Guide to Bone Casting
Throwing Bones / Reading Bones
These old bones will tell your story
These old bones will never lie
These old bones will tell you surely
What you can’t see with your eye
Some called her witchy woman
Some said she was insane
Some said she was a prophet
Still everybody came.
Dolly Parton song These Old Bones
Osteomancy, (Bone Casting) and Astragalomancy and Cleromancy (Casting lots - small objects, dice, bones, shells) and Curiomancy (divination using the energy or significance of small, random objects) are all words for the earliest divination techniques known to man, and they have been practiced all around the world in various forms for centuries. Nearly every culture has some history of bone reading – from the Zulu Sangoma in South Africa to the chicken bone rootworkers of the Ozarks in America & Babalowas of Nigeria & Cuba & Latin America. The Inuits of Alaska carved walrus tusks. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks tossed knucklebones and carefully marked sheep vertebrae. The Chinese in the Shang dynasty & the Celts burned their bones before reading them in a practice called Pyro-osteomancy. The Norse marked Ogham staves. Mongolians read 4 sided carved sheep astragalus or knucklebones in a practice they call Shagai, which translates to "Complicated Fortune Telling". The methods of reading and items of inclusion vary greatly.
You do not need to be from Africa or part of IFA or practice Hoodoo or Voodoo to read the bones. You do not need to study under an old Conjurer or Modern-day fortune tellers Rootworker or be in contact with your ancestors if that's not your thing. Personally, I use the bones for fortune telling rather than divination, as for me it's not a cultural ritual that I perform, but instead, I use the bones more as a tool. Symbols, patterns, interpretations.
Bone casting itself is no more dangerous than your Tarot deck or your pendulum or runes or scrying ball. As readers, the important and ethical thing that in my opinion should be taught is the definition of our role and having a clear understanding of what we are doing, so that we do not ourselves, wittingly or unwittingly, become predators of the weak, using our influence and talents to mystify & dazzle them with predictions & promises & hope, in order to profit financially from their vulnerability & stroke our own egos.
This method of Bone Casting is just another method, and there are so many methods. This is mine, which I've drawn from the practices of countless others of many different origins. I use it a lot and have had great results with it and it's just a hella lot of fun. It's not watered down, it's not sanitized or fluff, it's interesting, very versatile and it works.
Here’s basically how it works:
You collect small objects over time, things that hold a meaning to you or that you can assign a meaning to, and there are a lot of small bone associations (wishbone from a chicken, for example, meaning a wish granted). Some people collect only black cat bones, some only chicken bones, 'possum bones, some exotic bones. Other items, trinkets & curios include things like buttons, crystals, coins, keys, jewelry bits, runes, shells, etc. A butterfly pin might be associated with freedom and a need to fly away from a situation, or a metamorphosis. A safety pin might indicate something you cling to for a feeling of security, etc. Dice & dominos are often incorporated with different meanings attached to the numbers.
The surface you throw on can vary greatly. I make Casting Cloths with spaces allocated for different things like strengths, weaknesses, obstacles, etc. Coming from a Tarot background, I've found this helpful, and just something extra that adds to the readings, although it's so completely different from Tarot - I don't recommend trying to read bones the way you read Tarot. It will just drive you nuts.
With Tarot, there is always a question asked. Here, although many do ask a question, I have found it better to not ask a question at all, but to have the bones read the person - meaning, the bones will show whatever the person needs to know. Some people handle this as in, the bones will answer what ails you.
So, you gather a handful of your items, and you throw them onto your reading surface (ground, animal hide, casting cloth - the surface is often called the "map"). And here, you can just throw them or you can add your own theatrics & rituals such as burning sage, blowing smoke, lighting candles, shaking rattles, making offerings, chants, dressing up in tribal attire, calling on your ancestors, etc…. whatever you’re into - whatever reflects your own culture or religion or belief system. Endless possibilities, here. The practical effect of these theatrics is that it puts both you and your client in the “now” and completely focused on your session, so, it’s not just all about showmanship & woo woo. Me personally I love creating ambience but I’m not big on the woo woo, but by all means give it all you got and make it special for YOU.
