Of the divinatory techniques with which I am familiar, bones
are my personal favorite. Yes, they have that very witchy vibe – but it’s more
than that; the bones are honest. They don’t sugar coat, and while they have to
be interpreted, once you know how to read them – there’s little room for interpretation.
They are very direct and are much better suited to answering yes or no questions than tarot. With a
little imaginative methodology, there few questions the bones can’t answer. And
even fewer they won’t answer (as tarot cards can be known to do). A few
examples of things I think the bones are better at answering than tarot:
questions involving time, questions regarding health, sickness and maledictions;
they present a broader grasp to any given situation – incorporating things
outside of the question presented and how these things relate to the question
or the reading, showing the interconnectedness of life – and how these things
all relate back.
Our countless cultures have countless methods for collecting
and reading the Bones – and I can only rightly attest to my own methodology: one
in which the Bones need not necessarily consist solely of bones, but a
collection of gathered trinkets and curios, all with their own meaning, their
own story and their own energy. My collection consists of: bones (bare and
painted), coins, stones, shells, jewelry, twigs, buttons, animal teeth and
other squabbles. The only rule I implement is that the item can be easily
gathered and (safely) tossed without breakage or injury (save your razor-blades
and glass shards for witches’ bottles!).
Collecting the Bones and Bobbles
Most any small bones will do, though its recommended that
you use bones that haven’t been cooked, as cooked bones have a tendency to get
very brittle – especially in the case of chicken, which is quite common. In my
collection I have a number of different animal bones: most are chicken, but I
also have some raccoon and possum bones, as well as teeth and claws. I built a “base”
of bones, but am continuously adding or replacing as I see fit.
A short list of “Bones” I like to include – most of which
serve as my “base” bones:
Self Bone – used for the reader
Other Bone – used to represent another person or the person
you are reading
Magic Bone – represents the need for or use of magic
“Evil” Bone – malicious or hateful acts, disadvantageous
Love Bone – represents romantic love
Male Bone – represents male fertility, masculinity,
sexuality or a man
Female Bone – represents female fertility, femininity,
sexuality or a woman
Health Bone – represents physical or mental health
Wealth Bone – represents financial standing or monetary
Family Bone – represents familial connections or a family
Fate Bone – represents destiny and your lifepath (I use a
shell for this: open side up means an event can be altered, destiny is not set
in stone; open side down, this path must be walked – prepare in lieu of fighting)
“Key” Bone – (I actually use a small key) which represents
the key to any given situation, the remedy or problem at hand and its cause
This list is by no means comprehensive and I have many more
bones in my collection with more menial meanings. This is simply a small list
of options to be added to and adapted by whosoever casts the bones.
Reading the Bones
There is no right or wrong way to read the bones, there is
simply your way and their way. Below I will dictate how it is that I do a
general reading – again, this is just an example of one way, take and adapt to
fit your own unique style or tradition!
Begin by collecting your bones into your hand. I keep mine
in a leather pouch, but don’t like to toss them directly from the bag as it
doesn’t allow for much control – i.e. the bones fall out either in a massive,
unreadable pile or they fly out in such a scattered way nothing is close enough
to read. Throwing them from the hand allows for a rather contained casting, and
one that can be read easily. I do not include the Self or Other bone, instead,
the Self Bone is placed before the caster and the Other Bones is placed either
in front of the person you’re reading for or simply in the middle of the
casting area. When reading for yourself,
place the Self Bone in the center and discard the Other Bone.
Throw the Bones. This can be done on a square of cloth on
which a circle (or any number of complex shapes) has been drawn or simply upon
a flat table. If throwing in a circle, discard all bones that fall outside of
it. These bones are null for the reading, though they can also be read as “far
from the person’s mind/current situation.”
Interpret the Bones. This is done by noting the location and
connection of the bones present. For instance, note the Love Bones proximity to
the Other Bones and the Male Bone. This could be interpreted as being the male
love of the querent – but if the “Evil” bones is introduced, this could symbol
ulterior motives or a hostile or explosive relationship. Read based on both
their proximity to the Other Bone – the closer, the higher priority the matter
is – and their relation to one another. It’s very much like investigating a big
puzzle, putting it together piece by piece to form a comprehensive
understanding of their life or situation. Also not their relation based on the
third dimension: x bone seems to be overlapping y bone – is the x issue
eclipsing an underlying problem or truth represented by y? It depends. Only
through practice will you find clarity.
Convey the message. I always like to spend a few moments
making a variety of “hmm” noises when reading for others – it builds up their
anticipation. Or you can throw in the occasional gasp or snarky smirk. Their
responses are usually hilarious – even more so when yours are genuine! If you
are reading on your own, it may be a good idea to sketch out a general map of
the readings as opposed to taking a picture as often bones overlie others, which
makes for a rather misleading photo representation. You might also find jotting
down notes rewarding, especially in synthesizing a cohesive read.
