Original Art –Boneyard. Photo by alexstoddard on Flickr
The illumination of the relationship between Witchcraft and bones seems inevitable in the wake of this year of Death. As we enter the final months of 2016 and Winter begins to take a hold, thoughts turn to the Solstice, banishing the difficulties of months gone by, and celebrating the painful lessons that have been dished out like bitter candy over and over again.
The motifs of bones, skulls, and the archetypal Witch throwing her bones in a clacking cascade of understanding and prophecy rise to prominence in the forefront of my mind as Goddess Badb stalks through my dreams and thoughts once again;
“I see you stalking through my dreams With Birch wizened teeth And howling Chords…”
– Joey Morris Lessons of Badb
This year has been typified and defined by death; death of great poets, artists, and creators, the painful repercussions and sense of general mourning over the year are no secret. It seems as though our very mortality is highlighted, a further lesson in the human condition of frailty which was addressed in Frailty thy name is … Witch!
Interestingly the idea of “Memento mori” has almost had a rebirth in popular culture through G.R.R Martins Game of Thrones with the widely recognised phrase “Valar morghulis.”
All men (and women) must die.
If this year has taught us anything it is that we could all die at any given time, and inevitably the world judges and decides how we are remembered. It is a call to not only live, but to give to the world, in the way that only you can. To be exactly who you have always wanted to be; a call to your highest, truest self. There is no point in being a pale shade of someone else.
Witches peer into the veiled mysteries, understanding the inevitability and yet fluidity of Death energies. Many of us find the gothic ornamentation desirable and wild, a connection to a deeper, wilder, and perhaps truer element of Witchcraft which many seek to sanitize out of modern pagan practices.
Similar to how many people ignore the energies and presence of Death, considering their life guaranteed and their presence semi-immortal, there is a willingness and even a preference to ignore death as something “that comes later,” and any that show interest in the subject are often considered depressing and morbid by the populace at large.
Bones and bonework are a perfect example of the general desire to ignore death as well as the unfortunate pagan practice to seek to sanitize witchcraft, focusing not on the dark, the shadow, or the difficult but merely the ‘lighter’ aspects as frequently the notion of incoporating bones into witchcraft is met with at best a hesitant reluctance and at worst a full blown apparently moral sense of disgusted outrage.
Bones are natural.
They are the inevitable result of death and decay and can be found in the woods, along the sea shore, scattered along this Earth where so ever a creature has lived and died, but often confronted with them, and the notions of mortality, humans grimace. Even some Witches grimace, and this has always seemed odd to me, as Death is just another inevitable part of the great cycles, unknowable perhaps, even as we, the spiritually inclined seek to peer into that great beyond, wondering if we can glimpse insights into the void, speaking to the spirits of the dead, reaching out for threads of fate to divine, seeking the mysterious energies that open us to real truths…
Bones in the practice of Witchcraft are not morbid curiousities but instead practical and beautiful embodiments of Death; fetishes that become honourable tethers for spirits and animal guides, carved runes that access those divinational ties beyond the mortal coil, and talismans and amulets of incredible power.
As Solstice approaches, the themes of mortality and bones seem to take a hold in my soul and I cannot deny their influence over my recent thought processes. Death and the Crone, Goddess Badb, the endings of things that need to die.
The power of bones.
The power in our bones.
The Witchcraft in bones.
Many blessings, Starlets