A recurring and polarizing topic in the witchcraft community is the act of incorporating animal bones and remains into ritual. If you've been on Instagram for any length of time, you've probably seen plenty of witchy photos featuring various animal parts like teeth, fur, skulls, feet, and claws alongside other magical items. Including bones in magick is a practice as old as time, but it remains a topic that's largely omitted from books on modern witchcraft. This makes it difficult to find practical information about it. Maybe you yourself are drawn to the mysticism of skulls and bones, but are unsure what role these often misunderstood objects would play in your craft. Here are some things to consider.
There's no need to ever hurt an animal in magick. You can find bones from deceased animals on your own, or purchase them online. There are many people who sell animal remains who can tell you exactly how they source their products. Some are reclaimed after natural deaths due to predators and environment, while others are leftover from hunting and more. It's up to you to decide with which of these you're comfortable.
A Home Protection Skull
In my home, we have a cow skull in the front room. It's the first thing you see when you enter our house, and it's been there for quite a few years. Every time a member of our family finds something interesting on our travels, like a feather, stone, or flower, we place it with this skull as a decoration and an offering. This skull brings protective energy to our space and pretty much feels like part of our family.
If you're able to get a skull, try making the protection altar below. It can be from any animal at all, no matter what size, as the energy we're drawing on in this working is the warning, foreboding and cautioning energy of the skull, more so than anything else.
Gather your materials during the full moon. Place the skull on the tray, and surround it with the flowers, plants, and stones. Hold both hands over the skull and spend a moment feeling its energy, aligning it with your own. Take note of its more threatening features and vibrations. Send feelings of love and respect through the palms of your hands into the skull, while you imagine filling it with light. The light you send isn't meant to alter the skull's energy, but rather to mingle with it; accept its frightening reputation and understand there is a place for this in magick and in nature.
Next, dip the paint brush in water. With the water, trace the names or initials of all the household residents onto the skull. The water will evaporate, and the identity of each individual will have been communicated to the skull. You can replace initials or names with your own protective symbols or sigils if you wish.
Now place your spare house key beneath the skull for safe keeping. This act symbolizes that you trust the skull to watch over your home.
Place the skull and offerings in a special place in your space.
Over time, be sure to replace the flowers and plants, keep the area clean, and replenish your offerings regularly. These acts show continued respect to the spirit of the skull in exchange for the protection of your home.
Kate Freuler has practiced witchcraft for over twenty-five years. She has written for Llewellyn's Magical Almanac, Sabbats Almanac, and Spell-A-Day Almanac. Kate owns and operates an online store called White Moon ...