I held my first crystal in my hands at age of eight. My parents had taken our family on a road trip up the coast of California, and we stumbled upon a tourist shop with one of those big wooden crates of tumbled stones where, for a few dollars, you could fill a little velvet bag with as many as you could pack inside. I mostly chose amethyst, a beautiful purple gemstone that I would later learn connected to my Greek ancestry. The word “amethyst” derives from the Greek “amethystos
,” which means “not drunken.” Yes, my Bacchanalian ancestors worked with my favorite stone thousands of years before I discovered it, to avoid intoxication and hangovers. I was mesmerized by my first contact with the mineral world—a point of connection that would launch a lifelong fascination, obsession, and profession.
Fast-forward to September 2011. I was 38 years old with two small children when I suddenly lost my vision. Soon thereafter, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Once diagnosed, I became focused on a single question: How can I heal myself?
I devoted myself to healing by combining “the best of East and West”: I take my prescribed medications, of course, but I also do yoga, meditate with stones, incorporate sound and vibration, study herbs, blend essential oils, and explore the ancient realms of plant and tree medicine. I sought cures and found connections that not only eased my symptoms but could also help others. And crystals were at the center of my healing work; they have always been my favorite aspect of magical work, my preferred point of entry into the Great Mystery.
Ever since I had fallen in love with crystals as a child, I’d known about their healing power and would in time experience their healing benefits for myself. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I began a journey of discovery that affirmed the vibrational power of crystals in my personal life.
After my diagnosis, I set out to find a comprehensive, A-to-Z guide to crystals because I wanted to learn as much as I could. I searched high and low for a single volume that collected the geological properties, histories, lineages, mythologies, and healing uses of Earth’s various crystals and minerals; I came up empty-handed. I found modern books that focused on a single aspect of crystal wisdom, as well as gorgeous coffee table books that seemed to prioritize style over substance.
Frustrated by my fruitless search, I decided that I would one day write the ultimate compendium of crystal wisdom—collecting both the geological and metaphysical information in a single place, with dazzling photography to bring crystal beauty to life. The book you are reading is the result of the diagnosis I couldn’t escape and the dream I couldn’t shake. My wish today is this: May the potent power of this book change lives, heal bodies, cultivate wisdom, and nurture relationships. May you, the reader, find all that you need right here, in these pages written with love just for you. Crystalpedia
is not just a book; it is a legacy project and my way of documenting my knowledge so it is not lost with the swift passage of time.
Today, in 2023, I am not the only seeker of crystal wisdom and magic. And yet a decade or two ago, “crystal healing” was a phrase unfamiliar to most people. The recent spike in its popularity is driven by modern challenges to our well-being. We are chronically stressed, overwhelmed, and plagued by pessimism. We are busier than ever, but we aren’t much happier. The self-help industry of the last generation has added items to our bucket lists and hit our personal spending budgets, but it has failed to center our spirits. Today, we are looking elsewhere for wisdom. The physical health challenges of our present age are also a factor. The number of antidepressant prescriptions has ballooned, but depression rates have not dropped. Anxiety disorders and panic attacks are more common than ever. Mysterious illnesses, chronic pain disorders, and autoimmune diseases now affect tens of millions of us. Many feel that traditional medicine has failed to provide relief, much less a cure, for what ails us.
Add to all of this the cultural crises we are weathering with no playbook for remaining centered and integrated. Social change is occurring faster than most of us can keep up. Overwhelming life experiences, health crises, and social disruption tend to open minds, and people are looking behind them to history rather than forward to technological advancements for answers. There is a burgeoning curiosity about what our ancestors knew that perhaps has been lost. Many are now considering that perhaps we are not the wisest civilization to ever walk this planet, and humbly we have something to learn from those who came before us.
, readers will find everything they need to navigate the diverse and complex world of gems and minerals. As the CEO and founder of Sage Goddess, the world’s largest source of gems and minerals online, and the instructor of the world’s largest online crystal classroom, I work with carvers, jewelers, and miners all over the world to stay up-todate on the mineral offerings of the earth. Our online offerings reach more than ten million people each week, and our website offers more than ten thousand unique gems and minerals. After 15 years as a university professor before Sage Goddess and now entering my twelfth year of online metaphysical teaching through Sage Goddess, I consider myself an expert teacher, but the minerals—they are my teachers, and I learn something new from them every day.
Copyright © 2023 by Athena Perrakis, PhD. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.