How and where the items land determines the reading. On this page, I will list the typical interpretation methods (that I use) including where to begin, what it means when the items land in groups, or overlap, or when certain items are at a diagonal or pointing toward another object, how to tell time, what is the present focus, how to mark bones, how to determine if some things are moving toward you or away from you, how to tell when something is masking another situation, which items to remove from the throw, how to assign meanings to numbers on dice & curios, etc.
I’ve always had an affinity for tiny interesting objects. Skeleton keys, charms, tiny compasses….they each hold a specific memory. These memories and such are why I figure some groups suggest that the ancestors are accompanying you during your readings – because you have sentimental nostalgic associations with certain things and remember things you’ve been told or been taught by the people in your life. If you've collected all these items one at a time & they're each special in their own way, you have a connection with them & of course, it's going to seem like they come to life & "speak" to you. Just go with it.
For example, I have a pin of a little dog that my aunt gave me before she passed, and I’ll always associate that pin with different things my aunt would have told me. So, if that pin comes up in a casting, I would interpret it as such, depending on what all else was in the casting – what would aunt Mary have said about this situation – what would her influence have been. However – I would never suggest that there are ancestor spirits just sitting around out in the spirit world waiting for me to do a bone casting so that they can communicate with me personally.
(1) The Items
Your set can be as small or as large as you want, and there are no specific "must have" items, although I find it helpful to have a bone or item in the throw that specifically represents the client - usually the man or woman figure. You can throw as many of them as you want, from a small handful to "all" of them. Some people like to "pick out" a specific group of items to throw from their larger set, depending on the question. I like to just reach in the bag, shuffle them up, grab a handful & let em fly. Here are some typical items and their meanings, although, you can assign your own meanings. Some say you should never let others touch your items but I don't see the harm in it, myself, although no one has ever bothered to try to touch them. You can include items that correlate to Tarot if you relate the most with Tarot, but it would be extremely limiting and not helpful if you ONLY made a Tarot casting set. This is a great time to expand your horizons a little. A lot of the bones you can mark but I'll explain that later.
BONE SAFETY NOTE: Folks, be smart. if you're using bones from an animal (like a chicken dinner) - sanitize them. For me, this is my process but by all means, look up how to safely clean bones & do the most sanitary thing possible: I pick ALL meat off & loose cartilage, then I boil just the bones alone, then I stick them in the microwave for 20 seconds, then I put them in a jar filled with hydrogen peroxide for at least a week. Then, I take them out & wash them again, and microwave them around 20 seconds. This may seem like overkill, but, salmonela. Bleach isn't recommended because it makes them brittle.
Charms & Other Items
Airplane: Dreams, aspirations taking flight. Travel.
Angel: Someone will assist. Guardian angel.
Apple: Temptation, sometimes poison
Arrow: Direction. Look at which way it is pointing.
Bat: Creature of the night, bad omen, mysterious, unlucky
Bee: Community, brightness, personal power. Follow the bee to discover your new destination.
Bell: Alarm or warning concerning whatever it's next to.
Binoculars: Examine whatever is near closely.
Bracelet: Items within the circle reflect issues that are being controlled & lessons learned. Foreshadows pivotal period where the seeker is confronted with these issues so they can recognize them & integrate them in a new way.
Butterfly: Change, freedom, evolving spirit, hope, releasing old ways. Look to where it's flying.
Buttons: Can be masks, obstacles or indicate attachments
Carousel Horse: Nostalgia. Childhod memories.
Chain: Links one item to another.
Coins: Money matters. Notice face up or down.
Compass: Things are moving in this direction
Cross: PAIN, burden, sacrifice, faith, destiny, fate, suffering, religion. It can represent good things, such as something being destined, if there is a positive bone/item next to it.
Crown: Highest authority, father.
