By Mike Gleason
Witching Stones: For Divination, Magic & Spells, by M. A. Madigan & P. M. Richards
Kit: Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738701947, 157 pp. + 35 stones and pouch, 2003
The Witching Stones kit includes a book, small velvet pouch, and thirty-five divination ‘stones’ painted with symbols familiar to neo-pagan witchcraft. In the preface Madigan and Richards explain that the kit is intended for novices, or those new to the Craft. They use the words ‘witch’ and ‘pagan’ interchangeably, while at the same time acknowledging that not everyone may see it that way (I don’t). But as they note, ‘no one tradition can be said to be more correct than any other’ and mention that they have ‘tried to draw from as many sources as possible’, further stating that ‘in cases where conflicting information was gathered, [they] attempted to provide as many differing viewpoints as seemed appropriate, without becoming overly confusing’.1
The book contains a purification/banishing ritual to cleanse the ritual space, as well as a blessing for the stones. Several different divination layouts are presented ranging from simple to more complex draws.
Each symbol is discussed in alphabetical order of the symbol name, with a bit of history detailing what each symbol represents and its divinatory meaning. There are no reverse meanings, and there is no blank or ‘wyrd’ stone, as the authors point out ‘these stones are not just are not just another set of rune stones’.2 Instead each symbol has a past, present, and future meaning associated with it, depending on where it falls in the layouts offered in the book.
While the ideas represented in the symbols are explained in a neo-pagan paradigm, neo-paganism is not explained or discussed in much detail outside of a brief description of the Threefold law, and the Wiccan Rede. As noted, there are numerous books that do this already. The history of the symbols themselves is rarely discussed and it would have been interesting to see when and where each symbol originated from.
Toward the end of the book a selection of spells, divided into two sections, one for ‘Simple Spells’ and another for ‘Advanced Spells’ using the stones.
However, the ‘stones’ themselves are not in fact made of rock or even clay, but plastic. I don’t equate the magickal properties of rock and oil myself. Those with a preference for tradition may like to simply buy the book, as it is available to purchase separately at a fraction of the cost, and simply make one’s own stones. It might be fun for someone who wants to try something a little different.Footnotes: