Crystal Palace

As we wait to see if CMA and MJD will ever emerge from their current disappearance I want to write about a most curious and weird part of CMA.

The so-called “Maha Crystal” sits in the center courtyard of the CMA ‘chapel’, one building in the private residential development of Heavenly Mountain, NC. maha in Sanskrit means light, lustre or great, abundant.

It’s shown prominently on the home page of :

When I first saw photos of this crystal I knew something very odd indeed was going on. Certainly one of the most visually striking parts of the whole CMA business.

The entire Heavenly Mountain estate including the chapel building were designed according to the standards of Maharishi Vastu (Vedic) Architecture which appealed to CMA’s chairman Christopher Hartnett, a longtime follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation. The buildings and Hartnett’s residency there predate CMA.

There is little mention of the crystal on CMA’s site but the About page tells us:

The Chapel is known throughout the world as the location of North America’s largest quartz crystal (The Maha Crystal) weighing 14,680 pounds. This world class, one of a kind crystal was installed on August 15th, 2013 and was activated on the day of the full moon, August 21st, 2013.

In 2013 Hartnett was still principally a gem tradesman and CMA was in a nascent state. He lives in a house on the same road as the chapel. I’m not sure when exactly Hartnett bought the chapel building. Back then the crystal installation must have been partly a personal vanity project to own a ridiculously large crystal in line with his gem obsession and business interest. But Hartnett had met MJD by then and there is evidence he was already associating the crystal with MJD and healing powers. More on this below.

Christopher Hartnett
Hartnett in his element, sitting on a crystal throne and surrounded by more crystals at the Tucson Gem Show 2016

As Hartnett’s association and enabling of MJD deepened over the following years, the building was used as the private meeting place of MJD followers. The crystal became part of CMA lore merely by its presence.

In late summer 2017, after the formalization of CMA International Foundation, the building was fully converted into the CMA chapel (their only chapel) by adorning it with copious gold paint, metatron symbols, paintings of MJD and angel statues. There are various chapel photos among my posts but I will make a dedicated post in the future. This article mainly concerns the “Maha Crystal”.

The CMA homepage photo above shows the crystal as blue but it can be lit up in different colors:

CMA Instagram 12 November 2018

Here is the crystal in its more common unlit state, a gaudy object matching its surroundings:

The pedestal was not always so embellished. Here it’s being visited in 2015, looking far more low-key before the 2017 remodelling:

No doubt it’s a large, cumbersome object. It’s even visible in this overhead photo of the chapel; look in the center courtyard:

Google Earth 2019

Crystal Vision

So what purpose does this ostentatious crystal serve for CMA? How does it advance MJD’s mission to “create profound change on the quantum ‘invisible’ level to be experienced as healing on the gross physical plane”?

Only by going back to old social media posts pre-2019 could I find any attempts to explain it. The #mahacrystal hashtag was once regularly included in their posts. Much like MJD himself, there are scant sightings of the crystal in more recent years.

These captions on CMA Instagram posts are the best references:

CMA Instagram 21 May 2017

“Visitors to our chapel love to spend time by the crystal, touching the crystal for its divine transmissions and meditate near the crystal in addition to viewing images of this divine crystal.”

CMA Instagram 11 June 2017

“Look at the crystal and experience it’s divine and transmutation and transformational energy.”

CMA Instagram 12 November 2018

“The world’s largest quartz crystal, the beautiful Maha Crystal. Transmuting negativity and transmitting blessings from her home in Heavenly Mountain, North Carolina.”

2018 Instagram comment by a CMA devotee. [Maya = Maha]

CMA devotees share their thoughts about the crystal. Facebook, December 2019.

Those claims of powers regarding energy and transmissions are well established in New Age beliefs about crystals and their ability to heal people and the world generally.

But how does all this link with MJD’s bogus teachings and his “secret knowledge” about Master Angels, Karmic Repair etc?

It doesn’t. MJD doesn’t use or promote crystals in any of his seminars or tools. To my knowledge he’s never openly talked about the Maha Crystal. I would be interested if you know different. Hartnett appropriated the Maha Crystal into CMA, giving no origin and little explanation, but still felt it OK to write “the crystal is an integral part of the Chapel of the Church of the Master Angels.”

Crystals are very rarely mentioned in CMA content or by followers. Some occasionally wear crystals and use them in meditation, as do non-CMA people of course. But it’s not a requirement in the CMA community.

Instagram post of a CMA devotee, 9 April 2017. Note hashtags and CMA pendant.

