I’m sick, and I’m well (the Lessons and Gifts of Illness).

Let me confess, I got a cold. Worse than that…a strep/flu…all wrapped up into one. It’s still making its way through my system. But it’s not as bad as all that. I mean – so what(?!) – I’ve had Cancer before (twice). How bad can this be…

Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of "sickness in health" - where the interior has been compromised - but the shell and structure remain quite solid.

Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of “sickness in health” – where the interior has been compromised – but the shell and structure remain quite solid.

And yet, people belly ache about their seasonal illnesses all year long. The common cold – in spite of what people claim about vaccines being effective [I’m not convinced] – this complex of viruses (if that’s fair to call them) impacts just about everyone in the northern hemispher. And I think it’s emblematic of all diseases, though fortunately, it’s not a commonly fatal (or chronic) malady. 

I thought I’d transcended all that. With the parting of ways I’ve had with Sugar, and anything (chips or nuts) that come in a bag [the rancid oils are harmful]…it’s been literally years since I’ve really been hit by anything like this. What usually happens, is that the symptoms try to get a grip on me, but their effects are weak, and the real deal never fully takes hold. Just a few month ago, everyone in my family got some bad bugs, but I wasn’t touched at all (even though everyone was coughing all over me). Funny how immune we can be sometimes.

I’ve become smug in my healthiness. I might be in the best shape I’ve ever been in, not just physically, per se – in terms of musculature – but thoroughly, from the inside out. I listen much better than I used to, to my Body and Spirit. I mind what I’m eating, set aside time to exercise, and stay on top of my self care quite steadily. Basicly, I’m in a lifelong training to be “a Soul Wisperer.”

So it’s humbling to be “brought down” like this. It’s always a learning experience, though. Illness has much to teach us. The first questions for me become: “what have I done wrong? How could I have avoided this?” 

Chrysocolla - combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Chrysocolla – combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Self-blame is cruel, and worsens the cycle of the illness. Self reproach definitely makes it worse. At some point, some serious self-forgiveness is necessary to interrupt the cycle. You have to break that downward spiral…the chicken and egg of negatively overthinking your situation. 

When a stone breaks - it loses its original value - but energy is released, and we find ourselves adapting to the change as having been meant to be.

When a stone breaks – it loses its original value – but energy is released, and we find ourselves adapting to the change as having been meant to be.

But let me sit with the badness, for a moment. When you get sick, your body – the rock on which you stand daily – falters. Of course it’s worse with a more serious (or chronic) illness…you lose faith and trust in you. That basic tableau – within which everything happens to and through: you – it’s no longer what you’ve come to expect, it’s not reliable, dependable. The rules of engagement have somehow changed, and it doesn’t seem very fair.

No, indeed – the Russian Roulette of illness and Death are not fair – our goal is to hedge our bets with prevention and treatment.

Taking this statement further – many of believe we live in a universe governed by a benevolent G*d, but whether jealous our merciful – G8D cannot give us our way 100% of the time. We are each the center of our own reality, but in fact, we are all peripheral to the greater REALITY (and thus, not particularly entitled to any special treatment). This is a bitter pill to swallow, but the sooner we make peace with it, the sooner we can have a more balanced and ultimately respectful view of The Creator.

So back to our compromised self. Being sick is a very damning state to be in – because as a body – if you can’t count on your own being, what can you count on? Your weakened state throws everything into question. You become alienated from a generally beautiful, provident world, and a mostly functional (and otherwise healthy) body. 

The co-mingling of opposites: is the dark in the light, or the light in the dark?

The co-mingling of opposites: is the dark in the light, or the light in the dark? Yin and Yang swirl around one another.

Don’t think for a minute that I look at the world with rose tinted glasses. I’ve seen some of the worst, and I do believe we live in Heaven and Hell simultaneously. But like the glass half full or half empty, I believe you can view the same situation in a more positive or pejorative light. 

For some – and I spent a decade like this (at least) – everything can seem worse, like you’re living in purgatory (at best). And being sick definitely throws you back, deeper into that dungeon. I do believe – especially when I listen to the news (about atrocities committed here and abroad) – that for many, life on this planet, is hell on earth.

Back to me, and my immediate answers about what might have contributed to my current situation. One theory, is that I left the fan blaring on me while I slept sweatily last week, and it destabilized my aura (wreaking havoc on my overall metabolism). More than half the people I spoke to agreed that this could well have been the culprit.

The symptoms also began the night after I had Chinese food from a restaurant I like, but don’t totally trust the cleanliness of. I do believe that germs from an unusual source can tip the scales. A variety of causes can conspire to make you sick.

A third theory is connected to the fact that I tend to overeat. Too much (of even healthy food) can backlog – with nutrients going bad, getting “caught in the filter” – which then require cleansing (or evacuation), through the illness

Amber & Jet are light density power stones - and because their weight is less than their size would suggest - they tend to wick away blockage and tightness.

Amber & Jet are light density power stones – and because their weight is less than their size would suggest – they tend to wick away blockage and tightness.

Worst case scenario – if the raw material (of what you’re eating) is not that healthy – “the backlog” can result in the inexorable growth of pathological tissue – chronically (or fatally) complicating cellular function, a prime example being inflammation, and of course: Cancer.

Whatever the “real” cause of your situation – and, as stated, there can be several – and while disease can often be a fluke of chance (certainly it’s always an unwanted guest with destructive intent) – disease is also, and very often (to its credit) – a healthy response to an unhealthy situation.

Let me pause, and draw attention to “the fluke factor” – bad luck (remember?) – s**t happens. In as complicated a world as we live in, lightning bolts (and tornadoes) do strike. Yes, there can be “favorable” conditions and standing out in a field may be riskier than being in your car. But when that wind starts to blow, can’t nothing stop it.

Every natural disaster reminds us how little control we ultimately have. And disease, ultimately, is a natural disaster. So you have to “give unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s” – let go and hold on simultaneously – try that on a hang glider!

All and still, just as there are (seemingly incontrovertible) Laws of Physics, a great deal of what happens around, and to us…is logical.

What else is your body supposed to do, when you treat it so? We’re too busy to cook or make proper food. We’re too busy to take any time to stretch, or work out (as much as our body may want, or need to). It’s no wonder your physical person develops a grudge and wants to “get you back” for your neglect. All it’s looking for is some R-E-S-P-E-C-T (like the song).

Nirvana Quartz - like Elestials - represents the higher, deeper, more ancient self.

Nirvana Quartz – like Elestials – represents the higher, deeper, more ancient self.

Every time you don’t listen to your Soul, you’re stacking the deck against you.

And we’re all willing to take the hit – whatever treatment or sick time (later) we need – that’s somehow “worth it” to get those things we need from our paycheck. Well guess what, your paycheck won’t always be there, but your body always will be – and once it’s gone – none of that other stuff will matter anyway. People need to start paying attention, doing everything they can before they get sick (not just after, when it’s often too late).

Work, our job, our “have to’s” excuse every mistreatment of our own primary (and personal) system. And yet, if we pause, and take care of ourselves – others, and we ourselves – tend to think we’re being selfish, self-indulgent…the worst…we can’t justify the down time! 

And also – by behaving like this (taking time out to take care of ourselves) – we’re likely/surely bound to become indigent…because there’s no money in self care. There’s only money in “other-care” – taking care of everyone else – that’s what pays (and has any moral currency). That “other” you’re servicing can be your boss or a client – heck, even (or especially?) “the man” – as you pay your taxes and comply with the prevailing laws of the land.

Would you still be doing what you do if there was no money coming in from it? If the answer is no, you have some serious answering to do to your inner self. We pay the price for our compromises.

And then there’s “the children” – the primary conservative force in our world (if you think about it) – why would we take risks or not tow the line…when we have to look out for, and provide for them…children first (remember?!). 

People even avoid Divorce on account of children. Not to say that they’re not (in addition to saving a primary relationship) worth it, but to demonstrate the fact that self denial (for many reasons) is woven into our own very individualistic and narcissistic (in other ways) culture

Nephrite Jade - particularly water worn by nature - is the ultimate emotional soother.

Nephrite Jade – particularly water worn by nature – is the ultimate emotional soother.

It’s like: we’re being goaded to take care of ourselves – in ways that make other people money (like through cosmetics, sports clubs, the clothing industry) – but not necessarily in ways that may cost nothing, but still achieve the desired effect of personal, lasting gratification, or satisfaction. 

