Reading Bones

Reading Bones an Introduction to Osteomancy by Sheloya To provide a bit of background for my Hoodoo Bones system, and to show the way to the next step for those who’ve bought or made their own set, I’ve decided to write a bit on reading actual bones.  There are many traditions from many cultures, but they all work well provided the reader is in tune with Eshu and Ifa or whatever the name is that they call them in their own culture.  By the way, the official terms for divination by casting bones are osteomancy and ossomancy.

In Yoruba and close cultures, they have diloggun, which is the reading of the cowrie shells, and other sorts of readings according to the Ifa system.  This is a very old and accurate system, and I encourage all prospective bone readers to at least learn the basic principles of it or amathambo, the southern African method of bone reading.  Then you’ll have a context for other diaspora or Hoodoo methods such as dice and domino divination as well as others.

Because I am of mixed African and Catawba ancestry, and I live in Israel, the Hoodoo way works best for me.  I live in an ethnically diverse area in the mountains of Elijah and near the sea, so I cannot ignore things in order to stay traditionally African.  You may get the most out of methods closer to your ancestry, but mind that you may also get more out of whatever your adopted heritage is.  It is not at all about race as in color, but about the combination of your genetic heritage and literally the earth from the environment that permeates your blood and flesh.  Especially if you eat naturally and usually locally, your body has joined with the ground you are standing on.  When you are working with natural forces, it is best to be natural, not overly traditional.

You may have a religion, but the Earth does not.  One must adapt to their environment in order to thrive and survive.  One must also not refuse connection with the local flavors of spirituality or the people around them who they serve.  If you put a barrier between yourself and the people you are reading for based on your own personal racist or elitist sentiments, you of course will not be able to give them accurate readings.

If you are learning to read bones, and would like to discuss it in a more private area than the site comments, go to Witch University.  It’s free, and you can learn a lot.

Selecting Your Bones

In the general Hoodoo method (traditions vary, mind you), the first time that you dedicate a set of bones, they should be the full or partial skeleton of an animal properly sacrificed to the Orisha of your head, or from your spirit animal who has died of natural causes or legitimate hunting.  By legitimate hunting, I mean someone went out to the woods, hunted it, and killed it, or it came to a human populated area and had to be put down.

You should avoid killing an animal that may belong to someone, including those who have new pups.  Also, be mindful of your local hunting laws.  If your animal is a feline or canine, you do not need to do the killing, and this is not recommended because even if they are stray, someone likely cares for them.  Simply wait until you encounter one who has died on the road.  If it is a chicken, go to a farm where these are raised and select your bird according to the offering/sacrifice rules of your Orisha, and have a priest of Ogun, a Jew trained in kosher methods, or a Muslim trained in halal methods do the deed.  Remember, we are all children of Yemaya regardless of our politics.

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K. Sis. Nicole T.N. Lasher

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  1. Pingback: Orisha Online Altar − Sheloya’s Hoodoo Bones System

  2. very intresting i am looking in to learning how to read bones but am not sure where to start any advice would be appreciated

    • This is one of those methods that isn’t isolated from the belief systems they come from. You would learn it from someone who reads bones but isn’t just a reader. They’ll be a shaman, priest, or scholar too. So you’d learn it in the course of learning their flavor of mysticism. Basically, if you find someone who reads the bones, you can learn if you become their student or apprentice. The reason why is because much like the Diloggun, if you don’t have the context of the spirituality, you won’t understand what you’re looking at.

  3. I’ll be jiggered (wide grin)! I was just beginning to think that I “knew it all”, and now I encounter a divination system that I knew literally NOTHING about! I’m deep into Ifa divination myself, and on account of every (good and honest) divinatio system doing kind of the same thing Ik’m sure that I will find lots of similarites… or possibly not really similarities in the process, but certainly in the purpose. I’m glad I dropped in!

    Be, stay, live and drop in well!

    Jaap Verduijn.

  4. Hello,
    I just received my new set of Hoodoo Bones, and they are just “wonderful”! . I’m New to reading bones, and i’m so excited. I know once i learn this form of divination system of Bones, I will be good at it. Ase ! I was just wondering If Sheloya has a Video either on this website Or On Youtube Or Classes via “a Live Skype” showing Step by step Class instructions learning the Hoodoo Vudum Bones Divination system ? if not now , well you in the foreseeable future please ? I prefer this system over the tarot cards because the tarot cards has too many various meanings. This is a more straight forward direct system. Thank you Sheyola for broadening my Psych Horizons. Ase Ase Ase ! (:D)

  5. Pingback: » Hoodoo Bones (Voodoo Runes or African Runes) Sheloya Mystical

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