Published November 2014  •  Updated June 2022  •  Read Time: 11 minutes
Selenite is a must-have for every crystal collector. Most mineral specimens are a brilliant white gem that flashes in the light.  But it can also be orange, yellow or green!  Translucent Selenite is the gemmy version of Gypsum and Alabaster.  It usually grows in long wands, but it an also form into delicate Desert Roses, white as salt or earth-toned from the soil.  Selenite grows in extremely dry desert environments and so water can damage it.  It is a soft stone that needs to be handled with care.  Its reputation for bestowing blessings and healing the body dates back to the medieval period.  Today, healers often use it to cleanse and charge other crystals.

Selenite

Selenite Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Selenite has an exceptionally high and pure vibration, which promotes super-consciousness. It connects us with our Highest Self, our Spirit Guides, and lights up the mystical pathway between ourselves and the Divine. Selenite can be used to access past lives – as long as our purpose is to seek healing and completion, not just simple entertainment. Selenite propels us forward, continually asking us to become the brilliant and vibrant person we are capable of becoming. It can be used to clear our aura, chakras, and other energy fields and is an excellent tool for scrying, meditation and indoor grids.  Selenite is a wonderful crystal ally for strengthening positive affirmations and manifestation.  It helps us to see our goals as clearly as possible and to frame them using positive language, such as “I will” and “I want to” rather than in negative terms, like “I won’t” or “I don’t want”.  Selenite reminds us that we are worthy, beloved children of God.

Metaphysical Properties Selenite
Chakra Third Eye, Crown
Element Wind
Numerology 8
Zodiac Taurus

Emotional Healing Properties

Selenite has a calm and wonderfully peaceful energy. It invites us to step into a bright new future and leave the past behind us. It can help us to overcome feelings of being stuck in a rut, or afraid to try new things. Selenite creates a protective and inspiring vibration field around us, so that we feel both safe and curious. Selenite also sings of pure, true love, without any limitations or conditions. This is LOVE at its highest level. Selenite shows us that such love is possible and something that we should strive for in all of our relationships.  It is especially good at helping us to release old emotional beliefs that make us feel sad, anxious, or unworthy.  It helps us to recognize that the old programming is neither truthful nor useful.  It invites us to consider new beliefs about ourselves that are honest, happy and hopeful.

Mental Healing Properties

Selenite aids discernment, helping us to swiftly analyze situations and people and to see both the superficial surface level, as well as deeper truths. It is a stone of Justice and Truth, one in which the spirit of the law is often more important than the letter of the law. Selenite is an advocacy stone for people who have been let down by the judicial system. It illuminates other potential paths forward for personal and societal peace. Selenite encourages compassion, but also shines a bright light on the mental blocks and privileges which allow good intentions to have disastrous results. Selenite asks us to think as clearly and purely as possible, assessing all sides and doing right by all.

Physical Healing Properties

Selenite is recommended for alternative healers who want to direct good energy into the body.  It can also be used like an energetic hose to fill the body with sparkly pure high-vibrational energy so we feel clean, peaceful and hopeful. It is a lovely tool for mothers with infants who want to make sure their baby gets all the nutrition it needs, whether from the breast or a bottle.  Selenite can also be used as a energetic laser to break up dangerous blocks and cut away harmful growths such as cancer.  When used in this way, however, it is important that energy work is done in tandem with conventional medicine.  Selenite’s energy is protective and so it asks us to make wise choices whenever our body needs medical attention.  It is an excellent talisman for the spine and is highly recommended for anyone working on improving flexibility.  It is also a sweet talisman for anyone suffering from epileptic seizures.

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Selenite Mineralogy

Where does Selenite come from?

Selenite might be in any Gypsum mine, but most of the commercially available specimens are from Mexico, Morocco and the United States.  Other notable Selenite deposits are in Australia, Canada, Peru, Portugal and Tunisia.

Mining and Treatments

Miners dig at the primary deposit.  While Gypsum is commercially-mined for industrial purposes, Selenite is primarily used for decorative and metaphysical purposes.  It is almost always fully natural, enhanced only by cutting and polishing.  However, some white Desert Rose Selenite is artificially-heated to further de-hydrate the crystal so that the colors are more striking.

Selenite Placeholder
Selenite

Mineral Family

Selenite is the beautiful transparent crystal form of Gypsum, a Sulfate mineral. Sulfates are a group of minerals whose crystal structure has four Oxygen atoms forming a square with a Sulfur atom in the center. There are approximately 200 types of Sulfates, with Gypsum and Barite being common while the rest are rare.  While opaque Gypsum in common in desert locations worldwide, the transparent crystals are relatively rare.

Selenite’s energy works well with its family – other Sulfate minerals.  Try it in combination with Angelite, Barite, and Celestine

Selenite Formation and Crystal Associates

Selenite, like other forms of Gypsum, forms by the evaporation of ancient oceans. Due to its low solubility, Gypsum was typically the first mineral formed and it can take a variety of shapes from dazzling white sand dunes to shimmering rosette stones, and various crystal forms. Crystals typically occur as tabular or columnar crystals with few inclusions and can be so clear as to appear glass-like. They are often near hot springs since those conditions are vital for their growth.

Selenite’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Aragonite, Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Quartz, and Pyrite.

What color is Selenite?

Most Selenite is a colorless or white crystal.  But occasionally trace particles will bestow another color.  Orange and golden varieties get their color from the presence of Hematite.  While the green shades come from Copper.  Desert Rose Selenite can also be white, yellow or orange.

