Tuesday, 19 July 2011

21 Card Gypsy Spread and Bone Casting: Part 2, Casting The Bones....

So, we've got our 21 card Gypsy spread laid out, already we have quite a detailed narrative forming, now its time to cast the bones directly onto the cards to add an extra dimension to our reading.

Ok, Ok I know I keep saying "casting the bones" but I shouldn't really say that as its a bit misleading, Ive been informed the term I should be using is in fact "sortilege", as the objects I'm going to be throwing onto the spread of 21 cards aren't just bones, they include cowrie shells and coloured dice.

When I normally use sortilege, I use 21 objects (3x7= a powerful number with a touch of destiny about it.) These 21 objects include 13 bones from certain animals, 4 dice of different colours (red, green, black and white) and 4 cowrie shells.
However this method is a private practice and somewhat secret, so sorry, I'm not going to be sharing it here.

The sortilege method I'm going to be using here for demonstration purposes is very much a watered down version of the sortilege system I normally use and will only consist of 13 objects: 5 chicken bones, 4 coloured dice and 4 cowries.

But, its still workable and lots of fun if you want to give it a go.

You will need:
a wing bone, 2 leg bones, a broken wing bone and a rib bone all taken from a chicken.
Red, green, white and black 6 sided spot dice.
4 cowrie shells

I believe divination is a spiritual ritual, therefore it deserves to be treated as such, so take a few moments to relax and clear your mind and then follow the instructions below.
You will be surprised at how much easier it is to get into a divinatory state of mind if you incorporate little rituals like this into your divination practice.

Take the objects in your hands, with great ceremony close your eyes and breathe on them to give them breath with which to speak.
Shake them over a 21 card gypsy spread in the form of a cross: up, down, left and then right. This represents the cardinal points of the compass and is a statement that the objects will cover the world reflected in the cards below.
As you do this say the following words:

Hear this, all peoples
Give ear all inhabitants of the Earth
Both low and high
Rich and poor together
My mouth shall speak wisdom
And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding
I will incline my ear to a proverb
I will lay my dark saying upon the harp


Drop them from a height through the middle of the cross youve just traced in the air, this symbolises them passing through lifes eternal crossroads, allow them to scatter where fate wills them.
Now open your eyes....

Reading the Chicken Bones:

Look how the bones have landed, what patterns do they make? Look for shapes and interpret them accordingly in relation to the core narrative of the reading and what cards they have landed on.

Some common patterns to look out for and their possible meanings might include:

Cross bones: which bones are crossed? is it an x or is it a cruciform shape? which bone lies on top of the other? for example if a leg bone has a broken rib bone fallen on top of it in an X shape this could perhaps be interpreted as basic foundations to a situation being disrupted by an accident.

Triangles: Which direction is the triangle pointing? some folk associate upward pointing triangles with masculinity and downward pointing ones with femininity. Is it an upward pointing triangle that screams a warning to your intuition like a traffic road sign? Or does your intuition see it as an alchemical symbol? What cards are at the points of the triangle? What card lays in the centre?

"Greater than" and "less than" signs: Are two of the bones making this shape "<", or this shape ">"? If so are they indicating something is greater than or less than something? Or perhaps your intuition points at shapes like this as being crude arrows, if so what are they pointing at?

Horizontal and vertical lines: is a bone connecting two cards? or perhaps cutting one in half?

"T" shape: does the querent feel as though they are at a junction? or does your intuition suggest a path is being blocked?

Here are some associations you may wish to place on the bones themselves, these are not set in stone, just some ideas, go with what the bones are telling you:

Wing bone: flight, freedom, distant travel, victory, success

Broken wing bone: calamity, being grounded, futility

Leg bones: a journey, solid foundations, perhaps their phallic shape represents to you potency or fertility

Rib bone: a cage bar representing confinement, a precursor to a woman (think the story of adams rib), the ability to hold things together, structure

In our reading; a broken wing bone has fallen over the mouth of the king of cups, given the position of this card I interpret this as although the querent will pull through bad times, in the future he must be careful to not allow himself to listen to bad counsel given by an older man who is going through similar troubles our querent has had, this man is jealous of our querents success and seeks to discourage him on his path to happiness through spiteful envy.  

Reading the Dice:

There are many different ways to read dice, this is how I do it.

I always read with 4 dice, a black one, a white one, a green one and a red one.

Each coloured dice has its own set connotations, black is negative, white is positive, green relates to luck/money/health, red relates to love and sex etc.

The number each dice rolls are related to these connotations, however, the way they are interpreted depends on the context of the question put to them, where they land in relation to the cards and the other sortilege objects, not to mention the general narrative of the reading.
The association connected to whatever number each one rolls should be determined by the diviners intuition, after all its the diviner doing the divination, not the dice.