Once you’ve garnered all the information you can from that
particular toss, feel free to specify: take the bone/situation you wish to
examine and toss the rest again over it/them, reading the others through that
particular lens. I.E. Who is this person
mentioned? What are their qualities? What is the nature of this love? What
magic is being referenced here? Follow that rabbit hole as far as you wish,
building your understanding.
Do not be afraid to adjust your style! Want to narrow down a
time frame? Make a sort of timeline with the bones. Wish to determine the
source of an ailment? Shape the bones into the form of a body. I find the bones
allow for far more creativity and ingenuity than cards. And above all – TRUST
Photos: These are photos of my “base” bones when I first started reading; since then they have probably doubled (if not tripled) in number and do not incorporate my other animal bones, claws or teeth.
Each day of March, post a blog, podcast, or vlog in response to each day’s prompt. Tag your posts #31DaysOfTransVisibility and post publicly. Together, we can make the world see us! If you cannot safely take part, do what you can and explain why it is not safe for you to participate fully and openly. Make your struggle visible, if you can’t be visible yourself.
Day 1: Make yourself known. Tell the world your name, age, and how you identify. Post a picture of yourself.
Day 2: Talk about your process of discovery and realization. How did you come to understand yourself to be trans?
Day 3: Talk about coming out. Are you out? Who did you come out to first? How did people in your life react?
Day 4: Talk about transition. Do you want to? What kind of progress have you made? How has the process affected your day to day life? Do you feel your transition is complete?
Day 5: Talk about dysphoria. Do you experience dysphoria? How does it affect you? What things do you do to cope with it?
Day 6: Talk about relationships. Do you have anyone special in your life? Have your relationships been affected by your being trans?
Day 7: Talk about children. Do you have any? Do you want to be a parent? Do you face any challenges to your desire or lack of desire for children? How have you worked against those challenges?
Day 8: Talk about support. Who in your life has helped you? Have medical and mental health providers served your needs? Have lawmakers in your jurisdiction worked to protect you?
Day 9: Talk about community. How are you treated by your local community? Do you participate in any online communities? How have they reacted to you being trans?
Day 10: Talk about employment and your career. What do you do to support yourself? Are you in a traditionally gendered field or occupation? How have your co-workers reacted to your being trans?
Day 11: Talk about expression and presentation. Do you present as your identified gender? Do you use cosmetics? Do you use scented products? Do you wear jewelry or other accessories? Which rack do most of your clothes come off of? Do you take any special measures with regard to body, facial, or head hair? Have you faced any particular challenges related to your gender expression or presentation?
Day 12: Talk about other trans people in your life. Have you met any other trans people? Do you have any trans friends? How have you helped each other?
Day 13: Talk about music, art, writing, and other forms of creativity. What do you create? Do you include trans themes in your creations? Does your creativity help you with any trans issues?
Day 14: Talk about traditional media. Have you been influenced by trans themes in the media? Have you had to correct misinformation about trans people that others got from the media?
Day 15: Talk about social media and online gaming. How have people reacted to your being trans online?
Day 16: Be a voice of encouragement. Let’s take a moment to encourage people who are suffering in the closet to take steps to improve their life. Fight fear with love!
Day 17: Talk with pride. Why are you proud to be trans? How do you show the world your pride?
Day 18: Talk about privilege. What privileges do you benefit from? What special challenges do you struggle against? Has your experience of privilege changed as a result of your being trans or transitioning?
Day 19: Talk about the future. How are you planning to spend TDOV? How about the rest of the year? Do you have long term plans?
Day 20: Talk about deadnaming and misgendering. Has this ever happened to you? How did you deal with it? How did it affect you?
Day 21: Talk about transphobia. Have you experienced discrimination? Have you been the target of hate speech or slurs? Have you been a victim of abuse or violence?
Day 22: Talk about something funny. Has anything humorous or ironic ever happened to you because you were trans? Have you used humor to help make people more comfortable with your being trans?
Day 23: Talk about gender roles. Do you feel that you conform to a gender role? Do you feel that your conformity or lack of conformity to gender roles helps you or hurts you?
Day 24: Talk about misogyny and toxic masculinity. Do these affect you in your daily life? Are the social pressures you experience typical for your identified gender?
Day 25: Talk about symbols. Do you ever fly the colors of any LGBT+ or gender identity flag in a symbolic way? Do you wear jewelry, buttons, patches, or other accessories that telegraph your being trans? Do you have any LGBT or gender identity related tattoos? Are they usually visible or hidden under clothing?
Day 26: Talk about role models. Who are your role models? How have they influenced you?
Day 27: Talk about politics and activism. Has being trans influenced your stance on any political issues or candidates? Are you active in your local trans and/or LGBT+ community?
Day 28: Talk about religion and spirituality. Has being trans influenced your spirituality? Have you joined or left a church because of their stance on trans related issues? Have you found acceptance in your religious community?
