The Ritual of the Bones

When I find a special bird or animal. I will bury it with crystals and other offerings. This is a sign of respect, and honor. I tell the animal's spirit that I will be putting it to rest, and will then be bringing it back up to re-purpose its remains. I have had no trouble with any animal spirit,  but if it doesn't feel right, don't dig it up. When I dig up the bones, instead of doing a peroxide rinse, I place my cauldron on the fire outside, I add sacred herbs, and enter a trance, I let the cauldron come to a light boil and add the bones. I add other offerings of thanks, and hum, sway, and chant. If you are going to use the bones for any ritual purpose you MUST thank the animal, and treat them with the utmost respect. I do not leave the bones in the cauldron too long, I remove the cauldron, let the water cool and retrieve the bones. I set them out with other fresh herbs and crystals to dry, till they are ready. The spirit has been released and honored. The bones ritually consecrated with herbs and water now they can become some of your most powerful and sacred tools. 

How I got here

Last week I went out searching for special items in the desert with the Rain walker and Krystal. We found amazing gifts from nature, sun bleached bones, a basket full of Datura, snake skins, and quartz. I had planned on doing another blog on our find, but have been struggling with this last bunch of bones. I posted on Facebook something along the line of "bones don't want to get clean"  which opened up the conversation to many giving me advice on how to clean bones. I find it funny in a way, because I've been working with, finding and cleaning bones for quite some time now. So I decided to write a blog on how I first started finding bones, and harvesting things from nature. 
First we have to go back years, and years. I was a strange child but was fortunate to spend my early years in Florida. I was home schooled (my mothers choice) and finished my work at about noon. I would head out the back door as soon as I slammed my books shut. I would put my wellingtons on and out I went into the swampy woods. I would spend hours in the swampy waters behind my house, singing with the birds, standing in between the vastness of the cypress trees. It was then that my connection to nature, and my obsession for collecting took off. I had a cottage that my father had built be behind our home, I had flowers, and plants hanging up to dry, I had jars of crudely made essences, tinctures etc. Quartz, and other stones adorned the shelves. At the time I had no idea what I was doing. I look back and realize I was using my instincts...... I was a natural Witch. I enjoyed this way of life for several years, catching snakes, starting to grow my own vegetables and raising small animals all before puberty.
Life takes its turns and we ended up moving, I grew and was interested in boys, sports, and other modern things. I graduated high school and got my bachelors degree in a little hippy town that introduced me to a freer life style, great friends and Henna! I got married, had a baby and moved to Japan all before I was 23. I had no idea that Japan would make such an impact on my life. 
It is interesting on how things circle back around. I was a full time mother, and dancer and had a wonderful life. I started to get back out into nature, gardening, learning the local plants, and wandering the beaches forreging for bones, seeds, shells and the like. It was at the shrine of the Sea Goddess that she brought me my first dead bird, and I started on the path of Animal Necromancy, and the Natural Witch once again. I started learning the Craft with a local group, and was so fascinated by it, I started rigorous study and found myself again.
When we moved back to the states, my connection with the Goddess was strong, and she brought me to a coven that taught me the ways of ritual magick. It was then that the Goddess started bring me dead birds. I was finding one a month at that point, it then turned into other animals, and reptiles. This is when I started to learn how to clean and preserve bones, wings, and feet. These ritual items I have made from the death that the Goddess brought me has become such an important part of my path. It has branched out into Ancestor worship, Necromancy, and Animism.

Bones, wings and dangerous things

The  Rain walker and I set out on a dry morning a day before the moon was full. It was a hot and dry day but we were so excited. It may have been hot, but it had finally reached a breathable temperature We could finally venture outside without risk of heat exhaustion. We had originally ventured out in search of Cholla but we found so much more!  

Cholla is a cactus and very magical plant its covered in sharp and chaotic spines on the outside, but on the inside its soft and has an intricate weave. We hunted for Cholla skeletons for a while, at first we didn't find much, what we did find were a very strange plant it looked to be part of the Solanaceae family with permission from the plant we took some samples home. After some research I found that it was actually called Pedaliaceae which is closely related to "bat head" It is sometimes called Desert Unicorn or Devils Claw.  Devils Claw is known to help with joint pain medicinally and Magicaly it is used for protection. I personally have used it for underworld and nocturnal work. Its bat head like shape connects it to the nocturnal and underworld work. After this amazing discovery I will be headed out in about a month to harvest the dead and dried "pods" what we know as the "bat head" that is used in Voodoo and Hoodoo. 