Dice: Gambles, taking chances, and from there it depends on the number the dice lands on & other factors
Dog: Obedient. A follower. Loyal friend.
Elephant: Good luck – good omen. Memory. Person over elephant = being in control over something you thought was too big for you to handle. Gun with elephant = having to give up something that was important to you (lifestyle, status, property).
Evil Eye bead: Envy, bad intentions
Flower: Romantic gifts, blossoming love, fresh
Frog: (prince) status change
Grapes: Resurrection, life, rebirth
Green jewel: Fertility. Renewal. Family. Advancement.
Gun: Conflict, anger, Volatile situation
Hat: There are many types of hats, with many different associations - sometimes it's all about "where you hang your hat". A cowboy hat could represent a wandering spirit/free spirit. A sombrero could represent anything south of the border - siesta, fiesta, hard-working, sacrifice, etc.
Handcuffs: Restriction. Limitations due to mistakes or bad decisions.
Hand Mirror: How you see yourself. How you want to be seen by others. Inner reflection. If it seems like it’s falling away from other things it represents things about yourself that you don’t want to face. If hidden behind something else, you’re lacking clarity.
Heart: Matters of the heart / relationship / love
House: Present position where you stand. Security where you live.
Key: Presents a solution or advice - an opportunity. Access.
Knife: Cutting away, surgery or separation
Lock: That which is kept secret. Yet to be unlocked.
Locket: Love from afar, a hidden love interest
Male/Female figures: represents seeker & significant other.
Monkey: "The monkey on your back" - a burden you can't shake.
Mouse: THEFT. Something is slowly losing its force or strength - like a relationship that may be crumbling, or hope that is slowly fading.
Palm Tree: Victory, triumph, peace. Could also be a vacation.
Pink Rose: Romantic love interest
Purse: Keeping a tight grip on your money.
Ring: All types of agreements, ranging from business deals to marriage and civil unions. It's about strong connections and being bound to something or someone. Committed.
Roadrunner: Quick to think on your feet = mental agility.
Safety pins: Safety & attachment.
Skull: Death, challenges, worries, fears, endings. Alternatively, this can mean "where your head is at"
Spiral: Cycles, repeating patterns, things spiraling
Star: Hope, or being the shining star in this area.
Thimble: A kiss
Tear: Emotional issue, sadness, loss
Tree: Ancestry, roots, family traditions
Watch Face: Keeping an eye on the time. Timing. Time running out.
Watch parts: Inner workings - behind the scenes
White Rose: Innocence, purity, Sometimes marriage
I like to have one set with only chicken bones. I like how they sound. I don't like stark white bones, though, so after cleansing and sanitizing I like to stain them or paint them. I like to collect things over time, so I'm not big on all the bones have to be from the SAME chicken, etc.
If you get lost determining which bone is which, there's a great video naming all the bones:
I recommend just marking your bones rather than memorizing - the important thing is what each bone represents, not exactly what anatomical piece is.
Neck Bone: Poverty, loss, fear, bad choices
Rib: Need, restraint, obstacles, blockages
Leg Bone: Where you are walking or grounded, travel by land.
Wing Bone: Travel by air, communication, messages, healing, freedom, improvement, what you reach for
Wishbone: Good fortune if curved up.
Vertebrae: Fears & concerns, areas of influence depending on what they're surrounding, the intensity of which depends on how many there are around each item or how close to the center. Least number in center circle = weak, then increasing in strength as more are added, depending on how many in your set.
Broken Bones: Setbacks, delays, sickness
I like to use a coin but nuts are also associated with money.
ACORN: If at the top of spread = success & gain, if at the bottom = good health.
Buckeye: Drives away evil or unwelcome guests. New employment.
Chestnut: Harvest, abundance, preparation.
Mojo Bean: has the power to make wishes come true.
Nutmeg: Money (leaving if at top, entering if at bottom)
Pistachio: Happiness, joy, good health, fortune
Walnut: Toughness, masculinity, a broken shell is a good omen - breaking through barriers.
