A perfect follow up to the Cleansing Your Crystals edition, and just as important, charging your crystals comes in just as many forms and varieties. Although the methods differ between people and cultures, the general idea is the same.
Charging is essentially putting energy or intent back into a cleansed or depleted crystal. This is thought to amplify either the crystal's natural properties or the intent placed on the crystal. When still buried in the Earth at their place of origin, crystals do not need to be charged because they draw the natural energies of the Earth, but once dug up, the energies they possess can be drained.
While many books and online resources mix up or combine cleansing and charging, they are essentially two different steps with two very different purposes. When looking to renew crystals, be sure to cleanse and then charge to get the best outcome.
Let's take a look at some of the frequently asked questions on charging.
What's the Best Way to Charge Crystals?
I'll jump right in and say there's no "best" method. You should choose the route that you feel most connected to, because your intent is the most important piece. Depending on your intended use for the crystal, or the risks associated with each method, some charging methods may be more suitable than others.
Here are some of the more common charging methods:
By far the most popular method, you can set your crystals out in the light of the moon to charge them. If you don't have access to a secure outdoor space, a windowsill receiving the moonlight will work just fine.
While most charging is associated with the full moon, you may decide to charge a crystal during any of the moon phases based on your intended purpose for the stone. (For example, I might recharge the jade I use for money manifestation during a waxing crescent moon instead of the full moon.)
Full moon - Recharged, fulfillment, reflection
Waning Gibbous - Clearing, releasing energy, letting go
Third Quarter - Balance, setting boundaries
Waning Crescent - Self-care, recharging, recuperating
New Moon - Fresh start, renewal
Waxing Crescent - Manifesting, growth
First Quarter - Balance, overcoming obstacles, perseverance
Waxing Gibbous - Refinement, endurance, celebration
Be sure to bring them back inside or remove them from the windowsill before the sun rises. While moonlight won't harm any crystals, sunlight can fade many stones.
Sunlight (Not recommended)
Just like moonlight, you can place your stones in direct sunlight to charge them. The sun's light is associated with energy, movement, growth, and amplification. This energy may be just right for your intent, but be careful when placing stones in direct sunlight. Crystals act as a prism and will direct light into a small point, which could cause a fire. Also, radiation and heat affect some crystals more than others. (I don't use this methods due to these risks.)
The following stones are damaged or faded by sunlight and heat:
Amethyst/Amegreen/Ametrine - Faded by sunlight
Apatite - Faded by sunlight
Apophyllite - Can become brittle and faded by sunlight
Aquamarine - Faded by sunlight
Aventurine - Faded by sunlight
Beryl - Can become brittle and faded by sunlight
Calcite - Can become brittle and faded by sunlight
Celestite - Can become brittle and faded by sunlight
Chrysoprase - Can become brittle and faded by sunlight
Citrine - Faded by sunlight
Clear quartz - Can become brittle
Fluorite - Absorbs heat easily and will become too hot
Hiddenite - Faded by sunlight
Kunzite - Faded by sunlight
Opal - Faded by sunlight
Prasiolite - Faded by sunlight
Rose Quartz - Faded by sunlight
Sapphire - Faded by sunlight
Spirit Quartz - Faded by sunlight
Smoky Quartz - Faded by sunlight
Super Seven - Faded by sunlight
Topaz - Faded by sunlight
Turquoise - Faded by sunlight
Unakite - Faded by sunlight
This list is not all inclusive, so research any crystals not listed before placing them in the sun, and don't ever leave prism crystals unattended in sunlight due to the risk of them causing a fire.
While water is often used as part of the cleansing process, certain types or bodies of water may contain different energies that can be used for charging.
Rain Water - Renewal, restoration, life energy
Thunderstorm Water - Chaos, destruction, change
Pond/Lake Water - Peace, contentment, relaxation, self-reflection
River Water - Purification, cleansing
Sea/Ocean Water - Health, chaos magick, power
Melted Snow/Ice Water - Transformation, changes
Moon Water (water left out in the moonlight) - Mirrors the properties of the phase of moonlight it absorbed, but to a lesser degree
Submerging crystals in these waters can imbue them with the energy to be used later, but be careful as some stones are harmed by water.
Most stones with a Mohs Hardness Scale of 5 and lower should not be exposed to water as they may dissolve.
Angelite - Will eventually dissolve if repeatedly exposed to water.
Apatite - Okay for a quick rinse. Do not leave soaking.
Azurite - Emits sulfur when mixed with water.
Black Tourmaline - Okay for a quick rinse. Do not leave soaking.
Calcite - Okay for a quick rinse. Do not leave soaking.
Celestite - Will dissolve in water.
Cinnabar - Contains mercury. Water increases the risk of toxic exposure.
Desert Rose - Will dissolve in water.
Fluorite - Will dissolve in water.
Hematite - May rust if it comes in contact with water.
Jade - Okay for a quick rinse. Do not leave soaking.
Kyanite - May dissolve in water.
Labradorite - Okay for a quick rinse. Do not leave soaking.
