In the old days bones and animal parts were used widely for magical purposes.  People were hunters they used all the parts of an animal primarily for food and warmth, and the bones for magic.

Now I do not advocate anyone popping out and hitting a badger over the head with a stick just to use the bones in a spell.  However nature itself provides dead animals and birds and man in his motor car provide a lot too.    Picking up road kill may sound a bit yucky and is not for everyone or the feint hearted but I think of it as honouring the animal, that it’s skin and bones will be put to some good use after it has passed away.

Bones are to me a sort of fetish; the word fetish originates from a Portuguese word meaning charm or sorcery, an item filled with magic.   Feathers, leaves, twigs and stones are all also types of fetish.

The bones themselves are a good way of connecting with the spirit of the animal and working with those energies.   I have a magpie skull on my altar as magpie is one of my animal totems; I put it on my altar in honour of the spirit, the bone of the animal works as a vessel for the spirit to reside in within our realm.  Animal bones can also be carried in medicine bags to utilise their particular energies.   All animal spirits take time to bond with, so don’t rush it and it is also a nice idea to leave offerings for the animal bones too.

You can wear the bones as well to take on the attributes and power of the animal that they belonged to.  A lot of animals are shamanic in nature too, enabling you to tap into their ability to travel between worlds.

Feathers, animal skins or bones can also be used in shape shifting.  The skins can be worn, the feathers or bones used as jewellery to aid you in taking on the form of the animal.

Ritual tools can also be made from animal bones – rattles for instance, or tie bones to your staff or wand for an added energy boost.

Don’t waste the bones from your Sunday dinner either; chicken bones especially make really good divination sets.  And the bones can be used in your magical work.

Keep an eye out when you are walking through the woods and fields because you do occasionally find small animal bones, I have one that I believe to be from a mouse.

If you want to work with the bones from a road kill animal there are various ways of cleaning the bones for use – do a search on Google for tutorials but the basics are:

Clean as much of the flesh from the bones as you can, then the bones can be cleaned either by popping them in a jar with fresh water put the lid on then leave it for two or three days, change the water for fresh, keep doing this until the flesh has all come away from the bones.  You can also do the same thing using biological washing powder and warm water.

Drop the bones into a dish or jar and very carefully pour over a solution of hydrogen peroxide (the chemist has this or failing that purchase hair bleach, which is what I used on my magpie skull) not only does this take the last bits of flesh away from the bone it also bleaches it to a nice colour.

Or bury it…dig a shallow hole in the soil and bury the bones so that Mother Nature’s worms and insects can do the cleaning job for you.  This takes patience…and you also need to remember where you buried it.

Honour the bones...