Blessing & Cleansing the Bones: This isn't my thing, personally, but for those who are into it, it's an important part of it. Bless & cleanse according to your own personal belief system using your own methods. Make it special and make it yours!
Storing the bones: Store them in anything you like. I prefer the zippered bones bags that I make, because they are large enough to fit my huge collection, they're padded, my hand fits in the bag perfectly to shuffle and grab a handful, and it zips shut so nothing gets lost.
Alligator Tooth: Luck in gambling
Badger Tooth: Luck in gambling
Bird Beak: Pecking order, Gossip, Communication
Buffalo Tooth: Strength & endurance - overcome obstacles
Coyote Penis Bone: Trickster & teacher
Herbivore tooth: Breaking down information in order to understand it better – chewing on something.
Human Finger Bone: Extreme luck in gambling
Human Tooth: Biting or obtaining something by force. Also Revenge. Can also mean Angry or regretful words. Things we’ve outgrown or no longer need. A CHIP OF A TOOTH indicates a situation is crumbling.
Raccoon Claw: Let go of a situation, belief or habit
Raccoon Penis: Sex & sexuality
Shark Tooth: Protection. Keeps danger at bay. Friendship
Snake Vertebre: Shedding our illusions or limitations. Death/rebirth
Trilobite & Crinoid Fossils: Transformation, personal growth, long life
Turkey Claw: Abundance, fruits of one's labor
Turtle Shell: Stay grounded amid chaos
Wolf Tooth: Loyalty, intuition, cunning, long distance traveler
Abelone: Sooths & calms & releases anxiety, fears, sorrow, negative emotions.
Cat Paw: Claws out = danger, anger, spats. Claws in = friendship, warmth.
Cat's Eye Shell: Indicates that there has been slander and/or harmful tales told by covetous neighbors, back-biters, and/or hidden enemies posing as friends, and protection is needed.
Clam Shell: Love & matters of the heart
Cockle Shell: “warming the cockles of the heart,”
love, friendship, relationships, emotions.
Coral: Red coral = Jealousies. White coral = links to the past. Pink = Compassion. Blue = communication & creativity. Black = family/protector.
Cowries: Female matters & emotions, fertility, pregnancy, birth, menstrual problems, difficult menopause and female sexuality.
Cones: Take charge
Jingle shell: Matters of money, making money, income, charity, loans, enterprise.
Limpets: Courage, confidence, strength.
Limpets with keyhole: Finding a way out of a situation.
Moon snail: Lunar magic, psychic, peace, life unfolding
Moon Shell: Lunar timing, psychic awareness
Mother of Pearl: Soothes emotions. Creating balance, healing, sensitivity, adaptability.
Olives: Healing, hope, friendship
Oyster: Frustrations & attempt to protect someone
Pearl: Special thing that has been hidden. Being true to ones self.
Pearl (Black): Dark secret revealed. Flaws in your thinking could lead to mishaps in the near future.
Pen Shell: Writing needs attending to
Scallops: Travel & movement
Sundials: Timing, victory, success
Whelks: Taking control. Get a grip on yourself or a situation. It is also a good shell to use when you wish to retain the status quo, or when you are needing stability in your life.
Divination with stones is called Pessomancy. Some call them "Wise Stones". There are just too many to list. Use other resources to identify which crystals are associated with things like calmness, bringing money, love, etc. I don't use a lot of crystals in my set. They're heavy, and they can chip & break or if they're polished they get scratched & scuffed up, and they don't tend to symbolize the things I need to see in the readings. Here are a few:
Dark Moonstone: Inward journey. Secrets locked. Taking one deep into SELF to retrieve what’s missing. Intuition & inner knowing.
Peach Moonstone: Soothes emotional issues like anger & depression. Eliminates worry & fear. Digestive, reproductive organs. Relieves stress, balances hormones.
Flourite: Harmony & stability, sharp mind – clearing away distractions.
Mookite (brown & white) – Slowing the aging process.
