the Big Apple: juicy (and sometimes rotten)…something for everyone!


When I was new to Boston (nearly 30 years ago), I wanted a Massachusetts Avenue address – and then a “foot” in the Back Bay. All towns have their “it locations” – and I’ve lived and worked (specifically had shops) in a few: Harvard Square & Newbury Street, to be specific.

big city in lights

big city in lights (from last time in NY)

Now in a region – or country – there are also “it locations,” where “everything” seems to happen…and New York City is one of them…not just for New England, but for the U.S. (and the world as a whole, for that matter). So whenever I go to “The City” (and I’ve been many times), I brace myself for the best and the worst life has to offer. Nothing can prepare you for what really happens.

One thing I’m always reminded about is how well dressed (and clean) people stand out from the otherwise squalid environment of urban gloom and grime-covered pavements. It’s like everyone is living on an old movie set that was abandoned by the folks who’d built it, years ago. Of course, there’s new construction and opulence, but the primary feel is one of human overgrowth and decay, kept vital by new blood and throngs of people (from all walks).

Empire State, from the subway

emerging from the subway, into the skyline…the Empire State building

Into that “milieu” – and during a dreary, snowy day – I arrived, by bus this time, because I wanted a change from the mammoth undertaking of transporting a whole Expo display, loading in, setting up, interfacing with a relentless flow of onlookers, and later breaking down…only to make the long drive home (in the middle of the night).

I wanted to travel light, so everything had to fit into a backpack and a miniature-sized, rolling suitcase. This time I’d be doing “Crystal Readings & Wellness Sessions,” which is how I’d billed my Healer offerings for the Awaken Fair (their 2nd time in New York, and my first, with them).

I’ve worked with a lot on individuals – for 60-90 minute minimums – but here I’d be doing 15-30 minute sessions. It’s like “speed dating” for the New Age. But I surprised myself – adapted really well to the format – and I actually like it. You really can make a difference in someone’s life in just a quarter of an hour…by transporting them inward, and forward…and lending them some concrete (or stone, in this case) tools that serve to push their process forward.

Awaken Fair Healers

poster of Awaken Fair Healers

I wasn’t selling anything (but my services) – and because I was being nomadic – I needed to bring the best, but the smallest, of all the key stone varieties I have. On retrospect, I could probably have made due with fewer stones – but I wanted the full gamut, to have all my options open – plus, it filled the table nicely.

I’ve collected a good number of emails from my last to forays to New York – and a smattering of Facebook and other, longer term contacts – so I reached out…saying “I’m coming”…and encouraging folks to pre-book.

I even contacted a fellow Crystal worker [Kufunya Ife!], and asked if she could find me a “gig” [we knew each other in the music business] – and she did(!) – with a shop on 14th Street (Aum Namaste). The owner there was impressed with my credentials & web presence, and booked me for a few hours that Saturday (before the main event, which I’d originally come for, on Sunday). It turns out that I ended up working with a comparable number of people (say, a half dozen each) – both days – including some work on other practitioners (which is always a treat).

Aum Namaste

Aum Namaste shop

I won’t get into the particulars – or my technique – I think I lay that out pretty well on my Services page (on this site)…check that out for some more background…or shoot me any questions you may have [I like that, at].


What’s a trip to New York without some shopping!

Before I got lucky with that Saturday booking – and knowing there was no way I could bus down there first thing on Sunday (I would have had to have left by 4am!)  – I decided to make the journey early on Saturday (at the more civilized hour of 9am), so I could “have a look around” during the day.

I secured a place to stay with some friends – we’ve been meaning to connect for awhile – so thank you Arthur and Lisa…we had some great quality time that night, and first thing Sunday morning.

Rock Star Gems

replete with product (and possibly colored Citrine)

But there were some places – looming legends – I had to check out. I’d heard customers make mention of them, and had to see for them for myself, to learn what the excitement was all about.

So I walked from 31st St. to 28 St., to Rockstar Crystals – or actually, I walked by it – ’cause there was no store front! I realized they were upstairs, and walked by the door guy (who greeted me, asking where I was headed), and took the elevator up (one floor). Tremendous splendors awaited me behind the bolted, buzzer’d door.

It’s only one room, and not a very big one at that. I introduced myself immediately to the “boss on duty” (she had a younger woman assistant, too) – taking out my card – and inquiring as to whether they do wholesale. “No,” she was curt, didn’t even take my card. “Well you just blew that” I said to myself, vowing to look, but refusing to buy.

Rock Star shelves

shelves and shelves of product

It shouldn’t be that hard to be nice to people – but in New York, everyone’s bracing for offence – and studiously unimpressed with whomever you are. So I proceeded to look around, rebuffing her handing me a tray (since I wasn’t going to purchase anyway). We later, connected, on some level…but it seemed like “the damage had been done.”

The prices wowed me – many of them higher than mine – and as I often experience among others’ retail wares, I found myself wondering “why should this be so much, and that so relatively less?”

I have a strong, internal logic in my own pricing. If a tag’s high, there’s got to be a good reason. And I can explain it. But then again, I’m not “just an employee” – I’ve been the one selecting every one of my pieces – and I’ve also been around this stuff for 28 years!

Most people price merely as an equation of what they paid, using a standard percentage markup. I think that lacks imagination (but maybe makes up for it in practicality). Being into the metaphysics of what I’m selling, it’s not as simple as that. Crystals aren’t just a commodity, an object to be “moved,” like tennis shoes, or a jar of beans.

Apatite heart

gemmy Apatite heart

“How harmonious is the shape, color, texture – does it stand – are there others out there like it? Can I replace it easily?” These are the types of questions I ask myself. “Would I be willing to part with this for less?”

Anyhow, and conversely – “could I sell this if I bought it for this much?” – the shoe was on the other foot. I had to wonder if the prices I was looking at could work for my customers. Still, I often buy retail (yes, with sales tax!).

If a stone is awesome enough – even if it’s expensive, I’ll buy it anyway – I’m “omnivorous” like that. I consider myself an archive of Power Stones – collecting the best I can find for my classes and private work – it’s an added value to my Inner Circle.

Which doesn’t mean I don’t have exceptional stones for sale too – I certainly do – ’cause I “know” (that inner knowing), that not everything is meant for me. I have to be a conduit – not just a repository – for awesomeness. To that end, I have a new webinar series I’m starting, it’s called “Why it’s Awesome!” But I digress.

