088: The Glass Bones


Of the two divinatory systems closely linked to the city of Glasgow, the Glass Bones is the lesser known; its association with “working-class magick” makes it seem uncivilised to those who prefer the much more dangerous – and much more sought-after – Glascau Tarot. Nonetheless, to those acolytes who would seek answers only the spirit of the city can give, the Glass Bones are an indispensable tool.

First, the acolyte must take a glass bottle of alcohol, and draw a perimeter around his turf with the alcohol – if the acolyte runs out, they can continue using another bottle of the same drink. It is important that the line of alcohol remain as unbroken as possible, and that the bottle is empty before the next step is undertaken.

The acolyte must then break the bottle. It is said that the higher the bottle is thrown from – and it must be thrown, not meekly dropped – the more of the city the bottle can “see”. This can be played to the acolyte’s advantage – those who seek secrets throughout all the city may find it best to throw it from the roof of a block of flats, but those who seek to become the New Provost or Royal for their street, neighbourhood or burgh may opt to throw the bottle from a first or second storey window. The bottle must hit a surface within the perimeter of the alcohol, but it does not matter if that surface is a street, roof, or wall. When the bottle breaks, the ground inside the alcohol perimeter becomes sacred ground to the acolyte.

The acolyte must then collect every piece of glass from the broken bottle, collect them together, and cut each piece on their flesh, so that every shard can “drink” its owner – agony results, but results can only come through agony. Finally, the acolyte must make themselves drunk on the same alcohol as the type used in the rites; during the drunken haze which follows, the acolyte will be granted inspiration in vino veritas, whereupon they will be able to accurately describe every single shard of glass as having a different particular meaning, set of associations, zodiacal (or other) correspondences, and so on. It is pivotal that the acolyte record these as best they can during their drunken state; afterwards, it will be impossible to tell accurately which shard describes what.

The acolyte, after having performed these steps, has gained his own set of Glass Bones, a set of glass shards which can be collected together and used in fortune-telling and divination like a set of rune stones. When asked questions and thrown, the acolyte will be able to divine meaning in the Glass Bones provided they are under the effects of the same alcohol as the type held in the bottle that made the oracle.

A warning about the Glass Bones. The acolyte must avoid throwing them for divination under the influence of another kind of alcohol – doing so results in the acolyte puking up a new set of ready-made Glass Bones. Similarly, there is always one shard that goes unmarked by any acolyte – and any acolyte that claims to have named theirs is lying. When this shard appears in a reading, the acolyte must immediately cease reading, take the Bones, and find a safe place to hide: the unmarked Bone will cut through the safe consensus reality that the acolyte so often takes for granted and rip a splinter through their lifeline, inviting in sharp, cruel angels that herald the end of flesh, their voices echoing and reverbating through dimensions impossible to acknowledge such that skin becomes water, water becomes glass, and the acolyte is rent asunder, his life torn from reality so that he goes unremembered and unmourned by all who knew him, except during certain melancholic drunken nights where the alcohol calls up hazy, incongruent memories of splintered spirits.

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2 Responses to “088: The Glass Bones”

  1. I felt like that last sentence was seriously trying to do too much at once. I’d pare down the imagery to something more manageable. Overall, pretty good, though.

    • Cheers for the feedback; I’ll keep that in mind for future posts. As you might have guessed, I sometimes find it difficult to encapsulate these dizzy, fevered states in words.

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