication that the associations between chakras and colours must therefore be relatively recent, there is logic to it:

The colour of light, when regarded as an electromagnetic wave (science doesn't actually know what it is), is determined by its frequency (rate of vibration). Red is at the lower end of the frequency range while violet is at the top, with the other colours occurring with the approval of Richard of York (who apparently gave battle in vain), at successive points in between. In terms of the 7 major chakras: we have the base chakra between anus and genitals, the crown chakra on top of the head, with the other five occurring at various points along a line in between. If we relate "base" to "red", and "crown" to "violet", then everything else seems to make sense.

Moving on from this I was interested in the association of gemstones with crystals because while it's true to say that most associations seem to follow this rainbow colour scheme, this is not always the case.

Permutt's rainbow set features on the front of his bookIn Crystal Chakra Healing, Philip Permutt gives the list that I have seen the most often [p53]. Namely: red jasper, lapis lazuli, blue lace agate, malachite, citrine, carnelian, and red jasper. However this is followed by over 100 pages of information about the chakras, properties of crystals, and alternative crystals... many of which do not follow the rainbow colour scheme. Permutt justifies his primary choices on page 56 of his book by saying:

"With nearly 25 years' experience as a crystal teacher and healer, I have chosen the crystals for the chakra set in this book for simplicity and effect. It's much easier to recall which crystal goes where with a simple colour coding that ties in with the chakras. Therefore the mantra here is to follow the rainbow."

I like his logic and furthermore, as he points out, his choices are readily available from any decent gemstone shop. To that I would add: for not much cost either.

Not everyone agrees. In The Chakra Bible [p112] Patricia Mercier says:

"A popular New Age myth is that a set of seven 'chakra stones' of different colours will balance your chakras. They might be effective, but healers who specialise in using crystals use different crystals for specific purposes"

Mercier lists the chakars colours [p28] as red, orange, yellow, green/pink, turquoise, deep blue, and violet/gold. Not a great deviation but Mercier's choice of crystals most certainly deviates from the rainbow colour scheme, and she lists different crystals for activating, calming, balancing each chakra. Her choices include emeralds, saphires, and her top choice for activating the brow chakra: diamond!

Having completed my research (for now) I don't see Permutt and Mercier as being entirely at odds, and draw a parallel with modern medicine, where we are able to access a small number of remedies over the counter, while a doctor is able to prescribe from a very much wider range some of which would not be feasible "at home". So while it seems to me that Mercier pooh-poohs a random selection based solely on colour, and says that there are better choices than those that are "colour coded", she is not opposed to there being a colour match. Most of Permutt's choice appear in Mercier's lists of options... with the exceptions being red jasper and malachite.

Not everyone agrees with either of them, and in the introduction to Chakra Crystals Kate Tomas says [p7] that "people often rely far too heavily on books" and that "by sitting quietly with a crystal, you have access to more information than you could ever get from a book; you just need to know how to access this information."

It's fair to say that pretty much every author and source describes a personal aspect to choosing crystals, suggesting in some cases that you may find yourself, in a shop, being drawn to a particular crystal while another, almost identical crystal sitting alongside has no appeal to you whatsoever.

My Goal

Ultimately my objective was to identify gemstones and colours to use in making chakra related jewellery. This raises another question: whether there is any benefit to be had from, for example, wearing chakra gemstones on a bracelet?

Unsurprisingly, most of the available information relates to the use of crystals for chakra balancing, healing, and meditative purposes, in which the crystals are placed on or close to the relevant chakras. A number of sources suggest that there are benefits to be had for the crown or brow chakras from wearing gemstone earrings, and that a necklace of a suitable length can place a gemstone close to the throat, heart or solar plexus chakras. I found no mention of gemstone underpants so it looks like the sacral and base charkas will have to fend for themselves from this point of view. ;-)

Some authors also say that it doesn't matter where you wear a gemstone as its energy will travel, or be drawn, though your body to where it's needed.

