As well as giving structure to the body; bones survive for a long time after death, and so are imbued with magickal properties. Both human and animal bones could be, and were employed in spells and healing charms, and also in divination.
Bones are a type of fetish. A fetish is “an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency (source)”. The word fetish originates from the French fétiche which stems from the Portuguese word feitiço meaning “charm” or “sorcery”. Feathers, bones, crystals, and stones are all types of fetishes. Skulls and bones have an appeal to witches who perform spirit work and are a necessary and simple way to connect with spirits of the dead and of animals.
Working with bones is not just for necromancers and black magicians. Practitioners who work with bones are a wide range of healers, diviners, shapeshifters, rootworkers, witches, shamans, druids, and pagans.
Over two thousand year ago, in China, bones were heated up and the resulting cracks interpreted as indicating a prediction. Bones as predictive devices were used in other ways, too. For example, bones of small animals were collected in a ritual way, and thrown upon the ground in the act of “casting the bones,” a term reference still in use for other divinatory methods, such as rune stones.
In Britain, divination by the blade-bone of a sheep was formerly well known. In Africa, thieves were detected, lost goods found, and problems solved by the ceremony of “Throwing The Bones.” Different kinds, usually those of domestic or wild animals, are used to represent individuals, or spirits, or the forces of nature, and are thrown like dice. The answers to the question being read from how and where they fall.
- You can read more about various methods of bone divination here: Throwing The Bones
Animal bones are used in witchcraft and folk magic to commune and work with animal spirits as familiar, guides, and protectors. Like human bones, the bones of animals can be also be used to ground a spirit animal in this realm. Bones act as a spirit vessel for animal familiars to dwell in when you work with them. This doesn’t mean that the spirit lives in the bone(s) all the time, but instead it is their home when you call upon them.
Animal bones and skulls can be placed on an altar or carried in a medicine or crane bag to work with them outdoors or on the move. Animal bones can be used to call upon mythological creatures as well. To do this you need only to combine bones from the different animals that make up the creatures. For example, bind together parts from an eagle and lion to summon a griffon or combine snake, lizard, and the bones or feathers of a bird of prey to summon a dragon.
Animal bones can be incorporated into ritual jewelry for direct contact and easier communion with the spirits the bones belong to. Ritual jewelry using bones is the most practical and direct way of bringing your animal familiars into rituals and spellwork.
If you only have very small bones or a delicate insect to work with than you can place the parts in a glass vial and either use it as a vessel on your altar or attach a chain or leather thong to it to wear around your neck. By wearing animal bones you can take on the attributes and powers of the animal they belong to such as fox teeth for cunning, owl bones for seeing in the dark, or snake bones for the ability to renew and change your life.
Bones can also confer an animal’s magical abilities. Many animals are “shamanic” in nature enabling the practitioner to whom they are familiar to adopt their ability to travel between worlds. Such creatures known to travel between the realms of earth, sea, and sky or have extraordinary powers of transformation include frogs, toads, snakes, all birds (especially water fowl), alligators, crocodiles, turtles, beavers, otters, dragonflies, spiders, beetles, butterflies, cicadas, and more.
Animal bones can be used to craft ritual tools. Many traditional rattles are made using skulls, turtle shells, or little bones tied closely together for the sound of their rattling against one another. Bones can also be tied to staffs or stangs, wands, or even sewn onto ritual robes.
Animal bones, especially chicken and other bird bones, are used for traditional divination methods in many cultures. This can also be incorporated into European practice by carving Futhark or Ogham runes onto animal bones or using slices of deer antler instead of the usual materials of wood and stone.
Among the Australian aborigines, death spells are cast by “singing magic” into a bone and pointing it in the direction of the victim, who then pines away and dies.
A charm against cramping was to carry a knucklebone, or the patella of a man or a sheep.
Those afflicted with headaches could find relief by driving a nail into a dead man’s skull, or by drying and powdering the moss found upon it and using it as snuff.
Bones, like blood and some of the organs of the body, were once thought to be centers of psychic power, and to be the vehicle or dwelling-place of the soul. Life and consciousness remained in them after the death of the original owner, and it was therefore very dangerous to disturb them when they lay in the tomb.
