On their way to Cow Castle, Hunter, Rowan and their Ferish companions stop by a stream to eat. Rowan decides to ask a stone for guidance and finds out that danger lies ahead.
I have been fascinated by methods of divination (telling the future) since I was very young. I started off by learning to read the tarot when I was around eight years old. Then I learned how to cast runes in my early teens and how to read the Chinese oracle, the I Ching, when I was about sixteen.
Reading a stone is the shamanic version of reading tea leaves, I suppose.
This is an excerpt from Tabitha Greenway’s book, in which she explains how to read a stone. Try it!
ASKING A QUESTION USING A STONE
Nature can give us answers to all our questions – it’s just a case of asking the right question to the right animal or object. I sometimes think nature must think we’re really stupid – we worry and fret about all kinds of things but never bother to ask what we can do about them. If something important is bothering you, probably the best “person” to ask is a stone.
Stones are ancient. They have watched the rise and fall of countless civilisations. Our entire lifetimes are merely the blink of an eye for a stone. So don’t expect immediate answers from this method of divination. You will need patience and respect. You can’t rush a stone. However, if you are prepared to slow down a bit (not entirely to their level but at least a fair bit calmer than our usual frenetic state) then you can learn a lot. Stones have huge wisdom and it’s just a bit surprising really that so few people bother to ask them for answers to tricky questions.
Use this technique for any serious question for which you need a serious answer. It’s not intended for mundane stuff (although I know someone who always asks a stone when she loses her keys).
1. Go outside into nature with the intention of finding a stone or rock that is willing to help you. You will know it’s “your” rock because it will nudge itself into your attention. Something about it will appeal – or equally could appear unpleasant.
2. Pick it up, making a note of where you found it so you can return it afterwards. Thank it for its willingness to help you.
3. Sit down quietly somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Breathe slowly and deeply, starting to feel calm and peaceful. Don’t force your breathing, just keep it natural but let it automatically deepen as you relax.
4. Decide on your question and repeat it to the rock three times – you can either say it out loud or to yourself (the rock will understand).
5. Look at one side of your stone or rock. If you like you can half-close your eyes. What do you notice? Are there any markings which remind you of anything? Do you see anything that could be a symbol? An animal perhaps? Write down what you see or imagine you might see.
6. Now turn the stone over and do the same on the other side. Now you have eight symbols.
7. Ask the rock your question. Now take the first symbol you saw (say, for example, lightning) and imagine what that symbol has to say to you. “Crack up!” perhaps, or “Make a flash” or “Beware – danger!” Write down the first response than comes into your head, however silly or stupid it might seem.
8. Now do the same for all of the symbols. Think about the messages you’ve been given. For example a hunter might tell you to be bold and fearless or equally to use stealth and cunning. A fire could advise you to burn brightly or to burn away the muck and dross from your life. An ant could warn you to keep your head down, to be small and unnoticed, or to work as a team, or to work harder at school! Only you will be able to make sense of what you’ve seen.
9. If you like, you can weave the answers you’ve been given together to make a sentence of intent. When I did this once I found myself left with “Trust, laugh and be yourself – leave the dross behind” which was very timely and a good reminder for me.
10. Thank the stone and return it to its place. Now all that’s left to do is to follow your own advice!