Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hag stones

Holed stones, at lest the ones that bear holes due to nature, have long been considered magical in Europe. They are also called hag stones, holey stones, serpent stones, fairy stones, and many other names.  They aren't easy to find in most areas, as only a few types of stones exposed to the right processes of erosion will form holes.  If you are fortunate enough to live near a beach with the right type of shale or sandstone, you can likely comb the beaches for one.  If not, there are a few places online where you can order them. I happened to be on the right sort of beach recently, and so I picked up a couple.

Some folklore attributes protective powers to these stones (such as warding off the Evil Eye), and others claim that they can cure illness (a few very large ones in Wales and Cornwall are reputed to be able to cure illness if the sick person is passed through the hole at the right time on the right day).  These are also said to be able to reveal things such as witches and faeries.  They are also said to ease child-birthing and prevent the theft of livestock (you could thread one onto your pet's collar).

Part of their magic is certainly due to the mysterious way in which they form.  Most stones weather the beach by becoming smooth and polished.  These not only have the smooth feel of sand scrubbed stone, but they also have inexplicable holes (likely formed form small burrowing shellfish and barnacles, but still amazing and magical).  Look through the hole, and your perspective shifts:  a tiny portion of the landscape comes into clear focus.  Details are revealed when we lose the bigger picture, and this is magic at it's simplest.

A witch's tool box is often full of roots and leaves and flowers.  Crystals and other shiny, sparkling stones are well known magical tools, but sometimes the most powerful objects are the ones that have little shine.  Hag stones, seemingly ordinary stones bearing a hole through them, are among these.  If you are lucky enough to find one, thank the spirits for it, tuck it in you pocket, and use it to focus your energy.  Tie to a string and wear it as an amulet or keep it with your special magical gear to help you slip from this world to the other.

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