I like to know how others feel about the use of animals in magick. Now I'm not talking about Goat+Alter=Mess or even Anthropomancy but more the use of animals and animal products in spells.
From tallow in candles to powdered parts of animals. I have many books that include the use of things like live spiders, snake skins and powdered beetles. I know there is something of a cultural element to this as some paths include more use of animals than others.
So how do we feel as a group:
Is the use of any animal unconscionable?
Are some animals ok but others not?
Or If the spell calls for it we can't be squeamish?
I will start out by saying this is a good topic. There is an infinate possibility of inputs on this, so I am going to leave mine here.
1) Yes, and no. Animals bring a new energy of their own, and in fact, if an animal sheds the product naturally I will use it. However, I will not seek out this product - as in kill an animal for it, or mutilate them. I prefer to preserve life, and not destroy it.
2)I am indiscriminate towards animals or animal products when it comes to my practice.
3)If the spell calls for the maming, or killing of an animal, it is probably a spell I wouldn't consider. I could not do it, nor would I willingly do it (and of course I must willingly do it to have any energy towards my goal and to make the action go along with the spell). If the spell, however, calls for a product from an animal, then I will not have a problem with it.
Ps: I know it sounds a little hypocritical but it is true. I cannot kill, and I don't want to. So if other's must do it then so be it.
I think it depends on the practice/faith as well, partially. For instance, in my path it is traditional to use horses. Now for the most part I do not do this. Instead, I'll use a horse skull from a horse that died naturally or I'll just carve a skull out of wood. But I have done it the traditional way in the past, and I'm likely to do it again in the future.
When it comes to the involvement of using an animal, we always stress that it's important to know the animal and get a "feel" for them and whether or not they would be willing to help you in that manner. I raise my own horses, and I treat them splendidly. When I have used them in the past, I do it in a manner that is painless and I use all parts of the animal- never wasting anything that they have given to me. I then do a ritual to thank the animal, and I honor them.
I'm less formal about using animal parts, such as claws or hair. Again, if I was to use a horse's hair- I would probably thank the animal and only take what I needed, nothing more.
I think it depends on the person, their preferences, and the practice. I would never agree with anyone who said it was wholly wrong to do this, but then again I don't think it's wholly right- at least not for everyone.
I would never judge anyone for their practices as you say Personified I'm sure anyone that does use them does so with reverence, or at least more than the cow that gave its life for the steak I had for dinner got. Like you I'd never say it is wrong but there is a right way to go about it.
I wouldn't see any issue here... I hunt already it's where I get most of my food, if I can use a piece of an animal I killed for a productive use beyond food, I see no reason not to do so. in fact they already serve as various things, such as furniture, fertilizer, bait, and once even a knife. A magical use would probably just be a normal thing...
I don't think I could slaughter an animal just for the sake of a spell and nothing more, but in the event that I can use the other parts of the animal and/or sell them to someone who could use them, then I would willingly use it for a spell. I don't, on the other hand, mind using insects or arachnids for a spell. I would show my respects to the creature, of course, as I would show my respects for anything involved in a ritual.
I could not, how ever, kill an animal for the singular use of a spell, or buy parts of an animal from a person I knew to have slaughtered out of cold blood and discarded without reverence or respect to the animal, the unnecessary parts (such as a poacher killing for an elephant tusk, but leaves the whole body there to rot.)
Again, I could kill an undomesticated animal, and use all of it for my needs, or others needs, such as deer, rabbits, goats, etc. but I could not bring myself to kill a cat, dog or horse, unless in a mercy kill situation.
But like most everyone who posted before me, it does depend on the practice, and I would not look down my nose at someone who kills any animal, domestic or not, for the right reasons and gives respect.
It is interesting to hear so many say they would and have but only if using the 'whole' animal. I do think if you are going to use an animal for something you have to at least make use of all of it be it for food, clothing or magick.
I would also like to hear for any vegans and is it hard to avoid animal products in magick as in colourants and additives in things like incense and candles and the such.
Really interesting topic post :) Personally, I don't consciously use animal elements in my practices (blood, bones, skin, etc.) I usually get beeswax candles with herbal dyes, and other than that...The rest of my gear is animal free. Not necessarily by choice, but because that's just the kind of stuff I ended up getting. If I ever was to incorporate animal use into my practice, it would probably just be for offerings.