Hag stones are stones that have a naturally occurring hole in them, made by the movement of water continually over the years, or by other stones rubbing against them. Another way holes get stones in them is by a pholas, a common marine bivalve who bores into clay and soft rock such as limestone. They are known by many other names too – adder stones, witch stones, serpent’s eggs, glain neidyr (Wales), milpreve (Cornwall), gloine nan druidh (Scottish Gaelic), and aggri (Egypt).
Often the stone is glassy an is referred to as Druid’s Glass and said to protect a person from eye diseases, from evil charms, prevent nightmares, the ability to see through to the faerie realm or to even see through faery or witch glamour. Such stones were highly prized by the Druids of old, especially the Gaulish Druids, who used them as amulets and for divination. In the druidic tradition the hag stone was the hardened saliva of a mass of snakes, the hole being caused by their tongues. If you ever see an adder’s nest you will see females writhing together in an entwined ball.
In more modern witchcraft traditions a hag stone provides focus and direction and has great magical importance. By looking through the hole one can align oneself to the non-material world. It helps remind us to keep our vision focused.
Funnily enough, although hag stones have been and are still used by druids and witches alike in their traditions, they are also used by others to ward against malevolent witchcraft. In Dorset fishermen used the hag stone for such protection by tying ‘holy stones’ to the bows of their ships to keep away witches and other malevolent spirits. It was also quite common for people to hang hag stones on key chains or on the end of beds to protect the owner from witches and demons such as the Night Hag who would steal the life strength from a sleeping person.
Holy stones, whatever name you choose to give them have been seen as magical as early as the second millennium BC, as is shown by archaeological excavations in ancient Gaza, where these kinds of stones were found purposefully placed in a room and in a grave. So the use of hag stones is early and widespread and it seems mainly for protection purposes such as protection from evil spirits, witches, pixies etc.
These holy stones have even been used in healing – where it is said that to rub a wound, broken bone or bruise with such a stone will heal it. They’ve often been worn around the neck to prevent all kinds of diseases.
The largest hag stone I possess is a beautiful one made from flint that I picked up on a beach in Kent many years ago, it’s about 4 inches by 4 inches with a hole approx. one and a half inches wide. I use this particular stone for meditation by lighting a candle and then setting the stone (which luckily is self standing) in-between me and the candle. I then just gaze through the hole at the flame. The stone seems to block out everything else apart from the flame that can be seen through the hole. It is a lovely way of meditating and really focuses my attention. Other, smaller stones I’ve made into protective amulets that I can wear around my neck or hang somewhere.
The best way to come by a hag stone is to find it yourself. There are many available over the internet to buy but you never really know if it’s a real natural holy stone or if it’s been man made that way. Contrary to popular belief holy stones are quite common around various parts of Britain on beaches, usually made out of soft rock such as limestone or chalk but also flint too. You just have to keep your eyes peeled and take some time to search. There is nothing better than finding your own hag stone and attuning it to whatever purpose you wish to use it for.
Sources: Wikipedia (Internet); Dark Dorset (Internet); The Seeker’s Guide to the Hidden Path by Raven Grimassi & Stephanie Taylor