The Casting & Reading of Stones – Lithomancy
The casting of stones may be one of the oldest forms of divination that there is. The tossing of stones, bones and/or sticks onto the ground and interpreting what is seen by the shaman has been recorded as far back as humans have recorded anything at all. These shamans or "wise ones" of the "tribe" were sought out by the people for many reasons: the location of food and water, childbirth, names and illness, etc. The “not quite as ancient" Runes may have found its beginnings in this simple more ancient tool.
In one way or another, humans have sought to know what lay in their futures. Some people believe that our futures are set from the day we are born. Others claim total control of what will happen is within us. While still others say that though we are born with a plan and that circumstance or choice can change that plan. And still others believe that it is the Gods that have control of our lives. No matter which is the truth, if any, we still hold at least some curiosity as to what will happen next.
The casting of stones is both simple and complex. Like Runes each stone has its' own meanings and relates in some manner with the stones near it. But Xylomancy has no reverse of meanings and unlike Runes, only the stones that fall within the designated space are read. In Runes, all pieces are read and each rune has many and more complex meanings. Runes also have 24 pieces to the 15 stones that are cast in this divinatory system, though more could be added by a more skilled reader.
In many ways the casting of stones has been all but forgotten. Its simplicity caused some to scoff at the reader, while other tools with more flash and color are sometimes preferred. When choosing a divination tool, each person must understand that some tools will be easier than others to learn and this will vary from person to person. Sometimes the older and less flashy tool can give a much deeper view to the future or those around the person the reading is about.
Instructions on putting your kit together :
There are 15 stones usually in the set. More stones could be used though they should be stones of different types than are listed below. Don't have too many of the same colors. Other Stones can be used to substitute any of the stones mentioned in these instructions, but they should match color and definition to some degree to allow for the depth and flexibility of reading. Meditative study, as well as books, is suggested when replacing or adding stones. Also, too many stones may confuse the reading just as too few may give a cloudy or unclear picture. I suggest starting with the 15 stones and then as you gain in skill you can add more if you wish. Also, the stones should be small enough that all of them will fit within your hand.
Before using your stones, cleanse and consecrate them as you would any other divination tool. Next meditate on each stone. Of course, you will want to know each for its name and meanings. Attune yourself to each one so that they will "speak" to you in your reading. Some people sleep with their divination tools so as to learn and attune the tool to themselves through dreams.
The cloth/paper (though I suggest that if you plan to do this divination often then a cloth that has been permanently marked, whether by embroidery or paint or marker, would be best) is next. There are three circles marked on the cloth. A center circle that is about 3 1/2 inches across, then the next circle that is about 6 1/2 inches across, and the outer circle that is about 10 1/2 inches across. Thus, the small circle is centered within the middle sized one which is centered within the larger one. Next the circles are quartered with an X or more like a plus sign of equal sections and crossing in the center of the circles. The quarters should be marked North, East, South, and West in proper order. You can use any kind of fabric, but I do suggest maybe having a sheet of felt under it as you don’t want your stones to bounce unnecessarily, which will happen especially if your table is glass or metal. I don't suggest using felt as your casting cloth as it's fuzzy and the markings won't be clear after several uses.
Instructions on Use of this Tool :
I suggest that you spread the cloth on a flat table, preferably not a glass table, and that you have something like felt under your cloth to prevent the stones from bouncing too much. The cloth or paper should be setting on the table according to the cardinal points as best as you can; thus, North to the North and East to the East and so forth. The center circle is about the self or client. Then the next circle is about either someone near the client or self or an event or something near the client or self that will have direct influence on them. Where the outer circle deals with the outer self or things or people that are about the client or self but may only have an indirect influence, or radiates back on the client or self in an indirect way.
This is a tool that you might like the client to handle before you cast them, but that is up to you. Have the client form their question before you cast them. The stones are then held about 4 to 6 inches above the center of the cloth or paper where the circles are drawn. The reader will read their positions without moving the cloth or paper or table, to do so might move the stones from where they fell. If any of the stones fall to the floor, retrieve them and place them to the side as well as any stone that falls outside of the three circles. They have no influence on the reading beyond their absence from the reading.
Next you have the quarters. North is of course Earth and deals with the body or the physical. It also deals with Winter or Night. Next is East which is of course Air and deals with the mental, thus thoughts and ideas. It also deals with Spring and Dawn. Next is South which is of course Fire and deals with aggression and actions. It also deals with Summer and Noon. And last is West which of course is Water and deals with emotions and the psychic. It also deals with Fall and Evening.
Next, we have the stones that I recommend for your kit. They shouldn't cost you over much as they are mostly common in most metaphysical stores. Or you can use these suggestions to help you choose the stones you wish to use. If you choose to use different stones, then I suggest that you do a lot of reading and meditation on the different stones before choosing them. These stones give a good variety of issues and influences. As I said before more stones can be used but I suggest you work with 15 at first before adding more and I really don't suggest using less. I also suggest that you choose small stones as they need to fit within your hands. The size of the stones has nothing to do with the readings so you don't need to worry about that. I also suggest tumbled stones as they tend to be easier to identify by most people than rough stones. Though not the Azurite as it's a brittle stone and I've not seen many that have been successfully tumbled.
Stones, Colors and Meanings :
Garnet - dark red - anger, aggression, conflict
Jade - green - health*, money, prosperity
Amber - orange - reduce stress, attraction
Sea Urchin Quill or Shark's Tooth - danger, negative, past issue or person, ancestor
Howlite - White - creativity, purity, innocents as in naivete
Aventurine - green - money, luck, good fortune, family relationships
Amazonite - light green - feminine, reproductive health, balancer
Apache Tears - glassy black - spirit guide, protection, emotional problems, grounding
Herkimer Diamond - clear - energy, clarity
Rose Quartz - pink - love, friendship, affection
Larimar - light blue - soul mate stone, throat chakra, communication, expression
Azurite - dark blue, sometimes with some green - 3rd eye, perception, thought, higher self, psyche
Carnelian - orange - navel chakra, attraction, desire, abuse issue, self esteem
Hematite - shiny black - root chakra, grounding, baser needs
Amethyst - purple - crown chakra, connection to Deities, dreams, spiritual enlightenment
How to read your stones :
Reading the stones in a clockwise manner starting in the center and with the North quarter and then working your way outward will give a clearer reading. Thus, you are first looking at the client or self and then moving onto that which is connected to them and then what is outside them. However, if seasons (as in time of year) or the time of day is in question, then I suggest you start with the season or time of day you are at that moment. But if the question is about a certain time of the year or day then you can start there.
At the same time that the circles that the stones are in are being read, the reader needs to also note which quarter the stones are in. These quarters give not only the attributes of the 4 cardinal points to the stones but can also denote a time of year or time of day in the reading if it seems important or is part of the question from the client or self.
The stones are read by their color and their meanings, but also in relationship to each other. A stone that is near another will affect the meaning of the two or three if there is such a configuration. Note also the distance the stones have from each other as that is also a factor in the reading. The closer a stone is to another, the more they affect each other.
Finally, the lines between the sections needs to be taken note of. If a stone lands on a line then it is to be considered in each section that line is between. This can be very complicated if a stone falls not only on a line between two circles but between two quarters as well. Thus, the stone is read as many as 4 times as it is considered for each section and with each stone that might be near it.
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