They say the personal is political – it’s true – the world feels more holistic (to me) if you can see how you connect beyond your self, right out into the Universe (another benefit & practice of my Crystal Concentrics Meditation). 

Maybe there’s nothing you can do about it – your problem, or the world’s problems (or so you think) – but be honest about what you could really be doing (but maybe aren’t), the ways in which your hands feel tied, how you’re stuck, and how that may be impacting your health and well being (never mind that of the planet).

Why can’t it be simpler – you just “got a bug, got a disease” – it’s not your fault at all, and there’s nothing you can do but fight it. This is the medical, strictly physical perspective. And it has its place. Car’s shocks are gone…fix ‘em…don’t ask about the bumps you keep driving over (which caused the damage in the first place), or “why me,” or “what’s the bigger lesson here.” 

Foggy, or Girasol Quartz is a unique variety - it represents the unknown - and the unknowable...an important factor to consider...and be in the presence of.

Foggy, or Girasol Quartz is a unique variety – it represents the unknown – and the unknowable…an important factor to consider…and be in the presence of.

Suit yourself – however shallow or deep you want to look – if everything happens for a reason (“the Fluke Factor” aside, though even that is an omnipresent reality to contend with) – I think it behooves us dig a little: explore the metaphysical context of your situation. I’m saying (on top of all the types of factors already explored): it could be evil spirits at work; it could be your own past lives catching up with you; the possibilities are limitless.

There’s also “the Fog Factor,” which is that it may not be for us to ever figure out what’s happening, exactly, and why.  

In any case – I’ve gone off on a few (relevant) tangents – I want to bring the conversation back to my own process…regarding the illness that’s come front and center…into my life. I’m banking on it’s being metaphorical for you and your own experience of illness, which could be more than informative…I’m hoping educational…in helping you think about (and hopefully improve) your own situation.

The purpose of this Blog is to be relevant, to apply, and to be of more general utility beyond my solo journey and meanderings.

What I realized – especially early on – is that the illness is not the only game in town. When it first was settling in, I saw it coexist, and in context, relative to the rest of me (which was not in duress). 

Herkimer Diamonds are the picture of health - impenetrable - allowing light, but nothing else, to pass through.

Herkimer Diamonds are the picture of health – impenetrable – allowing light, but nothing else, to pass through.

Holding a larger sense of healthiness and positive continuity, makes being sick more tolerable…gives one hope…and gives you a sense that even if not in the moment, you will overcome. Yes – your throat may be burning, or you may have a tumor – but there are another x-billion cells doing just fine…let their voice be heard. 

I’m remembering my Crystal Meditations, in which we take time to center into the body – that really helped me to acknowledge and get in touch with those other, healthy cells – and call them into play, see and acknowledge them for the good job they’re doing maintaining my overall health. 

My spiritual practice of being with Spirit-apart-from-Body also helped, because I could know that the Spirit was unscathed by what I was going through – damaged, hurt, concerned, for sure – but somehow (also) immune to it all. 

I had to have Faith that “this, too, shall pass.” Even now, a week in [which is how long it’s been taking me to finish this blog], while the unproductive cough has sunken deep into my lungs – my capacity to write an account of my experience is an act that will survive the pathology – and I like the way that demonstrates our eternal capacity to recover and/or transcend. Again, the Power of the Word.

Look at how much more Anne Frank has impacted people in death than she was able to in life. Not everyone can look forward to such a posthumous “reward,” but by being in the moment, doing the best she could with what she had (and grappling with the demons that presented themselves at the time)…she created something more valuable than she could know in the moment.

Basalt - one of the more ancient of stones - here shattered and was polished by the wind & sand over eons, to make a ventifact that is powerful in clearing and protecting.

Basalt – one of the more ancient of stones – here shattered and was polished by the wind & sand over eons, to make a ventifact that is powerful in clearing and protecting.

I’ve never been one to painstakingly plan and strategize – I, too, put one foot in front of the other – try to make for the steadiest footing that makes sense (and feels right, in the moment). My vibration is very steady – though I see what a flash in the pan I am, on the grander scale – which is why I like the Stones…they go on forever

Indeed, while we are so very fragile – and can sometimes be challenged to find any part of us that is steady and sound – Power Stones are there, if we allow them to be…an extension of ourselves (and Creation)…that is solid and eternal

Some people use Religion for solace – and I do too – it surely has its place. And I’ve argued elsewhere that the two are not incompatible. But what I like about the mineral world, is that it both precedes our human experience, and it will outlast us…making it somehow more elemental than anything we could dream up (through our various cultures). By associating with the mineral world, we borrow some eternity, draw from its strength, and share in its capture of Life & Creation energy. 

So have I used crystals to get well? I mean, isn’t that the point, to use them for our service? Yes, and no. Crystals are not tools, like guns and scalpels, created exclusively to do our bidding. That is a beef I have with “the literature,” which seems to suggest as much. It’s the whole Biblical thing about us having been given dominion over all things earthly. Yes, that may seem so – and is a power that we have – but it’s also a responsibility, which people don’t tend to grasp, or hold onto as well. 

Large, beautifully terminated Topaz - the intrabody neural communicator - facilitating your body talk and internal functioning.

Large, beautifully terminated Topaz – the intrabody neural communicator – facilitating your body talk and internal functioning.

Everybody wants the easy part, the quick fix, which is why I don’t give “crystal prescriptions” – “you have this problem, take/use that.” It’s more complicated than that. And also, I’ve had a major breakthrough, in terms of understanding how Crystal energy work is not, nor should it be compared with Medical work.

Indeed, this is also why I don’t believe in gem elixirs – because I don’t think they should be ingested – that is the role of other substances (herbs, medicines, food). An important distinction must be made between physical treatment and metaphysical treatment. They are not, nor should they be, compared or used in the same way (or for the same purposes). 

Crystal Energy is meant to be seen with the Eye – interpreted and working through the Mind, or Imagination – and looped through the Body via Touch (the cycle).

Science is the wonderful art of identifying and working with the recurrent, visible laws of Nature. But not all such laws (of the Natural World) are consistent, measurable, or tangible. The metaphysical world may never be quantifiable in the same way, which is why I have no agenda for bringing Crystal energy into the mainstream, through scientific justification…can’t be done…and shouldn’t be. 

In the metaphysical world, the law is often that there is no law – that we can see and perceive tendencies and subtleties – but that Reality is relative, subjective, untamed. We can coax it, shepherd it, but it goes its own way, in its own time. The myth of control has been debunked.

Wet Sugilite - 'the other purple stone' - symbolizes the materialization (or concretization) of Spiritual vision.

wet Sugilite – ‘the other purple stone’ – symbolizes the materialization (or concretization) of Spiritual vision

I take my remedies (and there are many): steams, elderberry, lomatium root, food grade vitamin C, echinacea, cranberry juice…the list goes on…and they all did their thing (heck, even aspirin helped!). But in the absence of a trusted Crystal Healer, I had to rely on all the previous work I’ve done with Spirit, to tide me over, and give me strength in my weakness

I feel too many (most?) people reject, or pass over the potential of working with a true energy healer – because they want the tried and true – and don’t want to take chances (or make changes). I notice they mostly don’t want to look at “their stuff,” or do the hard work of going through the valley to get to the other side.

My work ultimately has to be demonstrating why and how it’s worth it (to work with Crystals). Alas, I have not trained someone else to take my reins, or do what I do (yet). But I’ll keep on keeping on. Bit by bit, these blogs (and my eventual books and other publishing projects) – as well as the events I host (live and online) – as well as my showcasing at Expos, will together put my footprint on this important area of human endeavor. 

giant DT elestial closeup - these stones are Keepers of the Wisdom - you can always rely on them to know what is to be known

giant DT elestial closeup – these stones are Keepers of the Wisdom – you can always rely on them to know what is to be known

Were it a bigger, life threatening illness (this pesky cold/flu), I would have wanted to have some energy work, for sure. Being very independent, and untrusting of authority per se, there are very few folks I’d trust or want to work with (or “on” me). I’m leery of generalizers and “false prophets.” So my memory and source work with Crystals has had to carry me through, until such time as I can work the gears and have the Soul energy flow again, unfettered (and uncomplicated). 

