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seadog93
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Hey everyone,
I recently bought R. Shane's "portents" because it seemed to have a cold reading system for casting bones. I guess I didn't read the description carefully, because it's a dice trick. A good trick, divination themed, but still a trick.
Can anyone point me to some resources on traditional bone casting. Either Zulu style, or southern hoodoo with possum bones? Do these systems traditionally require an initiation, like the methods in Santeria, or can anyone use them?

Thanks
Courtney Kolb
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
Philemon Vanderbeck
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High Aldwin: I will consult the bones!
[he shakes the bones out of the pouch and studies them]
High Aldwin: [in a low voice, to Willow] The bones tell me nothing.
[pause]
High Aldwin: Have you any love for this child?
Willow: [looks at Elora] Yes. Yes, I do.
High Aldwin: [standing] The bones have spoken!
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Brane
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Seadog:
Loren, at Mevproshop.com will be coming out with a book on just this very subject within about 60 days. It's a two part manuscript, the first half is the bones, which is finished. The second half, which is a cartomancy system is not ready yet.
brane
seadog93
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Brane,
thanks so much! Great timing, I'll keep an eye out for it.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
The Curator
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The Oracle of the Bones(Book With Casting Bones and Casting Map Cloth)
by Claire O'Neil is a good start. The bones are made from resin but look nice. You should replace them by real bones.
http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-Bones-Book-......12110391
And 3 are on Ebay at the moment.

Image


You should also check the Mongolian game of Shagai (game and oracle).

The Surnateum Collection contains every magical object in the world... Smile

Image
seadog93
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Curator, thanks. I've seen "Oracle of the bones" on amazon before, but assumed it was phony. Maybe I jumped to soon to conclusions, I'll check it out.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
The Curator
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The book is far from pefect but inspirational. He lacks references and serious studies.
You must create your own set of bones and casting map, using resin bones (nicely made) doesn't "make" it.

Other link:
http://www.astrocenter.com/us/samples/samp_StEdAB.aspx
julieannjohnson
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For some traditional information, see

http://rootworkers.org/index.php?title=C......l_Curios
Gede Nibo
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My book has a chapter on bone casting---as taught to me by my god mother 15yrs ago...
seadog93
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Gede Nibo,
I saw your site and was going to ask about that. Do you actually teach a the divination system that could be used for private readings? I will definitely put that high up on my list.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
Slim King
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I believe Parson Smith has something very secretive he's been using for years! Talk with him ;bat:
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Michael Midnight
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I've had good results with the set at this link. This is a very intuitive based reading system, so I would suggest a good background in cold reading techniques as well. the booklet is a great starting point for developing your own system.

http://thejukejoint.com/medicinebones.html
Bill Ligon
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How do you order the bones and book? I see no way to do so.
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
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Michael Midnight
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Wow...good question, Bill. I didn't notice that the page is missing a buy button. I bought mine maybe two years ago, so I'm not sure the status of this. You may want to send Elly an e-mail or something....I'm sure she's still in business as there are other items listed with purchase options.
Slim King
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The site is AWESOME ... They even have ELWOODS AUTOGRAPH !!!!!!!! (So do I on a vodka bottle)
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Jerome Finley
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Courtney,

I'm a Sangoma Traditional Doctor, received my initiations and completed 'thwasa' is Swaziland under Zulu Elder and Master Sangoma PH Mntshali.

Diagnosis and divination with bones isn't something you're going to find a lot of written information about because the information is passed through ancestors and an oral, shamanic tradition.

A man by the name of David Cumes is a both a wonderful trad. healer & medical doctor, a past associate of mine and one of the other 3 Sangoma TDR's here in the States. He wrote a wonderful book about his thwasa and initiations in the Zulu Mystery Traditions titled, 'Africa in my Bones' that's as good a resource as you're going to find regarding the Zulu bone casting tradition and this ancient practice.

Personally I have mixed feelings about this. I would hate to see a magician collect a few bones, toss them with some cold reading lines and call it 'Zulu.' This is part of my spirituality, something I worked very hard and very long to honor, travelled half way around the world to learn more about, submerged myself into the Swazi and Zulu culture, learned their language, underwent their intense rituals, training, traditions and initiations to 'qualify' for the bones I use and to incorporate this ancient, powerful mouthpiece for the ancestors. It's not a magic trick, it's not a presentation to throw in a show and not something I take lightly or would like to see ***ized...not saying those are your intentions for studying such a thing, of course.

That said, I think it's very important to draw attention and interest to these traditions, rites and customs in the interests of cultural preservation and keeping the world's shamanic traditions and root spirituality intact. Anytime someone is interested in learning more about the Bones and especially their use in the Zulu Sangoma tradition I'm more than happy to speak about it and would be honored to be of special assistance. To answer your question, while I think anyone could learn to use and interpret the bones I don't think everyone should...

Does one have to be initiated or become a Sangoma to use the bones? No, not always. I'm not sure about other religions or traditions though. Many people feel pulled to this system and end up for extended stays in South Africa living on a Zulu homestead and being mentored specifically in the use of bones for diagnosis and divination without becoming a traditional doctor, Inyanga or Sangoma.