Here are some examples below, however bare in mind they are just examples, they are not set in stone!

The black dice is generally negative so some associations of which numbers it rolls might be as follows:
1. Loneliness, abandonment, sadness
2. Deceit, lies
3. Infidelity, bullying, aggression
4. Stagnation
5. Black magic
6. Poison, greed

The white dice is generally positive, some associations of which numbers it rolls are:
1. Joy, fulfillment, victory
2. Marriage, trust
3. Friendships, family, spirituality
4. Order, peace
5. Blessings
6. Healing, abundance

The green dice relates to matters of health, wealth and luck, some interpretations of which numbers it rolls might be:
1. Management, financial independence, a doctor
2. Business transaction
3. Uncanny turn of fate
4. Steady income, a winning streak
5. Sickness, misfortune
6. International commerce, the unseen influencing personal luck

The red dice relates to matters of love, romance, relationships and sex, some associations of which numbers it rolls might be:
1. Sexual frustration, sexual independence or awareness
2. Partnership, a relationship
3. Fertility, pregnancy, a love triangle
4. Stable relationships
5. Jealousy
6. Sex, flirtatiousness, promiscuity

Yes and no answers can also easily be determined by the dice, odd numbers for yes, even numbers for no.

So, in our example reading, a green dice has landed on the queen of wands displaying a number 3 along with a red dice displaying a number 2, given the position this card lays within the spread this omen could be interpreted as an ex lover, an emotional woman with a bohemian nature who once parted company with the querent, possibly because of infidelity on his part, still holds a flame for him and may be swayed into reconciliation if a gift is given as a peace offering.

Reading the Cowries:

I have to be a bit careful here, as not to tread on any toes, I always read with  4 cowries, however i stress this is not the 4 cowrie shell oracle of obi.
Although obi is very easy to learn in terms of how the shells land, please do not attempt it unless you are an aborisha and wish to communicate directly with Elegua.

The method here is totally unrelated to Obi divination and is just a simple form of divination, pennies work just as well as cowries for this. Think of the shells as coins, mouth side up is heads, mouth side down is tails, indicating positive and negatives.

Cowries can represent other things too, especially money, as in West Africa cowries where once used as currency. Some people also associate the shape of the cowrie with a vagina, therefore they can have associations with sex, fertility and gynaecological issues. Others associate cowries with little mouths, are the cowries speaking? It looks so in our reading....

Two cowries have fell mouth to mouth on the station of the immediate future with a black dice displaying a 3 in between them. The card they have landed on is the 10 of wands. I take this to be a warning about gossip, lies and slander, don't bitch about other people, even to close friends, it will only draw negativity and make your life more hard work by encouraging a negative mindset.

Anyways that enough for now, i would like to go into sortilege much deeper, but I simply don't have the time and energy, try it for yourself its easier than you think.......In the 3rd and finally part of this blog post I will be putting it all together to show what a reading might look like.

Thanks for reading, have fun throwing your lots.
Peace x

Monday, 18 July 2011

21 Card Gypsy Spread and Bone Casting: Part 1

I'd like to share the method of divination I have used in e-mail correspondence readings.
Due to the heavy content nature of this reading I rarely use this method in face to face readings.
This spread is excellent for querents who have not given you many specifics to work with and want a general all over reading.

To perform this method of divination I use the following items.

A rosary, a wine glass of water to which kananga water has been added and a white candle
A deck of tarot cards (with tarot I only ever use the Rider Waite Deck or the Tarot of Marseilles but you go with whats right for you.)

First I pray on the rosary, asking God for a blessing, I then light the candle next to the glass water and perform a small secret ritual to invoke the spirits of the Ancestors calling them to come forward and help me divine.
If you honour your ancestral spirits then you too can pray to them to help you with your reading, if not call upon whatever divinatory spirit you have a relationship with.
If you do not get on with spirits, then just light a candle (if you want) and ask either your God(s), your higher self,  guardian angel or whatever to help you see clearly what you need to see.

I then take the cards and give them a good shuffle, concentrating heavily on the querent and his problem.
I then lay them out in 3 rows of seven, 21 cards in all.

This particular spread is called "the gypsy spread", it is quite a difficult spread to use and requires some practice.
If you are starting out in tarot you can practice the trimmed down 9 card version of this that I gave in an earlier blog post until you feel confident.

There are two different ways to read this spread, it can be read from right to left, or it can be read left to right. I read it left to right.

The cards along the top row are called the "crowns"
The cards in the middle row are "stations"
And the cards along the bottom row I like to call "roots"

The cards are read in columns, each column consisting of a crown, station and a root. There are 7 columns in all, the columns, from left to right, represent:

The past.
The present.
The future.
Obstacles and solutions within the querents power.
What the querent hopes for and what he fears.
The querents home, friends and family
Destiny, the ultimate outcome that is fated and cannot change.

