Welcome to The Kit, our new series where we ask experts from different fields which tools they think we need to succeed in life. In the first edition, we called on London-based crystal expert Emmy Lou Knowles, to talk all things crystals (and more) to help you tune in to your more spiritual side, if you feel so inclined…
Okay, so you may be a little sceptical about the power of crystals. That's cool. But if you're curious, Knowles reveals the ones you should start your journey with, plus she explores the power of other natural substances from plants to oils and music if crystals aren't your bag. Keep reading to get enlightened.
BYRDIE UK: Which crystals can everyone benefit from this year?
EMMY LOU KNOWLES: Starting the year right is important, as is starting every day of your life right, so I have a cultivation kit. I tend to carry this on me where I can or grab it when I need to. This is my core family of crystals, and I add to it when I need to.
1. Rose and clear quartz for love: I believe the key to everything is the heart and love. Energy is love, and it's a powerful healer and creator. Rose quartz is so popular because it's the master key to that frequency, if you're looking to cultivate a fresh start or to harness yourself as you strive into this year, the best place to be coming from is your heart, so allow rose quartz to become your mirror and reflector. Use clear quartz to tap into a mega-high vibe—no need ask how; let it cut through and show you the way.
2. Tiger's eye for confidence: For me, this stone is a complete lifesaver. It should be used with slow, long, deep breathing so that you can feel powerful without it rushing straight to your head. In January, we tend to set intentions, and we can become impatient when they don't happen on our clock, so the tiger's eye will give you the confidence to stay true to your intention with a confident dose of patience.
3. Amethyst for clarity: This time of year, we need to bathe in clarity. Often what drives most of our anxiety is lack of control. We can use amethyst in sleep (most effectively) to allow ourselves to open our mind to clearly focus and allow that to drive us as if by magic
4. Citrine for abundance: And not just in the Daddy Warbucks sense of the word but for an abundance of all things, be it happiness, fun, wealth—all the good stuff, basically! I use this crystal to burn off the clouds of life and to light the way into positive intention, allowing for a favourable vibration you can trust and feel good in.
5. Jade for luck and tension: We spend most of our lives running around at an unnatural pace. Over the holidays, we finally unwind, we reconnect with ourselves and our family because we have allowed ourselves the time to do so—work has "let us." Use jade to unwind during the madness and to pace yourself and soothe your head back to your actual reality.
Aside from these, if you're feeling the need to come back to earth a little, try some jet; this will help you feel grounded, protected, safe and steady.
BYRDIE UK: Besides crystals, are there any other things you use to feel better?
ELK: Yes, absolutely. I think it's so important to soothe and tend to every sense, so the crystals tap into the touch and feel and the sight (especially when we're meditating with them—then we can use them as a focal point, or we can take to hand or lay on our energy centres).
Palo santo is a definite go-to for my scent senses and for cleansing my space—it's so heavenly and sweet. It's a real mood lightener, and if you're looking for sweet dreams, I would definitely look to burn this (carefully) before you drift off to sleep or if you're looking to bless and send good vibes ahead into your day. Sage is magical because the smoke draws straight toward the energy that needs to be shifted or is lingering, so you don't need to be a pro to use it. If burning the sticks isn't your thing, I think having a plethora of incense sticks on hand is fab, easy to use and so effective.
Essential oils are also incredible. They can really bring a shift and a lift to us or balance us when we're feeling out of sorts. I would suggest picking out a few (my go-to oils are neroli, rose, lavender and frankincense) and just taking a gentle sniff of each one to see which your body is drawn to, as you would when you're picking your perfume or aftershave for the day—you just trust that you know.
Music, like the oils, is mood based. I can listen to monks chanting on repeat for days and then feel the need for classical and jazz. My go-to music would be The Light Within by Steve Hulse and Garden of the Gods by Deuter. I use these in healing sessions. For meditation, I like Islands by Ludovico Einaudi or The Tibetan Meditation Music of Nawang Khecjhog. For something a bit deeper, sound bowls! I would recommend Tibetan Chakra Meditations by Ben Scott and Christa Michell.
BYRDIE UK: Any books or podcasts you'd recommend for anyone who is keen to find out more?
ELK: The Crystal Bible is an amazing book for prescriptive crystals—you really can't beat Judy Hall for that. I've written a book, The Power of Crystal Healing (£13), to help people choose just which crystal is right for them in the moment (to start the day right, for inner beauty, to end the day right or for the home). There's something for everyone. I wrote the book to help the individuals understand, develop and deepen their relationship with crystals, whether they're just at the start of their journey or years down the line. I believe that just as you have certain friends for certain situations, we have unique relationship with crystals.
I also love Ask and It Is Given (£10) by Esther and Jerry Hicks, The Secret (£12) by Rhonda Byrne, and Many Lives Many Masters (£10) by Dr. Brian Weiss. And for podcasts, I haven't found one as yet that taps purely into crystals, but there are podcasts that are exploring interesting themes to help you dive deeper into your journey. On Being With Krista Tippett explores the big questions of meaning and the immensity of life. For a fun listen, Under the Skin by Russell Brand explores what's beyond the surface and is so interesting.
BYRDIE UK: Any tips or tricks for how our readers can be more intuitive and cut through life's noise for a bit of clarity this year?
ELK: Remember to breathe more. Sometimes I leave myself notes around the house to remind myself—sounds silly, but it works. Or I set calendar alerts for random times! I know this isn't always possible, but taking the time to sit and breathe, either at your desk, in the toilet or in the car. I like to count my breaths in and out for six. Frankincense is great for stimulating deep breathing, as is menthol. I carry an Olbas Inhaler Nasal Stick (£2) in my pocket, and when life gets stuffy, I will gently waft this under my nose and soak it in.
The most important thing is to explore your intuition, to allow for a greater peace of mind and to dial down the noise. We can get so caught up in striving beyond ourselves for peace, we forget that our natural inner self is what we really need to be tapping into instead of padding life out. Strip it back, come back to yourself and spend time developing that relationship—it's the most important relationship you will ever have.