Incorporating Animal Elements Into Magick
Anyone who’s read Shakespeare is familiar with the idea of using animal parts in magick: “Eye of newt and toe of frog, / Wool of bat and tongue of dog …” (Macbeth, Act IV, sc. 1). Where did this tradition come from Quite simply, humans have always trusted animal spirits (and the spirits of plants and inanimate objects) for their powers. A Magus (the singular form of Magi) who needed courage looked to nature’s blueprint and found a lion, whose heart may be carried or otherwise used in a spell (thus the phrase “heart of a lion”). When a Witch needed stealth, it made sense to use the chameleon’s skin as a spell component. When he needed perspective, a variety of birds came to mind, and he might harvest the eye.
Over time things changed, however. Only animal parts found in nature and properly cleaned are fit to be used magickally in Witchcraft. Modern Witches honor nature and her needs in their methods; eco- consciousness is a top priority. Here’s a brief list of animal components and applications you would likely find on a random walk in nature:
Antlers: Sliced antler makes a very sturdy carving surface, and may be used in making a personal set of runes. Alternatively, antlers can be carried to honor Artemis, Cernunnos, and Bacchus, or used as virility charms.
Eggshells: Traditionally, shells were buried or burned in healing spells (often after having been carried by the patient so the eggshells “absorbed” the illness). Eggshells also make a good womb symbol in which energy can be nurtured to maturity. Be sure to consider the color of the eggshell in the final application. For instance, use blue eggshells to nurture peace and joy.
Feathers: Use feathers for divination, for moving incense around the sacred space, or as a spell component in magick directed toward liberation and release. They’re also good for meditations in which you wish to connect with bird spirits or the air element.
Fur: Tufts of fur can often be found on burrs or other prickly bushes. If you can determine the animal that lost the fur, you can apply the fur as a symbol of that creature and its attributes in spells and rituals. For example, a bit of rabbit fur would be a good component to put in your power pouch for abundance and fertility. (Any small pouch will do as a power pouch. Use it to keep special items, like small stones given by friends and those that carry personal meaning.)
Nails: Nails serve utilitarian purposes (for gathering food) as well as defensive ones— when in the clutches of a foe. With this in mind, animal nails could be carried as amulets and talismans for providence and safety.
Teeth: One of the longest-lasting parts of any body, teeth have natural associations with longevity and durability. Furthermore, teeth affect the way a lot of creatures communicate, so use them in different communication spells, depending on the type of creature involved. For example, if you were going into a meeting where clever discourse was needed, carrying a fox tooth might be apt.
Whiskers: According to an old bit of folklore, cat’s whiskers that you find somewhere can be used in a wish-fulfilling spell. For this to work, burn the whisker and whisper a wish to the smoke. This spell might be accomplished with the whiskers of other animals too, like using a dog’s whiskers to inspire devotion and constancy.The Only Book of Wiccan Spells You’ll Ever Need (p. 104). Singer, Marian; MacGregor, Trish (2012-08-18).