Ian Phanes (ianphanes) wrote,
Ian Phanes

Lithomancy: My Stones of Gwydion

The oracle is one of the eight tools in ContraryWise Craft. (The eight tools are based on the eight wheels of the Wheel-Dancing System for Teaching Witchcraft.) My primary form of divination is lithomancy, divination by casting stones. Thus, my oracle is a bag of stones.

I started with the few pages on lithomancy in Doreen Valiente’s Witchcraft for Tomorrow (pp. 93-97), and gradually developed my own practice. One key point to mention is that lithomancy is a branch of sortilege, divination by the casting of lots. Unlike Tarot, sortilege is not structured in “layouts”. There is meaning in how the lots fall relative to each other.

I call my set of stones “My Stones of Gwydion” because I have consecrated them in his name and service. Gwydion ap Dôn is a god of lore and insight, as well as some degree of mischief. In his service, I find that my greatest skill in divination is not probing the future, but discerning the pattern of the present. I offer not the vision of fate, but the word of truth. Different gifts for different needs.

I have the querent stir the stones in their bag, focusing on her question. Then I have her intuitively seek which stones want to be involved in the cast. I encourage the querent to hover her hand above the stones (which are unseen in their bag) and grab the ones that call to her. This avoids the tendency to pick stones by their shape or size. Once she has gathered all the stones that want to be in that cast, I have her roll them from hand to hand, then cast them out. (I use a heavy cloth napkin or a piece of rabbit fur to cast on, depending on the casting surface.)

The art of sortilege requires intuitively apprehending the pattern(s) of the stones in the cast. Obviously, stones that touch each other are interpreted as a unit. But larger patterns can be discerned, with practice and sensitivity.

Frequently, a first cast will only “introduce” what the querent needs to know, laying out the basic situation (or, sometimes, situations) that needs to be addressed. Further casts are frequently needed to get more specific understanding and guidance from the stones.

The tables below list the stones I’m currently using. This set has changed many times over the years. The point of listing them here is not to have you slavishly follow my practices, but to offer an example so that you can create your own set of stones and meanings. Many of the stones in my set have the meaning they do to me because of their shape, color, or markings, or who gave them to me; others are assigned because of an association between the stone’s nature and the meaning. Most importantly, I start by deciding what I am representing, and pick a stone that conveys that to me—not the other way around. This set of stones expresses a great deal of how I understand life and the world. Thus, attempting to build your stone set by copying mine is a guarantee of failure.

Marker Stones

Name/Meaning Stone
Self Round rock
Others Rough rock
Homeland Scottish stone
Ancestors Fossil agate
Blessing Black almond
Warning Clear quartz
Attention Leopard skin agate
Mundane action Flint
Magical action Lodestone
Inaction Petrified wood
Home/Family Red-brown agate
Work/Money Green aventurine
Community Citrine

The Colors of Magic

Color Meaning: type of work
Red Courage, Vitality
Orange Success, Concentration
Yellow Attraction, Love
Green Healing, Money
Blue Peace, Emotions
Indigo Protection, Visionary
Violet Power
White Purification
Gray Balance
Black Transformation
Brown Stability, Grounding
Pink Joy, Thanksgiving
Spectral Divinity, Sacredness

The Ogham Trees

Letter Tree Meaning Stone
Idho Yew Poison Onyx
Eadha Aspen Achievement Banded jasper
Ura Heather Intimacy, Sexuality Rose quartz
Onn Briar Interference Cross stone
Ailm Fir Emotions Picasso jasper

Ruis Elder Self-examination Snowflake obsidian
Straif Blackthorn Conflict Long, flat, black
nGetal Broom Healing, Releasing Lepidolite
Gort Ivy Rest, Revelry Blue lace agate
Muin Vine Ecstasy, Prophecy Gerisol quartz

Quert Apple Fruition, Sacredness Apple green
Coll Hazel Wisdom, Seeking Amethyst
Tinne Holly Inheritance, Tradition Banded dull/smooth
Duir Oak Stability, Slow growth Hematite
Huath Hawthorne Consequences Clear ▲

Nion Ash Will v. Inertia Dark bloodstone
Saille Willow Enchantment Moonstone
Fearn Alder Advancing strength Orange carnelian
Luis Rowan Protection Tigers eye
Beth Birch New growth, Being Dark green ▲

The Phases of Life

Phase of Life Meaning Token
Birth Beginnings Cowry
Initiation Independence Bead
Union Relationship Ring
Repose Counsel Toad
Death Endings Skull
Spindle of Fate Nature Conch

Esu Trickster, Lord of Roads Uncertainty, Deception Amethyst phallus

The Elements

Name Title Meaning Stone
Math King-god, Lord of Air Judgment Quartz point
Gofannon Smith-god, Lord of Fire Skill Bronzite
Manawyddan Sea-god, Lord of Water Navigation Sodalite, long
Amatheon Plough-god, Lord of Earth Husbandry Moss agate
Sûl Sun-goddess, Lady of Essence Reconciliation Sunstone

The Triad

Name Title Meaning Stone
Ariadne Lady of Beauty Guidance Rhodonite
Phanes Revealer of Wisdom Revelation Ametrine
Dionysos Lord of Strength Passion Raw ruby

The Pentad

Name Title Meaning Stone
Aradia Maiden of the New Moon Action Red tigers-eye
Dôn Mother of the Full Moon Nurture River Opal
Mathonwy Crone of the Old Moon Introspection Dark sodalite
Herne Hunter of Winter Necessity Brown agate
Robin Green Man of Summer Possibility Serpentine
Hecate Queen of the Dark Moon Withdrawal Larvakite

The Great Days

Name Title Meaning Stone

Nyx Lady of the Starry Night Mystery Jet

Arianrhod Lady of Secrets Experience Round quartz
Llew Lord of the Skillful Hand Practice Pumpkin adventurine
Gwydion Lord of Lore Study Variegated agate

Cernunnos Lord of the Abundant Land Rootedness Turquoise
Coventina Lady of Healing Springs Upwelling Apatite
Belenos Lord of the Shining Sun Illumination Pyrite

Teutates Lord of the Tribe Sovereignty Onyx
Esus Lord of Blood on the Land Sacrifice Bloodstone ▲
Taranis Lord of Storm and Oak Power Red/black jasper

Arawn Lord of the Underworld Losses Grey agate
Ceridwen Lady of the Cauldron Transformation Raw garnet
Llyr Twin-faced Gatekeeper Liminality Black/White
Tags: contrarywise, divination, symbolism

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