Any sympathetic magick (spelled with a 'k' to differentiate it from stage illusions) is using force of will to make changes to the world around you. Most often it's used to help you help yourself. "Help me get this job...this person to like me...to quit smoking...etc."
There are adepts that can work magick without any of the props. They have reached a place where their will is honed enough through practice and experience that magick just...works for them. For the rest of us, it's not as easy, and using ritual objects helps us focus on our intent.
Perhaps the most common form of magick is candle magick. Light a candle, cast your spell...often times stones set in a pattern around the candle are used to help amplify the spell (that's where I started actually). Later, you can carry the stone(s) in your purse or pocket to help keep that spell going by having a part of your consciousness focused on it.
But what about using just stones? I have found over the years that my gifts are with this slower, more quiet type of magick, and here are some of the ways in which I work...
Stone Bags: a collection of stones in a small pouch that can be worn around the neck or carried in the purse or pocket. I always try to find three stones for the intention (as three is a magickal number), plus at least one piece of hematite for empowerment. This is good for continued efforts, like banishing a bad habits or sparking creativity. Making jewelry for myself and others has, for the most part, replaced the stone bag...but not everyone has the time or patience to do this.
Altar "Henge": I have a collection of larger pieces, spheres and such, that I will arrange on my altar in several formations, stars, spirals, solar crosses and the like. I'll place smaller tumbled pieces to fill out the pattern and I find that this practice keeps my altar "warm" or energized.
Worry Stone, or the Handful in my Pocket: Everyone should have a signature stone they can use for energizing, worrying or grounding. Mine is a piece of obsidian that fits perfectly in my hand. My fingers know every curve and ridge of that stone, and we've traded a lot of energy over the years, that stone and I. There are times when I don't have my stone with me, but I can imagine it in my hand and I still feel the connection.
Other times I feel the need to carry two or three stones in my pocket. I really don't feel the need to cast a full spell, I just need a little extra something to carry with me. Most of the time it's when I'm sick, and I'm using the stones as an extra but of ooph to the medication I've taken. For example, I'll carry bits of bloodstone and hematite when it's my moontime, or citrine when I'm having trouble breathing due to allergies or the flu.
Stone magick is Earth magick...it is the underlying solidity of our lives. It's quiet and steady most of the time, but like an earthquake, can be devastating in its power when necessary. Like any magick, it should be used with wisdom, awareness and responsibility.
But perhaps most importantly, the stones are beautiful! And who has enough beauty in their lives, eh?
Till next time, be well,