It’s helpful to know – it flows here, right beside me, through me – even when I don’t see it, or feel it (cause I’m so busy feeling crummy). I’m reminded again of the response a spiritual leader gave my son, when he (my boy) confessed that he’s not sure he believes in G8D: “that’s okay” he was reassured: “G8D doesn’t mind” (the assumption being that G8D is always there, whether you see him/her, or not). 

Our role is not to question or even to seek the Universal Life Force (per se), but rather – to simply let it be (it’s all around, and within us)…to let it flow through us. Stop trying so hard. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t “have it” already. 

Independently from applying meaning or causality to your illness – to have it “make sense” – we often hear folks saying their illness (regardless of the cause or outcome) has taught them something, and for that they are grateful.

Malachite - "the emotive" - demonstrates the wending ways of Feeling - and helps allow you to access and express your inner knowing.

Malachite – “the emotive” – demonstrates the wending ways of Feeling – and helps allow you to access and express your inner knowing.

Had I not gotten those 2 bouts with Cancer, I would have never changed my diet or thought patterns, which I think would have done me in the third time around. Hitting a dead end forces you to make a turn, take a new path. Being sick now – and stuck somewhere without Internet – has enabled me to capture these words in a way that feels more relevant because I’m actually going through some real discomfort (and an extraction from my element) in the moment. My hope is that you’ll be able to make some sense from this collection of thoughts.

Our journey is laden with lessons and gifts. We just have to see them for what they are, or can become. Gloom and doom will never spawn life, for you or others. That is why I have to assert: “I am sick. And I am well.”

To review – I have explored some of the things that happened, which “put me at risk” – as well as the lessons to be learned, including a discouragement of self-blaming. It’s good to correct your course, and know where you’ve gone wrong, but beating yourself up about things will not fix them.

I’ve discussed the Fluke Factor (of chance) and the Fog Factor (of uncertainty), as well as the need to connect the microcosm with the macrocosm. Avoidance does not really serve you, nor do excuses, however good they may be at distracting you from your path. Try to see the good within and around you, and draw strength from both.

The world does not revolve around you, but you should certainly hold your place in the merry-go-round. Reach out and seek healing, from allopathic and alternative sources, they’re all here to serve you. Know that there are limits to control, and that ultimately, our fate is in the hands of forces much larger than we can imagine. 

Enjoy Life while you’ve got it!

**********************

About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals for over 25 years – inducted into working with them through a supernatural experience – but building on the knowledge and evolving it through sharing…via in-person and virtual offerings, including an extensive social media presence…and a growing, written record of his thoughts and observations. Feel free to reach out to him, and learn more about his Awareness, and how it can help you. Email Kyle@CrystalConcentrics.com.

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How to Work with Crystals?

soothing Nephrite Jade sphere

soothing Nephrite Jade sphere

INTRODUCTION

Such an important question – “How to Work with Crystals?” – with a hundred (and certainly more) answers out there…and only a limited amount of time (and space) to respond to the question…I have to choose my words carefully, which is why I’ve turned this into a blog, as a followup to (and companion to) the live webinar recently recorded (of the same name).

Given the infinite options for Reply, be aware that this answer is of my own, subjective opinion. You have to trust the source of where you get your information – even if it’s your inner self – I know I do. And hopefully, the more material I put out there (that people check out), the more my perspective will become a steady feature in the “Crystal scene.”

I have numerous webinars and classes – they exist for you to get slightly different (but overlapping) views on what I perceive to be the truth. Hopefully, this (and they) will resonate with you. As I get myself increasingly out there, I have been pleasantly surprised by the responsiveness of folks in cyberspace. I got over 400 Joins to my Facebook event page (for the webinar), and you’ll see the number of Likes my Facebook page has gotten (below).

But Facebook isn’t everything – I know that – and there’s not just one view of a great big Cathedral. You have to get a panoramic view of the inside and the outside – and even then – you couldn’t capture the essence of what goes on for the people who go there.

The same is true for the metaphysical world – it’s especially true, actually – where subjectivity reigns over the objective, and individuality is rather appreciated. So read on, with an open mind. Take what you like, leave what you don’t…there’s enough to go around.

THE CIRCUIT

large, beautifully terminated Topaz – the intrabody neural communicator

To answer the question “how do you work with crystals” is most basically:  you create a circuit between what you’re holding in your hand; let it come right through your heart; and up to your mind’s eye. It’s a feedback loop…cycles right back down from you’re seeing…and touches your Soul.”

The goal is to capture and tap into that vibrancy, participating in the presence and movement of essential Life energies.

Each stone you pick up will give you a slightly different experience, or window into that universal flow.

And then it becomes like a dance, as you move from limb to limb, like a nimble monkey on a tree…you know what to reach for…you’ll learn what does the trick.

Working with Crystals is a bit like absorbing a new language. You can school yourself in it and you can be taught – by those with greater experience – who you relate to. But you are ultimately you’re own, best teacher. Just like with food and dietary awareness, you have to listen to your sensation, what resonates (and what does not).

FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT INTO IT

For people who don’t get it at all, this all can be a hard pill to swallow. They just don’t get it – and more than even indifference – they harbor a negative view (for whatever reason) of working with Crystals. An important part of my mission could be turning disbelievers into believers. It would be hard to walk them through the path I’ve taken, because some of what I’ve seen was for my eyes only. Some folks turn to science (or pseudo-science), to prove their point – but that’s not my focus. 

I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. Plus, I have way more fun with those who’ve already got an interest. Wouldn’t you prefer to teach Spanish to someone who’s actually came to your Spanish class – rather than to have to randomly accost folks the students from out of History – to “convert” them into caring about your coursework.

As you become more fluent, it’s hard to go back, or want to try to teach people who are resistant – who’ve got no interest in learning the language. It’s possible as well, that they lack interest in pursuing any other self-development strategy.

Funny how it happens, that closed is closed. And once the flood gates are open, people who are open to Crystals also find themselves open to Herbalism, Aromatherapy, and vice versa.

Then is it true that “doubting Thomases” cannot gain any value from crystals? That’s a sad thought. But I don’t know that it’s even true. I believe that merely having them (Crystals) around – or having others work on you long distance (in spite of any resistance you might have) – could still result in some positive outcomes.

Chrysocolla - combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Chrysocolla – combines emotional expressiveness with self forgiveness

THE HEALER IS HEALING – EVEN IF THE PATIENT IS UNWILLING

Even if a healer’s efforts bounce back on them (because the patient is not willing) – some good is still coming from the transaction – and serves as cautionary lesson to those working with “the dark arts” (be careful what you project…let it only be positive). Hence the mirror in certain mythologies: to reflect negativity back on itself. Likewise, if you can stay “in the light,” you will always be blessed, even in your worst & dying moments (if that’s even possible to imagine!).

My son was speaking once, to a religious leader – he said “I don’t know if I believe in G8D” – the mentor replied: “that’s okay, G8D doesn’t mind.” The sun still shines, whether people open their eyes to it, or whether it’s covered with clouds. Once you’ve seen it, it’s hard to pretend it’s not there (or to not want to work with it).

ULTIMATELY, IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT YOU PRACTICE, NOT WHAT YOU PREACH

There are dozens (certainly more) books out there about Crystals, with plenty of knowledge and instruction to offer. I have a lot beliefs in common with many of their authors, and a lot of beliefs that differ from them. Instead of outlining either – making claims or accusations – I think the next, best way I can answer the question: “How to Work with Crystals” here, would be to explain how I work with Crystals…what it is that I do…so you can see the breadth of possibility from the perspective of somebody who’s been  thinking about, and working with Crystals on the daily (for a looong time).

SO WHAT DO YOU DO, ANYWAY?

A prospective client called me: “I’ve been looking over your sites, and I’m a little confused – can you tell me – what is it that you do with the Crystals? Of course, I was happy to answer her, and we spent some time on the phone, with me explaining what I could, in the moment. But then I was like – “wow, all that effort I’ve put into my online presence and offerings, and it’s still not clear – I’ve got to do better, try harder, and come up with some new ways of explaining this art (which is so very important to me).”

MY HEALING MODALITY (the trade)

Basically, I have two approaches to working with Crystals. One, is through my healing modality: teaching, sharing, and applying my knowledge. That is what I call Crystal Concentrics.

