Hello. My name is Hayley, and I am a Millennial. I was born in 1987, I grew up a 90’s child (with the best collection of Pokemon cards on my street), and like a large majority of my Millennial peers, I am a godless heathen.
As I wrote in my first Spooky Millennials post on this blog, ‘you may know that fewer and fewer young people believe that you must follow religious teachings to be a moral person and as such do not identify as religious. Yet, you may not know that as a result of this many young people are turning to spirituality to find the meaning of life and the answers they seek, [Edwards, 2017]. Witchcraft seems to be en vogue too, and instagram posts, Etsy shops, and Facebook ads for everything from Smudge sticks, ouija boards, witch-y clothing and crystal grids are endless.’
And while Crystal grids have an insta-worthy aesthetic that adds to any home, that’s literally all they’re good for. The idea behind crystal grids is to arrange crystals in a specific formation to create and tap into specific energies which can help to focus on- and indeed manifest -your goals and life intentions. You might use a specific crystal grid in a room in which you want to relax, or a place in which you want to boost your creativity or concentration. You write your intention on a piece of paper which takes the centre spot of your grid and the vibrations of the crystals make it happen. The crystals in the formation are carefully selected because of the alleged powers or energies they provide.
It is never specified by people how these alleged vibrations or energies come to exist or interact with individuals and their lives. These mysterious energies seem to be a sort of fluff used by people to fill in the gaps of their arguments when they have no substantial data. Truth of the matter is that crystals do not obtain special characteristics or powers which can affect and influence outside events. The simple act of acknowledging something which you want to improve or achieve in your life can give you enough focus to make it happen. The suggestion that there is some mystical force also encouraging you along the way likely affects your response expectancy meaning that once you expect something to happen, your expectation alone can cause you to behave and act in a way that makes it happen, (Campbell, 2015).
I think it’s a shame that people become goal orientated and focused only to give all the credit to some pretty stones that they’ve arranged in a pattern. Many people reading this blog post who use crystals for grids or for healing might want to jump to the comment section to tell me that they feel their crystals working, but don’t be so hasty. People report warmth, vibration and feelings of positivity radiating from the crystals – even going as far as to use different methods of “charging” the stones by burning incense or smudge sticks around them, or by touching the crystals with another specific crystal. However, these feelings and the after-effects of the rituals they’re used for are created by the power of suggestion – when you’re told what to expect, you’re likely to see the expected results manifest as a result of this. In fact, if you enter a store which sells crystals you’ll often be told what to expect to feel when you hold specific stones, and because of this, as a customer, you are primed as to what to expect. If you’re looking for something to help you achieve your goals or solve your problems, you’re likely be more willing to feel these sensations, too.
In their 1999 study into the effects of crystals, French and Williams (1999) questioned if the sensations reported by those who believed crystals have mystical qualities really were unique to real crystals, or if the same sensations would be detected in fake crystals if those handling them didn’t know the crystals were fake. Half of the participants in their study into this question were primed and told what to expect when handling specific fake or genuine crystals and then spent 5 minutes handling each one while meditating. The study found that participants reporting stronger sensations were those who had been told what to expect when handling the crystals. They found absolutely no difference between the strength of sensations reported for the real crystals than for the fake crystals, which suggests that participants who claimed they felt sensations had been primed and felt those sensations because of the power of suggestion rather than these vague mystical energies.
Campbell, P. (2015) ‘4 Ways the Power of Suggestion Can Change Your Life’ [Online] Available at https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/imperfect-spirituality/201504/4-ways-the-power-suggestion-can-change-your-life (accessed 15.07.2018)
Edwards, S. (2017) ‘Why More Millennials Are Turning to Witchcraft for Activism & Self-Care’, Flare.com [Online] Available at http://www.flare.com/news/millennial-witchcraft/ (accessed date 24.06.18)
French, C., H. O’Donnell & L, Williams. (1999) ‘Hypnotic susceptibility, paranormal belief and reports of ‘crystal power’, British Psychological Society Centenary Annual Conference, Glasgow, 2001.