The Enduring Wisdom of Crystals

The Enduring Wisdom of Crystals
Part 2 
By Judy Hall

Editor’s Note:  Part 1 of this article was printed in the June 2016 issue of Tarot Reflections and you can read it by clicking this link:  
The Enduring Wisdom of Crystals - Part 1

Before tea leaves

When Pliny the Elder, the 1st century Roman geographer, wrote his treatise on stones his intention was to ridicule the beliefs of his time concerning crystals. However, he inadvertently told us just how widespread and wide ranging those beliefs were. He calls it a ‘dreadful lie’ that an Anachitis, the Stone of Necessity, could call up water spirits to act as an oracle for the future, for instance. 

Hydromancy, divination through water, lithomancy, and divination by crystals had long been part of the mantic arts. The belief in the power of stones continued well into the Middle Ages. The magician Henry Cornelius Agrippa tells us ‘the stone Anachitis makes the images of the gods appear. The stone Ennectis, put under them that dream, causeth oracles.’ 

Crystals were cast onto board and used as a kind of dice or held to invoke assistance of the spirits. A beautiful rock crystal dodecahedron with symbols on each of its facets was found in an ancient Greek cave. It could be rolled to give an answer and many of the ‘board games’ and crystals found in early graves could well be oracles, as could the polished rock crystal mirrors. Examples of Egyptian icosahedra (20 sided) forms include: three "made of steatite or faience, inscribed with Greek letters" in Cairo and Paris museums, "four polyhedra from Egypt with Greek letters made of faience, serpentine, steatite, or calcite" housed in the British Museum, "a faience icosahedron inscribed with Greek letters" sold on the art market, and a rock crystal icosahedron "inscribed with Latin letters and Roman numerals" at the Louvre.

crystal balls

Crystal balls were consulted throughout history c. Judy Hall.

Dr John Dee, policy consultant to Queen Elizabeth the First paid Edward Kelly £50 (£75) a year - an enormous amount in those days - to scry with a crystal ball or ‘shewestone’ and Dee’s diaries are full of references to this ‘big, bright clere and glorious’ egg-shaped stone which was accompanied by angels and their messages. Dee also owned a Smoky Quartz ball. I handled one of his shewstones, which was in private hands, many years ago and can attest that it retained its powers!

dees mirror & crystal ball

Dee’s mirror and crystal ball at British Museum c. Judy Hall

The English politician and antiquarian Horace Walpole writes of Dee’s ‘magic speculum’ a highly polished black mirror half an inch in thickness and seven and a quarter inches in diameter which sounds like obsidian, which is said to have been a Mayan Obsidian Mirror. These items are now in the British Museum. Such things seem to have been commonplace. In the 16th century James Thomson wrote ‘one great amusement of our household was in a huge crystal magic globe to spy as you turned it all things that do pass upon this Ant-Hill Earth.’ 


The Breastplate of the High Priest…

We can go back much further in history than this to explore crystal divination. In Exodus 28: 15-30 we are told by Moses that: ‘the people come to me to enquire of God’ (18:15). This was by means of the Breastplate fashioned for his brother Aaron which had twelve crystals set within it. However, it is more likely to have been a kind of bag than the flat plate that is represented today as the Hebrew word means ‘pouch’. 

Crystals could have been pulled from it for divination. The breastplate also contained the Urim and Thumin and the Bible relates their use as an oracle. Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis says the Talmud describes it as functioning ‘as a kind of ouija board with messages being spelled out for the High Priest.’ However, translation difficulties make it impossible to establish exactly which stones were in the breastplate.

Hearsay evidence about the use of the Breastplate as an oracle comes from Josephus, the Roman historian, writing many years later:

From the stones which the High Priest wore (these were sardonyxes and I hold it superfluous to describe their nature, since it is known to all), there emanated a light… which was worn on the right shoulder instead of a clasp emitting a radiance sufficient to give light even to those far away, although the stone previously lackedthissplendour. And certainly, this in itself merits the wonder of all those who do not, out of contempt for religion, allow themselves to be led away by a pretence of wisdom. However, I am about to relate something still more wonderful, namely that God announced victory by means of the twelve stones worn by the High Priest on his breast.


… And the Chariot of Fire

When the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel had his call to prophesy, it involved crystal and astrological imagery:

As I looked a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud with brightness around it and fire flashing forth continually, and in the middle of the fire, .. gleaming amber [also translated as ‘awesome crystal]. In the middle of it .. four living creatures… As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle…   [the fixed cross of astrology]

… I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction, their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl… over the heads of the living creatures there was… a dome, shining like crystal… When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the thunder of the Almighty… Above the dome [was] a throne, in appearance like sapphire… Like the bow in a cloud on a rainy day, such was the appearanceofthesplendourallaround. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. [Ezekiel 1]

This is the famous ‘chariot of fire’ that so many people today interpret as a spaceship coming down to land. Powered by crystals perhaps? Those same crystals certainly form the basis for the New Jerusalem described in Revelations.


A horoscope set out in stones

My own personal favourite account of a crystal oracle is the board used by the Pharaoh Nectanebo to foretell the birth of Alexander the Great. Nectanebo is not exactly a disinterested observer. Later in the story he disguises himself as Ammon, impregnates Olympias after prophesying that she would be visited by the god in the night. It was the means by which Nectanebo cast the synastry (interaction) between the Queen and her husband that caught my attention:

He placed his hand in a fold of his garment and took out an extraordinary little writing tablet, constructed from gold, ivory, ebony and silver, and engraved with three zones. On the first circle were the thirty-six decans, on the second the twelve signs of the zodiac, and on the inner one the Sun and Moon. He put it on a chair. Then he opened a small ivory box, revealing the seven stars and the ascendant made of eight precious stones, which lit up the pictured miniature heaven. The Sun was of crystal, the Moon of diamond, theMarsofhaematite, the Mercury of emerald, the Jupiter of air-stone, the Venus of sapphire, the Saturn of orphite (Serpentine) and the pointer of white marble.

