Left to right - Cougar, Porcupine, Python, Snake (species unknown).

Left to right – Cougar, Porcupine, Python, Snake (species unknown).

One of the ribs in my bone set broke this week. It didn’t break during a throw. I found it broken in the basket. I figured that was a sign that it was time to write about ribs.

I have two ribs in my bone set – a python rib, and a possum rib that had been broken and healed before the animal died. I assign them very different meanings.

In my set the python rib usually represents constriction. It tends to wrap itself around other pieces in such a way as to visually appear as an impediment or block.

The possum rib represents something painful from the past that you have recovered from, but it still left a scar. The bone is thicker at the break point so it could be interpreted as being stronger, but it is also probably less flexible there.

Ribs can also be interpreted as support. In the body they support and protect the organs they surround – particularly the heart. You could certainly work that information into your interpretation of this piece. If it looked like it was supporting something I would interpret it as support as well, but I find that the rib usually wraps itself around other pieces in a way that looks constrictive to me.

ribs in various positions

Support or Constriction?

Of course ribs┬ácan also be interpreted as having the characteristics of the animal they came from. Many commercial sets come with snake ribs and there is loads of information, both scientific and mythical about snakes in general, and about snakes by species. For example you might interpret the rib of a venomous snake differently than the rib of a snake that kills it’s prey by constriction.

Although they look delicate, ribs are usually quite sturdy. They don’t break that easily and the rib that recently broke is only my second rib. I suspect that the ribs in my set that have broken got caught in a shell and then bumped by another piece. They might have lasted longer in a set with fewer large pieces, or no shells for them to fall part way into.

Ribs are available in a wide variety of sizes so you should have no trouble finding one that fits well with your other pieces. They are truly versatile pieces that lend themselves to a wide variety of meanings. If your set did not come with a rib, you may want to consider adding one.

Happy Bone Reading!