Fang and Fur Blood and Bone is a book that comes highly reccomended by many traditional witches. The book is set up well, and is divided into seven chapters, along with a foreward by Taylor Ellwood, an introduction, an afterword, four appendixes, a glossary, bibliography, and an index. The foreward is a nice touch from Lupa’s mate, Taylor Ellwood, and includes this gem: “The real key to successful magic is not doing what other people have done, but rather cultivating an approach toward innovation and creativity that allows you to take what you learn from other people and gives you new perspectives on not only how you do magic, but how you live life and solve situations that occur in it” (Page 10). The introduction gives you a glimpse of the thought behind the book as it was written, as well as the many applications of animal magic.
Chapter one covers “Totemism,” one of the most common applications of animal magic. What totems are, paleopagan totemism, neopagan totemism, discovering your totems and working with them, magical practice with totems, and also breaking realtionships with totems are all covered and discussed. There are numerous references to sources, including anthropological studies, Joseph Campbell, and other scholarly sources- I rarely seem to find emphasis placed on where the information is from, and was really impressed by this. The sections on Spirit guides, the Personal Totem Pole Model, and Strengthening the Bond were the ones I found the most interesting. Chapter two is “Familiars,” and is an in-depth look at the practice of keeping familiars. It begins with historical information on the practice of familiars, and then covers the things one must consider prior to searching out a familiar. The process of introducing your chosen animal to the purpose of working as a familiar is covered as well as magical workings a familiar might be suited to aid in. Spiritual familiars are also discussed as an alternative to keeping a pet for the purpose.
The third chapter is “Animal-based Evocation and Invocation,” and has more to do with the idea of working with unusual animals in magical practice. The ancient practices of of polytheistic deities and mythological personae is discussed, offering some nice insights into the various practices involving animals in their pantheons, as well as the role animals have made in fairy tales and fables. The differing views of mythological , fantastic, extinct, cryptozoological, and fictional animals in magical practice is covered. The following chapter, “Creating Animals in Magical Practice,” really goes well with the third chapter. It covers the idea and implentation of creating one’s own hybrid creatures for magical practice. Composite animals are discussed, as well as the creation of new species and the things to consider when doing so, as well as purposes suituble for these creations. The use of animal parts as entity bases is also lightly touched on.
The fifth chapter is “Shapeshifting,” which it then further divides up into therianthropic (a state of mind) and nontherianthropic. Historical information on shapeshifting and classical lycanthropy is included, as well as various ways in which to induce the mental shift necessary for shapeshifting. Otherkin and aspecting is also discussed. There is a lot covered in this section, from dancing in wolf skin, the assimilation of the personality of the animal, as well as a great deal of the author’s personal insight and experience.
Chapter six is “Working with Animal Parts,” and begins with some thoughts on the ethical uses of animal parts, as well as where to procure materials. What to do with those remains is covered as well.
The part of the body you’re working with has an impact on how much of the residue is there. It seems to b stronger in parts that were used in communication while the animal was alive. The different parts of the body can be ordered roughly in how much they retain; the greatest is in th head, then the tail and legs, and finally the body, which is primarily used as a wrapper for the interal organs. The less processed something is, the stronger the impression. (Page 158)
The relationship between the animal parts and the spirit with the practictioner is examined, along with ways to strengthen this relationship. The process of purifying the remains and the different methods that can be used are discussed as well. Ideas of ways to use the remains are also included, as well as symbolic death.
The seventh chapter is “Animal Sacrifice,” and all care was taken to honor the time-old process of animal sacrifice. The historical precedence of animal sacrifice is examined, as well as the obstacles facing those who practice modern-day animal sacrifice. There is also a very nice piece by Nicholas Graham included in this chapter, covering the legality, theory, and practice of animal sacrifice.
The appendixes include a guided totem meditation, simple divination techniques, directions to make a pouch, as well a nice list of animal charities. There is also an excellent bibliography included.