Osteomancy, or Bone Reading/Bone Casting is one of the oldest forms of psychic reading, having been used since prehistoric times. Evidence of the reading of "slaughter bones" (usually the shoulder bones of large animals that were killed for food) shows that simple yes/no questions have been asked of the bones for centuries.
As societies became more sophisticated, more complex forms of bone readings were developed, eventually leading to the methods used today. The evolution went roughly from the use of slaughter bones, to tortoise and turtle shells, to sheep knuckle bones, to opossum and chicken bones, to the broader definition of "bones" used today. This includes not only literal bones but also stones and crystals, nuts and seeds, shells, and trinkets, charms and curios; to help the psychic reader to be as specific, direct and detailed as possible with the message of guidance.
Interestingly, dominoes, dice and other "cast" items were (and still are) often used for divination.
Do you kill animals to put in your set?
Absolutely not! The bones I use in my psychic readings are ethically harvested, from animals who have died of natural causes or in accidents, such as being struck by a vehicle.
I connect with the Spirit of the animal before using it in my readings, to be sure that it feels comfortable for its body to be used in such a manner, and gives its permission. I then anoint it with essential oils and leave it on my "ancestor altar" so that it can connect with the Guides before being placed in my set. I let it rest in the bone basket with the other Bones for a while before using it for a reading. If it ever feels to me as though any Bone is ready to leave my set, I lovingly send it on its way, and bury it with an honoring ritual or give it a place of honor on my altar. Every item in my bone set is always treated with the utmost of reverence and respect.
Does Bone Reading have anything to do with "the devil" or satanism?
Of course not! My spirituality doesn't have a frame of reference for any type of evil presence. I connect to benevolent, helpful Spirits, Angels and Archangels, and the Ancestors of both myself and the person receiving the psychic reading - because our ancestors have our best interests at heart!
You don't have to be of a specific religion to benefit from a Bone Reading, you just need to be open to the possibilities of hearing from those who wish to help you live life to your best and highest potential.
How does it work?
Before my readings I always connect to my Guides (Ancestors, Angels, Spirit Guides, Ascended Masters, Departed Friends) by ringing bells, calling to and signaling to them that I will be asking for their help. I use a velvet-covered mat to form the base for the reading. I lay a string of garnet nuggets on the mat to form a circle, into which the Bones will be thrown or "cast."
I will ask the person requesting the reading to specify whether they'd like me to use the "female" or "male" (or both) shell to represent them in the reading. The choice is based on the person's self-identification, and is about drawing in the right sort of energy to represent them in the reading. I ask them to hold the shell (or think of the intention of being part of the reading if the person isn't physically present) while I dowse a handful of Bones from the basket, with the intention of connection with my Guides. I will then ask the person to place the shell representing themself into my hand with the rest of the bones. Once I have a handful of all the Bones I will use in the reading, I use two hands to cast them onto the mat.
The reading progresses with my locating the shell representing the person receiving the reading, and then interpreting the Bones around it and their positions, orientations, and location in conjunction with other Bones. Every reading is unique, as the Bones can never be thrown the same way twice. Sometimes Bones will fall from my hand, or land outside the garnet circle or even off the mat. Everything pertaining to how the Bones fall is significant to the meaning of the reading.
At the end of the reading I thank the Bones and replace them into the basket, and sometimes "cool them" with a spritz of specially blended essential oils.
Where can I get my own Bone set?
I got my starter set from a company called Lucky Mojo, which has been putting together bone sets for a long time, and collects Bones for the specific purpose of use in psychic readings. I then added to my set with items I saved through the years or things I found here and there that seemed to be a good fit for my set.
A good place to find ethically-sourced animal (and human) bones is Skulls Unlimited. I visited their Skeleton Museum in Orlando, FL, and learned a lot about how the bones were sourced, cleaned and prepared for sale. I feel comfortable with their processes and intentions.
NOTE: Please don't think of the above mentions as recommendations or endorsements - I don't receive anything in return for mentioning them (I'm sure they have no idea that I do!), this is just my experience. You may find other, equally valid sources in your searches.
If you are creating your own set, please be aware that any unusual trauma to the animal will affect the quality of your readings, and the ability of the Guides to connect with you and the person receiving the reading. Be respectful always.