What is so special about Hag stones?
Updated: Jan 15
As a child, I have fond memories of walking or playing on the beach in West Sussex with my family. I would comb the beach searching for lost treasure that may have washed up on the shore from The Mary Rose, which grabbed my attention as a child. King Henry's warship being lifted from the cold dark waters of the Solent, where it had laid in its watery grave for hundreds of years. My imagination running wild. I did find some great finds, although not King's gold but beach glass, shells, drift wood and most excitingly Hag stones, with a hole running right through it. My Grandmother told me that they were lucky stones and to spit through the centre, make a wish and throw it back to the sea. Which I did and was great fun, as this was the only time I could get away with spitting. As an adult I still look for these magical and sacred stones along the beach and beside the river. I seem to have an excellent eye for spotting these stones and still find myself delighted with a Hag stone find. However, I only recently found out these stones had a name and looked into the folklore, legends and myths that surround them. The stones are known by many names, such as; Witch stones, Hex stones, Adder stones and Faerie Stones.
Hag stones are any type of rock that has a natural hole through it, mostly found by rivers, streams and the seashore. Over much time the movement of the water erodes the stone to create a unique hole and is thought to retain the water's beneficial influence and energy, having an abundance of power created by the element of water. If you are in possession of one of these stones then it is said to be a powerful amulet for protection, more so if you found it, rather than were given it or bought it.
Hag stones have been used in folk magic over the centuries to ward off evil spirits and witches' spells. Farmers have used them to protect their livestock, homeowners have used them to protect their dwellings and cottages and if a sailor or fisherman found one on the shore, they would attach them to the bough of the boat to stop evil spirits from affecting their ships and to protect the fisherman's catches.
Another legend is that if you close one eye and spy through the hole in the Hag stone, whilst out in the countryside, you'll be able to see in to the Kingdom of the Faeries. If the stone was found by the seashore, looking out to sea through the hole may help you spot a mermaid or merman.
Depending on what myth or legend you may come across, the Hag stone has been used for many things, such as:
-Warding off the spirits of the dead.
- Protection of people, livestock and property.
- Protection of Sailors, fishermen and their boats or ships
- For looking in to the realm of the Faeries.
- Healing magic and banishing ailments.
- Preventing bad dreams and nightmares.
- Fertility magic.
If you are fortunate enough to find a Hag stone then keep it safe. Some believe that you don't find a Hag stone, it finds you, instead the stones decide when to be seen and to seek you out. This wonderful gift from nature can be put into your pocket, bag or on a windowsill to offer you protection. For me, these charming and mythical stones will always be for making wishes and remembering my time on the beach with my family, my grandparents and the generations that have gone before us, which makes Hag stones very special.
A Dorset Hag Stone by Alison Petch
How Hag stones are used in Folk Magic by Patti Wiginton
Hag Stone - Sacred, Powerful, Magickal by The Gypsy