The world is in upheaval. Society is in flux.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The order is rapidly fadin’
For the times they are a-changin’
~ Bob Dylan
The status quo is no longer sustainable, we are at the crossroads of changing times.
Change is never comfortable. Even desired change often comes with struggle—giving up a bad habit, improving lifestyle or circumstances all takes focus, determination and hard work.
Look at butterflies. Everybody thinks about the lowly, ground hugging caterpillar making its cocoon and emerging as the beautiful butterfly that soars up to the sky. Nobody gives much thought to the actual metamorphosis.
What happens inside the cocoon is violent, messy and presumably painful (though I don’t know if caterpillars perceive pain). The leaf eating larva secures itself to a branch, then its body begins to undulate and contort; its head is literally splitting wide open to form the chrysalis in which the transformation will be completed. It almost looks as if the creature is turning itself inside out, the way we turn a sleeve.
Once sealed in this self made incubator, the caterpillar’s body begins to break down, dissolving into protein soup, leaving little but liquid goo. The caterpillar must die for the butterfly to emerge.
We, as a planet and a society are experiencing the dying off of old ways. We are at a pivotal stage, an epochal moment in time. We are entering the nexus, or as I like to say, we are birthing the next us.
These Are The Bone Times
Bones are what remains when everything else has gone. The bones of our ancestors rest in this earth. The bones endure, long after flesh and blood have gone to enriching the soil.
We—humanity, the earth, the world—are right now in the process of being stripped down to the bone. Everything that does not well serve us is being excised. Our structure is being torn down to the framework so that we may begin the process of rebuilding, of starting over in new and more sustainable ways.
When we look to the language we use around bones, we say we feel things in our bones, to mean we have a deep knowing of something true. We have great need of that wisdom now, the information that comes to us not only from our own experience, but from the DNA of our ancestors—our bone wisdom.
When somebody holds fast to a belief or way, we say we they are like a dog with a bone, meaning tenacious or stubborn. In these bone times, we are greatly divided in our beliefs and values, as well as our biases; so many are resisting change, and so many are acting as agents of change, each clinging to their bones and growling at the other through bared teeth.
I don’t want to say it’s a war zone out there, but it’s a war zone out there. We stand not just at the crossroads, but on a landscape of change ravaged by opposing forces— we are on the precipice of a scorched earth scenario if we don’t intervene. In that way, bone times are sacred times. As helpers and healers, as medicine men and women, as shamans and witches, as teachers, and protectors we are being called to lead the way—not only a way to survive, but new ways to thrive, before it’s too late.
Manifesting Personal Stability
In answering the call we risk our own physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion. It’s essential to make personal wellbeing a priority in such trying times. We must practice shielding to create a barrier against spiritual and physical depletion. It’s essential to make grounding and centering a daily ritual, along with retreating and reconsidering when the pressure to perform feels overwhelming. If not, we just keep running into walls of resistance.
Establishing sacred spaces, a room or corner in your home, but also spaces in nature where you can rest your body and soul, provides opportunities for needed respite. Indoors, give your eyes and mind a break from sensory input. Use a minimal approach—create a gentle and soft embrace that soothes and comforts. Listen to calming music or recordings of nature sounds. Outdoors, seek quiet, secluded spots to immerse yourself in the elements—near water, mountains, wide open skies, or forests.
Creating Sacred Tools for Bone Times
Take time to create personal tools for use in your practice, such as amulets, charms and talismans, that represent desired energies. You don’t have to believe in magick, these tools also work on brain science, acting as touch points to remind you of the energy, belief or attitude you wish to embody around your bone wisdom.
Rattles, drums, bells and other sound instruments including your voice, invoke the energy of air (sound waves). In many ceremonial rhythms, the sound also mimics the human heartbeat—the life force. Using these instruments helps to ground, center and empower you, pulling you back from the chaos, whether internal or external. Rhythmic sound also helps in entering meditative or trance states.
Botanical and Natural Medicines
Natural medicine serves well as a simple, sacred tool. The properties and energies of herbs, flowers, animals and elements can all be accessed to support holistic well being, through teas, tinctures, essences and topical applications like salves. Botanicals can also be used spiritually in smoke or water cleansing rituals, or as elements of sacred herb blends carried in pouches or worn in lockets.
Runes, oracle cards, tarot, pendulums and other tools of divination serve as windows to our own bone knowledge. The archetypes and symbolism help us dig down and more closely examine our own inner landscapes and shadows. In doing so, we begin to understand our motivations and actions, and are better able to make wise choices.
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
~ Carl Jung
Keeping a journal of your personal divinations and thoughts better helps us understand ourselves. And when we begin to understand ourselves, we can begin to understand others.
Stones and beads fashioned into malas, rosaries, bracelets, pendants, amulets and charms hold forth symbolism and corresponding energies. Whether we believe the properties are inherent in the minerals, or that we assign the qualities by our own design really doesn’t matter.
I have my grandmother’s crystal and silver rosary; the facets of several of the beads are worn smooth from the many hours she worked those beads like worry stones, praying for a desired outcome. My father’s Veterans of Foreign Wars pin and my mother’s crystal heart locket hang from the review mirror in my car to protect my travels. These family heirlooms hold great powers of protection for me.
Shield up when you are out in the world by charging any piece of jewelry to hold strong boundaries. You can carry a few stones, crystals, herbs, shells and trinkets in a small pouch to enhance your personal power. Think of these talismans as the source emitting an energy field around you. You can activate or drop the shield at will by touching the jewelry.
Of course this type of magick (like all magick) becomes more effective with use. A good part of it is brain science, sometimes known as self-fulfilling prophecy. In the sports field, a player will imagine a successful skill over and over, running each move though his or her head, as well as practicing it. They are developing muscle memory and tagging it to emotional memory, greatly improving the chance that they will perform exactly as they have “programmed” the outcome they imagine.
In yoga, one of the first things we learn is the relaxation breath. After months of practice, I found myself automatically taking deep, relaxing breaths whenever I was feeling stressed. The muscle memories associate the breath with the many times I feel calm and centered on the mat, and my body responds to that. My shoulders drop, I unclench my jaw, and the tension leaves my body.
Professionals wear power ties or suits to bolster their confidence. Many people have lucky items of clothing that they might wear to a job interview, a sporting event or when gambling. All of these are examples of bestowing an item with a personal intention for a desired outcome.
Grounding, centering, feeling confident and powerful can all be triggered in the same ways with your magickal talismans.
This Is Us, Preparing the Way
You don’t have to create all the tools, any more than you need all the herbs, all the crystals, or more than one method of divination.
If you’re drawn to plant medicine, find a half dozen plants to serve your purpose, species you can grow or forage locally (ethically, and with permission when not on your own property). Research safe uses. Make herbal teas or salves for self care. Use them in your bath to clear murky energy, to relax, or to energize. Use them in charms, or tuck them in a pocket.
If divination is your thing, learn to read tarot or tea leaves, study the runes, use a pendulum—or develop your own system accessing intuition and deeper messages.
Call on the properties of the elements. Visit wide open spaces, let the wind blow against your skin, use your breath to slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure. Immerse yourself in water, listen to the sound of water—rain, a trickling stream, rushing river or ocean waves. Discover the benefits of earthing, or walking barefoot on mother earth. Gaze into the flames of a crackling fire and let your brain roam free; science tells us this offers the same benefits as meditation.
We are standing at the crossroads of change, digging up the bones of our ancient wisdom, being laid bare in preparation for the next phase, the next us. Now is the time to create a cache of sacred tools to see you through the bone times.