Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic by Lupa
Lupa tames the animal kingdom for magickal workers. In a no-holds barred manual, the author explores all aspects of utilizing animals in ritual and life works. She is a brave writer, not shying away from even subjects that are politically incorrect such as ritual sacrifice. In seven concise and informative chapters, the book takes the reader from the mildest form of animal magic – Totemism, to the most extreme and possibly controversial form – animal sacrifices.
For the most part the book is well written and to the point. I was fascinated by the recounting of the author’s own experiences of invocation while dancing in a wolf pelt. I often use found feathers in creation of magical tools so the chapter on using animal parts was also personally interesting for me. The author suggests deep communion with the animal spirits left behind in the parts, something I had never considered before. It does make sense to me, although nearly all the feathers I have worked with have been molted and as far as I am aware have little in terms of residual energy clinging to them. On the other hand, I have two turtle shells that I have been holding onto for years, not knowing what to do with them. Perhaps the ritual explained in this book to ask the original owners what they wish to have done with the remains would be a good avenue to pursue in this instance.
I have worked with animal imagery in the past both in forms of totems and animal nature. I often call animals to represent the Quarters when I cast circle. For a long time my favorite tarot deck was the Earth Medicine Deck, which features animals on most cards with some left blank for the reader to fill in as needed. But I never considered invocation of my totems into myself, never considered creating new animals to suit my needs and never tried shape shifting, either in my mind or in actuality. The author claims to feel “other” and to feel a kinship with her totems something I have never felt. This book contained many passages opening new ideas to me. Even if I fail to use their wisdom, I feel that my outlook when it comes to animal magic has been greatly expanded.
On the technical side of the book, I have two small issues. One was the page layout. I found the margins in the book to be too small forcing me to open the book’s spine more severely than I am accustomed to. In a hardback book this would not be an issue, but with a soft cover, I am afraid the binding will soon become cracked and damaged causing the book to have a short lifespan. The other thing I have issue with was the author’s attempt to be non-gender specific with her own word of “hir” replacing his, hers, him and her. It really is too bad that the English language has no gender-neutral words in these instances, but at best I found the replacement word to be distracting and at worst was that it was used inconsistently throughout the text. In places the common language of his and her was in evidence only to be replaced in the following paragraph by the “hir” usage.
In all this is an excellent book for people wishing to delve into the worlds of animal magics. It is far better than any other book I have read on the subject, avoiding the rote use of listing animal correspondences and getting down to the nitty-gritty of actual rituals and meditations fully accessible to even a novice.