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A few animals in particular have a pretty large role in my practice. I’m especially drawn to carrion birds, and pretty much always have been. I also keep a cedar box of my dog’s ashes along a photo of my maternal grandmother and other items I use for the dead. Today, I’m probably going to do something fairly simple.
I have some feathers from an African pied crow. I like to use them in witch’s ladders, to fan incense smoke, and as a focus for meditation. They don’t photograph all that well, but there’s something very magickal about the way the flat, dark color shifts into a subtle sheen of midnight blue and electric purple. I love them, and I incorporate them into what I do as often as I can.
Since my S.O. and I both have allergies, I don’t often burn incense. Instead, I waft the steam from simmer pots. Today, I think I’ll put together a fresh simmer pot to scent my home and send some protective energy into it. I’m still waiting for some herbs to be delivered to me, but I’ve got a handful of culinary herbs that’ll do the trick just fine (and smell pretty rad, to boot):
- Bay leaves.
Creating a simmer pot is pretty simple– boil some filtered water, add the herbs and any (non-leaching, water-safe) stones you’d like, and stir it with a wand or spoon dedicated to this purpose. It’s effectively a brew you don’t drink, just rely on the volatiles carried on the steam. After the brew has cooled, you can (carefully– some components may stain depending on what you use) lightly asperge the corners of your home, use it to anoint doorways or windowsills, etc. My favorite use for it is as a substitute for incense.
Do you incorporate animal parts into your practice? If so, how?