stone work / by jill mckenna

* Before reading, understand that mining and harvesting rocks and minerals is a dirty, problematic industry with often little oversight. It is important to know where your stones are coming from and what is done to the earth in order to extract them. This article is hyperbolic in parts (people can actually energetically work with stones, and the way they are mined can be terribly hard on the earth) but illuminating. It’s important information. Just like it is important to know that the manufacturing of denim jeans is a huge, ongoing environmental travesty, yet they are useful pants that serve a purpose for many. And, the mining of cobalt for our super-useful cellphones is of course, highly problematic. It’s important to be aware and make the best decisions that we can.

If you are looking for stones, search your local Goodwill first (look at the jewelry, often you can find semi-precious stones in out of fashion settings, just take them home and pop them out). Ask friends, put the call out… often parents or grandparents have a bunch of stones or old jewelry they no longer use. Or, look or post in Craigslist and Buy Nothing groups. Stones come to us when the time is right. Trust that. You don’t have to force it or go spend a bundle at your local gem dealer. Start with the rocks in your garden. Really.

I began working with stones and minerals 6 years ago when I was given a beautiful, antique, peacock green azurite pendant in a rose gold frame on a rose gold chain. Wearing it, I quickly perceived subtle energy which to me felt soothing (I have a lot of fire in my natal chart) and also caused my feelings and thoughts to become more integrated. I felt smoother wearing it, more woven and seamless. Curious, not long after I felt compelled to go to a local rock shop. I just wandered around noticing which ones I felt most drawn to and ended up with a rose quartz, amethyst, and lapis.

Since then, I’ve gained more stones and minerals. Some gifted, many found (literally the stones you encounter can do this work; I have a bowl full of polished beach agates), some purchased. Unless they come from your yard or the beach, it’s wise to energetically cleanse them before use or carrying. This can be done by setting them in a bowl of rice or salt (or a combo of the two) for days or weeks, or set out under the full moon or put into a bowl with Selenite or Ulexite. Be mindful, many stones should not sit in water and water isn’t necessary to cleanse them. Also, be aware some stones are toxic to handle, especially for children, Rock shops do not note this. You have to know which are toxic and how to handle them, or not. Sometimes I see toddlers chewing on their mother’s gemstone necklaces and I can’t help but wince. Some minerals contain mercury or lead. Remember asbestos is a mineral too! Just because it comes from the earth, doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Here are some great starter stones:

These 3 stones are considered primary for beginners

  • Amethyst (color fades in sunlight, fyi)

  • Rose Quartz

  • Citrine

Other great beginner stones

  • Black Tourmaline

  • Clear Quartz

  • Smoky Quartz

  • Selenite (never place in water)

The energy can be subtle for many. (If you have a lot of water in your birth chart, Pisces, Scorpio, Cancer, you might find yourself predisposed to this energy and psychic experiences.) Once you’ve cleaned them, sit with each one separately, meditate or close your eyes and let your mind drift. Pay attention to what your body is feeling and write that down. Start with three stones and see if you even like working with them. Like literary criticism, experimental music, and roller coasters, they aren’t for everyone and that’s just fine!

If you are new to working with them, be aware that stones do funny things. They will disappear, reappear, let you know they belong to someone else (and you have to give them away), crack in two when their work with you is done, start gaining inclusions and fissures despite only sitting on flat surfaces, and generally age along with you.


Stones really do disappear and reappear; it’s wild. A lot of people have many ideas about how and why this happens. I hold nothing more elaborate than that they seem to move between planes. I have lost stones for years only to have them reappear in exactly the place I knew I left them and already checked dozens of times. Or, sometimes they reappear in totally different places, even different geographic locations.

And, sometimes they crack into pieces. Citrine has done this twice on me, once while I was holding it in an opened palm. In those instances, it’s wise to let those stones go. Their work with you is done. The pieces can be cleansed and gifted to friends or let go into your yard or the earth.

Other times, the stone can feel so potent you can see the effects of them in your life in non-subtle ways. Many, many people have stories about Moldavite, which is a tekite, myself included. For me, the stones pictured here (above) have all done this work.

The one that looks like a rusty sputnik is Aragonite and conducts flow and removes grounding blocks. That one means a ton to me because when my son was 2 he picked it up and handed it to me with a smile. I trust that wisdom and it has served me well.

Candle quartz (looks a bit like a pointy ovary) and Mangano Calcite (creamy white) helped me during the processing and recovery I had to do after nearly 13 months of severe post-partum depression.

Smoky quartz (heart) is the first stone I was ever numinously guided to and it’s what I consider my home stone. It soothes my brain, and does a bunch of energetic heavy lifting and grounding. If I had one stone only, it would be smoky quartz, followed by amethyst.

The purple chunk at the bottom is Super 7 Cacaxonite. I was very strongly guided to this stone, purchased it from a local shop, and then it disappeared 1 week later. I don’t get the feeling this one is coming back, though you never know. It brought an immediate change in my thinking, alignment, and ability to transcend old thoughts and beliefs. It mended abrasive areas of mental habits. In a short week, it rearranged me a whole bunch.

The light green, Chrysoprase, is generally soothing and calming. It’s energy is like water and it has centered me often.

The dark green in the upper left is the most potent for many people. It’s Moldavite. It left me once for a year and then came back. It’s often the equivalent of the Tarot’s Tower Card — it’s energy will transform your life for the better, no matter how difficult the changes are that eventually create the improvement. It’s not recommended to drive with this tekite, it can create dizziness, feelings of drunkeness, confusion, stumbling. It took me 1 year to even be able to keep it in the same room as me. There is a lot, a LOT of fake Moldavite! Be careful where you are getting it from and only use reputable gem dealers.

The time my Moldavite went missing, I walked into my local metaphysical shop and the owner (presumably) said, “You look worried.” I said: “My Moldavite went missing…” There was a long pause between us while we started at each other. Then, simultaneously, we both began nervously, knowingly laughing. It’s not the one you want to see go missing, to be sure.

The energy of stones can be subtle at first. You might feel and perceive nothing, but working with them over time, you begin to tune into your body in a way that allows you to experience subtle shifts— like your edges are being smoothed or your thoughts and feelings become integrated. It’s quiet work that requires developed energetic perception, which requires practice. Some people simply have it with little development, like great coordination or inherently good eyesight. Others have to develop it or use tools to help amplify it. Meditating with stones is a great way to start gleaning their energy and tuning in to small shifts.