Witchcrafting, More Animal Necromancy, and the Blooming Forest

It’s just three more sleeps until the BC Shamanic Conference! I’ve been trying to remain relaxed but busy and productive. There have been various bones, skulls, and organs soaking in jars of a reddening liquid, hydrogen peroxide, and a vinegar brine for the past few weeks. There is a pile of finished animal skulls upstairs, a pile of animal reliquary prayer beads on the table, and a few woodwork pieces in the workshop. Currently, the kitchen is full of salve-making equipment and newly poured Aves, Forest Spirit, March Hare, and Forest Healing salves. After this post I’ll have a lovely evening of labelling and packaging incenses, oils, and waters.

Porcupine whitening

Mink skull, blood-letter, and spirit vessels

I skinned the duck for the Aves Salve in record time. I took all the fat off in two pieces and then spent a few days rendering it all down and infusing it with the entheogens, owl bone, and crow feather ashes. I saved the meat for a stew and put the tongues and heart I found in the duck’s cavity in a vinegar brine. The tongues can be used to stop gossip and lies and the heart can be used as a poppet. The lovely liver, a tasty prize, I gifted to the crows who were much obliged.

Forest Spirit Salve Pouring a new batch of Aves Salve

Duck liver

There was a minor detour in my productivity today – a distraction fitting for a dark moon. When sweetie and I went out for lunch I saw a dead bird just down the hill from our house. So after we returned from our meal I grabbed my wildcrafting supplies to gather ingredients for a salve and a bag for the bird and went to collect it. On my way down the hill I saw tiny metallic orange hummingbirds feasting on red-flowering currant bushes, false lily of the valley shoots, fern fiddleheads, and many other bits of forest magic. Right now the air is perfumed with sticky sweet poplar buds and all the blooming flowers. Among the lilies and the fiddleheads in a grove of cedars I found owl vomit – looked like it had a nice black squirrel for dinner last night.

Getting ready to process bird

When I got to the bird I saw that a cat had killed the poor thing, but everything was intact except the head which had been bitten clean off. I gently carried it home with my herbs and heard the hushed flapping of a crow’s wings following me. Now and then I saw a large sleek crow hiding in the trees watching me. Jealous of my own carrion or a messenger of Old Woman showing her approval. I managed to save the wings, the tail fan, and the feet which are now in cornmeal. I buried the rest in a pot deep in one of my planters to dig up again in about a month for the bones. During that time I’ll keep leaving the spirit of the bird offerings and libations to court it.

Bird Wings and Tail

Once I’m ready to pack everything up for the conference I’ll post pictures of all the festival goodies I’ve made on either Sunday or Monday. I’ll probably pre-date a few blog posts so you all will still have something to read while I’m gone for a week in the forest. Until then, here are some photos of the forest as it is right now – full of gorgeous flowers and scents.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Ancasta says:

    It sounds like you’ve been having a very busy time! Your reddened, carved and decorated skulls look absolutely phenomenal, I’ve been looking forward to seeing pictures of some since you posted about it last and since some other bloggers have posted about similar projects.

    I hope you have a wonderful time at the Shamanic Conference!

  • Kei says:


    Wonderful post as usual! Around my location there are a plethora of passed creatures that I would like to harvest, however, I have no idea what offerings would be appropriate for taking the body of the animals I’ve seen around (i.e., a robin that my own cat took down not a week ago). What kind of offerings do you leave?

  • excellent post! i crave that skull up top!!!!!

  • shamandagaji says:

    Wow. Totally far out!
    Love Dagaji

  • Bappho says:

    The carving of the skull is so delicate and beautiful.

  • Laurel says:

    Best of luck at the conference and happy Bealtaine! :) I do hope that when your shop is back opened the forest healing and forest spirit salves will be something you decide to stock. 😉

  • jonquil says:

    stunning skull work! the crows were certainly pleased, indeed, with such a gift. lovely forest blooms…even in the midst of scratchy pollened eyes. enjoy your conference!

  • I’m totally in love with your skulls ♥

  • lancemfoster says:

    Gorgeous and dating work Sarah!

  • sunny says:

    OMG once again I’m floored by the things you create.
    Did I hear mention of crow feathers? I would love to purchase one from you.
    But then again there are lots of things I would love to buy from you. Have fun on your trip :)

  • Jaybird says:

    A new follower to your site, and I can’t say I’m disappointed! Your painting on the skull is beautiful c:

  • Lee says:

    i have got to ask, how did you do the scrimshaw kinda thing on the skulls?