Articles/Essays From Pagans
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Banishments, Conjurings, and Hexes for a Modern World
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
The Fear of Witchcraft
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
The Evolution of Thought Forms
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
My Concept Of Grey
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Totem Tails: Not Just a Fashion Accessory
Article Specs |
Article ID: 14618
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,841
Times Read: 11,351
RSS Views: 118,162
Author: Lupa [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: July 17th. 2011
Times Viewed: 11,351
In the past few years, there has been a growing trend of people wearing animal tails as part of their outfits. At festivals and concerts, raves and Renaissance faires and even out on the street, you can find people wearing real fox, coyote and other tails on their belts. For a lot of people these are simply an accessory, something fun like polymer clay horns or gauze wings. Yet there’s a lot more potential there, and I feel a need for a greater appreciation of the fact that these are the remains of once-living animals, not something created in a factory out of plastics.
Generally speaking, these tails are the byproducts of the fur industry. Fur coat manufacturers generally only use the part of the pelt that wraps around the main part of the body; tails, faces and legs are largely discarded. Rather than ending up in a landfill or incinerator, where the harsh chemicals used in tanning could be released into land, water and air, these remains instead are rescued by the craft industry for use in creative pursuits.
I am one of these crafters. For about a decade now I’ve been putting tails on belts and selling them, using a unique braided design that I developed for strength and aesthetic appeal. However, I don’t just make them for looks. As with all my art made with animal parts, my primary focus is on giving these remains a better existence than being a trophy or status symbol. The tails are sort of a smaller version of the full hide dancing skins that I started out wearing in my own practice, and then making for other people as well. They allow the wearer to connect with the spirit of the animal that once wore the skin, to feel a little of what it might have been to be a fox or raccoon or coyote; and it allows the skin spirit to have a body to wear again, even for a little while.
Sometimes the spirits are angry at their deaths, and often the injustice of their lives if they were farm-raised. In such cases, there’s a good bit of work to be done with the spirit before it may feel ready to be incorporated into art, whether as a dancing tail or otherwise. But many of them welcome the chance to be appreciated for what they are, and while I can’t make the dead alive again, I (and whoever takes the tail or other art home) can help provide a better afterlife.
What I would like to share are a few practices that may be used to create a more respectful relationship with the spirit in the tail, and to be more mindful of its origin. Some people buy a tail specifically for spiritual purposes. But what if you happen to already have a tail, maybe one given to you, or purchased on a whim before you knew there were spirits to be worked with? The practices I will discuss are designed to be used regardless of the origin of the tail.
When you first get the tail:
--Don’t treat it like purchasing an inanimate object. Treat it as though it is a living being, and honor the spirit inside it. Even if you don’t literally believe in spirits, remember that these are the remains of a once-living being.
--Don’t just automatically put the tail on like a piece of clothing. Feel the energy of the tail, and maybe even silently ask the tail if you can put it on. If you get a strong sense of “no”, then respect that.
When you get home:
--Find a good place to make a home for the tail. Keep it away from dampness and heat sources, and away from where pets can get hold of it (since many cats and dogs like to chew on fur) . Let the tail know that that is its special place. If the spirit indicates wanting a different place, though, listen to its wishes.
--Take time when you can, even a few minutes a few times a week, to sit and talk with the spirit in the tail. You can hold it during meditation, or talk with it while carefully removing any dust that may have settled on it.
When wearing the tail:
--Ask the spirit’s permission first, every time. Even if the answer is always “yes”, it’s a nice polite formality, a small ritual of honor.
--Be aware of your setting and intent. Are you wearing it just to show off at a loud party? Or are you going to wear it into a ritual as part of sacred garb?
--If you and the spirit feel comfortable enough, try doing some shapeshifting work. In a safe and secure ritual environment (whatever that is to you, whether solitary or in a group) , invite the spirit to connect with you and “ride” your body for certain duration of time; meanwhile, wear the tail as though it were a part of your own flesh. You can enhance this experience by moving like the animal to the best of your ability (don’t worry about looking silly; you’ll do just fine) .
--If the spirit asks to be a part of other sorts of ritual, this may be another good way to strengthen that connection. Or if you have ideas for incorporating the tail, ask the spirit what it thinks and feels about what you propose.
This is just a starting point to help you and the spirit of the tail get to know each other better*. You may develop your own practices that work well for you. The point of all this is to allow you and the spirit more opportunities for connection, so that the relationship goes beyond simply “accessory” and “wearer/purchaser”. Trends may come and go, but the depth of a good spiritual partnership can last for many years.
* For further reading on this topic, please see the "Skin Spirits" category over at my blog located at http://therioshamanism.com
Location: Portland, Oregon
Author's Profile: To learn more about Lupa - Click HERE
Bio: Lupa is an artist, author, and shamanic practitioner in Portland, OR. She is the author of a number of books on animal magic and related topics, to include “Skin Spirits: The Spiritual and Magical Use of Animal Parts”, a text of both spiritual and practical material on working with the spirits in animal remains. Her books and artwork (yes, including many tails!) may be found at http://www.thegreenwolf.com and her shamanic blog is located at http://therioshamanism.com
Other Articles: Lupa has posted 25 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Lupa... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2016 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).