The History and Modern Application of Witchcraft and Crystals Jessica Broverman October 27, 2020 “Witchcraft is the practical application of magic.” We have all heard mystical tales of witches, warlocks and paganism. The spells that have been told, the ritual-based offerings and magical stones casting out energy. Humans have been heavily invested in the use of crystals and stones for thousands of years, but is there any merit to their use? Can crystals actually alter anything in our lives with their properties? Weelunk has asked the local experts just that. Carrie Eller, owner and operator of Under the Elder Tree, sells assorted stones, crystals, herbs and even boasts a Himalayan salt sanctuary. “To the skeptics, anything in life can be a tool to make positive changes. You just have to want the change bad enough to make an effort,” said Eller. While this thought can be applied to witchcraft, Eller doesn’t necessarily believe it can be applied to being a modern witch per se. “Nobody knows for sure how these cultures implemented them as these were groups of people with no written language to refer to for historical references,” said Eller regarding the lives of witches, warlocks and Wiccans, also known as Picts, Druids and Celts. “However, archeological evidence shows they lived closely with the earth, cycles of the seasons and celestial bodies. And as everything always had meaning and associations with other things, it stands to reason that the use of stones was a part of their culture too.” Eller’s Himalayan salt room at her store in Centre Market offers a large assortment of stones, rocks and crystals, along with the featured Himalayan salt room, which Eller says provides several healing qualities. Eller does mention that in recent years, there has been an increased interest in crystal usage in Western society. While there is no one reason for this increase, Eller says there are many resources available now more than ever that can help people dive deep into religions that take part in this type of practice. “Now, in modern times, there is a resurgence of people embracing earth-based religions who go by the terms of witches and warlocks. There can be information found all over the internet and in many hundreds of books showing that lots enjoy the use of crystals in their religious practice,” said Eller. While using crystals to create spells is widely questioned, Eller doesn’t dismiss that these ancient stones hold some semblance of power within them. In fact, she says in some instances it is scientifically-supported. “Scientifically, every object in existence vibrates at its own frequency related to its specific density. This is true for stones, trees, water, and even humans — everything. This can be quantified in a scientific lab and is a vast subject entirely on its own,” said Eller. “When you place objects beside each other, their vibrations affect each other. So, if a specific thing (crystal) has a specific density (frequency), which has a specific meaning and usage, theoretically, utilizing that stone will have an influence on us.” Eller’s core belief when it comes to the usage of crystals is that they are what you make of them. “Many different religions and cultures have used crystals as part of their spiritual existence. Some to channel and amplify the power of the sun or the moon and their Gods (and) some to purify and amplify religious relics,” said Eller. “There’s no right or wrong way to use a stone. You’re the one wanting the change, so use it in the best way for your own situation,” said Eller. “For some, that means jewelry on the body or perhaps a lucky stone in the pocket. Others like to meditate with it. It’s all up to the user to figure out the best way.” While Eller understands to be wary of witchcraft, she does have a strong opinion on questioning the power behind moonstones, blue chalcedony crystals and alike. “To the skeptics, anything in life can be a tool to make positive changes. You just have to want the change bad enough to make an effort.” While Eller keeps her store open to all forms of metaphysical related properties, Justine Young, owner and operator of Little One Crystal, focuses solely on gemstones. “I do weekly live sales where I show off the specimens I have in for that week along with the pieces my dad crafts at his metal shop,” said Young. “I mainly work with sourcing and selling all of the crystal specimens themselves, while my dad, over at Tooled Metals, brings to life gorgeous pieces of art with the gems I find for him.” Young and her father recently started working together by combining their businesses. Now, Justine Young’s gems can be worn as accent pieces or for the more spiritual customer, as an energy source. Young is a certified Gemologist and received her education from the International Gem Society. “There are tons of ways people choose to use crystals and gemstones for their healing properties,” said Young. “Some people collect and work with thousands of different crystals in their practices every day with energy work, reiki and yoga, while others simply acquire them for home decor beauty.” While it is known that many use crystals as decorative pieces, Young firmly believes and agrees with Eller that there is much more to crystals than just looking attractive atop a fireplace or bookshelf. Young has made crystals her life and knows all the ins and outs of precious gemstones and their energy properties. “You often hear people talking about the healing properties or the ‘energies’ of crystals. Believe me, it’s an odd concept to hear for the first time, but scientifically, it’s correct! Just as the ocean has its gravitational pulls to the moon generating the energies to create high and low tide, the teeny tiny atoms inside the crystals do just the same,” said Young. While Young doesn’t necessarily believe crystals can be conductors of magical spells and potions, she does believe they can create change and certainly have a deep-rooted history in Pagan-related rituals. “I think we’ve all seen the scary witch with the pointy hat and the crystal ball reading someone’s future in movies. Media likes to exaggerate things of that nature of course, but there’s definitely truth to it when you break it down,” said Young. “Just as someone has Christian, Buddhist, Atheist and so on beliefs, one can be involved with Pagan witchcraft as well. Believe it or not, Pagan witchcraft was based on the pre-Christian practices in Europe. Many people today know it as “Wicca,” due to Pagan witchcraft being quite an intimidating terminology. The Wiccan belief focuses a great deal on nature and connecting spiritually with the elements earth provides to us. Many forms of rituals are used in the Wiccan practice, which most commonly includes crystals, sage, pentacles and many other items that all represent the four elements of fire, earth, water and air.” Based on what Eller and Young have said, there is a middle ground between being a non-believer and being a full-fledged witch. “To the skeptics out there, I hear you guys! It all sounds strange and sort of crazy, but I promise you the metaphysical world is out there and quite beautiful if you’re open to giving it a chance,” said Young. Young collects thousands of stones and crystals and sells them via Instagram @littleonecrystal. Macey Negri, who works in Downtown Wheeling, is not a professional when it comes to crystals, but she is an avid user of them for spiritual healing. “I have done some research on using colors to protect my energy from other people’s negative energy,” said Negri. “There have been many times this has saved me from anxiety attacks. The color I use most frequently to block negative energy is purple.” Macey Negri thinks witchcraft is heavily used today, but not so much in the past. She, however, uses crystals in her daily life to get through anxiety attacks and distressing situations. While Negri believes witches and warlocks use these methods now, but not so much in the past, she does use many methods to increase her safety and wellbeing. “You can do (these) practices by imagining yourself with a light orb surrounding you or even the person you want to give protection to,” said Negri. “I also protect my house with white light if I feel scared that something might happen.” No matter what your stance on witchcraft and crystals, Young says there is a purpose for every crystal and every person can take part. “There’s a crystal out there for every emotion and even at times a physical ache! Sounds crazy right? How about the copper bracelet you always see your father or grandmother wearing for their arthritis? Guess what, copper is a mineral,” said Young. “Copper is used in many different forms of wear because our skin is taking in very small bits of it, which can aid in decreasing the inflammation in our muscles.” “So, for me, when someone says they carry around a quartz tumble in their pocket all because it gives them mental clarity and encouragement to enjoy their job, hey, go for it! At the end of the day, our happiness is what matters most. So, if a pocket full of rocks is aiding to the joys of this world, well, sign me up!” • With a background in journalism and being a true Wheeling native, Jessica Broverman was destined to work with Weelunk. She holds a degree in journalism with a minor in criminal justice and works with Williams Lea Tag as a legal proofreader. When she isn’t typing away for Weelunk or WLT, she is enjoying a coffee at one of her many favorite spots in Wheeling, spending time with friends, or having fun with her husband Zachary and their two cats, Proctor and Max. 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