|Some deer bones I am in the process of working on.|
I love bones. All shapes, sizes, and creatures. Skulls and skeletons, shards and fragments, I love them all. I love them so much I have taken to decorating some of the ones I have at the moment. A friend last year gave me half a deer already slightly decomposed, and I did my first ever cleansing of the bones. It was an awesome experience for me, and I learned a lot. I made some interesting mistakes. But nothing that was severely damaging to the bones and luckily, it was just on a half of deer carcass. It seemed like the prefect thing to learn to clean bones on.
|A lovely white deer bone, a parrot feather, and an owl feather with a bit of wolf fur and stones woven into it to use as a ritual feather. Also shown is my incense holder and fire-wand made of maple wood.|
I have always loved bones, even as a small child. Bones are what is left behind when everything else rots away. To me, bones are like looking into the hidden parts of a creature, seeing the real, raw truth of what it was. Bones remind us of death, whether we want that reminder of not. I find bones comforting for that, as well as intensely beautiful. The stark reality of what they are centers me, and I want to spend my life around that calming presence. (Of course I do love skins, carapaces, and feathers as well. I like animal parts in general, but my favorite part is the bones.)
I only realized recently that I wanted more bones in my life, due to being told all my life in negative tones that “girls shouldn't play with bones.” It’s bullshit, sure, but you’d be surprised how deep bullshit can burrow in your skull if it’s said enough times. I've never been a “proper” girl, nor do I care to be. I identify as Gender Queer anyhow.
|I love more than bones too, as you can see by the coyote tail beside my coyote jaw piece.|
But despite the negativity, I have not stopped loving bones, and have had encounters with them throughout my life. I still have one of the first pieces of real bone I ever collected. It’s a piece of a coyote’s jaw that I add to costumes on occasion, or just keep on my alter. I love it. And while I may not have always had real bones in my life, I've had tons of fake skulls and bones always around me, and researched bones in secret for my entire childhood.
I want to learn to hunt, to experience the full process of death. To kill, clean, eat and reverently keep the bones of a deer I took down. I think it would be a useful skill for everyone to learn, not just for the bones. I want to keep the bones as a reminder of the act, to understand the cycle of the hunter and of life and death.
If you are going to eat meat, you should know what it’s like to hunt it.
|My snake Geoffrey leaves me gifts of his skin as he grows, and so until I mount them in a frame they are wrapped around my little raven stuffy for safe keeping.|
Perhaps my obsession with bones is because of being exposed to so much death in my life. One day I hope to get a skull tattoo (probably a lovely sugar skull) to honor all my beloved dead. If I tried to get a tattoo of them all, I’d cover most my body. Death has been a constant companion, and while I haven’t always been okay with it by my side so much, I do continue to treat it like a friend more than an enemy. It’s been a struggle as I have seen the violent, terrible side of death thanks to events like my mother’s suicide. But ultimately, it is what it is. You cannot change it, it changes you. And death never leaves your side, even if you wish to ignore its presence.
Living among the bones helps me find peace with death. It centers me and allows me to see the many aspects of death and how it affects my life and those around me. I don’t think of decorating bones as a desecration, but more of an act of reverence, like one might do to a sugar skull. I would love for my beloved to be able to keep a part of me like my skull after I am gone, but I don’t know if that is possible. I would even allow him to have my skull decorated to reflect the soul of my bones.
Anyhow, after saying ALL THAT, let me show you my pretty little bone doodles I have made recently. I call them bone doodles because I am using markers at the moment, and just doodling on the bones. It’s really fun for me, and relaxing. Not sure what I am going to do with all of these. I have already given a few as gifts.
|This one is more shiny as I put nail polish on to seal it. I want to try another method of sealing for the others, which are not sealed yet.|
PS: If any of you lovely people have bones and you wish to impart them on me, I would be delighted to have them! Please email me and I will give you an address to send them to. I will give them a good home. Some of my favorite animals if you are curious are ravens, crows, coyotes, snakes, sharks, spiders, beetles, bats and my all-time favorite, wolves. I will take any bones/bits of animals though, as all are beautiful to me.
I’m also working on an in progress “Death Shrine” that is going to be shaped like a coffin and full of mementos that people have sent me, as well as my own from dead loved ones. I made the first one a couple years after my mother died to help me work through some of the grief. When my friends saw it they were moved, and sent me things from their loved ones. I still have all those mementos, and with the help of my husband we are in time going to make an even better shrine than the first one which was made of paper-mâché. I think of myself as its keeper now, and find it helps with that acceptance of death stuff I try to cultivate in my life.I'm also really honored to hold such special tokens of death from others.
So yeah, I am the bone collector. I love them bones.