Rhodochrosite display

huge Rhodochrosite display

Rock Star is completely and utterly replete with inventory – rolling drawers, bins and trays – even acrylic cases bolted to the ubiquitous metal shelving units. I’m just now forgettings something heavy I’d wanted to get (chunks of blue Quartz). I was totally wowed by the sheer volume of Rhodochrosite – more in one place than I’d ever seen – but no “must have” pieces. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Still, I did manage to overcome my resistance to spending, and put together a modest collection (augmented by New York’s healthy, nearly 9% sales tax). A deep, semi-gemmy Apatite heart, and a perfect pigeon-blood Ruby crystal (ideal on the 3rd eye) came home with me (along with a few other items). I do shop with certain customers in mind, bringing their interests with me on these capers.

Astro Gallery

walking up to the Astro Gallery

Then I walked uptown – a good little distance (the city blocks aren’t short) – to 5th Avenue, where the upscale Astro Gallery of Gems has been since 1961. What a breath of fresh air, relative to the ubiquitous $1 pebble bins of most vendors’ crystal displays!  It’s great to see people valuing their showcasing opportunity (and their specimens) so highly. Yes – not all crystals cost nothing, and yes – many of them are worth more than cars.

Bolivian giant Amethyst cluster

Bolivian giant Amethyst cluster (25K)

They’ve got everything from a Lapis table top at 20K to a good selection of high end jewelry. Some of the staff knows more than others, but that’s true anywhere. And they were all nice – polite – and professional (even friendly, imagine that!).

We got into some intrigue around the pricing of a Sugilite – there was a mixup in cost calculation, and the weight was not measured correctly, at first  – but the boss on duty made good (to the best of his ability), and we had some vigorous banter about the behind-the-glass museum pieces (of which there were many!).

I ended up getting a bigger batch than I had at the other place – niceness pays off – and have had them mail it to me. They even gave me subway directions and ran after me, after they’d forgotten to give me my credit card. It felt good to be well received. A bit of good will goes a long way – from customer to seller – and vice versa.

museum quality pieces

museum quality pieces

A new acquaintance can grow into a trusted contact, when it becomes clear that everyone knows what’s going on, and you’re willing to meet them halfway.


I was originally going to share only this last segment, as the full (and only) content of my blog. It was going to be called “Wish I could help (what to do when you can do no right)!”
I’d had such a wonderful weekend in New York – two days of readings – first at a shop, and then at a wellness fair. Great neighbors, beautiful clients, right up ’til the end. That’s when I bit into a bad apple – if it’s fair to say that – and got schooled.
Sometimes your hardest experiences have the most to teach you.
my Crystal Session table

my Crystal Session table

It was going nicely, at first. She stopped by my table and asked what I did – then she went and booked a half hour session – saying that she’d liked my honesty, and was really disappointed by the reading(s) she’d gotten from others (even there).

I did tell her (in advance) that what I do is to inquire as to where she’s at, and that we’d use the crystals to move her along in the desired, positive direction. She liked the idea of holding the crystals. Seemed like a pretty straightforward session coming up.
I can’t give you particulars (without breaching client confidentiality) – it was interesting (her story), but it doesn’t really matter here and now – so we proceeded into the first of several meditations I had planned. I asked her to close her eyes – she opened them immediately – I inquired as to why. She said it was due to her bag, coat, and whatnot…what with all these strangers…which was an understandable concern. So I offered to secure the bag to her chair.
Celestite heart

Celestite heart and cluster

It wasn’t that, it turns out. But things were moving quickly. We’d been talking for coming up on 10 minutes, and I encouraged her again, to close her eyes. She was getting antsy, asking me when I was going to “do something.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant – maybe she thought, as a magician – that I’d make some big revelation, or cause a breakthrough by osmosis. That’s not how I work. I invite people into a shared, sacred space – and together we find things out – together. I don’t work on people – though I can (as with the dead or inert) – I prefer to work with them.
So I pushed the issue a little bit – saying it was key to letting go of the current reality, and making room for new potentialities – that she close her eyes. Maybe it was the “if I can give you even 2 seconds of trust, this whole session will have been worth it” that turned her off.
She snapped, and stormed away, coming back hurriedly to scratch her name off my emailing list.
Smoky oval...beautiful color and energy

Smoky oval – the forgiveness stone – beautiful color and energy

Woah – I felt bad – like I didn’t give her what she’d come for. I’m still scratching my head, wondering what that might have been (that I could have done, to meet her expectation). Doing sessions with certain folks can be like a game that’s rigged – they want something, they don’t tell you want it is, and when you don’t deliver – they get upset.

There’s no pleasing some people. But I still have a lesson to learn.
What if someone can’t close their eyes? They’re that vigilant that they can’t let down their guard for two seconds (never mind one)! I should be able to adapt – not be stuck on my own eight track recording – that being able to “go in” (as I conceive it) is a prerequisite for “doing the work.”
Maybe there’s another way. I should research, ask around. Try something new, for times like this.
milky quartz - nurturance - compassion

milky quartz – nurturance – compassion

But that works for everyone else! I’d never come across this level of resistance before. I’m realizing how compliant most people are with an exercise designed to soothe and relax them. It’s like: most of us know what’s good for us, we just need an opportunity to listen, to take it in…receive.

The whole thing was triggering too – ’cause I’m a child of an alcoholic – so (back then) there was a perpetual guessing game as to what her motivations, needs, and desires were (my mom). I gave up early (trying to figure it out). It’s hard enough – as a child (and an adult!) – to get in touch with what you’re really feeling about something.
It’s devastating when you have to prioritize where someone else is coming from before you’ve even had a chance to identify where you, yourself, are coming from. We are not mind readers – maybe that’s why I never became a psychic – I try to deal with what’s presented, and to dig a little bit, but gently. As a stone guy, I like to deal with the tangible, as much as I’m into Metaphysics.
Labradorite - imagination stone

Labradorite – imagination stone

I do see a continuity between the manifest and the unmanifest. And I’m happy to traverse the veil to explore – what’s inside vs. outside, past vs. future, real vs. imagined – these are all fair game. But when there’s an inner storm raging so fiercely that I can’t get in – or won’t be let in – all bets are off.