After we explored the wild vegetation for a while we kept running into these amazing spider webs. They belong to the funnel spider they are a poisonous spider, but are low risk to humans active March through October. I do plan on going back late October to find any abandon webs. Spiders especially ones that are as intricate as these can be used in underworld magic, to connect to  the fates, and Arachne. Anyone who is a weaver should have these wonderful creatures as their ally. If  you are not a weaver they are creative creatures that teach us about weaving our own fate, and taking control of our own lives.

Finally we found a patch of Cholla. We took great care to harvest only the dead and dying parts of the plant. We came home with a back pack full! I have so many wonderful pieces that I am very excited to start crafting ritual items with.

We had our arms full and decided to head back to the car. As we headed back we got turned around just a bit. Instead of heading to the car we ended up in the bottom of a wash ( a natural dry  bed that holds water when it rains) We were chatting about what a wonderful day it was and joking about how it would be perfect if I could only find some bones, and how surprised I was that I actually hadn't found any. It was only about 10 steps later that right in front of me was rib bone. I am not sure if it is a wild boar or other animal but it is in great shape and I was so happy to find it!

We passed a bush that was alive with butterflies. You have to watch the video to see how many!

We veered to the right and further down the wash there in front of us was a large cactus not Cholla, but an unknown species (to me). It was completely dead with skeleton pieces exposed. We were able to  harvest several skeleton pieces from the carcass without getting stuck and without disrupting the growth around it.

While the rain walker was cleaning the skeleton pieces I ventured further into the wash I was so excited as I rounded the corner. There was wild and beautiful Datura. I had brought gloves and was so happy I did! I dug around the plants and was able to dig up 3 without destroying the root system. When we arrived home we planted them and they are faring well! To find out more about Datura visit one of my favorite pages Alchemy-Works

On our way back to the truck we were talking yet again,  "wouldn't it be nice to find a dead bird? I'm sure there is one around here somewhere" Just few steppes further and I found several wing pieces. No other parts but just wings and they were in fantastic shape already partially mummified. I will be crafting some wonderful ritual items from them as well!

A box of bones, Lizard legs and chaos...........

My goodness it has been so long since I have really sat down and blogged. I have truly wanted to be writing. I really enjoy sharing my practice. So the last thing I promised to write about was about the Lizard Legs. I am still working on them. I will be making 2 talisman and will most likely put them up on Etsy. I really enjoy crafting and I seem to have found a niche with bones. I have am experimenting with henna and bones too, but that juicy goodness will have to wait! So back to the lizard legs. Thor has been a busy evil cat. He finally got the big daddy lizard. It was too late when I found him I was so sad to see such a beautiful creature lifeless like that but such is the cycle of life. I removed the legs from the lifeless body as I would bird wings when I find them passed as well. Into the Witches oven they went the reptilian scent mixed with patchouli filled the air, they came out fantastic, dried and preserved. 
Lizard Legs

In other news I will be writing 2 columns for Bell Spirit Magazine, one on the Artist spot light, as well as my own personal column. I am currently working on my own piece of art called "Poison" inspired by the Art of Mucha (Art Nouveau) and Baneful herbs. She will be released when she is finished but it will be a few weeks still. I recently returned home from a henna conference that weekend was the most amazing I have ever had. Not only did I learn so much, but I the people were just simply amazing. After having a run in with the psychotic henna artist from Washington it was sheer delight to have a wonderful peaceful and supportive weekend from so many talented artists. It really made me see the potential that can be achieve with more practice and dedication. My favorite class was on the Moroccan Henna. They spoke of henna being used for protection, and for marking life transitions (hint hint wink wink about the bones) My very first henna teacher Dan of Vortex art in Japan was just published in a book of Japaneese Henna artists and I can't wait to see her work. Though it is in Japanese I can still appreciate the photos of her work. I am so blessed to have been her student!
Recent Henna design I did

The past month was one of pure chaos. My husband lost his job, and usually this would be a crisis but it was the best thing that has ever happened to him. I will have to fill you in on more of that later. It seemed like one thing after another, barely any time to think, or do much of anything. I am not going to dwell in the negative of these things as it serves no purpose. It was a hard month full of emotionally twisting things and I am glad it is in the past.
My Coven has been so supportive, I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends, and students. They have all been so supportive and I am so proud to say that they are part of my life. One student brought me to a local crystal store Star Women Crystals. If you are local you must go! I picked up a wonderful piece of Kunzite that will be paired with a quartz crystal and a badger bone. Another student and I are headed out on Thursday to go hunt for Choya. Lastly I received a box of bones this month filled to the brim with wonderful pieces of bone perfect for crafting ritual tools.
So that is the update, I have started an Ayurvedic cleanse that I will be telling more about in a later blog. I am headed out to plant some strawberries and black holly hocks! 

