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Rocks in our heads

Exploring crystal recipes in Brooklyn as New Age beliefs surge


Rocks in our heads
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A New York moment:

Last week I visited a crystal shop in Brooklyn for a forthcoming magazine feature on the increasing interest in New Age practices. The resident “crystal healer” asked me to pick three stones, then described their meanings: One, tangerine quartz, supposedly activates “creativity.” Generally speaking, coffee is the main substance that activates my creativity.

As I searched more to understand the wild world of crystals, I landed on, the website of Gwyneth Paltrow’s popular lifestyle brand. The resident Goop crystal expert offered a recipe for a rose quartz spray for those needing help in the “love department.”

“First, clean your rose quartz crystal using sage, sunlight, moonlight, or salt water as mentioned above,” the recipe reads. “Place your rose quartz in a glass bowl of filtered water, in direct sunlight from sunup to sundown.” Then the recipe directs pouring the “crystal-charged water” (quite a marketing term for water with a rock sitting in it) into a mister bottle with various oils. Spritz yourself—and voilà! Love!

In the 1850s, a somewhat New Age wave swept through the United States, starting in New York—the spiritualism movement, which focused on mediums speaking to the dead. Reaction to the burst in belief in mediums help spark the Third Great Awakening in the church, leading to revival.

Worth your time:

Biola University’s daily Lent devotionals, available by email and on its website. Each devotional has a piece of art, music to play while you read, a poem, a passage of Scripture, a reflection on the Scripture, and a prayer. It usually takes about 10 minutes to go through. I like that it engages many of your senses.

This week I learned:

That you can use your pants as a flotation device if you fall overboard—not that I’m often out and about on boats, but it’s a fun trick to know. A German man just survived three hours in the sea off New Zealand using the pants trick.

A court case you might not know about:

Or rather, the lack of a court case. Some county sheriffs are balking at enforcing new state gun restrictions, such as running background checks or banning semi-automatic weapons. Their reasoning is that if liberal cities can defy federal immigration enforcement by becoming “sanctuary cities,” then their counties can be sanctuaries for gun owners.

Back in 2013, a group of Colorado sheriffs joined a lawsuit against new gun-control measures enacted after the Aurora shooting. That lawsuit failed, but an attorney told The Wall Street Journal the gun control measure has rarely been enforced, which I find fascinating.

Culture I am consuming:

Apollo 11, a new documentary in theaters about the moon landing. Go see this movie. It is jaw-dropping and perfectly constructed—like a spaceship! The film has no interviews reflecting back on the mission, just heart-racing, minute-by-minute footage of the feat, with newly revealed archival footage from NASA.

Email me with tips, story ideas, and feedback at

Emily Belz

Emily is a former senior reporter for WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and also previously reported for the New York Daily News, The Indianapolis Star, and Philanthropy magazine. Emily resides in New York City.



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