This however is just my way of interpreting the columns, other readers use other methods, if you don't like it, feel free to change it and see what works best for you.
The station within the column gives the primary meaning to the column, the crown colours this meaning and the root demonstrates where it has come from, adding depth.

Here is a spread I have laid out for someone I used to know, he shall remain anonymous:

21 card gypsy spread.

In the above spread, if we look at the first column we see the moon in station, crowned by the 3 swords with its roots in the 7 of cups.

This is a very bad omen, this column says: in the past the querent has suffered from depression brought about by either drink or drug abuse.
The Moon represents mental illness, because it is crowned by the 3 of swords which represents unhappiness then the mental illness comes in the form of depression.
Because the 7 of cups can represent substance abuse and lies in the roots, we deduce that the depression came about because of substance abuse.

We then proceed to go through each column.

In the second column representing the present we have The Magician in station, crowned by Death with Judgement in root.

The Magician = One who facilitates change in the world around them.
Death = Drastic change, an ending but also a new beginning.
Judgement = Decision, criticism and responsibility.

With these cards we can read: at present the querent has taken control of their life making great changes born from harsh self criticism of their past.

It should be noted by the diviner that the prevalence of major arcana cards in this column shows this column is of particular significance, what is happening in the present is a major event in the querents life.

Column 3, the future, 10 of wands in station, crowned by Strength with the 5 of cups in root.
The querent will find the future difficult, during dark days losses and regrets from a dark past will come to haunt him, however although the burden is heavy he continues to move forward as he has determination and has an iron constitution.

And so on.....

So putting all the columns together already we have quite a good narrative building up.

Now we need to look at additional information given by the cards.

First we look at where the major arcana has landed in the spread.

A major arcana sits in the very centre of the reading, this sets the whole tone for the spread, the card is The Star, this means the overall theme of the reading is one of hope and a need for guidance for the querent to navigate life.

We see which columns they land in, this will give us insight to the most important areas of his life.

The column with the most major arcana in it is the one representing the present, meaning the present is of the utmost importance, we have already deciphered its meaning (see above).
His past, future, hope and fears and destiny all feature major arcana cards and therefore are the columns deserving the most attention when building a base to lay on specifics for the meaning.

Then we look at which major arcana land in the rows, this gives us insight into the querent himself:

Death and Strength.
Crowns determine ideals, aspiration, mode of thought, subconscious thought etc
Here we can decipher the querent is a determined person who holds change in his life to be an ideal that should be strived for. 

The Moon, The Magician, The Star and The Lovers.
Stations are core tangible themes, very real and present.
Here we see the querent is lonely, carrying much baggage and sadness yet  he is an optimist and has the ability to not only recognise change must start within himself but also recognises he has the power to facilitate that change.

The roots represent the origins of the stations, the driving force behind them, what has brought them into being and the reasons for it, since there is only one major arcana in the roots.
This indicates criticism, decisions and responsibility are key driving forces within the the querents life.

Secondly, we look at repeating pips and courts throughout the spread:

In this spread we have 3 lots of pairs.

We have a pair of 5s.
The querent should be wary of unexpected U turns and back pedaling at unexpected times.

A pair of 9s.
Minimum wage or small profit in business, but profit and money none the less.

And a pair of queens.
Trustworthy friends are in the querents company even though the querent does not realise it.

The balance of suits present in the spread is another thing we can look at to give us clues.
In this querents spread there are no coins whatsoever.
Meaning: finance, commerce, business, property, legality, education and bearacracy are not current themes of concern, influence or importance in the querents life at the moment.
Swords are present, however the balance of suits tips quite heavily towards cups and staffs.
This means the querent is going through a deeply emotional time with no real catalyst other than himself to bring this upheaval about.
A heavily prevalence of staffs combined with cups in a male querents spread can also point towards effeminancy, passive agression and selfishness, on a more positive note it can also indicate artistic tendancies, creativity, emotional sensitivity and sensuality.

The over all suit balance of this spread at first glance suggests the querent is an emotionally sensitive person and does not communicate verbally well with others, he can be somewhat of a dreamer, a moody person and a loner. He is however passionate and interesting, possibly with talents or interests in expressive art forms, he veers more towards the impractical, may have some tendancies toward immaturity when it comes to day to day activities.

We already have quite a bit of information building up here and are starting to get a core narrative of which to work with, yet in this early stage it is still all very vague.
As more comes out the longer we read the cards, the more we can play the interpretations off against each other and develop some specifics.

Still, its about to get more complicated, in part 2 of this post I'm going to cast the bones on the cards and then put the whole thing together to give you an idea of what a half decent professional reading should look like.

To be continued...