Fortune Telling Oddities: Bone Throwing
Reading Bone Casting
You can tell your own future, or someone else’s fortune, with nearly anything. Seriously. A plain deck of cards was used by Gypsies a long, long time ago before the first Tarot cards even existed. Tea leaf readings, palm readings, and even Phrenology (reading someone’s head) are all odd forms of fortune telling that can give you a glimpse into the past, present, and future.
I just finished putting together some “starter” bone throwing kits that will soon be available in my Etsy shop, and also just published a guide to help you learn how to use this strange and interesting divination tool (available through Lulu). Before you invest in either, here’s a little overview on bone casting, or the throwing of the bones. This is the first of many fortune-telling articles I will be posting this year, for your reading pleasure.
What is bone throwing?
You might be creeped out by the idea of collecting bones and tossing them around. Maybe you feel like that’s disrespectful to the dead animal that “gave” you that bone, or maybe it’s something else. The thing is bone throwing doesn’t have to use bones. You can use any collected small items and trinkets you want, with or without bones.
Bone throwing, aside from stemming from the “bones” you’ve collected, is about doing fortune readings through intuition. Each item in your kit has a meaning, but it is up to you to determine what the bones are saying to you when you toss them on the bone throwing mat and see where they land.
How to Cast Your Bones
Once you’ve collected some buttons, bones, bobbles, and other trinkets, you need a mat to toss them on. My book, The Art of Throwing Bones, lists many of the things you can use in your kit and what meanings you’ll want to tie into these items. For starters, you want an item that stands for yourself, and if you’re doing readings for other people, you’ll need one that represents them. There will be items that stand for "yes" and "no," numbers, and more (check out my book for more on this).
The throwing mat is just a decent sized chunk of material with a circle on it, and then a smaller circle inside the main circle. You want to place the mat on a softer surface before tossing the bones, like a carpeted floor. This is to keep your bones and trinkets from bouncing off the table or breaking on too hard of a surface (with bones and shells, there will be some more fragile items in your kit).
Hold the bones in your hand while thinking of your question, and then gently toss them onto the mat. They should spread nicely throughout the mat (this might take some practice). The ones that fall outside the circles do not pertain to the question you asked. Those that fall in the inner circle will be the things that are closest to you, and the outer circle may be things that are less important or could affect the reading in the inner circle in some distant way.
My book explains more about the reading process. Much like Tarot cards and horoscopes, what you read may be completely different than what someone else reads.
Using Your Readings
Have a small notebook or journal for all of the divination you do. This will allow you to look back and see if your readings come to pass, or how close they were. It will also help you notice when the meaning of an item changes (which can happen). On top of that, it will also help you with the reading process in general—because you can look at the ideas the bones are telling you as you’re contemplating the throw and where each trinket landed.
Following the advice your divination tool gives you. Nothing is set in stone, but if you like the meaning your reading gave you, strive to make it come to pass!