“If you knew enough Greek, she thought, you could assemble a word that meant divination via the pattern of grease left on a paper plate by roasted potatoes. But it would be a long word.”
– William Gibson
In addition to carefully watching nature’s signs, shamans frequently turned to the earth’s abundant resources for other helpmates. In this case, they found tools through which they could gain answers to pressing questions. Stones, shells, feathers, dirt-these and many other natural mediums were made into divinatory tools. The inherent magic improved the shaman’s ability to see those things that lie just beyond normal awareness.
Magical Divination Findings
Beyond observing happenstance occurrences shamans and seers went more directly to nature with a question. Step one: Posing the question. Step two; taking a walk, searching out an answer. The first item, such as a stone, found along the way provided a symbolic response by its color and the patterns on its surface.
Example Stone Interpretation:
The shaman wondered about the outcome of a forthcoming war. On his or her walk she found:
A Red Stone:This might indicate terrible bloodshed.
A White Stone: Represents a peaceful outcome.
Square Patterns: Advised that the tribe should plan further before moving ahead;
A stone with an X: Represents the need for teamwork.
Rocks with a Triangle: Symbolizes fear ruling actions.
A Diamond Pattern: In the stone, indicates safety.
A Simple Line: In the stone, suggests inner fortitude is the key to success.
These interpretive values can be used for nearly any question, along with meaningful additions of your own. For example, if you find a stone with a circular pattern (or maybe a slab of blacktop), it may symbolize cycles, the turning wheel, or the circle of your tribe(s). Seeing a hand in concrete could mean that you need a helping hand to stabilize a situation. Or, finding a pin might represent the need to tighten up any loose ends.
Geomancy Magic Divination
Among the shamans of Africa and other parts of the world, divination by earth seemed sensible. It was, after all, the most fundamental representation of the Mother. The most natural Geomantic approach was making a line of holes in the ground while concentrating on a question.
Grab a stick and find an area where the soil is loose enough that you can poke a hole and see it clearly afterward. Start on the first row. Make up to four holes. Just stop when it feels right.
Repeat this procedure one more time, making sure to maintain your focus. If you find your mind wandering, or if you get interrupted or experience other distractions, the system won’t work. Try again later.
Write this pattern down on paper. Specifically, watch the alignment of the holes in your record. Then, check the following chart for meaning.
The interpretive values seem to change from culture to culture. So, this acts as an insightful amalgam:
A call to action; initiate.
A fresh start or opportunity; live attentively.
Insight is developing; integrate.
Balance and success; live joyfully.
Vitality and authority; stay truthful.
Improvements, especially financially; be thankful.
Obstacles or bondage; pray for aid or courage.
Loss; meditate to find inner strength.
Setbacks and troubles; use silence to find peace.
Love, harmony, good relationships; stay real.
Conflict; stay thoughtful.
Wait and be patient; live presently.
Luck. Sing your power song or personal mantra.
Emotions are dominating reason; breathe!
Happiness, peace, and fulfillment; recognize and appreciate.
Our tribes; reconnect.
If you’re somewhere that digging in the dirt isn’t possible, a cake pan filled with sand, flour, or sugar can substitute.
Shell Castings Divination
This method appears among Oceanic cultures. Gather four seashells, each of which has two defined sides. Determine which side of the shell represents female powers (spirals or curves indicate this), and which represents male powers (straight lines or angles indicate this). If you can’t figure out which side is which, paint the sides two different colors (like black and white) instead.
Next, bless and charge the shell set somehow. Leave it in the moonlight for intuitive qualities, and pray over them so that Spirit can help you use them more effectively and sensitively.
Using the Shells
Put the finished shells into a basket and think of a simple question. With your eyes closed, keep concentrating and begin gently tossing the shells in the basket. When you feel ready, stop and look at the outcome.
Four male sides facing you represents a positive response.
- Four female sides means “No.”
- Three male sides up portends security,
- three female sides predicts precariousness.
- Two of each indicates smooth sailing and the opportunity for personal growth.
Augment this system by adding more shells painted in different colors. If you choose this approach, interpret the outcome according to (a) the colors showing and how many of each, or (b) the pattern created by the shells.
Stone & Crystals Castings
The use of crystals as a visionary tool has strong advocates in shamanic traditions around the world. Each tradition is like a cousin; they bear some likenesses to the overall family of stone divination, but also exhibit some important differences. Australian shamans, for example, wear stones and crystals in their navels, ears, and on other parts of the body for improved inner vision. In Latin America, crystals figure into vision-seeking rituals, and among the Kwakiutl Indians, the winter ceremony is dedicated in part to quartz crystals, which provide the shaman with clear sight.
For our purposes, sacred stones and crystals represent an easy and inconspicuous way for honing your psychic skills while neatly providing a tool through which spiritual wisdom flows.
Create your Sacred Stone Set
Begin by gathering a set of eight tumbled stones as follows:
- Red jasper or another red stone;
- Carnelian or another orange stone;
- Citrine or another yellow stone;
- Malachite or another green stone;
- Sodalite or another blue stone;
- Amethyst or another purple stone;
- Quartz or another white stone; and
- Obsidian or another black stone.
Note that you can get some small water-tumbled stones and paint them appropriate colors if crystals are too costly or difficult to obtain.
Once gathered prepare a special housing for the set’s protection when you’re not using them. Find a natural-fiber cloth that you’ll use for a reading surface.
Casting the Crystals
Once your set is assembled, there are several different ways to use it. If you only need a “yes” or “no” answer, take out your green, red, and white stones only. Place the white stone in the center of your casting cloth. Hold the other two stones and think of a clear binary question. Toss out the two stones. If the red stone lands closest to the white, it means “no.”
The second way to use your set is for gaining insight into a specific situation or action. This time use the black stone as the center point of your casting doth. Think about the circumstances at hand or the action you’re considering. Toss the remaining stones on the cloth. Read the three stones closest to the black stone (no matter where they land) as the keys to your answer.
Reading Colored Stones
Blue: Be confident of your abilities; practice realness.
Green: Apply love to this situation; reconnect.
Orange: Keep your eyes on one goal; recognize.
Purple: Stay flexible and go with the flow; five presently.
Red: Apply personal energy but avoid stress; be thoughtful.
White: Stay awake and aware; live attentively.
Yellow: Don’t give up; pray for courage and strength.
If you don’t like the outcome of a reading (the universe doesn’t always have good news), reverse the stones. Why? Sometimes our own negativity influences the reading. It’s akin to having all the cards in a Tarot spread in a reverse position. Look at things a different way.
Based on “Shaman in a 9-5 World,” by Patricia Telesco. All rights reserved.