You can find out more at CrystalConcentrics.com (my main site) and over at one of my Facebook pages: http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentric (that’s singular, there’s no ’s’ at the end). I’ve accrued more than 10,000 “Likes” there. I feature my personal pieces, not-necessarily-sales-oriented posts, and house all my Facebook Event pages over there.

Crystal Energy Zones poster

Crystal Energy Zones poster

I also have created a large laminate poster of the Human “Crystal Energy Zones” – which identifies the 29 key stones with immediate relevance to our Chakra system.

In follow up to this, I am working on a deck of Crystal Cards, which will cover even more varieties, and be an excellent teaching tool. Ultimately, I have a few books on the back burner, which will tie together a lot of the concepts outlined in my Blogs (including this one!).

MY SALES ‘ARM’ (the tool)

I acquire and sell Crystals through my Power Stone Crystals persona, which you can check out in one of 3 places. Online, there’s my main sales site: www.PowerStoneCrystals.com. And there’s the semi-matching sister page (thought not all the same items will appear on both): http://www.Facebook.com/PowerStoneCrystals.

I have 31,000+ Fans on the latter. The relatively higher following (compared with the Crystal Concentrics page, on Facebook), has to do with how I promoted each, way back when, and people’s penchant for appreciating or buying crystals over really understanding how to work with them.

'the author' Kyle Russell, at the Healing Hands event

‘the author’ Kyle Russell, at the Healing Hands event

Ultimately – the best way to see everything I’ve got available – is in person…either at my Boston area showroom…or at one of the metaphysical Expos I have scheduled throughout the year, in New York, and also in New England. I do plan on making it to other regions – and have some pending opportunities – I’d certainly appreciate your invitation!

THE TOOL VS. THE TRADE

Why is it that folks spend many, many times more on buying Crystals than they do on learning about them, or receiving the services of practitioners? That would be due to the fact that it’s much easier to acquire the tools than to master (or even engage) the trade.

When you see something beautiful – and it has a price tag on it – you tend to go for it. That client’s question – earlier mentioned – demonstrates that we as practitioners, have a ways to go in terms of making our art as easily understood and “consumable” as the Crystals themselves have been.

Imagine, if you will – someone buying all kinds of expensive plumbing equipment – but never learning how to use it. Fortunately – or maybe because they’re that much more beautiful than plumbing equipment – people are way more inclined to buy Crystals than they are to truly study them, or be taught by any experts in the field.

Granted, Crystal experts are not to be found on every corner. Books, fortunately, are (to be found more readily) – but unfortunately (to my mind) – many of them are spreading much misinformation. Luckily, because we’re all so unique, each effort to shed light on the “magic” of Crystals – succeeds in quite different ways – and there’s something out there for every level of interest and capacity to absorb information.

IMG_1774

closeup of a (rare) bi-color Amethyst cluster – the yin and the yang

And – failing to look into them more deeply – there’s always the beauty…the awe…of a wonderfully majestic creation, dating back millions of years, which will outlast us, and taps into our archetypal perceptions of color and form.

THE SCALE OF TEACHING

For me – working with, and sharing my knowledge about Crystals – flows from the more visual and collective, to the most in depth and personal:

1) The Slide Show, Talk, or Presentation is more like a lecture, but a fascinating one (to be sure). Two examples of my offerings are “A Pinterest Tour” of my 60-odd boards, by which I’ve classified thousands of museum quality images; and “Where the Earth Meets Sky: from the rocky landscape of the Galapagos to the mountain spiritual center of Machu Picchu.” These can be delivered live, or virtually, and make for ideal webinars (hint, hint: keep an eye out for them).

2) The Crystal Meditation is a gathering of individuals, ready to step out of the ordinary, and join a guided journey, as well to join in to group sharing. It is split into 3 segments. The first is a rooting into ones own biological, emotional presence (without stones). The followup introduction of Crystals to the hands will show how different this practice is from “normal” contemplation. Crystals act as a sort of touchstone, or lightning rod…aligning the astral, the physical/ephemeral, and the earth-foundation/constant together. Lastly evoked are layouts, connecting the group with the larger continuity and cosmology of time and space. Between each of the 3 Meditations, we go around and speak our truth in the moment.

Natick Jan 23

group photo, after a Crystal Meditation

3) The Class, or Workshop involves Meditation, as above, but includes an instructional piece – be it an exploration of “the Heart Chakra (and the 6 stones that pertain to it),” – or “the Wonders of Quartz (a whole Chakra layout, comprised exclusively of Quartz varieties).” 

I offer this content (and many more topics), both live and online. My growing library of webinars makes it so that wherever you are, we can explore, and work together in building our knowledge of Crystals.

4) The Crystal Reading, is a gateway into your own personal situation. It’s not a Psychic Reading, whereby your hidden present, past, or future are spontaneously (or laboriously) revealed by a clairvoyant. Instead, it’s a straightforward inquiry, by which you answer questions regarding where your Spirit finds itself right now, and we discuss what hopes it (your Soul) and you have, regarding your next steps – or what directions (or needs) you might be looking to explore – to “get to the next level” in your personal development. This can be a one time thing – conducted live or long distance – or part of a larger “treatment plan” of ongoing sessions.

Nirvana Quartz - cohort of the higher self

Nirvana Quartz – cohort of the Higher Self

5) The One-on-One, Individual Sessions are a series (generally starting with 4 meetings), that focus exclusively on you. There’s no group, it’s not a sample or glimpse, it’s an in depth exploration – using Crystals and sacred space (where we set up safety and security) – to be in (and allow) the presence of your Spirit to come out (not physically, but metaphorically), to be seen and contemplated. Whether your mission is to embody: to be more present, grounded, and connected positively in your life; or whether transcendence, journeying, and other dimensional travel is your yen…that will be our mission.

I’ve used this work to exorcise and put unwelcome entities to rest – identify and remove major blockages – and simply for rebalancing and invigorating folks who want to feel better in themselves.

6) Self-Care and Development. Here’s where we come full circle, back to my self, and your self, solo. How can we use Crystals on our own? Let me count the ways – because there is so much is to be learned and implemented – from all the approaches above.

having that special Crystal around, on your desk or in your pocket…to invoke the positive messages and feelings you associate with it (during your daily life);

3 matching Blue Fluorites

3 matching Blue Fluorites

taking time to really sit with a special Crystal (or group of them), taken in hand, laid out in what I call a “constellation,” or carefully arranged on an altar…here’s where your meditation can bring you down (in a good way) – settle you – or help you ascend…to that place you know you need to get to. I do this also at night, before bed: taking hold of a Crystal that captures a lesson of the day, or a hope for the night, and/or tomorrow;

Which brings up…

– Projection and Prayer (this can also be done in groups). It is seeking to materialize health or better luck & circumstance for oneself, or others. This can be an advanced practice…but can also be done by children. Anyone can learn, try, or experiment…engaging in this vitally needed activity.

– Charity (and Repair of the World): doing any or all of the above, for others (and Nature) who are in so much in need…is a must. The sick and the dying, the passed on, and the suffering. We live in a world that is comprised of both Heaven and Hell, mixed in varying proportions (depending on where you find yourself, and whose life you happen to be living). Aging, entropy, unfairness, and Evil are all factors – as well as Beauty and Grace, Benevolence and Compassion – which we are tasked to identify and work with and balance, as constructively as we are able.

unique Selenite cluster - representing our reach for the Eternal

unique Selenite cluster – representing our reach for the Eternal

IT’S ALL ABOUT G8D

Whether you’re devoutly practicing a religion or not; believe in a higher power – The Force or whatever – working with Crystals can certainly tap you into The Divine.

Polytheists, Pagans, Animists – we’re all aware of greater powers in our midst – and that we ourselves are formidable forces (for good or ill). Even negligence is a force to contend with. It’s all about tapping into the Energy that’s all around (and within!).

Working with it, running with it, taming and shaping it – or resisting and avoiding it – these are factors we need to grapple with.

I believe that for all the complexity and wonder of the physical world – there is an equal and “opposite” (or simultaneous) “dream time,” or metaphysical world – and that is the one that Crystals both tap into, and straddle, bringing into being what was not previously manifest (and projecting the manifest back over, beyond “the veil”).

Ultimately, these are rocks – objects – quite plain and permanent. It’s really a trip. “How to Work with Crystals” is really an exercise in playing with the constant and the mutable, the “objective” and the relative.

IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION

Now have I thoroughly confused matters? Has my argument become too long in the tooth? Astrophysicists have found that the more we know – the more we want to (and don’t) know. Learning will never die, there is always more to explore.

Why should this be any different. Every field has its limits, or its next frontier. And every modality has its merit, too. I would never propose to devalue complementary (or even opposing) practices. Every approach to healing is worthy of exploration.

I personally connect uniquely (and primarily) with the Crystals, which have led me on this ongoing journey of discovery and sharing.

Celestite egg

Celestite egg

I hope you now feel more informed on “How to Work with Crystals” – my having outlined both how we can engage them (through “the circuit”) – and how I have created a spread of curriculum…teaching through the written word and images, as well as the engagement of groups and individuals…each method taking on a different form and delivering a new dynamic to the process.

DIFFERENT VIEWS OF THE SAME EDIFICE

The webinar of this name “How to Work with Crystals” is more improvisational – it was recorded live – and I say things that don’t appear here. Likewise, points are made “on paper” that are not covered in person. So it really behooves you to experience both – as my written personality is different than my spoken self – and all my “incarnations:” the Presentation, the Meditation, the Workshop, the Webinar, Individual Sessions, Prayer & Charity, as well as Solo Time have unique contributions to make to our overall understanding and process.

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About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals for 27 years. Although he’s been collecting and working with people throughout that time period, the past few years have seen a resurgence of primary attention being devoted to this cause. The reason is that he feels he has something unique to contribute – not only in terms of content, conceptually – but physically, in terms of delivering outstanding power stones to the community. It’s a holistic endeavor, and complements his personal choices around health and wellness, as well as maintaining his own well being (he survived Cancer, twice). Please don’t hesitate to be in touch at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com, with any questions, or to followup, with feedback. 

Expo/Festival madness – the view from across the table

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of 'the table'

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of ‘the table’

What’s it like for a vendor at the shows you go to? I thought you might like to know, since the minority of us are standing on “this side of the table.”

Most of you (readers) are on the other side of the table… browsing like bees – going from flower to flower – exhibitor to exhibitor.

Yours is the choice. It’s a buyers’ market. If a vendor’s display (and selection) doesn’t suit you, you’re movin’ on!

I thought it would be enriching if you had a glimpse into what “we” go through. Hence, me writing this particular Blog. But a story is never just a story. It’s all about what we learn from it – or wish to convey (or “teach”) – through our experience.

NYC at night

rolling in to NYC at night

A few weekends ago was a textbook example (for me), of what it’s like to showcase at an Expo. Part of what made the experience particularly special – for me – was the fact that it was the first such show I’ve done in New York City.

I’d been there before, to wholesale to shops – 20 years ago – and also to perform, as a musician (more recently)…but this was different.

You can be sure it crowded my mind for weeks, leading up to the event. I bought new product – specifically to fill out my inventory for the occasion – I wanted to impress!

That entails selecting, buying, transporting, unpacking, pricing, photographing, and the uploading (to the web) dozens of specimens (cause that’s what I try to do with everything I get…put it through my inventory system). I also decided to overhaul my display M.O. as well – so I purchased velvet trays and pads – as well as a carrying case.

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, in my hotel room

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, packed into my hotel room

I laid out all my flats and boxes in advance, choosing only what would fit onto the two dollies I was bringing.

I had a 6-foot-wide by a 9-foot-deep space to fill. That’s an odd dimension, and took some advance planning.

The organizers had promised to provide a 4-foot table, which turned out to be a 6-foot table. That would have been good news for some folks, but not for me, ’cause I’d mapped out every square inch in advance.

I figured it out, though. It helped that I had gone to Costco, and purchased an actual 4-foot table, as well as a 6-footer – of which I’d already had two – but this newfangled one folds in half (which is nifty).

The goal is to streamline and to simplify, going forward – to make your life easier – because you can be sure challenges will come up, unforeseen. Like how was I gonna unload into the hotel from a busy downtown side street?

If registration as a vendor was required before I could even load in, who was going to watch all my stuff (or my car!)? And where, exactly, was I gonna fit an oversize vehicle (my full sized passenger/cargo van is about 7 feet tall) in a city than can barely accommodate “normal” driving machines?

the view from the 18th floor - where the Expo happened - looks the same as it did 70 years ago

the view from the 18th floor – where the Expo happened – looks the same as it did 70 years ago

Enter the brilliance – and generous response – which came from my asking my friend Nigel to come along. I’d reserved a 2-bedroom suite, on account of my family coming, but it turned out they couldn’t leave town. So I offered my bro from the music world the opportunity to have a weekend in the city – to do whatever he wanted – which he did(!)…so long as he could help me load in and out. He even drove us part of the way back (what a blessing)! We’d been meaning to catch up for months, so that was just fine by us, and it turns out he made some great connections of his own (at the Expo) that weekend.

I’ll only mention in passing that the hotel didn’t have my reservations (I’m finding this out at 11:15pm, after we’d just rolled in) – or that when Expedia lopped off my 4th night there, I ended up paying more (for the 3 nights that I did stay there) than I’d been on the hook for originally (for 4 nights!).

Snafus – things you can’t anticipate, and couldn’t begin to include in the price of your product – but they’re costs nonetheless…the cost of “bringing Crystals to market.” I hope buyers recognize that we vendors absorb these myriad tangible – and emotional costs – wishing (sometimes fruitlessly) to make them up on the “back end,” with some big sales. One of my fellow vendors reported more in sales to one big customer than all his others that weekend, combined!

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

As we were pushing my 10 large bins out of the freight elevators – on the 18th floor (a bellman had gruffly sent us ’round the back when we tried to load in to the main elevators) – a different group of exhibitors was loading in too. They asked us what we were selling.

“Crystals” we replied.

They were not pleased – since after having been told there were “only 2 Crystal vendors,” there turned out to be about 4 major vendors – and another handful of exhibitors with meaningful crystal displays.

It creates an atmosphere of competition for everyone (when there’s already lots of folks selling “the same thing”) – which can be healthy – and good for you buyers. But everyone selling sees their earning potential drop. It also hurts our (needed) margin when buyers get to pit us against each other for the lowest prices.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the end buyer’s benefit (hello: I’m a retailer) – but part of my mission in telling this story (can you tell?) – is to demonstrate the types of liabilities & costs we encounter at every turn (as vendors).

Fortunately, everyone was selling something a little different. And everybody had their unique strengths. But without an unlimited audience passing through, there’s only so many dollars to go around. If they don’t spend it with you, they’re spending somewhere else!

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

I got one “insult” (that’s how I heard it) – “you’re the most expensive crystal seller in the place” – from someone who’d just walked away, after making a purchase (from me!).

He and his wife had come by and hammered me on pricing earlier, but then walked away – even after I dropped the total (on just 2 pieces) lopping off 20 bucks – which turned out to be a whopping 22% discount!

Most vendors are stretching it, to give you 5-10% off. I’ve seen it, cause I’m a buyer too (and they know I’m a dealer).

I enjoy giving breaks in general, but in particular when someone’s really enthusiastic, and buying multiple pieces.

I was actually rattled by that experience, though (and that doesn’t usually happen for me). A buyer from the previous day came by (very happy, with his new necklace, which he’d gotten from me ), and I confessed (after saying something nonsensical): “I’m a mess.” I drove 4 hours Thursday night, and then we loaded all my stuff up to the room, going to sleep way after midnight.

Friday, I set up from 10am till 3:30pm, just taking things out and organizing them. That’s over 5  hours on setup! You couldn’t tell me to set up any faster. Some things take the time to “do right.” I didn’t just lay bins out, or put out jewelry boxes…I took everything out…and put all into play with that new velvet-pad display-system I mentioned earlier.

Crystal Energy Zones poster

Crystal Energy Zones poster

I was also excited to put out my new Crystal Energy Zones poster – which I’d created specifically in time for this particular Expo. It condenses the various Chakras down to 4 key areas, all all of which are pertinent to the human body. These are “populated” by the 29 varieties of power stones I find essential to working with our own energy system [email me at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com to get your copy].

The place was open to the public from then (3:30pm) till 10pm on Friday. That was another 6.5 hours on the floor – and I had just one meal throughout (and one bathroom break) – from start to finish! I’m a big eater, but you can be sure my stomach shrank to accommodate the long intervals between meals.