Thus I will again make an analogy with modern medicine where although it is perhaps better to apply a pain killing or antihistamine gel to the specific area of an sprain or bite, pills can also be effective... if actually swallowed rather than being left in the bathroom cabinet. Ergo: wearing a chakra gemstone bracelet may not be as effective as placing the stones directly on or over the chakras, but it will have more effect than not wearing one. Whether or not you agree is a personal thing, but at least there's a kind of logic to it, and that's good enough for me.

It is worth noting that NOWHERE in my research have I found any suggestion that there may be a negative side to wearing crystals. Indeed authors such a Permutt (p31) suggest that:

"Each <crystal> works by balancing something specific, whether of body, mind, or spirit. If this area is already in balance with you, then the crystals will do nothing other than look pretty".

Conclusions

My research was done primarily to make decisions about gemstones and colours for jewellery. From that point of view I'm concluding that the "rainbow list" is simple, effective and relatively affordable. So I'll be inclined to stick with that unless a customer requests something else. I can of course use any gemstones that a customer wants, including rubies, emeralds and diamonds, provided that they appreciate that it may not be for the same price as my "rainbow version".

Glasses chain with chakra / rainbow beadsI will also be using other materials... such as glass. Although crystals are employed to assist in balancing chakras, so is yoga, aromatherapy, colour therapy, and a bunch of other things. Hence I see no reason to stick rigidly with gemstones.

The fact is that not all crystals are what they seem. Amethyst for example, that purple stone that we all love, is often dyed. Natural citrine... is not particularly yellow. Not on our list but worth mentioning are that "emerald gemstones" and "turquoise gemstones" are often not emerald or turquoise STONE at all, but are stones that have been dyed that colour.

I'm quite keen about this stuff and for example (though I can spot natural from dyed) I generally buy my amethyst from a supplier who lists dyed, half-dyed, and natural amethyst; I see nothing wrong with the practice so long as we know what we are getting, and the way I see it: a wholesaler who is open and honest about his dyed products has no reason to tell fibs regarding the ones he says are 100% natural.

My point here is that if you want "zingy" rainbow colours, you're not going to get them with relatively cheap gemstones if you also want them to be natural. Ergo it seems reasonable to me, in addition to offering "chakra gemstone jewellery" with actual gemstones, to also offer "chakra rainbow jewellery" using glass and other materials.

Products will be clearly labelled, and after that, the choice is yours. :-)

Bibliography

If you were reading this article because of anything other than a passing interest in the choices I have made for jewellery making, then you might like to check out some of the books I read:

The Chakra Bible - Patricia Mercier The Little Pocket Book of Crystal Chakra Healing - Philip Permutt Crystal Healing & The Human Energy Field - Marion McGeough Chakra Crystals - Kate Tomas The Complete Crystal Bible - Cassandra Eason

The Chakra Bible - Patricia Mercier

The most comprehensive of the bunch regarding chakras with its introductory section covering origins and other background. The chapters about the chakras have information about foods, aromas, yoga, and more, in addition to the information about crystals for calming, activating, and balancing each chakra.

The Little Pocket Book of Crystal Chakra Healing - Philip Permutt

Much more specific to crystals than Mercier. I found it easier to read because of that. It has a comprehensive list of the benefits of each crystal

Crystal Healing & The Human Energy Field - Marion McGeough

A very concise book that's a nice introduction to the subject but is really only a toe in the water. If your's is anything more than a passing interest of a desire to get the gist of the subject, you're going to want something more.

Chakra Crystals - Kate Tomas

My copy is second hand and came without the crystals what are normally supplied with the book. I suspect that the choices were somewhat biased by availability and cost. However descriptions of alternatives are give and a really appealing aspect of this book is that a guided meditation is laid out for each of the chakras and the crystals that were supplied.

The Complete Crystal Bible - Cassandra Eason

This book wasn't purchased specifically for researching this article and while it is a comprehensive compilation of information about of crystals and their properties, there is not much information about chakras other than which each crystal relates to. One very odd thing about this book: it associated amethyst with the brow chakra whereas pretty much every chakra related source associates it with the crown. Go figure. <rolleyes>


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