I've written about the use of stones in Hoodoo before. In addition to their use as curios in mojo bags (such as pyrite or lodestones) and baths (in the form of salts) they may also serve as altars, doll-babies, and substitute for the bones of the Ancestors, or as focal tools during devotional prayer.
This entry on my receipt book will focus on the use of stones in magical traditions similar to Hoodoo.
The Divinity Stone
Also known as the Fire-Stone or Creek-Stone, the Divinity Stone comes from the Pow-Wow Tradition. Pow-Wow, or Braucheri, is not a religion but rather a magical system of faith healing. It was brought to America by German settlers who came to Pennsylvania to avoid religious persecution in their native land. Here, it mixed with Native American herbal medicine and magic, ceremonial-magic, European superstition, and Christian folklore and mythology in a manner similar to Hoodoo.
In the late 1990's author Silver Ravenwolf brought the practice of Pow-Wow into our greater consciousness with the publication of her book Hexcraft: Dutch Country Pow Wow Magick, although later editions of her book bear the title American Folk Magic. Though Ravenwolf acknowledged the Christian elements of Pow-Wow, her book focused mainly on the practice of Pow-Wow from a Wiccan perspective which is understandable as she is Wiccan herself. Like many of her books, however, she was later criticized by other writers for not presenting "real" Pow-Wow. I can say from personal experience, though, that I have used the techniques described in her book to treat sickness in myself and in others and I can honestly say that the techniques work.
According to Ravenwolf, Pow-wow practitioners use very little props, if any, and rely heavily on the concept of sacred breath, chants, and magical gestures. Occasionally a Pow-Wow doctor will make use of a Divinity Stone, among other common household items such as scissors and thread. The Divinity Stone is used during the healing process to draw out sickness and pain by placing it on the affected area with specific prayers. The ailment is then absorbed into the stone where it passes into the void.
The Divinity Stone is typically round or oblong, smooth to the touch and fits snugly in the palm of one's hand. They are said to be extremely durable and impossible to lose. You may find it, or it may find you, nonetheless, when you obtain one it will feel "right" in your hand. My search for a divinity-stone began in 1997 wen I first learned about them, but it wasn't until 2006 when I found mine. It was the year I moved from South Carolina to Washington State. A friend took me on a hike which lead to a circle of stones where, according to him, witches were said to hold their rituals.
The stone is ritually blessed when the moon is full and then kept near you for one moon cycle to seal the bond between you and the stone. It may be periodically cleansed and recharged by placing it in cool running water or in direct sunlight (as it's element is fire).
The Sastun (pronounced sas-toon) is a tool of divination and spiritual power used by Mayan H'men (shaman and healers). The names comes from the Mayan word for light (sas) and the word for age (tun) and translates to light of the ages.
To receive a Sastun is believed to be a gift from the Mayan spirits. They can take many forms, usually a crystal or a stone, and are said to possess a light which can only be seen by those with the gift of sight (psychic-ability, clairvoyance, second-sight). The Sastun, as you can imagine, is used as a scrying tool to diagnose and treat both physical and spiritual dis-ease, to provide visions in dreams, empower amulets, and cast spells for various purposes.
The Sastun is empowered on a Friday by dipping your finger in rum and marking the sign of the cross on the stone and saying the following prayer nine times:
"Sastun, Sastun, with your great power I ask that you tell me all I need to know. teach me to understand the signs, visit me in my dreams to give me the answer I seek. I have faith with all my heart that this sastun will answer my prayer. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."
This is to be repeated every Friday. Another source suggest catching rain water during the full moon, placing the Sastun in the water to cleanse it and then drinking the water to connect with the Sastun. It should be noted that, like many other parts of the world, that the descendents of the Mayan people have been converted to Christianity long ago and much of their mythology and folk-magic now contain elements of Catholicism which account for the prayer above being directed to the Holy Trinity.
Using the Sastun to Make Magic
As stated above, the Sastun isn't simply a tool of divination but also one possessed of a great deal of spiritual power. It addition to healing it is also used to empower amulets, bring back lost or missing individuals, and enchant lovers to name a few.
A common amulet to protect an individual from envy (the evil eye) and black magic consists of dried rue, copal incense, Piedra de Esquipulas (a calcium based stone that is often powdered) and Balsam bark folded into a black piece of cloth and sewn together on all four sides ---similar to a packet made in Hoodoo.
No description is given in my source material on how the Sastun is used to empower the amulet. It is mentioned, however, that prayer is a part of the process. In other instances (see below) an object is placed on a flat surface and the Sastun is twirled around and around it as a prayer or petition is made and I imagine that this is also the process for empowering amulets. In this case, I would suggest that the Sastun be twirled clockwise around the amulet.