Misfortune, or even death, inevitably followed such an act, which was forbidden alike by reverence for the dead and superstitious fears of their vengeance. Nevertheless, this widespread and strongly held belief did not prevent the quite frequent theft of bones from churchyards and prehistoric burial grounds for use in magick and witchcraft.
Symbolically, bones carry the essence of the creature that they were once a part of, and there’s a curious but relatively common belief that somehow or other an intact set of bones can be remade into a live body This idea is seen in fairy tales, myths, and traditions from all over the world.
An example of this is the Lapp belief that the bones of a bear, if carefully preserved, will come back to life and the animal will allow itself to be hunted once again. Bear “burial” places have been found where the bones of the bear have been carefully reconstructed. These sites also show evidence of respectful funerary rites.
In a similar practice, the Plains Indians would bury the bones of the buffalo with due care and attention so that the animal would be able to come back to life.
Due to its size, the bone is one of the very last in the body to rot, along with the skull. For this reason – its longevity – the bone was used as a vessel during religious and magickal rites and rituals.
Because bones are such an important part of the body and because they are believed to hold the essence of their owner, the bones of saints are considered holy relics, imbued with magickal powers, and kept locked away in churches. They were believed to be so holy that devils and demons would keep well away, and if the bones were dipped into wine or water, the resulting liquid would be infused with mysterious powers including the ability to cure various ailments.
Information collected from various sources
- Ruler: Venus
- Gender: Feminine
- Element: Water
- Type: Flower
- Magickal Form: Petals and flowers
- Deities: Freya, Ostara, Aphrodite, Artemis
- Basic Power: Friendship, Courtship, Divination
The Daisy is traditionally assigned to the month of April. A flower of friendship and courtship, the daisy is used to open up social or romantic opportunity. Add the petals to bathwater on Wednesdays to draw new friends. Place whole flowers on a love altar with pink candles to attract romantic possibilities.
Modern practices include the growing of Daisies as an herb to further attract the Devas and the Fae. Grieve’s “A Modern Herbal” suggests there may be an association between Daisies and a Dryad (a woodland nymph) named Belidis. Dryads are often associated with elemental Earth, and Daisies may be used ritually to help one commune with this element.
Decorate your altar or home with Daisies for Midsummer’s Eve. There is also a Magickal association with babies and newborn infants. The Daisy may be incorporated into baby blessings, or used to bring protective Magick into the baby’s sleeping area.
In Scotland because children use it to make daisy chains; daisy is an appropriate herb to decorate the cradle and the altar. The daisy brings love when worn. Sleeping with the root beneath your pillow may cause an absent love to return.
Decorate the house with daisies at Midsummer’s Eve to bring happiness to the home and to obtain the blessings of faeries. Daisies are also worn at Midsummer for luck and blessings. In the old times, young maidens would weave and wear daisy chains in their hair to attract their beloved.
Dreaming of Daisies is considered good luck in Spring, and bad luck in Winter. It is lucky to step on the first flowers in the spring but extremely unlucky to uproot them. Daisies were popular in Medieval times, when knights at tournaments wore the flower, while their ladies wore Daisy wreaths as crowns.
The daisy is the emotional and intellectual “getting to know you” flower. It is not a flower of passion and it is a great choice for young men and women who prefer a long courtship based on friendship and common goals.
Daisy flowers are perhaps the best known of all plant divinations for love. One of the most touching literary allusions to the daisy divination is found in the garden scene in the first part of Goethe’s famous drama, Faust. In Germany, the daisy was known as:
- Orakelblume – Oracle Flower
- Liebesblume – Love Flower
- Massliebchen – Little Measure of Love
Divination with daisies most commonly consists of removing each petal from the daisy while saying “she loves me, she loves me not.” (The masculine pronoun is used where appropriate.) The sentence stated as the last petal removed reveals the truth. Any daisy-like flower can be used.
This technique can be further improved upon by placing daisy roots under your beneath your pillow to dream of your true love.
A second form of daisy divination isn’t limited to matters of love. Ask a binary question. As you pluck each petal, say yes or no. As the last petal falls, the answer has been given.
