I gave a presentation on bone reading last weekend at the San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium in San Jose California. It was my first time giving a presentation about bone reading via PowerPoint. I had a great group of people in the room and I enjoyed myself immensely. One of the techniques I made a few slides for was how to do a throw so that you do not end up with a distribution of pieces that is difficult or impossible to read.

There are several ways that you can cast your set. The easiest is to put them in your hands and drop them onto the reading surface or cloth. If they will fit in one hand, you can use one hand – if you need two hands, use two hands. If you use this method you have to find what I call your “sweet spot.” The sweet spot is the height you need to drop your bones from. If you drop them too close to the cloth you will end up,with a clump of bones that is difficult to read. If you drop them too far from the cloth they will spread out too much, with some leaving the cloth, and no discernible pattern or groupings. You have to keep trying – dropping your bones from different heights until you find the one that gives you the best results. Then you have to practice it till you can consistently get a good distribution and can cast at the right height without having to give it a lot of thought.

Too close

Too close together. This come from dropping the bones too close to the cloth, or not moving your hand as you thrown them from an implement.


Too Far

Too far. Pieces dropped from too far from the cloth or spread out too vigorously from an implement.


Good distribution

A good distribution of pieces. You have several groupings here.

If you have a lot of bones like I do, you will not be able to fit them all in your hands so you will have to use some other casting method. I sprinkle them out from the lid of the basket that they are stored in. I use a shaking motion and move my hand around over the surface of my reading cloth. Again, practice was required before I could get consistent results with this method. I let spirit guide me as to where I move my hand as I shake the basket lid. In the past I kept my bones in a wooden bowl. I would sprinkle the bones out of the bowl in a similar manner to how I sprinkle them from the basket lid now. With my practice set I use a similar casting method, only I throw them from the small basket itself. I shake them onto the cloth like I would a basket full of seasoning into a large pot. I have seen readers cast their bone sets from shells and other rigid objects. One reader I know fills a small, flat wooden bowl with her bones and then gives a little toss straight up and quickly pulls the bowl out of the way. It is visually attractive and it looks professional. Although she makes it look effortless, I am willing to bet it took her quite a bit of practice to perfect that throwing style.

Bone Throwing Implements

Possible Bone Throwing Implements

If despite spending time practicing you find that you are still having difficulty getting a good spread when you cast your bones, try a different casting method. If you toss from your hands, try using an implement such as a shell or bowl to cast from.  It doesn’t have to be the storage container you use – it can be something you use just for casting. Likewise, if you cast from an object now and are still having difficulty, try using your hands, or try using another implement. The important thing is to be able to get a good cast consistently. No matter how much you practice you will occasionally have a throw that is too clumped together or too spread out for your tastes. When this happens to me I make the best of it unless I made some error in throwing, like dropping the basket lid, in which case I will throw again. Practice, practice, and more practice is the way to ensure you get good throws that are easy to read. Do several practice throws every day and you will find your sweet spot and perfect your method before you know it.

Happy Bone Reading!