s I walked the cracked sidewalks of the small main street downtown, I wondered if everyone could tell where I was headed. Then I wondered why I cared so much. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going—I had only visited this metaphysical shop once before, two or three years ago, with my mother. Reluctantly. I took no interest in it then, being that myself (and my ego) were in full-blown skeptic mode at the time. Somehow though, my feet remembered the steps to shop, and before I knew it, I was staring down the same friendly Dutch doors that I had begrudgingly entered once before.
I entered the shop, and patiently waited my turn behind a kind-looking blonde woman. She looks very normal, I thought to myself. What I am doing is completely normal. She and the sales associate consulted a gigantic book, next to which they held up a stone. Pleased, the sole customer and her beautiful farmer’s market basket full of greenery left the store, leaving just myself and the sales associate.
I will not mince words here: I was shitting bricks. In the car, I felt calm and collected. I had, after all, a cursory working knowledge of the crystal world. Over the previous six months I had immersed myself in a variety of wellness podcasts, guides to spirituality, and YouTube videos that all gave me some idea of what I was getting into—but when it came time to actually “do the deed” and go buy a couple, I felt a little uneasy. Spirituality is a vulnerable arena in which to be a noob.
What was I even going to ask for? Were the needs I wanted to meet going to be interpreted as newbie-crystal-lover selfish? Was I going to be judged for wanting crystals to bring me prosperity and a good creative flow—was that good enough?
“I NEED A CRYSTAL STARTER KIT.” The words tumbled out, much more loudly than anticipated, over the soft, meditative music playing in the store. The same kind-looking employee who helped the woman in front of me gave me a warm, unblinking stare. Immediately, I felt a whoosh of calm energy. I don’t know a ton about auras or vibrational frequencies (yet), but this lady was seriously centered. She slowly pulled out her yellow notebook, and matter-of-factly told me she could help me with that. She then added it would end up being a $15-$20 investment. Practical salesperson, I thought, happily. I enjoyed her forthright mention of the price, and I nodded my head vigorously as she took me over to the jars and bowls of crystals littered throughout the store.
Quietly, and with great purpose, she began to list the crystals from her small legal pad. I appreciated her preparedness. This gratefulness quickly morphed into a panic, however: Was I supposed to bring my own notebook? Would I get a quiz before I left the store? I was managing to work myself, rather quickly, into another heightened state of anxiety. I felt completely vulnerable.
The first stone she chose for me, ironically enough, was a piece of hematite. She looked me up and down and told me it was “grounding.” My energy was pretty transparent, obviously. She gave me the opportunity to pick whatever stone I felt drawn to in the bowl, and I grabbed a heavy piece of that cool, black stone, rectangular in shape and just perfect for the palm of my hand.
Next, we dug around in some bowls of black tourmaline, which is meant to keep the negative energy at bay. This sounded incredibly useful, so I picked out the largest of the large pieces. We found a piece of clear quartz—a stone I recognized from the research I had done prior to entering the store—and I remembered it as a powerful amplifier of energy. After we placed this one into my growing pile of badass crystals, somewhere in between the unakite and prehnite I was blindly grabbing and throwing into my mix, I had the courage to speak more to what I actually needed out of this trip. Maybe it was the hematite, boosting my self-esteem, but it was time to bring up some of the goals I had for my crystal collection.
What about…uhhh…stones for creating space for creative energy?” I so had wished I had tried out these words before I said them for the first time in a metaphysical shop. They felt sticky in my mouth, like they belonged to someone far more enlightened than me. Determined, I continued. “I’m switching career paths, from something more traditional to a more creative field, and I want to really harness my imagination. And…uh…create abundance. Like, wealth. But all abundance is okay.” Clearly, I was killing it in my mission statement. Undeterred by my sudden interruption in our crystal collecting, I was led to a piece of carnelian for my creator’s mindset, and then citrine and pyrite to help my manifestation of abundance become a reality.
Pleased with the pile of small, pretty (and hopefully very useful) stones I had collected, I thought my journey was nearing its end. That’s when, from a back room in the shop, a small, gentle man spoke out. His words were soft, but firm. “Get her some raw ruby.”
Well, then. Here comes my real prescription. Out with my starter kit and what I think I need, and in with the real deal. I selected a beautifully tumbled piece of raw ruby from the basket, only cringing mildly when I realized that it would cost half the price of my entire “starter kit.” Then, when I walked back up to the cash register, the associate gently pushed a book, aptly titled The Crystal Bible, towards me. It was time to evaluate the properties of this stone I was recommended by someone with much more vision than myself.
As I read the properties of the ruby, I smiled. That ruby was going to stimulate my motivation, enhance my concentration, give me power to follow my bliss, amplify my creative energy, and increase my sexual energy and libido…wait, hold up. Sexual energy? I assumed that this added benefit would not upset my husband one bit, so, being the good wife I am, I tacked my ruby onto crystal mountain, as I had taken to calling it in my mind.
When I first entered the store, I was almost overwhelmed by the vibrations of the space, feeling as though everyone within its walls would be able to tell that I was a spiritual virgin, and that this was my first real foray into this community, beyond the books I had been immersed in the last few months. I felt like a fraud. After I had spent those first 15 minutes in the store, and I had been coached and directed in my purchases, I felt much calmer. I observed, with great interest, the decks of angel cards, the figurines of archangels, the signs promoting unity, the beautiful-smelling incense—and I couldn’t fathom why I was so scared to come in here in the first place. I needed to make room in my busy brain for myself to be the beginner at something, and I realized that this was a great place to start.
After I made my purchases and came home, I began to peruse the news articles from the weekend. I felt instant overwhelm. Disquiet. A deep sadness I had felt very few times before. It is a rare time to feel as though your country’s government is working against the ideas of democracy. Again, I lost myself to my anxious mind for a moment, not quite understanding how such hatred could coexist in a world with such light and love.
“Hey—I think this one is my favorite.”
My husband padded into the room, clutching one of the crystals I had laid out on the kitchen table. He plopped it into my lap—it was my hematite. I couldn’t help but grin as I picked up my grounding stone. I realized that I was going to feel discomfort along my new spiritual path—growing doesn’t always feel good, after all—but if there was ever a time in history where I needed to become my best self, this is it.
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The Spiritual Virgin is Allie Becker’s new monthly column where she documents her adventures in spiritual exploration. Sign up for Spirit Guides’ newsletter to stay in the loop on Becker’s monthly posts.