There's a lot that goes into a Sangoma's bone set. The animals are obtained through tradition, offered to the ancestors (their blood will be on your hands and in your stomach), consumed (all parts and portions, nothing spared), the proper bones obtained, washed, blessed and brought to life through ritual.

Each bone piece in the Sangoma's set is hidden from them during thwasa to be found and located while in ecstatic trance and deep shamanic states. It's up to the sensitivity of the thwasa and their guiding spirits that determines how fast the bones are found and incorporated. For some it might take 5 to 7 years before the proper tests are passed. I successfully located 28 of the 37 bone pieces in my own set. It was no easy task.

The bones are bonded to the healer/diviner and his helping spirits through drumming, rattling, singing, dancing, chanting and praying, ancestral offerings, ecstasy, muti rituals, blood letting and intense purification ceremonies. This is the norm whether the student goes on to become a Sangoma or not.

Day and night the student is mentored in the traditional meanings and interpretations which are also ancient, sacred to the Zulu's and have remained largely unchanged throughout time. The bones are very simple objects and yet advanced and complex in their use - a single bone piece can have over a dozen different meanings depending on which side is showing, where it falls in the casting, its proximity to other bones, etc. As this information is imparted the student is an apprentice to his Mama and Baba whom he works for and pledges himself to for the remainder of his experience. A special bond is formed during thwasa between man, animal, earth and ancestor. The process itself is incredibly dynamic.

During the long periods of learning to work with the bones one is expected to work in a traditional clinic (mine was the Luvenga Traditional Clinic in Matsetsa) and to see clients for traditional healing and diagnosis/divination many days a week.

If NOT a traditional healer, the students of this special shamanic, ancestral wisdom and system of divination with bones is still required to practice and utilize what is learned during the teaching and integration process with dozens of people, clients and patients each day for months on end. Only this way is a level of proficiency attained - one isn't going to pass the qualification ceremonies and initiatory process with cold reading lines or revised Tarot readings.

There would be mornings I would wake up (around 4:00 a.m.) and prepare for my daily rituals and purification ceremonies which happen EVERY DAY while learning to work with bones. I would receive hours of instruction with Baba Mntshali and Sipho Mamba, Miriam Mntshali and other elders before travelling by foot many miles to the clinic with my adoptive family and local healers to begin seeing patients for the day. Many days we would arrive with 50 or 60 people already waiting and I would work 14-16 hours a day - needless to say, I got a lot of practice working with my bones in the process. This is something that cannot be taught in a book or learned from a book.

If you're considering Zulu specific divination ceremonies I would strongly advise doing what I did and preparing for Africa. There you can learn in the ancient fashion, according to tradition as part of a true shamanic lineage. It's a lot of work, blood, sweat and tears (all of which will be added to your bones) and I can only say it was the most worthwhile and precious experience of my life. Anything less would be stealing from the culture, history, legacy and tradition of another. We've got to keep in mind the process exists for a reason and was never intended to be used for entertainment.

I hope this post doesn't sound harsh or come across as condescending or disenchanting in any way...it might, though it's not my intention. I would be more than happy to assist you in creating or finding a working alternative. I'm completely open to the possibility of one using bones in their readings, in an ethical and respectful manner and always by properly representing the bones and the traditions one claims is associated with them (and you), being honest and forthcoming about the 'credentials' claimed, etc. Not all bone casting is Zulu - as you said Santeria, Hoodoo and other mystery traditions, magickal systems, religions and spiritual paths incorporate them too.

Loren always does a great job with his products, but this is the first I've heard about it and I wish I didn't. Obviously I feel very strongly about this practice and have my reasons for doing so. Divination with bones is something very spiritual and sacred to me in the deepest sense and I'm hesitant to think of what might happen to bones in the public eye after a bunch of magicians get ahold of them, treat them like another cool gimmick or toy and use them as an interesting premise for their recycled, canned readings and stock CR lines. There is a proper way to learn the bones and I refuse to believe it's through an ebook or package from Mevpro, although I've no doubts that it will beat the alternative offerings mentalists and psychic entertainers currently have access to.

Regarding your own use and study of the bones in the Zulu or any other tradition, I'm 110% for it and as I said before, I would be happy to assist you in this regard. I guess what worries me most here (and something completely unfounded at this point and I'm likely just being protective and paranoid - again, no offense is intended - please know that!) is anyone who might wish to misrepresent themselves in this area or use questionable techniques in their presentations with such tools and oracles.

I'm also of the belief a non-cultural specific system for bone readings is warranted and if this is the way one wishes to go (and I'm sure now that I think about it is exactly what MevPro is doing) can be very effective and beautiful. If anyone wishes to explore some options in this area I will gift the right people with African lion bones for use in their divination and casting sets. I also know Scully Elly offered a beginning bone casting kit with weasel, chicken, snake and other bones. I've recommended this set for close friends who were serious about studying and applying a legitimate system for divination with bones.

