Are Crystals Useful In Feng Shui?

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Western Feng Shui likes to use natural crystals to manipulate energy in a building. However, crystals and Feng Shui have a very short and peculiar association. Three books on crystals by a Western author, Katrina Raphaell, apparently started the fad. Somehow this urban folklore made its way into intuitive Feng Shui, where crystals are used as part of a modern cargo cult.

Crystals are common objects in our everyday lives — as the faces on our LCD (liquid crystal display) watches, toys, and calculators, and the displays on laptop computers; as timing mechanisms in clocks (quartz crystal movement); as electrical parts in loudspeakers, microphones, radios, computers and telephones. If small crystals had an appreciable effect on the energy in our homes, that ability would have been noticed a long time ago and product manufacturers would have capitalized on it by now.

Piezoelectricity is a relatively old science based on the knowledge that crystals only vibrate and generate voltage when pressure or an electrical charge is applied to them. In the case of LCDs, liquid crystals are sandwiched between transparent electrodes that change the crystals from clear to dark, from transparent to opaque depending on the amount of electricity pumped through them. But the crystals in clocks, computers and telephones are not the same as those used for healing stones or jewelry — the crystals used in commercial products are industrially grown for their specific purposes. Natural crystals may be attractive, but are fragile and unstable. They suffer from mechanical stresses that cause rapid aging and frequency fluctuations which make them unsuitable for use in equipment.

Hanging a natural crystal or a mirrored ball somewhere in your house isn’t going to change energy flow, no matter what the latest Feng Shui books say. A crystal might work for a time in a primitive radio, but it only operates within low megahertz range (in the bandwidth of ship radios and police scanners). A crystal transmitter can disrupt low-band transmissions of anything within its range, but like a crystal radio it won’t have any other effect on the house it’s in. Mirrored balls offer wonderful nostalgic effects for disco revival parties, but no other measurable environmental enhancements should be expected from them.

Traditional Feng Shui doesn’t use crystals as a cure-all for energy problems. For one thing, crystal is a form of rock; traditional Feng Shui uses rock as a energy buffering agent and only in certain circumstances. However, the application of rock is measured in pounds, not ounces: a mass of rock quartz weighing 250 pounds is much more likely to have an effect on a 2,000-square-foot house than a four-ounce crystal. The trick is knowing when, where, and how to place it!

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