A very short poem from the 1800’s gives us this variation:
- He loves me
- He don’t
- He’ll have me
- He won’t
- He would if he could
- But he can’t
- So he won’t
Another form of daisy divination is as follows:
Get a bunch of daisies and put them on a table. With eyes closed, take a handful while asking how many days you will wait to be asked for a date. If you prefer, you may ask in weeks or months. Open your eyes and count the picked daisies. The number of flowers represents the number of days you will wait. This can also be used to count the time till you will marry.
This can also be done while sitting on a daisy-laden lawn, closing your eyes and grabbing a handful of grass. The number of daisies you end up with in your hand will determine the number of months until you marry. If you do not have access to a daisy filled yard, dandelions make for an acceptable substitute.
Collected from various sources
- Ruler: Hermes, Aemgus, Artemis, Diana
- Type: Tree
- Magickal form: Branch, Nut, Catkins
The Hazel is a holy tree, associated with poetry and knowledge, fire and fertility. Hazel is one of the nine sacred woods used to kindle Need-fire at Beltane and other great festivals. It’s nuts are associated with love and child-birth, and are used in divination.
Hazel wood is excellent for making all purpose magickal wands, it is one of the most powerful wands for divination. Wands made of this wood symbolize white magick and healing. Dowsing sticks (forked sticks) are used to find water, buried treasure, and locate lost objects.
If you are outside and in need of magickal protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. For protection while walking, wrap hazel twigs or branches around your walking stick or cane.
Eat the nuts to draw love and wisdom into your life. Eat together with a lover to increase the length of the relationship. To clear a stubborn cough, finely powder the nuts and mix with water and honey.
To enlist the aid of plant fairies, string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in your house or ritual room. Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom and poetic inspiration. Weave hazel twigs into a crown. Put this on your head and wish very hard. Your wish may come true!
Twigs of Hazel are placed in window frames to protect the house against lightning, and three pins of hazel wood driven into your house will protect it from fire.
In England, branches of Hazel leaves gathered on Palm Sunday and kept alive indoors in water were said to protect the house from thunder and lightning. In Wales, fresh hazel leaves worn as a chaplet for the head brought general good luck and ensured the granting of wishes, as well as protection for those at sea from shipwreck.
At lambing time, if the catkins are brought indoors and set about the rooms, it is helpful to the sheep.
Scottish children born in autumn were sometimes given the ‘milk’ of the hazelnut as their first food, for that brought good luck and health. If, later on, they did not thrive as they should, they were strengthened with doses of the ‘milk’ mixed with honey.
The air surrounding hazel trees is said to be magically charged with the quicksilver energy of exhilaration and inspiration. In 19th century Germany, it was thought that there were witches beneath the bark of hazel trees – hence only peeled branches were allowed in churches.
The Hazelnut is a magical tree for relaying messages, which is why a Y-shaped Hazel branch is used for divination. To dream of, or to have a hazelnut tree show up in an unusual way may mean the answer to a dilemma is imminent. To dream of a Hazelnut tree also predicts wealth as well as unexpected good fortune.
Because the Hazelnut tree bestows powers of wisdom, symbolized by the cracking of the nutshell to get to the nourishment inside, a hazelnut or hazelnut tree may also mean that you will crack a situation.
The nut and shell also represent the heart within the body and female fertility, because the nut is like a baby inside a mother’s womb. With such life-giving qualities, this tree is an auspicious sign that love and new projects have the magical ingredients for success.
Male and female flowers, being borne on separate trees, forecast a lover’s meeting.
Collected from various sources
- Magickal Purpose: Justice, royalty, the psychic, meditation, idealism, mysticism, guidance, divination.
- Magickal Uses: Protection, justice power, spirit contact, breaking of bad luck, drive away evil, divination, spiritual and psychic powers, Astral Projection. This color is good to use when you don`t have a white candle.
Purple is the color of power, influence, success, idealism, psychic manifestations, prophecy, and wisdom. Burn purple candles to increase business. It is ideal for rituals to secure ambitions, independence, financial rewards, or to make contact with the spiritual other world.
Purple is also a great color for those pursuing higher education. Use purple candles in love spells to make a partner stay at home and remain faithful. Purple altar cloths are the best choice for psychic work or to wrap up tarot cards. This color increases Neptune energy.
