Crystals are everywhere lately: at weddings, in our beauty products, and even in our water bottles. But if you’re new to the world (and trust us, it is a whole expansive world), it can seem intimidating to dip your toes in. Luckily, working with crystals is actually accessible; everyone can integrate them into their homes and their mindfulness practices with just a little bit of guidance. Michael Carbaugh, founder of candle and incense dream-brand Sandoval Aromatics, gave us some tips on how to work with crystals even as a beginner. As someone who personally charges and cleanses all the crystals used in Sandoval’s products, he knows a thing or two about working with these mysterious rocks.

1. Start with the essentials. It can be very tempting to go wild on your first trip to your neighborhood crystal shop, but it’s probably best to get comfortable working with a crystal before you commit to one of everything. Carbaugh suggests rose quartz to start: “This crystal opens the capacity to give and receive love,” he tells us. He also suggests choosing some amethyst (a crystal that signifies “creativity, fire, and passion, through logic and sobriety,” he says) and citrine (which “helps one transform their dreams into reality”). That being said, these are just suggestions, and intuition is key when working with crystals. “Go with what feels right! If you’re attracted to something, it’s only going to be that much more powerful for your practice,” says Carbaugh.

2. Give your crystals a place to live. Treat your crystals with love and care by placing them somewhere that they can have space and be appreciated. “I keep a sort of ‘altar-lite’ on a credenza in my dining/kitchen area and a few in my living area,” Carbaugh tells us. Though, of course, you will likely move your crystals around from place to place depending on your needs. Carbaugh sometimes keeps his crystals at his bedside (serving as “reminders before sleeping, sending yourself sweet dreams and good vibes”), and even on the arm of his sofa when he feels like he’s needing the vibes. “I grab them and keep them near me when I’m watching TV or if I’m stressed or trying to figure something out,” he says.

3. Don’t forget to charge. What do your iPhone and your crystal collection have in common? They both need to charge. “I clean my crystals and the crystals we use for production on the New Moon and the Full Moon,” Carbaugh notes. Each of Sandoval’s incense tins actually contains an amethyst charged under the full moon. While your practice for this may vary, Carbaugh’s involves smudging and cleansing his crystals. “[I] use a sage wand and one of our incenses to smudge the crystals, blowing the smoke and wafting around all the nooks and crannies,” he says. “I then add distilled water to wash and cleanse.” To charge the crystals under the moon, Carbaugh suggests setting your stones outside at night. “It’s best to have some moonlight on the crystals to get them charging up,” he suggests. Most importantly, “think of your intentions during all the processes. Be mindful of every step and honor each step,” he says. The result, in theory, is that you’ll feel more in touch with yourself and within the context of your life. “All of this helps center and focus my life goals, and plans. It’s a great way to check in with yourself and establish mile markers,” he says.

4. Make it personal. Working with crystals isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. “Develop your own mantra, whatever it may be, and recite it out loud or silently to yourself,” suggests Carbaugh. And as with any mindfulness practice, focusing inward is key. “In the end, I feel like crystal energy is what you make of it, beyond any scientific explanation,” admits Carbaugh. “I think I’ve learned over the years that vibes and intentions affect outcomes more than anything. Carrying a little crystal in your purse or change pocket reminds us that our lives can be influenced by our own intentions, and that we have the power to design our life experience.”

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(Photo via Getty Images)