I wish I had photos of them all – there was the African sorghum meal – the Chinese Indian dish – and even raw coconut (which tided me over each afternoon).

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor there)

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor right there)

On Saturday, the hours were 10am till 9pm (count ’em: 11 hours); and Sunday was 11am till 7pm. With the long drive home to Boston looming ahead – after a 2 hour load out (that turned Sunday into a 16 hour day) – I had earned the right to reach the end of my tether.

Fortunately, this guy’s friend – whose sweater I’d complimented – offered (and delivered) a 5 minute Chi Gung massage session right there, with us standing in the aisle. It was heavenly, actually, and revitalized me…mostly to receive positive energy from someone who wasn’t trying to undercut the value of my hard work and display efforts.

I take this thing quite seriously – I’m gonna share with you a blog soon about the life cycle of a crystal: how it gets into my possession, as well as what it goes through before it gets into your possession. You’d be surprised by the number of hours (and dollars) that goes into developing a selection the likes of which I’ve been showcasing at events lately.

I was vindicated that after having frequented all of those other vendors, those prickly buyers returned to me because guess what – they didn’t find what I had elsewhere – and they ultimately came to appreciate the value of my pieces (though they wouldn’t admit that).

Quasi - with his new pieces - for embedding in a pendant

Quasi – with his new pieces – for embedding in a pendant

At other shows, my average sale is $30-50, but this time it was $50-100. That’s not because people are buying a dozen $5 stones – or three dozen dollar pieces – I don’t carry those. My pieces start at about twenty bucks because too much less isn’t really worth the time I put into them. My niche is to shoot for a cut up – just over the average – including both the stones I acquire & the collectors I’m aiming to attract.

I’m catering to folks who’ve been around, who’ve seen most of what’s out there, and are searching for more – for special – for unique. And that doesn’t have to be big and pricey. Take for example, my new friend Quasi’s purchases: a small Polar Jade piece (with its own type of texture) & a family of DT’s floating together like Herkimer Diamonds (which came from Morocco). He makes pendant breast plates, and these were just right for him.

"galactic mountain range"

“galactic mountain range” prase Quartz

Alternatively, I also sold some very special, more expensive pieces. Take for example this rare, crystallized, green Prase Quartz I called “Galactic Mountain Range.” Coincidentally (and happily), I sold another, single “point” of this material online that weekend.

But that was about as expensive as I expected to go. Most people – except those in the know, who were really curious – didn’t even notice my Ethiopian Opals (which run even higher in price range).

I barely have any Crystals that can fetch over a G. And that’s on purpose. Yet I saw some items pushing over $1000 mark – even stretching into the several thousands – at other booths.

One visitor even complained (regarding another vendor) – about an item that seemed way out of proportion in price – relative to smaller pieces of that same material. To the vendor’s defense, I’d have to say that larger pieces are sometimes more rare, and cost more than their aggregate weight in smaller stones, because it’s hard to find that variety in larger dimensions. All and still, it was oddly reassuring to notice that “fault” can be found with every vendor. Nobody’s perfect.

I do have a pet peeve – though – about strange, incongruous pricing. I try to have an internal logic behind the price of every single piece I carry. If you care to know, I can explain it to you (for any and every item I carry).

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

I don’t price based on a blanket markup – as I imagine most people do – particularly wholesalers, who can’t be bothered with sorting through their lot (that’s our job, as retailers).

I price each piece based on a variety of factors. There’s size, color, texture, rarity (even within its type). Purchase price, replaceability, and personal “wow” factor all matter.

All these variables come into play…but this internalized list (the “axes of analysis,” as I call it) goes on and on! It would be hard to capture in words. There’s ultimately no substitute for the years of experience I bring to my pricing (and selection!).

The competitive vibe among sellers is actually something a lot of us have been overcoming (especially at the bigger shows). It’s so petty when venues block healers from reaching their audience, or sharing what it is they have to offer.

For all intents and purposes – if they did “open the gates” – the new arrangement would have every promise of creating a win win situation (for all of us). But no, we all want to be gatekeepers. “If you want to buy or be well, you have to come through my portal.” Sounds like Religion (but I won’t go there).

Papaya Quartz

Papaya Quartz

I find that it breaks the ice – with all but the most negatively minded people – when I buy from them, even at retail (though I certainly prefer – and merit – wholesale pricing). I’m an omnivorous buyer, I go for the good stones, wherever they may be (and whatever they cost).

I love the light hearted comradery that happens “on the floor.” There’s a sense that we’re all in this together – and that when we’re travelling from afar – we’re at the mercy of the organizers (who are ultimately “responsible” for bringing people through the door).

Indeed, there’s a little bit of an “us vs. them” feeling amongst the vendors, relative to organizers. It shows up in how we react towards the space we’re given; or even down to how the electricity is served up.

Our electricity kept getting unplugged…and had to be taped to the wall. It was a little annoying to have paid nearly $200 for access to a socket that was already there in my own booth space. And it wasn’t even that professionally set up (the wall plate wiggled). Three different sellers were being fed off of one outlet. Shimmying it tighter to the wall was the only method by which we could “stay juiced.”

Hospitality matters too – and shows up in areas such as making a special food line for us vendors – vs. relegating us to fending for ourselves (as if we were in the wild), amidst the throngs of festival goers.

Jewelry show display bins

Jewelry show display bins

Back (a bit) to my pricing philosophy and perspective. Some people think that because one person’s selling a bunch of tumblers in grab-bag-baskets for a couple of bucks each, that they’re not making a good margin of profit. Think again – they’re making as good a margin as anybody – and those nic nac accessories and non-rock, “shiny objects” that fly off the shelves…they’re there because they’re easy markup items. I was offered a few, to carry, but I declined…saying “I’m just a rock guy.”

Please don’t think that because some rocks sell for $1 to $3, that all rocks cost – or should cost – that amount. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on purchases I have no guarantee will ever sell. That’s what you do when you’re really into it.

Be driven by the product, not the cost. There are more important things to life (and Crystals) than the numbers. It annoys me to no end when people just look for the price tag, and then drop the piece, as if it has no other intrinsic worth than the dollar sign sticker which is stuck to it.

blues and greens - from Turquoise and Amazonite - to Crysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

blues and greens – from Turquoise and Amazonite – to Chrysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

Another pet peeve I have is when people come up out of nowhere – as they did specifically at this show, searching for Shungite – and ask “do you have such-and-such?” Just ’cause somebody’s written a book about it recently – extolling its virtues – doesn’t make it the best thing since sliced bread!

When it’s revealed that I don’t have it (whatever it may be…”Natural-ite” was another favorite…that made me laugh), they disappear again. Never mind that I have some of the best specimens of the key, classic varieties (and some hard to find rarities too) right there for the viewing, which they’ve completely overlooked. That just shows me they’re into the trends, and have no real depth to their interest in Crystals.

As I was packing up, after the close of the show, a woman walked up and asked casually “can you explain about Crystals, and what they do for you?” lackadaisically. I’m like (in my head): “really, you can’t seriously care about the truth of the matter, never mind what I have to say about it.”

pendulums galore

pendulums galore

Back to pricing – I have a pricing paradigm that I’ll share with you sometime too – it’s a way for you to understand better what you should expect to get for under $10 (as a retail buyer) – between $20 and $40; $50 and 90; over $100 – and over $200.

Another insider tip on my M.O. – if I don’t believe in it, or even get it – I don’t carry it (which I suggested above).

Take pendulums, for example. I don’t use them, but I know many who do. And I appreciate their aesthetic, as well as how helpful they can be (if you are into it). So I buy the best I can find – but not an overabundance of them – and I do display them.

Aqua Aura point(s)

Aqua Aura point(s)

Another variety I don’t use personally – but recognize the power of – is the treated Aura Quartzes. Precious metals are powdered, and fused to the surface of Quartz in a vacuum, at high temperatures. I’ve noticed they can become quite brittle – but they’re oh so pretty – and have a special, different, and larger than life aura.

My mainstay are real specimens  – including polished pieces – which I don’t necessarily consider “worse” than rough minerals.

I had a couple of people call me “hard” because I couldn’t go down indefinitely on the price of a standing Amethyst mini-cathedral. I’d rather hold onto something – wait for someone who appreciates it – than give it away beneath cost (or at a price that really doesn’t respect the piece).

Having been in the business 25 years, I know what will and won’t come around again.

