Hag stones or “holey stones” aren’t really classified as “crystals” but magickally they do a power of good for those who connect well with natural stones and crystals. They have a bit of a violent birth, most of them, being tossed and turned in oceans and sent swirling around and down rivers, clashing with other less moveable rocks in their paths. And some merely erode over a very long time from a steady dripping of water onto the same spot. It seems to me these poor hag stones get quite tortured over a great period. Most likely, many were created during the Great Flood after the ending of the Ice Age. And many were made by a burrowing bivalve mollusc called Pholas dactylus. There is no telling how old the Hag Stone you find may be. Which reminds me, you don’t find Hag Stones, they find you.
In the days of cunning folk – not that they no longer exist, they do, for I am one, myself – the Hag Stone was given to people seeking to protect their children, homes, and livestock. My grandfather kept one rather large Hag Stone tied above his barn door to keep his cows safe from being made to give sour milk. My mother remembered having a necklace her father fashioned with a hag stone for her to wear as a wee girl. The reason they are called “hag” stones is that during these olden times, there was great fear of the “Night Hag” and apparently, she was responsible for the theft of horses and children at an alarming rate. If you have occasion to wander round old barns in the UK or anywhere in Europe, you will most likely see evidence of the Hag Stone still at work, protecting cows, horses, and any other animals kept.
From Legendary Dartmoor:
“If ever you happen to be around any old Dartmoor farm buildings you may possibly notice a small holed stone or pebble sat on a window ledge. Occasionally if the building has a lock with a key still in it there may well be a similar looking holed stone tied to the end of it. These are known as Hex, or more commonly elsewhere, as Hag Stones and their tradition dates back to the time when witches rode along the hedgerows at night.”
Not only did farmers employ the Hag Stone, or Holey Stone, for protection, but so did sailors. In the UK, Dorset fisherman also adopted the Hag Stone as protective charm against malevolent witchcraft and still use it today according to Dr H Colley-March in his article on “Witched Fishing Boats in Dorset”, 1906.
“It was “…not uncommon for row boats at Weymouth to have ‘holy stones’ tied to nails or staples in the bows…” [Colley-March] As well as holed stones attached to fisherman’s small boats, Hag Stones were also fastened to the bows of large fishing boats to protect them at sea.
Holed stones were found having been put inside of walls in many old homes whilst being built; years later during restoration and renovation they are discovered. They were installed there by the builders of those homes to prevent malevolent spells on their families and protection against Pixies [or “Piskies” if you lived in Cornwall]. Often, they used the Hag Stone on a rope to which their front door key was kept.
And, talking of Pixies, Faeries and such, in Italian Witchcraft the holed stone is associated with faeries, and often referred as the “holy stone”. It is considered a doorway, or key to the doorway, into the faery kingdom. It Italian folk magic, it is believed these stones have the power to bind a fairy to one’s service for a length of time. There are other legends to this end, but another popular one is that if you hold a holey stone up to your eye and look through it you can see creatures that you cannot normally see, such as Faeries.
Lastly, the Hag Stone has been used since around the 15th century to prevent “Night Mares”. Holed stones were often hung on bed-posts to deter demons, including the night-hag, the nightmare, or a succubus.
“Some the nightmare hath prest,
With that weight upon their brest,
No returns of the breath can passe,
But to us the tale is addle,
We can take of her saddle,
And turn the night mare out to grasse.”
And, if you want to wear one, it is said to be a useful amulet for protection from the “evil eye”.
It was often thought that rheumatic pains could be eased by placing a hex stone under the mattress. I have never given this a try, so I could not possibly say if this is helpful or not.
Powers: Protection, Healing, Anti Nightmare
Other Names: Holey Stone, Odin Stone, Hex Stone, Witch Stone, Fairy/Faerie Stone, Eye Stone, Wish Stone, Nightmare Stone, Witch-riding Stone, Witch Hammer, Ephialtes Stone, Holy Stone
Where to find: Beaches, dried river beds, streams
Many thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog, please share it via the buttons below and give us a 5-star rating and / or a like! Warm blessings to you x