There are three important bones in your life; your back bone, your funny bone and your wish bone.
I have been a seer longer than I have been a shaman. Twenty-five years ago, when I was fifteen, an illness took me beyond the grave and onto my healers’ path. It took me a while to recover and rehabilitate, that Christmas I received a deck of tarot cards, something new in me took over and I began to read the cards. I experimented with runes and crystal ball gazing, but one thing always pulled me yet terrified me at the same time; the archaic art of bone reading. This year, something called me to start my collection of my bones.
Part of me had an issue with using animal parts, in other parts of the world, alligator feet and penis bones are used! For me they just felt, icky. I am a tiny bit of a hoarded, so I actually enjoyed hunting through my treasure boxes looking for items that could be included in my set. The more I looked the more I found, things started to jump up out at me as if desperate to be a part of the bone party. I had many objects, but I still felt I needed something ‘bone-like’ to put in my set, dare I? `no, so I found wooden pieces, twigs and bits of wood to use, but when I did eventually begin to read with them, they didn’t feel right, they had no spirit. Pieces broke, some became damaged, some I took out.
One night during the summer of 2018, I had a powerful vision, Crow Mother visited me. Authoritative, dignified, she towers over me, her head cocked to one side, as if studying me, deciding my fate. One black beady eye glared at me and I heard the words, ‘You can have our bones, it is an honour to be used for such things.’ Her skull and beak began to glow a pale blue, the centre warm orange like an opal and I knew there and then that I needed to find my bones.
As I was packing to scout the countryside of my forefathers in Wallingford, I set my intentions to the universe to find my bones. I took my son and my dad, I could feel my ancestors beside me as I arrived. It didn’t take long before I found my first bone, a perfectly preserved skull, I think it may have been from a squirrel or a rodent of some sort, I was awe-struck that I even found one, and so soon! How often do you see bones on the floor? Within seconds of finding it, the heavens opened, and we got very wet. We sheltered under a huge great oak, a personal favourite of mine, they bring back happy memories of childhood. There was a large badger set under this tree, we crouched down looking into the hole, telling my four-year-old what lives down there. He loves digging in the dirt and so revelled in finding fresh turf to riffle through, he picked something up and said ‘Look Dadda!’ it was a bone! I continued to dig around and found even more bones, I could not believe it! I could tell from the sound they made and the smoothness that they were pretty ancient bones. Later on, we found the house that my Great-Great-Great grandfather lived in, opposite the graveyard where he was buried. We walked around for a while, and I kid you not, I found several human bones too! No, I didn’t pick them up, I don’t think a human thigh bone would work in my bone reading, grimace. I laughed out loudly, seriously Crow Mother? I said as a crow croaked at me.
If like me, you are interested in acquiring your own set of oracle bones, set your intentions clearly, go into the wild places, walk the secret deer tracks and knock on the doors of badgers. Dig around in the dark ancient soils, they will be there, your bones. Some of your pieces will be in your children’s pockets, some down the back of the sofa, they are treasures after all, go find them! Normally each piece has its own meaning, but not always, some of mine have no meaning at all. I have a crow’s foot that can either represent grasping something important or it can mean being held back. Bone sets are mailable, they adapt as we do, allow it to happen naturally.
Throwing the Bones
Many readers throw their bones on to a circle crafted onto a cloth or skin or large plate, even a cooking hob, you know who you are…I started using two interlocking circles, a vesica piscis, representing the balance between al things, the centre piece representing the sacred yoni. Use what you feel comfortable with, a square will also be sufficient, there is no right or wrong way, its nature, you are nature.
I treat mine with sacredness as `I would my healing mesa, I bless them with incense, palo santo wood, aqua de florida, bells, anything I can get my hands on.
When you are ready, open sacred space in your way, set your cloth out, hold your bones in your hands while thinking about the questions you have in mind, and blow this into the bones, then let them gracefully scatter across the reading space/cloth.
I tend not to read all of the bones, I am normally drawn buy things I see, enter into that daydreaming state, what do you see?
Get closer, have a look through the eyes of serpent where everything is exactly as it is: bone, tooth, claw, button. Look at where there are large collections of things and empty space.
Shift your attention to the mammalian part of your brain the eyes of jaguar, where nothing is what it seems. What’s the feeling here, the emotion? What’s coming up for you? What buttons are being pressed? Look at certain pieces, what are they doing? How are they interacting with each other?
Shift again, the mythic realm, eyes of hummingbird, where everything is and is not…What’s the story? Look for pictures, patterns, images, how do they relate to your questions?
Finally, the god part of your brain, the eyes of eagle condor, everything simple IS…is there a summery? What’s the outcome? Is there a quantum feeling that conveys this reading? What’s the gift?
Thank the bones, put them away, close sacred space.
I have recently started using them in conjunction with tarot cards, and I would urge any avid bone reader to do the same. What fascinates me is how the bones interact with the cards, they add a different dimension to the cards, they point to symbols, they complement the images and play with them like cheeky pixies! They make me feel they are alive, compared to the staticness of the cards. It became a multidimensional reading.
These bones came to me for a reason, they chose me, the animals they once belonged too wanted to be honoured and cherished in a sacred way, and I look after them as I would the living creature they once were.
They have new life in them now, moved by the hand of Spirit, fine tuning my own inner wisdom and inner tuition.
For information on cleaning bones, please do your research, dead things contain harmful bacteria, I have chosen to only use old bones as they have been cleaned by nature, the best cleanser of bones, I then treat them over night in hot water and a handful of washing powder.
Shamanism has been a passion and an inspiration for me for many years now.