Day 29: Let’s be positive. Post a message of loving kindness. If you can’t honestly open your heart to the whole world, narrow it down to one special person if you have to. But try to put some positivity out there in a public way.
Day 30: Quiet before the storm. Let’s just take a minute to calmly and privately reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go, individually and together. Don’t post.
Day 31: It’s TDOV! Let’s be visible! Post selfies of you being your wonderful self as far and wide as you can, proudly tagging your pics as #TransDayOfVisibility and #TDOV.
The club was packed with people, once again. I was happy that Joker’s club was so successful. It was Saturday and we were here after a heist gone well. He was wearing his golden jewelry, a white button up and a fancy red jacket. I was in a body hugging short black dress with red lace on it. Things were pretty great.
J’s hand was on my thigh and I smiled because I enjoyed his touch. ‘’The music is bullshit’’ He growled suddenly. I hadn’t even listened to the live singer. I decided to listen and I realized he was right. Some brunette woman stood on the scene in a white glittery dress. Her pink lips were moving and letting out sound that hurt my ears.
‘‘You’re right J’‘ I muttered and looked at the woman, sneering. J chuckled and looked at me closely. ‘‘You should go there’‘ He told me. At first I thought he was joking, since he was the Joker. But the look he gave me let me know he was serious. ‘‘Oh Puddin ya know I can’t sing’‘ I laughed nervously. He clenched his jaw and let go of me. Then he whistled and pointed at the singer, telling her to go. The music stopped and she ran off, embarrassed or scared, perhaps both.
‘‘Go on kitten’‘ He purred to me. I couldn’t just sit here, so I did as told. All eyes were on me as I nervously walked to the stage. The lights shone on J so I decided to focus on him. I grabbed the microphone and looked at the man who played the karaokes. ‘‘W-what do you want to sing?’’ He stuttered, obviously afraid of the queen of madness and Gotham. It gave me a little confidence.
‘‘Mad Hatter’‘ I said and looked at my boyfriend. He was looking at me very intensely while holding his purple cane. ‘‘By Melanie Martinez’‘ I added and then took a deep breath. The music started playing and I got ready to sing.
‘‘My friends don’t walk they run..’‘ I started to sing. My muscles were tense and I was really nervous but I kept going. Somehow it wasn’t as bad as I thought. J grinned, flashing me his beautiful smile. I sang more and then forgot the audience, almost entirely. I focused just on J, no one else.
‘‘Where is my prescription? Doctor doctor please listen..’‘ I sang more confidently by now. Everything was fine. Damn, I even had fun. ‘’So what if I’m crazy, the be-’‘ I got to the higher parts. I shut my eyes and tried to sing, but it was cut short. I tried to make a noise, but I couldn’t breathe. The music had been so loud but now everything was dead silent. I opened my eyes and that’s when I felt a stinging pain in my abdomen.
I inhaled sharply and then looked down, seeing blood. A lot of blood. It was running down my legs but most of it squirted out of my abdomen. My trembling hands touched the wound and I felt the warmth of the blood. I was so shocked. Everything happened so fast and I wasn’t even sure what happened. Then I collapsed on the stage, spasming in pain.
The silence disappeared in gunshots. I heard multiple gunshots and people screaming. I tried to move my head weakly so I could see, but the pain had made me too weak. I could barely keep my eyes open. I was scared. What if I’d die?
I wasn’t sure how much time passed but suddenly J was by my side. He pressed his shirt against my abdomen and he looked quite mad. He had blood splatters on his pale skin, but God knows whose. His mouth was moving but I couldn’t make any sense of his words. I was in so much pain that it was impossible to focus on anything else. All I knew was that I was shot and J tried to tell me something.
‘‘Y/N!’‘ He yelled my name. For some reason, his voice got clearer. I tried to breathe, but it was hard. I had no idea what to do. ‘‘Breathe, goddamnit’‘ J growled at me.Oh, if he knew that I was trying. ‘‘Boss’‘ Another deep voice said. J didn’t even budge. He looked like he could kill, yet he was trying to keep me alive.
The thought of dying now and never seeing him again made me sad. I was crying, of course but now I noticed it. I tried to move my hand on his but it took a lot of strength. ‘’I..l-love you’’ I muttered, not sure if he heard me. Luckily, he did. He stared at me in disbelief. ‘’Don’t you fucking dare to die Y/N’’ J told me so angrily it almost scared me.
I finally found his hand and I held onto it. Then I coughed up blood. It hurt to cough because I had to use my stomach muscles. It made me dizzy. ‘’Y/N! No, you’re not going to die!’’ J yelled loudly. I wish I could have kept my eyes open but they got heavier every second. Soon, I was only seeing dark. I heard J’s muffled voice and my own heart beat. It started beating slower and the pain almost faded.