Holly Queen Challenge

For Litha 2013 (http://barbedpentacle.com/2013/06/the-litha-challenge-something-fun-crafty-and-potentially-gritty/), I challenged everyone to make a “living wall” for the summer as suggested on Magaly Guerrero’s blog, Pagan Culture (http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-living-wall-for-midsummer.html) and to send in pictures. If you would like to participate, send in pictures of your wall and descriptions to chirp_sparrow@yahoo.com.  Please put “Holly Queen Challenge” in the subject line.

Here’s mine:


Pedro from South of the Boarder (http://www.thesouthoftheborder.com/), the best place to go when inebriated.


This is my bikini top from Mexico and ring from Magdalena, a piece of blue creek glass that a house mate gave me this summer, and my Almalthea horns from a sacrifice.


This is my cowerie collar for all those fun money spells, my new business cards that are attached with cloak clips that have tons of fun uses, my gypsy ear rings, and the skin that my snake shed at Litha. The beads that are holding everything up is a belly chain from my belly dancing days.


These are my favorite tracts so far this summer on my red hot tract panties and my new fly swatter from my honey.


Bellatrix S’s wall and posthttp://armedvenus.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-road-and-wall-not-actually-asoiaf.html

Yule Challenge 2013  send your pics to chirp_sparrow@yahoo.com

From the top: Evil Eye candy for 2014, the crystal from the Perchta Power Project, my “confidence” clothes pin from our annual Krampus/Perchta ritual, yarn from a Songbird Snuggle, money for the New Year, greenery and prickles from our sexy Yule meditation, and last but not least–Perchta and Krampus by Aramis September.

The Litha Challenge! (Something fun, crafty, and potentially gritty)

First of all, read this:  http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-living-wall-for-midsummer.html

I think this is really a cool idea.  I can already see my own wall of bones and leather starting to take shape!   In the spirit of the season,  I challenge you to start planning and executing your own living wall!  Just call me the Holly Queen!   

Besides, it’ll give you something to do as you watch the bidding on the spoon: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Barbed-Pentacle/185787251532552, and try to figure out just the right time to place your bid.

When you get your wall (or other area) up, take a picture and email it to chirp_sparrow@yahoo.com.  I’ll post all the pictures in a special area.  If we get neat enough ones, maybe we’ll have a contest.  So, look through your junk and memories, and pull out all your coolest, grittiest stuff.  And remember, this isn’t an altar, nor is it a shrine (well, in a way…).  It’s just something fun to help you display your memories and think, “God, how did I not get arrested for taking that!”

These folks get who the true Holly queen is:

Mystic Artisanshttps://www.facebook.com/mysticartisans

Passion And Soulhttp://passionandsoul.com/

Tonia Brown:  www.thebackseatwriter.com

Con Huesos, 3: The Ossuary

Now that you have the bones, what do you do with them?  There are several different things that you can do with the items in your magical ossuary.  For starters, you can make the actual ossuary, which is a decorative box used to hold bones.  Think of it like a tool box or a craft box.  Historically, ossuaries have been made out of wood or clay, but your ossuary could be made out of a Tupperware container.

Now that you have the bones out of the floor, bone magic is the way to go.  In many traditions, certain bones have been thought to be lucky.  In the Hoodoo tradition, black cat bones can be lucky.  According to Madame Dark, the way that the lucky bone is found is by boiling all the bones once they have been cleaned by the weather (http://barbedpentacle.com/2013/05/con-huesos-part-2-the-charnel-house/).  The first bone to float is your lucky bone.

My black kitten bone project after following Lee’s instructions. Everything, almost, has melted into this nasty mess. I guess this is what happens when you do a bone project during the rainy season. I wonder which bone will float or if they’ll all just melt.

Due to the funky smell, you should probably boil your bones outside.

Did your doctor tell you that you have low T?  Do you take Viagra?  Have low sperm count?  Need some luck?  Have a frigid bitch that won’t open up?  If you said yes to any of these, then you need a pecker bone!  Baculums, more commonly called penis bones, are found in many male mammals.  In North America, particularly in my area of North America, raccoon and opossum baculums are easily available.  While you could order one, it’s much cheaper and more gruesome to get one from a roadkill animal or to hit up a hunter friend.  For more information on pecker bone magic, check out this link from the always informative Lucky Mojo folks: http://www.luckymojo.com/raccoonpenis.html

Raccoon Penis Bone

What about all the other bones that aren’t lucky?  Our special friend Amber has the solution:

Bone divination is a very old way of talking to the spirit realm that has ties to a number of the world’s indigenous magical traditions. It has ties to Appalachia in forms of Hoodoo and Appalachian folk magic, but it was also a common practice in the ancient world from Scandinavia to classical Rome and Judea. References can even be found in Biblical passages dating back to ancient Babylon, such as the one in the book of Jonah in which sailors cast lots in order to divine which member of the crew has angered his god and brought bad fortune. Discoveries of casting bones in Paleolithic sites in Spain and Africa, as well as North and South America, have shown that this form of divination may even go back as far as the beginnings of human spiritual experience. 

