Cleansing Spirit Animals and Tools During the Waning Moon

The beautiful, pregnant moon was a welcomed sight over the fields and forests during Beltaine this past weekend.  Now that the moon grows thin once more, it is a time for cleansing.  I’ve been working on a couple of very practical yet spiritual cleaning projects.

First, I’ve been cleaning a deer skull.  The deer is a spirit animal very near to me right now.  I’m nearly done preparing this lovely skull I found in the forest.  Next I’ll need to figure out where to put her.  She has been in that blue bucket for what seems like ages.

Finally, there’s the herb chopper I purchased from an antique store back in February.  It’s been sitting on my altar waiting to be physically cleansed for awhile now.  Graduate classes (which are now complete, yay!) really kept me busy so I’m only now just catching up with all these little projects.  I started to soak the blade in vinegar which naturally removes rust.  Since the blade wasn’t heavily encrusted, I figured it would be the best first approach.  Indeed, as you can see in the photo, a good deal of grime has already come off.  It’s rather impressive!  I hope to have the tool cleaned up and ready for the traditional herbal harvest around the Summer Solstice next month.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

13 thoughts on “Cleansing Spirit Animals and Tools During the Waning Moon

    1. For awhile, I was using hot water. Now it’s in the final stages and I’m using diluted hydrogen peroxide. This is a very slow method. Some people boil their skulls and others set them out for ants to clean.

      When it’s cleaned, I want to have it near my altar for spirit work. I’ll make offerings to it as a home for my spirit animal.

      1. I hope one day a deer skull finds its way to me. Deer around the home and as spirit animals are amazing and comforting! I hope the cleansing goes well!

      2. Over the last three months (since around the beginning of March), I have been making regular trips to a particular nature area near where I live. During this time I have found *8* deer skulls, 3 raccoon skulls, and a number of other deer bones, including a skeleton that was almost complete (missing the skull, one lower jawbone, and the two shoulderblades). I start by cleaning mine in hot water and soap, then move on to hydrogen peroxide as well.

        I, too, am planning on making them as homes for the animals’ spirits; I find it easier to connect with the animal’s spirits if I have a tangible relic of their presence. Some of the bones I’ve found over the weeks were single bones in odd locations; others, I’d find half a dozen to half a skeleton. Most were chewed on by coyotes; the nature area has a huge deer population and an equally large coyote population. I’m hoping to have an altar for just the animal/nature spirits when I’m finished, as I’m in the middle of renovating one of the rooms in my house for use as a library/temple.

        When I go out to this place, I always bring along offerings — fruit, grains, nuts, honey or maple syrup, wine — and bring along plastic bags to pick up other folks’ trash with. There’s *always* trash. I offer that service up to the spirits as just another offering I’m happy to make; I figure it probably makes the earth deities themselves (Gaia, Nerthus, etc.) pleased, as well.

      3. You and I have so much in common! I always make a point to pick up at least three things when I go out. Like you, I always encounter trash. Most of it, I think, is blown in from the housing area… But it still depresses me. Doing just a little cleanup seems to have really opened up the forest for me. I feel a sense of welcome when I’m there. Not always, of course – most creatures still fear humans as is right – but I hope you see what I mean. So good to know there are others out there giving time and energy to clean as an offering. I believe it’s one of the most important gifts to the Earth Mother and Nature Kin we can give!

    1. I am lucky enough to live next to a forest full of predators and prey. Since moving here, I have been repeatedly gifted by the land spirits with skulls. The deer skull was attached to a carcass I discovered during one of my walks. Likely the work of coyotes or coydogs. I prayed and meditated over it for a few days and bargained with the deer’s spirit that if the skull remained after a time, I would bring it home to become an ally. Most of the flesh was removed. Getting the brain out was a real learning experience. Nothing is quite as humbling as seeing brain goo and knowing my brain will be that way one day too. I had to use a knife specially serrated to cut bone to separate the skull from the spine. Again, very humbling. For a vegetarian, this was deeply spiritual and moving. Offerings and prayers had to be said. I erected a little cairn for some of the remaining bones. If you are seeking bones but are not a hunter, find hunting friends. Otherwise, take many nature walks and develop your relationship with the land. One will come when the time is right. :). When it does, your understanding of death will change. There is no escaping that feeling…

  1. Oo Deer. I must admit I’ve been feeling pretty close to Deer as well~

  2. Congrats on your lovely find! Deer seem to a popular ally for many folks. 🙂 The only deer finds I have come across in the wild that I felt welcome to take have been shed antlers. I came across what looked to be almost a full set of deer bones {a male}, but didn’t touch them because they were in a provincial park. I am assuming it is white tails that are by you?

  3. When I see anything to do with a deer I think of Silvanus, thats the Celtic archetype of forests. Archaeologists found a temple dedicated to Silvanus in my home town of Colchester.

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