Here are the magickal correspondences for the color purple:
- Element: Air
- Direction: East
- Chakra: Brow Chakra
- Planet: Jupiter
- Day: Thursday
- Number: 7
- Magickal Tools: Wand, Cauldron
- Scent/Essential Oils: Cedar, Carnation, Nutmeg Lotus, Angelica, Bay, Cinnamon, Ginger, Sandalwood, Jasmine.
- Plant/Herb: Mimosa, Wisteria, Mugwort Hazel, Eyebright, Rowan, Elder, Rue, Shamrock, Clover, Oak, Dandelion, Betony, Meadowsweet, Begonia, Cactus, Dahlia, Iris, Violet.
- Tree/Wood: Willow, Lilac, and Mulberry.
- Animal: Elephant, Unicorn, Rabbit, Jaguar, Chickadee, Cuckoo, Eagle, Elk, Penguin, Vulture, Grasshopper, Chameleon, Lizard.
- Feather: Spirituality, religion
- Minerals/Stones: Amethyst, Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli and Beryl, Clear Quartz, All Opals
- Tarot: Justice, Fours.
- God: Anase, Apollo, Forseti, Ida-ten, Mishara, Mithras, Musku, Tyr, Varuna
- Goddess: Aleitheia, Astraea, Athene, Hecate, Justita, Kali, Maiat, Mens, Morrigan, Syn, Oya
- Personality: Proud, independent, mystical arts, religious nature. This Person will not turn a blind eye, if they feel a cause of action is wrong, no matter the side they take.
- Scientific Name: Cucurbita
- Folk Name: Pumpkin, Winter Squash
- Type: Food
- Ruler: Oshun, Hekate
- Element: Water
- Parts Commonly Used: Seeds, Flesh, Whole Fruit
- Basic Powers – the fruit: Protection, Divination, Banishing, and Prosperity
- Basic Powers – the seeds: Fertility, Abundance, Wealth, Love, Prosperity, Good Luck
Pumpkins can be used for protection, divination, banishing, and prosperity. Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds represent fertility, abundance, wealth, love, prosperity, good luck, and can attract money. They can also be used for healing, honoring the Moon, and Divination/Contacting the Spirit World.
Pumpkins have a long history of being the one vegetable that can ward off evil spirits on Halloween night. The tradition of carving pumpkins with faces, comes from Celtic traditions where turnips and other bulbous vegetables where cared to keep away evil or mischievous spirits during Samhain. To the Celts the head was the most sacred and important part of the body. So creating faces and turning them into lanterns made perfect sense.
Another legend tells us that we carve and light pumpkins so that our ancestors can find us and can communicate with us. At Samhain, the veils between the realm of the living and the dead are at their thinnest, and those who have passed on can cross over into our world, albeit for a short time.
Pumpkins are often symbols of the fruitfulness of the earth at this autumn time of year since their round orange bodies also represent the abundance of the Mother Goddess or Mother Earth. Pumpkin seeds, when roasted, dried and eaten, are believed to keep extra pounds away while adding the fruit of the pumpkin itself to delicious delights such as pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie is said to bring money and luck your way as well.
This fruit is also sacred to the Yoruban goddess Oshun and is offered to her in exchange for wishes granted concerning love, money and fertility. Offer whole pumpkins smeared with honey to the river where you wish to conceive a child. Offer whole pumpkins with names carved into them for love spells. Throw a handful of pumpkin seeds into the river and ask for a financial boon. It is important to know that the pumpkin and its seeds are considered the children of Oshun. If you are working with her magick, you must abstain from eating any pumpkin.
Other magickal uses for pumpkins include:
- When doing tarot readings for others, place a small pumpkin near your cards so you can draw upon it’s energies to reveal the unknown.
- Place a pumpkin on your altar and/or light a pumpkin-scented candle when doing any magic that involves discovering and developing your magical skills.
- For protection, carving ghoulish faces into pumpkins and placing them at your doorstep is said to help protect your home from wandering, harmful spirits this time of year.
- Light pumpkin-scented candles near your divination or scrying tools to increase the potency of your readings. Alternatively, keeping a pumpkin in your divination space is said to provide extra insight in your reading.
- Place pumpkin scented sachets around your home to drive away harmful energy and make your home warm and inviting.
