Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Items for the Urban Shaman...
I get a lot of questions about the animal curios I carry. Mostly about how to use them and how I acquired them. All animal parts are acquired through reputable sources, most are Native American or legal, ethical hunters not wanting any part of the animal's body to be wasted. Some, such as black cat bones and raccoon parts, are acquired from road kill. Nothing should be wasted, and if I can collect these items and share their symbolism and ashe' with others, then that animals life was not taken for granted or wasted in any way.
Animal gris gris is the most powerful form of sympathetic magick. Just as the Doctrine of Signatures applies to plants, we can apply this theory to claws, bones, teeth, and nests of animals. This theory is even easier to apply with animal gris gris since we do not have to guess what the item looks like, then associating a use with what we interpret it to resemble like we do with roots and leaves. A claw is a claw-it grabs what the animals needs. A tooth is a tooth-it helps the animal macerate it's food to sustain it's body. A foot bone has carried the animal to search for food, away from predators-enabled it survive. The ashe' in each part of an animals body is different and is a valuable resource.
Many practitioners are new to using animals parts. Many practitioners (and people in general) see it as well, kind of gross or macabre. It has been so long since any of us, or even our elders, actually hunted, killed, and prepared our own food. So now, we get grossed out by an animal part unless it's an 8 pack of chicken breasts in the grocery store.
But as Pagans, aren't we all about spirits, nature, worship, honor, respect, resources, and re-purposing? Then why not become familiar with the animals around us by learning their spirits, their purpose, their ashe'. Even urban animals like rats, pigeons, and raccoon have worth, purpose, and meaning.
Now, I'm not telling you to go out and forage for road kill BUT taking a walk in the woods is a great place to start. You will be surprised at what you can find. It may take several trips, or maybe even reading a book or two to learn about the signs and markings animals make so you know where and what to look for. But why not? We are Pagans-we love learning and adding new facets to our practices!
If you are not afraid to eat it or co-exist with it-then learn it's spirit and respect it's vessel.