Folks like that will do what they do. They need a different type of professional. I mean, if someone comes to me with a broken arm – I can’t tell them to will it back together – I’ll shew them off quickly to the ER.
Still, I can’t help but to replay (now, as then): “Was I not sensitive enough to her cues? How else could I have approached her? What did I do wrong to provoke her outburst? Maybe we can rewind, and try this whole thing over again, only doing it ‘right’ this time?”
How many times had I said that same thing, as a child. I looked at her email address (this failed client) – still legible through the scribbles – and let it go. She didn’t want me getting through then – it’s best that I not trouble trouble by trying to get in touch with her now – let it be.
another session - feeling it

another session – feeling it

You can’t fix everyone – not everyone wants to be “fixed” – maybe there’s something about the way they are right now, that’s working for them. What I have to offer is not for everyone. I and those who need me are best served by not chasing down those who dislike or don’t connect with me – even if they had at first – ’cause people change their minds.

I just noticed an “Unsubscribe” from my newsletter – someone who’d registered for not one – but two of my free webinars! I’d spent two hours presenting, baring my soul to them -albeit anonymously – and I no longer deserved to have their email address.
I’ve had people attend my events, and later tell me that’s not what they’re looking for. Like many avid entrepreneurs I know, I am passionate about serving those who want me to serve them, and we simply can’t get caught up in everybody else’s drama.
Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of "sickness in health" - where the interior has been compromised - but the shell and structure remain quite solid, if perforated

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

Still, I take this all with a grain of salt, and as a learning opportunity. You have to take the “bad” with the good – just like a visit to the big City – absorb what enriches, nourishes, and improves you. So I am grateful, not just to my progressively moving clients (and the helpful staff at the shops I visited), but to everyone and everything else…you are all welcome in my world.

Like they say “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” Or if you believe in Reincarnation, what kills you might actually make you stronger, or better for the lesson it taught you…in the next life. Since we have no tangible guarantees of an afterlife, it behooves us to take our schooling seriously, and use it to improve our game here and now…while we’re still on the court.
About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals since they were “revealed” to him, back in the Harmonic Convergence of 1987. He’s built on his now intrinsic knowledge – through experience – working with clients and buying & selling ever since. In addition to this Blog, he issues periodic newsletters, leads Meditations & Workshops, and presents at metaphysical Expos. To reach him, and get his updates, please email

The 3 Gateways – Mind, Heart, and Body

There are 3 gateways into ourselves: through the Mind, through the Heart, and through the Body. Crystals are experienced the same way – by touch (through the Body); how they make you feel (the Heart) – and via what you think about them (the Mind). I have identified 3 stones that (to me) embody each gateway.

purple Quartz point(s)Amethyst is one – for its power to represent Spirit – specifically in “point form.” I’m talking about a point as separated from a cluster.

Clusters have a different function, to act as Spiritual Cleansers.

Amethyst is the ultimate Higher Mind stone. This is true because it speaks to the connection between Self and Spirit (and how mentality bridges the physical self with the self-conscious, abstract “seer”).

What is your true mission in life? What is your Higher Purpose, or ‘true’ Destiny? These are the types of questions to contemplate in the presence of Amethyst.

These may seem like lofty (or irrelevant) – to those who are not inquiring deeply (and for whom mental considerations are not bound up in spiritual matters) – but folks for whom the Mind is two dimensional, are trapped in a more earthly consciousness. I don’t blame them, but theirs is not the place to judge those for whom these explorations are significant.

I don’t mean to insult the Earth by using “earthly” in a derogatory sense, but you get what I mean (I hope, and if not, read on). Earthly (with a small ‘e’) connotes petty, provincial, non-Global or unconnected awareness. Earthly (with a capital ‘E’) gets into the vast (and deeper) grasp of Terra, terrestrial reality, and it’s connectedness to the all other dimensions, elements, perspectives, and The Universe at large.

Our thoughts, even (and often?) about grander goals and meanings – are immaterial – that is to say, they’re not solid, physical, or tangible. Indeed much of our reality – far greater than most will admit – is virtual (hello: the Internet is not something we can touch).

wet Sugilite - 'the other purple stone' - symbolizes the concretization of Spiritual vision

wet Sugilite – ‘the other purple stone’ – symbolizes the concretization of Spiritual vision

Great in their influence are the unspoken, evocative, and symbolic…in all cultures. And yet these thoughts, symbols, and archetypes can – and do – manifest quite tangibly in our world, particularly when they result in actions and consequences, as they constantly do (all around us – in the news – in our lives).

If the universe was created from a word – and words are merely symbolic – then truly, it can be said that our co-creation of the present and future are bound up in our understandings of (even unconsciously) – and relationships withabstract conceptions.

The metaphysical is intrinsic, it’s everything, or at least on par with everything you can take in with your 5 senses. Those who say otherwise, are living with their head in the sand. It’s time to come out and play. It’s time to have a more nuanced, and inclusive perspective on Reality.

unique Selenite cluster - representing our reach for the Eternal - indeed the mission of every Crystal(?)

unique Selenite cluster – representing our reach for the Eternal – indeed the mission of every Crystal(?)

Indeed our failure to think grandly manifests by default in our permission of the world to remain in chaos, or at the mercy of (mostly human) neglect and species-exclusive abuse of the planet.

The recognition and embrace of interconnectedness is essential to saving the world. This happens on an intellectual level, in the brain, but also on the other levels of heart and body (and of course through Charitable, and socially conscious activism). More on that a bit later…


In the Healing realm, long distance healing is a good example of psychic action taken – on a higher (or different) plane, which can produce outcomes – or influences situations remotely.

Someone grappled recently – in public (at a conference I attended), and with humility – about “how does distance healing work?” She knew it did, but was unable to explain why (or how). In the interests of this Blog (and getting my thoughts out on it now, as opposed to later (when I could devote an entire Post to it), let me take a stab at delivering an answer to this beguiling question.

All things are happening simultaneously – connected by coincidence (if you’re atheistic) or by design (if you believe in a Higher Power) – but (even to a scientist), they are inarguably happening coterminously [look it up if you’re not familiar with the term…it means “in a way that is right up next to everything else”].

