Yesterday, I picked up a small animal hide from a second-hand shop. It was sitting on a scratched-up end table in the furniture area, and it had a hideous cowboy boot lamp sitting on top of it. After flinging aside the lamp, purchasing it, and bringing it home, I began to work on clearing it, and that’s when it occurred to me that I do a lot of energetic cleansing of things that were once living creatures.
Anyway, I decided to do a little blog post about how I cleanse animal parts in the off chance that it might help someone else.
(When I was ten and eleven, my mother and grandmother loved to spend hours strolling through antique stores, and I would scour each booth for skins. Whenever I found one, I was afraid the rabbits had died in horrible ways, and I wanted to comfort them. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was listening to them, and energetically cleansing them. I had invented an entire days-long process to transition the animal skins from trauma to my bedroom. For this reason, my current process still has some weird steps that I feel like I have to do.)
Here’s my skin. I suspect it’s a small rabbit skin, because it’s the same color as the millions of rabbits that populate the area, but it’s coarseness makes me unsure.
The first, and probably the most important step, is to listen to whatever shit you’ve picked up. And it’s not just one listen, you have to listen the whole time.
At the store, I asked the cashier to bag it separately so it didn’t touch other things.
When I got home, I didn’t put it straight on my altar. Practically, it might be disgusting. Depending on what it is and where you got it, an animal part might have bugs, rotting flesh, mold, all sorts of gross shit. Physically clean it a bit if it needs it. Beat out dust, brush off dirt, you know.
Energetically, I like to give pieces like this some time to acclimate to its new environment. Some pieces feel like they need more time than others for this.
Last summer, when I found most of an elk carcass that was pretty much just bones with terrifying teeth marks, I piled that shit in a laundry basket and left it outside in the sun for weeks. Its death was no doubt horrific, and I felt like it needed to calm down. The rabbit skin, however, has already been placed on my altar only a few hours after I got it. It feels almost domesticated, as if the pelt itself is used to being inside a house and it knows how it should behave when sitting on a table.
Once it’s been placed somewhere special, it may just want to sit there, unperturbed. If not, may the cleansing commence.
I wish I had something cooler to report that I did for this skin, but all I did was placed some little obsidian shards around the edges. It’s what I felt like I should do.
For larger pieces, I generally place cleansing items on top of it. Obsidian, selenite, clear quartz, you know. The raw-er the better as far as crystals.
For smaller pieces, like vertebrae, I usually like to incorporate the piece into a cleansing grid. My advice to you here is to give the piece a prominent position, but do not make it the sole generator.
Here’s an example of my grid for an elk vertabra.
Aside from just cleansing, gridding a piece can be a great time to program it. Although I despise the word “programming” in witchcraft. Especially for animal parts. This is a collaboration and I’ve showed it how I’d like it to help me. It may not wish to help me in this way.
With the pictured grid, I sort of gave this bone instructions. It’s my “Lense of Truth,” (yes, like on fucking Zelda). It has clear quartz, amethyst, and sodalite (because I like to torture myself).
However, if your piece feels particularly vicious, save the “programming” for a later time.
For my rabbit skin, I’m going to let it sit on my altar with the obsidian shards overnight.
At risk of making myself sound like a lunatic, you have to “listen” to your piece at each step. You might feel like your piece requires more or less than what I’m doing. Also, always consider your source, and this source is questionable at best.
Okay, it’s the next morning and I’m back at this damn rabbit skin. Today, I’m going to waft this fucker through some smoke.
I chose to use palo santo for the rabbit skin.
I pretty much always use smoke to clear and cleanse these kinds of things, because water and fire don’t mix well with a lot of shit. Animal parts are irreplacable, and I’m not willing to risk scorches or water damage.
This is another important time to listen to your piece. Does it have a fearful or frightened energy? If so, it probably needs more time. Set it back up with some obsidian or selenite. If it feels uncooperative, that’s probably just the energy of your piece. Good luck, bitch.
That being said, there’s a fine line between having an animal part that’s cleansed versus having an animal part that may as well be substituted for a blank sheet of printer paper. It should still feel like it’s retained its animalness. This is an ally, not a tool.
If you feel you’ve over-cleansed your piece, leave it alone for a while. Like a moon cycle at least. A season maybe. This is not a place you want to end up, and under-cleansing is preferable to over-cleansing.
Having held and “felt” and “listened to” your piece, it might be ready now. If you skipped giving your piece a job description (or “programming”) earlier, and you want to, do that now.
My rabbit skin is ready.
Close the cleansing period with a bell or chime or drum or tambourine or some shit. This is like sealing it from energies coming in or going out.
Lastly, try out your piece.
You may discover that it has different ideas than what you’ve asked it to do, in which case you’d best shut up, sit down, and listen, because it’s got a lesson for you. You may also discover that it’s more than happy to assist you in the way you’ve asked.
That’s how I cleanse my animal pieces.
Now, I get to start over on these pieces of deerskin leather I was gifted…