Healing With Stones

Excerpt of an interview with Don Americo Yabar by Hal Zina Bennet 

 … Americo explained that each of the rocks holds many energies, put there through Nature, through the Pachamama, and through the intent of the paq'o (highland Peruvian shaman) who uses them and the teachers who have helped him develop his/her healing skills. Intent is extremely important in this process.  

The preparation ritual, prior to a healing, includes clearing one's mind of all preconceptions that you know either the reason for the person's illness, or what higher purpose it may serve within the broadest possible picture. Meditation and prayers of the preparation must include a profound humility and dedication to the service of the Pachamama, whose intelligence none of us can ever fully know.

We clear our minds and our hearts, making room only for love to flow through us, once again in service of this higher purpose. Americo explained that the rocks one worked with should be chosen for how they felt to you when you held them in your hand. For those of us without teachers in this practice, we should simply choose rocks which have touched something deep within us.

cuyas waianapanapa"Like when we walk along a beach and find a             stone which we find intriguing or beautiful?", I asked.

"Yes. And when you work with the rock, getting to know it, experimenting, finding out what it has to teach you, and what energy it will receive and hold when you charge it with your intent. Hold it as you meditate, asking to become aware of what the stone means to you, how it can serve you, and how it can help you serve others. 

This can take many days, perhaps many months, but as you hold a particular rock it will begin to speak to you, and you to it. For a Westerner living outside the Andes, charge the stone with your intent through prayer, through ritual that you have been taught, or which comes to you intuitively. Sometimes sitting in meditation with Nature is enough. It is a relationship with the stone that you are seeking. Some stones are like friends, some like cosmic radios that bring in messages from the cosmos, some like transmitters sending out the healing energies of love.  These you may discover and honor in whatever ways you can."

 Intent, Americo explained, should be distinguished from intention. Intention has a goal, with a focus on a particular outcome. Intention comes from the ego, from the desire to achieve something for ourselves. Intent, on the other hand, is selfless, not aimed at an outcome or purpose except perhaps to serve. In serving, he explained, we offer ourselves to the higher powers, humbling ourselves, recognizing that our own human minds and capacities are limited and cannot divine the mind or purpose of the far greater cosmic energies of the universe.  Intent is simply the act of holding in one's mind the energy of love, or the energy of giving oneself over to the service of the Pachamama.

In collecting the stones to work with, one should not expect to do it quickly or haphazardly. Some would come into your life from unexpected sources, such as being given to you by a special friend or teacher. You might find others while on a pleasurable walk or during spiritual retreat. 

The most powerful healing stones, and the most dependable, were those which are dense and opaque, not highly polished. Some semiprecious stones, such as turquoise and jasper can be very good to work with, if you relate to them well. This can even extend to agates, geodes and highly variegated natural marble. But get to know the energy of the stone very well before attempting to use it for healing. Never attempt to use stones that you feel in any way insecure about, or which seem to be holding an energy that you cannot clearly identify as beneficial.

Always treat the stones with respect and love, remembering at all times that they are charged with intent, that they are living beings like yourself, containing spirit, just as all things in the universe do. When they are not in use, cover them to hold their energy. It is a good idea to use a heavy woven piece of woolen, silk or cotton fabric for this - preferably made of natural fibers, dyed and woven by a loving craft person. Occasionally cleanse the stones.

There are many ways to do this: smudging with sage or sweet grass, washing with spring water, even sprinkling lightly with wine. Address the stones as the living beings they are, seeking their help at the beginning of a healing, thanking them at the end. Perhaps the most difficult part of the process such as healing with stones is remembering to humble oneself, to recognize that in asking to use the powerful forces available to us through Natural entities found in rocks, we must relinquish our own attachment to outcomes.

We are servants to higher powers at these moments and must get our own egos out of the way. We cannot judge either the illness (which we ordinarily assume to be bad), or the cure (which we ordinarily assume is good.) Rather, there is a way we must honor all of the cosmic creation, both that which brings pain and that which brings pleasure. To borrow the words of Henri Bergson, we need to remember that what we mere mortals perceive as disorder may only be elements of a higher order our small minds cannot hope to divine.


 Hal Zina Bennet, PhD is a contributing editor of 'Shaman's Drum' magazine and the author of more than twenty published books exploring the inner path, including 'Lens of Perception (Insights on the Peyote Road)'; 'Zuni Fetishes: Using Native American Objects for Meditation, Reflection and Insight', and 'Write From the Heart: Accessing the Power of Your Creativity'