In relation to the idealism of keeping crystals or a powerful talisman on our person, Druids may have kept them as well. They generally may have kept them in their pockets or wore it as part of a necklace and they were called “Druid’s eggs”. It was also called an adder stone, hag stone, witch stone, serpent egg or Druid’s glass. There is a fanciful story surrounding their creation relating to snakes as to how they were created. In reality they are naturally occurring stones with a hole in the middle worn away by a body of water, probably found laying out on the beach. There is a similar legend from Scotland in the Carmina Gadelica telling of a serpent stone called ‘clach-nathrach’.
“There is also another kind of egg, of much renown in the Gallic provinces, but ignored by the Greeks. In the summer, numberless snakes entwine themselves into a ball, held together by a secretion from their bodies and by their spittle. This is called anguinum. The Druids say that hissing serpents throw this up into the air, and that it must be caught in a cloak, and not allowed to touch the ground; and that one must instantly take to flight on horseback, as the serpents will pursue until some stream cuts them off. It may be tested, they say, seeing if it floats against the current of a river, even though it be set in gold. But as it is the way of magicians to cast a cunning veil about their frauds, they pretend that those eggs can only be taken on a certain day of the moon, as though it rested with mankind to make the moon and the serpents accord as to the moment of the operation. I myself, however, have seen one of those eggs; it was round, and about as large as a smallish apple; the shell was cartilaginous, and pocked like the arms of a polypus. The Druids esteem it highly. It is said to ensure success in law-suits and a favorable reception with princes; but this is false, because a man of Voncontii, who was also a Roman knight, kept one of these eggs in his bosom during a trial, and was put to death by the Emperor Claudius, as far as I can see, for that reason alone.” –Pliny the Elder (Roman, 23 – 79 CE)
“It is of steel-grey color, has the consistency of soft putty when new and of hard putty when old, and is as light as pumice-stone, which it resembles. It is of a globular form, and from one to three inches in diameter. There is a circular hole, about a quarter of an inch in width, through the centre. This substance is said to be produced by the serpent emitting spume round the root of a twig of heather. The clach-nathrach is greatly prized by the people, who transmit it as a talisman to their descendants.” -Alexander Carmichael, (1860 – 1909) Carmina Gadelica
Crystals are often used in the Druidry community as well and have been used for thousands of years in jewelry, art and as simple home decoration. The vast majority of crystals are acquired during the mining process of another mineral such as aluminum or gold. They are simply not worth enough money to mine for on their own. Since they are a by product of mining for something else, they are generally not seen as having a direct or large environmental impact. The process of mining can be very destructive for the environment, waterways and nearby wildlife. Mining unnecessarily is something, as stewards of the earth, we are all fighting against and more precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires etc. have been historically mined using very inhumane and destructive methods. Knowing that crystals and some stones come from deep within the earth gives many people that wear or collect crystals a sense of closeness with the earth and it’s energy. Not to mention, they are beautiful to look at and further remind us of the earth’s beauty permeating every part of it, even the deepest and darkest corners. In the holistic world we have to be mindful and aware of people claiming to heal physical ailments with crystals or stones. Many scientific studies have come forward showing that crystals and stones in general do not have differing energy wavelengths to legitimately aid in healing or another endeavor. With that said, Druids still believe in the “essence” of things both living and non-living. Crystals are another mode of using power of the mind and finding a unique way to bring ourselves closer to a desired emotion or outcome. An example of this is a person with mild social anxiety wearing a specific crystal or stone necklace when going to a social gathering and making them feel more at ease. People who use crystals in aiding them to attain their goals generally “charge” their crystals by laying them out in the full moon’s light. They may do a certain ritual with the crystal or stone to give it the attained meaning and significance. Beyond that, crystals are simply a fun way of reminding us of nature’s power and it’s ability to create, as chemicals and minerals change form to make something else, something beautiful.
More on hagstones here…
For more information check out The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall!
Great starter 11 piece crystal kit here…
Lovely homemade adder stone necklaces here…
Writer and Herbalist
A founding member of Discover Druidry, Isla is a writer, photographer and avid gardener. She wrote the Celtic Druidry Handbook: An Evidence Based Guide.