Why We're Crystals, Queerly Dear
Content note: This post contains discussion of queer and non-normative identities in the context of crystals—how they form and spread light.
I still own the first crystal I ever bought. It cost about $7 in a store in Salem, Massachusetts, and I couldn't take my gaze from it. (It's pictured above, on the left, FYI.) How could something so pink and bright come from rock? How could this rose-colored beacon of light erupt from the earth, like a song?
As you can see, I've been thinking a lot about crystals. They help me to get in touch with the spiritual parts of myself. And I've come to the conclusion that crystals can be like words. I needed the word non-binary in order to erupt, light-filled, from the trap of confusion I'd been feeling for so long. I came out to myself first, then to my partner, and now the crystal keeps forming.
I started thinking about crystals because I'm reading a beautiful book by Eckart Tolle called A New Earth. In the first few pages, he writes:
"What could be heavier or more impenetrable than a rock, the densest of all forms? And yet some rocks undergo a change in their molecular structure, turn into crystals, and so become transparent to the light. Some carbons, under inconceivable heat and pressure, turn into diamonds, and some heavy minerals into other precious stones." This, says Eckart Tolle, in spiritual terms, can be said to be "enlightenment"—a spontaneous evolution, a sudden transformation. We think that enlightenment comes after decades of thinking and practice, but like crystals, sometimes enlightenment springs on us.
My ex, a research scientist, studied crystals for his PhD. Understandably, he saw everything from ghosts to the Shadow as mythical—intriguing but inaccurate. All the same, he said to me, time and again, that crystals were like magic. "The way they are formed almost makes no sense," he'd say. "The more I study them, the more they seem like miracles. Their energy is extraordinary and baffling. What they do with light shouldn't be able to happen."
But, of course, they do.
Like non-binary and other queer and/or non-normative identities, crystals exist powerfully, spreading light everywhere. An article at MineralTown reminds me of this: "Crystals are minerals that have had the chance to grow in the shape that they were meant to be." Some crystals, says the article, take thousands of years to fully form, but some like salt can form super-fast.
When it comes to identity, "slow" surely works as well as "quick." Some people come out in a burst of glory. Me? I trickle, telling a friend here, a colleague there. And there's nothing wrong with that. And you know, I've identified many ways, because identity shifts too. We don't have to stick to one place like a limpet—although limpets rock, so it's cool if we do.
I actually wish someone had said that to me, when, as a lost child, I wondered why I liked to dress as a princess but was unsure I was a girl, and why, when the class split in two, I seemed to disappear in the middle, longing to float skyward.
Little princess, I see you now.
In light, queerly dearest,
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