I had to get a new bone set for a project I am working on so I decided to photograph the process  I use to clean and prepare them for use and share it here. I start by rinsing them under cool water for a bit. I believe that the bones are a spiritual tool and as such should be cleansed of old energy so that they are ready to take on new energy. However, I have talked to readers who don’t feel that washing or cleansing them is necessary. They believe that each bone has the spirit of the animal it came from and rather than washing them to cleanse them of this energy they hold each piece while meditating on the spirit of the animal. I find that approach to be beautiful as well. If you have a method that you use for cleansing spiritual tools, it can be easily modified to work with your bone set. Be careful with pieces like the alligator foot if you have one, which is covered in a resin. A quick dip in and a good shaking to remove excess water  should be enough for it. Also be careful to towel dry porous pieces like some seeds and nuts before laying them out to dry.

Running bones under water with a colander.

Running bones under cool water with a colander.

Bones set out to dry

Bones laid out to dry after rinsing. I added a few pieces to the original set – a ring, a bird, a piece for the querent, a Bobcat bone, a coin, a skull and two pieces to be used in relationship questions. I removed the alligator foot. If I were using more shells I would remove the coyote claw as well, and I would replace this rib with a larger one as these pieces tend to get stuck in shells.


Next, I wipe each piece down with Florida water and then cleanse them in incense. I used an incense made from Copal, Frankincense, Benzoin, Althea, and Acacia  burned on charcoal.  A little goes a long way. I have also mixed ground herbs and resins with self burning incense as a base, but this time I used a charcoal.  Use what you have – I happen to have a lot of herbs on hand and I mix each batch in small quantities and add ingredients depending on what I feel is needed that day. I love the smell of Copal so it is usually one of the ingredients.

Smudging the container

First I cleanse the container.

Smudging the container

Next I cleanse each piece individually. I also cleanse my reading cloth if I plan to use one.

After I have cleansed the container, the bones, and their reading cloth I pray over them speaking to deity, my ancestors and the spirits of the animals, plants and sources of the pieces in the set. I then lit a candle and sat them on my ancestor altar. When I am ready to start using them I will come back to the altar and do additional work to get them ready for reading.


New bone set sitting on my ancestor altar.

New bone set sitting on my ancestor altar.

These are simple steps that anyone can do. Most diviners regardless of divination tool or system, have a method that they use to get their tools ready for use. Whatever system you are already using can probably be adapted for your bones. Let yourself be led by spirit.


Happy Bone Reading!