Kitchen Witchin’: Wishbone Magic for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is coming, and families will be gathering around big tables to break bread over a turkey dinner. When you join your family’s Thanksgiving dinner table this year, don’t forget to call the wishbone for yourself! The wishbone has a long, rich magical history—you can use it for your own magical purposes if you desire!
You find the wishbone by looking for where the neck cavity of the turkey. The ‘forked’ end of the wishbone straddles that cavity. If you peel away the meat, you’ll find the top tip of the wishbone and can pry it off the bird.
Once you dig out that little beauty of yours, consider doing one of these things with it.
Looking for more Thanksgiving 'kitchen witchery'? Check out Have a Magical Holiday: Kitchen Witchery for Thanksgiving!
Traditional Wishbone Wish!
Make a Wish
We all know the most popular use of the wishbone is to ‘make a wish’ between two people. Most people will do it right there at the dinner table, but it’s actually better if you let the bone dry for at least three days and become brittle before attempting it.
Have two people each take a hold of one side of the wishbone. Tell them to close their eyes and make their wishes. The most important factor is that they don’t tell the wish to anyone or it will not come true!!! When they’re ready, both parties can begin to tug and pull—if they both have patience, it can take a little while.
Once the bone breaks, the person holding the bigger half is the one who’s wish will come true. But guess what—if the bone splits up the center into equal pieces, or breaks into three pieces, both people’s wishes will come true!
In Victorian times, young ladies would use the wishbone similarly to the wishing process, only instead of trying to make a wish they would break it to see who would be the first to get married. In this case, the person holding the smaller piece is the one destined to be wed next.
Keep On Wishing
You might not want to bust up that wishbone just yet—it’s actually got some staying power. The ancient Etruscans used to utilize the wishbones of birds for wish amulets around 700 – 900 BCE.
The process started by tossing a big circle of feed on the ground, and drawing letters or symbols around it. They would put a bird in the circle and take note of where it went to feed (sounds a little like a Ouija board, with a chicken as the planchette, doesn’t it?).
The ritual wasn’t done, though—after the chicken would tell them their fortune, it would be slaughtered and eaten. The wishbone would be reserved, and whenever the keeper of it had any desire he would wish for it while stroking the wishbone with his fingers.
Wishbone amulets of gold and silver were eventually forged for the same purpose—as a wish amulet. They were charmed and then worn or put in pouches and carried to bring good fortune. You can keep your wishbone for your own amulet—if you like, paint it with silver or gold paint. That will not only make it look pretty, will strengthen it so it wont’ get too brittle.
Incidentally, you can do this with a chicken, too—it doesn’t have to be a turkey.
If fertility is what you seek, you can do what early American women did with their turkey bones. Tack up a nail over the door, and put the wishbone on it. This tradition apparently came over with the Pilgrims from Europe, who probably got it from the Romans. This was not just used for women looking to conceive, but those looking to find someone to start a family with—so you might use it as an amulet to draw love.
Do you ever utilize the magic of the wishbone? Do you have any traditions not listed here? Please share!