Shiva Lingam – makes whatever it lands on or near stronger & greater vitality.
Tiger’s Eye: Deep passions & spiritual compass for creativity, boldest matters of the heart.
Turquois: Feminine, calming, Intuition, loyalty, friendship.
Green Jade: Good luck, long life, connection between physical & spiritual worlds. Bond between people.
Combinations, Patterns, Etc
Here is where things get interesting. When the bones are cast, some land in groupings, some will land outside your "circle" or reading area, some land on top of each other, some cris-crossed, some face down. This is a basic guide to help give you an idea for how to interpret all of these combinations and how I handle the different patterns.
First of all, look at what has landed in the center. Perhaps nothing landed in the center, or perhaps several items. This represents the main focus of the reading - what's going on here and now.
From there, work your way outwards. Many readers read time from left to right. I prefer to read from the center and moving outward - items from center to the left = further in the past, items from center to the right = further in the future, items from center toward the top = how soon things are moving away, etc.
Gather up items landing outside the circle or cloth. They don't count. Put them back in the bag.
Some people also gather up anything that lands face down. I prefer to leave those, as I consider anything landing face down as having a "lessor" or weakened influence.
When items land in groups, I'll often interpret them like their own little reading, apart from whatever else is going on. Small thin pointy bones or arrows are great for indicating a direction that things are moving in. If you have a chain in your set, or a piece of string, it will sometimes connect one grouping to another.
Items landing at the farthest top are usually things that are moving away. Items closest to you are things that are entering your life or the situation.
Items landing in a straight line next to each other should be read as one "line" or progression.
So, what you're seeing may not equal out into a linear "storyline" - it's sometimes pretty scattered information. It may be bits and pieces, like clues at a crime scene. Try to take these clues and put them together to make useful information. I will also quite often pull out anything that is not useful in the throw. Don't feel like you have to read every single item on the map.
Interpreting bones thrown onto a HIDE:
Head: The seeker's current state of mind,
Neck: External factors influencing the individual or situation.
Back: The heart's desire & often the person's true motivations
& feelings about their situation, which may or may not be different
from their thoughts.
Front Left Leg: What's working against you.
Rear Left Leg: The past and those factors and influences which
are passing into history.
Front Right Leg: What is needed to stay on the "right path".
Shows who or what is helping the situation.
Rear Right Leg: Final outcome.
Groin Area: Sex/sexuality. This area also represents patterns of
thought and behavior (positive or negative) which will continue.
Tail: What you can take away or learn from this situation.
What you're left with.
Chicken Bone Combinations:
Wing + Leg: Message from ancestors / guides
Wishbone + Wing: If curved up, A wish come true. If curve down (reversed) wishful thinking, fairie favors (luck is up vs luck is down)
Wishbone + Broken Wing: A lie has been told.
Leg + Neck: Spirit of loss & poverty
Leg + Wishbone: Spirit of increase, abundance. A suitor. Flirtations.
Rib + Wing: Freedom from restrictions, removal of curses
Vertebre: Fears & concerns, areas of influence depending on what they're surrounding, the intensity of which depends on how many there are around each item or how close to the center. Least number in center circle = weak, then increasing in strength as more are added, depending on how many in your set.
Marking the Bones
Some people paint them, some carve them, some mark on them with a sharpie. The reason you mark your bones (IF you decide to) is because a lot of times it's hard to tell them apart. Here's how I've marked a few of mine. One stripe for wings, 2 for legs. One is divided into 2 colors symbolizing a positive and a negative, or good luck vs bad luck, depending on which way it's pointing and on what's touching which end. The other has a symbol on it which means travel by air. A lot of people will paint 2 bones to represent a man and woman, especially with one of them representing the questioner. I have little man & woman figurines in my set, so I don't do that. Make a system here that makes the most sense to you.
