People who are into healing crystals really love them. Spencer Pratt estimates he spent over a million dollars collecting them. Amanda Chantal Bacon and Father John Misty are in an Instagram feud over a stolen rose quartz. Crystal collectors use words like “intention” and “energy” to talk about their love of the gems. What does it all mean? To find out, the Cut talked to hip-hop radio personality Devi Brown, founder of wellness lifestyle brand Karma Bliss, about why crystals are a gift from the universe, how you can tell if you’re drawn to a crystal, and how she started giving crystals to rappers.
How did you first get into crystals?
As a kid, I was always addicted to transformation in some way or another. I wanted to change the furniture in my room constantly. Transitioning to adult life, I found myself starting my career at 18, given my first chance in radio, and synchronicities happened. You start checking stuff off your life list. Then you get to the end of the list and you’re like, Okay, but what else? Because this isn’t that fulfilling. This isn’t that whole for me. So what else?
For me, it started out as a kind of whisper or this “call to the wild.” I found myself in that position four years ago. I had this sadness and isolation that I couldn’t shake. I had this desire to retreat within, to pull myself away from everything. That was the first time I fully surrendered to life and wasn’t trying to control everything.
I found myself at Deepak Chopra’s Chopra Center in Carlsbad, doing this ten-day panchakarma detox, and I learned to meditate. I kept doing it, which then led me to open up other things, so I fell in love with crystals. I felt very drawn to them. It led to me to do a lot more constant research on crystals. Now, I keep them at work and put one by the desk. So it’s like, Hey if you’re on some BS, don’t come by my office. It’s very real.
Sometimes if you’re not into that stuff, you’re like, Okay, rocks. But why not? God, the energy of the universe, something bigger than yourself made this earth that we live on. Western science or Western medicine has only existed for a hundred years, if that. Why wouldn’t we think that the world already came equipped with things to help balance and complete us?
How would you describe to a beginner what crystals are and why they should look into them?
Crystals are gifts from the universe. They’re sprinkled all over. Clearly they’re beautiful. A lot of people are drawn to them for color. They are complementary pieces to your journey of enlightenment and wellness.
For instance, clear quartz is known as the universal stone. It’s a great starter stone for setting intentions, but it also brings a lot of clarity and focus. When I’m looking to harness different energies in my life, I might switch out a crystal every day. I set intentions for each crystal. I then speak specifically to it and I say, “I want to harness your energy in this way.” I close my eyes, meditate on the stone, and keep them with me.
When you say you’re “drawn” to a crystal, what does that mean?
Okay, so for someone getting into crystals, I’ll say, “Give me your hands. Let’s clear your energy. Get centered.” I put a few different stones in the palm of the hand and say, “Just sit and really feel each piece that’s in your hand right now. Is there any one that’s sitting a little heavier or giving you a little itch or a shaking or a little tingle that’s saying, Me, pick me? “
You can always feel a difference. You feel an energetic difference. And typically the stone chooses you. You don’t even choose it. It tells you, Hey I’m the one that needs to be in your life. Then you find the qualities of it afterwards and you’re like, Ohh, that’s the one I picked. Wow. Who knew? Because that’s actually what I really need in my life.
How would you describe the value of crystals to a skeptic?
The real key to any kind of growth, even outside of crystals, is to be open to experiences that you don’t understand and that you can’t quantify. That’s one of the biggest stepping stones in becoming a better version of you. It’s not feeling the need to have to control and explain away everything that you encounter.
The proof is in looking at it. You can’t deny that some of these stones you’re seeing are so beautiful. How do they exist here? The Earth is amazing. It’s undeniable that if you takes your shoes off, and put your feel in soil when you’re stressed-out, you’re going to feel more grounded. The same goes with crystals. The proof to me is in their beauty. It’s in their process. It’s in the way you are even able to discover, utilize, and view them.
What is the reaction when you talk about wellness practices like meditation and crystals with those you encounter in the hip-hop industry?
This past year, I had this interview with Big Sean. I picked up on a line in his songs when he said, “I’m meditating like I’m in the Himalayas.” And he was like, “Actually, yeah, I meditate every day.” I was so blown away by the transparency. What a gift you are giving to the people that look to you. Yes, you can have a cool life, date hot women, have money, and you can also care about yourself and extend kindness to others.
I also occasionally give crystals — the last person was Schoolboy Q. He’s one of my favorite artists right now. He is in this awesome beautiful space in his life where he is sharing his journeys with people, and trying to grow them as well. I gave him a necklace and a pouch of our crystals and he had me go through each one of them with him. He was like, “Yo, I have been hearing about crystals but like what do they do, what are they?”
He put it on and then a few days later, these pictures surfaced of him at his show. In this picture a photographer took, he is clutching on the stage the crystal that I gave him. You know out of all these amazing gold pieces he had on, it’s the one he’s holding in his hand.
Spencer Pratt spent $500,000 on crystals. Why are there price variations in crystals?
I mean, because we live in America [Laughs]. We like stuff to cost money. It’s the same reason we’re under this false impression that diamonds are so rare. Different people that sell crystals have different motives for doing it. A seller might have a price point that’s really high and position it as being really rare or different. Some crystals are only available in certain parts of the world. It takes the kind of effort that you need to pay for.
But a crystal from Urban Outfitters versus Amazon …
No difference. I mean — there are a lot of people that create glass versions or make things synthetically. You would not harness the energy from those at all. For the most part, wherever you get it, crystals are amazing.
Would you describe crystals as a thought talisman?
No. It encompasses that too. But no, because crystals do have energy. They do have a kind of frequency that they exist with, whether or not you choose to give them attention. Whether or not we choose to focus any of our personal stuff on a crystal, it has power. It becomes your personalized experience and when you set an intention, that’s where the power comes.
How do crystals relate to wellness?
Many of us are choosing to be proactive about our lives because Western medicine and science is all reactive. Why would you wait until you are sick physically or emotionally before you say “Hey! Alright, time to pay attention”? Why wait to use my health insurance to go on this pill that will have side effects like possible death and explosion of bowels? Like, what? For my headache?
We are choosing to be proactive about ourselves and that is part of mindfulness, too. Mindfulness is just paying attention, and listening to those inner cues. It’s giving yourself a gift. It is telling yourself you care enough about you to want to prevent bad things from happening to you.