To bring back a lost or missing individual place a photograph of the person on a flat surface and twirl the Sastun in circles around the photograph (in this case, I suggest counter-clockwise to draw the individual back) as you make your prayer or petition. The individual seeking the return of the missing person is then instructed to place the photograph upside down in a pocket over their heart every Thursday and Friday and repeat a mantra / affirmation / incantation that the person will come back and stay.
Finally, the process for enchanting a lover is similar to that of bringing back a missing person. The Sastun is swirled around the person's photograph while a prayer is made. The seeker is then instructed to place the photo upside down in his pocket every Friday for 9 weeks and repeat a mantra / affirmation / incantation that the person will come and be with them. It is said that the enchanto (spell) lasts for only 6 months and during that time the seeker must prove that they are worthy of their lover or else they will come out of the spell very angry and will only stay if the seeker has been good to them.
Whether these are traditional methods or using the Sastun to make magic or simply one practitioner's technique I cannot say as there is not a great deal of source material on the subject. Nonetheless, it seems that the Sastun will communicate with the owner and teach him or her the best way in which to deploy this powerful resource.
Can a Divinity Stone be a Sastun?
Can a Divinity Stone be a Sastun? This is a question that I have asked myself in recent weeks after learning more about the Sastun and its use in healing and magic. Though they come from different traditions and cultures a Divinity Stone and a Sastun share a few commonalities.
- Neither object can simply be bought, like a deck of Tarot Cards or a pendulum, but rather are seen as gifts from the spirits.
- Both are used for healing of the mind, body, and /or spirit.
- Both tools are associated with the same element (fire and light).
- Both tools are said to be very durable, hard to lose and always return to its true owner.
- One needs to have the gift for working with them to have any amount of success working with them.
The differences between a Divinity Stone include, but are not limited to:
- I have not uncovered any evidence where a Divinity Stone is used for divination.
- I have not uncovered any evidence where a Sastun is used to draw illness out of the body in the same manner as a Divinity Stone.
As you can see, the Divinity Stone and the Sastun have more in common than they do not. Perhaps the idea that one cannot do something that the other can is a limitation that humans have placed upon them? Or no one has previously attempted to use them any differently? Scrying with stones is not a new idea at all. According to one author, when Harry Middleton Hyatt traveled all over the South collecting African-American folklore he met several folks who scryed with traditional crystal balls as well as spherical stones that were speckled much like the divinity stone pictured above. Therefore, I see no reason why a person cannot scry with a divinity stone.
I wasn't feeling well not too long ago and laid down about noon with my stone. As an experiment, I attempted to receive a dream vision from my divinity stone. I asked it to speak to me and show me what was wrong. I went into a state of being simultaneously awake and asleep. In this state, I had a dream-vision. In that vision, I was in a car driving around and around in circles around the island I live on. No matter what I did, I could not leave the island. Suddenly, the path opened before me and I drove straight off the island. I woke up four hours later. Thinking about it now I believe that the stone was telling me that before I had been limiting myself with the stone and that my work with it was about to open up into new and exciting paths.
In another instance I attempted to scry with the stone asking it to show me the face of the next new person I would meet. I have found that since I am nearsighted it helps me to take off my glasses when I am scrying (which is ironic when you think about it) and was amazed and how fast the image of a man's face came to me. A few days later I received a friend request on facebook from a stranger who looked exactly like the image I had seen in my divinity stone.
Finally, I had occasion to make some orange water a few days ago in preparation for fixing a love-drawing bath for a client. I used my divinity stone by placing it in my left (receiving hand) and placing my right (dominant) hand on the jar of water. I could feel the stone pulsating in my hand. The energy ran up one arm and down the other out into the jar as I made my prayer. It was very powerful.
Blessings to You and Yours.....
- HexCraft: Dutch Country Pow Wow Magic, Silver Ravenwolf © 1997
- Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Mayan Healer, Rosita Arvigo © 1994
- Mystery of a Sacred Sastun, Winsom Winsom; Hoodoo and Conjure New Orleans Vol. 1 ©2013
Links and Recommended Reading
- Pennsylvania Dutch Powwowing
- The Red Church, C.R. Bilardi © 2009
- Pow Wow or Long Lost Friend, John George Hohman
- Mayan Religion - ReligionFacts
- Sastun: My Apprentice with a Mayan Healer (You Tube)
- Dr. Rosita Arvigo, D.N., Official Website