Ever since I began this blog, the idea of using bones in different ways has been calling to me. Dreams of skeletal figures cavorting around a fire with me, examining meat in the deli for remnants, or skulking about the wooded path near my home to see if the outdoor cats left anything behind.
I had only tried using bones once in a Witches Bottle to ward our home, but the renewed desire to use them now has been a bit of an obsession. I have been reading how to macerate bones , bleach them, paint them, bless them, carve them, and speak to the animal they came from. My brain has been leading me to drool over Etsy items for sale, to brood over the utter lack of bones to be found outside my home, and my fingers have itched to caress the macabre smoothness of knuckle bones, vertebrae, ribs, skulls, or jaws. I can’t seem to think about other things for very long before my mind wanders back to Bones. The desire to stare into the empty eye sockets of another creature’s demise, and craft an effigy in honor of its sacrifice gnaws at my mind.
My meditative hungry yearnings for this showed itself in the form of my sister sent me text messages telling me she found the upper half of a raccoon skull along a river near her college. She said that she had been walking along, remembering that I asked her to look for bones or antlers when she went fishing, and found the skull on the ground right in front of her. She collected it and will be giving it to me at some point within the week.
I danced with glee when she told me, and have been imagining what this new addition to my Path will look like, how it will feel in my hands, and what offerings I should give Raccoon for this gift. I am feeling drawn to something sweet, because my sister was enjoying an ice cream cone when it showed up.
As I write this I realize I had forgotten a few important remnant of an animal I had carried with me in a box of collected items from my childhood. My pet rabbit’s tail.
When I was between 6-8 years old my parents got two rabbits for my brother and I. Mine was a white doe, and I named her Mary. My brother picked a reddish brown buck and named him Ike. They lived outside in a hutch my father built, and we collected dandelion greens and grass every day for them both to eat.
My parents wanted to breed them for reasons they didn’t explain at that time, and my rabbit grew wary and scratched a lot after she became pregnant. I tried to spend time feeding and petting her, but it was hard due to local stray cats making her more skittish as time went on. She gave birth to her litter, but killed all but 2 of her babies. I was devastated, and my folks tried to hand-raise them, but both died within days of being abandoned by their mother.
After the litter died, my parents told us that our landlady had said we had to get rid of our rabbits because neighbors were complaining that they smelled. So they had me say goodbye to Mary, and then they “got rid” of her. My dad explained afterwards that he killed, skinned, and butchered her, and the male rabbit for us to eat. I was heartbroken, but my dad said that he could save a part of her for me to remember her by, and tacked up her tail and salted it in his shed. After it dried I would hold it, stroke the fur, and talk to Mary as if she were still there.
As I grew up I didn’t talk to her anymore, but I saved her tail in a bag within a memory box, even though it broke into two pieces. When I started this blog I came across the bag holding Mary’s tail, and felt as if I should try to rekindle the bond I had with her before. I still grieve for the loss of my beloved pet, but even this small piece means her spirit is still nearby, I just have to take the first step towards hearing her better. Part of me had worried that Mary would be angry at how her life ended, but my intuition tells me she isn’t, as long as I get her out of the dusty old box. I feel drawn to using one piece in my collection, the other on my altar or in a effigy to honor her.
Now I wonder if there are dandelions blooming yet, so I can gather some for her. 🙂