When she touched the amethyst, she felt a wave of peace go through her body, and then an enormous sense of calm. After a lifetime of being surrounded by crystals, this experience was what finally caused her to believe that they could have healing powers.
UA alumna Arianna Pascoe is one out of a movement of people who believe in healing through spiritual energy and connecting to the natural environment in spiritual, mental and physical ways, she said.
Dark Star Visuals has been a representative of Fayetteville's connection to this belief system for 27 years by selling crystals, candles, incense and naturally sourced clothing, said Stacey Wieties, the owner of Dark Star Visuals.
Wieties became involved in the New Age movement when she followed the Grateful Dead on tour for 12 years. She opened Dark Star Visuals because the crystals and crystal jewelry she gravitated towards at those concerts were not sold in Fayetteville, at that time, she said.
Pascoe has worked at Dark Star Visuals for two for two years since she completed an internship there for her apparel merchandising and product development degree from the UofA, she said.
“(People) call it ‘new age,’ but it's actually ancient,” Pascoe said. “It's kind of going back to the way religion or beliefs were before mainstream religion ... It's like going back to (a) connection with nature, so all the metaphysical properties of crystals and such.”
Each crystal has properties that are supposed to serve a specific purpose, like purifying the air and provoking feelings of peace or love, Pascoe said.
“Everything has an energetic value to it,” Wieties said. “I believe that everything on the planet, from plants to rocks to earth, wind and fire all have some kind of precious connection to the earth and healing properties if you tap into it.”
Pascoe's mother brought her to Dark Star Visuals when she was a child, and it became Pascoe’s favorite store, but Pascoe did not necessarily believe in any kind of spiritualism, she said.
“I'm super skeptical of everything, and I grew up with crystals and not necessarily knowing that they were magical,” Pascoe said.
Pascoe thinks that the power of crystals and meditation helped her overcome her the depression and anxiety she had when she was 18. She looked for anything that could help her and found crystals, she said. The first crystal she ever purchased was a fluoride crystal from a shop called Crystal Waters in Eureka Springs.
“I was having a really hard time making decisions in my life, and so fluoride is supposed to help you be more decisive and help with decision making,” Pascoe said. “I meditated with it. I tried to tap into it, and I found that it really just started to work for me.’”
Pascoe began to advocate for crystals after she went to a crystal fair and had a spiritual connection with her friend when they both touched an amethyst crystal at the same time. They both felt an electric shock and both felt an intense sense of peace, which is one of the attributes of amethyst, she said.
“I feel like I can advocate for them now because I've personally felt changes in myself when I'm using them...,” Pascoe said. “It's the power of your mind, if you believe that that's gonna work, and they're so beautiful aesthetically too... So you just put them in your house as decor, and they'll still work.”
The crystals will still work even if the owner does not believe in its metaphysical properties. The crystals will still purify the space, Pascoe said.
With multiple mines around the state open to the public, Arkansas is one of the top locations for quartz crystals in the world, according to Arkansas Tourism.
“We live on top of this, like, energy field because there are just crystals all over the place,” Pascoe said. “Clear quartz is specifically for amplifying, so if you put it with another crystal, it amplifies the metaphysical properties of that crystal. So it's kind of just like we're sitting on top of this, like, amplified energetic field.”
Crystals also help in meditation practices, where the user is trying to align and stimulate their chakras, said Bo Larga, a believer in natural healing.
There are seven chakras arranged along the spine, often envisioned as “whirling energy centers” and each color of crystals correlates with a chakra, Larga said. For example, amethyst crystals, because they are purple, are meant to correlate with the crown chakra, which has to do with spirituality.
“Every stone is connected to a chakra,” Wieties said.
Larga has used crystals since he was a teenager. He used to refrain from telling anyone about the crystals he carried around in his pockets, but now he is a strong advocate for crystal use and no longer feels ashamed of it, he said.
“You need to open yourself up to it,” Larga said. “The more time you take with the stone and the more you meditate on it, the more sensitive you become to it and the more it can have an affect on you.”
Larga has become so sensitive to the effects of stones that when he went camping near a river in the Ozarks, the energizing properties of limestone in the creekbed kept him awake all night, he said.
Larga taps into the stones by envisioning energy running between himself and the crystals in order to create a “resonance within” with the stone, he said.
“Vibration is what crystals do,” Larga said. “I look at them as a more intense manifestation of vibration than the average things in your environment. Once you clue into stone energies, you really begin to notice that everything in the environment has a vibrational property and you become more sensitive to the general environment.”