Enough of my bellyaching! I don’t want to lose your ear – you’ve indulged me this far – but to get what we go through, you really have to understand this psychological tug of war that’s going on between us and folks who really don’t get it.

I had this same experience in the music business, where folks think you’re just “playing.” They don’t see your doing years of rehearsal, schlepping, late nights, driving tired behind the wheel, banging on doors for gigs. It ain’t easy work, but (somehow) we keep at it – we actually love it no matter what!

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

To tell you the truth – it’s self sourcing – energetically. I could be around Crystals (and all of what that entails) every single day, all day. Some of my best stretches have been spent exactly that way!

But you know the other reason we do it (and put up with all the BS)? It’s the folks who do get it, who recognize what you’re doing (and what it takes to deliver what you’re delivering). They make it worthwhile.

When I thought all was lost (that Saturday), and that I had no hope of recouping my expenses (never mind my product cost, or the worth of my time), I had a handful of good people come through. I’d just met them – for the first time(!) – and that carried me through.

Take also, for example, these encouraging words from a colleague afterwards: “You had a terrific display (and at least three attendees remarked to me that your crystals were of much higher quality than anything else at the show)! I think you really brought something special to the floor.” Feels good!

Or, from an elder, old time friend and fellow Crystal energy worker, based in NYC: “So good to see you again, I’m so proud of you. You have a great collection. And I like that you honor Earth Mother’s gifts.”

What else can I say?

Crystal Pricing – it’s in all the eye of the beholder

Boston Mineral ClubPART ONE – the principal of it

I joined the Boston Mineral Club recently, and overheard one of the elder gemologists say “unlike in most industries, there’s no standardized system for pricing minerals.” A lightbulb went off for me. Of course, I thought – that’s so true!

Diamonds may have a ‘universal’ price code – but even there – you can find a lot of variation in cost-for-product…and if you’re not an expert yourself, who can you trust?

Folks you know – folks you’ve seen demonstrate their knowledge, experience, and selection – you can (and should) trust them. And trust yourself, over all. If you think it’s worth it (to you) – and you have the money – they go ahead and buy it…without any regrets!

question mark diamond

question mark diamond

But who really knows what a Crystal is worth? If there was some ONE person who knew it all, it wouldn’t be much of a game anymore. It’s ultimately “all in the eye of the beholder.”

The Seller is the gate keeper – the ultimate “decider” – but every one has their bottom price. Unlike mainstream shop attendants, most dealers have the flexibility to give you a break. So play with them…bargain. Worst thing they can say is “no!”

I’ve done that plenty myself – making preposterously low offers – it can’t hurt. But I never question people’s prices – especially in front of others, or on Facebook – I think that’s a big no-no.

I asked one such naysayer “why would you want to ‘yuk someone else’s yum’ – I mean – if that’s what they’re charging, it’s their business (after all), and if someone’s gonna pay what they’re asking, then more power to the both of them!”

a decent sphere - like this golden rainbow Calcite sphere - should cost over $100

a decent sphere – like this golden rainbow Calcite sphere – should cost over $100

I’m not into the high end, jewelry or gem stone business, preferring minerals. I do specialize in finer specimens, but within the (I think) more modest range of $30-$200.

I think of that as “affordable” – and that if you can’t spend that type of change on something that really matters to you – then perhaps you should find a cheaper hobby.

Amazingly, a lot of people think that is a lot to spend. I don’t know what that says about our economy, people’s living conditions, or our priorities. People are spending $50 a week on coffee and donuts…so it’s hard for me understand why they can’t seem to find the same amount for something that’ll last forever…and give them satisfaction many times over.

I feel like I’m holding the torch solo – sometimes – for people respecting the value of good Crystals, and the effort that goes into finding, and presenting them in a way that truly honors their special value.

Aragonite 'sea horse' floating cluster

Aragonite ‘sea horse’ floating cluster

The reason my prices aren’t what you’ll see at a local rock shop (or gem show), is that I am neither. This is a boutique operation. Every piece is hand picked because of some unique quality, and my prices reflect that TLC.

A wholesaler I met with recently said “I can’t go there – I can’t look at individual pieces – everything has to get marked up by weight only.” How could I compete with – and why should I be compared to – folks buying directly from the source?! That’s not my place in the pecking order – my ‘ecological niche’ is post miner, post international shipper – serving up that special sauce for retail buyers with great taste.

All and still – and excuse me for tooting my own horn here (if I don’t, who will, aye…though you may want to look at my Buyer Testimonials) – but I’m pretty confident that I have a broader variety of true power stones than most operations I’ve seen out there – be they online or in person – mom and pop or major importer.

Every time I leave a gem show or wholesaler – I thank my lucky stars: I get to walk away with the good stuff – while they’re stuck with literally tons of 2nds and 3rds…stuff I wouldn’t even want to give away…but their margin (hello, everybody’s got ’em) takes that into consideration. Plus, they have volume on their side.

Have you seen some of the truly high grade stuff displayed at Museums, and even Gem Shows? It’s on sale for really big numbers? People are asking $800 for a pebble here, and $4000 for a cluster there. Try complaining to those guys about pricing.

I’m the little  guy, here. How is it fair that I should occasionally get grief for charging the cost of a good meal on arguably outstanding product?

worthless lot I returned

worthless lot I returned

Let me tell you a little story about unreasonable pricing. There was a guy I bought a whole parcel from recently, for $140 online. I failed to get dimensions, trusting the source – but when I got it – the little ‘puddle’ was worth $30, maybe. There were tiny points that looked huge in the photos (which is why every piece I sell online is photographed ‘in-hand’ – to show relative size). Others were broken. The Citrine was all irradiated (undisclosed by the Seller), and the ‘Lemurians’ turned out not to be. He didn’t even have an “All Sales Final” clause, but he wouldn’t take them back! I put them in the mail and said “don’t even refund me – keep the money as a cushion for yourself, or give it to a charity – I could never accept this overpriced garbage.” The black Tourmaline was all I wanted to hold onto, but to do so would only suggest the legitimacy of any part of the transaction.

I don’t know if it’s yard sales, volume sellers, or rock hounds who can offer great selections for under $30 – but if they’re out there – have at ’em.

As I say to some folks: “you can find another stone like this out there – but you won’t find this one anywhere but here, today.”

One of the favorite claims made (and I hear this one a lot) is: “I have one just like that” – or better yet, with additional glee: “and I paid $4 for it!” Awesome, I’ll say: “show me a photo of it.” And they disappear into the ethers.

You know what they say about opinions…

it's just a $3 tumbler - right(?) - wrong: it's a hand polished Celestite, worth a lot more

“This is just a $3 tumbler – right?” Wrong: it’s a hand polished Celestite, worth a great deal more.

Sometimes what I buy costs me more than someone else may have found it for. I’ve heard braggadocio like “I can get that for this amount.” I’m like “cool, let’s talk, maybe I should be buying it from you!” Again, the magic vaporization trick.

Some folks just like to hear the sound of their own voices…

In addition to my markups reflecting the considerable time spent choosing ‘greats’ from lesser pieces, they reflect miles driven to faraway places (you know the price of gas!); hours spent sorting through what’s been gotten; the cost of storage bins; display boxes…this isn’t an overhead-free business.

I see plenty of shop owners buying keystone, and charging a standard markup, but that doesn’t do justice to specifically selected stand-outs. And that’s not even taking into consideration a piece’s metaphysical attributes!

awesome Smoky Elestial I saw in a 'local rock shop' with a price tag of $150 more than I'd sold a similar piece for

awesome Smoky Elestial I saw in a ‘local rock shop’ with a price tag of $150 more than I’d sold a similar piece for

I also find myself in stores scratching my head – “why the heck are they charging so much for this?” Tell me that hasn’t happened to you! And yet…they must have their reasons.

Sometimes a rock is just plain worth more, or the seller has put a premium on it, they just don’t want to part with it for less. That’s their prerogative.

Again, you do have choice. You can buy anywhere. Let me repeat, this time for all vendors: “if you want this stone, from this source, this is what it’s going to cost you.”

PART TWO [optional] – the nitty gritty (behind the scenes)…fine print details

awesome, giant Scheelite I have my eye on

awesome, giant Scheelite I have my eye on…it’s here for no other reason than that I like it

I’ve covered some important ground, so far, but I want to address (in this Blog) some more topics that have come up through feedback from customers and the curious. They’ve inquired about pricing on my For Sale page: www.Facebook.com/PowerStone.