However you imagine what causes what, everything in the present is connected inextricably with everything in the past and future.

multi-directional Arkansas clear Quartz cluster, with angled (45-degree'ish) is a 'transmitter' crystal, ideal for shooting intention long distance

multi-directional Arkansas clear Quartz cluster, with angled (45-degree’ish) ‘transmitter’ crystal, ideal for shooting intention long distance

Therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect that my prayer and intention here – can effect your status and experience there – on a Spiritual and/or physical level.

I’m finding that the rules of engagement – or what one can expect – in the waking world, is quite different from what might apply in the Dream State (or while you’re asleep). And that’s just two important planes in our life. There are more (even how vastly different my reality and perspectives are from yours). So we cannot begin to claim that the rules of Physics (or Science), such as we may consider ourselves to know them, apply in the same way in all dimensions. “Everything is Relative” – right?

Enough [pertinent] digression! Back to Amethyst. It sits on the throne of Purple. Purple is a regal color of Spirit – and in the spectrum of colors – as they manifest up through our Chakra system…it’s towards the top. I consider it the gateway between the Conscious Mind and the Spirit (or oversoul) Mind.

I believe that Shape, Density, and Color (the 3 gateways into understanding Crystals) are each of paramount importance in identifying (and “riding”) the energetic wave, function, or offerings of any given Power Stone.

I’ve defined “Power Stones” in other places, including in my “What is Crystal Healing” webinar, but suffice it to say here…how a rock presents itself can make all the difference.


Imagine all things (or situations) as complex manifestations of G8D.

How very different your lying down, nearly naked in one context – a beautiful thing – can be from the next situation (where threat and terror pervade).

How different the appearance – face to face – of a rabbit may be from the appearance of a Grizzly Bear on your path, hiking.

Rose Quartz sphere - the shape and polishing make its inner essence more accessible - than it would be were the chunk left rough

Rose Quartz sphere – the shape and polishing make its inner essence more accessible – than it would be were the chunk left rough

Appearances are everything – and sometimes nothing – just flimsy veneers over deeper truths.

So it is with stones. Are they are rough or polished? Are they in clusters or in points? Are they large or small? Heavy or light? The answers to these questions all matter.

To learn the language of Crystals, is to know how to interpret all this vital information…and how to factor it in to determining its potential impact on your life (or on the lives of others).

You also have to look deeper – be sensitive to the fact that the same piece might have different influence in the day than the night – or in the context of other Crystals. In short: “it’s complicated” would be its “relationship status,” which is why I abjure pat prescriptions of “this crystal for that situation” (way too simplistic).


Now about Heart – we think of Love [Unconditional Love is the essence of Rose Quartz, pictured above] as being the ultimate expression of the Heart, and it is – but imagine Love as the gift…what is the wrapping, or better asked…what is the door (or gateway) through which Love travels?

Compassion is that sensation, the context – the realization that another’s feelings matter – or that another being is significant. Without that, it’s hard for true Love (or True Love) to be expressed. That is why I don’t identify one stone for “relationship problems” (or prosperity, for that matter)…some of our wishes and aspirations require further inquiry, and broader definition…to be tackled and addressed appropriately (and in a more sophisticated way). There are no silver bullets, easy solutions, or panaceas.

Back to Love. How authentically can we love the calf in the barn yard, knowing it will soon be slaughtered by our own hand? Is it not Compassion that leads us to send money around the world, to those less fortunate than we?

Compassion of the Heart – has much broader implications for the whole of Creation – just as Broadness of Mind (as discussed above).

Milky 'glitter' Quartz cluster often manifests perfectly the geological embodiment of our concept: Compassion (and/or Nurturance).

Milky ‘glitter’ Quartz cluster often manifests perfectly the geological embodiment of our concept: Compassion (and/or Nurturance).

What stone manifests the energy of Compassion better than Milky Quartz? Wait, where’d I come up with that? It seems like an arbitrary association, or claim.

Not at all. Let me explain. As I’ve said, there is a language to understanding Crystals, it’s just a question of exploring and understanding it.

As mammals – we are nourished by mothers’ milk – and even if we never knew our mother (or she was not nurturing), that symbolism…of mothers’ milk as sustaining life-breath…remains imprinted in our DNA. Note: a visual/conceptual archetype ripples through our being.

I used the word “breath” – air is free, we breath without control [though some of us chronically under-inhale] – it’s not optional, and it’s everywhere. Mothers’ milk, however, is sometimes withheld (even not intentionally), due to will or circumstance. As babies, we cannot express ourselves precisely, our cry might be about a hundred different things…and yet the mothers’ breast (or milk, from whatever source) in generally soothing.

What is the connection between this soothing nurturance of mother’s milk and Compassion? Not everyone receives it, it is specifically for you. You have been singled out as both deserving and needing of this reward and life sustenance.

Mountain Aragonite, demonstrating that non-Quartz varieties can also manifest The Compassionate One energy.

Mountain Aragonite, demonstrating that non-Quartz varieties can also manifest The Compassionate One energy.

A mother (more than just about anybody else) has a uniquely developed (or ought to) capacity for Compassion. This is why if mother’s ruled the world, they’d find other solutions than war. The notion of sending one’s offspring off into harm’s way is anathema to any child-loving mom.

You’ve heard it said that “there’s nothing like a mother’s love.” The gates of Compassion have been opened up – a mother’s love flows often unmitigated – and so, religions have deified women (just as men have been turned into G*ds, for other reasons). Fertility and the capacity for reproduction and care-giving are just important side effects of a much greater commodity – Love and its context – Compassion.

So what if a stone embodied this thing – more intrinsically and naturally than any picture, person – or idol could? What if there was a stone that simply was: Compassion. There is – and it shows up as more than just in the incarnation of Quartz – there are several other varieties of stone that carry the Compassionate vibration of Milky Quartz.


Each of these three Gateways (to Mind, Heart, and Body) are ‘places’ – which we define through description – as best we can. They are also bridges. The Gateway, Bridge, or Cross Roads feature significantly in most traditions (you can research it, trust me).

If Thoughts and Emotions operate in mysterious ways, the Body does as well. Even doctors will tell you this. The same procedure can work seamlessly on 9 people, and then fail on the 10th. It could be a thousand things, including the impact of their Mind, Heart, and Spirit on the situation. But the flesh and blood, that thing and shell we inhabit, is its own world.

Citrine is the gateway to the Body. It’s clarity suggests that is not a simply base, massive material…that there is a higher, spiritual component and aspect to it…and we are blessed to have that in geological form. Here’s an interesting geological article all about Citrine.

nice 'faux' Citrine - occasionally extremely beautiful - is better for display than energy work

nice ‘faux’ Citrine – occasionally extremely beautiful – is better for display than energy work

Heat-treated Amethyst, which is what most “Citrine” on the market really is – as with most artificially modified stones – has lost its umph, and is not ideally used on (or to represent) the person.

Treated stones – like Aqua Aura – sometimes take on their own unique energies, quite apart from their source material. That’s worth pursuing, but not in this conversation.

What we’re doing here – and a recurrent theme in my ‘teachings’ – is relating stones back to our own, personal energy systems. That is why I have developed a Crystal Energy Zones poster, which associates 29 Power Stones with our own body.

Without getting into all the subdivisions of the Foundation zone (Solar Plexus down through the Root Chakras) – a worthy topic, to be sure (for some future writing) – let me focus further on Citrine itself. If clear Quartz is a channel (and it’s not as impersonal – or even as effective – as Selenite, in this regard) – and Smoky Quartz is the Ultimate Forgiveness Stone – then Citrine is somehow in between…it represents Ego…in the best possible light.

large natural Citrine - perfect color - with 3 polished sides & 3 natural sides

large natural Citrine – perfect color – with 3 polished sides & 3 natural sides

Ego says “I am here” – in the way that our Body does, too – in the way that a superlative athlete can declare their physical prowess (at the finish line, or sometimes without even having to “say” anything). Ultimately, a healthy body walks hand in hand with a healthy Ego. You take up your space without hogging it, bragging, or belittling others.

This is the key and gateway to The Body. To understand the subtle and profound message and identity of Citrine, is to crack the code on true communication with one’s Self and physical being.

Many splendors lie deeper, in the Foundation – Carnelian, Ruby, Morion Smoky Quartz, even Petrified Wood (‘the animating factor’) is in its domain – but this Blog seeks only to show you the doors…the “3 big ones” (and how they have tangible import, as well as Spiritual significance, and “connections”)…as Gateways to the Mind, Heart, and Body.


About the Author: Kyle Russell posts daily on Facebook – sends out Newsletters monthly (and emails sometimes more frequently) – and he leads Crystal Meditations and Workshops. See his Schedule of Events here on, and his large variety of fine Crystal specimens for sale at Email to learn more, or with any questions you may have regarding this Blog, or Crystals in general. 

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 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?

What’s Love got to do with it? Crystals and the Heart.

broken heart

jasper heart – broken – and repaired (in appearance)

Crystal & Healing are two words that tend to go together all the time. And surely most of us carry around a broken heart, or at least a wounded heart – from failed & troubled relationships – including messed up childhoods. This creates all kind of mixed emotions, and the Heart Chakra (energy center located right there in your rib cage), can be a complicated place.

One color – Green – is often associated with that place we call our Heart (according to the preponderance of chakra charts). I’ve added Pink as its logical companion. Isn’t that the color we most often associate with things lovey-dovey (in the West).

SQR - gemmy rose egg

gemmy Rose Quartz egg, unparallelled in color

The distinction I make between Green & Pink is represented by two stones: Rose Quartz & Green Fluorite (which, in its rough, chunk form, looks just like a green version of pink Quartz). Rose Quartz represents Unconditional Love, the opening of the heart – that vulnerable “first love” vibration – also experienced by the lucky few who’ve had a first hand experience of The Divine…and feel that way towards G8D. It is innocent – not judging – and infinite.

best cluster

large cluster of perfectly colored green Fluorite

Unfortunately, most of us lose touch with that Being Love feeling, and are caught up more in its unavoidable companion (at least for humans): Relational Love – how we connect with those around us, with our Self, and with our Spiritual guides and cohorts. Money, at least in the U.S. – is green – and represents our commercial relationship to the world. So as you can imagine, Green Fluorite is a complex stone, given the variety of connections it ‘watches over.’ I think of it mostly in terms of its spiritual role, which is enhanced by its clarity, translucency, or “gemminess.”


trio of matching, high grade octahedral blue Fluorite

Some people are just not green people, they relate far more to blue, and for them – although this aspect of the heart chakra remains green in color – they’d connect more easily with Blue Fluorite, a rarer, and wonderful form. So you can choose your Blue Spirit world or your Green Spirit World, but blue generally belongs higher, in the throat chakra and beyond.

heart shape a

naturally heart shaped, river worn Nephrite Jade

There are a number of other Aspects to what I call “the Heart Complex” – which are fortunately reflected in other, related stones – which ‘reside’ around “the big two.” Jade is directly beneath – and interestingly, appears not only in shades of green, but also in blue and gray. Jade is the great Emotional Soother – it’s surface is most like human skin (especially when naturally worn) – and it somehow “makes everything okay.”

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz, Madagascar

attached, twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

Above “the big two” one could place Milky stones, particularly Milky Quartz (though there are other varieties – specifically some Calcites and Verengita – which is like a white Onyx or Alabaster). These represent most bluntly: a mother’s milk…compassionate…nurturing (which is a bit different from soothing).


pair of matching Malachite spheres

Next, beneath the Jade, come Smoky Quartz and Malachite.

Malachite can be a mixed blessing, because it’s an Emotive. The black represents opening, and the green represents the heart, so it’s an opening of the heart…helps feelings come up…not always an easy prospect.

But then, there is the Ultimate Forgiveness stone: Smoky Quartz, here to make everything okay – not by soothing – but by whisking away the negativity, transmuting it into some other place and time. It’s hard to get angry with Smoky Quartz around – I have a large beaded necklace of it – simply can’t get upset while I’m wearing it!

broken, dark Smoky

broken tip, but perfectly colored Smoky

So there you have it – the overarching duo of Unconditional & Relational Love – surrounded by other Heart Aspects: the expression of Feelings; Soothing; Compassion & Nurturance; and the power of Forgiveness…all important nuances coexisting in the Heart Chakra…and given voice and language through Crystals.

How they are configured, and ‘used’ to treat and enhance people’s experience, is the field of the ‘Crystal Healer,’ of which I am one. This arrangement is of my own ‘making’ – the choice of stones that participate in this important energy sector (of the human body) – have been selected and inter-related by me.

