This post is the fourth installment in the Working with Zoological Remains series. The term “zoological remains” refers to the physical remains of an animal once it has died. This series covers the ideological and practical aspects of animal remains in witchcraft. Previous posts include An Introduction to Working with Zoological Remains, Bone Collecting: How to Acquire Bones and Other Zoological Remains Regardless of Where you Live, and Of Skull & Bone: Cleaning & Whitening. There are two more posts remaining in this series, covering the process of tanning hides and how to begin using zoological remains in your witchcraft practice.
Aside from skulls, the most dramatic and beautiful zoological remains used in witchcraft are found in the preserved wings, talons, and paws of animals. The lifelike appearance has its own charm, calling to mind the movements of the creature and aiding our minds to slip loose and enter the necessary state to accomplish our Work. These remains may become treasured tools allowing us to connect with the archetypal energy of that animal or be rendered spirit houses for cherished allies. As with all zoological remains, their use is one infused with an air of sanctity and respect for the animal from whom they came, acknowledging its life, passing, and gift.
Remains such as wings and paws that still contain tissue require specific means of preservation as they are too delicate to safely nor effectively remove the tissue. Most importantly, it is not necessary to remove the tissue for preservation. It is important to note that although tissue does remain, this preservation method does not result in smells, rather, it produces a fully dry specimen.
As usual, because I am utterly pragmatic and will always encourage you to use what you have for your Craft practice (just say “NO!” to commercialized magick!) you won’t need anything that you don’t already have at home or can’t find at your local grocery store or pharmacy.
This post is part of a series on the use of zoological remains in witchcraft. The term “zoological remains” refers to the physical remains of an animal after it has died. Within witchcraft, commonly used zoological remains include bones, shed skin, antlers, wings, claws, paws, pelts, organs, and even blood. Most of these items require some sort of preservation in order for them to be effectively put to use for any duration of time.
This series of posts will explore the ideology behind the use of zoological remains in witchcraft, as well as more practical matters, such as acquiring and preserving material. Previous posts include An Introduction to Working with Zoological Remains and Bone Collecting: How-to Acquire Bones and Other Zoological Remains Regardless of Where you Live. Future posts will focus upon preserving wings and claws, tanning hides, and how to use zoological remains within your own practice.
Once you’ve acquired animal remains that you would like to use in your witchcraft practice, the next step is to prepare them for use. Preparation will vary depending on what you have, as a found skull and fresh wing require very different methods to clean and preserve them, but will ultimately culminate with consecration. The general process (i.e. preparation, consecration, use) is the same regardless of whether the spirit of that animal is still attached to the remains or not.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the various methods available for cleaning bones, with the next post in this series discussing how to clean and prepare items such as wings, paws, and claws for use. These methods are simple, require nothing more than materials you very likely already have in your home, but do differ in the amount of effort or time that is required. All will produce clean bones that you can then consecrate and begin using.
Throwing the Bones
Whether you're struggling with something spiritually or in everyday life, bone divination can highlight areas where focus is needed and identify alternative ways forward.