Recently I finished reading The Garden of Blood and Bones, which was recommended to me by a few of my friends. What I was surprised to find was that Palo actually has some pretty deep roots in the necromantic arts of the leopard cults. Leopard and tiger societies are of particular interest to me, they seem to have much of the same themes regardless of where they are found, like necromancy, shapeshifting, psychopomping and so on. It’s hard for me to sum up particulars, in part because the author himself did not seem write the book for the layperson and so some definitions elude me, but needless to say it was a very good supplement to my research.
Speaking of necromancy, Kabron led me to research kapalas. I wanted to get some more information on animal kapalas versus human. While I was poking around, I happened to come upon depictions of other objects monks will make out of the dead besides begging bowls and trumpets. Things like kapala malas, and kneecap prosperity amulets. The latter was of particular interest, because I happened to have brought one of those things home from an antique shop, which I later made into this. It wasn’t intentional, mind. I thought I was bringing home a morbid little carving out of buffalo or yak bone. It goes to show what a numbskull I can be. I even fished it of a bowl with the label “kneecap skull bead”, as if yak or buffalo kneecaps are that tiny to begin with. Come to think of it, it all made so much sense. The thing certainly ‘felt’ different, but I just assumed it was my own perceptions reading into things too much. I even called the shop in question, and they said they came from Nepal, and were indeed kneecaps, but couldn’t say what kneecaps they were. After having shown the piece around, the general consensus is yes, it is human. Or was. The icing on this cake came when I met up with a friend over the weekend, who brought along a really old mala made from what she also assumed was yak bone. Spoiler alert: turns out it wasn’t. It only took a cursory glance for me to get my hair up on end, and some quick research confirmed the matter.
So, the synchronicities continue. Transition, change and death has certainly been the name of the game here lately.