What do you need in a set? Well, you need things representing man/woman, & then from there it helps to have bones that represent things like family, home, justice, joy, triumph, nostalgia, sacrifice, pain, tears, relationships, promises, wishes, needs, poverty, money, truth, etc. On one set I made, I made pointed marks above the lines, like thorns. For those bones, bones of harmony, truth, justice, etc., they were "won at a cost"...as in, there was suffering involved in order to get that truth, harmony, justice, etc. Just an idea. You can also mark one side and make the other side blank so it has specific meaning when "face down".
Whether it's bones or curios, patterns matter.
Here's a quick reference guide.
When bones land in these formations,
this is how I interpret them:
T Shape: Blockage. top is blocking lower
Parallel lines: Balance
X Shape: Strong wish
Horizontal line: Feminine/receptive / NO
Vertical: Masculine/dynamic / YES
Diagonal: Separation. Look to either side to see what is separated
Horseshoe: Upright = good luck, Rx=bad luck
Upright triangle: Growth, manifesting
Rx triangle: Something is shrinking away
"H": Storms, chaos. Calamity. Growth.
An item landing on top of another can indicate obstacles
See if you can find these different patterns in the
set shown here.
Some examples of marked bones from my sets
As early as ancient Rome, people cast dice for revealing fortunes. This practice of
casting dice is called Cleromancy. Dice (usually made from bone if you can find
some old ones) are particularly useful in Bone Casting. I like to have 3 in my set.
You can also do variations on this theme with dominos, but it's a little trickier.
If you want a little more superstition to throw into the mix, Fridays and Sundays have
been considered "unlucky" days to roll the dice, others say Mondays and
Wednesdays are days you should not roll them. It's said, that they shouldn't be
thrown more than three times for the same person in one day, and that it's best
to throw them when the weather is cool. Some people also do not count the dice
if they total 3 or less. I don't personally follow any of these rules.
ONE dice falling outside the circle: Trouble
TWO dice falling outside the circle: Disagreements
THREE dice falling outside the circle: Good luck or a wish come true
Any dice falling on the floor: Problems, worry or annoyance very soon. Could lose a friend.
Dice landing on top of other – you will soon receive a present of significance. Roll these again.
Dice Touching – add up total & count total
For the numbers showing on the dice totaling:
ONE: Family difficulties are coming your way.
TWO: CHOICES. A decision must be made.
THREE: Your circumstances will change without warning very soon. This can also indicate an affair.
FOUR: Stability – things probably aren’t going to change much in the near future. Staying home, maybe bored.
FIVE: You'll be pleasantly surprised by a stranger or a new friend, or receive unexpected assistance or information.
SIX: Misfortune & loss. A friend may ask a favor of you. This can also be a chapter that is coming to a close & it’s time to move on. This can be financial, or a relationship.
SEVEN: Someone is being sneaky, and you become the victim of gossip or scandal. Possible difficulties in business or money trouble. You will be presented with a difficult matter to solve.
EIGHT: Take it slow. Do not act in haste or you may regret it. Recklessness may lead to difficulty or distress.
NINE: Reconcilliations. A marriage or union with implications for you. A gambling win. Forgiveness. Someone who has been estranged returns.
TEN: Birth & new beginnings, luck in career & money matters. A legal action will involve you.
ELEVEN: Short-term illness gives you some grief. A parting causes you sorrow. A death may concern you.
TWELVE: An important message, possibly about money coming your way, but will be presented with a difficult matter to solve.
THIRTEEN: You must get out of your own head or you will experience unhappiness & disappointment & misery.
FOURTEEN: New friends or social circle will liven up your life. A new love or admirer.
FIFTEEN: Betrayal by a false friend. Do not be drawn into drama. Do not begin any new projects right now. Proceed with CAUTION.
SIXTEEN: Pleasurable safe travels
SEVENTEEN: You may need to change your plans. Other people may have good advice to give – even strangers. Dealings with a person or persons from afar. Dealings with or on water.
EIGHTEEN: Triumph, success, wish granted. Expect happiness, financial success & a rise in status.
