Pagan Portals – The Art of Lithomancy: Divination with Stones, Crystals, and Charms, by Jessica Howard
Moon Books, 9781789049145, 104 pages, May 2022
A few years back, I had my first lithomancy reading without even realizing it. I sat down with a woman at a psychic fair reading small pebbles and stones, who then accurately shared insights about my past, present, and future. Even since then I’ve wanted to learn more about this art form, but there was scarce information I could find about it. Therefore, I was absolutely thrilled to discover Pagan Portals – The Art of Lithomancy: Divination with Stones, Crystals, and Charms by Jessica Howard, which has completely sparked my interest in developing my own lithomancy practice.
Howard is an eclectic witch, blending Water, Kitchen, Celtic, and Green Witchcraft into her practice, adding to the well-rounded approach to this topic. She explains to readers how lithomancy is the art of divination done by reading stones, crystals, charms, or even seashells. A caster, who is doing the divination, tosses the stones and then interprets the reading based on where everything falls, noticing patterns, geometric designs, and even the texture of the stones.
“So, what exactly can lithomancy tell us? Like many forms of divination, lithomancy can help us understand our past and our present. It can help us divine the future, uncover ancient knowledge and wisdom, connect with our higher selves, and unlock the secrets of our subconscious.”1
Step-by-step Howard lays out all the reader needs to know to begin their practice, prepare for a reading, and then perform the reading. There are so many little details she covers, such as how to choose your stones, followed by how to cleanse them and later ascribe meaning to each stone. I learned all about how the casting can be done with either a personal stone, imbued with your own energy, or simply by observing the stones that fall closest to the querent.
What I like about Howard’s approach is that she provides the foundation to begin a practice but emphasizes how individualized one’s lithomancy practice will be. She leaves a lot of room for the budding lithomancer to develop their own style, interpretations, and intuitive guidance along the way with just the right amount of support to make one feel confident this is a divination style they can learn to use successfully.
For instance, one of the lithomacy sets described is an “Astrological Correspondence Set” based on the planets. Howard goes through all the planets and provides readers with their keywords and meaning to help discern which stone might be best to use to represent them in a set. She also covers the additional stones included in this set, which are stones for place, love, luck, magic, life, and commitment. As an astrologer, I was fascinated by this set and felt it was one that could bridge my knowledge of astrology with lithomancy. Howard even describes how the diviner could divide the casting circle into houses for further insight – pure genius!
Another section that I found very insightful was the chapter about performing a reading. Howard covers how to cast the stones, the use of casting boundaries (or not, depending on the reading style), and reading with segments, where you divide your casting space into defined areas, such as months, seasons, or past-present-future for more insight. I loved being invited to think about all these little nuances and have options to explore as I develop my practice.
Most helpful to me as a beginner was all the information about interpreting one’s reading. Howard shares a bunch of things to take note of when determining the reading’s message, such as the distance between stones, where they fall in relation to the reader/personal stone, the meaning of various patterns and shapes (ie. square vs. circle vs. straight line), and the stone’s physical characteristics (if a jagged or smooth part of the stone is facing upward, if a pointy edge of the stone is facing a certain direction, etc). Her thoughtful details make the reader feel a lithomancy practice is quite accessible, and this section serves as a great reference when casting one’s stones for the first time.
One of the final chapters, which Howard claims she just had to include due to the good results she’s had with this type of reading, is called “The Chakra Stone Set for Healing”. Just how Howard greatly expanded my perception of what was possible with lithomacy in regard to astrology, she did once more in this section where she teaches how lithomacy can be used in combination with energy work as well. This stone set is really unique in that it has one stone for each chakra, plus one for each element, and a personal stone. She teaches how to read the stones to determine where one should direct their energy or where there is an energy blockage. The mixture of the chakras with the elements yields really interesting insights about how to realign or direct one’s energy, making this a reading that can be done daily for energy attunement.
Overall, Pagan Portals – The Art of Lithomancy is the perfect start to developing one’s own practice. Howard provides the foundation needed to get started while also empowering the reader to trust their intuition to discover for themselves the stone’s messages. After reading this book, I am feeling very inspired and eager to begin creating my own stone sets. There are so many neat directions this form of divination can take that regardless of your magical style you’re bound to find a way that lithomancy can be used to enhance your current practice.
Alanna Kali is an astrologer, numerologist, and pioneer spirit that loves to explore life through the lens of depth psychology. She has a passion for studying the humanities and social trends. Her academic work is centered upon reuniting body, mind, and spirit through eco-psychology. She loves reading, spending time in nature, and travel.