Star Signs, Crystals, and More: How Ancient Spirituality Has Returned in the Modern Age
March 25, 2019
Have you been asked what your zodiac sign is recently? Do you keep a log of your friends’ zodiac signs? Have you ever taken a Buzzfeed quiz that pertains to your zodiac sign? All of these hypotheticals, whether you have experienced them or not, are a reflection of the return of ancient spiritual practices in the modern age. According to Pew Research center, young people around the world are less religious than their older counterparts, especially in the United States. So, why have the these spiritual practices returned in the 21st century? Let’s first look through the history of the two trendiest practices: astrology and crystal healing.
It’s All Greek to Me
We have the Greeks to thank for the manner in which we explore zodiac signs today. The twelve Greek zodiac signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. In ancient greek history, each of the star signs correlates with a constellation. Each constellation could only be seen during a specific time of the year, thus creating the time period that each zodiac sign is assigned to. For example, the constellation Libra could only be viewed from September 24 to October 23. This means, because my birthday is October 2nd, my zodiac sign would be Libra.
The Greeks also associated a mythological story in conjunction with each of the signs. These myths also determine the symbol that goes along with each sign. Let’s use the sign Leo as an example. The myth associated with Leo is Hercules’ defeat of the Nemean Lion. Hercules strangles the lion and skins it for its pelt. The pelt later protects him because it is unable to be penetrated by any weapon. Zeus later put the lion into the sky, thus making it the constellation Leo. The symbol of the zodiac sign Leo is of a lion or a lion’s mane. (If you would like a visual of this story, watch this clip from Disney’s Hercules below!)
The use of crystals was present in the cultures of many ancient peoples, including the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Greeks. In fact, the word “crystal”, comes from the Greek word for “ice”, in reference to clear quartz. Crystals have also been used in the practices of multiple religions, including Christianity and Islam. Three of the most popular crystals are crystal quartz, amethyst, and rose quartz. Each sort of crystal is believed to have a different effect and healing purpose.
Crystal Quartz: This crystal is suggested for those who desire all around healing. It can be used for any situation you find yourself in and is highly recommended for those just beginning crystal healing. It is also believed to assist your immune system in fighting sickness.
Amethyst: This crystal promotes peace and balance in one’s life. It is also believed to help in clear, critical thinking about the world surrounding you. Due to this, amethyst is often used in meditation.
Rose Quartz: This crystal aids with emotional health, love, and warmth. Rose quartz is also said to help the owner deal with personal stress or trauma. It is very popular not only due to the effects it has, but also because of its beautiful, rosy color.
Crystals have become apart of the everyday life of many people. Some carry the crystals in their pockets, to aid them in everyday life. Others keep them in their homes to keep the space peaceful and balanced. Recently, crystal necklaces and earrings have become popular as they are an easy way to incorporate crystals into your daily routine.
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”
In the 1730s and 1740s, America experienced the First Great Awakening. Colonists became jaded to their religions as the world became more chaotic. Innovations in global navigation, new ideas about science, and a new societal emphasis on the concrete world began to overwhelm the colonists. Thus, they had a new found desire for meaning, specifically meaning through religion. This desire still affects religious practice and presence in America today. A similar occurrence is happening among young people now.
The world is more chaotic than it has ever been. Corrupt governments, economic collapse, and the eminent destruction of humanity is a constant worry of young people. And social media and the 24-hour news cycle create a non-stop flow of these unsettling events. It should be no surprise that teens and young adults have returned to practices from when the world was simpler. Although many reject the traditional religions of the world, spirituality serves as a safe net to release their anxieties about the world. Crystals, astrology, and many other similar practices are incredibly personal and can be very therapeutic.
In an interview with Baltimore Magazine, owner of local crystal shop Shelley Klimm said, “We’ve got a lot of negative energy out there and people are realizing that these [crystals] really do vibrate–they help you feel better…I don’t think it’s going to be just a trend. People are going to stick with it.”