I must admit I do like using runes in my set, however, if you're inscribing runes on bones you might want to consider if that's the only meaning you're wanting to associate that bone with. For example, if a wishbone means wishes granted, and you also put the rune of Nauthiz on it....what does that mean? " Need, or wish granted? And if you don't add ALL the runes, what does that say about the ones you left out? Here's what I do.
Ribs are a bone of need, so Nauthiz is on the rib.
Legs are stable, so one gets Ehwaz & the other gets Raido for travel.
Mannaz & Inguz for Man & Woman, pick two bones for that - always helps to have a man & woman.
The little rib bones that look like a 7, that also looks like Laguz.
Sowulo being the Sun....birds fly to the sun....Sowulo on the wing
Broken bones could come from heavy storms - Hagalaz
Beak = communication. Ansuz. I have an upper & lower beak, I use the top one for Ansuz - the bottom one is gossip.
That leaves Wunjo, Gebo, Jera, Pertho, Tiwaz, Berkana, Othala, Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Kenaz, & Isa. You can add those onto remaining bones, but like I said, if you do you need to make sure you're consistent with ONE meaning for the bone so it doesn't get all chaotic.
EIHWAZ: The axis or process of spiritual becoming.” Upper and lower worlds meeting in Midgard (earth). Rune of the mysteries of life and death
JERA: Rune of harvest and reward for, or reaction to, right actions in a horizontal (naturally ordered) cyclical process. Rune of peace on the land and in the heart.
PERTHO: Pawn, Hidden aspects
within the relationship. Rune of fate and the unmanifest. Rune of probability and the role of luck in the evolutionary process of the all things. Universe at play.
AGLIZ: Shield, protection, self-defense. The essential link or connection with the patterns of divine or archetypal consciousness. Rune of the possible danger of realizing this link when unprepared.
SOWULO: Sun, strength, success. Rune of guidance, goal setting.
TIWAZ: Authority, justice, truth. Rune of the balance and justice ruled from a higher rationality. The rune of sacrifice of the individual (self) for well-being of the whole (society).
BERKANA: Birth, beginnings, Personal growth, liberation. Rune of continued growth and continual rebirth or renewal in all things. The rune of becoming. Also secrecy.
EHWAZ: Harmonious teamwork and trust. Rune of pairs of entities working together for a common goal. Horse.
MANNAZ: Man, self, mankind, Culture, friends. Rune of the Divine structure of intelligence in the human soul or psyche. Rune of the horizons of human existence and collective potential.
LAGUZ: Water, flow, renewal. The unconscious context of becoming or the evolutionary process. Rune of Life’s longing for itself.
INGUZ: Fertility, common sense, growth. Rune of isolation or separation in order to create a space or place where the process of transformation into higher states of being can occur. Rune of gestation and internal growth.
DAGAZ: Day, breakthrough, awareness. Rune of the hyper-consciousness. The process of concept becoming realized.
OTHALA: Home, property, plenty. Rune of anscetral spiritual power, divine inheritance and earthly estate.
FEHU: Fire, wealth, material needs, goals, promotion. Money, food, sustenance, luck, personal power, circulation of power, financial strength, prosperity.
URUZ: Assertion of home ground, personal space, Taking responsibility. Life force, physical health, courage, organic structure, manifestation, formation, healing, vigor, endurance
THURISAZ: Catharsis. Sacrifices one must make in order to Progress in life. Thorns. Unconscious forces, sociological force, complexities of aggression, conflicts, disputes, psychological problems, lightning, breakthrough, aggressive male sexuality, battering down barriers, thorn of awakening, thorn, trouble, enthusiasm
ANSUZ: Communication, insight, truth, wisdom. Order. intelligence, communication, reason, inspiration, language, breath, sound, origins of language, the Voice of the Universe, spellsong, casting, chanting, ancestors, passing of the breath along the ancestral line, evolution of gods, speech, poetry, discussion of runes, memetics, semiotics, etymology, linguistics.