Lapis Lazuli - Contains calcite and pyrite, which react with water.
Lepidolite - May flake apart in water.
Magnetite - May rust if exposed to water.
Malachite - May release toxic fumes when wet.
Ethiopian Opal - May become colorless after getting wet.
Pyrite - Can produce sulfuric acid in water.
Selenite - Will dissolve in water.
Turquoise - May crack or fade if it gets wet.
Also known as gypsum or satin spar, selenite comes in clear or striated, fibrous versions. It's thought to be a very high-vibration stone, meaning it can raise the energy of the area around it, including any nearby crystals. Raising the energy of a stone may or may not fit your intended use. For example, you would not want to charge a crystal you use for relaxation with something that will add in high-frequency energy, as this works opposite to relaxation.
Placing crystals on a selenite charging plate or simply around it in a circle is the best way to allow selenite to passively charge your crystals. Consider how your crystals are stored or displayed to either utilize selenite's high-vibrational energy or to avoid charging low-vibration crystals with selenite.
As mentioned earlier, crystals within their natural environment do not need to be charged as they draw on the energies of the Earth, and so returning them to this environment is a straightforward way to charge them. Burying is a way to amplify a crystal's natural properties vs. programming it with another type of energy or intent.
While some feel that burying a crystal in a pot of soil is just as effective, I'd caution that soil removed from the Earth will suffer the same fate as the removed crystals. Burying in the Earth itself will be the most successful method.
If you're burying a crystal that is affected by water or should not be rinsed off (see the list in the previous section), simply place it in a glass jar before burying it to keep it dry and clean. (Do not use plastic, as it will block the Earth's energy, or ceramic, as it may allow groundwater to seep in.)
If you leave a prism crystal unattended, be sure it is fully buried to avoid the risk of starting a fire.
Possibly the most direct and powerful way to charge a crystal is to fill it with your energy and intent directly. The process is similar to cleansing using visualization/manifestation, and can be completed at the same time.
As stated in the Cleansing Your Crystals article, projecting your intent is a very personal process, and there is no 'wrong' or 'right' way to do it. When I charge my crystals, I like to put on spiritual music, make sure I'm in a clean space, sit on the floor with the stone in my hand, and spend a few minutes picturing energy flowing down my arms and into the stone. This is usually done in the same session and just after cleansing. The type of energy or intent I send depends on how I want to use the stone. This method overlaps with programming, but more on that later.
How Often Should I be Charging my Crystals?
The frequency of charging is highly dependent on how and how often the crystal is used.
For crystals that are not used often or are used as ambient energy emitters, once a month is usually often enough; however, even ambient crystals in a very negative environment may need charging more often.
Crystals used daily, such as worn or carried stones, may need to be charged once per week or more. Again, this depends on how much you are using up the energy of the stone.
Crystals used in a ceremony, spell, or ritual may need to be recharged after just one use, depending on how they were used.
If you have many crystals, charging all of them often may not be reasonable, but pay special attention to stones that may be absorbing negative energy. A crystal necklace worn daily in a toxic work environment, a crystal tower sitting on a shelf in a negative home environment, or something gifted from a toxic or overly negative person may cause more harm than good. Crystals that have been depleted of their natural energies may absorb negativity from their environment, and should be prioritized when cleansing and charging. (Remember to always cleanse and charge crystals after purchasing or finding them, as you have no way of knowing what energies they may carry from their previous environment.)
I recommend following this basic schedule until you notice a crystal is no longer working as intended or you no longer feel the desired type of energy from the stone. If this occurs, charge more often until you find what is right.
What's Charging vs. Programming?
Programming is a way of adding personal intent to a crystal, while charging amplifies the stone's natural properties. While any stone can be programmed, it's best to compliment the natural energies of the stone vs. working against them. (For example, you would not want to program rose quartz to assist with cutting ties or letting go of a relationship, as this works against the stone and may result in chaotic energy.)
Clear Quartz is one of the most popular programmable crystals, as it is quite literally a blank slate, having very stable and neutral energy on its own. Its crystalline structure is thought to be a perfect conduit for the intent placed on the stone, amplifying and storing the energy for later use.
Programming is a very active process, which usually involves visualization or meditation with the stone, but may also be accomplished through a ritual. Just like visualization or manifestation charging/cleansing, this is a very personal process and there's no "correct" method. When I program a crystal, I sit with the stone in my hand and visualize the type of energy I want running down my arm and into the stone. I usually also pair this with a verbal affirmation.
Charging is not always an active process, and may be accomplished passively using the Earth's (or Moon's) own energies to recharge the stone's natural properties. It does not involve adding any additional intent or purpose to the stone. If the stone already holds the energy you want, then charging alone may be a good option.
Charging is essentially "Step 2 of 2" when renewing your crystals, and should be preceded by cleansing. (See Cleansing Your Crystals.) Just like cleansing, the method you choose less important than your own intent and energy being invested in the process, and this is why visualization can be one of the most powerful methods. In the end, you should choose the method that is best for the stone and feels right for you.