Samhain is a time of year when we honour our Beloved dead, but sometimes getting through the grief and the feelings of loss that come with knowing those who have crossed through the veil can be difficult, debilitating and can interfere with our daily lives. Grief is a hard process and everyone grieves differently. There are no hard and fast rules and the stages of grief outlined in many self-help books may not look as pretty and be packed so neatly.
When Pixie died, I didn’t feel anger, I just felt emptiness, denial and numbness, my grief definitely effected every aspect of my life, I struggled to bath, struggled to get out of bed, and struggled to accept that she was no longer traipsing around my cottage with her tiny little paws. I decided that I would use some gemstones to help me to get through the process in a more healthy manner, so that even though I would understand the pain of losing her, that I would still be able to function and not lose myself completely to the depression that is already a part of my every day reality.
The stones I speak of below are ones I personally use in my own work during times of grief and the healing process accompanying a great loss.
Rose quartz is an incredibly compassionate stone. It is associated with unconditional love, or to put it in terms of witchcraft, of “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust”. It is strongly aligned with the Heart Chakra, and is one of my birthstones as a Taurus. As it is aligned with the heart chakra it helps to rebalance shock and trauma in the heart region, including the feelings of grief and loss associated with death.
This stone is one I often use in my rites for Hathor, a Goddess associated with the funerary process as a nourisher of the dead. When working with Rose quartz during my own grieving process I called on Hathor and Her ability to nourish the heart. Rose quartz can allow us to accept changes in our lives and there is no change that is more difficult for the living to process than Death itself. I found it effective to bless my Rose quartz with Lavender and Rose essential oils in order to bring forth its power to help heal during the grieving process.
The Apache Tear is a very powerful stone, which aligns very well with the Powers of Anubis. Its energy is more gentle than the typical obsidian, so although it is a form of obsidian and carries many of obsidian’s properties, it is less shocking for the heart to process during grief.
When a person grieves it can often take a physical toll on the body. This can be due to the fact that our aura or spiritual body is weakened by these feelings of loss, and the shock and trauma that we feel when Death takes someone we love can act as a drain on that energy. Apache Tears help to protect the aura from further drain and damage and has been historically used to help during the grieving process and times of sorrow.
This stone is also a very compassionate stone, especially when working with Anubis, who as a psychopomp has a very compassionate energy. I remember feeling Anubis’ presence in the waiting room before Pixie was put down. She was a weakened lump in my lap, the medicine had not been working and she could not move her tiny body anymore. Anubis gently cupped her soul in his hands and when it was time for her to go with Him, I felt along with the deepest despair, the most beautiful feelings of compassion emanating from Him.
Onyx is a very powerful stone to use during the grieving process. Not only does Onyx help when we are feeling enormous stress on our bodies and minds, which grief can exacerbate, it is an incredibly supportive stone, allowing us to grieve while protecting us from tipping over into negative patterns which depression can lead to.
I feel that this stone is also very strongly aligned with Anubis and my morning devotional prayer says “Your staff strengthens my way”, He like the Onyx can bring strength to our weakened and aching bodies and souls. It is an incredibly healing stone, but must be cleansed regularly as it can draw in negative energy, especially when dealing with very powerful emotions like grief, loss and depression.
Moonstone is particularly powerful and can sometimes be too overpowering for people to use who are sensitive to the moons energy. I’ve heard people who are particularly psychically inclined say that they prefer to temper moonstone with other crystals.
As I am someone who tends toward numbness and feelings of dissociation I find moonstone particularly helpful to bring my emotions back into my body gently. As the moonstone is strongly linked to the moon it can help to understand the cycles of change and the cycle of grief. As it is a stabilizing stone it can help to bring feelings of calm when you are feeling too overwhelmed by emotions. Moonstone is a powerful healer on an emotional level, so it is particularly effective to use during the grieving process.
Amethyst is one of those crystals that many Witches feel particularly drawn to. This is not surprising as this is a powerful stone that operates on many levels. It is a very cleansing and protective stone which is important during the grieving process.
In ancient times people would construct rituals and protective wards against certain spirits during times of grief, as they understood that in a place where someone has died, those very powerful emotions that come with grief can attract unwanted forces and entities. The amethyst is therefore an excellent stone that can help defend against any of these things when we might struggle to detect them while we are experiencing grief.
Amethyst is also a powerful healer, and when used in conjunction with rose quartz and the apache tear it can be very effective in beginning the process of healing during times of loss. It is also a very calming and soothing stone, so it is ideal for when we need to ground stray emotions after a cathartic release. During times of loss and grief, it is a very supportive stone and would work well in conjunction with Onyx as well.
I like to anoint my Amethyst in Lavender oil, and feel that this charged and anointed crystal is in particular alignment with Hekate Atalos.
This crystal is one that I have been drawn to more recently in my life, particularly before Pixie passed on and while I was still dealing with her heart condition and liver disease. The intense orange carnelian in particular seemed to give me strength during these difficult times, allowing me to move through feelings of depression and worry.
I list this stone as I feel that in cases of long illness, where death is likely, this stone can help to deal with the many difficult emotions one might be feeling, including resentment, anger and the beginning stages of grief. It is very helpful to alleviate fears surrounding death, and is a protective stone that can be used during funerary rites as an amulet for those who have died, and therefore it is appropriate to bury the deceased with a piece of Carnelian.
There are many other stones and crystals that can be very helpful during the grieving process, I have listed the ones which I have in my own home which I have personally used during times of grief.
I have found that gemstone therapy is particularly powerful and effective when used in conjunction with herbal therapies such as herb infused bath salts which can help relieve the physical effects of grief, massage therapy and aromatherapy. As a devotee of Psychopomps like Hekate and Anubis, I also feel it is effective to work with those compassionate entities and souls who help guide those who have passed on to the other side.
Grieving is different for everybody, and a person can grieve differently each time. Grief is a process in which the person grieving may need a lot of space at one time, and a lot of comfort and touch other times. It is not a static state, there are times when you will laugh, cry, scream, vomit, shout, feel numb, feel angry, feel sad, feel empty, feel a million things on every level of your being.
Never, ever feel like your grieving process is wrong, it is not, we all grieve in the way we are meant to, and there are still times to this day that grief that I thought had subsided from many years ago, will pulse through my body and soul and leave me clinging to my bed sheets in tears. You cannot put a time frame on the healing process it will come as it wishes. Do not feel bad about not feeling things either, the grieving process is completely unique to each individual, and I feel that this is something that many people still do not understand.
I hope that I have helped with these suggestions on crystals. The crystals are not meant to be a heal-all, they are only meant to help facilitate the grieving and healing process. I find crystals to be a very powerful and potent therapy, and they should be treated with as much love and care as any of our spirit allies.
-Jet is a traditional and Victorian “stone” to wear during mourning, I have only obtained a piece of jet recently so have not used it in my own practice. Here is a link about Jet and its historical uses, and another piece on Victorian Mourning Jewellery.
– I read this very poignant and beautiful piece recently, and thought I would share it, Love=Grief