I guess if they are deep enough into CMA to actually have visited the crystal, they’re expected to take it as faith the Maha Crystal is an important part of MJD’s system or at least compatible with it. It appears visitors are encouraged to “charge” their pendants etc by holding them against the crystal, somehow increasing the power of their various purchased tools and blessings. But did no-one tell them zero power × zero power = zero power?

Visitors to CMA’s chapel in 2015 gather around the Maha Crystal, pre-gold paint and angel statues.

Does Hartnett really believe gems and crystals have powers? The bigger the crystal the better and more ‘powerful’? Or are they nothing but commodities to be bought, sold, collected and shown-off to impress visitors; the bigger the crystal the greater the ego and thrill of ownership?

It’s clearly intended to inspire awe and reverence. It sits on a podium, raising it higher than anyone approaching it or standing beside it, making it seem bigger than it is. The multicolor lighting gives it a spooky, ethereal, sentient quality. Hartnett used to be a magician and the crystal is his elaborate magician’s prop.

The crystal is a jarring showpiece devoid of divinity, purpose and power.

People susceptible to MJD’s mumbo-jumbo are also likely open to the notion that crystals and certain gemstones have special unseen powers, connected to a “divine oneness”.

An altar belonging to a follower of MJD. A medley of crystals, idols, stones, lights, pictures and knick-knacks are overlooked by a portrait of MJD. Instagram 2017.

Crystal Clarity

Putting aside the supposed magical capabilities of the Maha Crystal, I was able to discover the origin story Hartnett and CMA never provided. Which also uncovered some frank insights into Hartnett’s early association with MJD in 2012 before “CMA” was formalized.

Hartnett holding a far smaller “Crystal point”, 2015.

In 2008, Hartnett visited “Mother Divine”, a Transcendental Meditation campus on Heavenly Mountain. It had no association to MJD as far as I know. On display in that facility’s lobby was a large familiar-looking crystal:

Hartnett pictured with his future “Maha Crystal”, 2008. Even then the crystal was something to be touched.

The next angle shows the crystal looking far less ‘gorgeous’ ‘beautiful’ and ‘divine’. The simple wooden base is a far cry from the golden pedestal Hartnett would provide to glorify it years later.

A visitor to “Mother Divine” touches the crystal, 2009. Face hidden because not linked to CMA as far as I know.

In 2012, “Mother Divine” closed and the buildings and contents were put to auction. Hartnett was enamoured enough with this beast of a rock to purchase it. Sidenote: he also bought a second huge crystal displayed in same lobby.

Hartnett Instagram 9 August 2013. Note room is same as 2008 photo, now looking more neglected.

Variously described as a “crystal point”, “crystal generator”, “quartz crystal”, “geode” and similiar terms, I’m not sure exactly what it is and don’t know the origins prior to Mother Divine. Quartz generally is said to be “a high energy amplifier that corresponds with every astrological sign, resonates with all of the chakras, and represents the four elements in perfect balance.”

Crucially his wife Linda’s comment (made August 11th) contains hashtags #masterjohndouglas #masterangels #healingcrystal. Confirming this crystal was intended to be associated with MJD the moment it transferred to Hartnett.

More comments on the post above reveal an effort to proclaim this the “world’s biggest” and spread the boast:

Chris Hartnett Instagram comments 9 August 2013

August 12th saw the crystal temporarily in Hartnett’s garden:

On August 15th, just as CMA lore says, it was installed in the center courtyard of the building that would become CMA’s chapel:

“It is finally in place”. Hartnett proudly poses with his latest gem purchase.

I don’t have any photos of the August 21st ‘activation’, whatever that entailed. I assume that’s when it was supposed to acquire the powers CMA describe.

More Maha Crystal touching. 2017

Having found the origins of the crystal, more searching allowed me to discover the FairfieldLife discussion group where some illuminating and frank posts concerning MJD, CMA and Hartnett were made over several years. It’s a Transcendental Meditation group and deserves a post of its own. For now I’ll share this from 2017:

This post backs up exactly what I found. FF = Fairfield, Iowa. AOL = Art Of Living center. “old money veteran” = Hartnett.

One more image I want to include is an especially rare photo. Not only does it show MJD and Hartnett together but actually touching the Maha Crystal, almost like true believers:

2013. Slightly brightened for clarity.

Do I detect a glimpse of flippancy on MJD’s face? What was he thinking at this moment? “For god’s sake Chris what the hell is this thing…”?

I wonder what will happen to the “Maha Crystal”? When eventually the CMA and their chapel are no more, and property ownership is transferred to someone else likely with no CMA affiliation, what will the new owner do with the bizarre object? Keep as a curiosity, destroy it, or sell to some gem collector? And will they be aware of its past as the centerpiece of a sham church run by charlatans?

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