Working with the Remains of Pets
This is something that I have seen come up a lot recently. My friend, who is a vet tech, and I were recently talking about how many animals are simply abandoned when they pass away at the vet’s. Usually the vet waits to see if the owners will collect the body, but often times it continues to sit in the freezer, waiting.
I have worked with the spirits of my land and of the dead since I was a child, ancestry working is very important to me, and I see no reason why the animals in our lives shouldn’t be held to the same respect. As a witch, I will continue to work with the spirits of my pets long after they have passed. Now I am one of those people who isn’t sure how I feel about the claiming of living pets as familiars, but after death I have worked very closely with the spirits of some of my deceased pets and a few of them could potentially take on that name.
There are two ways that I incorporate the remains of pets into my witchcraft:
1. Using the skull as a spirit house for the spirit of the animal to reside in.
2. Using the bones for readings.
Now, before doing either of these I always perform a ritual that allows me to make contact with the spirit and make sure that this is something that it wants. Always ask permission. I then do a cleansing of the body, releasing any of the potential traumas of death. I then place the body in a rot box a safe distance from the house. With smaller animals this can also be done in a large flower pot. After the body has had time to decompose and I have macerated it and degreased it and put the skull back together (I won’t go into that here, but there are plenty of great How-To’s in the Vulture Culture tag) then I will continue.
Awakening the skull for spirit connection:
The way that this is done can vary for everyone. I personally have made a specific incense for this purpose that I will light. I then sit with the skull and hold it so that I can look into the eyes of it and I will enter a trance state. The experiences from there will differ depending on the animal. In some instances I have had a journey-like experience where I have travelled to a space in order to commune with the spirit, in other cases I have had direct contact through hearing the words of the animal, or in some cases feeling the primal needs of the animal translated into thoughts that my own mind can then decipher.
It will really greatly depend on the spirit itself and the relationship you have had with it. This can also be done with the skulls of animals you don’t have prior relationship with, but if you haven’t done a ritual in which you asked permission before this process then I HIGHLY suggest approaching the spirit with respect and always asking before assuming.
Another great way to incorporate the remains of pets who have passed is by incorporating their smaller bones into a bone throwing set. I have been developing my own set for awhile now, finding pieces, holding them and listening to see if they would fit with the set. When making bone sets a lot of people find that they have a lot of bones of animals that are easy to obtain (raccoon, coyote, claws from wolves and bobcats, etc) as you develop your set though you will find ways to incorporate more of yourself and the spirits that guide you into it. The bones of your beloved pets can make a wonderful edition to these sets because of the relationship you shared with them, and the meaning and guidance of these bones would take on a whole new level depending on that relationship as well.
@qedavathegrey has a great post on Bone Throwing here: http://qedavathegrey.tumblr.com/post/139646665198/throwin-the-bones-of-the-divinatory-techniques
The picture of the skull above is not mine. Found on Pinterest, if you know who the credit belongs to, please let me know.
@cosmic-witch - I know you plan on cremating, but here is what I was talking about.