Short answer is, that I don’t – at least not all at once. Today I counted my travel set. There are 84 pieces in it. This is the smaller of my two sets and it is the set that I used in my book for both explanations and illustrations. If I were to read every piece in this set in a reading, the reading would be very long, and there would be so much information that the important information would be lost in the minutiae.
How do I decide which piece to read? I have some key pieces that I look for first. The piece representing the person, then the pieces representing the issue. If the issue is career advice I look to see what is happening around the thimble. If the issue is love, I look for the pieces that represent a couple, the heart, and the ring. I will also look and see if there are other people nearby who may be interfering in some way.
I also look for the “now” piece to get a feel for what is happening right now. I look at the die to see what the overall issue is about. I look at the diamond to see if there is anything else important that the person needs to know. Most of these pieces, more likely than not, will have other pieces nearby providing information. At this point you have read a large percentage of your pieces. There are other pieces that you can usually safely ignore. Pieces that are far away from the action, and isolated on my cloth are usually telling me thy have nothing to say. Likewise, pieces that are face down can be interpreted as having nothing to say. However, there are times when pieces far away and/or face down are saying a LOT. For example, if the significant other is far away and face down with another woman or man near its head in a relationship question, that could speak volumes.
Of course there are readers who have far fewer pieces in their bone sets. I have had fewer pieces in the beginning and my set worked fine. I found over time that I would find myself wishing that I had a piece to represent something and then I would either actively look for such a piece or the perfect thing would come to me. Over time my set grew to the size it is now. Occasionally I add or remove a piece but my sets both seem pretty settled at his point. If you are just starting out I envy you. Building your set is exciting! It doesn’t matter if you start with one of the sets available for sale, or start with nothing and build it from scratch. Building your set is a time of discovery and wonder. You will have some pieces that don’t work out, but that is part of the process of learning. My only advice on that is don’t be afraid to take something out that isn’t working sooner rather than later. If it is a piece that you are attached to, say for sentimental reasons, you may feel it is some sort of rejection or betrayal to remove it. It is just the opposite – that piece is telling you it doesn’t want to be part of your bone set. You can still love and treasure it – just in some other capacity. Sit it on your altar instead.
I wish there was some hard and fast rule I could give you as to when you should read, as opposed to safely ignore each piece. But I can’t. Your ancestors and spirits will be a source of guidance there, as will experience that you gain over time. There is no “right size” for a bone set. Your set is never finished. Even if you have it exactly like you want – perfect even, pieces will break, or go missing, or stop working. To me that is one of the pleasures of being a bone reader. You are constantly creating your tool and it is always teaching you. It is a living thing. If you dislike change, you might be happier with some other divination system. Everything is not for everyone. But I have found the bones to be a good fit for me. They have helped me deepen my bonds with my ancestors and spirits on a spiritual level, and they have given me a chance to meet and interact with many wonderful people on a mundane level.
Happy Bone Reading!