CC logo pink n blue text

If you would like to learn more about how to dwell and explore the Heart Complex – through Meditation, Personal Sessions, or Live & Virtual Learning Opportunities – please contact Kyle Russell via email, at


twin, or 'couple stone'

twin, or ‘couple stone’

PS. what about Romantic Love? It exists within the personal experience of these various energetic “pulls,’ but can be represented by “couple stones,” or twins…which do not pertain (or reside) directly in the Heart Chakra…but may be meditated on, or worked on, with Crystals that fit this description (as pictured here). Similarly, multi-point conglomerations (not necessarily clusters) can represent families, children, etc.

different heart-shaped stones will evoke different experiences of Love...this one is Tiger Iron...and is all about grounding your love, having a strong center of gravity, to not stray or be swayed wrongly

different heart-shaped stones will evoke different experiences of Love…this one is Tiger Iron…and is all about grounding your love, having a strong center of gravity, to not stray or be swayed wrongly

What stone can be used to attract love? That’s an interesting question, and not an easy one to answer. I believe that working with the other stones, and all that they “conjure” in the human breast, as well as approaching your life holistically, with an eye to balancing your energies, and more importantly…letting Universal Energy flow maximally through your being, and without snags…THAT is the way to open yourself up most easrily to receive Love into your life.

A good variety of these mentioned stones are also accessible at the For Sale items page at, or by request, with interest, to the email above.

Thought-Provoking Gem Show Conversation

quality (and lower quality) beads by the thousands

I found my favorite retailer at the Marlborough gem show this weekend – and of course went through all their cardboard ‘flats’ – the name of the industry standard 1.5 foot by 2 foot cardboard boxes replete with minerals. These folks are generally the only ones selling specimens in the whole show (of maybe 150 vendors). It’s really 98% jewelry, not even cut stones that much…and a lot of trinketry too.

I overheard Rick [even my son remembered him when I got home (and he didn’t even come with me this time), as having the build of a wrestler, and – my edit – the spirit of a Viking]…I’m changing his name because this isn’t an official interview. I’m editorializing, and I don’t know that he cares to share all these perspectives publicly. I do, however, because they’re edifying (and interesting).

At the moment I came up, Rick was disabusing a picky customer regarding her predilection for American mined stones, basically telling her to get over it. But I didn’t hear the whole conversation. So there’s not much more I can say about that…my conversation with him was grist enough for my own mill.

class flier for Crystals Demystified, register at

First, I handed him the info sheet to my upcoming Crystals Demystified class (being held Sunday, 12/2/12, from 1-3pm). He had an opinion (of course). My sense was that he was invested in sharing some of his own ideas with these ready listeners – through me – and I guess that’s what’s happening.

We sparred over polished vs. natural stone. Specifically, I was saying that I’m seeking rough Sugilite, and polished pieces won’t do. The same is true – for me – with Lapis. He took umbrage at the notion that one (rough, he assumed was my favorite) is superior to the other.

tumbled (polished, but not glossy) chunk of Jet, with interesting creases

Rick argued that polishing is merely the rubbing of finer stones against others (what could be more natural?) – and that it’s not an adulteration or diminution of their value, energetically. I couldn’t agree more, actually – and as usual (‘in my book’) – it depends on the piece. Certain stones, you can ‘access’ their energy better if they’re polished…others less so. I know which is which, for me, but time didn’t allow – and it wasn’t called for – to have me enumerate which was which.

He said: “to all those people who want to be snobby about their ‘natural’ pieces” [and I paraphrase here, as I have been throughout], “I want to empty a wheelbarrow of muddy, silty mine-fodder in front of them and say ‘how’s that for natural’?” Many of us want our stones washed and tidy, which is a form of processing in itself.

I myself would rather wait and sift through gem show collections than go sling a hammer in the field. I’ve done it – a little – at the public Herkimer diamond mines. I admire (and of course respect) those who do…who get and convey all the stones I’ve ever seen ‘to the table. But that’s not my role or specialty in this ‘business.’ I put quotes around ‘business’ because it isn’t really a business, only…it’s a passion, and a mission (for some of us).

collection of pieces I purchased this last weekend

I’m a selector, collector, and conveyer of information, teaching, and process…that’s by ‘job.’ I quote ‘job’ because it’s not a J.O.B. – it’s a calling.

Now back to my account. Rick admitted that as someone who buys and sells rocks full time, he’s got a vested interest in getting his head around the metaphysical piece. But before he got into that, he had some more schooling for me.

We talked about the various techniques by which balls are polished out of chunks (and cubes)…including by hand (where electricity is less reliable than person power). The 3 Jet balls I purchased – nowhere have I seen any, but small examples of them before – these were clearly hand wrought (and from Poland, which is unusual, as I haven’t heard of Poland being a source for Jet, previously).

I learned that most of the Afghan Lapis comes from three mine shafts into the ‘blue mountain’ – apparently visible as such, from miles away – during Biblical times. These mines date back to before the Egyptians. Each delivers a different grade of Lapis. I bought a sliver of ‘midnight grade’ Lapis Lazuli – the only one he had on display (or maybe the only one left, as I arrived on the afternoon of day 3). I haven’t decided whether or not to sell it. For now it’ll accompany my own, similar piece…but check it out (in the picture here, to the right)!

Going back to his diatribe about ‘rough’ vs. polished – Rick made a couple of references to his analogy that turning someone on to a raw fish & vegetable diet that they hadn’t ever tried before – would surely result in upsetting their stomach and turning them off to the whole idea, healthful as it may be. He said basically: you have to crawl before you can walk, and small, cheaper, easier to hold tumbled rocks do just fine as ‘gateway’ crystals.

Then we got into something really quite interesting. He said “if I put a chunk of Plutonium in your bed, you’d start losing hair and bleeding from your gums in a few days. Yet you can’t see it’s energy, or even feel it. I’d like to try that on someone who says they don’t believe rocks have any energies. If one element can do that much harm, there’s got to be other rocks that can have the opposite effect on your well being. Problem is, how can I prove the well being piece? It’s easy to show that something killed you – but you can’t easily show that something healed you” – or reproduce the results handily, from one person to the next.

Funny (sad, really) how much easier (or reliable) it is to destroy than to create. And yet, I’m astonished how some homeless people – who I know are living the hard life – survive year in and year out. We are a resilient race – some of us survive even the worst tribulations – while others succumb so easily to them.

