If you live on a coast or have visited beaches around the world, and if you are like most people, you have been delighted to find beautiful seashells waiting for you to claim. For many of us, we have collected shells through the years and given them special places in our homes where they resonate a particular power.  When you use seashells to decorate your homes and sacred spaces, you might not know it, but shells have healing properties, just like the beautiful jewel-quality healing crystals we place on our altars and carry in our medicine bags. Seashells offer another level to our self-healing practices.

With their birthplace being the salty ocean, (except for land snails) each shell has been grown following a pattern of sacred geometry. In fact, geometry is an integral part of their make-up. And the creatures who live in these shells have long been recognized for their amazing power in the ocean. Collecting the shells from creatures who have died or outgrown their shells is a holy experience. Ancient tribes around the world understood the spiritual significance of using something what was once the home of a sacred being. They used shells as amulets, embellishments, protectors from negative energies, ceremonial objects, and as tools to stimulate intuition and spiritual connection. Almost every island or coastal tribal culture has incorporated seashells into their most sacred jewelry, garments, and healing medicine practices.

There is another reality to seashells. If you visit any souvenir shop in a coastal town you will see many trinkets and insignificant objects crafted with shells, but this is because many times, shells are not valued for the power they possess, and people see them as a free resource to use in making things to sell. Far beyond that use, seashells hold a vast amount of wisdom and can be a reliable source of intuition and psychic connection to the spirit world.

Because of the moon’s strong influence on the ocean, seashells hold the energy of the moon phases and some of them have more power at various times of the moon cycle. Many shells, particularly sea snails and the nautilus, form on a center spiral, and actually grow outward with the passing of a full moon pull. I say pull, because the gravitational pull of the moon on water enhances the inhabitant's natural ability to build another section of its spiral shell and expand into it. Think of this wisdom connection, moon to mollusk. Because of this deep, deep connection to the planets, the water & tides, and the sharing of sacred geometry, seashells are a powerful symbol of the Pagan Great Mother Goddess.

Other shells, without a spiral form have equal power, but in different ways. They teach us how to use the resources available to us. Shells have regularly been used since recorded time by many ancient, and now modern-day tribes, for a number of ceremonial purposes – those of healing, protection, spell work, self-love practice, currency, and spiritual  & psychic awareness, and growth/enhancement – just to name a few. For example, seashells can work well with Reiki as the practitioner matches their shape, size, and structure with the gentle, powerful healing energy that is generated by the healer to cleanse, balance and harmonize the aura and chakras.

Just like healing crystals, specific types of sea shells have  been shown to resonate specific healing properties. Abalone shell, for example, is commonly used to contain herbs and crystals on an altar. It is also worn and used as a protection amulet to assist with general energetic protection and to ease feelings of anger, depression, fear, and sadness. Abalone has also been used to attract inspiration and creativity to those who carry it, wear it or even meditate with it.

Here are some of the properties we know of and the shells that have been consistently noted for those attributes. You can also do a little more research into specific cultures to learn how they use seashell energy and what shells they use.

There are very many types of sea shells from all over the world, but here are a few of the shells that are consistently used in metaphysical practices and their spiritual meanings:

Abalone Shell – Use for communication, peace and beauty (self-love), healing.
Starfish - Use for guidance and inspiration. When you are at a crossroads, you can find the answers you need from the meaning of the starfish. Think of each point as the points of the Pentagram. The star symbolizes regeneration, renewal, and self-sustainability. It also represents infinite divine love. It is commonly used to represent Virgin Mary as Star of the Sea, guide and protector to those who are traveling in troubled waters.
Clams, Muscles & Oysters – Purification, love and good fortune. Small ones are given as talismans (or tokens) of love. Most healers keep one or more in their medicine bags.
Mother of Pearl (any shell with this surface) – Traditionally used to heighten intuition, psychic sensitivity and imagination (much like the shell of the Abalone), more modern uses include attracting prosperity, protection from negative energy and transmutation of negative energy. Mother of Pearl is helpful when treating high blood pressure, improving vision and enhancing wound healing. 
Cone Shells – Traditionally used for protection. Use them to channel and direct energy (think single terminated quartz points) in Reiki, Crystal healing sessions and in crystal grids.
Sand Dollar – My personal favorite!! If you’ve ever held a sand dollar shell in your hand, you’ll notice how fragile its shell is, yet how strong its vibration is. Sand dollars hold the wisdom and information that we need in order to make necessary changes for healing, growth, spiritual expansion and transendence. The shell is formed around the 5-pointed star of sacred geometry, which teaches us to be gentle in our approach to all life regardless of environmental conditions; and to go with the flow and be flexible in our thinking. They teach us to work on changing belief systems that are detrimental to us, replacing out-lived beliefs with new healthy empowerment systems. Sand Dollars enhance our ability to have faith and connect with our strength within. 
Cowrie Shells – Used to manifest prosperity and abundance, particularly finanacial. According to African legend, if you are attracted to cowrie shells you could be family to an ocean spirit of great abundance. It has also been said that Cowrie shells hold Goddess protection which is very powerful and connected with the strength of the ocean. The Cowrie symbolizes the power of destiny and prosperity, and is believed to teach stories of humility and respect to all those who possess them.
Limpet Shells – Courage, confidence, physical strength. The Pinnacle of power.
Moon Shells – Psychic awareness, purification, and peace.
Turtella, Terebra, Torta, and Whelk – Used for making dramatic, positive changes in your life, and to signify the sacred energy of the spiral of life
Olive Shells – A humble energy used for cleansing and healing.

Form your own relationships with your sea shells, as you would your healing crystals, and use your intuition to see how they ‘speak’ to you. Here is a simple way you can connect with your sea shells:

Cleanse and charge your sea shells the way you would your crystals. 
Hold one shell (one type) in your left hand, your receiving hand, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths to relax. If you want, you can meditate before hand and set your intention to energetically connect with your shells, or you can fall into a semi-meditative state. Both methods have worked practitioners,  so do what feels right for you.

With your eyes closed, and the shell gently placed in your left hand, notice any sensations that arise.
~ How does your body feel physically, do you feel any sensations in a particular area or part of your body?
~ Does the shell elicit any sensations in your subtle bodies, perhaps a particular chakra?
~ Does the shell elicit any particular thoughts or visions?
~ Does the shell bring up any particular memories, or emotions?
~ How does the shell make you feel overall – safe, insecure, calm, lucky, energized, etc?
Noticing these kinds of sensations will give you some insight into how that particular shell can, or wants to, work with you.

Remember, too, seashells, rocks, crystals, and wood are all natural elements that work together to create a grid of energy. Consider using a combination of all of them to create your perfect altar environment.

See the seashell gift assortment we offer in our section CRYSTALS, STONES, AND SEASHELLS