Wanders with Wit

The Call of the Crystal Skulls

Mystical meanderings on Bundjalung Country, New South Wales, Australia
Collection of black marine fossil & black crazy lace agate carved crystal skulls
Here's looking at you carved black marine fossil & black crazy lace agate skulls
Confession time: I've been a closet crystal enthusiast for years. Amazonite, moonstone, rose quartz, sodalite; any nugget of sparkly splendour has always transfixed me and, on rare occasions, refused to let me out of its sight until I'd purchased it to add to my modest collection of resplendent rocks. Such faceted fascination, however, reached the stratosphere when the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls was released, sending my already overactive imagination into overdrive with the idea that skulls carved out of crystals could somehow communicate telepathically ... or even be of otherworldly origins.
When the film premiered, crystal shops were a novelty; crystal skulls even rarer. Hence one day when I heard that a real life crystal skull was to tour Australia with its international custodian, I snapped up a ticket immediately.
The venue hosting the "meet and greet" was a magnificent stone castle surrounded by stunning valley views and picturesque gardens, nestled adjacent to a dense, subtropical rainforest. There simply weren't enough adjectives to describe the joint.
A good friend had decided to join me for the journey - but more for the chance to go on a road trip than to get up to any paranormal shenanigans with an ancient slab of precious stone. When we finally arrived at the castle, my friend and I were ushered into an expansive, earthen living room where I half-expected fair maidens to offer us goblets of hearty wine and heaving platters of undercooked animal limbs.
"Welcome ladies! Who'd like to meet the skull first?" the friendly male host/skull caretaker/guardian asked us both.
"She would." My friend ushered me forward, since I was the only one that had actually paid for the experience.
I followed the young man into the centre of the dining room where he introduced me to a luminous, life-sized, clear crystal quartz skull that stared unblinkingly back at me.
"Please take a seat and get comfortable," he gently instructed. "When you're ready, we'll begin."
"Hang on, what's this 'we' business?" I wanted to ask. Given that it was my first metaphysical meeting with such an extraordinary emblem, I had assumed I would have been gifted a private session with the skull to share telepathic tidbits about the secrets of the universe. Instead, I was granted an audience: my friend, some random person sitting on a nearby couch and the skull custodian himself.
"We'll start with three slow, deep breaths in and out as you relax into every cell of your being," he calmly whispered in my ear.
"Wait!" I wanted to shout. "What's supposed to happen here? Am I about to go into a trance? Is the skull going to open up a doorway into another dimension? How do I know this room isn't going to turn into a giant spaceship and take off?!" Myths abounded as to the immense power and knowledge skulls supposedly possessed.
"Breathing nice and slowly, more and more deeply." The caretaker spoke in a soft, low voice. "You're getting more relaxed, drifting into a peaceful state." And with that, he placed my sticky palms on either side of the skull's icy crystalline temples.
Before I could ask if he had a hand towel handy, a sudden noise disrupted my clammy connection. Was that a rattle I'd heard? As soon as I had become accustomed to the shaking of shells, a drum then started up from the far corner of the room. Had my friend and I accidentally stumbled across a rehearsal for a religious rumba group? Was I supposed to join in the cacophonic fray by placing the skull in my sweaty armpit and replicating the sound of a blown raspberry on its noggin?
After several minutes of pulsating distraction, I mustered all of my concentration in an attempt to "communicate" with the skull or, at least, try to hear my thoughts over the percussive din. After just one clear moment of intention, words and images suddenly appeared in my mind! I then silently asked a question, after which an answer was instantly revealed. I listened with wonder and fascination to all that was being shared, dearly wishing there was a feather-wielding medieval scribe nearby to take it all down.
The background music then ramped up a notch as a third instrument was added to the mix - courtesy of my friend who had decided to get in on the aural action. The host then appeared by my side and gently guided my forehead down so it was touching that of the skull's. The moment our third eyes met, the rattling and drumming reached fever pitch. If I hadn't been in total shock and disbelief as to what I was actually doing with my life, I would have leapt out of the chair and danced around, holding the skull aloft like it was Simba.
And then suddenly, it was all over. One by one, the musical instruments were put away and I was guided to remove my perspiring body parts from the intricately carved crystal. The experience had been so profound, it was a good hour before I was able to ground myself enough to get back behind the wheel.
"How was that??" my friend poked me in the ribs as we drove out of the property.
"So freaky, I barely know where to begin. But definitely one of the coolest things I've ever done." I winked back at her.
Beach & hinterland view from Watego's, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Windy view from Watego's
"There's a what????????!!!" I shrieked years later upon reading an article in Australia's Holistic Bliss magazine. The author of the piece - a Wise Warrior Woman by the name of Katherine - had been running a successful online crystal skull store for several years (that I had been unacceptably unaware of) and she'd just opened her very first bricks-and-mortar outlet in the hippie haven of Byron Bay.
The only hurdle was actually finding the place. If you hadn't known where Sweetness Skulls and Light was located, you could have easily walked right past the entrance to the arcade it was tucked away in, save only for a noticeboard on the busy footpath outside. But then as the old adage goes, you don't choose crystals, they find and select you.
Zebra jasper carved crystal skull
Signage on footpath for Crystal Skull Shop
Two rainbow fluorite crystal skulls
Zany zebra jasper skull, street signage and rainbow fluorite skulls contemplating life
"Hello, love." The welcoming shopkeeper greeted me as I walked in, mouth agape, trying to take in the kaleidoscopic sanctuary of crystal craniums.
"I can't believe you exist!" I blurted out. "Well not you, per se, but the store. There's so many skulls in here, it's just crazy!"
Peering out from within illuminated wooden shelves were dozens of exquisitely carved skulls, fashioned from materials as diverse as black obsidian, Australian jasper, lapis lazuli, orange calcite and blue aventurine. Some designs were so big, they required two hands just to hold them. Others could fit into the palm of your hand. If visitors didn't connect with any of the human-shaped crystal skulls, there were dozens of dragon, wolf, bird, horse and alien skulls on offer.
"Oh my goodness!" I cried out, having only just noticed what was by the entrance to the store. "That's got to be the biggest skull in the world!"
"That's Nexus," the shopkeeper explained. "She's the largest crystal skull in Australia. Isn't she a beauty? She's carved from Madagascan rose quartz and is a very powerful lady."

