Bones for Animal Spirit Work

My ever-growing skull collection

I’ve been hunting down skulls and bones of every sort to sell at the BC Shamanic Conference in May and I’ve built up quite the variety. I plan to carve all the skulls, and some of the larger bones, and then redden each one in a bath of red wine and red ochre as part of a consecration rite that will change the skulls from decorative objects to active spirit vessels. First though, I’ll need to smudge them well and cleanse each animal of any violence and distress, as some of them came from trappers and hunters, and then I’ll baptize them into their new incarnation with holy water and anointing oil before starting the carving. They will look very different with their new patterned red flesh.

The tiny skulls - birds, cats, hares, and toads...

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  • Scylla says:

    One of those looks like a honking HUGE toad skull. The darker one. It already has a spirit in it, from what I can tell. Most of them have echoes.

    Are these intended to house the spirit that once lived in them?

    • Yeah, the big toad practically lept out of the box and volunteered to be a spirit helper. So far the vibes I’m getting are that he wants to be a kick-ass ritual necklace.

      During the cleansing ceremony I’ll ask those who are willing to stay and inhabit their skulls, but if they are unwilling they will be released so another spirit can use the vessel. Nothing like a little animal necromancy on a weekday…

      • Scylla says:

        Big Toad is downright -jaunty- too.

        Not that long ago I saw someone purchase a slew of skulls, and promptly ignore the spirits already dwelling in them, in favor of invoking “witchier” familiars.

        Made me downright sad, but I offered those spirits a place to come for feeding and watering, so I suppose all’s well that ends well.

  • Euphorbia says:

    Hi Sara. thanks for this and all your very inspiring posts. I did wonder if you would be kind enough to tell me what tools you use for carving bone. Thank you.

  • jonquil says:

    lovely collection! *lot* of work ahead of you, though…

  • Maureen says:

    I can’t wait to see some pics of the finished products!

  • Seillean says:

    Wow, those are beautiful. Seeing this totally made my day. I hope you’ll post some pics of the finished projects before they go off to their new homes at the Shamanic Conference. Happy carving :)

  • Nikkie says:

    Awesome! I cannot wait to see the end results….happy carving!

  • Tamsin says:

    Amazing! You do such phenomenal work, it blows me away. Thank you for such detailed posts and imagery. It makes me giddy every time I have something new to read from you. :)

  • Belle Serinda says:

    How do you find most of your bones? I am curious about trying some carving.

    • Skulls and bones can be purchased from local taxidermists or a few select online shops like the Bone Room or Skulls Unlimited. I have a local wild meat butcher that also sells bones.