Sunday, September 23, 2018

Skull and bones

A review of "Skull Scrying: Animal Skulls in Divinatory Trance"

This is an extremely curious (and short) e-book about how to scry with animal skulls (!). It's written by Lupa, the same Neo-Pagan author who penned “A Field Guide to Otherkin”, reviewed by me elsewhere. Scrying is an ancient technique to induce a trance-like visionary state in the practitioner. It's usually done with mirrors or the almost proverbial crystal ball. The most main stream book about the practice is probably Raymond Moody's “Reunions”.

Lupa's book is more “out there”, and is based on the idea that part of the consciousness of an animal remains in its cranial cavity after the animal's death. This “spirit” (Lupa's term) can be contacted by the Neo-Pagan practitioner, who can then use it as a kind of spirit-guide for divinatory purposes. The scrying-like part of the process involves emptying your mind by meditation and then staring into the dark cavity of the skull. With any luck, the spirit will either channel visionary experiences into your mind, or help you “see” things in some other way, not further specified. The e-book contains tips on how to obtain animal skulls, warnings against obtaining them illegally (for instance, skulls of whales or eagles are strictly verboten in the United States), and recommendations to treat the skulls with the respect they deserve, for instance by building small home altars in which to keep them. You can even buy plastic skulls of extinct species and summon their spirits into them!

While this is no doubt very pagan, I admit that I didn't understand the central part of the plot: why would the remaining consciousness of an animal want to help a human diviner, and how *can* they help a human diviner in the first place? The divination is about the magician's personal life and problems, not about things connected to Nature or animals. Also, if an animal was unapproachable during life, say a wolf or a grizzly bear, why should it be easier to appease in skull-bottled spirit-condition? Part of me really wants to say: Don't try this at home, kids! That being said, I will nevertheless give this peculiar material three stars.

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