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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Casting the bones (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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The Curator
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I'm completing the Asian Oracle Collection at the Surnateum.
Oracle's round metal breast plaque with a mystic syllable in the centre, representing the tantric deity working through the oracle. On the gilt surround are embossed skeletons, scrolling and Buddhist cult objects.
19th century AD.
Bill Ligon
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Wow! You come up with the coolest stuff, Mr. Chelman! Beautiful things!
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The Curator
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If someone can read the name at the center of the miror, I'm really interested.
The Curator
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Nechung Kuten (Nechung Oracle) with his mirror.

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Andy Moss
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Honourable Curator have you worked out yet what the inscription is yet at the centre of the mirror?

It seems to be a mantra rather than a name and presumably would be the mantra associated with Dorje Draken (Nechung). The vowel at the top is an "i" below we have the ra ta letter "tra". finally we have the Tibetan letter "a".I don't know what the tiny circles to the side mean.

The only Sanskrit Bija-mantra I know that comes anywhere near this is "tram" associated with Ratnsanbhava family (yellow/earth element/root chakra/compassionate involvement/feeling/wisdom of equality)

However I could be completely on the wrong track here.Your understanding of Vajrayana and of written Tibetan probably exceeds mine.If you (or perhaps Bill?)do work out the inscription do let me know.

With best wishes Andy.
The Curator
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Thanks Andy.
I'm also thinking about a mantra. But a mantra identifies a deity.
I've the impression of recognizing the sanskrit word "khri" (attention), but ain't really sure.
The Curator
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While not speciffically a bone oracle, but a Tshokwe Rubbing Oracle, the catch of the day is worth having a look at.
I've a great collection of African Oracle Tools* (including some rubbing oracles) but this one is very large (+30cm long). Late XIXth or early XXth century. The animal is a turtle.
And not a copy for tourists...


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*to be honest I've a great collection of almost everything magical on this planet...
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Courtney,

This title may prove interesting to you, Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo & Conjuring with Herbs by Stephanie Rose Bird: http://www.amazon.com/Sticks-Stones-Root......702757#_ .
Pleased to continue finding that all the world's a stage.
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Hi Yawl,sorry this post is so late from since the question was raised, but....
The letter at the centre is in Sanskrit called a "Bija" or seed syllable. It reads as "Hri"and is the seed syllable of the Lotus family of Amitabha. If I remember corectly it is indeed (amongst many other deities,) the seed syllable of Dorje Drakden.
The two skeleton type figures are a protector of various secret teachings under the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantras and their name translates to "Lords of the Cemetery" - or in Sanskrit "Cittapati".

THe mirror is called a Melong and is an old pre-Buddhist Shamanistic symbol worn by Shamans as well as some adherents of the "Ancient tradition" of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Bhuddhist Bön tradition and has a profound meaning in a set of instructions known as "Dzogchen".
Minyak
Harley Newman
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The Tibetan version of the mirror is a more ornate development from the ones used in Mongolia, parts of Siberia, and northern China. It's also known as a "toli". Sometimes they're reasonably priced on eBay, usually listed as antique, which may be questionable, and therefore overpriced.

A toli should have a blue piece of fabric attached, and can reflect all things in all times and places (assuming of course, that the user has "power"). Blue represents the sky. It's tied to windhorse, a popular shamanic totem, and way to get around the spirit world. Toli are usually worn in odd numbered increments...5, 7, 9, etc. The more mirrors you had, the greater your power. Sometimes, shamans would have contests of power. The loser gave up a mirror to the winner.
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The Curator
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Thanks Minyak and Harley for your answers.
I suppose the Cittapati indicate that the mirror is used in Tantric oracle rituals.
Harley Newman
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It would be. As the vehicle to all knowledge, it can be used to know from afar, tell stories of things past and future. It's all in the reflection, so one side should be as polished as possible.
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Chris Meece
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This thread prompted me to order a set of 10 ~70 year old Shagai bones off of ebay. There is one other set on there at the moment for $14. Now I am in the market for a cool bag to carry them in. I would love to find a bag made from the 'sack' of a yak, or any other unappealing material that would make anyone with idle hands place the bag back down when I tell them what it is made from. Also, Yak Sack has a nice ring to it.
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What did you look under on ebay? Shagai?

I can't find anything.

EDIT:
Oh wait, still not ebay but here's something:
http://mongolianshop.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=79
All my resources are currently being saved for a book, but these look great.

EDIT:
I just requested "Riding Windhorses" and "Chosen by the spirits" from the library, both of which apparently have a section on shagai divination
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Chris Meece
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Seadog, it looks like they are no longer listed on ebay.

Just received my set of 10 and let me say ... wow. I assumed they were bigger but now I see why they can be considered a type of dice. The side positions seem to be less likely rolled due to the shape of the bones. They make a beautiful sound as they roll. I'll post some pictures later. I currently carry 4 around in a small leather bag with a Mr. and Mrs. Skull pendulum.
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Minyak
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Hi Curator,

I'm sorry but I don't know about specific divinations involving Cittapati.
However, from a general familiarity with Tibetan thinking it is likely that the person who commissioned the mirror in the first place
was involved in practices (like Vajra Yogini for instance) and so had a connection with Cittapati.

Or simply they thought it looked "cool" as anything to do with Charnel grounds is kind of "cool" to Tibetans.
Thanks for the question.

Minyak
The Curator
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Dorje Drakden answers thru the Nechung Oracle. But not only, I suppose...
Godzilla
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Quote:
On 2011-06-10 10:31, Chris Meece wrote:
Now I am in the market for a cool bag to carry them in. I would love to find a bag made from the 'sack' of a yak, or any other unappealing material that would make anyone with idle hands place the bag back down when I tell them what it is made from. Also, Yak Sack has a nice ring to it.





Chris, you have inspired me...Now I too want Casting Bones and a " Yak Sack" of my very own ! Smile
Or, a Platypuss Pouch ! Smile Not sure on spelling?

-G
"If you watch Godzilla backwards, it's about a big ass lizard who helps rebuild a half burnt-down city, then moonwalks back into the ocean"
Harley Newman
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Search "Kangaroo Scrotum Pouch" or sac.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Godzilla
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On 2011-06-15 22:38, Harley Newman wrote:
Search "Kangaroo Scrotum Pouch" or sac.





Thanks Harley,
Seems to be a popular item on searches !
I have Kangaroo skins for making Falconry Items! I never did look scrotum up when I would purchase the Roo hide,years back.Smile
Love the Birds of Prey !
My,my,my...How the times have changed!

-G
"If you watch Godzilla backwards, it's about a big ass lizard who helps rebuild a half burnt-down city, then moonwalks back into the ocean"
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