Book shows how crys­tals can change your life

Gem­stone ex­pert re­leases book about how the power of crys­tals can im­prove your life

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - JAMIE PORT­MAN

Pea­cock ore is a crys­tal that will boost your self-con­fi­dence.

Pure white ce­lestite will calm anx­i­ety.

A moon­stone can as­sist fer­til­ity. And if you’re try­ing to get over your ex, try snug­gling up to a hunk of rosy pink kun­zite.

Ta­mara Driessen — a.k.a. Wolf Sis­ter — is cheer­fully mat­ter-of­fact about all this. For her it only makes sense that we should seek to un­lock the hid­den power of gem­stones and crys­tals.

“For some peo­ple, crys­tals are def­i­nitely weird,” Driessen, 34, ad­mits with a laugh. “I think ev­ery­body is en­ti­tled to be skep­ti­cal and not be­lieve.” But Driessen, a true be­liever whose pop­u­lar work­shops are a driv­ing force in her suc­cess as a crys­tal healer and shamanic prac­ti­tioner, ar­gues the skep­tics are di­min­ish­ing in num­ber as an an­cient cul­ture re­asserts it­self in the 21st cen­tury.

So is crys­tal ther­apy a re­li­gion or a science or some­thing in be­tween? “I think it’s some­thing in be­tween,” Driessen says. “Crys­tals are used in tech­nol­ogy: ru­bies in lasers, quartz in watches. I wouldn’t say it’s a re­li­gion — crys­tals come from the earth. But they are spir­i­tual in na­ture.”

She also notes that it’s easy to keep your favourite crys­tal close to you as the small-sized equiv­a­lent of a se­cu­rity blan­ket. “Crys­tals are more por­ta­ble. You can’t carry a green park or a tree around with you!”

So Vic­to­ria Beck­ham al­ways has one in her hand­bag. Lena Dun­ham wears a crys­tal neck­lace to block neg­a­tiv­ity. Katy Perry fig­ures crys­tals will at­tract new lovers. And Gwyneth Pal­trow ad­vo­cates putting one in an un­men­tion­able place.

Driessen her­self ad­mits that she some­times con­ceals a small crys­tal in her bra. In­deed, bras are a fre­quent repos­i­tory for crys­tals these days. “And some are big ones,” Driessen gig­gles. “There was one workshop where a woman pulled a large crys­tal out of her bra say­ing she wanted it to be big enough not to fall out!”

Driessen ex­plores and em­braces this resur­gent cul­ture in a new book, The Crys­tal Code: A Mod­ern Guide To Crys­tal Heal­ing, pub­lished in Canada by Pen­guin. She sees it as a user’s man­ual, its cen­tre­piece a guide to the unique pow­ers of 70 dif­fer­ent crys­tals, each beau­ti­fully pho­tographed.

She pro­ceeds from the premise that these stones rep­re­sent cos­mic tech­nol­ogy, ca­pa­ble of ab­sorb­ing and trans­mit­ting en­ergy. And she of­fers reams of ad­vice — how to pick one, how to keep them clean to en­sure “the purest con­nec­tion pos­si­ble” and how to “pro­gram” them for the great­est per­sonal ben­e­fit to the user.

Driessen had an in­tu­itive at­tach­ment to crys­tals even as a child. She will al­ways re­mem­ber the day she vis­ited Lon­don’s Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum and took home her first crys­tal — a pink quartz spec­i­men.

“There are some things you of­ten don’t re­mem­ber, but I re­mem­ber this,” she says. “It feels like it was yes­ter­day, and af­ter I bought it, it was at my side ev­ery­where I went.”

But it wasn’t un­til she was a teenager that she started won­der­ing whether crys­tals might ex­ert a life-chang­ing power. “I used to hang out at the lo­cal witches shop on week­ends, and I car­ried a tiger’s eye for con­fi­dence.”

She saved up to buy a gar­net ring af­ter read­ing that gar­net at­tracted love. And that worked at least tem­po­rar­ily when she found a boyfriend.

As a teenager she was still “dip­ping in and out” of the crys­tal cul­ture. “But when I was in my 20s and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a lot of anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, I had ther­apy with some­body who pro­duced a lot of crys­tals. That brought me back into the game.”

She be­gan study­ing var­i­ous crys­tals, “choos­ing which ones would sup­port me in what I was go­ing through at the time and keep­ing them close by.” She dis­cov­ered that her anx­i­ety was helped by three stones in par­tic­u­lar — amethyst, ce­lestite and black tour­ma­line. “And

Crys­tals are used in tech­nol­ogy: ru­bies in lasers, quartz in watches. I wouldn’t say it’s a re­li­gion — crys­tals come from the earth.

then came this shift in en­ergy and a feel­ing that things were chang­ing and open­ing up in my life.”

When she was 29, she went to Bali to ap­pren­tice with a shaman and learn about var­i­ous heal­ing prac­tices and how to con­nect with “the spirit and en­er­gies of dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of na­ture.” That’s when she learned how to med­i­tate with crys­tals “rather than just leav­ing them to roll around in the bot­tom of my hand­bag.”

The un­hap­pi­ness and anx­i­eties of her 20s were re­ced­ing. She re­turned to Eng­land, and friends be­gan seek­ing heal­ing ses­sions with her. Word of mouth about Driessen be­gan to spread. To her as­ton­ish­ment, peo­ple started fol­low­ing her on In­sta­gram. To­day, her crys­tal work­shops sell out reg­u­larly.

She re­turned from Bali with the shamanic name of Wolf Sis­ter. “It’s my busi­ness name, my screen name on so­cial me­dia — also a kind of al­ter ego,” she ex­plains. And as Wolf Sis­ter, her ded­i­ca­tion to mystic wis­dom ex­tends far be­yond crys­tal heal­ing work­shops. She con­trib­utes to the New Age mag­a­zine The Nu­mi­nous, teaches su­per­nat­u­ral po­tion-mak­ing classes at Lon­don’s flag­ship Top­shop store, is a res­i­dent teacher at the She’s Lost Con­trol life­style store in Hack­ney and leads moon­light med­i­ta­tions in Croa­tia.

Driessen’s book is com­ing out at a time when there has been an up­surge of in­ter­est in crys­tal cul­ture on both sides of the At­lantic. Crys­tals now show up in home­wares, bath salts, jewelry and wardrobe ac­ces­sories. And shops are spring­ing up ev­ery­where.

“I re­ally think it’s be­cause of the dig­i­tal age,” Driessen says. “The in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia make all this much more ac­ces­si­ble. When I was a teenager, I was lim­ited to a few lo­cal shops and what they had or maybe a visit to Cam­den Mar­ket. Now, on the in­ter­net, you have ac­cess to so many crys­tals world­wide. And so many peo­ple are talk­ing about them on­line.”

She has some ba­sic ad­vice for the novice crys­tal buyer: Trust your in­tu­ition. “A spe­cific crys­tal will set off a spe­cific vibe for a spe­cific per­son,” she em­pha­sizes.

PHO­TOS: PEN­GUIN RAN­DOM HOUSE

Author Ta­mara Driessen stud­ied the ef­fects of crys­tals with a shaman in Bali.

Ta­mara Driessen leads work­shops and classes in Eng­land and Croa­tia.

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