I'm sharing a little here with those who are interested. It's still a little rough, and I work it very intuitively. Use your own intuition to guide you, as well.
Eyes = the smooth, rounded sides of the cowries
Mouths = the open, flatter sides of the cowries
Method -- Gather all 16 into your hands. Whisper to them or kiss them, and then toss them on the floor or onto a mat. Make note of their groupings, mentally marking them in four groups of four. Read them generally from left to right and from top to bottom. You will interpret the shells based on the eye/mouth patterns and also based on the "spreads" they form.
The following verses are meant to help you interpret the eye/mouth patterns.
You’re not worthy, and yet you ARE
both earthbound mud and shining star.
Arise and go into the night
to see, to BE the guiding light.
In blood and soil and toil and pain
you’re born into this world again.
From cauldron-womb to mother’s breast,
your journey starts; you cannot rest.
Evening star, the Queen of Heaven,
Passing through the trials, seven.
The Hero or the Fool we are,
rising like the Morning Star.
An ancient and undying Truth:
Each age conceals an inner youth.
Remaining young is not an art.
Hold your youth within your heart.
All roads, all days, all songs must end
to sleep, to breathe, begin again.
A treasure’s hid in sorrowful endings:
the promise of a new beginning.
Justice, with her scales and sword,
measures both your deed and word.
Intents and thoughts she does not weigh.
Be careful what you do and say.
Love of mother, love of son.
Love deeply and love everyone.
Love friends and children and your mate.
Love till there is no room for hate.
Sacred Union – hearts and minds,
bodies, lives, and souls entwined –
Bless each one with joy and pleasure.
Such a gift is priceless treasure.
Safe within a an earthen shield,
unruly seas to harbors yield.
Anchored firmly in this calm
your bark escapes the threat of harm.
Blest accord, cooperation.
No thought of ire or base frustration.
Heads and hearts in loving ease.
Home and self have found some peace.
Dove of Peace, we draw you near.
Take from us both pain and fear,
leaving only your sweet love
to live in peace, O Gentle Dove.
Open waters, clear and bright,
Sky-kissed ocean brings delight.
Dark below, as any tomb.
Mother Ocean, life’s great womb.
Sacrament of love divine,
bliss-filled bodies intertwined.
In best of cases, spirits mesh
while taking joy in earthly flesh.
Silver speech and golden belt
can cause the Will of Man to melt.
Hold convictions, tight and true,
or watch them charmed away from you.
Pleasure, joy, and untamed bliss,
delight and humor, marked by this.
Bubbling font from Spirit’s well.
Laughter in your Soul does dwell.
No light or slim reflection cast.
The door is sealed shut, firm and fast.
Within the blackest pitch of night,
Embrace the Dark and mourn the Light.
The following SPREADS are very loosely based on (or rather, inspired by) geomancy.
A couple of notes to help understand the spreads:
1. The spreads are obviously set up in pairs of opposites. I'm not sure why, but that's how it worked out.
2. Joy and Sorrow are both meant to represent doves -- one soaring, one falling.
3. Gain and Loss are scales.
4. Fate is a horseshoe. Freewill is an overturned bowl or cup.
An example, then, of a reading might go as follows:
From left to right, I would interpret this casting as:
Path -- Sea
Fate -- Queen of Heaven
Female -- Peace
War -- Endings
So, what is all this saying to me? Well, ... ha! One of you lovely readers is getting a reading, but I have no idea who. You are new to the blog, and new to this path, I think. You have felt a calling to the Sea -- perhaps water witchery, in general. But it hasn't occurred to you until now that perhaps Aphrodite (or Astarte or Inanna) has a direct hand in YOUR life. She does, sweetie. You, my lovely lady, have had trouble finding peace with your femininity and with the Divine Feminine in general; but that conflict is about to to come to a close. The sooner you stop fighting yourself, the sooner you will find peace and make the progress you have been hoping for. You're going to shine, sister!
Alrighty, well. Thus concludes the free and easy version. I will continue to work on writing everything up in a way to help folks understand, and I will eventually publish that in a nifty little book (paperback and ebook, I am sure). In the meantime, get yourself some cowries and practice, if this speaks to you. You know what I know, at this point!