Mineralogy Selenite
Chemical Formula CaSO42H2o
Cleavage Perfect
Color Colorless, white, yellow, orange, green
Crystal System Monoclinic
Form/Habit Prismatic to tabular
Fracture Splintery
Hardness – Mohs Scale 2
Luminescence Blue (long and short wave)
Luster Subvitreous to pearly
Mineral Family Sulfates
Specific Gravity 2.3
Streak White
Transparency Transparent to Opaque

History of Selenite

Selenite is a rare form of Gypsum found in some of the world’s driest desert environments.  Miners in ancient Egypt, Rome, China and other civilizations, actively mined Gypsum, primarily to create a plaster for building projects.  Likewise, snow-white Alabaster, the massive form of Gypsum, was highly-prized for carving statues.  Selenite, the fragile gem variety of Gypsum,  is so soft that it is only useful for decorative and metaphysical purposes.  Its name literally means “moonstone”, from the Greek selene, or moon.

The oldest surviving reference to this gemstone is in the early-medieval poem Liber de Lapidibus (Book on Stones).  The author, Marbodius of Rennes (c.1035 -1123), was a bishop in France.  Most of his writing was of a spiritual nature, such as saints’ lives, Christian advice, and hymns.  But he also wrote about the medicinal and therapeutic qualities of sixty gemstones.  While Selenite is most commonly pure white, it occasionally come in other colors.  In Liber de Lapidibus the Selenite is described as a green stone that hailed from Persia, or modern Iran.  Persian Selenite was once common, but today it is rarely available on the market.

In Persian lands, eagles’ nest concealed,
And by the Twins its virtues first revealed.
Nor must we pass the Selenites by
Whose hues with grass or verdant jasper vie.

 With the lov’d moon it sympathy shines,
Grows with her increase – with her wane declines;
And since it thus for heav’nly changes cares
The fitting name of sacred stone it bears.

A powerful philtre to ensnare the heart
It saves the fair from dire consumption’s dart.
Long as the moon her wasted orb repairs
To pining mortals these effects it bears;

Yet ne’ertheless, when Luna’s on the wane
Men from its use will diverse blessings gain.
This stone, a remedy for human ills,
Spring, as they tell, from famous Persia’s hills.

The most fabulous deposit of Selenite ever discovered is located inside a mine in Naica, Mexico.  The caverns are located underneath a mountain rich in lead, silver and zinc.  Prospectors first began working the mountain in 1794 and formally organized as a mine in 1900.  Mining was temporarily halted in 1910 after tunneling into the impressive Cueva de Espadas or Cave of Swords.  The walls of the cavern were full of jagged blades of Selenite up to 6 feet (2 meters) long.  Regrettably, the cave was soon stripped of its natural treasures and the Selenite sold to collectors.

Almost ninety years later, miners broke into another cavern, Cueva de los Cristales, or Cave of Crystals.  Here the Selenite is far larger and older, with some of the columns rising as high as 36 feet (11 meters).  These Selenite are the largest natural crystals in the world.  They grew to their enormous size from being submerged in hot calcium sulfate–rich water for at least one million years.  By the time the miners found the cavern, the water had drained as a result of the mining process, leaving the Selenite exposed.  The mine owners decided to protect the cave, rather than strip it.

Selenite is fragile and it wouldn’t be practical to have a cave like this open to the public.  The only people allowed inside are a few mine employees and scientists who have secured permission to study it.  The temperature inside the cave is extremely hot and humid, up to 122 F (50 C), and so it is difficult to remain inside for more than a few minutes.  The heat is due to the presence of a pool of molten magma just below the cave’s floor.  In 2015, the cave was reclosed after a water leak in the mine made conditions too dangerous for humans.  But the mine owners have said they may re-open the cave in the future if it is safe to do so.

While most Selenite grows in long wands, sometimes it forms little balls known as Desert Roses.  This natural shape is created by a combination of wind, water, salt and sand which forms the mineral into a rosette shape, Latin for “little rose.”  They can be as little as 1/2 an inch in diameter to well over a foot in size.  Most of the stones sold as Desert Rose are Selenite, but Barite, a closely related mineral, can also grow in this shape. Most of the Desert Roses on the market are from North America or North Africa.  The Desert Roses found in North America formed about 250 million years ago when the great plains and the southwest was covered by a shallow sea that slowly evaporated, leaving salt plains behind. 

The Desert Rose in North Africa formed in the same way, but much more recently.  Today, the Sahara Desert dominates North Africa.  But as recently as 6,000 years ago, it was the world’s largest freshwater lake, known as Mega-Chad.  As the planet warmed up, following the last Ice Age, the lake began to evaporate and was replaced by a desert dotted with Desert Roses.  One of the best sites for gathering Desert Rose Selenite is Chott el Djerid, a salt lake in southern Tunisia.  During the winter it is usually a lake, but the water evaporates every summer.  The Desert Rose Selenite are easy to mine and provide locals with a source of income.  While few people outside of Tunisia know this lake by name, almost everyone has seen it on the big screen as the filming location for Star Wars’ Tatooine. The next time you watch Luke Skywalker gazing at the two suns, while the music of The Force plays, remember that Selenite’s sweet energy is surrounding the young Jedi knight.

References:

  1. Hiolski, Emma. “Naica’s crystal cave captivates chemists: giant gypsum crystals reveal their secrets.” Chemical & Engineering News, February 2019 https://cen.acs.org/physical-chemistry/geochemistry/Naicas-crystal-cave-captivates-chemists/97/i6
  2. Marbodius of Rennes, “Liber de Lapidibus” in Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore. Bruce Knuth (Parachute, CO: Jewelers Press, 2007)  p.272
  3. Mindat.org, “Selenite” https://www.mindat.org/min-5527.html