Another example of how/why rock power is a force to contend with: Rick said “during the Great Depression, some women in Appalachia were called crazy for eating dirt…yet their diet was devoid of iron. They needed it for their metabolism, even though they didn’t know the real reason they were drawn to eat dirt.” Rick said: “we’re eating dirt ourselves, only in the form of the plants and animals that are able to transform its various elements into digestible, assimilable nutrients. Our bodies are filled with elements, metals, and minerals” – they’re called mineral supplements, aren’t they?

yellow Calcite votive candle burner

Yet people feel a disconnect. They’re like – yeah, but that’s food – these are just rocks. Some of them are – with no perceptible energetic ‘value.’ And Rick said as much. But to not recognize the unbroken continuum between us and the very material that makes up our planet (and our bodies) – which preceeds us by millions (and billions!) of years, is kind of like living with a huge blind spot in front of us – don’t you think?

I watched the Lincoln movie last night, and there was dispute on the floor of the Congress about whether full equality under the law, for African Americans, would lead to full voting rights, representation, and intermarriage…or even votes for women (still 50+ years away from that discussion in 1865). Those attitudes now seem embarrassingly outdated – but that’s what some people thought (and truly believed) – just like the folks 500 years ago, who scoffed at the notion of the world being round, or its revolving around the sun.

I used to – and still kind of do, physiologically – think the human being stopped evolving some time ago. Sure, there are modern pathogens, GMO’s, and electromagnetic bombardment. Those must be having their effect, changing us in ways we don’t know.

optical Calcite, cut to resemble a Quartz generator, with phenomenal and layered rainbow action

There doesn’t seem to be any ‘survival of the fittest’ dynamic at work any more – everyone lives long enough to reproduce – whether they choose to or not, is another story. Our bodies are essentially as they were 100,000 years ago. But after watching the movie “Happy” – which showed the radically different brainwaves and cortical activity of someone in a meditative state – I’m starting to think it’s possible that our brains can evolve, even in our lifetimes, as we pursue discipline,training our capacity to apply our mental abilities in new and different ways.

This is promising, and encouraging to us, as a race. We have the power to adopt new mindsets, make whole different outcomes unfold in the world (and our lives!). There’s a reason it’s said that G*d created the world out of sound, or ‘The Word.’ That is the power of our imagination, and intention.

Flight was impossible till someone thought about it seriously, and put mind to machine, making it happen.

We’ve realized that our body is made up of billions of organisms – not just one – because of the important role of co-habitating bacteria in our gut (and all the outcomes beyond genetics, that impact our health, as a result of that). We are not in this alone – not just inside of us – but outside, above, and all around us. What I’m saying is that we are inextricably bound up with the world around us – not just an island, cut off – and our willpower can move mountains.

But I digress – though the above is important – and certainly part of my own, ‘unfoldment’ recently. Our consciousness is like a flower, first a tight and impermeable bud, but then developing into a beautiful flower, before withering away, and leaving only the memory of its splendor, in the words, works, and impressions we’ve made around us.

Ours is a powerful instinct to seek out what we need. People often say “you teach what you need to learn.” I have a powerful desire to connect and be grounded to earthly things (and vitality). That is because I’ve had the tendency (and constitution) to be airy and slothful at once. You might not believe it – and I have to remind myself: I can go that way – but it was my original constitution, which I’ve taken years to transform (over the past 30 years).

I’m still working out my process, fighting certain battles, trying to improve my self.

Rick’s point, in addition to all the above, is that you really have to tune into yourself, find out what it is that you’re craving (or need), and pursue it open mindedly. Don’t be dogmatic or limited. Say you need vegetables in your diet – but you only eat broccoli – and there’s no broccoli around – what do you do…starve yourself of vegetables, holding out for that broccoli, which simply isn’t available?

As the 60’s tune goes: “if you can’t be, with the one you love – honey – love the one you’re with.” Not that I’m advocating for infidelity. You have to take the sentiment with a grain of salt. Seriously: take advantage of what is, don’t get hung up on what isn’t, because the here and now is all we really have.

Yes, there’s memory, longing, and wishful thinking – but hear me out – there’s a specific point we’re making here.

Smoky oval…beautiful color & energy

It’s a pet peeve to Rick (and to me too) when people say – “I’ve heard this is ‘good for’ such and such, and ‘that’s all I’m really looking for” – to the exclusion of all the other stones before them.

Rocks come in and out of ‘season’ (ie. vogue, or availability) or simply aren’t in stock at any given time. Different stones can ‘do’ the same things for you –  or close enough. It’s not wise to be limited by what’s written in the books. Experiment – get in touch with the energy (or ‘nutrient,’ to use the dietary model) that you’re seeking – and latch on to whatever matches that, feeds that, serves that desire. It may be a totally different variety, size, shape, or color than you expected. And connect. Take advantage of it. Use and savor what it has to offer!

To find out more – please email me at, Kyle Russell – at

If you’re Metro-Boston, please Register to take my class “Crystals Demystified:” Sunday, December 2nd, from 1-3pm (in West Concord, at the Healing Essence Center)…here’s the info link for the class.

Other ways to connect…
Like my page Crystal Concentric page on Facebook.                                                          Pinterest profile Crystals Power
Twitter: @CrystalsPower

Why Rock and Why Now?

Why Rock…and Why Now?

To start with a Religious Tradition – since that’s most people’s “gateway drug” into (or away from!) Spirit – you might know (or want to know) that in Judaism, there is an annual celebration of The Trees. It’s called Tu B’Shvat…and yes, I’m talking about the actual “arbors” growing tall and green, particularly in the summer, and out of doors.

trees in autumn

Trees in Autumn (c/o Google Images).

If that’s acceptable, and Christians have adopted the pre-Christian tradition of creating a shrine with a pine at Christmas, then why shouldn’t there be an annual “turn-over” time for “The Stones,” or Rock? I’m not talking about bringing a cairn indoors (though I do take one specific New Hampshire smoky onto my porch at this point in the year). The idea is not necessarily to create a ritual or celebration for the occasion (though both are certainly in order!).

What I’m talking about is sensing and acknowledging a particular time of the year for its unique, transformative quality, and pairing that time period with the bedrock and craggy backdrop of our lives. Rock is beneath our feet, all around us in the hills, and above us in the highest mountain peaks.