Searching for water

This summer has been so hot. It could be because we are in Arizona where the temperatures are always above 100 degrees in the summer. I have been incredibly successful in being able to appease my “Capricorn rising” by maintaining several gardens. My nightshades are growing incredibly, and I have baby foxglove that seem to be doing well. There are two new mystery plants in the yard. I am so excited to see what they are. They look like nightshade so I am hoping for wild Datura. 

Since it has been so dang hot I haven’t been able to walk down to the pond and feed the ducks. The blue heron hasn’t been spotted in several weeks, and to be honest I haven’t seen any vulture either. Tuesday my husband decided to surprise me, we drove and drove to the north east of Phoenix.  There was a beautiful body of water. Though I went to high school in Arizona I have never been to the Salt River. He knows that I am itching for a trip up north to drink the cool waters of Montezuma’s well, but time and finances are currently preventing it. 

When we arrived we started to explore, sadly to say it was so hot we didn’t get to stay long, but the short time was worth it. I felt so close to home, so wonderful to be right by the water, a natural body of flowing water. There were HUGE fish swimming close to the bank, and of course less than 5 minutes from being there, what did I find, a wonderful and very clean bird skeleton. It is a wonderful gift, a wonderful reminder that I was exactly where I should be. I thought it very symbolic that here we are right after Lammas, headed into the dark side of the year, and there was a beautiful reminder of both death, and birth.  

Lammas was very rough for many of my friends, with mercury in retrograde and a full moon, it was quite potent. I suffered from much emotional turmoil, the looming feeling of the cycle of death right in front of me. It made me think, ponder, and reevaluate what I wanted out of my spiritual life.  Sometimes it is just time to fly on your own.  Don’t get me wrong I will continue my studies, just I have reevaluated how I will study, how I will handle things, and what direction my path will take me. I have felt that I have kept a security blanket of sorts, constantly looking for approval from my teachers, hoping that my work will please them and is up to snuff.  Having the security blanket in place was more of a hindrance; it was almost like it was clouding my path. The events of Lammas really shook the ground from underneath me.  I feel fresh, I have a whole new drive, the path has been made clear and onward I go. (More on this later sorry to be cryptic but when I tell you it is going to be awesome!) This quote my Jason Silva really sums it up. Sometimes the only thing that can create life, is death its self. 

Return to things that are meaningful and bathe inside of it. Return to things that are important. See the world in a grain of sand, heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, or eternity in an hour. Shake up the rug out from underneath your feet. Disruption makes things new again, it makes ideas fresh. Return to things that are meaningful and bathe inside of it, partake in those things that will somehow make us come alive ~ Jason Silva

 Standing there staring at the water, in places flowing slowly, in others rushing over rocks, it reminded me that everything changes, it is always changing. The important thing is to flow with the river of life, slow, fast, and everything in between. This song is one of my favorite songs; it is so soulful and so appropriate of the time I am emerging out of. Sometimes the only friend you have is the moonlight, she is quite, but she is a beautiful friend.  Enjoy…….. and don’t forget to bend, before you break

Around here, it's the hardest time of year
Waking up, the days are even gone
The collar of my coat
Lord help me, cannot help the cold
Will the rain drops sting my eyes
or keep them closed?
But I'm feelin' no pain
I'm a little lonely and my quietest friend
Have I the moonlight? Have I let you in?
Say it aint so, say I'm happy again
Say it's over
Say I'm dreaming, say I'm better than you left me
Say you're sorry, I can take it
Say you'll wait, say you won't
Say you love me, say you don't
I can make my own mistakes
Let it bend before it breaks
I'm alright. Don't I always seem to be?
Aren't I swinging on the stars? Don't I wear them on my sleeves?
Went looking for a crossroads, It happens everyday
And whichever way you turn, I'm gonna turn the other way
Say it's over
Say I'm dreaming, say I'm better than you left me
Say you're sorry, I can take it
Say you'll wait, say you won't
Say you love me, say you don't
I can make my own mistakes
Learn to let it bend before it breaks
Say it's over
Say I'm dreaming, say I'm better than you left me
Say you're sorry, I can take it
Say you'll wait, say you won't
Say you love me, say you don't
I can make my own mistakes
Let it bend before it breaks
And learn to let it bend before it breaks