When you first obtain crystals or have been using them for some time, or even if they have been left sitting around somewhere, they will have absorbed a range of different energies that they will have been exposed to by yourself and others who may have handled them and transferred various energies and emotions into them.
Therefore, it's important to 'cleanse' your crystals as soon as you obtain them, and on a regular basis (daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on use) however, you may have been given a crystal as a gift from someone who may have programmed it especially for you with specific energies. In this case the stone may not need this initial cleansing.
This cleansing process isn't a 'physical' cleaning with soap and water, but intended to cleanse the stone of its stored energies, both good and bad, which can be released again by the stone at any time and once it becomes loaded with energy. Crystals used specifically for healing should be cleansed before and after use.
Several cleansing methods are recommended, they are:
1) Salt Water
Suitable crystals can be left to soak in sea water or water mixed with sea salt. Cooking salt can also be used if sea salt/water is not available. You should fill a glass bowl (not metal) about half to one third full and place your crystals so they are fully submerged in the salt water for anywhere between 1 to 24 hours. Many people leave them in salt water overnight but a crystal that needs a much deeper and more thorough cleansing can be left for up to 1 week. You should thoroughly rinse your crystals in cool running water after spending time in salt water to remove any remaining salt. After use, the salt water must be flushed away and never re-used because it will have absorbed negative and unwanted energies.
Salt water cleansing is considered one of the best and most thorough ways to cleanse crystals, but please be aware that this method must be avoided for certain crystals as it can have an adverse effect on them and even change their appearance and properties! Stones that should not be soaked in salt water include crystals that are porous, contain metal or have a water content, for example Opal. Stones and minerals that should be kept away from salt include Pyrite, Lapis Lazuli, Opal, Hematite, etc.
2) Dry Salt
Another salt method is to half-fill a glass bowl with sea salt (or cooking salt) and place your crystals directly into the salt. Either bury them into the dry salt or leave them on the surface. They should be left in the salt for several hours, overnight or for several days. Your crystals should then be rinsed thoroughly under cool running water to remove any remaining salt. After use, the salt must be thrown away and never re-used because it will have absorbed negative and unwanted energies.
Again, take care when placing your crystals directly onto dry salt as the salt can have an adverse effect on certain crystals, as explained above.
3) Non-Contact Salt
This is considered the safest salt-cleansing method and should be used where the crystals may otherwise be damaged by direct contact with salt. This is also a good method if you are cleansing gem stones found in jewellery or gems surrounded by metal.
First, fill a glass bowl half to two thirds full with dry sea salt (or cooking salt). Then place a smaller glass container or shallow drinking glass and half-bury this glass into the salt. You can then place your crystals directly into the empty glass which is sitting half buried in the dry salt. The salt will still be able to draw out the stored energies within the stones but this method will take longer to work than direct contact with salt. You may also pour just enough water (preferably pure, distilled or mineral water) into the smaller glass container, just enough to cover the crystals. This will protect them and prevent direct 'salt exposure' or 'salty air' from causing any corrosion or adverse effects to any metals or other fittings that may surround the gems. Also, bear in mind that certain crystals should not be left to soak in water.
The used salt should be thrown away and never re-used.
4) Crystal Druse, Bed, Geode or Cluster
All crystals can be cleansed safely by placing them inside an Amethyst Geode Cave overnight or for 24-48 hours. An Amethyst Druse, Cluster, or Bed can also be used in the same way. A Clear Quartz Geode, Bed or Cluster provides a faster cleansing process than Amethyst, but both methods are equally as effective. Simply place no more than a few crystals onto the crystal points and leave for anything up to 24-48 hours. These crystal cluster formations (both Amethyst and Quartz) have the ability to absorb the energies contained within crystals, neutralise the energies and then release 'good' energy from the cluster back into the crystals being cleansed, so they can effectively cleanse and energise at the same time.
Another popular method of cleansing crystals is by 'Smudging'. This involves burning either Smudge Sticks or Incense Sticks and holding the crystals in the smoke to cleanse the stored energies. Several types of incense are specifically recommended for this because, when burned, they release certain elements into the air via the smoke which can effectively remove bad and built-up energies. A feather can be used to fan the smoke across the crystals and this only needs to be done for a short amount of time. 20 to 30 seconds should be long enough.
You can also use visualisation or 'thought energy' to cleanse crystals. Simply hold the crystal, focus on it, and visualise a bright white light surrounding the crystal, followed by a beam of white light coming down through the stone, passing all the way through the stone, taking away stored energy within the stone. Do this until you feel happy that the white light has done its job and flushed away the stored energies. The 'thought energy' generated by you will be transmitted to the stone and this cleansing energy will do the job of clearing the stone of its stored energies.
Once your crystal has been cleansed you will need to energise it again so that it can continue to release its own natural vibrations and energies. There are several ways to energise crystals and the most popular methods are as follows:
1) Water Energising
Allow your crystals to sit in a drinking glass or bowl under cool running tap water for several minutes, 10-20 minutes should be long enough. If you are near to a natural running river, stones can be placed in an open mesh bag and left for a short time in the natural running water. Running water can also cleanse as well as energise the stones at the same time.
Please check that your crystal can be emerged safely in water, since some should not be left to soak in water as this can have an adverse effect on them. Specifically, porous stones or those with high metal content.
2) Sunshine and Moonlight
The natural energies transmitted by the Sun and Moon can also energise your crystals with natural energies. Many people like to leave their newly cleansed stones under Moonlight and Sunlight for a day or two to allow them to absorb the different energies from the Moon and Sun. The Sun provides a stronger energy, whereas the Moon has a more gentle energy.
When leaving crystals in Sunlight, please be aware that some coloured stones may fade over a period of time if left in strong sunlight too often. This can happen with Amethyst, for example. In this case, try not to leave your crystals in strong sun for more than an hour or so. To be on the safe side, place in sunlight during sunrise and/or sunset because the sun's rays won't be as strong during these times of the day.
3) Physical Contact
Native Americans believe that it's not always necessary to energise crystals with any of the above methods because they will naturally energise themselves from our body's own energy field when they are picked up and handled, or rubbed between the palms of the hands. So this is another method you may want to consider.
Feel free to do whatever you feel is best for you and your crystals, or you may wish to use one or all the above methods when energising your own crystals.
Before starting, you may want to clear the room and yourself of extra or unwanted energies by using a cleansing Smudging Stick or Incense.
To program a crystal for specific use or with specific energies, sit quietly away from distractions or strong electrical devices and external energies, then hold the crystal in front of you, clear your mind and focus on the stone. Give the crystal a cleanse with white light as explained above. Concentrate on the specific energy that you wish to program the crystal with, and 'transmit' the energies and thoughts from your mind directly to the stone. Be clear and direct when doing this and don't try to confuse or overload the crystal with different thoughts and energies. Do this until you feel happy that the required thoughts and energies have been transmitted to the stone.