I like walking in nature, even if my body doesn’t and having two kids in tow makes it harder to appreciate the signs and sounds. One reason I enjoy these walks is the foraging; whether it is edibles, interesting rocks or the occasional twig you can always guarantee we will find something to bring home.
This past May bank holiday weekend visited the North Yorkshire coast, in particular, Boggle Hole, for a spot of beach combing. I am never going to stack out an Etsy shop with curios and creations but I like finding things that I can incorporate into the witchy household environment and maybe even my practice. There were a couple of finds on this trip which underlines why this kind of thing can be very ‘profitable’, particularly for a budding witch who is on a budget.
The striations in this stone are what made it stand out to me. It may not be perfect but this is defiantly a pentagram. This stone is pocket sized so it would make a perfect addition to any of my travel altars either as a focal point or elemental representation. I’ve been seeing a trend towards themed altar kits so for inspiration, this stone would also be a wonderful addition to any sea themed altar space.
Other Ways To Use Rocks
There is a massive emphasis on the use of crystals and semi-precious stones in new age circles but you can build some very real and meaningful relationships with more prosaic stones. When taken from a particular location the stones carry some of the energy of that location with them. Whilst you should never remove a stone from an ancient monument (not even if it has fallen from the monument) taking one from the surrounding area will allow you carry some of the places home with you, something that is particularly relevant if you regularly work in a particular place on a regular basis.
Even if you don’t work with genius loci stones can be incorporated into your practices as markers for altars and circles. The size you use will depend on the purpose; larger stones for marking out outdoor circles, smaller stones for marking particular components of the altar set up. Smaller stones are also useful for making divinatory sets be that runes or some other tool.
Your chosen stones should be as flat as possible at least on the side you are going to draw your design on. Prepare your stone by washing it and cleaning it well, ideally with a toothbrush to remove any in the ground dirt. Any rough patches can be smoothed out using sandpaper, using finer and finer grades to create a smoother finish. Acrylic paints, fine point markers and marker paints are the best mediums for drawing your design on your stone, though it is also advisable to prepare by drawing your planned design in pencil or chalk. Once you have the design finished the stone needs sealing such as mode podge or similar. A good option for smaller stones or when you are in a pinch is clear nail polish, particularly chip-resistant polish.
Something A Little More – Jet and Hematite
Amongst the granites, sandstones and slates that you often find on the beach, it is also possible to find something a little more precious. Because they are knocked about by wave action it can be a little hard to compare them to the ones we find in the shops but they are there if you know how to look.
The most common find possible on any beach in North Yorkshire are quartz based. Ranging from pure to off-white in colour it is possible to find carnelian and citrine but they aren’t all that common, or evident. The region is more famous for its deposits of jet, the fossilised remains of the monkey puzzle tree. This very light, black ‘stone’ is can easily be mistaken for coal but it can be distinguished by rubbing it up against sandpaper or sandstone. Coal will leave behind a black streak whilst jet will leave a reddish brown mark.
There are no laws about taking Jet from any of the beaches between Staithes and Runswick, at least that I can find, but discretion is advised. Jet is still an important commercial resource in the area so please bear this in mind.
The other thing I found on my recent visit was this interesting stone.
Based on the sheer weight and sheen I am hesitantly identifying it a hematite, an iron-rich stone regarded amongst healers as providing grounding and stabilising energies. I found it mixed within a deposit of other stones in a rock pool just below the cliff face and it was the rainbow sheen of the wet surface that attracted my attention. I’ve been doing some research and it is possible the stone is naturally occurring, rather than a previous ritual deposit and the fact that I was strongly attracted not only my its appearance by the feeling of it in my hand and pocket indicates to me that even if it were, this stone was meant to find me. I am planning to wire wrap it so I can wear it in the future.