No Matter How Cool Rocks Are, They Aren’t Magic

I had another one of those moments today where people I generally like at work open their mouths about something anti-science and my opinion of them sinks considerably.  A few months ago it was “alternative” medicine and germ theory denial, today it was Moqui Marbles.

I wasn’t familiar with the term, since it seems to be based on Hopi traditions and has been subsequently hijacked by new-age purveyors of animistic weirdness and hokey energy field mysticism.  It turns out they’re referring to a very cool type of spherical hematite rocks (iron oxide concretions) formed by a fascinating set of geologic conditions, that are common both in Utah’s red rock areas as well as um… Mars.

Pretty, huh?  I was something of a rock hound growing up and still love interesting rocks whenever I come across them.  But I worry that these super cool rocks, whether they’re called blueberries, Moqui marbles, Mars marbles, shaman stones, Martian spherules or iron oxide concretions, becoming part of energy field craziness will lead to ravenous collection in and around the Navajo sandstone areas they are found.  Until of course, one day when it becomes virtually impossible for someone exploring to find something wondrous and beautiful by chance.  I’m guilty of picking up the occasional rock for myself, I admit, but I am more likely to collect from an old mine’s spoil pile than anywhere else.  And I never take something that is rare because to do so is to deny it the next person to come by.

So while I agree they’re very neat examples of geologic chemistry, I felt my brain begin to dribble out my ears when some coworkers were talking about them in highly animistic spirit terms.  Apparently whoever sold one of the ladies on the idea convinced her that there are male and female stones and that they react to your heat and energy.  Since the one she picked up was warm at the time, they convinced her that it liked her.  Yes, really.  She insisted that she could improve herself through some mystical mechanism by holding it and focusing.  After listening to rambling about centering and energy fields I practically grinding my teeth with the effort of keeping my damn mouth shut.

When I was trying to figure out what the hell she was talking about, I came across this gem:

They are recommended to the user of both the ancient ways and the future ways. Moqui Balls can be used to align the energy centers, to relieve energy blockages, to stimulate the CHI, to ground and center, and to provide protection. Grinding with two Moqui Balls promotes receptivity to frequencies which are usually inaudible. The journey with the Moqui balls allow one to live to the fullest, while understanding the sanctity of, and performing healing for the earth. Moqui Balls need no special care, they are lovely to hold and act to protect when placed in ones environments, the energy being like a good friend. Manifested by nature, enjoyed by mankind, the Moqui Balls brings the synthesis of the male/female duality, and the actualization of singularity, allowing one to recognize the self, and the independence and liberty of ones nature. Moqui Balls are said to have been used for contact with the extra-terrestrial, for visioning, and for journeying, they were sacred among the shamanic members of the ancient tribes.

See?  Total gobbledygook.  It feels a bit like something you could produce using the following method:

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