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Throwing The Bones

Click Here NOW for a FREE psychic reading at PsychicAccess.comBefore studying various Western disciplines of healing and divination, I trained to become a sangoma some 30 years ago, on the borders of Mozambique and Kwazulu-Natal in Southern Africa, where I learned among other things the divination method known as ‘throwing the bones.’

A ‘sangoma’ casting the bones is the African equivalent of the Native American shaman, the Old Norse rune reader, or the European Tarot reader. To uninformed Westerners, indigenous African methods of divination are often thought of as ‘witchcraft,’ but just like there is good and bad in all cultures and professions, the true calling of the African diviner or shaman is a spiritual one of seeking advice through the wise ancestors. In the same way modern Western diviners rely on spirit guides, angels or the ascended masters for divine guidance, so the African diviner relies upon the ancestors.

My training came about after I consulted another sangoma and was told it was my calling to become sangoma myself. She also cautioned me that until I took up this calling, I would repetitively become ill – and how right she was!

Eventually I heeded the ‘calling’, as unusual as it was at the time for a young English woman to enter the mysterious realm of African mysticism in the country in those days. Training was harsh and intense with my mentor and included coaching in various disciplines, such as divination, dream interpretation, ritual,  indigenous medicines, and herbalism over a two and a half year period.

One of the divination methods I was taught is known as ‘throwing the bones’. Since the beginning of recorded history the notion of throwing tokens, casting the dice or drawing lots to interpret the divine will of spirit and the ancestors has been viewed as symbolically linking the diviner to his or her mission. Casting or throwing the bones is an ancient practice native to many regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, and North America. In Southern Africa it is a long-standing ritual among the sangomas of the Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa and Ndebele tribes.

Each bone or token used for casting is part of a kit the sangoma carefully selects with the guidance of spirit, initially with the help of a mentor. Spirit and the ancestors instruct the seeker as to the symbolism and meaning of each sacred item in the collection, and precisely shows the student where to find it and which one to use in a divination. In Southern Africa, a mentor assists the thwasa (trainee sangoma) in the process of learning to receive information from the bones, and in reading the patterns in which the bones are likely to fall.

People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors ~ Edmund Burke

Traditional diviners believe that bones are the tokens closest to the earth and one’s natural roots. The typical sangoma bone collection contains several small objects and natural curios, including bones, shells, beads, wood, ivory, crystals, stones, and other objects personally meaningful to the diviner.

Initially, my divining kit consisted of bones from various wild animals, such as baboons, lions, anteaters, wild pigs – all gathered from naturally deceased animals. Gradually, over time, I also added shells, seeds, tree bark, money, crystals, and various other trinkets which ‘spoke to me.’ Each trinket in my kit has a special meaning. For example, the hyena bone represents the ‘thief who comes after dark.’

The bones are stored in a pouch and I have a special cloth onto which the bones are cast, whilst the client sits barefoot on the floor opposite me. A special prayer is sent to my ancestors asking for their assistance in channeling accurate information for my client. During a ‘bone throwing’ reading I wear a special beaded headdress that is said to call the ancestors to sit upon the beads whilst whispering into the ear of the sangoma.

Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands ~ Linda Hogan

Prior to casting, I make the ancestral connection to invoke the assistance of my ancestors, trusting they will work with me in unraveling the patterns in which the bones fall, and how they line up relating to one another. Then I blow on the bones, infusing them with my energy, and I also ask the client to do the same. To this day, I even follow this procedure for phone readings, asking the customer to blow down the phone, and it seems to work!

Next, I shake the bones until I feel the moment is right, and then I throw them and proceed to interpret their unique messages or answers to my client’s question. Like other types of divination readings, bone readings also address the past, present and future.

Although bone casting may seem like an old-fashioned or outmoded method of divination in the digital age, it remains popular all over the world. In fact, I find a growing number of people from all walks of life and various cultural backgrounds want to ‘have their bones read’ these days.


About The Author: Shani

Shani is a qualified practitioner in Reiki, aromatherapy, reflexology, body spin, and animal telepathy who received psychic development training at the Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Research in England. A published writer, her articles and predictions have appeared in several respected magazines and on psychic websites, and she has read for many celebrities and even heads of state in Africa. Though she was born in London, Shani has traveled the globe and has studied the art of African Mysticism, bringing her unique flavor to those seeking her incredible talents. Get a reading with Shani at PsychicAccess.com.

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