The Book of Stones: Who They Are and What They Teach, Revised Edition, by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian
Heaven & Earth Publishing, 978-1-58394-908-5, 558 pages, 2015
The Book of Stones, first published in 2005 and revised twice since then, has become a classic in the world of crystal lore. It’s easy to see why: the writing reflects the love the authors have for each and every stone, and their deep familiarity with each stone’s physical, spiritual and emotional properties. Robert Simmons is co-founder of Heaven and Earth, a metaphysical shop and mail-order company specializing in crystals. Naisha Ahsian is creator of The Crystal Ally Cards, as well as a healer and creator of Crystal Resonance Therapy.
Their latest revised version of the book has been expanded by 76 new stones and now includes descriptions of 455 in total. Also available for separate purchase is a revised and expanded Pocket Book of Stones, with 47 new stones, bringing its total to 390.
Each entry contains a physical description of the stone and where it is found, along with a keyword summary; corresponding elements and chakras; the stone’s effect on the spiritual, emotional and physical levels; an affirmation; and sections with Simmons’ and Ahsian’s individual interpretations of the stones’ strengths and associations. (Note: the summaries for the new stones do not include Ahsian’s thoughts.) Crisp, close-up photographs of each stone are included.
Chapters explain how to get started with crystals, elemental energies in the mineral kingdom, stone power combinations, and how to meditate with a stone. A stone property reference index provides physical and spiritual and emotional correspondences. There’s also a fascinating epilogue recounting Simmons’ experiences with a previously unknown crystal, azeztulite, and how Ahsian channeled information about it before it made its first appearance at Simmons’ shop.
As you would expect, the book is heavy on the metaphysical. Being something of a science geek, I appreciated the section “Why Stones Work: A Theory.” The authors explain how crystals are used in science and manufacturing (quartz, galena and pyrite are used in radios, microphones, watches, and computers) as “resonators and transducers of electromagnetic energies.”1 And, the authors propose, “it may also be true that the human body and / or human consciousness is capable of detecting, or ‘feeling,’ these energies, especially when one is in touch with the appropriate crystal.”2
Indeed, in the last couple of months I’ve heard anecdotes about two different women who thought they had finished menstruating, only to begin again within 24 hours after wearing hematite, a crystal neither wore frequently. The Book of Stones says of its physical properties: “Hematite is excellent for energetic support of recovery from any ailment of the blood and of blood production within bone marrow.”3 Hematite’s name is “derived from the Greek word for blood, a reference to this mineral in its powdered form,”4 according to the book. Coincidence? Perhaps –or perhaps not.
That said, the authors state several times that the material in The Book of Stones is not to be used in place of medical or psychological advice or treatment, rather as an adjunct, encouraging the reader to experiment with stones, both individually and in groups, and to draw their own conclusions. Individual, direct experience is paramount, as in every other branch of metaphysics.
Here we come to the central nut of the entire book, in a three-paragraph long section entitled, “Who Are the Stones?” Simmons states that his and his co-author’s method of working with stones is as an intuitive, much like a shaman in an indigenous, earlier culture. He writes:
One of the costs of our Western rational objectivity is that it has figuratively killed the world. We see ourselves surrounded by dead objects rather than a living, teeming, conscious world. Even animals and plants seem relatively dead to many of us — certainly not possessing the qualities of soul and spirit we have reserved for ourselves… I want to suggest that, if we take off the cultural blinders of our upbringing, we may find that the world in all its manifestations is quite alive and conscious, constantly communicating with those who have the ears to hear and the eyes to see.5
When we suspend our disbelief long enough to open our minds, senses, and hearts, and relate to the stones as friendly teachers and healers, that’s when the real magic begins.
So, I propose an activity. Go outside, pick up a stone and sit with it. Feel it, look at it, put it up to your ear and listen, taste it. What do you hear or see? Work with all five senses and your intuition. Expect nothing. Trust what you get. Are you surprised?
If you know the names of your stones, you can use the information in The Book of Stones to become familiar with them on a deeper level. See if that information works for you, or if it causes you to see your stones in a different light. Know that wherever your crystal explorations take you, this book will give you other myriad facets to explore.
Image credit: Michael Summers