- Pumpkins as a symbol of prosperity and can be placed on the altar, hearth, and doorstep to bring prosperity into the home and to those who live in it.
- Some believe the energy from Pumpkin scented candles helps to increase the power of spells.
These are just a few ways to use pumpkins in your magical practice. Remember, pumpkins are linked to the mysterious, the unknown, the dark, and all kinds of magic, so use them often!
A note of warning:
Some say that early American legend maintained that leaving a half of a pumpkin open or exposed in any room, but especially the kitchen, would attract negative energies into your living space. Pumpkins that have begun to spoil were believed by the Romany to suck the life energy from the people around them, and create illness and bad luck.
- Blends and Recipes – Magickal Apothecary/Pumpkin
- Spells and Magick – Book of Shadows/Pumpkin
- Folklore – Gypsy Magick/Pumpkin
Information in this post was collected from a variety of sources.
Scientific name: Zea Mays.
Common names: Indian Corn, Maize, Squaw Corn
Ruler: Sun, Aztec and Mayan deities, Earth Mother
Planet: Venus and Saturn
Magickal Form: On or off the cob, popped, white, yellow, blue, red
Parts used: Seeds, silk, husks
Magickal Properties: Fertility, Protection, Luck, Divination, Prosperity
Corn can be used for spells protection, luck, and in divination. Corn on the altar represents the power of the Corn Mother, She who blesses and nourishes all Her earthly children. Corn on the cob represents the phallic gods and draws creative or sexual energy.
Often Corn husks and Wheat straw are used to create what are called ‘Corn Dollies’. These are usually in the shape of a doll or are woven into various other shapes and are carried as charms or put on an altar. Corn dollies can be hung from the rafters of a house to offer protection for the house and all those who dwell within. Corn can also be used in many forms of fertility magic. Corn silk is a very powerful ingredient when added to love spells; it is designed to attract the person you desire.
Corn can be worn as jewelry or in amulets to make the wearer closer to the spirit of the earth. Corn can be used to divine the future. An old folk spell said that if a damsel found a blood-red ear of maize, she would have a suitor before the year was out. Financial or love wishes that are shouted out as popcorn is popping will come true.
- Eat yellow corn on the summer solstice (June 21) for blessings of prosperity
- Consume white corn for spiritual insight
- Scatter blue corn meal to purify and bless a space
- Hang red corn above doorways at harvest time to protect rewards that have been reaped
Corn is a sacred Druidic herb of Mean Fomhair (also called Mabon) and of Samhain. Corn is associated with the element of earth and the planets Venus and Saturn. Because Corn was such an important part of the food supply of many early cultures, almost every ancient religion had a Corn God or Goddess.
Some of these Corn deities are: Annonaria, Roman Goddess protector of the Corn supplies; Cerklicing, the Latvian god of fields and Corn; Kurke, the Prussian God of Corn; Nepit, an Egyptian Corn Goddess and Neper an Egyptian Corn-God; Nodutus, the Roman god who was held responsible for making the knots in the stalks of Corn; Nzeanzo, the Sudan god of rain, medicine, Corn, fertility and metal-working; Robigo, a Roman Goddess of Corn; Iyatiku, the Pueblo Corn Goddess; and Gabjauja, the Lithuanian Goddess of Corn (with the advent of Christianity She was, as were so many other Pagan deities, reduced to a demon).
Remember that when harvesting Corn for magickal uses it is important to say thank you to the grain spirits:
“Mother of Corn
I harvest thee.
In spring thou wilt
A maiden be.”
Collected from various sources, including Magickal Winds
- Nature Spirits: hobgoblins (small grotesque but friendly brownie-type creatures), faeries of harvested crops.
- Herbs: honeysuckle, agrimony, lemon balm, hyssop
- Colors: silver, blue-gray
- Flowers: lotus, water lily, jasmine
- Scents: orris, frankincense
- Stones: pearl, moonstone, white agate
- Trees: oak, acacia ash
- Animals: crab, turtle, dolphin, whale
- Birds: starling, ibis, swallow
- Deities: Khepera, Athene, Juno, Hel, Holda, Cerridwen, Nephtys, Venus
Relaxed energy; preparing, succeeding. Dream work; divination and meditation on goals and plans, especially spiritual ones.