If you want to learn more about core shamanism or Harner's work, you can visit his website for the Foundation for Shamanic Studies: www.shamanism.org.
Crystals for shamans:
All of them!
That's right, any crystal can be useful to a shaman or someone considering a shamanic practice. Let's use a real world example—journeying. Remember when I said shamans use "altered states of consciousness to heal and guide their communities"? Journeying is one way shamans alter their consciousness. Typically journeying is accomplished through rattling or drumming. In which case, you could say the drumming is altering their consciousness and the journey is the product of that altered state. When a shaman journeys, they are traveling to the spirit world. Their body remains present here while their consciousness shifts into an alternative reality. When you travel to a new country, it's important to have a guide, right? Of course! Tour guides, local friends or relatives, and books and websites on traveling all act as guides for travelers. The same is true for shamans who journey. It's important for them to have and know their guides in the spirit world. Animal guides are common, and this is where the notion of "spirit" or "totem" animals comes from. Additionally, however, crystals can be significant and useful guides in the spirit world, and it is not uncommon to see a shamanic practitioner with crystals around or near them as they journey or perform other sacred ceremonies.
These guides or allies in the spirit world provide protection, guidance, warning, healing, insights, messages, and more. So any crystal you work with and find useful for any one or more of those purposes may be a good choice for your shamanic practice. Which is why I say any crystal is useful for shamans. It will depend on personal preference, experience, and other factors to determine which might be best for you.
In my own experience, I found myself organically drawn to a more shamanic approach to crystal healing after working with them for many years. This was natural for me in part because of my animistic perspective. I see, feel, and connect with the spirit in all things and have since I was a child. Psychologists may call this anthropomorphizing, but I think animism is distinct from simply projecting human attributes onto the world around you. I sense and detect spirit in other animate and inanimate things, and I must filter, process, and express this through my human consciousness which naturally leads to human-like qualities being attributed to the spirits. However, my raw sense is not always distinctly human, and I often struggle to find words to explain what I am seeing and encountering. That said, my connection to the crystals I was working with was deepening far beyond basic metaphysical meanings, body layouts, and other common usages. I have and still do view crystals as my teachers. As my own experience ventured into a more shamanic direction, I also connected with a wonderful shamanic teacher who was herself a crystal shaman. Though her background is studying under shamans in Peru, she brought what she learned back here and incorporated her love of crystals into it, creating a unique shamanic practice with a crystal focus. My training with her became the basis of my crystal medicine bundles and shamanic work.
- Preseli Bluestone - the stone used in the monoliths of Stonehenge
- Lapis Lazuli
- Shaman quartz (a.k.a. scenic quartz)
- Tiger eye in all its colors
- Rhyolite (a.k.a. rainforest jasper)
- Moss and tree agate
The world of shamanism is vast, timeless, and powerful. And the world of crystals is likewise expansive and exciting. Where these two worlds converge there is a potent portal for healing, learning, and expansion. While the crystal realms can generally be navigated safely, the spirit world as it is interfaced in shamanism should be approached with respect, caution, and training wherever possible. Thanks to the internet and the ease of travel, there are numerous resources for learning more about shamanism, its many traditions and practices, and for training with a shaman here or in another part of the world.
I personally believe anything can be experienced at a shamanic level. When you are willing to recognize the spirit in that being and humble yourself enough to allow it to become your teacher, when your ears are open and your third eye is strong, when you are willing to see more than what is presented at surface value, then you are stepping into the path of deep learning, wisdom, and healing. Then you are stepping into the path of the shaman.