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Friday, September 27, 2019

Bone Magic Series: Feeding Your Bones

Bone Magic Series: Feeding Your Bones

Once you start working with the spirits of animal remains, it's important to properly care for them. Routinely "feeding" your bones is one such as to do this. Essentially, when you feed your bones, you are providing the animal spirit within an offering. And it's not just bones you can do this with. If you have an animal spirit attached to any remains, such as fur or shells, feed those spirits as well. How often you "feed" your bones is completely dependent upon the terms and agreements you have with the animal spirit per your contract, how often you work with the spirit, and if its a holiday/full moon/etc.

When you first begin working with the spirits of animal remains, you should have a contract in place that outlines what you both agree to do. Often times this agreement includes a list of preferred offerings, if the spirit wants offerings at all. I've mentioned Coyote a couple of times and you guys have seen his wonderful skull grace my altar and some of my rituals as well. Coyote has never asked for food. Instead, per our agreement, my offering to him is a prominent place in my home with natural light near a window. He was buried on the side of a road for a long time before I found him and all he wanted was to see light again, so I have him placed in my library overlooking the main entrance to my home and a window that lets in lots of natural light. When I ask for his assistance in rituals and spells, he has never once asked for any other form of payment, although I would be more than happy to oblige. He's one of the most loving and easy to work with animal spirits I have ever met, and he is currently the only animal spirit I have residing in the animal remains in my home. The others have since moved on or were never in the remains to begin with.

Other times you will want to feed your bones is when you use them in spell work. The animal spirit is aiding in your spell, ritual, or other magical workings and should be fairly compensated for their work. Just as you don't work for free, you shouldn't expect the spirits you work with to do so either. You may also wish to honor the animal spirits on different sabbats, especially Beltane, Mabon, and Samhain, or every Full or New Moon. Getting in the routine of caring for the spirits you work with will ensure they continue to help and that your magic is all the more powerful. Again, how often you feed your bones is completely dependent on the animal spirit contained within the remains.

But what should you offer? Again, this is dependent on the animal spirit, but some common offerings include milk, honey, wine, beer, bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, and even coins, crystals, and other baubles. Offering them some of your own meal on a holiday is a great way to say thank you as well, especially on Mabon. However, be mindful of the spirit you are working with. You don't want to offer chicken to a chicken spirit. That's a slap in the face and downright rude! Generally, if the organism was an herbivore in life, stick to plant-based offerings. If the animal was a carnivore, offering meat is acceptable. Some animals, like birds and raccoons, love shiny objects, so offering coins, crystals, and other metallic/shiny objects make great offerings for them. Depending on the offering you give will determine what you do with the offering when the spirit is done with it. Coins, crystals, and other baubles should stay near the animal remains until the spirit asks them to be removed. Food, however, cannot stay indefinitely and should be properly disposed of. The best way to do this is to bury it in your yard after use. This returns the nutrients to the Earth and is a great way to honor the animal spirit you are working with. As mentioned in my posts on sabbat spirit work, the food will look like it has been untouched, but energetically the food has been drained. You should not eat it or feed it to a pet. This, again, is rude.

Offerings, however, are just one way to care for the animal spirits you are working with. Taking good care of their remains is extremely important, often more important than feeding them. Be sure the remains are kept in safe places where they will not be easily knocked onto the floor or otherwise damaged. If placed in a prominent location, dust them and their surroundings often. If they are not out in the open, but instead stored away, wrap them in silk cloths and place them in a padded container. Remember to check on them routinely and allow them to "breathe" once in a while. No one likes to be kept in a stuffy box forever. Some remains can even be gently, ritually washed once in a while. To do this, use warm water with some herbs, such as rosemary, lavender, and thyme, and gently wipe the remains with a damp cloth that has been soaked in this mixture. Pelts should also be routinely cleaned and can even be washed. However, be sure to research cleaning methods prior to cleaning and NEVER place the pelt in a washing machine or in hot water. By caring for the remains properly, you are showing respect to the spirit you are working with. In some cases, this may be enough for the animal spirit you are working with. Again, it is completely dependant on the spirit and the contract you have with them.

Overall, you should actively work to care for the spirits and their remains as you work with them. Even if a spirit moves on, you should continue to respect the remains and care for them properly. Spirits do not want to work with witches that are known for being rude, cruel, needy, selfish, or thoughtless. You only receive as much as you are willing to give and spirits generally keep score. How do you care for the remains of the spirits you work with?

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

Bone Magic Series




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