Not to be spooky, but this recently snapped image of tombstones reminds me of how they're employed to signify the eternal memory of a gone soul, and yet the grander context - the eternal cliff behind them - bears testament to why we even choose grave stones to be remembered by...they'll always be around (photo by Kyle Russell).

I’m proposing that this begins within days of October 20th. Maybe that’s on account of my living in a place – New England – that’s truly witness to the 4 seasons. The harvest time is pretty much done, and Halloween (or All Souls Day) is nearly upon us.

The Pagans previously (and still) – as well as the Christians (in a secular capacity) mark a time when “the veil” is thin between the worlds, and spirits are to be pacified with treats (or offerings), lest they turn on (or trick) us. Hence: the festival of “trick or treat.”

Rock (yes, down to those small pebbles we trod on outdoors) predates every human imagination by innumerable eons. How can we pretend to be more important than them?

This vocanic plain in Galapagos symbolizes the original rock face of the planet, and being relatively "young" geologically, it shows - as do everything from earthquakes to tsunamis - that the earth is still in geological flux (photo by Kyle Russell).

I don’t mean to anthropomorphize – as if the hills had eyes – but I’m simply trying to attempt to identify the strata of rock as a whole to be a witness, an entity considerable in and of itself, as materially AND spiritually significant.  If time were a test of meaning, value and significance, surely our paltry spot on the historical time line would sideline us as being irrelevant, except, perhaps, for our unusual capacity (as a species) to bring the planet to its untimely (and undeserved) demise.

I realize the human race has MANY other redeeming qualities, which make it’s relative newness to the scene pale by comparison with the wonders the human race is capable of. Our capacity for love, thought, language, and compassion are paramount. But that’s not my focus here.

...from an aptly named emporium's entryway (photo by Kyle Russell).

As you can see from the title of this posting, I ask the question: Why Rock? And the name of this Blog? It’s Crystal Concentric. It’s a long story, but I’ve become a bit of a rock hound, and more than that, have been exposed to the notion (eegads!) of “Crystal Healing.” Which means, for the purpose of this particular “chapter” of my expression, that I take rock more seriously than merely as something to walk over.

More to come on the “Why Rock?” but now for some more on “Why Now?” The latter is timely (necessarily), the former is timeless. If time is the current moment, every other moment – past and future – partakes of the timeless.

As in the case with the ground itself (which is a blending of organic – dead, previously living matter – and the inorganic worlds), the first frost is “felt” deeply everywhere the Mercury dips down towards freezing. It’s a logical, scientifically measurable happenstance. Earth and stone get colder when the sun shines less on them. They “feel” different, even to our touch.

Plant growth is halted by the oncoming season - the leaves turn read - only the rock face stays constant (photo by Kyle Russell).

The longest day has passed and daylight is waning. No longer is stone a repository of the Sun’s heat (even during the day). It’s every mammal for itself – reptiles and fish will go dormant – many birds fly South. The leaves fall, and most plants will withdraw energetically into themselves. The stone – which remains (as it always has) – is the enduring foundation of the world. Through all the seasons, though it’s eroding gradually, it remains a constant nonetheless.

From a macro perspective, the world itself is an orbiting rock, a great big stone with a molten core, rotating around an even bigger, all-molten fireball of elements. Yet our planet is blue from afar, holding water on its surface. The water is shared in a give and take with the atmosphere. Life is safe (or in any case IS) here. As far as we know (scientifically), this is the only spot in the cosmos capable of hosting Life. That would make this great big rock we live on (and all its component pieces) a kind of significant phenomenon, well worthy of note.

Earth from Space (c/o Google Images).

I heard an interview on NPR with the author (Leslie Marmon) of  “The Turquoise Ledge,” and she mentioned the possibility that extraterrestrial life might have evolved differently elsewhere, choosing to lodge itself in mineral form instead of organically (to thus be more hearty over time and distances), but we wouldn’t think to look there (in stones) for signs of intelligence). Yet don’t we keep time with the steady vibration of quartz? And aren’t all computer components made up of earthly extracts?

Truly, the chance of there being extraterrestrial life is much higher than the likelihood of there NOT being extraterrestrial life (given the number of suns, planets, and galaxies out there). But the power of stones does not rely on the possibility of there being extraterrestrial, or perhaps even terrestrial intelligence lodged inside them. Nor does it rely on the perception of G*d (however defined) – or any holy books – to ascribe value or meaning to it. We hold THESE truths to be self-evident.

Goddess in Stone at Kripalu Institute (photo by Kyle Russell).

If G*d created us in “his,” “her,” or “it’s image,” then surely stone has got to be a primary key to that reflection.

The mere fact of the earth’s rocky crust being the foundation of everything we see and know, even as we gaze out towards the heavens, is intrinsically meaningful (and I would argue: valuable + spiritually salient).

The food we eat is organic, to be sure, but chock full of vitamins and minerals, which are technically non-living elements. All that is can be broken down to these elements – excepting spirit, our sense of meaning, G*d – and the energies that move the atoms within and betwixt one another.

Where do we draw the line between the fixed and the moving – the Creator and the created – the animate and the inanimate? Why is a galloping horse alive and the wind is not? That is not really a question for this (semi-)“treatise,” but it’s a valid one nonetheless, and one worth at least posing here (although just in passing).

Let us come back to “civilization” for a moment. Where does oil come from, all plastics, precious metals, gems and jewelry…things that make the world economy go round and round (and surround our artificial lives in nearly every way)? The earth, that’s where they come from.

What is the Lost City of the Inka if not a montage of painstakingly carved and laid stones (photo by Kyle Russell).

And what is the hardest, most solid, most eternal concretization of the earth’s image (or identity)? It’s stone.

Coming back again to society, where do we live? Figments of our imagination: architectural concepts are realized with iron beams, poured concrete particulates, hewn cliffs and quarries made habitable. The greatest skyscrapers and cathedrals are made of what?

What is the remaining vestige, for all to see, of the great pyramids, the Maya, even the Temple of Solomon…all are stone, all are rock.

So without getting into any additional spiritual conversation or overlays – discussing the potential personal utility of “power stones” to effect any kind of “change” in our lives – let us end this first communication by resting our case: that rock is worthy of a second look, not to be taken for granted, and certainly not to be trifled with.