Cleansing Your New Bones
My Cleansing Method
I use a simple method for cleansing new pieces. I first rinse them with cool water and then set them aside to dry. Once they are dry, I wipe them down with Florida Water, Hoyt’s Cologne, or some other water and set them aside to dry again. Next, I smudge them with incense smoke, and sit them on my altar until I am ready to work with them. While some believe that cleansing is not necessary, I prefer to start my work with new pieces or sets with a clean slate.
I start my cleansing with cool tap water. Of course, you may be led to use something else – spring water, river water, or ocean water for example. If you cleanse your set in running water be careful to do so in such a way that you don’t lose any of the pieces. A net bag with a fine mesh like those used to wash lingerie in the washing machine can work well for this purpose, as can a fine mesh collander. Just be careful not to oversoak them.
Lately I have been using Florida Waters crafted in small batches by spiritual workers. They always smell delightful and are less likely to be heavily alcohol based. Some even come in spray bottles. You may have to strain them if you want to transfer them to a spray bottle as they often contain herbs and flowers.
Of course, you are free to create your own cleansing method whether mundane or spirit guided. There are also those who feel that animal bones need no cleansing because they embody the spirit of the animal. My thoughts on this are a bit different. Many of the bones we acquire, whether found or purchased, come from animals whose passing may not have been peaceful. In my mind cleansing the bone with cool running water, spiritual waters, and spiritual incense is soothing and shows the creature that we care and have respect for it. Other items that you acquire for your set such as charms, stones, etc., can be cleansed in the same way or in some other way as you feel guided to do.
Be careful when cleansing your pieces – some items, such as preserved animal parts like alligator and other animal claws, may not respond well to being soaked. Adjust your cleansing method accordingly. Some items may not be able to take liquids at all. Many spiritual waters contain alcohol, which is a solvent that may damage preserved animal parts. You may find that the pieces you gather will require several different types of cleansing modalities, so be prepared.
You can use whatever spiritual incense you have on hand, or you can devise one specifically for this purpose. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Frankincense, myrrh, and copal are resin incenses that have been used for spiritual purposes alone or in combination for centuries. They can also be mixed with other herbs to purpose.
Dragon’s blood resin can used as a cleansing incense alone, or with other herbs.
Cinnamon and sandalwood are barks that have also been used for cleansing and purification purposes.
Eucalyptus is one of my favorite cleansing herbs. It grows all over my current home state of California and can be had for the effort of picking it up from the ground or harvesting it from a tree. If you get your eucalyptus from a tree, make sure you ask the tree’s permission and leave a small offering of a few coins or a small amount of biodegradable material like corn meal or honey. Let it dry thoroughly before use.
Lemongrass, pine, and rosemary are readily available and are all useful additions to a cleansing incense.
Angelica, rue and hyssop are also well-known cleansing and purifying herbs.
I like to start with a resin base and then add small amounts of herbs suitable to the purpose on hand. Some herbs do not smell as pleasant burning as they do in their original or dried state, so start with small amounts to prevent their odors from overpowering the scent of your smoke. It is easy to add more of an herb to your batch of incense. But taking it out is difficult.
I have also used store-bought powdered self-lighting incenses and added resins or herbs to them. Be careful not to add too much in the way of extra ingredients as you don’t want to lose the incense’s self-lighting qualities.
You may also clean your bones after that initial cleansing. There is no set time, or number of readings that determines when this should be done. It is mostly a feeling. A well-used and beloved set that you are intimately familiar with may start to give confusing readings that do not make sense. That could be your set, or your spirits letting you know it needs to be cleansed. You can do a cleansing like the original cleansing you gave each piece or modify it in some way. When I do a major cleansing, I use this time to review the pieces in my set, and I review the meanings with my ancestors as well.
You may also want to expose your set to various energies from nature – light from the sun or moon, or the energy of a thunderstorm. You may want to bury them in the earth for a period. Just be careful to do so in such a way that they cannot be damaged by the elements or carried away by animals.
If you are of a creative temperament, you might want to design a ritual around the cleansing process which you can write down and refer to for future cleansings.
Should your spiritual practice have specific methods for cleansing spiritual tools, by all means use them. But if you don’t have a prescribed method, spend some time with your pieces and give some thought to what type, if any, cleansing they require. Ask your ancestors and any spirits or deities that you work with how best to cleanse them. Ask the pieces themselves what would be best. Write down your thoughts and ideas and then design a method that works for you.
If you are so inclined, please feel free to share your methods or ideas in the comments.
Source links for scented waters pictured above:
Tabaco – The site I purchased this from is no longer active (Guinscreations.com), but you should be able to find it elsewhere.