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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Toad Bone Rite: A Study on the Practice

The Toad Bone, an object and magical tool that has fascinated practitioners for years, holds a special place in my heart and work.The reason for this is that I’ve performed it twice, once as a young man in the way taught by my grandmother, and yet again in prison with guidance from Chumbley in his “The Leaper Between”. Both bones have been lost to me by the sands of time, so in the next few weeks I plan on performing it once more. Frist, a bit of history for the uninformed. The toad bone is first written of in Pliny’s Natural History, in this huge tome of lore he tells us of the rubetæ or bramble-frog (the Classical terms for toads)-
“Authors quite vie with one another in relating marvelous stories about them; such, for instance, as that if they are brought into the midst of a concourse of people, silence will instantly prevail; as also that by throwing into boiling water a small bone that is found in their right side, the vessel will immediately cool, and the water refuse to boil again until it has been removed. This bone, they say, may be found by exposing a dead bramble-frog to ants, and letting them eat away the flesh: after which the bones must be put into the vessel, one by one.”
Naturalis Historia 32.18

Pliny tells us that after your ants have stripped  your toad, more than one bone has Magical uses, so perhaps you should save them all.

“In the left side of this reptile there is another bone, they say, which, thrown into water, has all the appearance of making it boil, and the name given to which is “apocynon.” This bone, it is said, has the property of assuaging the fury of dogs, and, if put into the drink, of conciliating love and ending discord and strife. Worn, too, as an amulet, it acts as an aphrodisiac, we are told. The bone, on the contrary, which is taken from the right side, acts powerfully as a refrigerative upon boiling liquids, it is said: attached to the patient in a piece of fresh lamb’s-skin, it has the repute of assuaging quartan and other fevers, and of checking amorous propensities.”

That’s about all he tells us on the subject, and as you can see the Rite itself is not outlined at all, so the cunning man or wise woman had to work it out for themselves.As we can see from the recounting of Pliny in Agrippa’s ‘Books of Occult Philosophy’-

‘And Pliny reports that there is a red toad that lives in briars, and brambles, and is full of sorceries, and doth wonderful things: for the little bone which is in his left side, being cast into cold water, makes it presently very hot, by which also the rage of dogs is restrained, and their love is procured, if it be put in drink; and if it be bound to anyone, it stirreth up lust. On the contrary, the little bone which is on the right side, makes hot water cold, and that it can never be hot again, unless that be taken out, also it is said to cure quartans if it be bound to the sick in a snake’s skin, as also all other fevers, and restrain love, and lust.’ (Trans. Freake, 1651).

The influence of Pliny on European magic as a whole is quite clear, as Agrippa is thought of as a forefather of modern occultism.   This has produced a number of variations of the Rite, and even a few that use a Black cat instead of a Toad.The black cat version of this same rite, as it is recounted in Mules & Men by Zora Neale Hurston,the witch is instructed to throw the cat into a pot of boiling water , and cooked until all the flesh falls from the bones. The bones are then either floated in a stream (the same as the toad’s bones) or passed under the tongue of the magician. The Cat bone in this tradition turns the user invisible, and can also be used in some powerful love spells. Most places selling this bone today are actually selling chicken bones painted black (any Voodoo shop in New Orleans will sell you one for 5 bucks, and we have way to many cats in this city for that brisk business)

Back to our friend the toad, Chumbley states- “that the uses and forms of the toad-bone amulet do not follow a clear linear progression through time. Its uses as a healing charm, a love charm, an animal-controlling amulet, and so forth, recur and overlap. Furthermore, the apparent distinction between its forms (either as a bone – singular, double, or multiple, a stone or jewel, or even a powder) is a matter of curious inconsistency in the historical record, with the forms at times indistinguishable and at other times clearly distinct. Adding to this complexity, the profusion of data for some periods and the sparsity in others presents difficulties, and at times leaves the search for conclusions outstanding. Nonetheless, a continuity in praxis can be seen.”

So as a modern conjuror, what are we looking for in our use of the bone, to heal, gain love, animal control or some other less specified ability? The frist time I worked this trick it was for control over animals (most lore brings up Horses, but I’ve found as a young man, the bone works well for dogs) The second time for Healing (Medical in Federal Prison is quite horrendous, and as a runner it came in handy). One more note should be added before we move on, Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft, states –

‘A frog’s bones, the flesh being eaten off round about with ants, whereof some will swim, and some will sinke: those that sinke, being hanged up in a white linnen cloth, ingender love, but if a man be touched therewith, hate is bred thereby.’

This gives us a dual use of the Bone, to create Love or Hate depending on the sex of the victim touched. This could come in handy, yet the fights one may find themselves in from use of the object in such a way may bring more trouble than it’s worth.

The Ritual, as done to control horses or dogs, is performed in this way. Find a  toad alive (as an aside, I was taught by my Great-grandmother, if you happen upon a dead toad,it was a sign that it is time for you to work the Ritual with the toad after blessing it in the name of Saint who’s day it is when you find it)then bring it home.Kill the toad, and put it on a thorn bush(I’ve also found the instruction to crucify the little guy but unless you are of the Catholic persuasion, such a method is unsavory).Wait for twenty-four hours till it dries. Then bury the toad in an ant-hill( I’ve used both Black and Red, the Lore is unclear and I believe it depends on what you have on hand)Let the ants have a feast for a month, till the full moon.The day of the full moon, go to the hill and thank the Ants for their help (I leave a red apple in its place)and take the Toad Skeleton inside your home.That night as the moon rises full take the Toad Skeleton to a running stream ( you can also use a pond where 4 generations of Toads have been born, but to do so you wrap the skeleton in  cheese cloth then let it float in the water ).Watch it closely, don’t take your eyes off it, or the bone will lose all power.The bone you are looking for, the pelvic or breast bone, will separate from the rest of the skeleton and floats uphill against the stream.If you use the pond, the rest of the bones will sink with the cloth and the bone that floats is the one you wish to keep.

I will cover more on the Toad Bone, and my plans for it, as the time approaches for me to perform the ritual once more.But for now I think that will do as an Introduction to the work… May all of your Work be Fruitfull!

Sources – The Leaper Between By Andrew D. Chumbley, Agrippa, H.C. Three Books of Occult Philosophy , Scot, R. Discoverie of Witchcraft , Pliny Natural History 1865 edition, Mules & Men by Zora Neale Hurston.

Copyright 2015 Vincent Piazza.
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Filed under: Left Hand Path, Magic, Magical Tools, Magick, Toad Bone Ritual Tagged: Left Hand Path, Magic, Magical Tools, Toad Bone Rite

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