KENAZ: Torch, knowledge and intellect, illumination, searching for enlightenment, shedding light on matters, quest for truth, skills and abilities, creativity, art, craftsmanship, cunning, acquisition and application of knowledge, occult female secrets, intuition, enthusiasm in teaching/learning, study, kin-fire, opportunity, playfulness
GEBO: gifts, giving, taking, trade, sacrifice, process of exchange, balance, compensation, equilibrium, law of reciprocation, altruism, the gravity of equals and opposites, generosity, hospitality, honor, marriage.
WUNJO – joy, perfection, the art of correct wishing, correct application of the will, well-being, contentment, hope, expectation, relationship, family, bonding, trusted kinsfolk, shared ideals or aims, group harmony, symbols of shared identity, optimism, cooperative effort, like-mindedness, friendship
RAIDO: Travel, journey of Life, stories, heroism, means of transportation, right action, movement, motion, taking charge, being in control, initiative, adventure, decision-making, direction, counsel, the right path, the inner compass, leadership, kingship, nobility held by merit, moral responsibility, integrity, respect for the rights of others, innate knowledge of right and wrong, celestial procession, rituals,
HAGALAZ: hailstones, crisis, and catastrophe, disruption, radical/harsh change, destructive elements of nature, severe weather, the uncontrollable, unavoidable unpleasantness, Jungian shadow, psychoanalysis, regression, acceptance of the unalterable.
NAUTHIZ: Need, resistance, constraint, conflict, drama, effort, necessity, urgency, hard work, need-fire, life lessons, creative friction, distress, force of growth, the consequence of past action, short term pain for long term gain. Not this.
ISA: Ice, standstill, block, challenge. Concentration of things in a static or frozen state. Rune of stillness and the Ego-Self.
XX WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY
BONES, SHELLS & CURIOS
Another option I've played with before is to do a draw and placement as one would do a Tarot reading. To do this, all you do is, for example, draw 3 items from your bag, and lay them out one by one next to each other. If you're doing a "past, present and future" reading, then the first item would represent the past, the middle item would represent the present, and the third item would represent the future. You can do this with any number of spreads (such as, yes or no spreads, relationship spreads, etc).
Another fabulous resource
for Bone Casting is
Michele Jackson's page,
Michele offers classes,
books & readings & a lot more.
This is such a personal thing, but if you want some ideas, here are a few.
For practical reasons, it's best to throw bones on the floor. The reason is, if you throw on a table, items are going to fall off the table & get lost.
You can have the person sitting across from you, but the actual reading will be face up to you. You can place candles at each of the 4 corners, and on the edges if you want you can place "offerings" of greenery or sage or salt or flour. To get yourself in the "now" mindset, you might want to say a few words of your choosing, whatever you're comfortable with.
You can throw all of your items (bones, charms, trinkets, etc) or, you can grab a handful and use only the ones you grabbed from your bag. Some people also like to pick out specific items to use in different castings.
Once thrown, take out the ones that are unnecessary. Those would be the items that have fallen out of bounds, or landed off by themselves, not in any grouping. I like to pick out quite a few not to use just so I'm not distracted by them.
As you're reading, you can pick up items, or some people like to have a wand or thin bone to pick at & move things around like a pointer. I use a small wooden knitting needle with a decorative top.
As you're going, try not to rush through. You can share what you're reading on your first & second throw if you want to, but it should look a little more concrete as you get to the third cast. Much of this is very subjective and open to your own interpretation & intuition. That's where the skill comes in. Feel free to ask questions of the person you're reading for in order to better understand what it is you're seeing in the bones.
Afterwards, it's up to you how to handle the closing. I do not make a big deal out of it. Some people like to have the questioner take the items like the candle wax, salt, greenery etc & dispose of it in various ways, depending on the desired outcome (i.e., bury in the backyard if you want what was predicted to come true, etc). I would rather not give my clients assignments like that and it would just be really awkward for them and me both. You could argue that it keeps it fresh in their mind and that by doing a task it makes it easier for them to manifest. Definitely a possibility.