Bones are symbolic of our inner most authentic self. A bone woman is someone who knows who she is at her core. Curiously, my passion for the animal kingdom (and myself) began when I curled my fingers around an ancient buffalo bone and electricity ran through my body. From that point on, I began to notice animal bones whenever I was out in nature, and it made me wonder: To whom did theses bones belong? What purpose did they serve? How did these animals live? And how did they die?

Enlivened by bones, my heart kindled an authentically wild and burning passion that stood in stark contrast with the rest of my life. Late at night while my family slept, I researched animal anatomy, bone identification, and animal behavior. I later realized that bone by bone the animals I found were a metaphor for my personal process of discovering, unmasking, and reconnecting the scattered parts of my true self. Each bone was a reminder of something about me that had been tamed, shamed, discarded or forgotten.

Harkening back to my ancestors, I learned the symbolism associated with each animal and their individual parts, which enabled me to receive and interpret profound messages at every encounter. In my research, I read that, symbolically speaking, flesh is temporary and represents life on earth. Bones, on the other hand, are regarded as eternal, like the soul, and never die.

Every bone has a specific vibration and there is added meaning if you know the animal from which it came. Deer, for example, is associated with the heart. Her medicine gently lures humans out of civilization and back into the wild nature of the forest. Feeling the soothing vibration of deer’s innocence influenced me to spontaneously operate from the love in my heart and to soften the sheer force of my overachieving will. Deer teeth showed me how to chew on the cud of new perspectives and ideas, while her vertebrae offered me backbone to move beyond the conditioning of false opinions and beliefs. And when I was ready, her jawbones encouraged me to voice the truth of my heart.

One of the ways the spiritual realm communicates with us is through animal bones, but we must be open and receptive to it. Many people find animal bones when they are out walking or hiking, but in our modern world, it’s just as potent if bones appear in picture form. If you find or see a bone, the message might validate something going on in your life, or remind you that you’re out of balance with this symbol. Even if you are not able to interpret the message, the bone has a specific vibration and it has shown up to help tune you. When you open yourself to bone medicine, you’ll find, as I have, that we are all deeply connected to the animal kingdom and a greater mysterious life-force.

Here are some of the messages brought through bones:

Skull – Enlightenment, awareness and connection. There are many portals: crown chakra (intuition), third eye (imagination or clairvoyance), nasal cavity (smell), ears (sound), mouth (taste), eyes (sight, window of the soul), and is also home to the pituitary and pineal glands which hold great spiritual significance.

Antlers and Horns – Antenne for communicating with the spiritual realm.

Teeth – The words you speak. Can be aggression (biting).

Jaw – Voice and words. Thoughts and ideas to speak or chew on.

Shoulder – Responsibilities, hard work. A shoulder to lean on.

Leg – Support, strength and stability. Grounded. Down to earth.

Rib – Protection or cage. Rib cage. Ribs surround tender organs, specifically heart and lungs. Lungs represents the breath of life. Heart represents love and emotions.

Vertebrae – Backbone, courage, support, flexibility. Stand up for yourself or Kundalini rising.

Pelvis – Sex, creativity, passion. A portal to the spiritual realm.

Tail – Balance and communication. Animals communicate with their tails and use them for balance when they walk, run, turn, and sit.