Illustration by Spencer Olson

‘You Do Not Want the Energy of a Stolen Crystal’

After an L.A. health food empire’s rose quartz was stolen, what happened next?

On Thursday, June 23rd, around noon, an employee at Moon Juice, a cold-pressed juice and health food brand in Los Angeles, arrived for the afternoon shift at their Silver Lake store and noticed that a large rose quartz crystal belonging to the shop’s owner, Amanda Chantal Bacon, was missing.

The crystal had sat on a wooden table near the front door since opening day, three years prior. Flanked by various greenery, it offered a subtle dash of color to the minimalist space. Two weeks went by as the staff made sure that the crystal hadn’t been taken by a member of the Moon Juice team and transferred to another store location. When it was clear that this wasn’t the case, it was time to issue a clarion call.

On Thursday, July 7th, Moon Juice posted a photo of the missing crystal on Instagram with the following caption:

PLEASE RETURN THE CRYSTAL! //

Our rose quartz was stolen from the Silverlake shop. This loving rock has given so much to an entire community and has much more to share. To whomever took her out the door, you do not want the energy of a stolen crystal, please trust me! Anyone who can help her find her way home will be hugged and fed, no questions, just thanks.

At first, this post triggered an outpouring of sympathy in the comments section. “My daughter and I gather around that crystal and decompress from the day while we sip our potions,” lamented @Veganmom07. “So sad.” Others, like @littledropsoflavender, were shocked and outraged. “This is so ugly and I cannot believe anyone would do that,” they wrote.

Given the timing of the Instagram post—immediately following the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, in Louisiana and Philando Castile, in Minnesota — many were unsympathetic to Moon Juice’s woes. “Hopefully they took [the crystal] to Louisiana or Minnesota to help the black communities heal from the trauma they have experienced this week,” commented @kateth325. “They might need it a bit more there than the people of Silverlake.”

In what can categorically be regarded as an A-plus troll, Father John Misty — the singer-songwriter formerly of the band Fleet Foxes, whose real name is Josh Tillman — first interacted with Moon Juice’s post in their own comments section. “Hey this is Africa,” read his comment. “Some rare earth minerals seem to have stolen from me.” Later, he claimed responsibility for the theft in his own Instagram post, which soon made international headlines. “The universe, however you may define her, brought this crystal into my life at what can only be described as a ‘pivot moment,’” he wrote. Though rambling, the post had a valid argument about the impermanence of material possessions. “While I empathize with your loss I do believe that there is a larger lesson to be gleaned from this experience: namely that material goods, no matter how sacred, WILL come and go from your life.”

Moon Juice employees, however, were not convinced Tillman was behind the theft as they grappled with the meaning of his words. “He brings up a lot of good points, like that gems belong to the earth,” says Sonia, who happened to be working the day the crystal went missing, “but didn’t need to do it in such a malicious way.”

The maliciousness to which she referred may have been Tillman’s opinion on Moon Juice’s smoothies: “Inconsistent to say the least but largely impossible to steal so that is an injustice that I must face, and I accept with an open heart knowing that each watery gulp is an invaluable teaching moment.”

But Moon Juice doesn’t serve smoothies. They serve “Moon Shakes,” as well as a range of colorful juices, tonics, Moon Milks and, of course, their infamous dusts: “transformative formulas alchemized with the most potent organic and wildcrafted herbs, adaptogenic plants and bioactive minerals available.” The dusts retail for between $55 and $65 for a 2.2-oz jar (or $340 for all six, which include Sex Dust and Spirit Dust).

The combination of high prices, magic-infused branding and new age lingo have made Moon Juice and its founder Bacon legendary among L.A.’s health food community and beyond. In an infamous food diary published by Elle, Bacon praised the merits of activated cashews and shared her version of a taco recipe: a nori roll with umeboshi paste, avocado, cultured sea vegetables and pea sprouts. “It’s insanely delicious,” she says. Though the diary was fairly austere/extreme — she’s more open-minded than that narrow impression reveals — at least when it comes to the health of people other than herself and her son, Rohan.

“You can have one green juice a day and keep drinking caffeine, keep smoking cigarettes, keep eating hamburgers,” Bacon told the beauty publication Into The Gloss. “But that one juice will feel so good in your body that eventually you’ll be like, ‘Mm, I kind of feel like two green juices a day.’”

With this in mind, I approached the cash register and relieved myself of approximately $25 on a “Goodness Greens” juice, a probiotic shot and a “Blue Moon Water” which, thanks to the presence of spirulina, is a fascinating shade of sea blue reminiscent of the water at the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. It looked like a health food version of Gatorade. I had to have it.

In front of the cash register was a tiny aragonite crystal; another clear crystal sat in the tip jar. I paid with a credit card. After ordering, I browsed the apothecary section, sampling some Sunfood coconut rose MSM lotion and taking note of the sizeable amethyst placed in the bottom corner of one of the shelves.

It looked like it weighed at least 15 lbs. Not exactly easy to steal without anyone noticing.

I took a seat at the table where the rose quartz once sat, thoughtfully sipping my green juice. It was here that I struck up a conversation with Sonia.

“Many employees bless the crystal on their way in and out of the store,” Sonia explains. “And that’s when someone noticed it was gone.” Since then, many Moon Juice regulars have stopped by to offer their condolences for the loss of the crystal. I asked Sonia if she thinks Father John Misty is responsible for the crime. “It seems like a joke. I think that’s how he gets followers.” I ask Sonia if Moon Juice has any other suspects in mind. She says no.

