In the mundane and scientific world, the word vibration refers to the movement of an object back and forth around a central point, an oscillation, a quivering. Atoms, those bits of energy that make up matter, vibrate at different rates. Vibration in an object is a mechanical phenomenon that can release other types of energy such as heat and sound, the degree of which varies by the speed of the vibration. These vibrations can transfer from one object to another. When you touch a vibrating object to one that is not vibrating (although all objects are really vibrating to some degree) the second object will begin to vibrate as well, though neither object will vibrate as quickly as the first object was originally vibrating.
Metaphysically speaking, when a New Age or magical practitioner refers to the vibration of an object, person or place, he or she is not actually referring to this concept but is speaking in metaphorical terms of a concept for which we simply don’t have a better name. It is a good metaphor, however, as this sort of vibration does behave in a similar way to the scientific phenomena.
In magic, the vibration of an object refers to its energetic signature or personality, that is, the sort of spiritual energy it attracts or gives off. For example, an object may vibrate with loving energy or baneful energy. This vibration cannot be measured with physical tools the way a mechanical vibration can, but they can be felt or sensed by a sensitive person. Some vibrations are so strong, that even relatively insensitive people can pick them up. Some locations that vibrate with baneful energy can cause people who are completely cynical when it comes to anything metaphysical or spiritual to feel nervous, fearful or sad or simply make them want to leave as quickly as possible.
These metaphysical vibrations can also be transferred from one object to another. Everyone has noticed that happiness and misery are contagious. A joyful person can bring joy to others and a miserable person can make others feel miserable just by being around them. Likewise, objects such as herbs and crystals can transfer some of their energetic vibrations to other objects or the people who wear and use them. We can make use of this phenomena by attuning a medium, such as water, alcohol or oil to the vibration of the crystal or herb by placing the crystal or herb inside or near the medium for a period of time to allow the vibrations to harmonize to create a charged medium often referred to as an essence. The medium can then be used just like the crystal or herb, but can be safely ingested allowing us to internalize and harmonize with the energy of the crystal or herb without the possibly dangerous side effects that go along with swallowing an herb or crystal. The essence of a particularly powerful location can be collected in this way too, by placing a bowl of water in the place for 24 hours, preferably in a location where the sun and full moon will be able to shine into it. Once the essences have been created, complementary essences can be created to create a particularly powerful elixir or a variety of essences can be combined to create a multi-purpose elixir.
You may also hear discussion of higher and lower vibrations. When referring to physical vibration, we are talking about quantity, the measurable speed of a vibration, faster usually means higher, and lower means slower. However, when we talk about higher and lower vibrations we are referring to them in a qualitative sense. A higher vibration is considered more positive, joyful and creative, or closer to the heavens/angels/Gods, symbolized by bright white light, while a lower vibration is considered negative, baneful and destructive, symbolized by a dimmer light or lack of light. A lower vibration is said to slow one down, to be depressing, to interfere with getting things done or accomplishing your goals or True Will. A higher vibration prevents obstacles from getting in your way, allows you to see clear paths to your goals and helps you understand and achieve your True Will.