My sincere apologies for this post coming across as a rant. I feel like I sound like a raving lunatic right now and if you could SEE me at this point I'm really being anything but that! Smile

I want to help those who wish to work in this area to the best of my ability. The bones are not mine to control or dictate who uses them or what for or how. I do feel responsible to speak on this matter though because the Zulu systems and traditions were mentioned in the original post. I'd be happy to speak of this more via PM and will again recommend Dave Cumes book, 'Africa in my Bones' for those who wish a deeper ZULU SPECIFIC knowledge in this area.

Thokoza,
Jerome Finley, TDR
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seadog93
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Jerome,
thank you for such a detailed response. I completely respect your opinions and beliefs, although it's sad that you must be so worried about cultural infringement. It's even sadder that you are probably right to be worried.
From what you've said Zulu bone divination is not something I would be interested in learning, although I am interested in it and will get "africa in my bones." This is the same reason I am not interested in using the cowrie shells or other traditional yoruban systems, as they are meant to be used only in the magico-religious initiatory system. I think hoodoo bone divination would be more up my ally, but it seems to be mostly a lost art.
It's slightly off the topic (but slightly on the topic as well), but your comments on cold reading surprise me. I am a beginning reader, but I see very little difference between "cold reading" and "real" divination. Both use mnemonics to stimulate the intuition. Also, in reading the advertisment and reviews for "guerilla Q and A" (which is sold out, so I admit I have not actually read it) it seems that you teach cold reading that looks in every way like the real thing. If you feel that cold reading is so different from true divination, wouldn't presenting it as totally real be disrespectful to the beliefs of spiritualists and others?
Of course I consider cultural imperialism to be wrong regardless of the validity, or lack there of, of cold reading, it was just something I noticed in your post that I am curious about.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
Bill Ligon
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It is a terrible thing that all such practices are being lost (or have already been lost) or *******ized at such an alarming rate. Whole cultures have been destroyed, belief systems have been lost, and religious practices and other valuable cultural elements are gone forever. The West has more to learn from traditional cultures than most of us are willing to acknowledge. We, as human beings, are poorer because of it. I can only admire Jerome for learning and preserving his tradition, which he obtained at considerable cost and effort on his part.
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
Jerome Finley
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Sad indeed, and such is the state of the world we live in.

I've a close friend and mentor who is a Blackfoot traditional healer, an elder and a Sundancer. Recently a bunch of teenagers got together for body suspensions, advertised it as a spiritual ordeal 'Experience the Sacred Sun Dance' and proceeded to hook people up with sage, a few turkey feathers, tobacco hits from a bong and their picture in a War Bonnet. They were deriving from and desecrating a culture not their own that needs and deserves to be honored and preserved.

I'm not so worried about what others do as I am the traditions and people I align with and care for not being harmed or disrespected, violated, stolen from, ***d out, etc.

If you want to learn about divination with bones, like anything else you do, you should learn as much as you possibly can about it. While doing so, realize these practices ARE parts of people's religion, spirituality and way of life. Some of us have changed the entire course of our existence for such things and that's something YOU deserve to know about.

Why should my comments on cold reading surprise you, my friend? Do you REALLY not see or acknowledge a difference between memorizing the Barnum Statements/Forer Effect and reciting them over some cards VS actually doing a Tarot spread and interpreting the meanings by tradition? I see a BIG difference between natural knowing, intuition, listening to our gut feelings/heart's response, working in altered states and using clipboards, CT's, peeks, stock readings and other methods to feign intuitive abilities.

As far as mnemonics goes, I would not consider such a thing 'cold reading' if we're looking at it from a purely magician/mentalist POV. The term cold reading does not usually refer to such deceptions unless one is speaking to a magician. The term was used to describe the process of reading a person COLD with no prior knowledge or information about them.

If one has a memory system to keep 200+ meanings in order for their oracle, tool or system then I'm all for it knowing that's only HALF of any system at best. NOT doing so would be working harder, not smarter. Things such as memory pegs or even Ron Martin's 'THE KEN SYSTEM' and its variations are intuitive prompts; something to ignite the unconscious mind of the reader and get the ball rolling during the reading process.

In my Q&A you would see half the book recommending my readers and students to DO IT FOR REAL to the greatest extent possible - relying on their natural knowing, intuition, gut feelings and heart's response as I wrote earlier. This includes openly reading questions, no trickery or deception involved and giving thoughtful, sincere, intuitive answers. Until one gets to that point (or even after one has reached it!) a 4 tier system for igniting one's creativity is offered. It's a tool only, not a method or one that has any lasting value in my opinion. Others may disagree.

Regarding real psychics and spiritualists - YES - presenting and representing COLD READING as the real thing might be considered disrespectful for some (especially when using a cultural specific tool or oracle) unless it's acknowledged what is offered is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY & NOT part of said culture. It would certainly be taking an unsuspecting public for a ride were one to do so.

Again, this is only my opinion and as such is subject to my only being human. If I'm hired as an entertainer I have no problems pulling out every trick in the book. When I'm expected to offer a legitimate, intuitive or spiritual service then all that stuff has to go away. How else would I sleep at night?

Cultural imperialism IS wrong with or without cold reading.

Have fun,
JF
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Jerome Finley
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Thank you, Bill.
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