Having finished my green juice, I open the Blue Moon Water and take a sip. Instead of a refreshing mouthful of liquid, I’m met with something that tastes like tangy baby spit—i.e., not thick enough to be considered adult spit, but thicker than your average liquid beverage. I’d been so seduced by the color of the water that I’d completely forgotten that I hate spirulina. I continue to sip it while talking to Sonia about the crystal.

“Aren’t there security cameras around the store?” I ask. “Surely someone stealing that crystal would be pretty obvious in the footage.”

“There are security cameras but they are mostly placed around the cash register and retail space. Not the common area.”

I look up and see a security camera pointing at the front door. I don’t bring this up to Sonia. Instead I ask her if she owns any crystals of her own, and she pulls a smooth, rounded silvery-gray stone out of her pocket. “Hematite. It keeps me grounded,” Sonia explains. “Many of the employees have to walk around a lot during their shifts, and it’s easy to get dizzy.”

After allowing me to hold her crystal, Sonia tells me she does tarot readings, and asks me if I’d like to pull a card. Obviously, I say yes. She comes back with a deck of cards and tells me to shuffle them, cut them and pull a card of my choice. I flip my card over to reveal that it is XIII Death, which Sonia’s booklet explains as follows: “Death is not an ending, but a transformation. Nothing in the universe is ever destroyed, things simply change form. Like the snake shedding its skin, fully conscious and aware of itself, a person leaving one state of being is simultaneously reborn into another.”

This seems oddly poetic and timely, since I am literally sitting in the place where the crystal used to be. Had Moon Juice’s rose quartz been similarly reborn via this act of thievery? Would the thief (or thieves) be cursed by its bad energy, as Bacon implied in her Instagram post (“You do not want the energy of a stolen crystal, please trust me!”)? Or is it possible they needed the quartz more than Moon Juice?

“I think the whole entire world needs rose quartz,” Laura Ellis, manager of L.A. shop Crystal Matrix in Atwater Village, tells me when I call to ask her about stolen crystals the next day. “It’s attuned to the human body, and a good healer. It’s a universal crystal.”

Ellis is no stranger to the problem of crystal theft. Between September and November of 2015, a pair of women stole two large crystals from Crystal Matrix and robbed another store down the street of some crystals as well. Although both stores had positively identified the thieves, there was not enough security footage to prove that they had stolen the crystals and seek legal punishment.

So if no legal ramifications take place, what happens to you if you steal a crystal, energetically speaking?

“It doesn’t make the crystal stop working, but it taints the energy,” Laura tells me. She goes onto explain that a stone’s energy largely depends on what emotions the person is holding when they stole it, and that stones such as Rose Quartz can absorb energy, whereas stones such as Clear Quartz (the kind of stone stolen from the Crystal Matrix) can amplify energy.

The theft Ellis and co experienced might have been for the best. After the Crystal Matrix was robbed, an energy channeler who works there told Ellis, “Be glad that it was stolen because it had weird energy.”

In the case of Moon Juice’s stolen crystal, which employees claim had amazing energy, Ellis says employees could still benefit from it, even when it’s not around. “There’s a path that stones go on, and they have their job to go different places,” she tells me. “You can still send energy and receive energy from a crystal that’s not in your space.”

I ask how this is possible and Laura explains to me that all energy exists on a grid, and you can send energy on that grid to various places. For example, there’s a $10,000 stone she’s wanted for a long time that she can’t afford to buy, so she looks at pictures of the crystal and pulls energy from it that way. Anything you have a picture of, you can pull or send energy to. I ask her what Moon Juice could do to send energy to their crystal thief.

“Visualize the crystal and send energy from your heart or third eye. If they are stealing it is likely from a place of fear. Send sympathy and love to them and maybe they won’t steal again.” But she reminds me that, because there are different levels of consciousness, there’s a chance the thief (or thieves) might not get the message.

While the Crystal Matrix had some energy workers set a protective grid around the space following the theft of their crystals, Moon Juice hasn’t gone down a road of shamanic rituals or witchcraft just yet. “We’ve upped our security measures and burned some Palo Santo,” Maureen, the manager of the Silver Lake store tells me over the phone. (Palo Santo is a sacred wood that is known for its energetic healing qualities.) I ask if they have any suspects. “We have some idea based of what felt weird that morning. Like, vibes that our employees had towards some specific people, but it’s not for sure yet if we have anyone as a suspect.”

That includes Father John Misty, who wrote back to my request to chat over Twitter fairly quickly — “May be more sensitive if we speak directly. Obvs lots to say, but must keep in mind we are talking about a devastated community” — but then fell out of contact. If and when a suspect is identified, it’s doubtful that Moon Juice is going to simply be sending them energy via their collective third eyes. It’s more likely that they will be contacting the proper authorities.

“If it’s a stolen product, then that’s something that should be reported,” Maureen says. “Especially when it’s something of value to somebody. I don’t think it matters what it is. If something is taken from you, that’s amoral, you know?”

Maybe it’s an amoral act of thievery, or maybe it’s simply an instance of a crystal being pulled into a new direction by the universe at large. At this point, only time will tell. To conclude our conversation, I ask Maureen how Bacon (who didn’t respond to requests for comments) is handling all of this.

“I don’t think she has any ill feelings towards anyone. She’s just missing something that she really cared about and is making sure that everyone’s safe.”