As you can see, I have more to say than will comfortably fit on a Post or Comment, so here goes. I so love the flexibility of being able to ‘stretch out’ in my Blogs.

Facebook iconTo begin with, the question: “to price or not to price?” Why I never used to, and why some people still refuse to do it publicly (like on Facebook)…is for a bunch of reasons.

Unlike on one’s own site – mine is www.CrystalConcentrics.com, but I haven’t yet launched my new shopping cart system…it mostly just hosts my blog) – Facebook is (pretty much) an open book. That means that any and everybody can comment (and they often do).

Heckling on price or steering customers elsewhere happens, and it’s not cool. That’s why, even though I used to publish a range (“under $50” or “under $400”) – I have always urged people to “DM” me – that is, direct message me for details.

“DM” is my own challenge to the generally accepted “PM” or private message abbreviation most commonly used. Although I have this request on virtually every item description, I’m astonished that people still prefer to Comment with questions, instead of writing me directly, as I’ve requested. The result – regrettably – is that I don’t notice their outreach till months later, if at all.

Moving on: wholesalers (even from other countries) have been known to come in and try to undercut you to the interested party, or separately message them, trying to steal the sale. Also not cool…and it doesn’t serve anyone, in the long run.

I learned this lesson the hard way – a LONG time ago – when I had 2 retail stores selling international clothing and jewelry. My suppliers started opening up direct-to-retail shops in the neighborhood. What happened? The bottom fell out of the market (for me and for them).

Jewelry show display

Jewelry show display

Sure, I want to get buyers the best possible prices, but after awhile, know that if the margin becomes too slim, it becomes pointless even to carry the product (never mind photograph it, post it, talk about it, etc.).

Remember, all vendors also have to have a huge amount of money tied up in inventory – to stay stocked – so they’ve got to believe in their product (and the pricing they’ve chosen).

In my case – you’ll also have to take into consideration that when I walk into a private healing session with a client (or a class) – sporting thousands of dollars in stellar material – that stuff will never be sold. It’s being held strictly for therapeutic purposes. It’s like water being tied up in the glaciers, never being turned over, even for the price that was paid. Think of all that capital out of circulation.

I can’t sell any one piece for less that I think it merits. That being said – you should know that my regular customers sometimes enjoy major discounts – as much as 30-40% off! It’s, ultimately, about making the sale – having product move, in the larger flow of Life energy – and creating the space for new and different items.

One more factor the Buyer should account for: privately held collection pieces not earning for the Seller. One wholesaler I met doesn’t have that problem – he saves nothing – but I can’t think of many who can resist holding onto some precious Crystals for themselves.

How do you even begin to price a giant elestial double terminated quartz(?!)

How do you even begin to price a giant Elestial double terminated Quartz(?!)

In all fairness, you (or I) really have no idea what the Seller actually bought the merchandise for, or what their overhead may be.

Just today, I bought some pieces Retail, because they’re that special. I was willing to ‘overspend’ because I know those pieces have their ‘rightful owners’ out there, and I’m their steward (until such time).

I can’t speak for others – but I spend a lot of time dealing with product – I take photos of everything; have paid for a sophisticated in-the-cloud inventory system; and have many other time and material costs which are incurred (behind the scenes) to bring you the best selection I can.

I am prepared to sit on an item if it doesn’t sell (cause it’s that good) – and if it does go (especially if it’s unique) – I may have a real struggle trying to replace it. So sometimes, it’s better to hold something until the right buyer comes along. Thankfully) they are out there. I am so grateful for the discerning customer!

Volume, which is the lifeblood of wholesalers, is not the prime motivator of this metaphysical retailer (though it is for some). If you have a storefront, and lots of folks coming through, you want to move as much product as possible. My goal here is to focus on quality over quantity, and to match the buyer with the right stone for them, regardless of price.

I take extra time talking or emailing with people – to make sure we ‘get it right’ – and that’s part of why I have a 100% satisfaction rate. When a total stranger (online) makes an inquiry – I do ask for their email, to followup – and build the relationship. If they refuse to share that with me [I’ve never abused someone’s contact information], chances are: they won’t be that great to do business with. Another way of thinking about this is – what if someone walked into your store with an invisibility cloak – and balked at you asking them to remove it before talking to them?

As stated, valuation is not a rigid science – costs can change over time. I wouldn’t want to be held accountable for outdated pricing (“but in November, you said this cost such-and-such”)…especially if later, I find that the piece has become that much harder to find (or sudden abundance lowers the price it can command). Not posting exact numbers used to give me the flexibility to bargain, too – if it made sense – or I’d just hold out for my highest asking price.

purple Flourite bowl

unique purple Flourite bowl

Having been in the business 25 years, I’ve seen a LOT of rocks, from what’s in the shops, to gem shows…a great gamut of retail and wholesale offerings. I’ve even sampled what the museums are sporting (though I’m sad that it’s always behind glass)! I’ve got a pretty good sense of what is out there, what’s not likely to come around again, and what’s a fad.

Yes, even in the crystal world (or especially?), there are phases and fashions. New finds get milked (become all the rage, like Fluorite bowls – a purple example pictured here – were “happening” just a few years ago…and then they’ve disappeared since. Am I gonna charge more for something like that? You betcha.

New Age names & qualities (like the “Auralite 23” phenomenon) get slapped onto pieces that had otherwise gone unnoticed. These in particular – end up fetching a ridiculous premium – but oddly, I find myself liking (and buying) them regardless. If it’s worth it, it’s worth it.

I have priced pieces for the long run, not just based on what I paid for them. I have to take into consideration what I estimate their long term value will be…mindful of the current market, but also of its future.

pair of Saphires

blue and yellow Sapphire

I do get some surprises, at times. Because much of my stock has been accumulated over 10 and 20 years, even my pricing can get out of date.

Take for example these Sapphires (pictured left and available here, on Facebook). I don’t even know what I paid for them – an I was willing to basically give them away – but now, they apparently fetch upwards of $50 a gram(!), currently.

Some vendors are in a hurry for turnover – others like attracting the lowest bidders – not me. That’s part of why I don’t do auctions. I’ve held some stones a quarter century, and don’t mind holding them some more. I’m really not comfortable ‘giving them away’ to someone who doesn’t truly appreciate their value.

That can happen after I’m gone. But if I have anything to do with it, I’ll have all my inventory properly codified and transferable, so anyone can know from looking at my archives what these pieces should sell for.

I passed up the 18 carat Gold bracelet I once wanted, and any big rings, for this diversified investment in a different kind of earth bounty. I give thanks to Mother Earth, Gaia and “the G*ds” – however you want to call him, her, or them – for giving me the eye (and occasionally, the full wallet) to have come this far in my collecting. I’d like to think what’s happened up till now is the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.

As you can see, I value my time and inventory highly. The reason I’ve taken so long in writing this Blog post – days, probably, over it’s various incarnations – is that it really matters to me what you, the reader, think. I have to present every angle I can think of, to make sure you can see my nuanced perspective (and become as informed as possible).

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

My mission now, is to share and to educate, so that more people will appreciate the worth of Crystals – not just for their rarity (or beauty) – but for their unique energetic qualities (even if that lends a financial boost to their price tag).

I boast a piece’s metaphysical merits only when I have personal experience indicating this would be appropriate, as opposed to some others’ making claims, attributing to them a laundry list of supposedly scientific and magical attributes.

Ours is a fine line – the metaphysician sellers’ – between what is, and what is imagined to be. Sometimes how we feel matters most. I just want to be wary of the “Emperor’s Clothes” syndrome – where everybody believes something just because everybody else believes in it – or some “master” went and put it down on paper. That feels spurious, and not sufficient basis for a shared belief.

There are treasured varieties out there that I just ‘don’t feel’ – but again – I won’t ‘poo-poo’ another’s gig. If it’s working for them and their customers, then as I’ve heard said: “who G*d bless, let no man curse!”

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blogger Kyle Russell, also founder of Crystal Concentrics and Power Stone Crystals

blogger Kyle Russell, also founder of Crystal Concentrics and Power Stone Crystals

Hope to connect with you, email: CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com

Facebook Pages:

http://www.Facebook.com/PowerStoneCrystals (strictly For Sale items)

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Facebook Profile: http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentrics

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