Enormous carved Madagascan rose quartz crystal skull
Nexus, the Madagascan rose quartz matriarch
"Wow!" I gushed. "Am I allowed to touch her at all?"
"Absolutely! That's why we have a chair right beside her, love. Go for your life."
The smoky pink-and-white contours of Nexus instantly felt cool to the touch. "Wow, she's so heavy, she must be worth a lot." I commented as I attempted to wrap my arms around the skull.
"She sure is, but she's not for sale as she actually belongs to my daughter, Katherine, who owns the store."
"Oh I love her articles in Holistic Bliss," I enthused. "You're so lucky to work with all these skulls!"
The shopkeeper smiled. "You know, I wasn't into any of this stuff when I first started working here, not even crystals. But since we opened this place, with the things I've seen and the experiences customers have had, I'm a convert."
"How so?" I asked as I inspected an amethyst raven skull.
"These skulls have changed people's lives. So many people have never heard of our store, let alone a crystal skull before, yet somehow find themselves here after wandering in. I've had several customers immediately gravitate towards a certain skull and then cradle it like a child, sobbing and holding it to their chests. Seriously. They can't leave unless they purchase it. I'm not even allowed to take it off them sometimes to check the price or wrap it up in bubble wrap!"
"That's intense!" I proclaimed.
Carved red crazy lace agate skull
Large green aventurine carved crystal skull
Purple goldstone carved crystal skull
Close encounters with red crazy lace agate, green aventurine & purple goldstone skulls
"I swear to you, it's Nexus that draws the customers in here and then their healing can begin. One lady was going through a really tough time and sat quietly with Nexus for a couple of hours. When she opened her eyes, she was like a new woman - completely rejuvenated. I even have regulars that offer morning prayers to Nexus and leave her gifts."
"That's very sweet of them," I commented.
The shopkeeper continued. "Another customer bought a skull from us online and couldn't connect with it until she attended some international course that opened and expanded her mind. Straight afterwards, she heard her skull calling her - while she was still overseas!"
"She heard it talk to her?!" I asked, eyeing off a dragon skull carved from rainbow fluorite.
"Yep and that's not all. Another customer came in and had to leave shortly after, as the noise was just too much for her."
"Do you mean like the skulls' vibrations or something?" I asked.
"They were all talking too loudly amongst themselves apparently! They must have a lot of stories to tell. But the usual thing people hear from them is humming."
"Like a choir?"
"I guess so," the shopkeeper surmised.
I gazed at the hundreds of skulls before me. Silica - derived from quartz crystal - had long been used in memory chips and as a frequency control device in electronics and watches, as well as to transmit UV light due to its piezoelectric properties. Was Indiana Jones correct? Were crystals like a living library, able to store and transmit information to other crystals, or even humans sensitive enough to receive it? I'd always loved the legend that 12 to 13 very powerful, clear quartz crystal skulls - that may or may not have originated in Atlantis - had been programmed with all manner of otherworldly information and were currently in the safekeeping of various indigenous custodians across the planet until humanity was ready to heed their messages.

Central display & shelving in crystal skull store
Freaking impressive carved crystal display
It did explain why crystal skulls were believed to have a stored memory of everything they'd ever seen or heard; evidenced by the cool party trick that some skulls significantly lightened in colour once they'd healed from stressful or traumatic events they'd witnessed; experiences that had literally darkened their psyches.
"That's not all." The shopkeeper's face lit up. "Sometimes they move during the night."
"Oh, come on now!" What do you mean?!" I gingerly placed a white labradorite skull back on its shelf, lest my own frequency of clumsy clamminess sent it flying across the floor.
"I'm the only one who works here, right? When I leave for the day, I make sure everyone's back in their regular spots but when I return in the morning, sometimes the skulls have shuffled around a bit to face each other. It's like they're doing a little Toy Story on me!"
Could there be truth to what many of the master carvers have said, that once they've carved out the eyes of a skull, they often feel a presence inhabit their creations? It would explain why enthusiasts believed crystal skulls exhibited different personalities and asked to be known by individual names.
My mind was officially blown. It'd been over two hours since I'd arrived at the store, but had felt like only 10 minutes. Though I didn't end up being chosen by a skull, I knew I would return.
"Thanks for letting me stay so long and for sharing all of your insights with me." I bade the  shopkeeper a warm farewell. "I think you might just have a front row seat to the mysterious wonders of the world."
"People say you can't define magic, but I can define it for you. Crystals are magic." She smiled knowingly. "And you can quote me on that, love."
(I just did.)
Smiling quartz carved crystal skull with black tourmaline and quartz hat
"Harold" - a dapper-looking quartz & black tourmaline carved skull
Since this article was written - and hopefully not because of it - Sweetness Skulls and Light have closed their store after five-and-a-half incredible years of trading!!
Aaaaaiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!  :( :( :(
If you'd like to support them in any way, they're still open online and - for all you crystal (skull) enthusiasts out there - let's hope they stay that way!!
(Otherwise, it may be time for you to open your own store somewhere ...)