Walking on the beach in Kent my footsteps are littered with hag stones. These are rocks which have a natural hole formed all the way through so you can pick up the stone and look through it.
Hag stones have a fascinating amount of folklore and myth associated with them.
They’re also known as Adder Stones, Witch Stones, or Odin stones and are mostly formed by water. They’re often found on the beach or by waterfalls, both considered to be liminal places and therefore magical on their own.
Finding Holey Stones
As mentioned, beaches are great places to find these rocks, but not necessarily all beaches. It goes without saying there will be less stones on designer beaches (and by that, I mean those where the sand has been delivered for comfort and prettiness before the summer starts). You also might find it harder to find one where there’s no natural cliff face.
It can also depend a lot on the rocks found naturally within the cliffs around the beach. Chalk cliffs erode regularly and deposit lots of chalk into the sea. The porous and soft nature of this mineral means the sea can quickly form pieces into pebbles and create holes. Chalk hag stones can have multiple holes within them.
Another material which forms into holey stones regularly is Flint. Because this mineral is harder it takes longer for the sea to wash it into holes which means you’ll find less Flint hagstones than Chalk. Although chalk cliffs are rarer than Flint so you’ll find less places to find chalk stones.
It probably comes as no surprise they’re also found in Bexhill where Alex Sanders spent his final years, and also in Brighton, home to Doreen Valiente. The link between witchcraft and holey stones is strong. Some folklore suggest you can use them to protect against witches too.
Threading a cord through the hole and wearing the hagstone around your neck will give you protection. You can also protect the house by hanging hagstones in the doorways and windows.
They can protect you from being fairy led, having bad dreams, and being visited by the dead. They were also worn in the past by sailors to keep them safe at sea.
Hagstones can also be used within spells to remove obstacles and smooth your path to achieving your goals. The name ‘Adder stone’ comes from the belief the hole was created by snakes melting the hole with their venom.
In a similar way, holed stones can be used within healing magic, in particular to remove the illness from the person.
Hagstones are also used within fertility rituals and ensuring a safe childbirth. This might be due to their link with the larger holed stones which weddings and handfasting’s are sometimes conducted through.
Divination and Astral Travel
You can use hagstones to see into other realms. If I remember correctly, they have been associated with fairy gateways but they’re also great for using as an astral doorway within journeying and pathworkings.
Since moving to the coast, my shelves and bookcases are littered with holey stones. I’ve used them in various kinds of ritual throughout the years, most notably when working with divination and water energies.
There are so many ways to create your magic and spellcraft around them. Wearing or hanging as talismans is perhaps the easiest. You can use the hole to look through, or to fill/ cover and then remove the blockage. The chalk stones are easily broken so you can also ‘crack’ the stone and release the energy from the hole.