Around four years ago I created a crystal oracle. A teacher I was working with suggested it as one way of working with divination. I chose thirteen crystals from my collection of tumbled stones, gave them meanings based on their correspondences and uses in healing, and would pick them to see what my focus for the day was or use them alongside cards to add information to my reading.
It wasn’t until last month that I came across the term “lithomancy”, spotting it in someone’s Instagram bio. Naturally curious I wanted to know more.
Lithomancy is a divination practice which uses stone casting. According to Wikipedia it is popular in the U.K. although it is not something I had encountered before. Readings can be just a few stones, or may use thirteen or more stones.
I came across three possible ways to approach lithomancy. Firstly the classic yes/no questions. You could choose two stones each allocated with a given meaning, one for yay and one for nay, and pick one at random to answer your question. Alternatively you could choose a flat stone and decide which side is yes and which no. If it is a very smooth with little to distinguish it you could mark it with a sharpie, so that your stone becomes akin to a flipped coin.
Your second way to work is to allocate meanings to your stones, as I did with my crystal oracle. In traditional practice in the U.K thirteen stones are used. One stone is set as the significator or key stone and this creates the centre of the reading, with other stones being read in relation to it. Sometimes seven of the stones will be given astrological correspondences and you can read more about this here on the Good Witches Homestead blog. The others are given other meanings such as home, luck, money and health.
A third way is to use a board or casting cloth. Just like the casting mats I use for charm oracle work these have allocated sections and the reading depends on where the stones fall on the cloth.
You could create your own set of stones either by collecting them from the beach or river, or by picking out some crystals. You might want to give them meanings, or create symbols to draw on with a marker pen (you can use hairspray as a fixative to make sure they last).
In July I’ll be running a workshop on creating a crystal oracle and we’ll talk more about creating meaning and working with stones there, details are on the Workshop tab here.
I also really enjoyed this podcast from Two Kentish Witches on divination, you can find the section on lithomancy at 19:17-23:01 of the recording.
The more I explore divination practices the more I am drawn to those we can literally “pick up”. A needle and thread, a bowl of clear water, or a handful of pebbles on the beach which we could use for lithomancy. Our opportunities to communicate with Spirit don’t ever need to involve huge financial outlay, nature gifts them to us freely, waiting for us to receive the gift.