The Alexander Romance

crystal zodiac

Similar boards have indeed been found and the association between crystals and the zodiac goes way back to Mesopotamia (see my MA dissertation on

When scrying was respectable  

In the 19th century Sir John Aubrey gave an eyewitness account of a scrying ball in use with the blessing of the English church for at least two hundred years:

… a miller had it and he did work great cures with it (if curable), and in the Beryl they did see, either the receipt in writing, or else the herb. [A minister had it] the spirits or angels would appear openly, and because the miller (who was his familiar friend) one day happened to see them, he gave him the aforesaid Beryl… Afterwards this Beryl came into somebody's hand in London who did tell strange things by it; insomuch that at last he was questioned for it, and it was taken away by authority (it was about 1645). This Beryl is a perfect sphere, the diameter of it I guess to be something more than an inch; it is set in a ring, or circle, of silver, resembling the meredian of a globe; the stem of it is about ten inches high, all gilt. At the four quarters of it are the names of four angels, viz: Uriel, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel." 

John Aubrey, "Miscellanies," London, 1890.

An esteemed clergyman and president of a Victorian psychical research society Andrew Lang recorded the following story at the beginning of the 20th century:  

"I had given a crystal ball to a young lady, Miss Baillie, who had scarcely any success with it. She lent it to Miss Leslie, who saw a large, square, old-fashioned, red sofa, covered with muslin (which she afterward found in the next country-house she visited). Miss Baillie's brother laughed at these experiments but took the ball into his study, and came back looking 'gey gash.' He admitted that he had seen a vision -somebody he knew, under a lamp. He said he would discover during the week whether he saw right or not. This was at 5.30 on a Sunday afternoon. On Tuesday Mr Baillie was at a dance in a town 40 miles from his house, and met a Miss Preston. 'On Sunday,' he said, 'about half-past five, you were sitting under a standard lamp, in a dress I never saw you wear, a blue blouse with lace over the shoulders, pouring out tea for a man in blue serge, whose back was towards me, so that I only saw the tip of his moustache.' 'Why, the blinds must have been up,' said Miss Preston. 'I was at Dulby.’


The Mormon Seer Stone

Revelations through crystals occur up to the present day, a religion has been founded on their revelations. Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement, apparently used seer stones. A common practice in early 19th century New England. He had at least three stones - one of which he lost and recovered by looking into a neighbour's seerstone. Smith used two stones, ‘the interpretors’, called the Urim and Thummim, mentioned in The Book of Mormon, claiming that that God communicated to them through these stones. Smith claimed to have discovered these ancient scrying rocks by aid of an angel along with the Golden Plates.

john smiths show stone

John Smith’s show stone  Sources???

Are oracles still relevant today?

I would answer a resounding yes to this question. My work with crystals has shown me that they are eager to help us forge a new way forward, a path of expanded awareness that takes us beyond the everyday into the multi-dimensions of consciousness. They show us what is necessary to bring a new understanding into play, to create a ‘new age.’ I call this the path of the soul. 

So? What can crystal scrying do for you?  

The oracle speaks for your soul. Each card has replies slanted towards self understanding, divination and a healing insight. The answers encompass fortunate and seemingly less fortunate possibilities. The cards do not judge which is which. It’s best to let your own intuitive guidance point to what is relevant to you. The crystal oracle connects directly to your heart. Crystal wisdom can only work for you if you are prepared to let go of the past, incorporate the oracle’s advice into every aspect your life and expand your awareness into the amazing mysteries of soul and higher consciousness that awaits you. The best way to use the cards is to meditate with them, keep them under your pillow and above all, live the life you meant to be.


Case history: activating inner sight

A couple of years ago I had a cataract operation that was, to quote the surgeon, ‘complicated’. I could barely see, required several further operations on it, and my other eye needed doing. I had to cancel all my workshops for six months. The future looked bleak. So I turned to the Crystal Wisdom Oracle and pulled a card:

Rainbow Mayanite: the rainbow bridge  

22 - Rainbow Mayanite copy

Crystal Wisdom Healing Oracle, Rainbow Mayanite c. Michael Illas/Watkins Publishing

Iridescent Rainbow Mayanite bridges the many dimensions of this world and the rest of creation. It has made its presence known to heal unconditionally and assist the shift to a new level of consciousness: literally a new age.          

Vibration: exceptionally high   

Chakra: Higher crown. Recalibrates all to optimum functioning

Timing: Aquarius 

Soul path: becoming a rainbow bridge between the worlds

Self-understanding: You are a leader for the ascension of our planet. When you raise your vibrations the whole benefits. De-energise old patterns. Release karmic encrustations and toxic dross absorbed from others, or the environment, from your etheric body – the crystal assists. Go within to find your rainbow-treasure house. Raise your consciousness to build new, supportive structures at every level and move into a new age.

Divination: You are a herald of a new age. Recognise how your soul is manoeuvring you onto your true pathway and how apparently detrimental situations offer soul gifts. Re-examine projects in the making and let go those not for your highest good or that of others. You see things from both sides. Always speak truth no matter what the cost but be tactful. You have natural healing ability, focus it wisely. 

 I followed the advice of my Oracle. My eyes recovered. A new pathway did indeed open up and my consciousness expanded rapidly. In due course, the Oracle was revised and expanded with a new suite to take in all that I had learned. 

The Crystal Wisdom Healing Oracle is published by Watkins Publishing.

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