By Scott Cunningham
This book is THE definitive guide to working magic with crystals and gemstones. Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic presents a whole curriculum of working with stones and their meanings in this all-in-one reference “field guide”. The first few chapters cover the basics of stones and metals and gives a bit of magical background. He also shares how he collected some of his information and provides some tips for becoming a seasoned rock collector.
Cunningham then dives headfirst into the practical uses for stones and metals. First he explains how to buy stones and how to get the best deals, from haggling in swap meets to store purchases. An appendix in the back of the book lists a few select places to purchase stones. He also suggests ways to interact with stones by in how one selects, attunes and cleanses them. There is even a chapter devoted to divination and another on spells. The exercises are fun to do and do not require lots of pagan wisdom or background training. One could base an entire magical practice just on this book alone.
The rest of the book explores the different crystals, gems and metals. Cunningham divides these sections into two chapters. One contains crystals and gemstones, and the other has the metals. The sections are alphabetized by the rock’s and metal’s common names. For example, to find information on Bloodstones, you’d look the stone up with that familiar name. Cunningham also references the folk names of each item.
Each entry contains a list of stones and their associations to planets, colors, days, etc. followed by a quick summary of power associations. All this information is used to match the best stone or metal with what you intend to use it for. After these quick summaries, Cunningham goes into great detail and depth with his explanations on the magic and background lore of each. The center of the book contains a colorful guide displaying “best” examples of some of the stones. I found this color-inset useful as I was reading through the text and trying to grasp a mental image of what each and every stone looked like. A quick Reference Table follows these chapters summarizing all the book’s information.
Not all stones are covered in this book. Not all stones have the same information either. However, Cunningham does try to thoroughly cover each stone he does list with as much information about it as he can. Some stone lore includes ideas for healing with the stones; some include simple spells one can do with the stone. The book focuses solely on naturally occurring stones and metals; it does not cover man-made or dyed stones (like the Goldstone). I believe that this book should be included in the library of anyone who is interested in the spiritual aspects of stones and metals’ as the information contained is some of the best and most practical information on using stones and metals in magic on the market. I also believe that the lore and stories Cunningham provides for the stones also makes this book fun to read by anyone, not just pagans or witches.