Tuesday, March 24, 2015

how to create a charmcasting oracle

I have to tell you about my latest obsession ~ charmcasting divination. I'm always on the lookout for new divination methods or a new twist on an old one.

I had my first experiences with casting divination many years ago, around the same time I started reading cards. Back then divination was still a mystery and I had trouble making sense of my throws. Now that I have a much stronger sense of symbolism, my readings are easier to interpret.

Bone divination is an ancient practice of casting or throwing bones onto a surface and reading them, with help from the ancestors, for divinatory insights. I stumbled across a new twist to this form of divination....charm casting using charms and pendants. Carrie Paris created the Magpie Oracle, Magpie Oracle II, and Magpie Oracle: Tarot Talismans. These are each sets of charms based on the Lenormand cards, universal life themes, and Tarot cards respectively.

I also discovered Michele Jackson's latest blog, Bones, Shells and Curios, and read her book of the same title which explains a contemporary method of bone divination that includes bones + found objects. After reading Michele's book and her blog updates, I'm pleasantly surprised to find I have been intuitively using my charms in many of the same ways Michele uses her bones.

What you need to create a charmcasting oracle
In the past, I've cast dice, stones, cowrie shells, and coins. However, it never occurred to me to use all of them at once in my casting set. My current charmcasting oracle set includes dice, stones, a cowrie shell, coins, buttons, and charms.

I'm rather fond of the process of creating an oracle set by scratch, however, it can get quite pricey if you have to buy all of the charms separately. My advice is to either purchase or create a starter set and then add to it over time. You can buy a starter set from Lucky Mojo Curio Co. or on Etsy from Mystic Cartel.

"Book" box as a throwing surface
I started making my own set a few months ago with just 10 pieces and now I have over 50. Start your collection with pieces you already have. Some of the objects were found in my craft drawers. This will save you time and money. Try to make sure your objects have a definite front and back because they will be interpreted differently according to how they land. And consider the size and weight of each object as well. I like to have most of the objects of equal weight and size.

A throwing surface
You will also need a surface to throw onto. Many people use a mat of some sort, or perhaps a shallow bowl. I like using the storage boxes that look like books that can be found at craft stores.

A container to mix objects
You will also need something to throw the charms. If your set is pretty small, you can just cup them in your hands and release them onto the throwing surface. I started out like that and it was great. However, my set is now too large to hold in my hands so I bought a small container with a lid. I put all the charms in there and shake it up good. Then I take off the lid and simply turn the container upside down quickly.

Container with charms inside
Check out Michele's way of casting in this blog post.

Understanding the symbolism
I think it's important to devise your own method of interpreting each charm or object in your set. When you find a charm or object that speaks to you, it should give you an immediate connection to its symbolism. If it doesn't, put it back or save it for later.

I see charms all the time that I want but I don't always get an immediate sense of what they will represent in a reading. Sometimes I have a distinct way I'd like to use a charm and then the Universe provides another, sometimes contrary, interpretation. I spend a lot of time reviewing my readings to see how the object should be interpreted in future readings.

The beauty of your charmcasting oracle set is that the symbols are personal to you. In essence, only YOU can interpret your set.

Here are some of the objects in my set and a brief description of how I interpret them. If you're looking for sources of symbol interpretation, try dream symbols, tea leaf reading symbols, the Lenormand card symbols or even a book of idioms. Idioms are such an integral part of our language and they make great visual symbols. For example, if I see the Scissors charm next to the Cowrie shell I think of the idiom, Bite Your Tongue, which means you're keeping silent when you want to speak up. 

Joined hearts charm. Relationship or partnership.

Gun charm. Conflict, anger.

Airplane charm. Dreams and aspirations, or things taking off, i.e., successful plans.

Cowrie shell. Communication or throat chakra.

Frog prince charm. A status change.

Angel charm. A difficult time where help and support is needed.

Butterfly charm. Change is happening. Releasing the old and embracing the new.

Crown charm. Represents work and authority.

Handcuffs charm. Restriction.

Caution charm. A decision needs to be made.

If you'd like to read more about the process of bone divination, check out this article or read  Michele Jackson's book (click on image below).

You can also check out Karen Krebser's blog which features a daily draw of a tarot card + charm casting. And I'll be posting more on this subject too...stay tuned!

Do you do charmcasting or other forms of casting divination?


  1. I absolutely loved this article. Such a charming topic, brimming with ideas, and the photos are so inspiring!

    I've begun collecting items for my own charmcasting oracle, and I wrote a bit about it on my blog, linking back here to you. Do pop by if you have a chance!


    Much love.


    1. Hi Joy,

      Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you were inspired by the article. Just checked out your awesome tarot blog. Looking forward to hearing more about your charmcasting journey!

  2. Great article. I have been assembling Mt own set over the last few years, and it has become much too large to just cast. I keep the pieces in a bag so I can reach in and pull out the pieces to cast and read -- usually 6-8 pieces for a reading.

  3. Glad you enjoyed the post Melisa! Yes, sometimes there are too many pieces to cast well. I decided to simplify my set to just 15 pieces and I have a Udemy.com course on how to cast with those 15 pieces that represent common symbols and arenas of life. You can find out more here: https://www.udemy.com/treasurecastingoracle/