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Will Lying on an Amethyst Mat Do … Well, Anything?

A crystal cynic checks out Ruby Room in Ukrainian Village.

Illustration by Pablo Lobato
Illustration: Pablo Lobato

Of all the woo-woo options in the wellness space, crystals make the least sense to me. It’s not like I believe rubbing fennel oil on my boobs will magically improve my sex life. But at least I might smell nice. And I don’t believe steaming my vagina will slide all my lady hormones into balance. Yet I remain open to the possibility that a little humidity on my uterus might in fact be pleasant, or at least something I could tell my friends about in great detail over the rim of a martini: “Honey, you haven’t lived until you’ve shot the steam of a thousand locomotives up your twat.” But crystals? Who can get excited about crystals? A crystal just sits there. Like Kylie Jenner. Broken, but pretty. And I find nothing interesting about that.

Still, I do my best to keep an open mind when I arrive at Ruby Room in Ukrainian Village to lie on an Ereada photon amethyst mat, which is supposed to clear the electromagnetic pollution from my body. A 30-minute session will set you back 50 bucks and is akin to lying on a heating pad — a heating pad filled with amethyst. My attendant doesn’t know the answers to my probing “Now, what exactly does this do?” questions, so she brings me the mat’s owner’s manual. The words don’t even make sense: “The infrared light emitted or refracted by the amethyst crystals generates the most bioavailable and biocompatible heat deeply penetrating the body tissues.” OK, then.

My attendant tells me to put on some massive headphones and do an “inward meditation” combined with “cyclical breathing.” As if I have any idea what that is. I lie down, sort of expecting to feel amethyst shards up my back, but, no, it’s just warm foam. I lie there and lie there. Nothing seems to be happening. I really have no way of assessing how the “natural elements of the Earth and Sun: Light, Crystal, Mountains, Air, and Water” are affecting me. Healing, healing, what do I need healed? I meditate. But soon I get bored, so I decide to text my BFF Taylor. Even though we chat constantly, Taylor and I haven’t talked much about her affinity for crystals. It’s like when your bestie gets a weird haircut — typically, it’s just best to be supportive. “WTF, girl, what’s your deal with crystals? Please tell me your philosophy.” She responds, “I think they are useful metaphorical tools for focusing your energy when doing spiritual work. Their power lies more in transforming thought and setting intention than in healing the physical body. I don’t want to sound like I don’t think they have power: I do. But I’m wary of trying to transfer it to a capitalist structure.” I trust Taylor’s opinion implicitly, so I’m relieved to learn that the quartzes I’d been side-eyeing at her house are simply metaphorical tools and that we remain deeply suspicious of late-stage capitalism.

With this in mind, I rise from the mat, feeling like the same Adrienne who lay upon it 40 minutes ago, and peruse Ruby Room’s extensive gift shop. I come across a candle designated for “birth” and “miracles” and think lighting it while I write is bound to infuse my novel with creative energy. And maybe even, you know, a miracle. Next thing you know, I’m out $40. Gah! Well, at least my condo’s about to smell great.

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