There are many different ways of working with bones for divination. Some people, like myself, cast bones and read the patterns they form and relay any messages from guides as well. Traditions from Ancient China or from some parts of the Pacific Islands include animal bones being burned and the cracks on the bones read. Other traditions, such as some from Greece and Serbia, have the reader read the patterns on the bones immediately after an animal is slaughtered or after the animal has been cooked (in a similar way to the use of the wishbone in the modern West). In many of these traditions readers may undergo years of training within a specific practice or working with specific spirits. My own practice has been much more self-made and intuitive.

It all began when I lost my beloved cat and familiar Draco. A few months after his death, I saw a few exposed and cleaned vertebrae on top of his grave. Despite several attempts to rebury the remains, they kept reappearing right where I had left them. Finally I took it as a sign, cleaned them, and placed them in a pouch where they stayed for several months. Eventually I took them to a friend and teacher who looked at them and told me that he saw me doing readings with them someday. I didn’t believe him at first since divination with cards, runes, or other symbolic styles has always been very difficult for me.
However, slowly but surely, more objects came to me; simple things that most people would overlook but which spoke to me in some special way. A 20 sided die, two acorns that I found sitting side by side on another pet’s grave (much as with Draco’s bones looking almost like they had been intentionally placed there), a couple of stones, and a charm from childhood. Five other, smaller bones also came to me. Through communication with my guides, I began to put together a casting cloth with symbols that they relayed to me to facilitate communication between me and them.
For me, the bones are an outlet for communication. As I cast them, my guides relay messages to me. I can’t really describe my practice, since there’s not really a practice to describe. The symbols, the bones, the objects, they all have meaning, and the patterns they form have meaning to me as well, but mostly what I get is messages, images, thoughts and feelings… things that sometimes have very little obvious to do with what’s actually going on the casting cloth.

Amber’s cloth

If I had any advice to give, I’d tell people to find something that works for them. There isn’t a one-size fits all method to this. It’s not like Tarot, or Runes, or any of these other things that can be learned through reading a book, since everything you’re doing goes on inside yourself. If you do feel that Bone reading is right for you, just make sure that you do it respectfully. Listen to the animal you’re taking the bones from, and don’t take them unless you absolutely know you have permission. Since you’re communicating at least in part with the actual spirit of an animal who has died, also take care where you are getting your bones from if you buy them. There are many people out there who you can get bones from who have taken them in a respectful and ethical way.

There are a lot of other good sources out there, and I’m sure you can find some stuff on more traditional practices out there. This is just one person’s experience, and if you’re looking to learn more or get started I would recommend looking around. There are also several established traditions out there that have their own way of doing things, and if you want to work with one of those traditions instead of forging your own way, they may be available options to you as well. Always take care, however, particularly with incorporating any sort of deeply rooted cultural traditions into your practice. Many of these cultures have had a long, tragic history of cultural extermination and abuse, and appropriation of their practices can contribute (and has) to this history. In order to avoid misappropriation, I’d highly recommend learning more about the culture you may be drawn to, not just that one technique, but it’s complete context and any taboos or attitudes regarding it. Don’t use it unless you know you have permission to, and sometimes getting this permission may require seeking out that community with respect and humility, and learning from them directly, earning their trust, and becoming a guest or member of that tradition.
Or, if you want, you can cobble together something that is wholly and uniquely you, from scratch.Open yourself up to spirit and see what happens. Whatever you choose, reading bones can be a powerful way to open yourself up to spirit. It’s a way of asking questions of the spirit world that has been around for tens of thousands of years, is still alive and thriving today, and will continue to exist long after we’re gone.

These folks have pecker bones in their pockets:

Mystic Artisanshttps://www.facebook.com/mysticartisans

Passion And Soulhttp://passionandsoul.com/

Tonia Brown:  www.thebackseatwriter.com