Thursday, August 22, 2019

Bone Magic Series: Working With the Spirits of Animal Remains: Crossing Over & Contracting

Bone Magic Series: Working With the Spirits of Animal Remains: Crossing Over & Contracting

Now its all well and good to find or purchase animal remains, especially bones, but what happens to the spirit of the animal that originally inhabited those bones, and may still be inhabiting them? Should you help the animal cross over? Contract it? Leave it the hell alone? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and the animal spirit you encounter. Each spirit is different and therefore no two experiences will be the same.

You will most often encounter an animal spirit attached to their remains if you come across the bones in the wild. Unfortunately, animal spirits tend to vacate bones handled by large suppliers, even those I mentioned in my previous post How to Ethically Acquire Animal Remains. Of course, this isn't always the case, but from my experience, purchased remains tend to be spirit free. So what should you do when you come across remains in nature? First, approach the remains with the utmost respect, just as you would human remains. Remember, this was a living creature with its own hopes, dreams, and fears. Close your eyes and open yourself to any spirit that may still be hanging out in the remains. If after a few minutes, nothing speaks to you, the animal spirit has likely moved on. If you choose to take the remains, thank the animal, even though they are not there for other spirits are watching you, for the gift and treat the remains with care and dignity. You may wish to leave a bit of yourself behind as thanks. Strands of your own hair, a drop of your blood, or some of your saliva are all acceptable offerings.

If the animal spirit still resides within the remains, you have one of three options: help the spirit cross over, contract the spirit, or leave it be. With the proper protections in place, open up your thoughts to the spirit and ask what it would like. If the spirit tells you to bugger off, thank the spirit for its time and move along. Do not come back to the remains later in hopes that the spirit has moved on. It told you no; accept that answer. Just like you have bodily autonomy (or should), so do animals. You have no rights to any of its remains, especially once it has told you no. If the spirit wishes for your aid in crossing over, ask it how best you can help it transition. Depending on how the animal lived and died, they may be extremely fearful, angry, or sad. Listen to what the spirit has to say and try your best to help guide its soul into the other world. So how exactly do you go about doing this?

There are lots of guides online that all suggest different methods. I prefer to simply listen to the animal spirit tell its story. Sometimes that's all the animal needs to do and they will cross over once their story is over with. For those particularly resistant animal spirits, ask them if you can help guide them toward the light. If they say they need the assistance, sit next to the remains and ask if you may touch them. If the animal says yes, place your hand gently on the remains (unless it's a freaking opossum then don't freaking touch it), close your eyes and call upon your guides to aid you in helping the animal spirit cross over. If the animal does not wish to be touched, simply hover your hand over the remains. Enter into a meditative state and visualize a golden orb of light surrounding you and the animal spirit. This golden orb of light, as you focus on it, will engulf the animal spirit, pull it from the remains, and gently carry it into the Otherworld. Ask the wind and rain to wash away any resentment, fear, or inhibitions and say something like, "May your spirit find comfort and joy on the other side. Go swiftly and safely into the great beyond." The two times I have done this, Meka, my fox animal guide, has come to comfort the animal spirit and aided in their transition. Your animal guides will likely do the same, although you should be cautious if your animal guide is a predator and the animal spirit crossing over is a prey animal. They may be scared of your guide and refuse to leave. Use your best judgment. For some reason, no animal I have encountered, living or nonliving, has been afraid of Meka. Her heart is so absolutely pure and comforting, that everyone feels at ease around her. I would never ask Rocar to assist in a crossing over. He is too abrasive and obnoxious.

If the spirit wishes to remain and doesn't ask you to leave it alone, ask it if it would like to work with you in your magical workings. If it agrees, offer the spirit a contract. Your contract is to protect you and the spirit and make it abundantly clear what each of you should expect from the other. It sets boundaries and rules, as well as lets the spirit know what you will be offering it in return from its services. Sometimes a spirit may want to come home with you simply to be with you and yours. All it wants is a loving home and in return will watch over you and your family. Other times, the spirit will be more demanding. It's okay to negotiate, but be firm in what you will and will not do. Begin with a verbal contract and upon returning home, write the contract within your spirit journal or Book of Shadows. Sign and date and be sure to read it to the spirit and accept their "signature." Their signature can be a "verbal" agreement or you can use a pendulum or tarot cards to exact a yes. For example, 2 out of 3 upright cards indicates a yes while the pendulum swinging to yes or in whatever direction you have determined as yes means, well, yes. Below is an example of what your contract could look like:

"I, [insert name here], enter into an agreement with [name of the animal spirit or species if not given]. In exchange for magical assistance, spiritual advisement, and enhanced magical perception, I offer [insert offering agreement here]. In order to fulfill this contract, [name of the animal spirit/species] shall not require more than what was originally agreed upon without negotiating and shall only work in my favor and for the highest will. Failure to do so will result in the termination of our agreement." (modified from Devon Hunter's The Witch's Book of Spirits.)

Finally, ask if you may take its remains back with you to your house and if it has a particular bone it wants you to take with you. This bone will be the house for the spirit and usually animal spirits prefer their skull, although not always. I have read from other witches that their animal spirits preferred toe bones, teeth, or ribs over the skull. Take only what the animal spirits says you may take. Again, bodily autonomy. Respect the spirit's wishes. Before you clean the remains, ask the spirit if it's okay. I have a coyote skull that has not been cleaned because the coyote said no. Perfectly fine with me.

Working with animal spirits is such a delight. They bring a power to your magic like no other. They are often kind and generous as well as loving and protective of the witches that care for them in death. Remember to always be respectful and in return, they will be some of your best magical allies. Honor your agreement and be sure to offer them what they wish in return. Coyote is happy to sit on my bookshelf among my favorite books, wanting nothing more in return than a prominent spot to watch the going on's in my home. He has been my longest animal spirit companion, going on 10 years, and I enjoy just looking at him among my books when I sit on my emerald green couch to read a good book. Sometimes I even read aloud to him. Have you contracted an animal spirit or helped one cross over? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.

Interest in the rest of the series? Here's what's to come!

Bone Magic Series


  1. Hi, I was wondering what you could give the spirits in return, as well as if you can hold casual conversations with them??

    1. I usually give quartz. I don't know why this is always my go to, but it is. If I don't have quartz on me, I will offer some of my hair or spit in return. I don't so much hold casual conversations with animal spirits, but I do with other spirits. Usually when I come across animal remains, I try to keep the conversation light and to the point. Many of them are sad or frustrated, and I don't want to make matters worse, you know?


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