This small, 20 page chapbook-style booklet by New Orleans artist Skully Elly (Reverend Elissa Maistros), describes a simple bone reading method using 9 pieces. It used to be available with a set of bones, that you can see here, but now only the booklet is available. I happen to have a few extra bones and things laying around so I decided to put a set together for myself based on the book.
While the number of pieces is small, the system still manages to give quite a bit of information by using the position and orientation of each piece. The booklet provides the meanings with illustrations. Because there are so few pieces each piece carries several possible interpretations depending on how it falls. This requires a bit of memory work up front, but it is not too onerous – nothing like memorizing the meanings for tarot cards.
The reading surface is also used to aid in interpreting the throw. You can memorize the layout from the illustration in the booklet. It is simple and consists of three sections. The book also suggests drawing it on a piece of paper or cloth, and carrying it with your bone set for use.
I tried to approximate the look of this set as closely as possible. I had most of the pieces on hand and ended up buying a skull, and two stones. I think it is an attractive bone set as laid out in the booklet. However, you could easily substitute pieces with what you had on hand. The size of some pieces relative to each other and some of the the shapes are important, but you could use something like a twig to replace a bone, or use something else instead of stones, etc. It has a small number of pieces, but it is capable of providing a lot of information due to the way the pieces are interpreted. The booklet is a quick, easy read with lots of illustrations, and some excellent divination tips. I don’t think it would be too difficult to learn this style of bone reading. If you are looking for a different method of bone reading you might want to give this a try.
You can order the booklet from Louie’s Juke Joint.